Though it has a new catchy name, the recent “revolution” in Hong Kong followed a very familiar pattern of US engineered regime change and destabilisation. And the Chinese are well aware of it!

Now we know that Russia knows full well the ways and means of ‘regime changing’ the empire of chaos uses over and over to ensure its supremacy. This was made clear by Putin in his Valdai Club speech:

Incidentally, at the time, our colleagues [the US] tried to somehow manage these processes, use regional conflicts and design ‘colour revolutions’ to suit their interests, but the genie escaped the bottle. It looks like the controlled chaos theory fathers themselves do not know what to do with it; there is disarray in their ranks.

China has also been subject to attempts at regime change both in the Xinjiang province in West China and most recently in Hong Kong. The question is how aware are the Chinese of the US role in these protest movements? A recent YouTube video makes it abundantly clear that the Chinese read the geopolitical chess game very well, if the views presented also reflect the views of Chinese people generally. The video maps out 12 steps that the US uses for regime change and goes on to explain how these “regime changes” around the world and the antagonizing of Russia and China follow a pattern that could lead to World War III.

The 12 Steps to regime change, employed by the USm as outlined in the video:

  1. Dispatch CIA, MI6 and other intelligence officers as students, tourists, volunteers, businessmen, and reporters to the target country
  2. Set up non-governmental organisations (NGO) under the guise of humanitarianism to fight for “democracy” and “human rights” In order to attract advocates of freedom and ideals
  3. Attract local traitors and especially academics, politicians, reporters, soldiers, etc., through bribery, or threaten those who have some stain in their life
  4. If the target country has labour unions, bribe them
  5. Pick a catchy theme or color for the revolution. Examples include the Prague spring (1968), Velvet revolution (Eastern Europe, 1969), Rose revolution (Georgia, 2003), Cedar revolution (Lebanon, 2005), Orange revolution (Ukraine), Green revolution (Iran), Jasmin revolution, Arab Spring and even Hong Kong’s Umbrella revolution
  6. Start protests for whatever reasons to kick off the revolution. It could be human rights, democracy, government corruption or electoral fraud. Evidence isn’t necessary; any excuse will do
  7. Write protests signs and banners in English to let Americans see and get American politicians and civilians involved
  8. Let those corrupted politicians, intellectuals and union leaders join the protests and call upon all people with grievances to join
  9. The US and European mainstream media help continuously emphasize that the revolution is caused by injustice thereby gaining the support of the majority
  10. When the whole world is watching, stage a false-flag action. The target government will soon be destabilised and lose support among its people
  11. Add in violent agent provocateurs to provoke the police to use force. This will cause the target government to lose the support of other countries and become “deligitimized” by the international community
  12. Send politicians to the US, EU and UN to petition so that the target government will face the threat of economic sanctions, no-fly zones and even airstrikes and an armed rebel uprising

Anyone who has being paying just a little attention to the world events can recognise this pattern. Psychopaths are not that creative and therefore tend to use the same method again and again. And mostly it works out to the benefit of the psychopaths in power, to whom it doesn’t matter if their hand in the regime change is exposed after the installment of a new puppet. The subservient MSM is always on hand to further the propaganda and knock down any objecting views that reveal the hand of the man behind the curtain and can always rely on name calling when arguments are lacking. An example of how this works with regard to the Hong Kong protests can be seen here:

And the public memory is conveniently very short, with all the distraction that Hollywood, the social media and the General Law can come up with.

The video goes on:

If the 12 steps above do not work, then the US will find an excuse to intervene militarily and overthrow the target government by force. In fact, these steps have proven to be very effective.

[...]

Therefore, it is not by spontaneous civil movements that countries are overthrown. On the contrary, the revolts are carefully planned and plotted. In fact, overthrowing a country by means of civil unrests is far cheaper than sending troops to attack and destroy it. That’s why the US kept applying these 12 steps against countries it deem as enemies.

Though the video blames it all on the Freemasons, it would be more correct to say the pathological elite. One of the key defining traits of this subspecies is the fact that they have no conscience and therefore care naught about human suffering and deaths. It could even be argued that they relish such suffering.

As always the onus is on us to acquire knowledge and to wake up to this nightmare and the fact that there are predators among us who don’t have essential human qualities. This is becoming easier as the empire of chaos, in its desperate battle to maintain hegemony, is showing its true nature for all to see. Thus the emperor is exposed as being naked, something that the BRICS countries and a number of other countries are becoming aware of. There is no doubt that greater cooperation among these countries has helped to spread knowledge about the psychopaths’ modus operandi. The above video is an example of the exposure of this pattern.

President Barack Obama speaks during their joint news conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. (Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

There are two major threats to life on Earth—nuclear weapons and climate change. A recent decision by President Obama has heightened both threats.

Two months ago, the New York Times reported that the president had initiated a 30-year, $1 trillion “revitalization” of the strategic nuclear weapons systems of the United States, including nuclear warheads as well as the intercontinental bombers, submarines, and land-based missiles that are poised day-in and day-out to deliver them throughout the world.

The Times reported that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that Obama’s “atomic refurbishment plans” will cost $355 billion over the next decade. “But that is just the start,” the Times continued, “the price tag will soar after 10 years as missiles, bombers and submarines made in the last century reach the end of their useful lives and replacements are built.”

That’s at least $35 billion per year over the next thirty years that we mustn’t spend on the modernization of nuclear weapons. That money, with a commensurate level of focus and commitment now lacking, needs to go to climate change mitigation and adaptation, including new energy and transportation infrastructure here and abroad. If it doesn’t, nuclear war and climate change – one or the other, sooner or later – will destroy the Earth and humanity with it, including your children and grandchildren. It’s as simple, and terrifying, as that.

Furthermore, Obama’s decision to modernize the nuclear weapons arsenal of the United States was completely undemocratic. He has yet to announce this decision himself. He made it without any public discussion or debate. And his decision to do so contradicts statements he made to the American people to get votes to become president.

For example, in July 2008, in an article titled “Obama Says Time to Rid World of Nuclear Weapons,” CNN reported that the presidential candidate proclaimed: “It’s time to send a clear message to the world: America seeks a world with no nuclear weapons. As long as nuclear weapons exist, we’ll retain a strong deterrent. But we’ll make the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons a central element in our nuclear policy.”

Upon his election as president, however, in his first opportunity internationally to make an official move toward nuclear disarmament, President Obama voted against a 2009 UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution titled “Nuclear Disarmament,” against a 2009 UNGA resolution titled “Towards a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Accelerating the Implementation of Nuclear Disarmament Commitments,” against a 2009 UNGA resolution titled “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Weapons,” against a 2009 UNGA resolution titled “Follow-up to Nuclear Disarmament Obligations Agreed to at the 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” and against a 2009 UNGA resolution titled “Follow-up to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons.” Obama then voted against each of these General Assembly resolutions in each year of his presidency to date.

Also, rather than pledge not to attack with nuclear weapons any of the non-nuclear nations, Obama abstained from a 2009 UNGA resolution titled, “Conclusion of Effective International Arrangements to Assure Non-Nuclear Weapon States against the Use or Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons.” Obama also has annually abstained from this same UNGA resolution as well. Thus, officially under President Obama, the United States won’t say whether it would use nuclear weapons or not against a non-nuclear country.

A few days after rejecting the 2009 round of General Assembly resolutions, Obama gave his Nobel Peace Prize speech on December 10 in Oslo. While referring to the 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), he said: “In the middle of the last century, nations agreed to be bound by a treaty whose bargain is clear:  All will have access to peaceful nuclear power; those without nuclear weapons will forsake them; and those with nuclear weapons will work towards disarmament.  I am committed to upholding this treaty.  It is a centerpiece of my foreign policy.” (Emphasis added.)

Indeed, the “bargain” of the NPT was non-proliferation among non-nuclear states and disarmament by the states with nuclear weapons, with the formal obligation to disarm embodied in Article VI of the NPT:

Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

Thus, given Obama’s clear record of rejecting the General Assembly’s efforts toward nuclear disarmament, and his recent decision to initiate a 30-year modernization of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, he has clearly violated even the most lax interpretation of the NPT’s Article VI obligation on nuclear disarmament.

Incredibly, in its report, the Times quoted a “senior official” in the Obama administration who referred to the president’s decision to commit the United States to a $1 trillion nuclear-weapons refurbishment effort as one of Obama’s “legacy” achievements as president, noting further that the issue was too politically delicate to go on record by identifying himself or herself by name. The Times thus reported, referring specifically to the nuclear weapons issue and the expense:

“This is Obama’s legacy budget,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s political delicacy. “It’s his last chance to make the hard choices and prioritize.”

A decision of this magnitude is therefore made without any announcement from the White House or presentation by the president himself to the American people. One should assume, then, that the gift of Obama’s “legacy” was intended not to benefit the American people. Instead, and predictably, it benefits only the national security state apparatus and the military-industrial complex.

In 2007 former U.S. officials George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn published an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” which called for nuclear disarmament.

In doing so, they quoted from several persons, including Rajiv Gandhi, then prime minister of India, who said in an address to the UN General Assembly: “Nuclear war will not mean the death of a hundred million people. Or even a thousand million. It will mean the extinction of four thousand million: the end of life as we know it on our planet earth. We come to the United Nations to seek your support. We seek your support to put a stop to this madness.”

As president and about nuclear weapons, John Kennedy stated: “The world was not meant to be a prison in which man awaits his execution.”

President Obama should reverse course on nuclear weapons, support the UN General Assembly resolutions on nuclear disarmament that will be issued next month at the United Nations, and announce the start of serious, good-faith negotiations on global nuclear disarmament in compliance with his legal obligations as stated in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Expand the civil-rights struggle to the level of human rights. Take it into the United Nations, where our African brothers can throw their weight on our side, where our Asian brothers can throw their weight on our side, where our Latin-American brothers can throw their weight on our side, and where 800 million Chinamen are sitting there waiting to throw their weight on our side.

Let the world know how bloody his hands are. Let the world know the hypocrisy that’s practiced over here.” – Malcolm X, April 3, 1964. Cleveland, Ohio, “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech.

They say that charity begins at home – and so, it should be added, does torture. The United States, a nation born in slavery and genocide, has in recent years been compelled to justify its past and current crimes as measured by the standards of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

On November 12 and 13, a delegation led by the U.S. Human Rights Network traveled to the UN’s palatial compound in Geneva, Switzerland, to argue that the U.S. is in violation of international treaties against torture and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). More than a score of organizations and individuals attempted to, first, convince members of the Committee Against Torture (CAT) that the groups they represent (Blacks, women, LBGTs, prisoners, immigrants, homeless) have, indeed, been harmed by the U.S., and, second, that these grievances fall under the language of the relevant treaty. It is a cumbersome, often agonizingly long bureaucratic process that is made even more problematic when the perpetrator of the crimes is the world’s sole superpower and the UN’s biggest funder.

Black Americans have a long history of enlisting international support in the struggle against U.S. racial tyranny, predating by generations Malcolm X’s admonitions to “take it into the United Nations.” The bigger the empire gets, the more sensitive it must become to foreign criticism of its domestic policies. When the U.S. elevates itself to arbiter of human rights on Planet Earth, as President Barack Obama has attempted to do, it is obliged to at least go through the motions of compliance with the treaties it has signed, which – on paper – carry the force of U.S. domestic law.

Last week’s meeting of the Committee Against Torture took place against the backdrop of the unfolding saga in Ferguson, Missouri – the small city that has become an international household word in the three months since officer Darren Wilson gunned down Black teenager Michael Brown. Although the U.S. media’s lens on torture is focused mainly on Guantanamo Bay and the pending U.S. Senate report on CIA torture, and most of the activists in the U.S. Human Rights Network delegation were transmitting grievances on issues other than race, the looming confrontation in Ferguson framed and colored the proceedings. Michael Brown’s mother and father made international news with their appearance before the committee, and a group of Black Chicago young people representing We Charge Genocide held a 30-minute silent, standing, fists-up demonstration as the official U.S. delegation attempted to claim that torture is not endemic to U.S. domestic policy and practice.

However, the biggest media splash occurred when U.S. representatives admitted that America had used torture in the so-called War on Terror. “A little more than 10 years ago, our government was employing interrogation methods that, as President Obama has said, any fair-minded person would believe were torture,” said Mary McLeod, the acting legal adviser to the State Department. Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for human rights, tried to assure the committee that the U.S. was not continuing to torture detainees in secret foreign locations or on U.S. aircraft or ships at sea. “We believe that torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment are forbidden in all places, at all times, with no exceptions. The legal and moral argument against torture would be dispositive under any circumstances.”

No such definitive statements were forthcoming, however, when it came to physical or emotional torture in U.S. prisons, or by American police. Instead, the 20-plus member official U.S. delegation, drawn mainly from the Departments of State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security, engaged in non-stop obfuscation, semantic contortions, and bald denials of fact to maintain that the U.S. obeys the letter and spirit of international law in its treatment of Blacks on the streets and inside the vast American Gulag, and is in no need of international oversight.

In the face of such superpower stonewalling, the biggest burden of proof lay on the shoulders of the three advocates for U.S. political prisoners: Efia Nwangaza, the veteran people’s lawyer and director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina; Dhoruba Bin Wahad, a former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member who spent 19 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement; and former Black Panther Party political prisoner Jihad Abdulmumit, of the Jericho Movement.

Their mission was made enormously more difficult by the fact that the term “political prisoners” is not even part of the United Nations vocabulary. As Efia Nwangaza explains, diplomats consider “political prisoner” to be a “conclusionary term,” and they are loathe to use words that infer conclusions of fact. Instead, Nwangaza, Bin Wahad, and Abdulmumit are compelled, in formal communications with the UN Committee on Torture, to frame Black American political prisoners as “imprisoned COINTELPRO and Civil Rights era human rights defenders and political activists and other persons at risk.”

What results is worse than just a stilted conversation. The political prisoner advocates must measure the success of their interaction with the UN by their ability to convince Torture Committee members to adopt their grievances and proposals as the basis for questioning U.S. compliance with the treaty and for recommending remedies to the human rights situation in the United States. In practice, that means finding victories in convincing Committee members to use language that deals with the rights of prisoners that are indigent, aged or infirmed, or have served excessive sentences or spent long periods in isolation – all of which applies to Black U.S. political prisoners of the COINTELPRO and Civil Rights eras.

The bottom line request is that the Committee “recommend that the U.S. government take steps to end” the prisoners’ incarceration – an ordeal that, for some, has lasted a half a century.

The other specific request is for the establishment of a “South Africa-like Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (TRC) to resolve any remaining issues. Dhoruba Bin Wahad and Jihad Abdulmumit said their comrades who remain in the behind bars insisted that this measure be pushed in Geneva as a means to both popularize the plight of political prisoners and provide a forum for larger discussion. For the purposes of the Committee on Torture, the Truth and Reconciliation proposal might be diplomatically transmitted through references to “alternative sentencing” – which is another way of framing the reduction of political prisoners’ sentences through a South-Africa-like commission mechanism.

Clearly, an appeal to the United Nations is more complex than carrying a sign saying “Free All Political Prisoners.”

The two-day process in Geneva began with the U.S. Human Rights Network’s broad-based delegation making brief presentations to the Committee Members, who hail from various nations but serve as individuals.

Efia Nwangaza, who has shepherded three complex proposals before UN committees and knows the ropes better than anyone in the delegation, described the “imprisoned COINTELPRO/Civil Rights era political activists and human rights defenders” as “survivors of an illegal scheme to crush the 60-70s social justice movements – political prisoners. They can wait no longer. They have served as many as 51 years in prison.”

Ethan Viets-VanLear, of Chicago-based We Charge Genocide, said U.S. police are allowed to act with “impunity,” while Congress has failed to even establish a data base to document the crimes. “We charge genocide, we charge torture,” he said.

Committee members, referred to as rapporteurs, questioned the delegates. Alessio Bruni, of Italy, noted that President Obama’s recent proposals for prison sentencing and standards reform are only applicable to the federal prison system, while 90 percent of U.S. inmates are held in state and local jails. The U.S. does not allow UN Special Rapporteurs to visit prisoners and inspect conditions at state prisons, claiming that’s beyond federal jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) severely limits prisoners’ rights to mount court challenges to prison conditions or the terms of their own confinement, resulting in a legal situation that Bruni called “unique in the world, because it established a separate and inferior justice system for prisoners.” Bruni said there are “significant gaps in remedies available to U.S. prisoners” – an important point, since the Committee is empowered to intervene if signatories to the treaty do not provide remedies for damages caused to victims.

Most of the U.S. delegation rate Bruni as sympathetic to their cause.

Jens Modvig, of Denmark, is also seen as open to the human rights activists’ appeals. He concludes that police violence and torture have no remedy in U.S. courts, and that prosecutors have full discretion whether to investigate violations of rights – or not to investigate – particularly at the federal level, which is an arbitrariness inconsistent with justice.

The rapporteurs asked their own questions of the delegates. They elicited Jihad Abdulmumit’s assessment of the U.S. government’s stance on political prisoners. “The United States displays blatant arrogance. Albert Woodfox” – the sole remaining member of the Angola Three – “has been in prison for 43 years. The world sees this. You can see it on CNN!” But, the U.S. doesn’t care who knows it, because no one can do anything to change it. No remedy.

Efia Nwangaza bored in on inadequate medical care, a key element for the Committee. Even when supporters have secured independent, third party medical services for political prisoners, “the assistance has been denied.” Jamil Al-Amin, once known as H. Rap Brown, “waited a year for dental are, and then found out he had cancer,” she said.

“The major force blocking police accountability,” said Dhoruba Bin Wahad, “is the police unions” that use their oversized political influence to deny political prisoners parole or hold up their release even when they have maxed out their sentences. “We need to look into how police can be made accountable by mechanisms that are out of the purview of police” power – presumably including a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Ferguson, Missouri activist and rapper Tef Poe (Kareem Jackson) said “the Ferguson police department turned my neighborhood into a war zone. I fear the police will murder me and my friends simply for being here and exposing this torture” that has been inflicted on an entire community.

The scene shifted later that day to a huge room at the Palace of Nations, where the U.S. Human Rights Network delegation encountered, for the first time, the arrayed representatives of the American State that has tortured people all over the world – a bureaucratic phalanx of overwhelming whiteness. The U.S. position, expressed with absolute solemnity, is that this country holds no political prisoners and there is no such thing as solitary confinement – only varying stages of prisoner isolation for security purposes.

In point of fact, said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prisons Project, “there are more than 80,000” prisoners held in solitary confinement on any given day, some of whom have been isolated from human contact for 20, 30 or even 40 years. “We appreciate the authority of the Civil Rights Division [of the U.S. Justice Department, which was represented in the official U.S. delegation], but it has no authority over the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, and it has never brought a charge” against the federal prison system, he said.

In other words, there are no remedies.

Committee members peppered the U.S. officials with questions on “standards” for imprisonment of young, sick and other vulnerable groups of prisoners. Denmark’s Jens Modvig wanted to know how many U.S. cops are punished for brutality and homicide. Essadia Belmir, of Morocco, said “it seems that there is inequality before the courts” in the U.S. “Black people don’t enjoy the same treatment” as whites. Alessio Bruni, the Italian, cited a potentially lethal lack of air conditioning at Angola State Prison, in Louisiana, and in sweltering Texas facilities. The U.S. is out of compliance with its treaty obligations while claiming its “national legal system already protects human rights.” Turkey’s George Tugushi asked why the U.S. has failed to utilize alternatives to detention – a possible indication that he is thinking about the idea of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but who knows?

The United States is not obligated to answer all the questions, but its response will have an effect on the Committee’s report, later this month.

The Empire Answers Back

The next and final day of the session, the official U.S. delegation tells Washington’s side of the story.

A deputy attorney general claims that the infamous Prisoner Litigation Reform Act that Rapporteur Bruni maintained established “a separate and inferior justice system for prisoners” is really nothing of the kind, since all citizens “have a right to sue in civil court…and seek injunctions.” In fact, the legislation was specifically designed to doom most such suits by inmates.

Another bureaucrat insisted that solitary confinement, which he called “restructured housing,” is never used for the purpose of inflicting emotional harm. Oh, heavens no.

An acting senior counsel in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division breezed through her spiel on the department’s “ongoing and active” investigation into the Michael Brown shooting and a separate probe of Ferguson police procedures – pro forma exercises that no one expects to result in meaningful action. The Justice Department also looked into charges of police brutality in Chicago, but could find no evidence.

At that point, six young people from Chicago’s We Charge Genocide rose from their seats and put their fists in the air, silently holding that position for almost half an hour, in protest. The chief U.S. spokesman later ostentatiously announced that the official delegation had no objections to the demonstration.

To show that the individual U.S. states were also respectful of prisoners’ human rights, the Americans trotted out A.T. Wall, the director of Rhode Island’s Department of Corrections and Mississippi’s attorney general, Jim Hood. Wall said his population in solitary confinement were “completely isolated” because some had access to visits, radios, and cell phone calls. Mississippi’s top lawman was of the opinion that police officers “want to do the right thing.” But, if they do violate someone’s constitutional rights, they can be sued in state and federal court. Even Mississippi, where, as the ACLU’s David Fathi points out, “Blacks are six times as likely to receive a sentence of life without parole than whites,” has remedies.

Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, who had earlier assured the world body that the current U.S. policy forbids “torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment…in all places, at all times, with no exceptions,” drew the line at allowing Special UN Rapporteurs to visit state prisons to inspect conditions for themselves. “We already have a strong system of oversight,” he said, but the problems of allowing access to state facilities are “daunting.”

Most Committee members seemed unmoved by the official U.S. performance. Denmark’s Modvig was skeptical of the Justice Department’s failure to find evidence of police wrongdoing in places like Chicago. “Well, you don’t find what your are not looking for,” he said. Georgia’s Tugushi had a short but general commentary on the draconian nature of U.S. sentencing: “Life without parole – in Europe, that’s considered a violation of human rights.”

The Waiting Game

The Committee on Torture in Geneva will issue its concluding observations before the end of this month. The troika of political prisoners activists and the rest of the U.S. Human Rights Network delegates will then discover which of their issues shows up in the document, which will become the basis for review of U.S. compliance with the treaty on torture, four years from now. The wheels of UN justice turn slowly. Efia Nwangaza, Dhoruba Bin Wahad and Jihad Abdulmumit will pour over the wording of the Committee’s observations, to determine if they have shifted the lines of battle in the people’s favor. But, as Abdulmumit wrote a “Shadow Report” on Geneva, “everyone must realize that whether an issue is heard or not, the lion’s share of the work is on stateside.”

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].

For the last three elections now, 2010, 2012 and 2015, corporate media and corporate politicians have ceaselessly assured us that “the economy” whatever that is, is “back on track”, wherever that is.

Despite what corporate media and politicians tell us, the positive indicators of soaring stock market valuations, rising real estate prices and the rigged unemployment figures that don’t count the jailed, the recently released from jails and prisons, and those who’ve given up on finding work or those working part time who desperately want full time hours real life for most real people hasn’t got any better since 2008 or 2009.

Last week an extraordinary and shameful study emerged from the National Center on Family Homelessness confirmed it by demonstrating that almost 2.5 million children in the US were homeless at some point during 2013. That’s one child in every thirty, in what we’re accustomed to thinking of as the richest nation on earth. In the most recent months for which statistics exist, the rate of homelessness among children is spiking, increased 8% nationally from 2012 to 2013, and by 10% or more in 13 states and the District of Columbia. In 2006 one in 50 children were homeless. In 2010 it was one in 45. Now, in the age of Obama, the 2013 number is 1 in 30.

The causes of homelessness among children are not your comforting stereotypes of drug use and mental illness. These are “comforting” because they encourage us to blame the drug-addicted, and pity the mentally ill, and our comfort keeps us from questioning the capitalist system which declares that we must have poverty in the midst of plenty, or wondering why we ourselves are no more than a month or two from homelessness.

America’s shameful surge in homeless children is caused by the fact that wages are NOT rising, low income housing is NOT being built, and the stock of available housing is being demolished or cannibalized by gentrifying speculators. Speculators can’t make money off stable neighborhoods, so the poorest have to leave wherever they are to make room for something else.

In California, the nation’s most populous state 34% of households are paying more than half their annual income for rent, and while the state’s minimum wage is $8 an hour, a 2 bedroom apartment at a third of annual income would require tripling the minimum wage to $25.78 an hour. The issue then, is poverty.

Millions of children are not suffering because their parents have suddenly become addicted, or neglectful or lazy or stupid. Their parents, many of whom are working as hard as they can, are simply not able to afford a roof over their heads. This is just capitalism. It may be a scandal, but it’s no surprise.

This happens to be just the way that “the economy” works when it’s “back on track.” It’s time to tear up those tracks.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site’s contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Spanish Military Prepares for Domestic Repression

November 20th, 2014 by Vicky Short

In response to the socially explosive conditions resulting from high unemployment, attacks on living standards and rising inequality, Spanish military units are being prepared for use in internal repression.

The Spanish digital daily, Público, recently revealed that around 200 soldiers from the Light Armoured Cavalry Regiment Lusitania No.8, based in Valencia, have been receiving special crowd control training, including the use of anti-riot equipment, by the military police.

One of the participants said that “they never explained what mission we needed this training for”. Another said, “People think that a lot of tension can be seen in the streets every day, that there is a lot of unrest … they tell us in the barracks that the National Police are overwhelmed, that it doesn’t have the means or the personnel.”

Sources at the barracks described the training as “strange and absolutely unprecedented,” but added, “We have to be prepared for everything, especially in these current times.”

“We do not remember the PM (military police) training soldiers before from other units to act as ‘anti-riot military police’ against civilians. … We believe that the military police are also doing this type of training in other barracks,” another said.

The sources reported that the training exercise became so violent and out of control, with several casualties, that it had to be stopped.

The Ministry of Defence sought to downplay the revelations, stating that training of the army in riot control was routine and had been going on for years. However, this attempt at reassuring the public was belied by further reports that about 50 soldiers had been interrogated for hours by officers demanding that they reveal the names of those who had made the revelations. At least one of the soldiers is facing expulsion from the army.

The training of army units in crowd control is based on the assumption that insurrectionary struggles are inevitable, because of the intolerable level of suffering the Spanish ruling class has imposed on the working class. The latest developments add to the series of counterinsurgency measures already adopted by the Popular Party (PP) government, including the purchase of new anti-riot equipment.

The new Citizens Security Law going through parliament and expected to be in force early next year will severely restrict the right to protest. Judges will be able to impose huge fines on protesters, particularly those outside Congress and other state institutions, and to fine anyone who distributes photographs of police brutality. The police will receive extra powers to enter and search property, demand identification papers and restrain those who refuse to produce them. The names and details of those penalised can be made public and if they are foreigners they can be deported.

Politicians from the main opposition Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) have been virtually silent about the Público reports, limiting themselves to putting down a question to the government asking for clarification. PSOE defence spokesman, Eduardo González, would not be drawn into any further comments other than stating, “What we need is to know more details and have some clear explanations”.

The PSOE is no stranger to using the army against the working class. In December 2010, the PSOE government invoked a “state of alarm” to use the army to force striking air traffic controllers, who were fighting against wage cuts and an increase in their hours of work, back to work. In 2005, former PSOE Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero created the Military Emergency Unit, whose declared role was “collaborating with the Civil Protection System and contributing to preserving the safety and welfare of citizens in disasters.” It is now one of the units undergoing crowd control training.

The historic role of the army in Spain, which in the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War killed hundreds of thousands in a counterrevolutionary uprising led by General Francisco Franco, is well documented. The Spanish establishment is riddled with the heirs of the fascist regime that followed the Civil War. A few old surviving fascists even continued to hold the same positions in the armed bodies of the state.

The 1978 constitution drafted and approved, following Franco’s death, after the peaceful transition from fascism to bourgeois democracy by the Stalinist Communist Party of Spain, the PSOE and former Francoites, allows the deployment of the Spanish army under article 116. A state of alarm, exception or siege can be put in place “when extraordinary circumstances would make it impossible for the competent authorities using ordinary powers to maintain normality.”

It will be under these powers that the Spanish military will be deployed against any strikes and demonstrations that threaten the ruling class. The latest anti-riot training exercises testify to the advanced state of decay of Spanish democracy. The PP government, the PSOE, and the trade unions are deeply discredited due to their attacks on workers’ living standards. The Spanish ruling class has nothing to offer except violent crackdowns and mass arrests.

Madrid is not alone. Throughout Europe the ruling class is once again preparing dictatorial forms of rule. In Greece, for example, the New Democracy/PASOK coalition government of Antonis Samaras, on three separate occasions, has placed striking workers under martial law and has repeatedly used police against strikers and has banned demonstrations.

In France, the unpopular Socialist Party government under President François Hollande launched a savage crackdown on protests sparked by the police murder of Rémi Fraisse, a 21-year-old environmental activist. This summer, Hollande banned protests against Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians.

Senate Blocks any Limit to NSA Spying on Phone Calls

November 20th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

The US Senate blocked action Tuesday on a bill that would have imposed only minor limitations on a National Security Agency program that collects records of the phone calls of every American. The vote was 58 to 42 to take up the measure for consideration, with supporters falling two votes short of the 60 required to force action.

The vote was nearly by party lines in the outgoing lame duck Senate, with 52 Democrats, two independents who generally vote with the Democrats and four Republicans supporting consideration of the bill. The 41 Republican opponents were joined by one Democrat, Bill Nelson of Florida.

The effect of the vote is to delay consideration of any legislation on NSA spying until the next session of Congress, when Republicans will be in the majority and will control key committees like Intelligence and Judiciary, which originate and write legislation.

The defeated measure, drafted by the outgoing chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would have placed very slight restrictions on the NSA program that collects metadata on virtually ever phone call placed in or through US telecommunications companies or the Internet.

The bill had the support of the Obama administration, demonstrating that the military-intelligence apparatus, which dictates policy on such issues, was quite content with the toothless legislation from Leahy. The main purpose of the bill was to give the impression that Obama and the Democrats are responding to the widespread public outrage over government spying sparked by last year’s revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, while actually doing nothing to restrict snooping by the intelligence agency.

The bill was also endorsed by a coalition of technology companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, AOL and Yahoo, which feared that Snowden’s revelations had exposed them as de facto arms of the US spy apparatus, harming their ability to sell their products and services, especially in foreign markets.

The Leahy bill would have shifted responsibility for maintaining the records of customer metadata from the NSA to the telecommunications companies themselves, while still allowing effectively unlimited data searches by the spy agency. The NSA, the FBI and other US government agencies would have been required to obtain court orders from the secret rubber-stamp FISA court that has approved government search requests 99.9 percent of the time.

Even these provisions could be waived in cases of “emergency,” which would, of course, be defined by the government itself.

The metadata program itself is only one of a vast array of NSA programs that spy on the phone calls, Internet activity and communications of Americans and non-Americans alike—all of which would have remained untouched.

In return for these minor restrictions, the bill would extend the telephone metadata search authorization, a part of the USA Patriot Act that is set to expire next June. With the defeat of the bill, the intelligence agencies will demand that the next Congress take up the question of extending the search authorization before the expiration date.

These agencies already hold the whip hand over both parties in Congress. Their sneering attitude towards any concerns over civil liberties was expressed in an op-ed column published last week in the Wall Street Journal, co-authored by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, which declared the Leahy bill to be “NSA Reform That Only ISIS Could Love.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who will be Majority Leader in January, led the opposition to the bill on the Senate floor Tuesday. Like Mukasey and Hayden, he cited the threat of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, including the beheading of US citizens held prisoner by ISIS in Syria.

McConnell claimed that the measure would be “tying our hands behind our backs” and “would end one of our nation’s critical capabilities to gather significant intelligence on terrorist threats.”

Leahy condemned those who “went at this issue by fomenting fear,” but this plea was particularly empty and insincere, given that the entire US political establishment has based its policy on whipping up fear with terrorism scares ever since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Bush and Obama, Republicans and Democrats have used the 9/11 attacks to justify every war crime committed by US imperialism over the past 13 years, and every attack on democratic rights.

In his final speech, Leahy concluded, “This is the Constitution of the US, and if we do not protect our Constitution we do not protect our country.”

Again, since the outgoing Senate Judiciary chairman has apparently failed to notice, it might be worth pointing out that the Obama administration itself has ridden roughshod over the Constitution, particularly in asserting the “right” of the president to order the assassination of any person in the world, including American citizens, on his sole authority, without any judicial proceeding of any kind. This position, elaborated by Attorney General Eric Holder and the White House in great detail, effectively repeals the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. (See: “The legal implications of the al-Awlaki assassination”)

So right-wing is the position of the Obama White House that a handful of ultra-right Republicans have sought to posture as libertarian opponents of its police-state actions. Two Senate Republicans, Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, co-sponsored the Leahy bill. Two others, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Dean Heller of Nevada, voted for it. Another, Rand Paul of Kentucky, voted against the bill saying it did not go far enough to restrict NSA spying.

Exporting Repression from Ulster to Palestine

November 20th, 2014 by David Cronin

Sectarianism with a smile: the late Ian Paisley claimed that Catholics “multiply like vermin.” (DUP Photos)

Imagine that a police force is being developed for a future Palestinian state. Imagine that the chief advisers to that force had spent much of their professional lives with an institution that was synonymous with repression. Imagine that instead of bringing a downtrodden people closer to freedom, the advisers were really helping the Palestinians to oversee their own occupation.

It is not necessary to imagine any further. This scenario is being actually being played out.

For the past eight years, the European Union has ran a “security” operation in the occupied West Bank.

Five different men have headed the EU Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support — or COPPS, as the operation is known — to date (excluding those who have led the office on an interim basis). Four of these officers had previously served with theRoyal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) or its successor the Police Service of Northern Ireland(PSNI).

A short trip to Belfast should be enough to illustrate why the liberation of Palestine is unlikely to be the foremost concern of an ex-RUC member.

When I visited that city in August, I was struck by the abundance of Palestinian flags on the Falls Road, a largely Catholic neighborhood. By contrast, I saw a few Israeli flags fluttering alongside the ubiquitous Union Jacks in Protestant areas.

There are exceptions, of course. But it is a simple fact that Ulster Protestants have tended to identify more with Israelis than Palestinians.

“Inherently divisive”

The RUC was dominated by Protestants throughout its history.

In 1998 — three years before it was replaced by the PSNI — just 7 percent of its officers were Catholic. That was despite how Catholics comprised more than 40 percent of Northern Ireland’s population, according to a 2001 census.

That imbalance was compounded by the RUC’s behavior.

A 1994 study by the Committee on the Administration of Justice — a civil rights group — found that almost half of all young Catholics experienced harassment by the security forces. “Arming one side of the population in Northern Ireland to police the other is inherently divisive,” that study notes.

Earlier this year, an Irish television documentary proved that the British government authorized torture by the RUC against people detained without trial in the 1970s. In 2004, a Canadian judge tasked by the British and Irish governments with investigating the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane stated there was “strong evidence” that the RUC had colluded with his killers.

During the 1980s, a probe by a senior Manchester policeman pointed to an “inclination, if not a policy” on the RUC’s part “to shoot suspects dead without warning, rather than to arrest them.”

I contacted COPPS, asking if its leaders have recommended that tactics tested in Northern Ireland should be replicated in Palestine. A spokesperson for the operation responded that it “does not give any preference to any specific model or methods” of policing.

That reply is in no way reassuring.

Paul Kernaghan, one of the men to head the EU’s operation in Palestine, has explicitly urged that the RUC model should be exported.

Four years ago, he told an inquiry into the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq that “at various stages in the RUC’s existence, it had a fairly high level capability and, indeed at one stage, a light armored capability.” He contended that “you need something like that” in Iraq.

Brutal tactics

Baton guns were perhaps the RUC’s most contentious weapon. Three children werekilled with the plastic bullets fired from these batons in 1981 alone. One of them, twelve-year-old Carol-Ann Kelly, was doing nothing more sinister than bringing a carton of milk home from the shops.

The Palestinian Authority’s security forces — the forces “mentored” by the EU — also make liberal use of batons. During demonstrations in the West Bank against Israel’s attack on Gaza in early 2009, those forces beat fellow Palestinians with batons, asreported by a UN team of investigators.

Similarly brutal tactics were employed by the PA’s forces when numerous Palestinian youths objected to how Mahmoud Abbas, the authority’s president, invited Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister, to Ramallah in 2012 and during protests opposing the US-initiated “peace” talks last year.

Striking comparisons

Drawing analogies between different geographic regions and different periods of history can be problematic. The injustices endured by Catholics in the north of Ireland were severe. Those suffered by Palestinians are many times worse.

Still, there are some striking comparisons.

Both the Palestinians and Ulster Catholics have been suffered as a result of settler colonialism.

The racist discourse of the Protestant establishment in the north of Ireland during the “Troubles” is almost identical to what Israeli politicians say about Arabs. Ayelet Shaked, a member of Israel’s Knesset, called Palestinians “little snakes” in July; the recently-deceased Ian Paisley, a Free Presbyterian preacher and long-time leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, once claimed that Catholics “multiply like vermin.”

The RUC was subservient to the British Army; the PA’s security forces are subservient to Israel.

Aiding illegal wars

Colin Smith, another former head of COPPS, has spoken of how part of his work involved “facilitating contacts” between Israel and the PA police. Such liaison was “progressing,” even though the PA forces had to pass through Israeli militarycheckpoints, he said in 2008.

Furthermore, the EU has equipped stations located in Area B of the West Bank. That zone (demarcated under the Oslo accords) is under Israeli military control.

As well as serving in the RUC, Smith has been one of the top police officersrepresenting Britain in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

Smith, of course, is not the only one to have found that participating in an illegal war can enhance your career prospects. Tony Blair has not been short of job offers either.

Blair’s role as the Middle East “peace envoy” complements the work of the EU’s police operation. Together, they are trying to dupe the world into thinking that the Palestinians are being put in charge of their own destiny, while constantly kowtowing to the Israeli occupation.

Despite what the talking heads are saying, the economy isn’t doing so well. With this most recent jobs report, the two main sectors of growth were fast food and retail, accounting for a total of about 32.2% of jobs created in October. In part, due to low-paying jobs, many are using payday loans to get by and unfortunately when it comes time to pay up, many are paying much more than what they borrowed due to extremely high interest rates. While this has been bought up in the mainstream every now and then, rarely has anyone taken a look how payday loans came into existence and the type of havoc they wreak on people, mainly the poor. We need to realize that payday loans only harm us and explore alternatives.

According to the Journal of Economic Perspectives, the practice of getting credit against one’s next payment goes back to the Great Depression; however, “as the spread of direct deposit and electronic funds transfer technologies slowed the growth in the demand for check cashing services” and payday loans were more of a side job to check cashing businesses. Yet, the situation changed in 1978 that would facilitate the rise of payday lenders.

The beginnings of payday loans can be found in the 1978 Supreme Court case Marquette National Bank v. First of Omaha Service Corp which stated that “national banks were entitled to charge interest rates based on the laws of states where they were physically located, rather than the laws of states where their borrowers lived.” This allowed banks to offer credit cards to anyone they deemed qualified. A further empowerment came from the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 which allowed for banks and financial institutions to decide interest rates based on the market. This laid the foundation for payday loans as now one could set up a payday loan company and charge high interest rates, saying they were based on the market which would allow them to make a profit and due to the court case, payday lenders could offer loans to literally anyone they wanted, even those with bad credit.

Payday lenders are able to profit off of the loans they provide by charging interest, which can get out of control. For example, “For a loan of $300, a typical borrower pays on average $775, with $475 going to pay interest and fees over an average borrowing cycle.” It was noted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in 1999 that the loans have “annualized interest rates often ranging from 213 percent to 913 percent” or 4.4%-19% a week! Thus, while the interest rates might not seem ridiculous at first glance, they can easily grow out of control.

Now, while it’s known that mainly working-class people and the poor are the main users of payday loans, that’s also a rather broad brush. More specificity was attained in 2012, when Pew Research reported that the majority of payday loan borrowers are 25-44 year old white women, though “there are five groups that have higher odds of having used a payday loan: those without a four-year college degree; home renters; African Americans; those earning below $40,000 annually; and those who are separated or divorced.” Furthermore, the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that “three times the percentage of payday loan customers are seriously debt burdened and have been denied credit or not given as much credit as they applied for in the last five years.”

So the victims of payday loans are part of groups and communities that are already having economic troubles, even more so due to the current economic climate. In terms of why people utilized payday loans, it was found that “most borrowers use payday loans to cover ordinary living expenses over the course of months, not unexpected emergencies over the course of weeks,” which really just speaks to the problem of wages and how people aren’t being paid enough.

The situation becomes all the more tragic when one finds that not only are the bottom lines of payday lenders “significantly enhanced by the successful conversion of more and more occasional users into chronic borrowers,” but also that “the federal government has found that one of the country’s biggest payday lenders provides financial incentives to its staff to encourage chronic borrowing by individual patrons,” (emphasis added) as was reported in a 2003 issue of Economic Development Quarterly. So the vulnerable are then put into a cycle of poverty which is extremely difficult to get out of.

There has been an attempt by state governments to regulate payday loans. Some states ban outright, whereas others limit interest rates. The lenders are getting smart and attempting to avoid regulation by “making surface changes to their businesses that don’t alter their core products: high-cost, small-dollar loans for people who aren’t able to pay them back.”

It should be noted that payday lenders are not small chumps in the financial world. For a while major banks were involved in payday lending, such as “Wells Fargo, Bank of America, US Bank, JP Morgan Bank, and National City (PNC Financial Services Group)” and were able to finance 38% of the entire payday lending industry and that is a rather conservative estimate. These banks bowed out of the industry in January 2014 after being warned by federal regulators that they were going to look to see if the loans violated consumer protection laws. But the problem doesn’t end there.

There are also middlemen involved that operate on behalf of the payday companies. It was reported in April 2014 that a lawsuit was being filed against Money Mutual which claimed that “[claimed] the company [was] operating as an unlicensed lender by arranging loans that violate a [Illinois] state law that restricts borrower fees.” Money Mutual is itself not a lender, but rather “a lead generator that sells sensitive customer information, like bank-account numbers and email addresses, to payday lenders, and federal and state officials increasingly are cracking down on these businesses.” Middlemen like Money Mutual can be paid $50-$150 per lead, even if the person doesn’t take out a loan. This can quickly add up. In 2012 Bloomberg News found that “lead generators in financial services take in $100 million a year, with the market growing by more than 16 percent annually.”

Yet, this is just with storefront lenders, all new problems arise when one delves into the world of online payday lending. It has beenreported that many online payday lenders “attempt to skirt the rules and charge exorbitant fees, amongst other affronts to regulations that leave many a consumer seeking payday loan legal help” and that the Pew Research Center “found that about 30 percent of Internet payday loan borrowers claim they have received at least one threat from the lender,” whether it be for arrest or that the debtor’s employer would be contacted.

One of the worst problems with online payday lenders is theft; just take the story of Jeannie Morris of Kansas City. She entered personal information on websites that offered to match her up with payday lenders, however the situation took a turn for the worse when, “without asking her approval, two unrelated online lenders based in Kansas City had plopped $300 each into her bank account.

Together, they began withdrawing $360 a month in interest payments” and after her account was wiped clean, Jeannie was hounded by collection companies. Jeannie is not alone as “many consumers reported that loans they’d never authorized had been dropped into their bank accounts. Then those accounts often evaporated as the lenders snatched out money for interest payments while never applying any of the money to the loan principal.” So now online payday lenders can just lend people money without asking them and then clean out people’s bank accounts, effectively stealing from families.

The situation may seem hopeless, but there are alternatives to payday loans. One way is with credit union loans where members are allowed to borrow up to $500 each month and each loan is “connected to a SALO cash account, which automatically deducts 5 percent of the loan and places it in a savings account to create a ‘rainy day fund’ for the borrower.” Small consumer loans are another option. They are a lot less expensive than payday loans, for example, “a person can borrow $1,000 from a finance company for a year and pay less than a $200-$300 payday loan over the same period. If possible, someone could also get a cash advance on their credit card. In the long term, credit counseling can help a person to create a debt repayment plan and find a way to balance a budget.

Payday lenders are a major problem and prey on the desperate in order to make money. We need to organize and fight for the economic freedom of everyone. Consumer watchdog groups and payday borrowers and victims of payday theft need to come together to end this practice that creates a cycle of debt. To quote the rallying cry of IWW songwriter Joe Hill: “Don’t mourn, organize!”

Originally posted on Occupy.com

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

Maybe vampire fables are just metaphors for bad ideas that are hard to kill.

The proposed Deep Geological Repository for radioactive waste being considered by Canada’s Joint Review Panel is such a bad idea that even pro-nuclear Republican US senators like Illinois’ Mark Kirk are against it. Still, it’s not dead yet.

The Southgate Michigan News-Herald reported last Sept. that

“some of the waste is highly radioactive and much of it will remain toxic for more than 100,000 years. The proposed site is less than a mile inland from the shore of Lake Huron and about 440 yards below the lake level. It is approximately 120 miles upstream from the main drinking water intakes for southeastern Michigan.”

The language is from a Michigan state senate resolution against the dump which passed last year. Now the US Senate has taken up the fight in a similar bill introduced by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and co-sponsored by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Kirk, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

Dozens of cities along the Great Lakes, Duluth included, have formally opposed the craziness of burying leaky tins of radiation in a watershed that serves H2O to 40 million people. Dave Herndon, writing for the News-Herald reported this zinger. The Canadian government itself expressed identical complaints about radioactive waste in the 1980s. Back then, when the Energy Department surveyed sites for a waste dump in the US, Canada explicitly protested. Canada’s resolution urges US officials to prevent such a dump from being built within the Great Lakes Basin.

Ontario’s Joint Review Panel will make a recommendation to the federal government after studying the pros and cons. It has held two sets of formal hearings, and plenty of highly critical testimony is in the record. Not the least is that of former Ontario Power Generation scientist Frank Greening. OPG is the radioactive waste producer promoting the dump, and Greening worked for the company for 22 years.

Waster Generator’s “Cavalier attitude” Toward Radiation

A PhD in chemistry, Greening testified this past September that OPG has adopted a “cavalier attitude” toward the long-lived hazards of radioactive wastes.

(I said likewise in 2013 when I testified that one particularly whimsical flyer from OPG said, “…even if the entire waste volume were to be dissolved into Lake Huron, the corresponding drinking water dose would be a factor of 100 below the regulatory criteria initially, and decreasing with time.” This quip refers to 200,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste in over 50,000 containers.)

As evidence of his attack on OPG’s proposal, Dr. Greening noted that the company estimated what radioactive materials, and in what proportions, would be in the waste — instead of taking samples. “Estimating is cheaper,” Greening told the panel on Sept. 10. “OPG has chosen to skimp on the costs of properly characterizing these piles of radioactive waste, perhaps because the analysis of just one sample costs over a thousand dollars,” Greening said.

After Greening pointed out OPG’s gross mistakes, OPG said that errors resulted from its use of “available data” in 2010.

“This is simply not true,” Greening charged. “OPG did not use available data, but used fabricated data instead.”

Last April, Greening reported that materials to be placed in dump are hundreds of times more radioactive than the company reported to the panel.

Greening’s report devastated the company’s (OPG’s) shoddy analysis. “You got these numbers wrong up front for when you put these materials in the ground,” he said. “Perhaps your numbers can’t be trusted on what happens if any of this is released back aboveground. Why would I trust your numbers now?” With one type of radioactive material, cesium-137, OPG’s numbers “are 1,000 times lower” than the actual radioactivity level, Greening said.

Of course if the vampire has friends in high places, even well placed wooden stakes, holy water and crucifixes will miss their mark. Replying to Greening’s crucial testimony, JRP Chair Stella Swanson warned that some of the material he presented was “new to the panel,” and as such contrary to its rules. Information was supposed to be given to the JRP in advance of the formal hearing.

Swanson said the panel will rule later on whether all Greening’s information would be accepted.

Louder and more robust objections to OPG’s Lake Huron dump need to be organized if Canadian authorities are to do the right thing. Michigan’s Senator Stabenow made a start when she told the press, “Canada’s proposed nuclear waste dump … puts our Great Lakes at risk of radioactive contamination that could have devastating consequences for future generations. I have expressed my strong objections to the Canadian government directly, and (this) resolution puts additional pressure on the Canadians to stop this plan.”

John LaForge works for Nukewatch and lives on the Plowshares Land Trust near Luck, Wisc.

The new Axis of Evil – The Anglo-Saxons threesome, US, UK, Australia, plus Japan – have accused Vladimir Putin of aggressions in Ukraine, threatening with new sanctions – the usual déjà vu jumbo-tango, no substance whatsoever. But the media repeat it at nauseatum – much of the world believes it. Much of the world isn’t even interested in knowing the truth. It’s a lie lodged deep under the skin of the comfort zone of the average western European and US citizen.

Mr. Putin is marginalized at the G20 summit in Brisbane Australia. Washington’s European vassals are afraid to even get close to the Russian President – it could be ill-seen by Master Obama. Madame Merkel had a brief private conversation with Mr. Putin – the supplier of 30% of Germany’s energy. Then, she went on castigating him in public for interfering in Ukraine’s democracy. What planet is she from? The others dare aping her critique – after all she represents the strongest nation in Europe – the strongest spineless puppet.

The Kremlin is again blamed for having shot down Malaysian flight MH17 over Ukraine – by world leaders who know very well that they are lying. They cannot have ignored the appalling conclusion of the analysis by the German pilot and airline expert, Peter Haisenko, that MH17 could not have been brought down by a surface-to-air missile, but rather by gunfire of an Ukraine military aircraft, type SU-25, as indicated by shrapnel holes in the cockpit (Global Research July 30, 2014). A plane fitting the description of an SU-25 was spotted near the MH17 by Russian and Kiev airport controllers. Several eyewitnesses on the ground in the conflict zone saw at least one fighter plane approaching the Malaysian airliner, as reported by BBC (though the report was later withdrawn – in an act of BBC self-censuring).

Peter Haisenko’s findings were subsequently also confirmed by OSCE analysts. Sadly, the black box that could have further enhanced the analysis is in the hands of the neoliberal Dutch government which in connivance with the White House and to the humiliation of the families of the almost 300 gruesomely murdered passengers of MH17 will not divulge the truth.

What is this all about? Child’s play? – The G20, an informal group of self-styled and self-loving arrogant ‘world leaders’ of the so-called 20 Great Economies, meet regularly to pretend deciding the future of the globe. A group dominated by Washington and its neoliberal mostly Anglos-Saxon and European vassals. What they talk about, promise to the world or threaten the world with, has absolutely no legal binding. As long as other nations go along – these decisions and intimidations gain strength. Those who are not playing along are subject to regime change.

Those ‘too big to obey’ – not succumbing to the rules of the Anglo-Saxon game plan – will be shunned, like Mr. Putin and to a lesser extent China’s President Xi Jinping – shunned by Washington – and, of course, by its lackeys. China enjoys still some clout that Russia is missing thanks to her sheer population and economic strength. China has bypassed the US in terms of GDP earlier this year, as the world’s number one economy. Nevertheless, under his self-declared ‘pivot to Asia’, Obama is not missing an opportunity to harass and humiliate China, from the new military base in Darwin, Australia, to the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) treaty, a Free Trade Agreement, under which Obama wants to exclude China, to a huge US navy presence in the South China Sea which will supposedly increase from the current 50% to 65% of the total US navy fleet by 2015.

The G20 are playing dangerous games. Fortunately, Mr. Putin is a great diplomat. He doesn’t fall into the trap.

Imagine – at the next G20 summit the unaligned among them, at least a handful of nations, simply don’t show up. They would go into opposition, so to speak; declaring a silent absenteeism – representing the wordless peoples of the world. What a powerful message that would send around the globe!

Vladimir Putin eventually left the G20 summit before it ended – a 17 hour trip home, “I have to work on Monday – no worries, my Finance Minister will attend the final dinner” – and off he went. He was coming home as a hero, applauded for showing the G20 his brave statesmanship, as compared to the spineless lot of EU minions.

Now imagine a possible alternative. Mr. Putin, instead of walking out straight, takes center stage, responding to these senseless lies and accusations about Ukraine by publicly divulging the facts.

“Ladies and Gentlemen – our common interest should be the truth – disseminating the truth as best we know it, and we have the best intelligence to provide us with the facts. Instead, western media are full with self-serving lies and propaganda. The latest target is Russia. There is the downing of the Malaysian MH17 plane, the so called annexation of Crimea – and foremost Ukraine. On the MH17, there is plenty of evidence, even acknowledged by OSCE that the plane has not been shot down by Russia, nor by Russia-sympathizers in Novorossiya; that the plane was not hit by a surface-to-air missile, but was most-likely sprayed by gunfire from a Kiev air force plane of the type SU-25, therefore clearly pointing to the Poroshenko Government. As far as Crimea is concerned – just read up on Russian history. This peninsula was part of Russia for at least the last 350 years. Crimea’s population, about 90% of Russian origin, has overwhelmingly voted to rejoin the Russian Federation. The Kremlin has merely accepted their vote.”

Vladimir Putin went on to talk about Ukraine, a country that also had hundreds of years of Russian history. It is so rich in natural resources and agriculture that throughout the Soviet Union it was considered the breadbasket of Russia. Most Ukrainians have still close ties to Russia. –

“You can imagine, ladies and gentlemen, Ukraine has closer links to Russia than have Mexico and Canada to the United States. So, how would it feel, Mr. Obama, if Russia were to initiate anti-Washington propaganda and unrest in these two nations? – Nevertheless, you know this very well, Mr. Obama, your Government with the help of the EU and NATO has orchestrated the coup of a democratically elected president of Ukraine on 22 February this year.”

The Russian leader reminded the audience of Madame Nuland’s overheard telephone conversation with the US Ambassador in Kiev, boasting of the more than 5 billion dollars invested in Ukrainian Regime change, even talking about the new heads of government they were going to put in place. A statement she later repeated to the Washington Press Club.

“The reasons for taking over Ukraine” – Mr. Putin continued – “as we know, are many – the country’s richness in natural resources, agricultural potential, US oil giants eager to frack for gas – and foremost, bringing yet a new NATO base at Moscow’s doorstep. – You, Mr. Obama, are the first one to understand Russia’s discontent, since you would not like to see Russia setting up military bases in Mexico, or anywhere in the Caribbean. – Why do you claim exceptionalism for the United States of America?”

“Yet, Russia has not stopped your Kiev adventure, Mr. President, other than providing the savagely besieged Donbass population with humanitarian aid, while your intelligence and NATO forces are supporting the Kiev army with weapons and strategic advice. – Do you know, Mr. Obama that Mr. Poroshenko’s troops, whose predecessors fought for Hitler, today strengthened by NATO, are viciously torturing and killing the pro-Russian east-Ukrainian population? That since the beginning of the conflict way more than 4,000 people, including women and children have been killed and more than 1.2 million people have fled to Russia? – Wouldn’t a Russian military intervention be a natural reaction to stop this western supported bloody civil war? – Of course, it would. And you Mr. Obama – all of you in this room know it, but are unwilling to admit it. – Well, I make it easier for you, by giving you once more the facts.”

With a pause of silence, Mr. Putin let his last words sink in.

“And one more thing the G20, Masters of the Universe, should know – Ukraine is just a peon on a square of a much larger chess game – a war game that has become unavoidable for the United States as wars are highly profitable – and – today the US economy depends on them – a war game that strives for Full Spectrum Dominance, as your generals, Mr. Obama, like to call it. They will not shy from killing millions to reach their goal, Washington’s goal – a One World Order, controlling the world’s resources, the world’s nations, their people – and their economies. We the G20 minus one, plus the voiceless billions, have the power to stop this hegemonic bloodletting. But we must be bold and dare to stand up for our collective rights.”

“Thank you for listening.”

With these last words, Mr. Putin left the audience in awe. He rushed out to the airport to fly home – where he has work to do.

The media representatives were in a state of shock, scurrying from left to right – speechless and hapless. They didn’t know what to do. Are we allowed to tell the world the truth? Can the powers controlling us castigate and even reject us? – Didn’t this public statement of a G20 world leader free us from the shackles of western power?

This fictitious scenario could really have happened. Why didn’t it? – And how might it have changed the world order?

Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, the Voice of Russia, now Ria Novosti, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.

None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles.

“The Obama administration,” the story continued, “has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. ‘These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway’, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department’s daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government’s ‘unwillingness to tell the truth’ that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.”

Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. “Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government.” The Times apparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.

“The Russian aim, one Western official said, may possibly be to seize an outlet to the sea in the event that Russia tries to establish a separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine.”

This of course hasn’t taken place. So what happened to all these Russian soldiers 30 miles inside Ukraine? What happened to all the armored vehicles, weapons, and equipment?

“The United States has photographs that show the Russian artillery moved into Ukraine, American officials say. One photo dated last Thursday, shown to a New York Times reporter, shows Russian military units moving self-propelled artillery into Ukraine. Another photo, dated Saturday, shows the artillery in firing positions in Ukraine.”

Where are these photographs? And how will we know that these are Russian soldiers? And how will we know that the photos were taken in Ukraine? But most importantly, where are the f***ing photographs?

Why am I so cynical? Because the Ukrainian and US governments have been feeding us these scare stories for eight months now, without clear visual or other evidence, often without even common sense. Here are a few of the many other examples, before and after the one above:

  • The Wall Street Journal (March 28) reported: “Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another [sic] major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, US officials said.”
  • “The Ukrainian government charged that the Russian military was not only approaching but had actually crossed the border into rebel-held regions.” (Washington Post, November 7)
  • “U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove told reporters in Bulgaria that NATO had observed Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops enter Ukraine across a completely wide-open border with Russia in the previous two days.” (Washington Post, November 13)
  • “Ukraine accuses Russia of sending more soldiers and weapons to help rebels prepare for a new offensive. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied aiding the separatists.” (Reuters, November 16)

Since the February US-backed coup in Ukraine, the State Department has made one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s very unclear and wholly inconclusive, such as unmarked vehicles, or unsourced reports, or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. The Ukrainian government has matched them.

On top of all this we should keep in mind that if Moscow decided to invade Ukraine they’d certainly provide air cover for their ground forces. There has been no mention of air cover.

This is all reminiscent of the numerous stories in the past three years of “Syrian planes bombing defenseless citizens”. Have you ever seen a photo or video of a Syrian government plane dropping bombs? Or of the bombs exploding? When the source of the story is mentioned, it’s almost invariably the rebels who are fighting against the Syrian government. Then there’s the “chemical weapon” attacks by the same evil Assad government. When a photo or video has accompanied the story I’ve never once seen grieving loved ones or media present; not one person can be seen wearing a gas mask. Is it only children killed or suffering? No rebels?

And then there’s the July 17 shootdown of Malaysia Flight MH17, over eastern Ukraine, taking 298 lives, which Washington would love to pin on Russia or the pro-Russian rebels. The US government – and therefore the US media, the EU, and NATO – want us all to believe it was the rebels and/or Russia behind it. The world is still waiting for any evidence. Or even a motivation. Anything at all. President Obama is not waiting. In a talk on November 15 in Australia, he spoke of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17”. Based on my reading, I’d guess that it was the Ukranian government behind the shootdown, mistaking it for Putin’s plane that reportedly was in the area.

Can it be said with certainty that all the above accusations were lies? No, but the burden of proof is on the accusers, and the world is still waiting. The accusers would like to create the impression that there are two sides to each question without actually having to supply one of them.

The United States punishing Cuba

For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):

Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.This year Washington’s policy may be subject to even more criticism than usual due to the widespread recognition of Cuba’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Speaking before the General Assembly before last year’s vote, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.

However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:

The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens.

So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest in 2011-12  ; that many of them were physically abused by the police; and that their encampments were violently destroyed.

Does Mr. Godard have access to any news media? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person.

As to “independent journalism” – What would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?

The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba has not changed since the revolution in 1959 – The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as many Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.

How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted its suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.

The United States judging and punishing the rest of the world

In addition to Cuba, Washington currently is imposing economic and other sanctions against Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, China, North Korea, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, South Sudan, Sudan, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, India, and Zimbabwe. These are sanctions mainly against governments, but also against some private enterprises; there are also many other sanctions against individuals not included here.

Imbued with a sense of America’s moral superiority and “exceptionalism”, each year the State Department judges the world, issuing reports evaluating the behavior of all other nations, often accompanied by sanctions of one kind or another. There are different reports rating how each lesser nation has performed in the previous year in areas such as religious freedom, human rights, the war on drugs, trafficking in persons, and sponsors of terrorism. The criteria used in these reports are often political. Cuba, for example, is always listed as a sponsor of terrorism whereas anti-Castro exile groups in Florida, which have committed literally hundreds of terrorist acts over the years, are not listed as terrorist groups or supporters of such.

Cuba, which has been on the sponsor-of-terrorism list longer (since 1982) than any other country, is one of the most glaring anomalies. The most recent State Department report on this matter, in 2012, states that there is “no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.”  There are, however, some retirees of Spain’s Basque terrorist group ETA (which appears on the verge of disbanding) in Cuba, but the report notes that the Cuban government evidently is trying to distance itself from them by denying them services such as travel documents. Some members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been allowed into Cuba, but that was because Cuba was hosting peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government, which the report notes.

The US sanctions mechanism is so effective and formidable that it strikes fear (of huge fines) into the hearts of banks and other private-sector organizations that might otherwise consider dealing with a listed state.

Some selected thoughts on American elections and democracy

In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

  • 2012 presidential election:
    223,389,800 eligible to vote
    128,449,140 actually voted
    Obama got 65,443,674 votes
    Obama was thus supported by 29.3% of eligible voters
  • There are 100 million adults in the United States who do not vote. This is a very large base from which an independent party can draw millions of new votes.
  • If God had wanted more of us to vote in elections, he would give us better candidates.
  • “The people can have anything they want. The trouble is, they do not want anything. At least they vote that way on election day.” – Eugene Debs, American socialist leader (1855-1926)
  • “If persons over 60 are the only American age group voting at rates that begin to approximate European voting, it’s because they’re the only Americans who live in a welfare state – Medicare, Social Security, and earlier, GI loans, FHA loans.” – John Powers
  • “The American political system is essentially a contract between the Republican and Democratic parties, enforced by federal and state two-party laws, all designed to guarantee the survival of both no matter how many people despise or ignore them.” – Richard Reeves (1936- )
  • The American electoral system, once the object of much national and international pride, has slid inexorably from “one person, one vote”, to “one dollar, one vote”.
  • Noam Chomsky: “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars. Their professional concern in their regular vocation is not to provide information. Their goal, rather, is deceit.”
  • If the Electoral College is such a good system, why don’t we have it for local and state elections?
  • “All the props of a democracy remain intact – elections, legislatures, media – but they predominantly function at the service of the oligarchy.” – Richard Wolff
  • The RepDem Party holds elections as if they were auctions; indeed, an outright auction for the presidency would be more efficient. To make the auction more interesting we need a second party, which must at a minimum be granted two privileges: getting on the ballot in all 50 states and taking part in television debates.
  • The US does in fact have two parties: the Ins and the Outs … the evil of two lessers.
  • Alexander Cockburn: “There was a time once when ‘lesser of two evils’ actually meant something momentous, like the choice between starving to death on a lifeboat, or eating the first mate.”
  • Cornel West has suggested that it’s become difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic society, without great concentrations of corporate power, would look like, or how it would operate.
  • The United States now resembles a police state punctuated by elections.
  • How many voters does it take to change a light bulb? None. Because voters can’t change anything.
  • H.L. Mencken (1880-1956): “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
  • “All elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections.” – Joel Hirschhorn
  • In 1941, one of the country’s more acerbic editors, a priest named Edward Dowling, commented: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”
  • “Elections are a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for democracy. Political participation is not just a casting of votes. It is a way of life.” – UN Human Development Report, 1993
  • “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” I reply, “You have it backwards. If you DO vote, you can’t complain. You asked for it, and they’re going to give it to you, good and hard.”
  • “How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It’s the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It’s been 200 years at it. It’s superb.” – Gore Vidal
  • We can’t use our democracy/our vote to change the way the economy functions. This is very anti-democratic.
  • What does a majority vote mean other than that the sales campaign was successful?
  • Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”
  • We do have representative government. The question is: Who does our government represent?
  • “On the day after the 2002 election I watched a crawl on the bottom of the CNN news screen. It said, ‘Proprietary software may make inspection of electronic voting systems impossible.’ It was the final and absolute coronation of corporate rights over democracy; of money over truth.” – Mike Ruppert, RIP
  • “It’s not that voting is useless or stupid; rather, it’s the exaggeration of the power of voting that has drained the meaning from American politics.” – Michael Ventura
  • After going through the recent national, state and local elections, I am now convinced that taxation without representation would have been a much better system.
  • “Ever since the Constitution was illegally foisted on the American people we have lived in a blatant plutocracy. The Constitution was drafted in secret by a self-appointed elite committee, and it was designed to bring three kinds of power under control: Royalty, the Church, and the People. All were to be subjugated to the interests of a wealthy elite. That’s what republics were all about. And that’s how they have functioned ever since.” – Richard K. Moore
  • “As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter.” – Michael Parenti
  • “The fact that a supposedly sophisticated electorate had been stampeded by the cynical propaganda of the day threw serious doubt on the validity of the assumptions underlying parliamentary democracy as a whole.” – British Superspy for the Soviets Kim Philby (1912-1988), explaining his reasons for becoming a Communist instead of turning to the Labour Party
  • US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941): “We may have democracy in this country, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
  • “We don’t need to run America like a business or like the military. We need to run America like a democracy.” – Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate 2012

Notes

  1. Democracy Now!, October 30, 2013
  2. Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012
  3. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba(1991), p.885 (online here)
  4. For the complete detailed list, see U.S. Department of State, Nonproliferation Sanctions
  5. U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism,” May 20, 2013

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

While 49 state treasuries were submerged in red ink after the 2008 financial crash, one state’s bank outperformed all others and actually launched an economy-shifting new industry.  So reports the Wall Street Journal this week, discussing the Bank of North Dakota (BND) and its striking success in the midst of a national financial collapse led by the major banks. Chester Dawson begins his November 16th article:

It is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003. Meet Bank of North Dakota, the U.S.’s lone state-owned bank, which has one branch, no automated teller machines and not a single investment banker.

He backs this up with comparative data on the BND’s performance:

[I]ts total assets have more than doubled, to $6.9 billion last year from $2.8 billion in 2007. By contrast, assets of the much bigger Bank of America Corp. have grown much more slowly, to $2.1 trillion from $1.7 trillion in that period.

. . . Return on equity, a measure of profitability, is 18.56%, about 70% higher than those at Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. . . .

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services last month reaffirmed its double-A-minus rating of the bank, whose deposits are guaranteed by the state of North Dakota. That is above the rating for both Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan and among U.S. financial institutions, second only to the Federal Home Loan Banks, rated double-A-plus.

Dawson goes on, however, to credit the BND’s remarkable performance to the Bakken oil boom. Giving his article the controversial title, “Shale Boom Helps North Dakota Bank Earn Returns Goldman Would Envy: U.S.’s Lone State-Owned Bank Is Beneficiary of Fracking,” he contends:

The reason for its success? As the sole repository of the state of North Dakota’s revenue, the bank has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the boom in Bakken shale-oil production from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In fact, the bank played a crucial part in kick-starting the oil frenzy in the state in 2008 amid the financial crisis.

That is how the Wall Street-owned media routinely write off the exceptional record of this lone publicly-owned bank, crediting it to the success of the private oil industry. It would be more accurate to say that the bank made the boom.

Excess Deposits Do Not Explain the BND’s Record Profits

Dawson confirms that the BND played a crucial role in kickstarting the boom and the economy, at a time when other states were languishing in recession. It did this by lending for critical infrastructure (roads, housing, hospitals, hotels) when other states’ banks were curtailing local lending.

But while the state itself may have reaped increased taxes and fees from the oil boom, the BND got no more out of the deal than an increase in deposits, as Dawson also confirms. The BND is the sole repository of state revenues by law.

Having excess deposits can hardly be the reason the BND has outdistanced even JPMorganChase and Bank of America, which also have massive excess deposits and have not turned them into loans. Instead, they have invested their excess reserves in securities.

Interestingly, the BND has also followed this practice. According to Standard & Poor’s October 2014 credit report, it had a loan to deposit ratio in 2009 of 91%. This ratio dropped to 57.5% in 2014. The excess deposits have gone primarily into Treasuries, US government agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities. Thus the bank’s extraordinary profitability cannot be explained by an excess of deposits or an expanded loan portfolio.

Further eroding the official explanation is that the oil boom did not actually hit North Dakota until 2010. Yet it was the sole state to have escaped the credit crisis by the spring of 2009, when every other state’s budget had already dipped into negative territory. Montana, the runner-up, was in the black by the end of 2009; but it dropped into the red in March of that year and had to implement a pay freeze on state employees.

According to Standard & Poor’s, the BND’s return on equity was up to 23.4% in 2009 – substantially higher than in any of the years of the oil boom that began in 2010.

The Real Reasons for Its Stellar Success

To what, then, are the remarkable achievements of this lone public bank attributable?

The answer is something the privately-owned major media have tried to sweep under the rug: the public banking model is simply more profitable and efficient than the private model. Profits, rather than being siphoned into offshore tax havens, are recycled back into the bank, the state and the community.

The BND’s costs are extremely low: no exorbitantly-paid executives; no bonuses, fees, or commissions; only one branch office; very low borrowing costs; and no FDIC premiums (the state rather than the FDIC guarantees its deposits).

These are all features that set publicly-owned banks apart from privately-owned banks. Beyond that, they are safer for depositors, allow public infrastructure costs to be cut in half, and provide a non-criminal alternative to a Wall Street cartel caught in a laundry list of frauds.

Dawson describes some other unique aspects of the BND’s public banking model:

It traditionally extends credit, or invests directly, in areas other lenders shun, such as rural housing loans.

. . . [R]etail banking accounts for just 2%-3% of its business. The bank’s focus is providing loans to students and extending credit to companies in North Dakota, often in partnership with smaller community banks.

Bank of North Dakota also acts as a clearinghouse for interbank transactions in the state by settling checks and distributing coins and currency. . .

The bank’s mission is promoting economic development, not competing with private banks. “We’re a state agency and profit maximization isn’t what drives us,” President Eric Hardmeyer said.

. . . It recently started offering mortgages to individuals in the most underserved corners of the state. But Mr. Hardmeyer dismisses any notion the bank could run into trouble with deadbeat borrowers. “We know our customers,” he said. “You’ve got to understand the conservative nature of this state. Nobody here is really interested in making subprime loans.”

The Downsides of a Boom

The bank’s mission to promote economic development could help explain why its return on equity has actually fallen since the oil boom hit in 2010. The mass invasion by private oil interests has put a severe strain on the state’s infrastructure, forcing it to muster its resources defensively to keep up; and the BND is in the thick of that battle.

In an August 2011 article titled “North Dakota’s Oil Boom is a Blessing and a Curse”, Ryan Holeywell writes that virtually all major infrastructure in the boom cities and counties is strained or exhausted. To shore up its infrastructure needs, the state has committed hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Meanwhile, it is trying to promote industries other than oil and gas, such as companies involved with unmanned aircraft, manufacturing associated with wind energy equipment, and data centers; but the remoteness of the western part of the state, along with the high cost of labor, makes doing business there complicated and expensive.

Hydrofracking, which has been widely attacked as an environmental hazard, is not as bad in North Dakota as in other states, since the process takes place nearly two miles underground; but it still raises significant environmental concerns. In 2011, the state levied $3 million in fines against 20 oil companies for environmental violations. It also undertook a review of industry regulations and was in the process of doubling its oil field inspectors.

The greatest stresses from the oil industry, however, involve the shortage of housing and the damage to the county road system, which in many places consists of two-lane gravel and dirt roads. Drilling a new well requires more than 2,000 truck trips, and the heavy rigs are destroying the roads. Fixing them has been estimated to require an investment of more than $900 million over the next 20 years.

These are external costs imposed by the oil industry that the government has to pick up. All of it requires financing, and the BND is there to provide the credit lines.

Lighting a Fire under Legislators

What the Bank of North Dakota has done to sustain its state’s oil boom, a publicly-owned bank could do for other promising industries in other states. But Dawson observes that no other state has yet voted to take up the challenge, despite a plethora of bills introduced for the purpose. Legislators are slow to move on innovations, unless a fire is lit under them by a crisis or a mass popular movement.

We would be better off sparking a movement than waiting for a crisis. The compelling data in Dawson’s Wall Street Journal article, properly construed, could add fuel to the flames.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 200+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

As part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), there are plans to enshrine massive powers for corporations that will allow them to challenge regulations both at home and abroad if they affect profits. EU member states could find domestic laws quite useless as they become challenged in secretive, offshore tribunals where national laws have no weight and politicians no powers to intervene [1].

It would enable US companies investing in Europe to bypass European courts and challenge EU governments at international tribunals whenever they find that public health, environmental or social protection laws interfere with their business. EU companies investing abroad would have the same privilege in the US.

This proposed agreement is essentially a charter for the systematic destruction and dismantling of legislation that exists to protect the hard won rights of workers and ordinary people.

The mere threat of a claim or its submission could be enough for legislation to be shelved or diluted. Across the world, tribunals consisting of ad hoc three-member panels hired from a small club of private lawyers riddled with conflicts of interest have already granted billions of Euros to companies, courtesy of taxpayers [2].

Economic plunder by any other name

Through bilateral investment treaties, US tobacco giant Philip Morris sued Uraguay and Australia over their anti-smoking laws. The company argued that warning labels on cigarette packs and plain packaging prevent it from effectively displaying its trademark, causing a substantial loss of market share.

Swedish energy giant Vattenfall launched an investor-state lawsuit against Germany and sought €3.7 billion in compensation for lost profits related to two of its nuclear power plants. The case followed the German government’s decision to phase out nuclear energy after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

When Argentina froze utility rates (energy, water, etc.) and devalued its currency in response to its 2001-2002 financial crisis, it was hit by over 40 lawsuits from companies like CMS Energy (US) and Suez and Vivendi (France). By the end of 2008, awards against the country had totalled US$1.15 billion.

On the basis of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada and Mexico, US company Lone Pine Resources Inc. demanded US$250 million in compensation from Canada. The ‘crime’: The Canadian province of Quebec had put a moratorium on ‘fracking’, addressing concerns about the environmental risks of this new technology to extract oil and gas from rocks.

At the end of 2012, Dutch insurer Achmea (formerly Eureko) was awarded €22 million in compensation from Slovakia. In 2006, the Slovak government had reversed the health privatisation policies of the previous administration and required health insurers to operate on a not-for-profit basis.

Chevron initiated arbitration to avoid paying US$18 billion to clean up oil-drilling-related contamination in the Amazon, as ordered by Ecuadorian courts. The case has been lambasted as egregious misuse of investment arbitration to evade justice.

EU and US companies have used these lawsuits to destroy any competition or threats to their profits by challenging green energy and medicine policies, anti-smoking legislation, bans on harmful chemicals, environmental restrictions on mining, health insurance policies, measures to improve the economic situation of minorities and many more.

New Report on CETA

In late September, Canada and the EU announced the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which includes an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. Again, this gives foreign corporations the ability to directly sue countries at private international tribunals for compensation over health, environmental, financial and other domestic safeguards that they believe undermine their right to make profit.

These investor-state lawsuits are decided by private commercial arbitrators who are paid for each case they hear, with a clear tendency to interpret the law in favour of investors.

A new report ‘Trading Away Democracy’ has just been published by various NGOs, trade union organisaions and campaign groups based in Canada and Europe [3]. The authors state that Canada’s experience with NAFTA has opened the gateway to that country being sued 35 times. Canada has lost or settled six claims and has paid damages to foreign investors totalling over C$171.5 million.

The report notes that ongoing investor claims have challenged a wide range of government measures that allegedly diminish the value of foreign investments, from a moratorium on fracking and a related revocation of drilling permits to a decision by Canadian courts to invalidate pharmaceutical patents, which were not sufficiently innovative or useful. Foreign investors are currently seeking several billions of dollars in damages from the Canadian government.

The authors argue that CETA’s investor protections would grant even greater rights to foreign investors than NAFTA. A clause in the agreement risks creating the ‘right’ to a stable regulatory environment, which would effectively give investors a powerful weapon to fight regulatory changes, even if implemented in light of new knowledge or on the basis public demand. CETA would also give foreign investors more rights to challenge financial regulations than NAFTA by threatening to hamstring regulators charged with protecting consumers and the stability of the financial system in an emergency.

The report says that risks to Canada of being sued by banks, insurers and holding companies will increase significantly with CETA. These risks are evident as speculative investors, backed by investment lawyers, are increasingly using investment arbitration to scavenge for profits by suing governments experiencing financial crises. EU investment stocks in Canada are significant in the financial sector, which would gain far reaching litigation rights under CETA.

Corporations and lawyers are already scavenging profits from Europe’s cash-strapped economies, not least Spain, Greece and Cyprus [2]. Speculative investors have been backed by international law firms that are actively encouraging these investor-state lawsuits. Corporate investors have claimed in arbitration disputes more than 700 million euros from Spain, more than one billion euros from Cyprus and undisclosed amounts from Greece. This bill, plus the exorbitant lawyers’ fees for processing the cases, will be paid for out of the public purse at a time when austerity measures have led to severe cuts in social spending and increasing deprivation.

If Canada is vulnerable to European speculative investors in the financial sector, CETA would increase the risk to the EU and its member states of challenges by Canadian investors in the mining and oil and gas extraction sectors. The new report notes that Canadian investment stocks in the EU are significant in these sectors, and Canadian mining companies are already engaged in a number of controversial natural resource projects across the EU. Little surprise then that mining specialists are celebrating CETA as a ‘landmark agreement’.

CETA could also open the floodgates for Canadian subsidiaries of US-headquartered multinationals to sue European governments, regardless of the outcome of the TTIP. US corporations dominate the Canadian economy.

The report argues that EU, Canadian and US companies are already among the most frequent users of investment arbitration, so there is every reason to expect that they will use CETA to rein in government measures in Canada and Europe. Some 53 percent (or 299) of all known investor-state disputes globally were brought by investors from the EU. US investors have filed 22 percent (or 127) of all known investor-state cases. Canadian investors are the fifth most frequent users of investment arbitration.

The European Commission and the Canadian government have begun a misleading propaganda effort aimed at downplaying the risks of investment arbitration, the report’s authors conclude. They add that CETA will significantly expand the scope of investment arbitration, exposing the EU, its member states and Canada to unpredictable and unprecedented liability risks.

Take action

Through bilateral ‘free trade’ agreements, powerful corporations seek to devastate public services, workers and consumers’ rights, welfare and economies in the quest for ever-greater profit and control. Before long, countries across the globe could see the opening of the floodgates for GMOs and shale gas, the threatening of digital and labour rights and the empowering of corporations to legally challenge a wide range of necessary and decent regulations which they dislike and label as ‘barriers to trade’. That such deals are being pushed through is a damning indictment of the cosy nature of relationships between corporate officials/lobbyists and compliant bureaucrats/government officials [4].

Despite sections of the mainstream corporate media and politicians like British PM David Cameron glibly presenting the deals like the TTIP as well thought out recipes for free trade, job creation and economic growth, such claims do not stack up. Jobs will be lost and the mantra of ‘growth’ is bogus [5]. These deals are mandates for corporate plunder drawn up by those who are to carry out the plunder. They represent a pro-privatisation agenda that enshrines the privileges of the world’s most powerful corporations at the expense of ordinary people.

Ordinary people want powerful corporations to be held to account. They want business practices to be adequately regulated. However, the EU is a captive but willing servant of a corporate agenda [6].

In the UK, if you want to see the NHS totally privatised [7], do nothing.

In Europe as a whole, if you want your food poisoned even further with like likes of chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef, GMOs and lower thresholds for pesticides, do nothing.

If you want Monsanto or Syngenta determining policies in secretive meetings in Brussels, do nothing . If you want Unilever, Kraft or Nestle determining what is allowed in your food, do nothing [8].

If you want governments to be made even more spineless and compelled to further bend to the threats, demands and power of corporations and unscrupulous speculators, do nothing.

The TTIP and other similar ‘free trade’ agreements are part of a broader geopolitical game plan. They are concerned with cementing US global dominance. More specifically, the TTIP is part of the broader US agenda aimed at subjugating Europe and driving a wedge between it and Russia.

History shows that ordinary people had to struggle for change and improvements to their lives. Any benefits gained were never been handed out freely by the rich and powerful. The historian AL Morton showed that when conscious of their collective interests and source(s) of oppression, ordinary folk acting together can and do make a difference [9].

Be informed and take action:

http://corporateeurope.org/

http://www.foeeurope.org/

http://www.s2bnetwork.org/

https://www.lobbycontrol.de/schwerpunkt/ttip/

http://www.alter-eu.org/

http://www.tradejustice.ca/take-action/

https://stop-ttip.org/

Notes

Shifting Blame: The Grand FIFA Cover-Up

November 20th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

 “It [the Garcia report] must be made public.  That is the only way FIFA can deal with the complete loss of credibility.” - Reinhard Rauball, President of the German Football League, Nov 16, 2014

It seemed cheeky of them, but it could not have been any other way.  Football’s governing body, FIFA, is a creature that is beyond reform.  Solidly entrenched, heavily overgrown, and incapable of brooking an approach that might refresh its functions for the broader goals of football, it resists change with fundamentalist commitment.  Every effort that has been made thus far has fallen.

The suspected improprieties associated with the award of the hosting rights for the 2018 games to Russia, and the 2022 games to Qatar were dismissed by FIFA.  There was simply no need to revisit the bidding process, given that any irregularities were “minor” to warrant a dramatic reopening.  FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert had given the organization, and the countries accused of corruption, a stunningly good bill of health.  Instead, Eckert advised President Sepp Blatter to go on the offensive, citing “his duty” to lodge a complaint in the Swiss courts.  (Blatter’s record on suing, as opposed to his threats to sue, are poor.)

Eckert did find irregularities, not with the Qatar and Russian bids, but with the English bid for 2018 and the Australian bid for 2022. While England did cooperate with Michael Garcia’s ethics investigation, the team was ticked off for trying to woo Concacaf president Jack Warner with a sumptuous £35,000 dinner, and offering help with finding part time work for someone on his behalf (The Guardian, Nov 14).

In an act of fabulous casuistry, the judge did not see any connections with the bid and Qatar’s funding for global football development, sponsorship of the African Football Congress in Angola in 2010, and questionable payments to Argentina when playing Brazil in a friendly in Doha in 2010.  Former Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam did make “several improper payments” to the higher-ups of African football, and forked out $1.2m to stop former FIFA executive member Jack Warner from taking the stand against him.  But again, no evident connection existed between the payments and the actual bidding process.

In what must be the black comedy that inheres in that particularly body, Blatter claims ignorance of the contents of the original Garcia report, authored by FIFA’s much sidelined ethics committee. Garcia himself has been outmanoeuvred, suggesting that his findings have been misrepresented.  Eckert’s 42-page summing up of the unreleased 430-page report was evidently less summing than distorting measures of substraction.  A cleaning job became a covering one.

It also seems that an aggressive posture is being taken against whistleblowers, evidenced by the dismissive remarks in Eckert’s summary over such individuals as Bonita Mersiades, head of communications for Australia’s 2022 bid.  The summary by Eckert, according to Mersiades, says that FIFA “got their decisions right in respect to Qatar and Russia, and there’s even a sentence and a reference in there that Sepp Blatter ran a wonderful process.  It’s almost like high comedy” (The Guardian, Nov 16).

The low comedy side of it came with the fears expressed by the other whistleblower, Phaedra Al-Majid, who claims she will “look over my shoulder for the rest of my life” in connection with allegations of corruption over Qatar’s bid.  Under pressure from Qatari officials, she retracted allegations in 2011 that votes were being bought.  She raised the issue again with Garcia, and also with the FBI, who visited her in September 2011.[1]

Blatter is also doing his best to use the law as a pretext for preventing any action on the issue of the bids.  He intends to bury the Garcia findings in the archive of recommendations that will never see the light of day.  “If FIFA were to publish the report, we would be violating our own association law as well as state law.”[2]  Consent would need to be sought from all individuals detailed in the findings.  Being decent about the law is a good thing when improprieties are being concealed.

What then, in response?  If FIFA can’t be reformed, it can be weakened by members who wish to leave. The President of the German Football League, Dr. Reinhard Rauball, is certainly of that view, claiming that UEFA’s 54 member nations may well take the step of leaving the governing body if the Garcia report is not published in full.  The rift that had taken place between Garcia and Eckert “was a breakdown of communication, and it has shaken the foundations of FIFA in a way I’ve never experienced before.”[3]

Rauball’s suggestions: publish the ethics committee findings, and Garcia’s bill of indictment “so it becomes clear what the charges were and how they were judged.” Otherwise, “you have to entertain the question of whether you are still in good hands with FIFA.”

Former English Football Association chairman David Bernstein has also put his hat into the ring of opponents, arguing that the FA needs to lobby UEFA for a European boycott of the next World Cup. “FIFA is sort of a totalitarian set-up.”[4]  No reform would mean no participation.

For all this heated talk, FIFA remains the official governing body, functioning as silencing oppressor and knotty guardian.  Dissent, much like an institutionalised church, is dealt with from within, rather than without.  Even Garcia is playing by the rules of internal resolution, taking Eckert’s purportedly distorted summary before the appeals committee.  Playing it by the book is fine, as long as the book is not itself rotten.

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

Notes

 

“Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.” (NYT)

None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles.

“The Obama administration,” the story continued, “has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. ‘These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway’, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department’s daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government’s ‘unwillingness to tell the truth’ that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.”

Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. “Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government.” The Times apparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.

“The Russian aim, one Western official said, may possibly be to seize an outlet to the sea in the event that Russia tries to establish a separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine.”

This of course hasn’t taken place. So what happened to all these Russian soldiers 30 miles inside Ukraine? What happened to all the armored vehicles, weapons, and equipment?

“The United States has photographs that show the Russian artillery moved into Ukraine, American officials say. One photo dated last Thursday, shown to a New York Times reporter, shows Russian military units moving self-propelled artillery into Ukraine. Another photo, dated Saturday, shows the artillery in firing positions in Ukraine.”

Where are these photographs? And how will we know that these are Russian soldiers? And how will we know that the photos were taken in Ukraine? But most importantly, where are the fucking photographs?

Why am I so cynical? Because the Ukrainian and US governments have been feeding us these scare stories for eight months now, without clear visual or other evidence, often without even common sense. Here are a few of the many other examples, before and after the one above:

  • The Wall Street Journal (March 28) reported: “Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another [sic] major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, US officials said.”
  • “The Ukrainian government charged that the Russian military was not only approaching but had actually crossed the border into rebel-held regions.” (Washington Post, November 7)
  • “U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove told reporters in Bulgaria that NATO had observed Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops enter Ukraine across a completely wide-open border with Russia in the previous two days.” (Washington Post, November 13)
  • “Ukraine accuses Russia of sending more soldiers and weapons to help rebels prepare for a new offensive. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied aiding the separatists.” (Reuters, November 16)

Since the February US-backed coup in Ukraine, the State Department has made one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s very unclear and wholly inconclusive, such as unmarked vehicles, or unsourced reports, or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. The Ukrainian government has matched them.

On top of all this we should keep in mind that if Moscow decided to invade Ukraine they’d certainly provide air cover for their ground forces. There has been no mention of air cover.

This is all reminiscent of the numerous stories in the past three years of “Syrian planes bombing defenseless citizens”. Have you ever seen a photo or video of a Syrian government plane dropping bombs? Or of the bombs exploding? When the source of the story is mentioned, it’s almost invariably the rebels who are fighting against the Syrian government. Then there’s the “chemical weapon” attacks by the same evil Assad government. When a photo or video has accompanied the story I’ve never once seen grieving loved ones or media present; not one person can be seen wearing a gas mask. Is it only children killed or suffering? No rebels?

And then there’s the July 17 shootdown of Malaysia Flight MH17, over eastern Ukraine, taking 298 lives, which Washington would love to pin on Russia or the pro-Russian rebels. The US government – and therefore the US media, the EU, and NATO – want us all to believe it was the rebels and/or Russia behind it. The world is still waiting for any evidence. Or even a motivation. Anything at all. President Obama is not waiting. In a talk on November 15 in Australia, he spoke of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17”. Based on my reading, I’d guess that it was the Ukranian government behind the shootdown, mistaking it for Putin’s plane that reportedly was in the area.

Can it be said with certainty that all the above accusations were lies? No, but the burden of proof is on the accusers, and the world is still waiting. The accusers would like to create the impression that there are two sides to each question without actually having to supply one of them.

The United States punishing Cuba

For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We haven’t heard that for a very long time. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):

Year Votes (Yes-No) No Votes
1992 59-2 US, Israel
1993 88-4 US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay
1994 101-2 US, Israel
1995 117-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1996 138-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1997 143-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1998 157-2 US, Israel
1999 155-2 US, Israel
2000 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2001 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2002 173-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2003 179-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2004 179-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2005 182-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2006 183-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2007 184-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2008 185-3 US, Israel, Palau
2009 187-3 US, Israel, Palau
2010 187-2 US, Israel
2011 186-2 US, Israel
2012 188-3 US, Israel, Palau
2013 188-2 US, Israel
2014 188-2 US, Israel

-

This year Washington’s policy may be subject to even more criticism than usual due to the widespread recognition of Cuba’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.

Speaking before the General Assembly before last year’s vote, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared: “The economic damages accumulated after half a century as a result of the implementation of the blockade amount to $1.126 trillion.” He added that the blockade “has been further tightened under President Obama’s administration”, some 30 US and foreign entities being hit with $2.446 billion in fines due to their interaction with Cuba.

However, the American envoy, Ronald Godard, in an appeal to other countries to oppose the resolution, said:

The international community … cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disrupts peaceful assembly, impedes independent journalism and, despite positive reforms, continues to prevent some Cubans from leaving or returning to the island. The Cuban government continues its tactics of politically motivated detentions, harassment and police violence against Cuban citizens.

So there you have it. That is why Cuba must be punished. One can only guess what Mr. Godard would respond if told that more than 7,000 people were arrested in the United States during the Occupy Movement’s first 8 months of protest in 2011-12  ; that many of them were physically abused by the police; and that their encampments were violently destroyed.

Does Mr. Godard have access to any news media? Hardly a day passes in America without a police officer shooting to death an unarmed person.

As to “independent journalism” – What would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control most of the media worth owning or controlling?

The real reason for Washington’s eternal hostility toward Cuba has not changed since the revolution in 1959 – The fear of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model; a fear that has been validated repeatedly over the years as many Third World countries have expressed their adulation of Cuba.

How the embargo began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted its suffocating embargo against its everlasting enemy.

The United States judging and punishing the rest of the world

In addition to Cuba, Washington currently is imposing economic and other sanctions against Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, China, North Korea, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, South Sudan, Sudan, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, India, and Zimbabwe. These are sanctions mainly against governments, but also against some private enterprises; there are also many other sanctions against individuals not included here.

Imbued with a sense of America’s moral superiority and “exceptionalism”, each year the State Department judges the world, issuing reports evaluating the behavior of all other nations, often accompanied by sanctions of one kind or another. There are different reports rating how each lesser nation has performed in the previous year in areas such as religious freedom, human rights, the war on drugs, trafficking in persons, and sponsors of terrorism. The criteria used in these reports are often political. Cuba, for example, is always listed as a sponsor of terrorism whereas anti-Castro exile groups in Florida, which have committed literally hundreds of terrorist acts over the years, are not listed as terrorist groups or supporters of such.

Cuba, which has been on the sponsor-of-terrorism list longer (since 1982) than any other country, is one of the most glaring anomalies. The most recent State Department report on this matter, in 2012, states that there is “no indication that the Cuban government provided weapons or paramilitary training to terrorist groups.”  There are, however, some retirees of Spain’s Basque terrorist group ETA (which appears on the verge of disbanding) in Cuba, but the report notes that the Cuban government evidently is trying to distance itself from them by denying them services such as travel documents. Some members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been allowed into Cuba, but that was because Cuba was hosting peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government, which the report notes.

The US sanctions mechanism is so effective and formidable that it strikes fear (of huge fines) into the hearts of banks and other private-sector organizations that might otherwise consider dealing with a listed state.

Some selected thoughts on American elections and democracy

In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

  • 2012 presidential election:
    223,389,800 eligible to vote
    128,449,140 actually voted
    Obama got 65,443,674 votes
    Obama was thus supported by 29.3% of eligible voters
  • There are 100 million adults in the United States who do not vote. This is a very large base from which an independent party can draw millions of new votes.
  • If God had wanted more of us to vote in elections, he would give us better candidates.
  • “The people can have anything they want. The trouble is, they do not want anything. At least they vote that way on election day.” – Eugene Debs, American socialist leader (1855-1926)
  • “If persons over 60 are the only American age group voting at rates that begin to approximate European voting, it’s because they’re the only Americans who live in a welfare state – Medicare, Social Security, and earlier, GI loans, FHA loans.” – John Powers
  • “The American political system is essentially a contract between the Republican and Democratic parties, enforced by federal and state two-party laws, all designed to guarantee the survival of both no matter how many people despise or ignore them.” – Richard Reeves (1936- )
  • The American electoral system, once the object of much national and international pride, has slid inexorably from “one person, one vote”, to “one dollar, one vote”.
  • Noam Chomsky: “It is important to bear in mind that political campaigns are designed by the same people who sell toothpaste and cars. Their professional concern in their regular vocation is not to provide information. Their goal, rather, is deceit.”
  • If the Electoral College is such a good system, why don’t we have it for local and state elections?
  • “All the props of a democracy remain intact – elections, legislatures, media – but they predominantly function at the service of the oligarchy.” – Richard Wolff
  • The RepDem Party holds elections as if they were auctions; indeed, an outright auction for the presidency would be more efficient. To make the auction more interesting we need a second party, which must at a minimum be granted two privileges: getting on the ballot in all 50 states and taking part in television debates.
  • The US does in fact have two parties: the Ins and the Outs … the evil of two lessers.
  • Alexander Cockburn: “There was a time once when ‘lesser of two evils’ actually meant something momentous, like the choice between starving to death on a lifeboat, or eating the first mate.”
  • Cornel West has suggested that it’s become difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic society, without great concentrations of corporate power, would look like, or how it would operate.
  • The United States now resembles a police state punctuated by elections.
  • How many voters does it take to change a light bulb? None. Because voters can’t change anything.
  • H.L. Mencken (1880-1956): “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
  • “All elections are distractions. Nothing conceals tyranny better than elections.” – Joel Hirschhorn
  • In 1941, one of the country’s more acerbic editors, a priest named Edward Dowling, commented: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”
  • “Elections are a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for democracy. Political participation is not just a casting of votes. It is a way of life.” – UN Human Development Report, 1993
  • “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!” I reply, “You have it backwards. If you DO vote, you can’t complain. You asked for it, and they’re going to give it to you, good and hard.”
  • “How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It’s the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It’s been 200 years at it. It’s superb.” – Gore Vidal
  • We can’t use our democracy/our vote to change the way the economy functions. This is very anti-democratic.
  • What does a majority vote mean other than that the sales campaign was successful?
  • Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: “The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”
  • We do have representative government. The question is: Who does our government represent?
  • “On the day after the 2002 election I watched a crawl on the bottom of the CNN news screen. It said, ‘Proprietary software may make inspection of electronic voting systems impossible.’ It was the final and absolute coronation of corporate rights over democracy; of money over truth.” – Mike Ruppert, RIP
  • “It’s not that voting is useless or stupid; rather, it’s the exaggeration of the power of voting that has drained the meaning from American politics.” – Michael Ventura
  • After going through the recent national, state and local elections, I am now convinced that taxation without representation would have been a much better system.
  • “Ever since the Constitution was illegally foisted on the American people we have lived in a blatant plutocracy. The Constitution was drafted in secret by a self-appointed elite committee, and it was designed to bring three kinds of power under control: Royalty, the Church, and the People. All were to be subjugated to the interests of a wealthy elite. That’s what republics were all about. And that’s how they have functioned ever since.” – Richard K. Moore
  • “As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter.” – Michael Parenti
  • “The fact that a supposedly sophisticated electorate had been stampeded by the cynical propaganda of the day threw serious doubt on the validity of the assumptions underlying parliamentary democracy as a whole.” – British Superspy for the Soviets Kim Philby (1912-1988), explaining his reasons for becoming a Communist instead of turning to the Labour Party
  • US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941): “We may have democracy in this country, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
  • “We don’t need to run America like a business or like the military. We need to run America like a democracy.” – Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate 2012

Notes

  1. Democracy Now!, October 30, 2013
  2. Huffingfton Post, May 3, 2012
  3. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba(1991), p.885 (online here)
  4. For the complete detailed list, see U.S. Department of State, Nonproliferation Sanctions
  5. U.S. Department of State, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, Chapter 3: State Sponsors of Terrorism,” May 20, 2013

The American revolution was supposed to have happened because of the revulsion our ‘founding fathers’ had with the institution of ‘divine right of kings’ or monarchy.  Supposedly the new American nation went to war with England because a revolutionary ‘democracy’ was the preferred way of organizing our new nation.  (Of course the truth was that the American ‘founding fathers’ had their own dreams of empire which is just what has sadly turned out for this country.  But the mythology of America is all about our rejection of monarchy.)

Fast forward to today and we see the headlines on November 20 in the Portland Press Herald newspaper: Bath Iron Works may get Saudi ship contract worth billions.

The article reads in part:

Saudi Arabian officials say they are preparing to move forward with an upgrade to the country’s navy that could include a multibillion-dollar contract for Bath Iron Works, the Reuters news service reportedWednesday.

BIW’s DDG-51 destroyer is one of at least two ship designs being considered for the long-discussed Saudi Naval Expansion Program II, or SNEP, which has an estimated value of roughly $20 billion, Reuters said.

Patrick Dewar, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin, told the news service that Saudi officials were planning to release new information over the next several months about how the country plans to proceed with SNEP.

Dewar told Reuters that the Saudis are considering whether to buy up to a dozen of Lockheed’s steel monohull Littoral Combat Ship or the larger DDG-51 destroyer built by BIW, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp.

“We are aware of the ongoing discussions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia concerning modernization of the Saudi fleet,” said BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini.

“We are in the business of building naval surface combatants and should the two governments reach an agreement on a program, we would be highly interested in pursuing that opportunity.”

Looking at a map we see the close proximity of Iran to Saudi Arabia.  We know that the Saudi monarchy wants to take down Iran (as does Israel and the US).  We know that the DDG-51 destroyer built by BIW is outfitted with so-called ‘missile defense’ systems that are key elements in US first-strike attack planning.  We know that these warships are heavily reliant on US military satellites to direct the on-board weapons systems to their targets.  Saudi Arabia does not have the military satellites nor the ground-based command and control systems to guide these weapons systems to their targets.  Thus any Saudi high-tech ships and weapons would be run through the Pentagon’s warfighting satellite system.  In other words the Saudi monarchy would be paying for the ships that would essentially augment existing US military forces now surrounding Iran in places like Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations in the region.

Most interesting of all is that US shipyard workers would be building warships for a brutal and unforgiving monarchy that is known for making ISIS look like amateurs. Saudi Arabia is one of the last places on earth where capital punishment is a public spectacle – carried out in what is called Chop Chop Square in Riyadh.

Capital and physical punishments imposed by Saudi courts, such as beheading, stoning (to death), amputation and lashing, as well as the sheer number of executions have been strongly criticized. The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery and can be carried out by beheading with a sword, stoning or firing squad, followed by crucifixion. The 345 reported executions between 2007 and 2010 were all carried out by public beheading. The last reported execution for sorcery took place in September 2014.

Interfaith Unity Against Terrorism reports:

Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Wahabbism – the extremist thought from which all jihadist militancy now pours forth. Saudi Arabia and its Wahabbism’s militant Islamic doctrines constitute a clear and present danger to the Middle East and to the entire world. The house of Saud derives its legitimacy from religious credentials underwritten by Wahabbi clerics. Wahabbism is the creed that has fuelled all jihads –many with West’s blessings- in world’s recent memory.

You’d think that official circles in Washington would be up-in-arms about selling high-tech weapons of war to the brutal monarchy of Saudi Arabia.  But this likely $20 billion weapons sale indicates just how corrupt and immoral the US ‘experiment’ in democracy has become.  The #1 industrial export product of the US today is weapons.  The US wants to take down Iran and has made a pact with the Saudi’s to do just that.

There can be no doubt that the American dream of freedom, justice and democracy is now no more than a hollow phrase.

 Bruce K. Gagnon http://www.space4peace.org   http://space4peace.blogspot.com  (blog)

Violence and Resistance in Palestine

November 20th, 2014 by Ajamu Baraka

For the many thousands of tourists who fly into Israel/Palestine every year, landing in the modern Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv marks the beginning of a great adventure in the “holy land.” But for members of the “African Heritage” delegation, flying into Ben-Gurion was fraught with tension and foreboding. Before departing the U.S. on October 27, our delegation rehearsed how we would move and act, role-playing what to say and what to avoid when we would face Israel’s first line of defense – its custom officials at the airport.

The normally simple act of landing, showing that prized blue book that is the U.S. passport and passing effortlessly through customs and into the country, was something that we understood might not be automatic for us. And indeed it wasn’t – within an hour of our landing our delegation’s co-leader, a young Palestinian woman, was detained. We later found out that she was interrogated, held overnight, and deported the next day.

As our delegation slowly made its way through Israel’s entry process those first couple of hours at the airport, we did not quite grasped that our experience at the airport would not be the first of the strange dualities that we would experience and witness of life in Israel/Palestine. The gaggle of wide-eyed excited tourists that were happy to be in the country greatly contrasted with our already lived experience of Israel as a police state on guard against all threats, real and imagined.

The delegation and program

The African Heritage delegation was made up of activists, educators, journalists, clergy, students and folks representing the full spectrum of African American life in all of its diversity. Sponsored by the Interfaith Peace Builders, an organization of dedicated young activists experienced in organizing delegations to Israel/Palestine, the individual members of our delegation had various positions and motivations for being a part of the delegation. But a genuine feeling of solidarity with the plight of the Palestinian people and a desire to better understand the situation in order to share what we observed with our constituencies where we lived and worked emerged as the common denominator that united most of us.

Our ambitious agenda included meetings and visits that took us across the country. From East Jerusalem to “Israel proper” through to the West Bank and down to the Negev desert, we met with peace activists, political activists, clergy, the settler community of Hebron, Palestinian-Arab Bedouin women, and lived with Palestinian families in Bil’in and the Deheisheh refugee camp. It was an exhilarating and emotionally exhausting experience that touched us all in very personal ways.

The never ending conflict?

The deeply troubling impression that I came away with was that a negotiated, relatively “peaceful” resolution of the conflict is impossible and that those individuals who believe that the Israeli state would grant sovereignty and respect the human rights of Palestinians within the context of either a one or two state solution are either naive regarding the nature of Israel’s settler project or fundamentally dishonest.

The obscene level of investment in the infrastructure of repression in the occupied territories along with the most aggressive settlement policies since the 67 war clearly demonstrates that the Israeli state has no interest in a negotiated settlement with Palestinians.

Indeed the “facts on the ground” all point toward policies of permanent control of Palestinian life and land. Those facts include the over six hundred thousand Israeli settlers in the West Bank and settlement expansion into Palestinian East Jerusalem, the so-called security wall that is more an enclosure wall to expropriate Palestinian land, and the emergence over the last 15 years of a right- wing, militarized Israeli civil society symbolized by the popular support given to the governing coalition anchored by the right-wing Lukid party. These facts coupled with the complete collapse of what is referred to as liberalism within Israel, suggest that the current political alignments and power relations shatter any illusions that a domestic constituency strong enough to counter the hegemony of the Zionist positions exist anywhere in Israel.

On the Palestinian side, there are deep divisions among the leadership of Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian organizations, despite the so-called unity government that was established in June of this year. I was struck by the number of people who have lost all faith in the Palestinian authority created out of the Oslo process. Yet at the level of the “people,” Palestinians living in the occupied territories are still united in their steadfast commitment to resist the occupation.

Unity on the issue of Palestinian resistance stems primarily from the daily indignities of life under military occupation and the repressive brutality that is a permanent feature of Palestinian life. Our delegation observed and experienced, if only briefly, life under military occupation as we moved through military checkpoints throughout the country but especially in the West Bank.

In the village of Bil’in, a community in resistance that was documented in the Academy Award nominated film “Five Broken Cameras,” our delegation was hosted by the village’s popular resistance committee. As part of our visit we were taken down to the separation wall or what many of us call the apartheid wall. Without provocation or warnings of any kind, the delegation suddenly found itself on the receiving end of a barrage of Israeli gas grenades. After having to run back to our cars through gas, we were informed by our hosts that since the authorities were aware that internationals KillingTrayvons1were in the town for the night we should be aware that there was a possibility that soldiers might raid houses that night to arrest us, something that has happened before.

Two days later, we once again experienced the duality of experiences reflected in the lives and positions of Palestinians. In the morning we met with the Holy Land Trust, an organization that is committed to developing what it calls a spiritual, pragmatic and strategic approach to the ongoing conflict. It sees its work of reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews as a viable model for realizing a joint community that respected each other and was committed to justice, political equality and peaceful coexistence. That evening, however, we stayed in the Deheisheh refugee camp, a camp located near Bethlehem that was established after the expulsion of the more than 750,000 Palestinians in the war of 1948 that resulted in the creation of the state of Israel. Our hosts at Deheisheh were clear that for them, peaceful coexistence was impossible in a settler-colonial context that did not allow them to recoup all of the land that they argue was stolen by the Israeli state.

A week after returning from the super-charged, repressive environment that is Israel/Palestine, it is not surprising that Jerusalem is now being consumed by an intensification of violence. From what I observed, the allegations that Israeli settlers lynched Yousuf al-Ramouni, a Palestinian bus driver in Jerusalem that then sparked the retaliatory killing of four Israeli’s, is not surprising nor beyond the realm of possibility. Settler and state violence are central components of the colonial project. And violence as part of Israel’s colonial project has always been strategically deployed. It is used as a means of social control but by manipulating issues to evoke Palestinian resistance it is used to support Israel’s narrative as victim. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon adroitly used this device to provide the pretext for destroying the last vestiges of theOslo process and the functionality of the Palestinian Authority. In the aftermath of the disastrous assault on Gaza that resulted in a public relations defeat for Israel and has even led to some European governments to recognize a Palestinian state, it appears that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has gone back to the Sharon playbook. The closure of the A-Aqsa Mosque a few weeks ago had the predictable results of Palestinian Muslim resistance that Israel is attempting to use to its advantage.

The consciously provoked violence in Jerusalem also has another effect. It diverts attention away from political and material basis of the “conflict” – Israel’s brutal occupation and illegal theft of Palestinian land.

As one activist framed the political conundrum: “if a two state solution in which Palestinians were offered the 28% land mass of historic Palestine with borders between this state and Israel that approximated the 67 green line and a just solution to Palestinian refugees as part of the Oslo process in the 90s, it would have been hard to accept but it might have been viable.” But for this activist and many others in Palestine, it is now clear that the Israeli state never intended to seriously consider establishing a viable Palestinian state or resolving the issue of Palestinian refugees in a just manner.

Difficult as it was, traveling to Palestine and seeing first hand the realities on the ground was a political necessity and an eye opener. One can read about the repression, the growing expressions of racism, and see images from time to time of Israeli brutality, but nothing really prepares you for being thrust into that oppressive reality. And for those of us who reside in oppressive communities where our lives and dignity are also under constant attack, we can feel the humiliation and degradation experienced by Palestinians which after a few days becomes emotionally overwhelming.

During my activist life I have traveled to many of the counties that Western colonial/capitalist leaders characterized as despotic totalitarian states – the old Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba before 1989 – but in none of those states did I witness the systematic mechanism of population control and scientific repression that I witness in “democratic” Israel. The security walls, towers, checkpoints, and armed settlers created an aura of insecurity and impending assault on one’s dignity at any time. I left that space wondering how anyone with a modicum of humanity and any sense of morality could reconcile living in that environment from the spoils of Palestinian dispossession and degradation and how any nation could support the Israeli political project.

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

The Next US Presidential Election Will Move The World Closer To War

November 20th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Glenn Greenwald has revealed that Hillary Clinton is the presidential candidate of the banksters and warmongers.

Pam and Russ Martens note that Elizabeth Warren is the populist alternative. I doubt that a politician who represents the people can acquire the campaign funds needed to run a campaign. If Warren becomes a threat, the Establishment will frame her with bogus charges and move her aside.

Hillary as president would mean war with Russia. With neocon nazis such as Robert Kagan and Max Boot running her war policy and with Hillary’s comparison of Russia’s president Putin to Adolf Hitler, war would be a certainty. As Michel Chossudovsky and Noam Chomsky have written, the war would be nuclear.

If Hillary is elected president, the financial gangsters and profiteering war criminals would complete their takeover of the country. It would be forever or until armageddon.

To understand what we would be getting with Hillary, recall the Clinton presidency. The Clinton presidency was transformative in ways not generally recognized. Clinton destroyed the Democratic Party with “free trade” agreements, deregulated the financial system, launched Washington’s ongoing policy of “regime change” with illegal military attacks on Yugoslavia and Iraq, and his regime used deadly force without cause against American civilians and covered up the murders with fake investigations. These were four big changes that set the country on its downward spiral into a militarized police state with massive income and wealth inequality.

One can understand why Republicans wanted the North American Free Trade Agreement, but it was Bill Clinton who signed it into law. “Free trade” agreements are devices used by US corporations to offshore their production of goods and services sold in American markets. By moving production abroad, labor cost savings increase corporate profits and share prices, bringing capital gains to shareholders and multi-million dollar performance bonuses to executives. The rewards to capital are large, but the rewards come at the expense of US manufacturing workers and the tax base of cities and states.

When plants are closed and the work shipped overseas, middle class jobs disappear. Industrial and manufacturing unions are eviscerated, destroying the labor unions that financed the Democrats’ election campaigns. The countervailing power of labor against capital was lost, and Democrats had to turn to the same sources of funding as Republicans. The result is a one party state.

The weakened tax base of cities and states has made it possible for Republicans to attack the public sector unions. Today the Democratic Party no longer exists as a political party financed by the union dues of ordinary people. Today both political parties represent the interests of the same powerful interest groups: the financial sector, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby, the extractive industries, and agribusiness.

Neither party represents voters. Thus, the people are loaded up with the costs of financial bailouts and wars, while the extractive industries and Monsanto destroy the environment and degrade the food supply. Elections no longer deal with real issues such as the loss of constitutional protections and a government accountable to law. Instead the parties compete on issues such as homosexual marriage and federal funding of abortion.

Clinton’s repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was the initiating move followed by the removal of more constraints that allowed the financial system to transform itself into a gambling casino where bets are covered by the public and the Federal Reserve. The full consequences of this remain to be seen.

The Clinton regime’s attack on the Serbs was a war crime under international law, but it was the Yugoslavian president who tried to defend his country who was put on trial as a war criminal. When the Clinton regime murdered Randy Weaver’s family at Ruby Ridge and 76 people at Waco, subjecting the few survivors to a show trial, the regime’s crimes against humanity went unpunished. Thus did Clinton set the precedents for 14 years of Bush/Obama crimes against humanity in seven countries. Millions of people have been killed, maimed, and displaced, and it is all acceptable.

It is easy enough for a government to stir up its population against foreigners as the successes of Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama demonstrate. But the Clinton regime managed to stir up Americans against their fellows as well. When the FBI gratuitously murdered Randy Weaver’s wife and young son, propagandistic denunciations of Randy Weaver took the place of accountability. When the FBI attacked the Branch Davidians, a religious movement that split from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with tanks and poison gas, causing a fire that burned 76 people, mainly women and children, to death, the mass murder was justified by the Clinton regime with wild and unsubstantiated charges against the government’s murdered victims.

All efforts to bring accountability to the crimes were blocked. These were the precedents for the executive branch’s successful drive to secure immunity from law. This immunity has now spread to local police who routinely abuse and murder US citizens on their streets and in their homes.

Washington’s international lawlessness about which the Russian and Chinese governments increasingly complain originated with the Clinton regime. Washington’s lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” originated in the Clinton regime, as did the goal of “regime change” in Iraq and Washington’s illegal bombings and embargoes that costs the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, lost lives that Clinton’s Secretary of State said were justified.

The US government had done wicked things in the past. For example, the Spanish-American war was a grab for empire, and Washington has always protected the interests of US corporations from Latin American reformers, but the Clinton regime globalized the criminality. Regime change has become reckless bringing with it danger of nuclear war. It is no longer Grenada and Honduras whose governments are overthrown. Today it is Russia and China that are targeted. Former parts of Russia herself–Georgia and Ukraine–have been turned into Washington’s vassal states. Washington-financed NGOs organize “student protests” in Hong Kong, hoping that the protests will spread into China and destabilize the government. The recklessness of these interventions in the internal affairs of nuclear powers is unprecedented.

Hillary Clinton is a warmonger, and so will be the Republican candidate. The hardening anti-Russian rhetoric issuing from Washington and its punk EU puppet states places the world on the road to extinction. The arrogant neoconservatives, with their hubristic belief that the US is the “exceptional and indispensable” country, would regard a deescalation of rhetoric and sanctions as backing down. The more the neocons and politicians such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham escalate the rhetoric, the closer we come to war.

As the US government now embraces pre-emptive arrest and detention of those who might someday commit a crime, the entire cadre of neocon warmongers should be arrested and indefinitely detained before they destroy humanity.

The Clinton years produced a spate of books documenting the numerous crimes and coverups–the Oklahoma City bombing, Ruby Ridge, Waco, the FBI crime lab scandal, Vincent Foster’s death, CIA involvement in drug running, the militarization of law enforcement, Kosovo, you name it. Most of these books are written from a libertarian or conservative viewpoint as no one realized while it was happening the nature of the transformation of American governance. Those who have forgotten and those too young ever to have known owe it to themselves to acquaint or re-acquaint themselves with the Clinton years. Recently I wrote about Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s book, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton. Another book with substantial documentation is James Bovard’s Feeling Your Pain. Congress and the media aided and abetted the extensive coverups, focusing instead on the relatively unimportant Whitewater real estate deals and Clinton’s sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Clinton and his corrupt regime lied about many important things, but only his lie about his affair with Monica Lewinsky caused the House of Representatives to impeach him. By ignoring numerous substantial grounds for impeachment and selecting instead an insubstantial reason, Congress and the media were complicit in the rise of an unaccountable executive branch. This lack of accountability has brought us tyranny at home and war abroad, and these two evils are enveloping us all.

Se está librando una guerra por el control del Kurdistán occidental, la parte de norte de Siria e incluso tres enclaves kurdos –de facto– en esta región. La lucha en el Kurdistán occidental es un medio para llegar a un fin, no un objetivo en sí mismo. El objetivo de ganar control en el Kurdistán sirio y norte de Siria es crucial para controlar el resto de la República Árabe Unida e implica un cambio de régimen –apoyado por Estados Unidos– en Damasco.

 

En el dialecto del idioma kurdo que se habla en esta región –también hablado por la mayoría de los kurdos que viven en Turquía–, el Kurdistán occidental se llama Rojaya in Kurmanji. La palabra Rojaya proviene del término kurdo “roj”, que significa “sol” pero también “día”. Literalmente, significa “puesta del sol” (“el final del sol”) o “final del día” en Kurmanji, y no es la palabra “oeste”. La confusión en relación con su significado surge por dos razones importantes. La primera es que en el dialecto sorani, el dialecto central de la lengua kurda, la palabra “roj” solo se usa en referencia al día. La segunda es que Rojaya connota o sugiere la dirección del oeste, donde se pone el sol cuando termina el día.

El asedio de Ayn el-Arab o Kobane

A pesar del hecho de que ni los militares sirios ni el gobierno sirio controla la mayor parte de Kurdistán sirio y de que un número importante de elementos locales se han declarado neutrales, las fuerzas del Estado Islámico, al-Nusra y el ISIL (Daesh) han desencadenado una guerra multipartidaria en el seno mismo del mosaico social de Rojaya. No fue hasta la segunda mitad de 2014 que esta guerra en el Kurdistán occidental se hizo presente en los titulares de los medios internacionales, cuando los kurdos sirios que combatían en la localidad nororiental (mintagah) de Ayn el-Arab, en la gobernación de Alepo, fue rodeada por el ISIL (finales de septiembre y principios de octubre). Mientras sucedía esto, el comportamiento de EEUU y sus aliados, específicamente el gobierno neo-otomanista de Turquía –Recep Tayyip Erdogan y Ahmet Davutoglu–, expusieron sus verdaderos objetivos en Rojaya y Siria. Cuando los kurdos sirios en el noreste de la gobernación de Alepo estaban siendo rodeados por el ISIL, quedó claro que en realidad Washington y su quimérica coalición anti-ISIL estaban utilizando el estallido del ISIL para redibujar los mapas estratégicos y etno-confesionales de Siria e Iraq. Muchos de los kurdos sirios piensan que el objetivo es empujarlos hacia el este, hacia el sector iraquí de Kurdistán, y someterlos a la dominación turca.

Los temores de otro éxodo sirio –similar al que se produjo cuando, con la ayuda de Turquía, Jubhat al-Nusra tomó violentamente la ciudad armenia de Kasab, en la gobernación de Latakia, en marzo de 2014– empezaron a materializarse. Cerca de 200.000 sirios –kurdos, turcomanos, asirios, armenios y árabes– huyeron cruzando la frontera entre Siria y Turquía. Para el pasado 9 de octubre, un tercio de Ayn el-Arab había caído en manos del seudocalifato.

La posición estadounidense respecto de Kobane muestra los objetivos de Washington

La posición estadounidense respecto de Ayn el-Arab o Kobane es muy reveladora sobre lo que realmente está en juego en la batalla por el control de la ciudad fronteriza siria. En lugar de tratar de evitar la caída de Kobane y ayudar a los defensores locales que están soportando el peso de la lucha contra el ISIL y su seudocalifato, Washington ha permanecido quieto. La posición estadounidense en relación con Kobane es una importante señal de que la guerra que EEUU ha iniciado contra el ISIL no es más que una bravuconada y una maniobra ficticia de relaciones públicas dirigidas al ocultamiento del objetivo real: conseguir un punto de apoyo estratégico dentro de territorio sirio.

Cuando el ISIL atacó a las fuerzas del Gobierno Regional Kurdo (KRG, por sus siglas en inglés) en territorio del Kurdistán iraquí en agosto de 2014, Estados Unidos actuó rápidamente en ayuda de los combatientes del KRG. En julio, un mes después de la caída de la ciudad iraquí de Mosul en manos del ISIL, en coincidencia con la toma militar de la ciudad de Kirkuk –rica en petróleo– por el KRG, el ISIL empezó el asedio de Kobane en Rojaya. Hasta octubre, EEUU solo fue un espectador.

Algo aún más revelador: el 8 de octubre, el Pentágono comunicó que la campaña de bombardeo aéreo en Siria liderada por EEUU y bautizada formalmente con el nombre de Operación Resolución Inherente el 15 de octubre, no podía detener la ofensiva del ISIL contra los defensores de Kobane. En lugar de eso, Estados Unidos empezó a sostener insistentemente en favor de más acciones ilegales que debería emprender Turquía, miembro de la OTAN. Washingtom comenzó a pedir la entrada de soldados y carros de combate turcos en Kobane y el norte de Siria. Por su parte, el presidente Erdogan y el gobierno turco dijeron que Ankara solo enviaría una fuerza a la zona si Estados Unidos y su coalición fantasma establecían una zona de exclusión aérea en Siria.

Modernización de los planes para una zona de interposición en el norte de Siria

Con el propósito de convertir Kobane en un caso, Estados Unidos y Turquía vieron la oportunidad de rejuvenecer sus planes de 2011 para invadir Siria, que pretendían el establecimiento de una zona de interposición y de exclusión aérea –controlada por Turquía– en el norte de Siria. Ahora, los planes se presentan como una operación humanitaria y de mantenimiento de la paz. Es por eso que el 2 de octubre de 2014 los parlamentarios de la Asamblea Nacional Turca aprobaron nuevas leyes que autorizan una invasión de la República Árabe Unida y la porción siria de Kurdistán.

Aun así, Ankara se mantiene cauta. En realidad, Turquía está haciendo todo lo que puede para que Kobane caiga bajo el control del ISIL y sus defensores sean derrotados.

Debido a la falta de coordinación entre el servicio nacional de inteligencia de Turquía (el MIT) y los funcionarios encargados de hacer cumplir las leyes, se produjo un escándalo nacional cuando la gendarmería turca detuvo en Adana unos camiones camuflados que transportaban clandestinamente armas y municiones en dirección a Siria para su entrega a al-Nusra y otros grupos insurgentes contrarios al gobierno.

En el contexto de Kobane, ha habido mucha información que revelaba el envío de grandes cargamentos de armas turcas para los ya bien armados batallones del ISIL para la ofensiva contra Kobane. Una periodista, Serena Shim, pagó con su vida el hecho de que investigara estos envíos. Shim, estadounidense descendiente de libaneses, que trabajaba para una cadena de noticias en lengua inglesa de la televisión iraní, reveló que los rebeldes sirios eran secretamente abastecidos con armas llegadas de Turquía en camiones que llevaban el logo de la Organización Mundial de la Alimentación (FAO) de Naciones Unidas. Muy poco después, el 19 de octubre, Shim murió en un misterioso accidente de circulación después de haber recibido amenazas del MIT por espiar para la “oposición turca.”

Para esconder sus sucias manos, el gobierno turco –facilitador de la operación secreta– argumentó que le era imposible controlar sus fronteras o impedir la entrada de combatientes extranjeros en Iraq y Siria. Sin embargo, la batalla de Kobane cambió todo, y Ankara empezó a hacer lo que antes era incapaz de hacer en la frontera con Siria; incluso reforzó los dispositivos de seguridad en la zona. Turquía, que todo el mundo reconoce la permisividad que concede a Jabhat Al-Nusra y otras organizaciones insurgentes apoyadas desde el extranjero para cruzar libremente su frontera en su combate contra las fuerzas sirias, comenzó a impedir que voluntarios kurdos pudieran cruzar la frontera con Siria para unirse a los defensores de la sitiada Kobane.

Turquía toma nota de quiénes son los amigos de Siria

El gobierno sirio rechazó las sugerencias llegadas desde Ankara y Washington sobre la presencia de tropas extranjeras en su territorio y el establecimiento de una zona de interposición en el norte de su país. Damasco dijo que eso representaba un intento descarado de agresión contra Siria. El 15 de octubre, Damasco declaró que consultaría con sus “amigos”.

En el contexto de los planes de invasión turco-estadounidenses, el gobierno de Ankara estuvo registrando la reacción y actitud de Rusia, Irán, China y los segmentos independientes de la comunidad internacional que no están comprometidos con los objetivos de la política exterior de Washington. Tanto el Kremlin como Teherán reaccionaron advirtiendo al gobierno turco de que se olvidara de cualquier idea sobre el envío de tropas de infantería al Kurdistán sirio y al resto del territorio de ese país.

El pasado 9 de octubre, el ministro de asuntos exteriores adjunto, Aleksandr Lukashevych, en su calidad de portavoz del ministerio de asuntos exteriores ruso, anunció que Rusia se opondría al establecimiento de una zona de interposición en el norte de Siria. Lukashevych dijo que ni Turquía ni Estados Unidos tenían autoridad o legitimidad alguna para establecer una zona de interposición contra la voluntad de otro estado soberano. También señaló que los bombardeos estadounidenses en territorio de Siria habían complicado la situación y empujado al ISIL a mezclarse con la población civil. Las palabras de Lukashevych hicieron eco en las advertencias del embajador ruso Vitaly Churkin, representante permanente de Rusia en Naciones Unidas, en el sentido de que los bombardeos en Siria llevados adelante por EEUU ayudarían a deteriorar aún más la crisis siria.

Desde Teherán, el ministro adjunto de asuntos exteriores iraní Amir-Abdollahian anunció públicamente que Irán había advertido al gobierno turco contra cualquier aventurerismo en territorio sirio.

Por qué la operación Resolución Inherente reforzó al ISIL en Siria

¿Es una coincidencia acaso que el ISIL, o Daesh, haya ganado terreno en Siria tan pronto como EEUU le declarara la guerra? ¿O es una coincidencia tal vez que en Rojaya estén la mayor parte de los pozos de petróleo de Siria?

Los habitantes y resistentes de Kobane que combaten contra la ofensiva del ISIL han pedido repetidamente ayuda exterior, pero han definido los bombardeos estadounidenses con una expresión certera: son absolutamente inútiles. Esta comprobación está detrás de la realidad del asunto que motiva la campaña contra los ilegales bombardeos estadounidenses en Siria que llevan adelante líderes tanto paramilitares como civiles. De una forma u otra, funcionarios locales del Kurdistán sirio dicen que esos bombardeos son un fracaso.

Las Unidades Populares de Protección (Yekineyen Parastina Gel, YPG; aquellas formadas exclusivamente por mujeres son las YPJ) de Kobane, han señalado numerosas veces que los bombardeos de EEUU no hacen nada que detenga el avance del ISIL ni en Kobane ni en el resto de Siria. Al mismo tiempo que llamaba a la creación de un frente unido kurdo (en Siria, Iraq e Irán) contra el seudocalifato del ISIL, Jawan Ibrahim, un oficial del YPG, expresó que en lo que concierne al YPG y los kurdos sirios, Estados Unidos y la coalición anti-ISIL son un fracaso, según informa FNA.

Antes de que EEUU inaugurara oficialmente su campaña de bombardeo en Siria con incursiones aéreas en Raqa, los combatientes del ISIL habían dejado sus posiciones. En lugar de bombardear al ISIL, los estadounidenses atacaron infraestructuras industriales y civiles sirias. Mientras se dice que algunos de esos ataques –que destruyeron viviendas y un silo con trigo– fueron errores, ha quedado claro que la estrategia del Pentágono consiste en erosionar la capacidad del enemigo mediante la destrucción de su infraestructura, tal como se viene aplicando en Siria.

Después de las duras críticas recibidas y de la presión internacional, EEUU empezó a lanzar desde el aire –con paracaídas– suministros médicos y armas para los defensores de Kobane. Algunas de estas armas fueron a parar a manos del ISIL. El Pentágono dijo que esto sucedió por errores de cálculo y que las armas no iban dirigidas al ISIL. De todos modos, algunos escépticos creen que el Pentágono ha lanzado deliberadamente armas estadounidenses cerca de las unidades para que pudieran verlas y recogerlas fácilmente. Los alijos de armas incluían granadas de mano, granadas autopropulsadas y munición; esto se pudo ver en al menos un vídeo filmado por el ISIL.

Al mismo tiempo que se producía esta reluctante ayuda estadounidense, el gobierno turco recibió presiones para que permitiera que un pequeño contingente de combatientes peshmerga del KRG procedente de Iraq cruzara el pasado 1 de noviembre la frontera en Kobane. Sin embargo, estos pershmerga forman parte de las fuerzas de seguridad del corrupto KRG, alineado con Turquía. En otras palabras, los autorizados a entrar en Kobane eran “kurdos turcos” (por ser aliados; no confundirlos con los kurdos de Turquía, y no integrantes del YPG, YPJ o voluntarios). Dado que el papel perjudicial de Turquía en el asedio de Kobane ha llegado a ser del dominio público, Ankara teme que la caída de Kobane signifique el fin de las conversaciones de paz entre el Partido de los Trabajadores de Kurdistán (PKK) y el gobierno y se produzca una revuelta generalizada en el Kurdistán turco.

¿Un inútil bombardeo aéreo de EEUU contra el EI o una guerra furtiva de EEUU contra Siria?

La campaña estadounidense de bombardeos no busca la derrota del ISIL, que también está haciendo todo lo posible por destruir la estructura social siria. La mencionada campaña tiene la finalidad de debilitar a Siria y de destruirla para que deje de funcionar como país. Es por esto que EEUU ha estado bombardeando instalaciones e infraestructura sirias, incluyendo oleoductos; la excusa es impedir que el ISIL los use para vender petróleo y obtener beneficios.

Las razones con las que Estados Unidos justifica esta destrucción son igualmente falsas, ya que el ISIL viene transportando el petróleo robado en Siria en camiones cisterna por las carreteras turcas y –al contrario que en Iraq– sin utilizar oleoductos. Aun más, la mayor parte del crudo robado por el ISIL proviene de Iraq y no de Siria, sin embargo EEUU no ha dado un paso para destruir la infraestructura petrolera iraquí. Además, las operaciones comerciales con petróleo robado, tanto en Siria como en Iraq, se realizan entre actores estatales. Hasta el mismo representante de la Unión Europea en Iraq, Jana Hybaskova ha admitido que los países miembro de la UE están comprando crudo iraquí que les vende el ISIL.

Los dos enfoques tan diferentes que tiene el Pentágono, uno respecto de Iraq y otro de Siria, son muy elocuentes en relación con lo que viene haciendo en la República Árabe de Siria. Washington va tras Siria; paralelamente, tanto EEUU como Turquía tratan de cooptar a los kurdos sirios para neutralizarlos. Esto explica tanto la implicación de Turquía en la batalla de Kobane como la inacción del gobierno estadounidense. En pocas palabras, el ISIL, o Daesh, es un arma de EEUU.

El gobierno sirio sabe que la coalición anti-ISIL de Washington no es más que una fachada, y que si el gobierno estadounidense y el Pentágono consideraran que las condiciones son las apropiadas, la farsa podría acabar en una ofensiva contra Damasco. El 6 de noviembre, el ministro sirio de asuntos exteriores Walid al-Muallen le dijo al periódico libanés Al-Akhbar que Siria le pidió a la Federación Rusa que acelere el envío de los sistemas de misiles antiaéreos tierra-aire S-300 para estar preparada ante una posible ofensiva del Pentágono.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya es sociólogo e investigador asociado del Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), con sede en Montreal. Está especializado en temas de Oriente Próximo y Asia Central. Ha sido colaborador e invitado en las discusiones sobre Oriente Medio en numerosos programas y redes internacionales como Al Jazeera, teleSUR, HispanTV y RT en Español. Permaneció en Libia durante la campaña de bombardeos de la OTAN, informando desde allí para varias cadenas de noticias. También es corresponsal especial de Flashpoints, un programa con sede en Berkeley, California. Sus artículos se han publicado en más de diez idiomas. Escribe también para la Strategic Culture Foundation de Moscú.

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Carlos Riba García.

Fuente original: 11 de noviembre 2014, The War in Western Kurdistan and Northern Syria: The Role of the US and Turkey in the Battle of Kobani 

 

El final de la Pax Americana : ¿Otro mundo es posible?

November 20th, 2014 by Leonardo Plasencia

Desde la caída de la Unión Soviética, a principios de los años noventa, Estados Unidos ostenta orgullosamente el título de ‘única superpotencia global’. En aquellos años, la eliminación de la amenaza roja era considerada por los líderes del ‘mundo libre’ como un gran paso hacia la utópica paz mundial. El cese de las tensiones entre los dos bloques nucleares marcaba así el fin de una Era dónde el fantasma de la destrucción mutua estremecía los corazones a uno y otro lado de la frontera ideológica. “Lo que estamos viviendo no es solamente el final de la Guerra Fría, sino el final de la historia misma, el punto cumbre de la evolución ideológica y la universalización de la democracia liberal occidental“, destacaba Francis Fukuyama en su famoso libro, El final de la Historia y el último hombre. Identificado con las ideas de Hegel y Kojève, el intelectual americano consideraba que la humanidad se encaminaba indefectiblemente hacia la etapa final del progreso : un Estado homogéneo y universal, basado en el libre mercado y los valores occidentales. Comenzaba así “una era en dónde las naciones del mundo, al este y al oeste, norte y sur, pueden prosperar y vivir en armonía“, según palabras de George Bush padre [1]. Sin embargo, las promesas de paz y prosperidad de una sociedad global unida bajo una misma concepción del mundo nunca vieron la luz…

A veinticinco años de la caída del Muro de Berlín las injusticias del sistema parecen hoy más visibles que nunca. ¿Es la hegemonía incuestionable del modelo económico neoliberal, que se profundizó idelógicamente y expandió territorialmente durante los años noventa, la razón de la crisis internacional y de la anarquía capitalista actual? Más importante aún ¿Es la dominación político-militar absoluta de Estados Unidos, convertido en una suerte de policía mundial, una garantía de estabilidad y seguridad para las naciones alrededor del globo? El mundo unipolar, la Pax Americana, muestra hoy sus dientes ante la amenaza de potencias emergentes que, tras un cuarto de siglo de americanización planetaria, ponen hoy en peligro su reinado. ¿Somos testigos del comienzo de una nueva Guerra Fría, de una nueva división del mundo en dos bloques? De ser así, ¿Es esto beneficioso o perjudicial para la humanidad?

Construyendo la ‘realidad’

29 de julio de 2014. Apoyado por la indignación internacional tras la tragedia del avión de Malaysia Airlines en suelo ucraniano, el presidente americano Barack Obama anuncia la tercera ola de sanciones económicas a Rusia. Las mismas, golpean al gigante eslavo en el área de la defensa, la energía y el sistema financiero. Europa y Estados Unidos acusan al Kremlin de apoyar a los rebeldes al este de Ucrania y continúan en su esfuerzo por presionar a Vladimir Putin para que abdique en su intención de influir en la política interna de ese país. “Los ucranianos no pueden aceptar que Rusia arme separatistas que desarrollan actividades terriblemente destructivas en territorio ucraniano” afirma Obama, y advierte a Rusia que debe respetar la soberanía de Ucrania y abandonar sus intenciones de convertirla en un “país vasallo”. [2]

Las palabras del ‘líder del mundo libre’ encierran una gran lección de ética política : respetar la soberanía de terceros países, evitar influir políticamente, y por sobre todas las cosas, no alimentar conflictos armados fuera de las propias fronteras. ¿Cómo no adherir a tan loable discurso? Sin embargo, las tensiones geopolíticas crecientes en el Medio Oriente tiraron por la borda las declaraciones de la Casa Blanca en contra de las políticas intervencionistas, que el presidente americano llamaría el “bullying” de los países grandes. “Hoy he autorizado dos operaciones en Irak, ataques aéreos para proteger el personal americano, y un esfuerzo humanitario para salvar a miles de civiles iraquíes de una muerte casi segura” afirmaría Obama días después (7 de agosto), luego de la avanzada del grupo armado fundamentalista Estado Islámico en Iraq y Siria. “Estados Unidos esta preparado para desarrollar acciones militares en Irak cuando la situación lo requiera” aseguraría un desafiante presidente norteamericano [3]. Semanas después la fuerza aérea más poderosa del mundo cruzaría la frontera oeste, entrando así a territorio sirio.

Con esta última acción la mayor potencia del planeta ignoraría el Derecho Internacional que establece que, salvo en los casos de legítima defensa (protegida por el artículo 51 de la Carta de las Naciones Unidas), el ataque a un territorio extranjero no puede ser decidido de manera unilateral sino a través del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas, o en su defecto (a menudo para evitar el veto de China o Rusia) vía la Organizacion del Tratado del Atlántico Norte (Otan). Es así que, al igual que su predecesor en Irak el año 2003, el ganador del premio Nobel de la Paz desafió a la comunidad internacional al implementar una operación militar en Siria sin autorización de Damasco o de la ONU. Se deduce entonces que Washington considera que una intervención militar unilateral e ilegal no es necesariamente contraria a la defensa de la democracia y de la paz en el mundo. ¿La diferencia radicaría tal vez en hacerlo cómo y cuándo se debe? Veamos.

Las cosas claras. Las temibles milicias extremistas de Estado Islámico, que atentan contra la paz en un ya conflictivo Medio Oriente, pueden facilmente convertirse en argumento irrefutable para algún tipo de intervención externa dada la debilidad política y militar de los gobiernos locales de Siria e Irak. Asesinatos en masa, decapitaciones, vejaciones, persecución de minorías étnicas y religiosas, no pueden ni deben ser aceptados por la comunidad internacional. Los rwandeses saben muy bien lo que occurre cuando el mundo mira hacia otro lado. En tan sólo unos meses esta agrupación fundamentalista parece motivada a llevar a cabo todos los actos posibles en contra de la dignidad y de los derechos humanos. No obstante ¿Esta retórica ‘humanitaria’ de Washington no podría también ser usada a favor de la intervención de Moscú en el conflicto ucraniano? Suponiendo claro que en el conflicto, entre las fuerzas gubernamentales de Kiev y los rebeldes pro-rusos, se estuvieran llevando a cabo acciones contrarias el derecho internacional humanitario.

Pues bien, dejemos de lado datos políticos irrefutables, como el hecho de que el gobierno ucraniano actual llegara al poder a partir del golpe de Estado a un presidente elegido por sufragio universal. O que la filas de los legítimos manifestantes fueran infiltradas por grupos neonazis como Svabóda (Свобода, Libertad) o Pravy Sektor (Пра́вий се́ктор, Sector Derecho). O que el empresario Petro Porochenko apoyara económicamente a los mobilizados de Maidán, para convertirse hoy en el presidente de Ucrania. O qué el descontento popular se desató cuando el depuesto presidente Viktor Yanukovych (cercano al Kremlin) pospusiera la firma del acuerdo de asociación con la Unión Europea provocando el descontento de las potencias occidentales. Olvidemos también que apenas llegado al poder la nueva administración, esta logró revocar la ley que reconocía el ruso como idioma regional e intentó promover una ley que prohiba los medios de comunicación rusos en territorio ucraniano [4], atentando directamente contra la idiosincracia y el desarrollo cultural de las provincias rusoparlantes y provocando así un aumento de las tensiones intercomunitarias. Atengámonos entonces a lo estrictamente humanitario.

Según un informe publicado recientemente por Amnesty International [5] numerosos prisioneros del conflicto ucraniano han sido víctimas de torturas, tanto por parte de los rebeldes pro-rusos como del ejército y las autodefensas pro-Kiev. El informe se detiene particularmente en el caso de Igor Khakmizyanov, ex ministro de Defensa de la autoproclamada República Popular de Donetzk. En un video publicado por las mismas milicias pro-gubernamentales [6] (probablemente como muestra de poder y advertencia a las fuerzas rivales), se puede ver al político ‘rusofílico’, semidesnudo, amarrado y con al menos dos heridas en el cuerpo, siendo interrogado por el diputado Oleh Lyashko, líder de un grupo armado defensor de la unidad de Ucrania. El gobierno central negó que Lyashko perteneciera a fuerzas regulares del ejército. En ese sentido, el documento de Amnesty afirma que “ante la falta de oficiales en el este, las autoridades de Kiev han comenzado a reclutar voluntarios bajo el auspicio del Ministerio del Interior” y asegura que el 17 de abril del corriente año fue pública una oferta del empresario y gobernador de la región de Dnipropetrovsk, Ihor Kolomoysky quién prometió pagar 10 mil dólares a cualquiera que capture un “mercenario ruso”.

Amnesty concluye así que la “ausencia de Ley” en el este ucraniano lleva a que habitantes y periodistas vivan bajo el riesgo de “secuestros y torturas por parte de grupos anti- y pro-Kiev“. Más de treinta grupos paramilitares son apoyados o tolerados por el gobierno ucraniano. No formando parte oficial de las fuerzas regulares estas milicias llevan adelante operaciones sin la necesidad de realizar informes detallados de sus acciones y sin responder directamente a las autoridades en Kiev.

Según otra investigación, esta vez de Human Rights Watch, “las fuerzas gubernamentales ucranianas han utilizado bombas de racimo en áreas pobladas de la ciudad de Donetzk a principios de octubre” [7]. Más conocidas como bombas ‘Cluster’, éstas son lanzadas desde el aire o desde la superficie, al alcanzar una cierta altura se abren dejando caer cientos de submuniciones de diversos tipos y de alto poder explosivo, antipista, antipersona, perforantes o incendiarias. El mayor problema radica en el hecho de que estas submuniciones (esparcidas en un área del tamaño de una cancha de fútbol) tienen un rango de fallo de entre el 5% y 30%, por lo que pueden quedar bombas enterradas sin explotar formando una suerte de campo minado listo a estallar tiempo después de terminada la guerra.

Estas municiones pueden llamar la atención de los niños por sus formas llamativas, similares a una lata de refrescos. “Debido a que todas las partes en el conflicto utilizan las mismas armas, es muy dificil determinar quién es el autor de cada ataque, pero en varios casos tenemos evidencia contundente que se trata de las fuerzas armadas ucranianas” declaró Ole Solvang. El investigador de HRW recordó además que 140 países han firmado el tratado para prohibir el uso de las bombas de racimo, y aunque Ucrania no forma parte de esos países, “lanzar bombas cluster en zonas pobladas constituye de todas formas una violación de las leyes sobre conflictos armados, estas acciones pueden ser consideradas como crímenes de guerra” [8].

Torturas. Crímenes de guerra. Los informes de Amnesty International y de Human Rights Watch son contundentes. Sin embargo, el cerrojo mediático de las prensa occidental parece servir de manto protector al nuevo gobierno del ‘eurofílico’ Petro Porochenko, que ya ha firmado el ansiado tratado de cooperación con la Unión Europea y anunciado su intención de preparar la candidatura de ingreso al bloque para el 2020. La violación del derecho internacional humanitario en suelo ucraniano no preocupa a las potencias occidentales. Los defensores de las políticas de Washington, que se encuentran en plena campaña militar ‘humanitaria’ para destruir la amenaza del Estado Islámico en Siria e Irak, confían en que la política exterior norteamericana está basada en una serie de prioridades que procuran defender la democracia y los valores humanos.

¿El final de una era?

La caída del muro de Berlín fue festejada por el mundo entero, que soñaba ingenuo con la (com)unión de una sociedad global. Las grandes potencias, en oriente y occidente, se alinearían detrás del gran vencedor de un conflicto de cuatro décadas. “No hay sustituto al liderazgo americano” declaró entonces George Bush padre. “Estados Unidos es la única nación imprescindible en el mundo“, afirma hoy Barack Obama. Sin embargo, la crisis del modelo neoliberal occidental puede ser el comienzo de un cambio en la balanza de poder, que comienza lentamente a inclinarse hacia el este del globo.

La idea de un único modelo planetario sin una real alternativa es no solamente inaplicable sino además inaceptable. ¿Por qué pregonar el pensamiento único en la arena internacional cuando lo rechazamos al interior de las fronteras nacionales? El mundo necesita diferentes modelos y concepciones de desarrollo de la misma manera que la democracia en un país exige diversos partidos políticos que representen diferentes alternativas. “El modelo occidental se ha quebrado” aseguró días atrás el británico diario The Guardian reconociendo que el camino que llevó al éxito a las grandes potencias occidentales no es necesariamiente recomendable para el resto del mundo [9]. El despertar de los gigantes emergentes expresa así la necesidad de una concepción distinta del mundo y un contrapoder a la cultura dominante que, debilitada, comienza a mostrar su grietas. La Comunidad Económica Euroasiática, la Organización de Cooperación de Shangai, Unasur y los Brics son sólo algunos de los nuevos actores que prometen el levantamiento de una voz diferente en el escenario político internacional.

Pero para que los cambios que necesita el mundo puedan concretarse es necesario un imprescindible primer paso. Para liberar al hombre debemos primero liberar su mente. Para rescatar a la humanidad de un modelo político-económico impuesto por las potencias occidentales debemos primero romper los muros de la prisión del ‘pensamiento único’. “Colonialismo mental” dirán algunos. Debemos así romper las cadenas informativas que construyen una realidad del mundo conveniente a sus propios intereses. Sólo así podremos ver la contradicción moral que implica realizar ‘intervenciones humanitarias’ en una región del mundo mientras la violación de los derechos humanos es permitida en otras latitudes. Sólo así veremos que las recetas económicas ortodoxas no pueden introducirse en un país como un software en un disco rígido. Así descubriremos que esos programadores del sistema operativo mundial esconden intereses otros que la universalización del bienestar.

¿Una nueva Guerra Fría o simplemente un modelo alternativo? Tal vez “El final de la Historia” de Fukuyama no era más que el comienzo de un capítulo, el del pensamiento único, el de la supremacía americana, el de la dominación occidental. Quizás somos testigos hoy de una nueva vuelta de página… y del comienzo de una nueva historia.-

 Leonardo Plasencia

 

Leonardo Plasencia : Master en Información y Comunicación de la Sorbona de París

 

[1] El presidente norteamericano George Bush frente al Congreso de Estados Unidos, 11 septiembre 1990. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8dAMZ6YdUo&list=FLeOVAclejaUGttEDVvDTT4Q&index=8

[2]  El presidente Barack Obama anuncia una nueva ola de sanciones contra intereses rusos, 29 de julio de 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAu1prQkJEU

[3] El presidente Barack Obama anuncia el inicio de las operaciones aéreas contra Estado Islámico en territorio irakí, 7 de agosto de 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuaO5EJzLAE 

[4] “Voiding Ukraine’s minority languages law ‘wrong’ – Luxembourg FM“, 25 de febrero de 2014, Russia Today http://rt.com/news/ukraine-language-lavrov-asselborn-627/ 

[5] “Abduction and Torture in Eastern Ukraine“, pag 14 y 15, Amnesty International.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR50/034/2014/en/c8e25fcd-c791-4edb-ac3f-6b1a1ce12977/eur500342014en.pdf

[6] Video de youtube, “Lyashko Mocks Detained Defense Chief Donetsk“, 5 de julio de 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLI-KDtzOLw

[7] “Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions“, 20 de octubre de 2014. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/20/ukraine-widespread-use-cluster-munitions

[8] Video de youtube, “Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions“, 20 de octubre de 2014.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixf1LEzh1fo&index=4&list=FLeOVAclejaUGttEDVvDTT4Q 

[9] “The western model is broken“, por Pankaj Mishra, 14 de octubre de 2014. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/14/-sp-western-model-broken-pankaj-mishra

 

VIDEO : El oeste de Alemania sigue dominando

November 20th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

El geógrafo y ensayista Manlio Dinucci explicó que actualmente los que eran los estados de la República Democrática pertenecen a la Alemania Federal y son cinco de 16. “Con la caída del muro hace 25 años pasó que las sociedades de Alemania Occidental llegaron con fuerza a la Alemania Oriental llevando a la quiebra muchas empresas del oriente que eran públicas o de tipo corporativo. Hubo una grave crisis por este shock de la penetración del capitalismo en la ex Alemania del este”, expresó. teleSUR http://multimedia.telesurtv.net/web/t

On November 13, 2014 the United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced that following meetings with European Union ministers, the Department of Justice had directed a number of American federal prosecutors and senior law enforcement advisers to reside in key regions in the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa.

The goal of this American dispatch of prosecutors was stated to “aid those countries in bringing criminal prosecutions against individuals who return from Syria and ensure that they have the necessary laws to do so, such as one routinely used in the United States that makes it a crime to provide material support to terrorist organizations.” Eric Holder further noted that:

“Our goal in all of these efforts is to build the capacity to fight foreign terrorist fighters within the rule of law so we can stop the flow of fighters … and aggressively combat violent extremism.” The plan that Holder announced, included “the assignment of a regional counterterrorism adviser in the Balkans.”

For people who reside in the Balkans, the announcement of Eric Holder came as a great surprise. During the past few months, a number of Balkan governments including Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo etc have all revised their penal codes and made the participation in a war or affiliation to armed groups in another country punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. In line with the directives from Washington, all the Balkan countries that have Muslim populations have joined the new “war on terror” of the American administration.

Since August 2013, when the Americans changed their plans for “regime change” in Syria, and declared the “democratic freedom-fighters” against the “Syrian dictator” as “terrorists”, the Balkan states too have publicly denounced the “jihadis”. Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia etc, have made dozens of arrests and local and American media in the region, like Radio Free Europe, which until June 2013 were praising the jihadis and calling them “volunteers”, have now totally changed sides and are all condemning the jihadis as terrorists.

The jihadis and their chief bogeymen, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) are being condemned by the official state institution of Islam in the Balkans, as well as many (the usual suspects) Wahabi preachers. While until 2013, many imams and official institutions of Islam in the Balkans, did praise the “Sunni” war, or “the Arab Spring” against “the Syrian regime” and “the Shi’ias and Alevis”, and commended the jihadis as freedom fighters, following Radio Free Europe and American administration’s U-turn, they too have joined the bandwagon of refuseniks, and now claim that the mujahidins aren’t Muslims and do not represent Islam.

So, when all the regimes, all the official Muslim leaders and almost all Muslim believers in the Balkans have come to finally realize and admit – out of desire or fear – that jihad in Syria is bad, and excommunicate en masse the mujahidins of ISIS as not Muslims, why does Eric Holder and the American administration need to dispatch federal prosecutors and assign a regional counterterrorism adviser in the Balkans? While it is true that the government of Albania supplied weapons to jihadis in Libya, the government of Kosovo received and probably trained and armed Syrian jihadis, and Croatia together with the Saudis armed the jihadis in Syria, now, all the Balkan governments have “repented” and admitted their past sins. They have all passed the blame for the 2012-2013 jihad against the Syrian government to the nefarious “Wahabis”, “terrorists” “ISIS inspired radicals” and what have you, and countries like Albania have expiated their sins by even providing free arm deliveries to the anti-jihadi Kurds, many of whom fight for terrorist designated organizations like the PKK.

So, why is this grand regional counterterrorism adviser needed in the Balkans when all is going fine for NATO on the Balkan front? Well, as the British say, the Devil is in the details. The recent arrests that the Americans and their subservient governments have made in countries like Kosovo and Albania, are not playing out all well for the American U-turn and the blame game on Muslim and Islam as the source of jihadism and terrorism in Syria.

Let us take the example of Kosovo. The mass arrests that the Kosovar authorities made in the ex-Yugoslav province of Kosovo in August and September 2014 – where the local authorities proclaimed these arrests as a fight against ISIS – have played out to be a farce. The Kosovo courts have proclaimed most of the arrested innocent, since they cannot find legal justifications for their detention. On the other hand, organizations like the Youth Muslim Forum of Kosovo have openly challenged the Kosovar government for its involvement in the Syrian jihad. In a press release issued in August 2014, they demanded from the prosecutor general’s office the arrest of Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, as well as questioning of President Atifete Jahjaga and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi for their involvement and support to Syrian jihadis.

Neighbouring Albania, finds itself involved in the same legal mess. While the government of Edi Rama has appointed as chairman of its State Committee on Cults the Salafi Ilir Hoxholli who had led protests against the Syrian government in Tirana between 2012 and 2013, it has also armed jihadis from Syria to Libya. With such a context in mind, the government is desperately trying to produce a reasonable scapegoat for its past actions. Like in Kosovo, the Albanian government has arrested many low level Salafis who are accused of facilitating and supporting the jihad in Syria. But even here, not all the arrested seem to be culpable of any crime. Let us take the example of Verdi Morava. He has been on a hunger strike since October and is demanding from the Albanian authorities to interrogate or release him. He has been held for over 8 months now and not once has he been questioned by the police or intelligence agencies! He maintains his innocence. The two accusations that are laid against him are: 1. Accompanying an old man to the Tirana International airport that was traveling to Turkey and 2. Consoling the father of an Albanian jihadi for the death of his son. Armand Ali, a Salafi imam from Tirana – whose mosque was raided by the anti-terror police – claimed in a TV debate that his mosque and all the other mosques of Tirana, were ordered by the “official” mufti of Tirana to pray for Syria and speak out against the Syrian government. So why is the government arresting only disenfranchised Salafis, but not even the Fetullah Gulen inspired leaders of the Muslim Community of Albania – whom the Americans depict as the good guys – and are charged with the responsibility to guide the Muslims of Albania away from jihad and extremism?

Even though these two Balkan governments do not have strong evidence to convict the arrested, under US pressure they have undertaken measures that go contrary to all the democratic norms. While the OSCE and the US Department of State keep quiet over the repressive measures being meted out against Muslims in the Balkans, Balkan governments like the one in Kosovo are finding it increasingly difficult to legally justify the crackdown on Muslim civil society, opposition politicians, and the closing of many humanitarian NGO-s (several organizations catering for orphans and the needy have been closed in recent months without any legal justification).

The absence of legal justifications for the arrests of Muslim believers, politicians and imams, and the crackdown on Muslim civil society, have created huge tensions in Albania and Kosovo between the courts, civil society, the American-dominated and subservient governments and the American embassies and Washington emissaries who demand mass trials and punishments for Muslim activists, whom they often depict as terrorists. When in September 2014 the Kosovar authorities began a mass-arrest of dozens of imams and Muslim believers, they were publicly commended for this by Tracey Ann Jacobson, the US ambassador in Prishtina. But these arrests were condemned by many Kosovar intellectuals and human rights organizations. Well-known Kosovar resistance leaders and nationalist ideologues such as Adem Demaçi and Rexhep Qosja declared that they had not seen such arrests even during the era Rankoviç (the feared head of the Yugoslav secret police) and Slobodan Millosheviç. Qosja noted that even though they were openly calling for resistance against communist Yugoslavia no one was arresting them en mass. How could a democratic state mass-arrest its citizens only on suspicion and under the justification of inciting religious intolerance, while Christian fundamentalists like Edi Rama’s close friend, Maks Velo who openly insult Muslims and Islam are never arrested – asked Qosja. However, the American officials think differently. When the court of Prishtina released many arrested imams and believers in October 2014, Tina Kaidanow, the Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department annulled her Kosovo visit, and one of the cited reasons was her disappointment with the release of the imams and believers from prison.

Based on the recent developments and tensions that the new American “war on terror” is creating in Kosovo and Albania, I believe that the assignment of a regional counterterrorism adviser by the American administration in the Balkans is being made in order “to save face” and produce the necessary justifications that the American officials and their subservient governments will need in order to further constrain the rights of Muslims in Southeastern Europe. Since the local governments have not been able to produce much evidence to justify the mass-arrests, the mission of the regional counterterrorism adviser in the Balkans seems to be the production of enough spindoctoral justifications and legal traps that the local governments will need to invent in order to frighten and terrorize their Muslim populations. Muslims are being used as a scapegoat in the Balkans, and only they are being blamed for the present jihad in Syria. While, it is true that the Balkans produced many brainwashed jihadis who believed the CNN and Al-Jazeerah propaganda against Syria, and joined Obama’s jihad for “democracy”, they are not the only culprits for the dirty war that the Americans and their allies are making since many decades in the Middle East.

Dmitriy Yarosh is the founder and head of one of Ukraine’s two racist-fascist, or nazi, parties, Right Sector. [He was (until August 7)] officially the #2 Ukrainian national-security official, working directly under Andreiy Paribuiy, who heads Ukraine’s other nazi party (the party that used to call itself Ukraine’s “Social Nationalist Party,” after Hitler’s National Socialist Party, but which the CIA renamed “Svoboda,” meaning “Freedom,” so as to make it more acceptable to Americans).

However, Yarosh has turned out to be Ukraine’s actual leader, despite his not being officially at the top. His nominal boss, Paribuiy, had been appointed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was chosen on February 4th (18 days prior to the coup) to be Ukraine’s new leader, by Victoria Nuland, who was appointed by Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, who were appointed by Barack Obama (the actual ruler of the new Ukraine).

As Yarosh said this past March in an interview with Newsweek, he has “been training paramilitary troops for almost 25 years,” and his “divisions are constantly growing all over Ukraine, but over 10,000 people for sure.” More recently, in October, a pro-Government Ukrainian site interviewed Yarosh and he mentioned specifically a “DUC,” or Volunteer Ukrainian Corps of fighters. He was then asked “How many soldiers in DUC?” and he answered, “About seven thousand men.” These would be his real military force, by far the biggest private army in Ukraine. So, in his private files are everyone’s individual background and skill-level as a “paramilitary,” or far-right mercenary, and they all respect and obey him as the top man. He is the indispensable person in this new Ukraine.

Yarosh’s teams carry out the most violent operations for the CIA in Ukraine (including the coup). Since these are the people who actually specialize in this sort of political operation, Yarosh basically commands the country. Ukraine is now run on fear, and everyone fears Dmitriy Yarosh. Even Ukraine’s other leaders fear him. He is sometimes shockingly public with his threats against even the nation’s President. Yarosh is the only person who can afford to be.

Here you see Yarosh’s people do the coup in Kiev in February. Here you see them do the massacre in Odessa in May. Notice how similar these two operations are. Yarosh’s mind is actually on display in those operations. Yarosh is the person who gave the teams their instructions, and his followers carried these instructions out.

Here, in a news report, titled “Nazi NATO, but No War Crimes Tribunal? Why?” you can see photos, and can click onto youtube videos, of Dmitry Yarosh’s people executing his carefully planned atrocities (some in broad daylight), during the May 2nd massacre, and (via the links within a linked-to news report), also executing the February 22nd coup. You’ll additionally see there other such operations, carried out by Yarosh’s teams.

Yarosh hires only proud far-right mercenaries, who are paid by him from U.S. Government agencies (for example, see this), and from U.S. oligarchs such as George Soros (via his International Renaissance Fund) and Pierre Omidyar — people whose enormous wealth is matched by their intense hatred of Russians — and are also paid directly and indirectly by Ukrainian oligarchs, especially by the one who (along with Arsen Avakov) actually masterminded the May 2nd massacre of Russian-oriented Ukrainians: that’s the Obama White House’s friend, the Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky. (Kolomoysky offered $5,000 for every confirmed corpse produced at the May 2nd massacre.)

The May 2nd massacre was done specifically in order to get the residents in Ukraine’s pro-Russian southeast to fear this new Government so much as to refuse to be ruled by it. (Who wants to be ruled by people who are determined to kill you?) Until the massacre, those people didn’t want full independence from the new Government; but, after it, they did. It’s the reason for the massacre — to get them to demand fullindependence. Their refusal to be ruled by these people who had massacred so barbarically in Odessa people who were like themselves, made practically everyone in the southeast into “separatists.” This new Kiev Government could then call them “terrorists,” and (with acceptance from suckers in the U.S. and Europe) go to war to eliminate them — to make a free-fire zone of the entire area in which the people who had voted for the overthrown leader live. And that’s what it has been since: a free-fire zone, in which the UN and the West passively accept, when they do not outright endorse, their extermination.

Obama needed to eliminate the people in the areas of Ukraine who had voted around 90% for the man he overthrew on February 22nd. (That’s the area of the extermination.) Otherwise, Obama’s coup wouldn’t possess staying-power as a ‘democracy’; it wouldn’t survive future nationwide Ukrainian elections if these areas of almost exclusively pro-Russian voters weren’t ruthlessly destroyed. Those Ukrainian voters thus needed to be eliminated. They were doomed by Obama’s coup-plan, and their doom was Obama’s follow-through on his coup.

But, actually, both Right Sector and “Svoboda” had shared control over the ‘democratic’ “Maidan” demonstrations against the previous President, even prior to the coup that overthrew him. That person, Ukraine’s final President to be elected in a nationwide vote, Viktor Yanukovych, did not know that the U.S. would go so nazi as that. The U.S. had hired both of these nazi groups, from the get-go. As TIME reported, on 4 February 2014 (ironically on the very same day when Victoria Nuland chose Arseniy Yatsenyuk to lead the post-coup Government), “Yarosh and another militant faction [Paribuiy’s “Svoboda”], began a parallel set of negotiations over the weekend. On Monday, they claimed to be in direct talks with Ukraine’s police forces to secure the release of jailed protesters, including members of Pravy Sektor [the Ukrainian name for Right Sector]. Mainstream opposition leaders said they had not authorized any such talks. [They were just America’s suckers among the Maidan demonstrators, the people who thought that this was really about ‘joining Western democracy.’] At the same time, Yarosh has demanded a seat at the negotiating table with the President [Yanukovych]. Once again, he was flatly denied. His ideology, it seems, is just too toxic to let him in the room.” But it wasn’t “too toxic” for Obama to place Yarosh into control over the new Ukraine. (Of course, once the deed was done, this was the last time when one heard in the U.S. about the reality of whom these men were. The myth about ‘American democracy’ needed to be sustained, and so the U.S. ‘news’ media stopped covering that news, and instead focused only on pumping the U.S. Administration’s allegations against Russia, which is Obama’s real target here.)

Dmitriy Yarosh is the indispensable person for such a crucial political task as the elimination of Yanukovych’s voters — and that’s the reason why Yarosh now essentially rules Ukraine.

He says that the reason they need to be slaughtered is that they are “separatists” and “terrorists.” But Yarosh himself had fought alongside Chechen Moslems in Russia for Chechnia’s independence from Russia. He said that their battle is heroic. Bottom line on Yarosh is that what Jews were to Hitler, ethnic Russians, and all of Russia, are to him, and to the entire movement that he represents, which were Ukraine’s Hitler-supporting organizations during World War II. This anti-Russian form of nazism doesn’t go only back to the German Nazi Party; it’s indigenous to northwestern Ukraine, which is why Ukraine has two native nazi parties, not merely one.

Here are Yarosh’s people, marching.

Here they are as an elite battalion slaughtering people in the extermination-zone.

And here is Yarosh himself, the top person in Ukraine’s far-right, being interviewed on Ukrainian TV; in this, you meet Dmitriy Yarosh personally:

As you can see there, he’s quite a charming fellow. Perhaps even more so than Barack Obama. (Republicans don’t have anyone who is even nearly so charming as Yarosh.)

U.S. politicians are lucky that Yarosh doesn’t speak English, and wasn’t born in America. He’d probably win the Republican Presidential nomination (though with rhetoric that’s even milder than what he sports in Ukraine), and go on to win the U.S. Presidency, if he were an American, rather than merely being paid by U.S. taxpayers (and by some of America’s and Ukraine’s oligarchs), such as he is now.

In today’s world, charming people can be like Adolf Hitler, or Benito Mussolini, or Emperor Hirohito, none of whom was charming. After all, America is now on the fascists’ side ideologically, except that it’s for rule by U.S. oligarchs, not by German, Italian, or Japanese ones. It’s for America’s oligarchy to be the masters of other nations’ oligarchies, rather than for other nations’ oligarchies to be the masters of ours. The shoe’s on the other foot, now, that’s all. Fascism, even nazism, finally won.

The era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ideology (which was opposed to all oligarchies) has been replaced by the era of Ronald Reagan’s ideology (favoring oligarchy, “Svoboda,” or “the free market,” and thus favoring the international dominance of America’s oligarchs). Oligarchy has become the American way now, and we even call this ‘democracy.’

Hitler, the admirer of “the Big Lie,” would get a big chuckle out of such a posthumous ideological victory. Especially since the people whom Obama placed into power in Ukraine are Hitler’s passionate followers in their wanting to subordinate or else destroy all Russians, which had likewise been an aspiration of Adolf Hitler.

Obama, however, is more tactful. Here’s what he said, on 28 May 2014, to the graduating cadets at West Point: “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed [he simply can’t spell ‘past’] and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership.”

It’s supremacism, but for a different group of oligarchs, that’s all — America’s.

 The following address was delivered at the National Workers World Conference held in New York City on Nov. 15-16, 2014.

United States and NATO interventions in Africa and throughout the Middle East are increasing. From Egypt and Morocco in the North to Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and others to the West, right down through the Sudans, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa in the Central, Eastern and Southern regions, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is increasing its efforts to thwart the development of Africa.

Africa is rich with mineral resources, agricultural commodities and a young, vibrant work force which the world capitalist system seeks to exploit at a maximum level. This phenomenon follows an historical process that extends back to the middle 15th century when Portugal and Spain began the Atlantic Slave Trade which led to colonialism and modern day imperialism and neo-colonialism.

This year represents the 90th anniversary of the transition of V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik tendency within Social Democracy that matured into the Russian Communist Party and the October Revolution, creating the world’s first socialist state initiating the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Viewing the organized working class and its natural allies within the peasantry and the nationally oppressed as the engine of revolutionary change in the present epoch, we recognize the paramount importance of the unity of the proletariat in the western industrialized states with the peoples of the world in the struggle against global dominance of the international finance capital.

In the final chapter of Lenin’s seminal work entitled “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism”, he says that “monopoly has grown out of colonial policy. To the numerous ‘old’ motives of colonial policy, finance capital has added the struggle for the sources of raw materials, for the export of capital, for spheres of influence, i.e., for spheres for profitable deals, concessions, monopoly profits and so on, economic territory in general. When the colonies of the European powers, for instance, comprised only one-tenth of the territory of Africa(as was the case in 1876), colonial policy was able to develop—by methods other than those of monopoly—by the ‘free grabbing’ of territories, so to speak. But when nine-tenths of Africa had been seized (by 1900), when the whole world had been divided up, there was inevitably ushered in the era of monopoly possession of colonies and, consequently, of particularly intense struggle for the division and the re-division of the world.”(1916)

Of course the African people have fought against the ravages of imperialism since its inception. The destruction of the slave system during the 19th century and the anti-colonial wars of the same century along with the emergence of independent African states on the continent and in the Caribbean during the 20th century, along with the movements for Civil Rights, Black Power, and Pan-Africanism in the U.S. and other western states, illustrates the heroic role of the African workers, farmers and youth. These contributions have informed and re-shaped the contemporary outlook and contours of the anti-imperialist and socialist movements around the world.

Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism and Militarism

Despite the existence of 54 independent states on the African continent, today the principal struggle is against a new and more insidious form of exploitation and oppression, neo-colonialism. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the leading strategist and tactician of the African Revolution to emerge during the post-World War II era, not only fought for the liberation of Ghana, Africa and the unity of the continent under socialism, he observed and recorded the working of neo-colonialism noting correctly that it was U.S. imperialism that posed the greatest threat to the genuine liberation, sovereignty and unity of the people.

Nkrumah wrote in his book “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism” that “Foremost among the neo-colonialists is the United States, which has long exercised its power in Latin America. Fumblingly at first she turned towards Europe, and then with more certainty after World War II when most countries of that continent were indebted to her. Since then, with methodical thoroughness and touching attention to detail, the Pentagon set about consolidating its ascendancy, evidence of which can be seen all around the world.”

It is within this context that we must examine recent developments in Burkina Faso where the masses rose up against the puppet of neo-colonialism Blaise Compaore.  On Oct. 30 millions of people gathered throughout the capital of Ouagadougou and other cities around the landlocked state in West Africa demanding the ouster of Compaore, taking over the parliament and setting it on fire.

Nonetheless, the military comprador elites representing imperialism are still seeking to maintain control of the state on behalf of the mining interests and the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). In Burkina Faso, the country has been utilized as a rear-base in the so-called “anti-terrorism” programs conducted by the Pentagon.

This struggle of the workers and youth is not confined to Burkina Faso. To the south in Ghana, workers are emerging from a general strike where the public sector was paralyzed for two weeks, and the newly-emerging oil sector was hit by a work stoppage sending chills through petroleum industry worldwide.

From Nigeria and Egypt to Zambia and South Africa, workers are demanding a living wage, decent housing, quality education and a society devoid of environmental degradation.

Through Workers World newspaper these struggles are given not only prominence but they are placed within the context of the global class war encompassing the proletariat and the oppressed internationally. Our solidarity with the global fight against imperialism is the best policy in combating institutional racism and national chauvinism.

Revolutionary Cuban Solidarity in the Response to the EVD Outbreak

The most outstanding example of solidarity with Africa is exemplified by the Socialist Cuba since the early 1960s. As Fidel Castro said in 1976, Cubans are a Latin-African people opposed to colonialism, racism and imperialism.

Cuba has once again demonstrated its solidarity with the continent in practice by responding to the latest outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in three West African states. These are not acts of charity no more than Cuba’s intervention in defense of Algeria during early years of its independence; its campaign against neo-colonialism in Congo under the direction of Che Guevara in 1965; and its deployment of 350,000 internationalist volunteers in Angola between 1975 and 1989, playing a decisive role in the overall liberation of Southern Africa from white settler-colonialism.

Today Cuba sends thousands of healthcare workers throughout Africa and the world. The Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) trains physicians internationally, even those from nationally oppressed communities in the U.S.

Over the last few months Cuba has shown the way in responding rapidly to the outbreak of EVD in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where approximately 5,000 have died and twice as many have been impacted. Cuban officials recognized along with the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), that the EVD outbreak and its devastating social and economic effects is a direct result of the legacy of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

In order to reverse the lack of healthcare infrastructure and resources in far too many African states, it will require a decisive break with imperialism. Africa must move towards socialist development in order to ensure its future.

As historical materialists we understand the difference between quantitative and qualitative development. There can be quantitative growth without real development. Although African states have experienced escalating rates of foreign direct investment (FDI), it does not necessarily translate into qualitative development in the areas of addressing the social conditions of the majority of the populations.

It is only through a delinking with imperialism and the construction of socialism that Africa, and indeed the world, will realize the abolition of poverty, economic exploitation and imperialist militarism. Through the organization of the working class and nationally oppressed in the imperialist states we can build solidarity with Africa and the peoples of the globe.

The UN General Assembly has stated that the international community, through the United Nations has a legitimate interest, regarding the protection of Jerusalem’s unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions.

Its position on the question of Jerusalem is based upon General Assembly resolution 181 (II) November 29, 1947, which provides for the full territorial internationalisation of Jerusalem: “The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”

This position was restated in the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War in UN General Assembly Resolution 303(IV) of 1949. According to a 1979 report prepared for and under the guidance of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the UN has maintained that until the final status of the city is agreed by the parties involved, the legal status of the city remains a corpus separatum.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) does not recognise Israel’s proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which is, for example, reflected in the wording of General Assembly Resolution 63/30 of 2009 which states that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

The UN including the Security Council have consistently affirmed its position that East Jerusalem is occupied territory subject to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice in its 2004 Advisory opinion on the “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” described East Jerusalem as “occupied Palestinian territory.”

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling as he announced the new Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta in 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Todd Koro)

Documents show that oil and gas companies are placing serious resources of time, money, and personnel into countering the growing climate justice movement. “What this speaks to is that they are losing,” says one campaigner whose group has been targeted by company strategy.

Internal strategy documents prepared by a public relations firm on behalf of Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada reveal details of an enormous and well-organized effort by the oil industry to neutralized the transnational grassroots movement which has grown up around the industry’s effort to expand tar sands mining and the building of huge infrastructure projects designed to get “the world’s dirtest fuel” to market.

Obtained by Greenpeace and given to The Guardian newspaper, the documents show that TransCanada—which has proposed building a pipeline called Energy East to bring tar sands from Alberta to New Brusnwick through the largest such pipeline ever built—is aligned with other oil and gas companies placing serious resources of time, money, and personnel into countering the growing climate justice movement which has so far successfully delayed building the Keystone XL pipelein and affirmed its commitment to stopping similar projects in the name of fighting global warming and the resulting threat of climate change.

“These tactics are as dirty as the oil the pipeline would transport,” said Mark Calzavara of Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut regional organizer with the Council of Canadians, one of the groups named in the corporate documents. “Filling Energy East would mean the climate pollution equivalent to adding 7 million cars to our roads. It threatens over 1000 waterways along the route with a devastating diluted bitumen spill.”

Read the complete strategy document here (pdf).

As the Guardian‘s Suzanne Goldenberg reports:

The company behind the Keystone XL project is engaged in a “perpetual campaign” that would involve putting “intelligent” pressure on opponents and mobilising public support for an entirely Canadian alternative, bypassing Barack Obama and pipeline opposition in the US.

Hours before a Senate vote to force US approval of the Keystone pipeline, the industry playbook to squash opposition to the alternative has been exposed in documents made available to the Guardian.

Strategy documents drafted by the public relations giant Edelman for TransCanada Corporation – which is behind both Keystone and the proposed alternative – offer a rare inside glimpse of the extensive public relations, lobbying, and online and on-the-ground efforts undertaken for pipeline projects. The plans call, among other things, for mobilising 35,000 supporters.

The documents were prepared for Energy East, a project designed to serve as an entirely Canadian alternative to Keystone that is the biggest tar sands pipeline proposed to date.

The New York Times, which also received the strategy plan, reports how Edelman proposes TransCanade create “a campaign directed at opposition groups like the Council of Canadians and the David Suzuki Foundation, as well as a small community group in Ottawa that usually fights for more bike lanes and park enhancements.”

Responding to the revelations, Andrea Harden-Donaghue, lead climate campaigner for the Council of Canadians, told the Guardian that the ambitious scale of strategy suggested TransCanada was concerned about growing opposition to the Energy East project. “What this speaks to is that they are losing,” she said. “What these documents reveal is that they are bringing Tea Party activists into the equation in Canada combined with a heavyhanded advertising campaign. They are clearly spending a lot of time and thought on our efforts. I’d rather see them address the concerns that we are raising.”

Other key sections of the document include (emphasis added):

  • Borrowing a page from the modern political playbook, we recommend a three-track approach to build the necessary campaign infrastructure. This approach strives to neutralize risk before it is leveled, respond directly to issues or attacks as they arise, and apply pressure-intelligently-on opponents, as appropriate.
  • It is critical to play offence, both to define the story ourselves and proactively manage issues. But if we place ourselves in a position where we are managing issues solely on a day-to-day basis, we may win the battle but lose the proverbial war. Therefore, we don’t consider this a response program but, rather, a perpetual campaign to protect and enhance the value of the Energy East Pipeline and to help inoculate TransCanada from potential attacks in any arena.
  • Add layers of difficulty for our opponents, distracting them from their mission and causing them to redirect their resources. We cannot allow our opponents to have a free pass. They will use every piece of information they can find to attack TransCanada and this project-attacks are part of a larger, modern oppositional effort to silence those on the other side. To make an informed decision on this project, Canadians need to have a true picture of the motivations not only of the project proponents, but of its opponents as well. This point should particularly be made in communication to supportive third parties, who can in turn put the pressure on, especially when TransCanada can’t.
  • One of the campaign’s most important steps involves developing a narrative that clearly tells the compelling Energy East Pipeline story and provides the opportunity for TransCanada to define the project on its own terms… the four agreed-upon campaign platforms of Safety; Environmental Stewardship; Economic Benefits & Jobs; and National (or Strategic) Interest. To do this, we will audit existing positive messaging and creative assets, and will meet with key members of the project team to develop an umbrella message and core messages about the pipeline
  • We will research the editorial calendars of key media and align our promotional efforts with them for long-lead opportunities especially.
  • Media will prove a critical player in conveying our messages. We will build upon existing relationships and foster new ones with key local/national media
  • Paid Media: Amplification of any promote efforts will be critical to expanding the people we reach with our stories. When positive earned coverage is published, we will amplify it using a content amplification vendor. In addition, we will use Paid Media to effectively deploy our narrative in highly contextual and targeted spaces to inform or engage the audience.
  • The identification of possible areas on web properties where “dark” content could be activated in response to issues that might arise, tied to our milestone calendar or other random flare-ups that require responses.
  • Detailed Background Research on Key Opposition Groups: We will prepare a research profile of key opposition groups by examining public records (including financial disclosures, legal databases and legislative records), traditional media sources (news databases such as Lexis-Nexis and Factiva) and social media (Facebook, Twitter and other relevant sites). All relevant findings will be compiled in a written, fully documented report, to include a summary of findings and an assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
  • We will begin with the Council of Canadians. Other possibilities include Equiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation, Avaaz and Ecology Ottawa.

U.S. plans to attack Iran with a mix of nuclear and conventional weapons have been in readiness since June, 2005, according to Michel Chossudovsky. a distinguished authority on international affairs.

“Confirmed by military documents as well as official statements, both the U.S. and Israel contemplate the use of nuclear weapons directed against Iran,” writes professor Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal.

The plans were formulated in 2004. The previous year, Congress gave the Pentagon the green light to use thermo-nuclear weapons in conventional war theaters in the Middle East and Central Asia, allocating $6 billion in 2004 alone to create the new generation of “defensive” tactical nuclear weapons or “mini-nukes”.

“In 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney ordered USSTRATCOM (Strategic Command) to draft a ‘contingency plan’ that included “a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons,” Chossudovsky writes. The plan went beyond the terms of reference outlined in the Pentagon’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR),  which called for a ”preemptive” “first strike use” of nuclear weapons against Russia and China as well as Iran and North Korea.

The 2005 plan identified more than 450 strategic targets in Iran, including numerous alleged nuclear-weapons-program development sites. The plan, incredibly, was rationalized on a second 9/11 type attack on the US that Cheney believed Iran would allegedly support!

“President Obama has largely endorsed the doctrine of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons formulated by the previous administration,” Chossudovsky writes in his new book, “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” (Global Research, 2012). His Administration “has also intimated it will use nukes in the event of an Iran response to an Israeli attack on Iran.”

Chossudovsky points out, “The new nuclear doctrine turns concepts and realities upside down. It not only denies the devastating impacts of nuclear weapons, it states, in no uncertain terms, that nuclear weapons are ‘safe’ and their use in the battlefield will ensure ‘minimal collateral damage and reduce the probability of escalation.’ The issue of radioactive fallout is not even acknowledged with regard to tactical nuclear weapons, neither is the issue of ‘Nuclear Winter’.”

“What is unfolding (in Iran) is the outright legitimization of war in the name of an illusive notion of global security. America’s mini-nukes, with an explosive capacity of up to six times a Hiroshima bomb, are upheld as a ‘humanitarian’ bomb, whereas Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons are branded as an indisputable threat to global security,” Chossudovsky writes.

He points out that a U.S.-Israeli strike against Iran would probably not be limited to Iran’s nuclear facilities but likely would be “an all-out air attack on both military and civilian infrastructure, transport systems, factories and public buildings.”

Employed would be “the entire gamut of new advanced weapons systems, including electro-metric weapons and environmental modification techniques (ENMOD),” Chossudovsky writes.

WWIII Scenario

He notes that the U.S. has stepped up its military shipments to Israel, its NATO allies, and to countries bordering Iran. Israel in 2004 took shipment of the first of 500 U.S.-made BLU 109 “bunker buster” bombs, and the U.S. has supplied thermonuclear bombs to Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey, and Great Britain. Turkey alone, a partner in the U.S. anti-Iran coalition, has 90 thermonuclear B61 bombs at its Incirlik nuclear air base.

“It is not Iran and North Korea which are a threat to global security by the United States of America and Israel,” he adds. What’s more, Western European governments have joined the bandwagon and “have endorsed the U.S.-led military initiative against Iran.”

He goes on to say, “At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable — a nuclear holocaust which could potentially spread in terms of radioactive fallout over a large part of the Middle East.”

It may also be noted the U.S. currently has several, nuclear-armed carrier task forces in waters near Iran and has built more than 40 military bases in the countries surrounding Iran. The U.S. reportedly has 20,000 nuclear bombs available to use and Israel reportedly has another 200, whereas Iran is not known to have one. U.S. military spending of $700 billion a year, moreover, is 100 times the rate of Iran’s $7 billion annual military outlay.

For further information and/or interviews with Michel Chossudovsky, contact Sherwood Ross Associates, Public Relations Consultants, Miami, Florida, 305-205-8281
[email protected]

Order your SIGNED copy of “Towards a World War III Scenario” by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research Price: US $10.25
(List price: US $15.95, Canada $16.95)
**CLICK TO BUY BOOK **

Also available: PDF version: US $6.50
(Sent directly to your email!)
**CLICK TO BUY PDF**

Ordering from the US or Canada?
Get 3 books for one low price*
Get 10 books for one low price*
(*Offer valid in US and Canada only)

Britain and the Global Economy in Crisis

November 19th, 2014 by Bill Holter

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain wrote an article which was published in The Guardian yesterday .  The headline “Red lights are flashing on the global economy” in my opinion is very true  what followed the headline with was not.  In this article which was penned after leaving the G-20 summit, Mr. Cameron went on to mostly tell the truth about the global woes but was very careful to exclude Great Britain.  To me, this sounded like some sort of “whistle stop” campaign about how well Britain is being managed and their risk is the possibility of being tipped over by global events.

“Well managed” he purports?  This is not even close to being so and the “austerity” he speaks of is only a pipe dream and no longer even an option.  I would ask him a few questions were he willing to take any, such as “didn’t Britain try austerity for 6 months or so only to find out it cannot be implemented without an economic and financial implosion”?  I might even ask him how he feels now that Britain sold 60% of their gold reserves at the worst prices possible since 1979 …but that wouldn’t be a gentlemanly question would it?

In any case, let’s look at the headline ..”red lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy”.  This is true nearly all over the world.  As a matter of fact, the “engine” for global growth just announced one of their diesel tanks as empty.  It’s been discovered that China’s “shadow banking system” had a huge increase in bad debt .  Understand that this is not the “core” banking system but this did add to China’s growth acting as an afterburner of hot and easy credit.  A reversal of this credit will surely drag on the economy and will probably even surprise the complacent as to where it shows up.  “Where” being further news on hypothecated, re hypothecated and re re re hypothecated commodities.  We still don’t know fully how the warehouse frauds uncovered earlier in the year will fall, a decline in credit from the shadow banking system can only reveal more fraud!

So David Cameron “covered his butt” with the headline, when the time comes he can now say “I told you so, you should have listened to me”.  Unlike David Cameron who is still in office and trying to cover his reputation, there are two ex U.S. government officials who are and have been telling you the truth for years, Paul Craig Roberts and David Stockman.  Mr. Roberts was asst. Treasury Secretary from 1975-1978 and David Stockman was the Director of OMB under Reagan.  When I read or first heard their opinions I can remember thinking “WOW, this guy is from the government and telling the truth!”.  This is still so today and both of these men seem to be getting louder and much more urgent in their warnings.  Neither hedges nor flip flops in their opinions which I respect as much as I do their logic.  They have been and are telling you the absolute truth and doing so in my opinion out of pure “character”!  They both say “it’s over” from a mathematical standpoint, I don’t understand why anyone even questions what they say?

Another ex “federal” employee who has been boisterous lately is Alan Greenspan.  I have recently written how he is out selling books and trying to clean up his legacy.  Part of this has been to admit gold in fact is money, it is better than any fiat ever and that there will be “great financial difficulties” at some point.  Mr. Roberts and Mr. Stockman, unlike Alan Greenspan, are not out on the speaking circuit trying to clean up their legacies, they are firmly and cleanly intact.  They I believe are trying to help anyone who would listen while Alan Greenspan’s motive in my opinion is one of “don’t blame me, I warned you”.

There are others of course but these four will suffice for what I am trying to get across to you.  “why don’t people believe them”?  Yes I know, if you are reading this then you probably do believe them but why don’t the masses?  I have an opinion on this, I think most people know “something” is wrong, VERY wrong.  Many don’t really know what it is and wouldn’t really understand it unless handed to them on a platter.  Most people are not “wired” to understand economics or finance.  Some, many, are just too worn down by daily life to bother “figuring it out” while others (MANY) just want to bury their heads in the sand …because the truth is just too ugly to bare!

I do understand the concept of the masses being slowly and methodically being “dumbed down” over the years.  Notice I used the word “methodically” which in my mind includes “intent”.  I say this because a knowledgeable and well informed population is hard to pull the wool over their eyes …a dumbed down population on the other hand will (has) stand by and accept things the “way they are”.  This is important because our “money” system is fake and fraudulent, sadly only one or two out of 100 in the West understands this.  The rest of the world still “gets it” which is why Western vaults are being raided by Eastern buyers.

Once all is said and done, the majority in the West will finally get it but unfortunately this will be too late.  I have always said that “one second too late is equal to a lifetime”, unfortunately this is the case.  “We” cannot save the masses as they will not listen for whatever their personal reasons.  What we can do is try.  I would urge anyone reading this to pass my writings along to friends and loved ones that you care about.  When you come across Paul Craig Roberts or David Stockman’s writings or anyone else “who makes sense” …forward it!  Yes I know, you have tried this and either lost friends or became the “black sheep fool of the family”.  All you can do is try!  Time is very short now, we know this because the Achilles Heel, gold supply, has become very tight.  We know this because even career politicians like David Cameron have told you.  We know this because many Western nations have already proposed and signed “bail ins” where bank balances will be stolen upon the financial collapse.  We know this for so many various reasons, not the least of which is your own common sense.

To finish, I want to link to Mr. Roberts and Stockman’s latest work.  Does it sound like things are a “little bad”?  Or does it sound like the system is hopelessly broken?  Please understand this if nothing else,  Stockman and Roberts have no ax to grind whatsoever. They worked in government during a time when “serving your country” was still the mindset.  Please read their latest,  here  and here  these are their honest opinions!  It’s over …and only a matter of time until our world reflects this fact!

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took the lead in the hostile reception accorded to Russian President Vladimir Putin at last weekend’s G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

In an incident widely reported in the Canadian and international media, Harper grudgingly accepted Putin’s offer of a handshake and declared, “You need to get out of Ukraine.” Harper’s aggressive pose set the tone for the conference, where the western powers worked to further isolate Russia, including discussing plans to step up economic sanctions over Ukraine.

Harper’s provocative gesture illustrates Canadian imperialism’s ever more aggressive role in global geopolitical conflicts.

Ottawa gave its full backing to the fascist-led coup in Kyiv last February that led to the overthrow of the elected president, Victor Yanukovitch, and the installation of the pro-western regime under current President Petro Poroshenko. Harper was the first foreign leader to visit Kyiv in the wake of the coup.

This was part of a long-standing Canadian intervention in Ukraine. In close alliance with the US National Endowment for Democracy, Canada has long funded pro-western Ukrainian “civil society” groups and political parties using a government-supported network of Ukrainian-Canadian businessman and ethnic organizations. Many of the latter hail the ultranationalists who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and their leader Stepan Bandera.

When Ukrainian President Poroshenko paid a visit to Ottawa in September, he complimented Canada’s Conservative government and the entire political establishment for their firm backing for the Kyiv regime. In a speech to parliament, he hailed Canada’s supply of nonlethal military equipment to the Ukrainian army and its diplomatic efforts on the international stage, declaring, “No one, with the possible exception of Poland, was so straightforward and earnest in sending a signal across the world to the Russians.”

This “signal” has included Canada assuming a major role in NATO’s efforts to encircle Moscow by positioning air power in the Baltic region and carrying out military exercises in Eastern Europe. Canadian aircraft based in the Baltic were involved in the interception of Russian military aircraft last month when they were in international airspace.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Harper government has moved to place Canada in the frontline in the US-led drive to contain and strategically encircle China. Last November, Ottawa concluded a secret agreement with Washington on military collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region, the “Asia-Pacific Defence Policy Cooperation Framework.” The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is also seeking to establish “forward bases” in Asia, including in South Korea and Singapore.

Harper arrived at the G-20 summit fresh from a visit to New Zealand, the first by a Canadian prime minister in 19 years. According to a report of his visit, topics discussed included security sharing—like Canada, New Zealand is one of the US National Security Agency’s “Five Eyes” surveillance allies— and issues surrounding the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The US-led TPP aims to exclude China from closer Pacific economic cooperation and place the US and its allies in the driver’s seat in establishing the rules of the capitalist world economic order in the 21st century. A week prior to his G-20 trip, Harper provocatively met with US President Barack Obama and other TPP participants in the US embassy in Beijing.

Canada’s increasingly aggressive posture, alongside that of the US and the other imperialist powers, is being driven by the ongoing capitalist crisis. Six years after the 2008 economic crash, economic conditions today are even more fragile.

In spite of the signs of growing recessionary and deflationary tendencies around the world, Harper hailed the G-20’s empty commitment to boost global growth in coming years, a commitment that even the IMF has raised doubts over. Referring to the measures the G-20 leaders agreed on, Harper said, “It basically has to do with things like the capitalization of banks, rescue plans in place before you have bankruptcies, things that would avoid a financial collapse like we had in 2008.”

Defending the G-20’s record, he went on, “We know from the ’08-’09 crisis that there are times when no national government, no matter how important—not even the biggest in the world—are going to be able to deal with macroeconomic developments at the global level.”

Harper’s comments on economic conditions could not be further from the truth. Not only have none of the fundamental problems which led to the 2008 crisis been resolved, they have intensified over the past six years. And his attempt to promote the G-20 as a body promoting global cooperation in contrast to the narrow interests of national governments was thoroughly undermined by events at last weekend’s summit, dominated as it was by the attempts of the imperialist powers to isolate Russia.

In Canada, Harper’s calculated insult to Putin was universally hailed by the media and opposition parties. Paul Dewar, foreign affairs spokesman for the trade union-aligned New Democratic Party (NDP), berated Harper from the right for restricting his protest to mere words. “To be direct is fine, but it’s a matter of what you follow it up with. I’m not sure beyond the handshake and the chastisement from Harper what was achieved,” he told the Globe and Mail.

For the Liberals, MP Chrystia Freeland commented, “There has been in the past few days a really worrying escalation of the Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine. Strong rhetorical support for Ukraine is essential and strong action in support of Ukraine is essential too.”

Media reaction was similarly enthusiastic. CBC carried a report describing the positive response in the Australian press to “the Prime Minister’s bold admonishment to Putin.” The article went on to note a report in Australia’s Business Insider which claimed that Harper had shown Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot how to “shirtfront” Putin, an Australian expression meaning to knock someone to the ground.

Harper’s aggressive intervention at the G-20 summit came just weeks after Canada joined the US military in its latest war of aggression in the Middle East. Since November 2, Canadian CF-18 fighter jets have been dropping bombs on ISIS targets within Iraq. Although Canada’s deployment is formally restricted to six months, there are open discussions that the conflict will last many years, with one of its ultimate goals being the overthrow of Syria’s Assad regime, a close ally of Russia and Iran.

Although Ottawa is moving in close alliance with the United States on all major geopolitical issues, there are serious and mounting tensions between the two countries.

This was illustrated in comments made by Obama just prior to the G-20 summit on the Keystone-XL gas pipeline, a project designed to transport Canadian oil from the tar sands in Alberta to the US Gulf Coast. Responding to a question about the likelihood of the project going ahead now that the Republicans have won control of congress, US President Barack Obama signaled that were the US House of Representatives and Senate to pass a bill for the pipeline to be built, he would veto it.

“Keystone XL just gets Canadian oil to world markets, it doesn’t help the US consumer,” said Obama. “Understand what this project is: it is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.”

Harper has made the approval of Keystone a top priority, declaring that its benefits are “a no brainer.” The energy sector is one of the most significant sources of economic growth in Canada, which is why Keystone has been heavily promoted by Canadian big business and the Conservative government.

If you still think the United States government would never harm its own citizens for the benefit of federal agencies, then I would direct your attention to a formerly classified black ops program launched by the US government starting way back in 1945. With the goal of testing highly radioactive substances on overall healthy patients through secret injections administered by government agents, the program has still been widely ignored since being released to the public in recent years.

In the covert program that is now admitted to be true, the United States government injected unknowing human ‘participants’ with highly toxic substances like plutonium. It sounds like a bizarre torture scenario that you’d expect to see blamed on illegal terror organizations, but the individuals behind this crime are actually doctors working for the United States government. Disregarding the health of innocent citizens, the government testers were eager to see how unknowing participants suffered as a result of the injections.

That’s right, they were testing the lethal effects of radioactive isotope injection on citizens. And not that it would make it any more ethical, but they didn’t even choose terminally ill patients who were most likely going to pass away anyway. Instead, they chose patients who sometimes were only suffering from ailments like broken bones.

Injecting Unknowing Patients With Uranium

It began in 1945, when an employee at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility was in a car accident. Ebb Cade survived, but was taken in as a human participant in a disturbing study he did not consent to. It is important to note that this man was a fifty-three-year-old African American, as previous government trials have singled out African Americans and other minorities. The racist sterilization programs occurred between 1929 to 1974 under an admitted eugenics programs that officials claimed were ‘creating a better society’. Most victims were poor, black women who were ‘deemed unfit to be parents’. Individuals as young as 10 were sterilized simply for not getting along with schoolmates or being promiscuous, and many parents were misled into sterilizing their children.

Ebb Cade was taken and bound to a bed with a broken arm and leg, where doctors interviewed him regarding his current state of health. After determining he was in a state of proper health, doctors secretly injected him with 4.7 micrograms of plutonium on Aptil 10th. It is still unknown who exactly ordered the program within the U.S. government, as they have managed to disassociate themselves with the entire nefarious program. At the time of the injection, scientists were perfectly aware of the negative effects associated with radiation. With cancers and radiation sickness on the rise, these scientists knew exactly what they were doing — examining the effects of plutonium isotopes on living beings.

Prior to the tests on Cade, the scientists injected animals with plutonium and noted the severe adverse effects. In some cases, animals were even fed radioactive waste. In fact, one scientist received a face full of gas and required his stomach to be pumped along with a full face scrub in an attempt to eliminate the threat. The scientists made sure that they were given the full treatment after the exposure. Meanwhile, they were injecting individuals with plutonium.

Scientists took excretions from Cade over the next five days to see how much plutonium retained in his body. They also refused to set his broken bones until April 15th, and cut samples from the bone before doing so to examine the plutonium content in his bone tissue. Fifteen of his teeth were pulled for testing. After all of this, they never informed Cade what they were doing. One nurse said that the tortured Cade escaped in the middle of the night, and he was later found to die in 1953 of heart failure.

Sadly, Cade was not the last test experiment.

Three human experiments followed, all cancer patients seeking treatment. Instead of treatment, the patients were injected with deadly plutonium in order for government scientists to see the effects. A man in his sixties with lung cancer, a woman in her fifties with breast cancer, and a “young man” with Hodgkin’s lymphoma were all given the poison. Conveniently, the third patient’s records are not available. He was injected with fifteen times more than any other individual, at 95 micrograms.

What followed is further widespread testing. The University of Rochester joined the program, injecting patients with not only plutonium but radioactive isotopes like polonium and uranium. Other institutions like the University of California soon followed suit.

Perhaps most concerning is the fact that this disgusting disregard for human health is not an isolated incident. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is but one example of secret government human experiments that have run rampant throughout recent history. Taking place between 1932 and 1972,  Tuskegee, Alabama, the U.S. Public Health Service knowingly infected poor black men with syphilis in order to test the effects. These men thought that they were receiving free healthcare by the U.S. government.

The list goes on, targeting minorities and the disabled in particular. From forced sterilizations to incognito injections, there is a lengthy history of government testing that shows the blatant disregard for your health by the United States government and elsewhere. With this in mind, is it any wonder why the FDA keeps toxic substances like mercury unregulated among the food supply?

Anthony Gucciardi is the Founding Director of NaturalSociety, whose writings on the subject of health and wellness have reached tens of millions of readers worldwide. A proponent of an organic lifestyle, the growth of alternative news, and a dedication to aiding various non-profit organizations, NaturalSociety was Anthony’s next step in what he calls “highlighting what you won’t be hearing about on the major news networks.” Anthony has appeared on both grassroots and established platforms alike, including routine appearances on Drudge Report, Daily Mail, RT, The Blaze, Infowars, Michael Savage’s Savage Nation, Coast to Coast AM, and many others.

The US Defense Department (DOD) is developing domestic espionage and covert operations targeting “the general public” in coordination with the intelligence establishment and police agencies, according to a New York Times report.

“The Times analysis showed that the military and its investigative agencies have almost as many undercover agents working inside the United States as does the F.B.I,” the newspaper wrote.

“While most of them are involved in internal policing of service members and defense contractors, a growing number are focused, in part, on the general public as part of joint federal task forces that combine military, intelligence and law enforcement specialists,” the Times continued.

Taken at face value, the report amounts to an acknowledgment by the leading media organ of the US ruling class that the American government is deploying a vast, forward-deployed counter-insurgency machine to target the US population at large.

Coming directly from the horse’s mouth, the Times report makes clear that espionage, deception, and covert operations are now primary instruments of the US government’s domestic policy and are actively deployed by the military and security agencies against the civilian population. In preparation for a massive upsurge in the class struggle, the US ruling class is mobilizing the entire federal bureaucracy to carry out systematic and targeted political repression against the working class in the US and around the world.

In addition to the DOD, at least 39 other federal security and civilian agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), have developed increasingly ambitious forms of covert operations involving the use of undercover agents, which now inhabit “virtually every corner of the federal government,” according to unnamed government officials and documents cited by the New York Times.

New training programs to prepare agents to conduct Internet-based undercover sting operations have been developed by the DOD, Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI, according to the report.

DHS alone spends at least $100 million per year on the development of undercover operations, an unnamed DHS intelligence official told the Times. Total costs for operations involving undercover government agents likely total at least several hundred millions of dollars per year, the Times reported.

The US Supreme Court trains its own security force in “undercover tactics,” which officers use to infiltrate and spy on demonstrators outside the high court’s facilities, the Times reported.

IRS agents frequently pose as professionals, including as medical doctors, in order to gain access to privileged information, according to a former agent cited by the report. IRS internal regulations cited in the report state that “an undercover employee or cooperating private individual may pose as an attorney, physician, clergyman or member of the news media.”

Teams of undercover agents deployed by the IRS operate in the US and internationally in a variety of guises, including as drug money launderers and expensive luxury goods buyers.

The Department of Agriculture (DOA) employs at least 100 of its own covert agents, who often pretend to be food stamp users while investigating “suspicious vendors and fraud,” according to the Times .

Covert agents employed by the Department of Education (DOE) have embedded themselves in federally funded education programs, unnamed sources cited by the report say.

Numerous other federal bureaucracies are running their own in-house espionage programs, including the Smithsonian, the Small Business Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the report stated.

This sprawling apparatus of spying, disruption and manipulation implicates the state in a mind-boggling range of criminal and destructive activities.

Covert operations using undercover agents are conducted entirely in secret, and are funded from secret budgets and slush funds that are replenished through the “churning” of funds seized during previous operations back into the agencies’ coffers to fund the further expansion of secret programs.

Secret operations orchestrated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) on this basis are increasingly indistinguishable from those of organized crime syndicates, and give a foretaste of what can be expected from the ongoing deployment of counter-revolutionary undercover agents by military-intelligence apparatus throughout the US.

In 2010, the ATF launched a series of covert operations that used state-run front businesses to seize weapons, drugs, and cash, partly by manipulating mentally disabled and drug addicted individuals, many of them teenagers, according to investigations by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel .

While posing as owners of pawnshops and drug paraphernalia retail outlets, ATF agents induced cash-desperate and psychologically vulnerable individuals to carry out criminal activities including the purchase and sale of stolen weapons and illegal substances.

A number of the ATF-run fake stores exposed by the Sentinel were run in “drug free” and “safe” zones near churches and schools. Youths were encouraged to smoke marijuana and play video games at these locations by ATF agents. In one instance reported by the Sentinel, a female agent wore revealing attire and flirted with teenage targets while inciting them to acquire weapons and illegal substances to sell to an ATF-run front business, the Sentinel found.

The ATF was notorious for its operations in the 1980s where it used agents provocateurs to frame up and jail militant workers involved in industrial strikes. In one infamous case in Milburn, West Virginia an ATF informer was exposed after he tried unsuccessfully to convince striking coal miners to blow up an abandoned processing facility.

The US government has steadily escalated its domestic clandestine operations in the years since the September 11, 2001, attacks. The New York Police Department (NYPD) intelligence section deployed hundreds of covert agents throughout New York City, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

As part of operations coordinated with the CIA and spanning more than a decade, the NYPD paid informants to spy on and “bait” Muslim residents into manufactured terror plots. The security and intelligence agencies refer to this method as “create and capture,” according to a former NYPD asset cited by the Associated Press .

It is now obvious these surveillance and infiltration programs, initially focusing on Muslim neighborhoods, were only the first stage in the implementation of a comprehensive espionage and counter-insurgency system targeting the US population.

Large numbers of informers and FBI agents infiltrated the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.

Historically, secret police groups targeted the political and class enemies of the capitalist state using the pretext of defending the nation from dangerous “foreign” elements.

Among the first covert police sections established by the imperialist powers were the British “Special Branch,” originally established as the “Special Irish Branch” in 1883 to target groups opposed to British domination of Ireland. “Special Branch” police intelligence forces were subsequently set up throughout the commonwealth to run cloak-and-dagger missions in service of British imperialism.

Similarly, in an early effort by the US ruling class to develop a secret police force, New York City police commissioner established “Italian Squad” in 1906 to carry out undercover activities against socialist-minded workers in the city’s immigrant and working class areas.

Moscow does not plan on “begging” the West to lift sanctions against Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

“Sanctions are not our choice at all, but we are not planning on begging Western countries to lift these sanctions, though sometimes they do hint about it [by saying] ‘let’s agree on certain criteria, we’ll tell you what you need to do and then we’ll lift sanctions.’ We’re not going to play those games,” Lavrov said during a joint press conference with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei in Minsk.

Russia’s top diplomat pointed out that “sober-minded judgments and pleas to learn from its own mistakes” have started to appear in the European Union.

According to Lavrov, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini ”urged exactly for that.”

“[Mogherini] urged [the European Union] to pay more attention to the assessment of the situation, to forecast the consequences of the steps the European Union has made, such as pushing Ukraine toward an association agreement a year ago and said that a more balanced estimation of EU plans is better than imposing sanctions,” Lavrov said.

Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated following Crimea‘s reunification with Russia in March.

The European Union, the United States and their allies have introduced several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The sanctions mainly targeted the country’s banking, defense and energy sectors, as well as a number of high-ranking officials.

Russia has repeatedly called the restrictions counterproductive and warned that sanctions may backfire on those who imposed them.

In August, Moscow introduced a one-year embargo on certain food exports from the countries that imposed the restrictions.

The United States has attempted to claim that the only way to stop the so-called “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq is to first remove the government in Syria. Complicating this plan are developments in Libya, benefactor of NATO’s last successful regime change campaign. In 2011, NATO armed, funded, and backed with a sweeping air campaign militants in Libya centered around the eastern Libyan cities of Tobruk, Derna, and Benghazi. By October 2011, NATO successfully destroyed the Libyan government, effectively handing the nation over to these militants. What ensued was a campaign of barbarism, genocide, and sectarian extremism as brutal in reality as what NATO claimed in fiction was perpetrated by the Libyan government ahead of its intervention. The so-called “rebels” NATO had backed were revealed to be terrorists led by Al Qaeda factions including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The so-called “pro-democracy protesters” Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was poised to attack in what NATO claimed was pending “genocide” were in fact heavily armed terrorists that have festered for decades in eastern Libya.Almost immediately after NATO successfully destroyed Libya’s government, its terrorist proxies were mobilized to take part in NATO’s next campaign against Syria. Libyan terrorists were sent first to NATO-member Turkey were they were staged, armed, trained, and equipped, before crossing the Turkish-Syrian border to take part in the fighting.

Images: Same convoy, different flag. Even in 2011, it was painfully obvious the so-called “rebels” fighting with NATO assistance in Libya were in fact members of long-standing Al Qaeda franchises including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Their strongholds in eastern Libya served as the “revolution’s” cradle, meaning the “revolution” was merely cover for a NATO-assisted Al Qaeda uprising. In other words, NATO handed Libya over to Al Qaeda, and is attempting to do likewise with Syria.

CNN Admits ISIS is in Libya  

CNN in an article titled, “ISIS comes to Libya,” claims:

The black flag of ISIS flies over government buildings. Police cars carry the group’s insignia. The local football stadium is used for public executions. A town in Syria or Iraq? No. A city on the coast of the Mediterranean, in Libya.

Fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are now in complete control of the city of Derna, population of about 100,000, not far from the Egyptian border and just about 200 miles from the southern shores of the European Union.

The fighters are taking advantage of political chaos to rapidly expand their presence westwards along the coast, Libyan sources tell CNN.

Only the black flag of Al Qaeda/ISIS has already long been flying over Libya – even at the height of NATO’s intervention there in 2011.  ISIS didn’t “come to” Libya, it was always there in the form of Al Qaeda’s local franchises LIFG and AQIM – long-term, bitter enemies of the now deposed and assassinated Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Images: While CNN claims the “black flag of ISIS” is just now flying over Libya, in reality, the black flag of Al Qaeda and US-Saudi funded global terrorism has flown over Libya for years. Just weeks after US Senator John McCain was in the terrorist capital of Benghazi pledging funds and weapons to the militants, overt public demonstrations in support for Al Qaeda took place right on the doorsteps of the courthouse McCain appeared at.

CNN’s latest article is merely the veneer finally peeling away from the alleged “revolution” it had attempted to convince readers had taken place in 2011.

ISIS Didn’t “Come to” Libya, It Came From Libya

Even amid CNN’s own spin, it admits ISIS’ presence in Libya is not a new phenomenon but rather the above mentioned sectarian extremists who left Libya to fight in Syria simply returning and reasserting themselves in the eastern Cyrenaica region. CNN also admits that these terrorists have existed in Libya for decades and were kept in check primarily by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. With Qaddafi eliminated and all semblance of national unity destroyed by NATO’s intervention in 2011, Al Qaeda has been able to not only prosper in Libya but use the decimated nation as a spingboard for invading and destroying other nations.

Image: Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the Al Qaeda affiliate LIFG, leading Libyan terrorists in Syria. LIFG terrorists would pass through NATO territory in Turkey on their way to Syria’s border. ISIS “coming to” Libya is simply LIFG terrorists returning from their NATO-backed expeditionary mission.

Worst of all, Al Qaeda’s rise in Libya was not merely the unintended consequence of a poorly conceived plan by NATO for military intervention, but a premeditated regional campaign to first build up then use Al Qaeda as a mercenary force to overthrow and destroy a series of nations, beginning with Libya, moving across North Africa and into nations like Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and eventually Iran. From there, NATO’s mercenary force would be on the borders of Russia and China ready to augment already Western-backed extremists in the Caucasus and Xinjiang regions.

In 2011, geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley in his article, “The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq,” noted that the US strategy was to:

…use Al Qaeda to overthrow independent governments, and then either Balkanize and partition the countries in question, or else use them as kamikaze puppets against larger enemies like Russia, China, or Iran.

Dr. Tarpley would also note in 2011 that:

One of the fatal contradictions in the current State Department and CIA policy is that it aims at a cordial alliance with Al Qaeda killers in northeast Libya, at the very moment when the United States and NATO are mercilessly bombing the civilian northwest Pakistan in the name of a total war against Al Qaeda, and US and NATO forces are being killed by Al Qaeda guerrillas in that same Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of war. The force of this glaring contradiction causes the entire edifice of US war propaganda to collapse. The US has long since lost any basis in morality for military force.

In fact, terrorist fighters from northeast Libya may be killing US and NATO troops in Afghanistan right now, even as the US and NATO protect their home base from the Qaddafi government.

Indeed, the very terrorists NATO handed the entire nation of Libya over to, are now allegedly prime targets in Syria and Iraq. The “pro-democracy rebels” of 2011 are now revealed to be “ISIS terrorists” with long-standing ties to Al Qaeda.

US Long-Planned to use Al Qaeda as Mercenaries 

Not even mentioning the fact that Al Qaeda’s very inception was to serve as a joint US-Saudi mercenary force to fight a proxy war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, the terrorist organization has since played a central role in the Balkans to justify NATO intervention there, and as a divisive force in Iraq during the US occupation to blunt what began as a formidable joint Sunni-Shia’a resistance movement.

In 2007, it was revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh that the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia were conspiring to use Al Qaeda once again, this time to undermine, destabilize, and destroy the governments of Syria and Iran in what would be a regional sectarian bloodbath.

Hersh would report (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Hersh would note that Iran was perceived to be the greater threat and therefore, despite a constant barrage of propaganda claiming otherwise, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates were “lesser enemies.” Even in 2007, Hersh’s report would predict almost verbatim the cataclysmic regional sectarian bloodbath that would take place, with the West’s extremists waging war not only on Shia’a populations but also on other religious minorities including Christians.

His report would note:

Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites.

And this is precisely what is happening, word for word, page by page – everything warned about in Hersh’s report has come to pass. In 2011, geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley and others would also reiterate the insidious regional campaign Western policymakers were carrying out with Al Qaeda terrorists disguised as “rebels,” “activists,” and “moderate fighters” for the purpose of arming, funding, and even militarily intervening on their behalf in attempts to effect regime change and tilt the balance in the Middle East and North Africa region against Iran, Russia, and China.

CNN’s attempt to explain why ISIS is “suddenly” in Libya is one of many attempts to explain the regional rise of this organization in every way possible besides in terms of the truth – that ISIS is the result of multinational state sponsored terrorism including the US, UK, EU, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel as its chief backers.

NATO Handed ISIS Libya, Wants to Hand ISIS Syria

Inexplicably, amid allegedly fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the United States now claims it must first overthrow the Syrian government, despite it being the only viable, secular force in the region capable of keeping ISIS and its affiliates in check. CNN, in an article titled, “Sources: Obama seeks new Syria strategy review to deal with ISIS, al-Assad,” would report:

President Barack Obama has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. officials and diplomats tell CNN.

Neither CNN, nor the politicians it cited in its article were able to articulate just why removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power would somehow diminish the fighting capacity of ISIS. With CNN’s recent article on ISIS’ gains in Libya despite US-led NATO regime change there, after decades of Libyan leader Qaddafi keeping extremists in check, it would appear that NATO is once again attempting not to stop Al Qaeda/ISIS, but rather hand them yet another country to use as a base of operations.

The goal is not to stop ISIS or even effect regime change in Syria alone – but rather hand Syria over as a failed, divided state to terrorists to use as a springboard against Iran, then Russia and China.

Clearly, ISIS’ appearance in Libya negates entirely the already incomprehensible strategy the US has proposed of needing to first depose the Syrian government, then fight ISIS. The Syrian government, like that of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, is the only effective force currently fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda’s many other franchises operating in the region. Deposing the government in Damascus would compound the fight against sectarian terrorists – and the West is fully aware of that. Therefore, attempts to topple the secular government in Damascus is in every way the intentional aiding and abetting of ISIS and the sharing in complicity of all the horrific daily atrocities ISIS and its affiliates are carrying out.

The morally bankrupt, insidious, dangerous, and very genocidal plans hatched in 2007 and executed in earnest in 2011 illustrate that ISIS alone is not the greatest threat to global peace and stability, but also those that constitute its multinational state sponsors. The very West purportedly defending civilization is the chief protagonist destroying it worldwide.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently announced that Russia will no longer import GMO products, stating that the nation has enough space, and enough resources to produce organic food.

If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” –Medvedev

Russia has been considering joining the long list (and continually growing) of anti-GMO countries  for quite some time now. It does so after a group of Russian scientists urged the government to consider at least a 10-year moratorium on GMOs to thoroughly study their influence on human health.

“It is necessary to ban GMOs, to impose moratorium (on) it for 10 years. While GMOs will be prohibited, we can plan experiments, tests, or maybe even new methods of research could be developed. It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals. Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped. We should stop it from spreading. ” – Irina Ermakova, VP of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety

(RIA Novosti/Ekaterina Shtukina)

A number of scientists worldwide have clearly outlined the potential dangers associated with consuming GMOs. I recently published an article titled “10 Scientific Studies Proving GMOs Can Be Harmful To Human Health,” you can read that in full here.  These are just a select few out of hundreds of studies that are now available in the public domain, it seems that they continue to surface year after year.

Russia completely banning GMOs, such a large, developed nation is a big step forward in creating more awareness with regards to GMOs. Ask yourself, why have so many nations banned GMOs and the pesticides that go with them? It’s because evidence points to the fact that they are not safe, they are young, and we just don’t know enough about them to safely consume them. They just aren’t necessary, so why produce them?

Within the past few years, awareness regarding GMOs has skyrocketed. Activism has played a large role in waking up a large portion of Earths population with regards to GMOs. People are starting to ask questions and seek answers. In doing so, we are all coming to the same conclusion as Russia recently came to.

In February, the State Duma introduced a bill banning the cultivation of GMO food products. President Putin ordered that Russian citizens be protected from GMOs.  The States Agricultural Committee has supported the ban recommendation  from the Russian parliament, and the resolution will come into full effect in July 2014.

This just goes to show what we can do when we come together and demand change and share information on a global scale. Change is happening, and we are waking up to new concepts of our reality every day. GMOs are only the beginning, we have many things to rid our planet of that do not resonate with us and are clearly unnecessary. We are all starting to see through the false justifications for the necessity of GMOs, no longer are we so easily persuaded, no longer do we believe everything we hear and everything we’re presented with. Lets keep it going!

Sources:

http://rt.com/news/russia-import-gmo-products-621/

http://rt.com/news/gmo-ban-russian-scientists-293/

http://www.gmo-free-regions.org/gmo-free-regions/russia/gmo-free-news-from-russia/news/en/28934.html

Unfree Trade Agreements: The Abdication of Democracy

November 19th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

Dogmas, by their nature, are impervious to the fresh air of questioning revision. The dogma of free trade, much to the misfortune of non-corporate beings, is all to representative of this.  As Richard Denniss points out, “Like buying a house, it’s easy to get a free trade agreement if you don’t care what you get or how much you pay.”[1]  The principle of swapping a technology or a product one has with another country that does not have it, is a dandy thing, provided it takes place in the theorised control room of an economist’s vacuous world.  The legal and politics side of things tends to be left danglin, if, indeed, it is considered at all.

The cult of free trade was given voice in the UK Prime Minister’s recent address to the Australian parliament.  While David Cameron was also talking about subtracting freedoms from various UK citizens returning back from Syria and Iraq, he was also having a good go at sentiments of “protectionism”. “One of the greatest threats to our values and to our success is the spectre of protectionism.”[2]  We should resist it in “the modern integrated global economy”.

To that end, Cameron and other EU leaders are mulling over plans for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which, he has decided, “is a deal we want”.[3]  The EU member states engaged the European Commission to start negotiating a free trade agreement with the United States in June 2013.

To that end, Cameron is dismissive about domestic erosions and challenges provided by such arrangements.  “Some people argue in some ways that this could damage the NHS.  I think that is nonsense. It’s our National Health Service. It’s in the public sector, it will stay in the public sector.”  How could those flat-earth theorists assume that Britain’s NHS could be weakened by such a deal?  Len McCluskey of the Unite union certainly thinks so, suggesting that the NHS is “being taken over by Wall Street”.[4]

He has a point.  The Health and Social Care Act 2012 increased the number of private providers in the NHS system.  Since coming into force, the act has seen 70 percent of health services put out to private tender.  Suggesting that the NHS is an untouchable creature in a world of back door and overt privatisation is itself the nonsense behind the supposedly beneficial effects of a free trade arrangement.  Medical policy invariably spills over into corporate conduct, or corporate recalcitrance, if the market line refuses to play with the political one.  McCluskey’s point is simple: exempt it, or there will be union inspired blood.

Nor is McCluskey alone.  The EU itself is examining responses to a consultation on problems with the TTIP, garnering 149,399 online contributions, with 38.4 percent coming from the UK alone.[5]  In the words of the Consultation, completed on July 13 this year, “The key issue on which we are consulting is whether the EU’s proposed approach for TTIP achieves the right balance between protecting investors and safeguarding the EU’s right and ability to regulate in the public interest.”[6]

It is questionable whether the balance struck can ever be appropriate in such cases.  For one, it vests a barnstorming power in the hands of foreign investors if they feel the government in question has broken rules contrary to company interests.  This process is given a legal veneer of an international tribunal, which sounds much like validating an act of international pilfering.  The language in the agreement is never framed so bluntly – diplomats have termed this “investment protection” and “Investor-to-state dispute settlement” or ISDS.

George Monbiot suggests that this is a crumpling blow to the credentials of democracy, which goes to show that free trade deals of monumental proportions tend to undermine the role of parliament and the voices of the voting public.  They also suggest the abdication of public duty, where parliamentarians become empty projections and silent underminers of the public interest.  “Remember the referendum about whether we should create a single market with the United States?  You know, the one that asked whether corporations should have the power to strike down our laws?  No, I don’t either.”[7]

Such arrangements are becoming habitual, forming the euphemistic argot of political discourse.  Australia’s Abbott government is rushing pen to paper regarding a host of free trade agreements that will have similar effects.  Such pacts are being pursued with only the slightest murmur of protest, largely because the policy toffs are convinced that free trade is actually free of cost.  One such example is the impeding FTA with Beijing, lauded on the just concluded visit to Australia by President Xi Jinping.

Only the Greens have ventured to remind legislators that Chinese private and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) stand to profit in legal actions against the Australian government over ISDS provisions.  According to Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens spokesman for Trade, “This is a new era in Australian governance.”  The ISDS provisions “opened a Pandora’s Box that will leave a lasting legacy of doubt over the Australian Parliament’s ability to make laws in the national interest without fear of litigation from a Chinese investor.”[8]

Canberra’s enthusiasm in this regard is misplaced, given the consequences of allowing the corporate beast into Parliament’s sacred domain.  Tobacco giants Philip Morris used the trade agreement between Hong Kong and Australia in 2011 to target Canberra’s decision that cigarettes be sold in plain packets marked by morbidly graphic health warnings.  Their argument was that the tobacco maestros be awarded money for diminishing the value of their trademarks.[9]  Philip Morris spokeswoman, Anne Edwards, anticipated “that the compensation would amount to billions.”

Cameron is simply dismissive of such cases, choosing to consider trade deals as minor adjustments with major benefits.  “We’ve signed trade deal after trade deal and it’s never been a problem in the past.”  Trade deals are one thing, but the free trade deal is a legal creature that seeks to transform domestic markets with a heavy corporate code fanged by legal sanctions. It removes citizens from the process, and privileges companies as private persons who can raid public purses when their products fall foul of domestic legislation.  Like similar agreements on the tables, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, it takes place in hermetic conditions.  There is minimal scrutiny.

The final unedifying feature of such pacts is that they tend to be so loaded with such heavy exemptions and dispensations, they sink.  Running into hundreds of pages, they are fodder for specialists in international trade litigation, putting pay to Cameron’s fantasy that trade “enables the specialisation that can enrich us all.”  Lawyers and companies muse even as domestic political systems vanish.  Be wary, then, of the hefty costs of any free trade agreement.

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

Notes:

For years, the corporate media was reluctant to admit that it even existed. But the special court system designed to handle vaccine injury cases — and ultimately sweep them under the rug as quickly as possible — has hit the mainstream news for its failure to adequately and propitiously compensate families of vaccine-injured children.

An Associated Press (AP) investigation has revealed that many cases evaluated through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) leave families hanging, sometimes for years or even decades. During this time, injured parties suffer without the support and financial assistance that they need to survive, and that they deserve under the program.

After conducting hundreds of interviews and analyzing nearly 15,000 vaccine injury cases, AP investigators determined that the vaccine court system is overloaded with cases that aren’t being paid out in a timely manner. And less than 5 percent of these cases are being resolved within the 240-day resolution period.

“A system intended to speed help to vaccine-injured Americans has instead heaped additional suffering on thousands of families,” explains the AP report. “Most non-autism cases take at least two and a half years, with the average case length more than three years, not including cases unresolved at the end of 2012. Hundreds have surpassed the decade mark. Several people died before getting any money.”

Vaccine attorneys get paid even if their cases lose

Part of the problem is that, unlike typical civil court cases, vaccine court cases do not have to rule in favor of the plaintiffs for vaccine attorneys to get paid. Because of this, the vaccine court system is clogged with cases, some of which lack even basic evidence of harm caused by vaccines — who cares when you’re getting paid, right?

Some vaccine attorneys also intentionally over-bill for their time since they receive payments directly from the government, a.k.a. taxpayers, rather than plaintiffs. This is necessary since, technically speaking, the vaccine injury court is an illegal kangaroo court designed to shield vaccine manufacturers from liability. But it also leaves wide open the potential for fraud.

Government stacks defense with pro-jab shills to avoid public skepticism of vaccines

Another problem is who the government brings in to defend vaccine injury cases. According to the AP, federal “doctors” are concerned about one thing and one thing only: promoting a positive public perception of vaccines, and avoiding any admissions that might cast doubt about their safety.

This is obviously a huge conflict of interest when navigating vaccine injury cases, as the government is more prone to declare a vaccine safe, and thus keep the vaccination rate high, rather than admit that a vaccine caused an injury and risk seeing vaccination rates decrease. As a result, many vaccine injury cases end up being settled, effectively neutralizing liability for the government and the vaccine manufacturers it represents.

“The system is not working,” said Richard Topping, a former U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) attorney who used to handle vaccine injury claims but has since resigned citing perpetual disinterest among his superiors to try to fix any of these problems. “People who need help aren’t getting it.”

The very existence of the vaccine court, which the AP admits was created to shield vaccine companies from liability and jury verdicts, proves that vaccines injure and kill children. The AP even uses the phrase “vaccine-injured Americans” to describe those for whom the court exists. And yet the basic premise is still that vaccines are safe and necessary, and thus the system operates in defense of this, at the expense of public health.

Sources:

http://hosted.ap.org

http://abcnews.go.com

http://www.ageofautism.com

Currently trending alongside Kim Kardashian’s photo shoot, a Missouri declaration of a State of Emergency, and Charles Manson’s marriage, is the news of the recent alleged beheading of an American citizen by Western-backed ISIS terrorists in Syria.

The latest beheading video to allegedly emerge from ISIS reportedly shows the beheading of Peter Kassig, an “American aid worker” who was captured by the Western-backed fundamentalists in October of last year. Kassig was an Iraq veteran and former U.S. Army Ranger who later became an “aid worker” in Lebanon and Syria, according to USA Today.

Kassig’s family states that, while overseas, Kassig converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdul Rahman.

The video, which was released Sunday, is over 15 minutes long and contains a rather long propaganda buildup before showing the beheading of 12-18 Syrian soldiers.

The beheading of the Syrian soldiers, it should be noted, has received virtually no reporting except for an occasional line or two describing the lead up to Kassig’s beheading.

Kassig’s beheading is not actually shown, however. Toward the end of the video, “Jihadi John,” the ISIS member who has acted as the star of the series of beheading videos is pictured standing next to a severed human head which he claims belonged to Kassig.

If Kassig was indeed beheaded then his murder is without a doubt a tragedy and an act of savage brutality. But there is one thing lacking in the narrative provided by Western governments and their media mouthpieces regarding the beheading – evidence.

Unlike the staged Foley beheading which attempted to depict, albeit poorly, the first few moments of a decapitation, the Kassig beheading video is not a beheading video at all, but simply footage of a man standing next to a severed head that he claims belonged to Peter Kassig.

With the exception of Jihadi John’s word, we are left with nothing with which to confirm that the severed head was actually Kassig’s. Considering the track record of Western governments and the recent trail of beheading videos, however, we would be well within reason to question the veracity of the claims.

At this point, it is impossible for us to know whether or not the head shown in the video truly belonged to Kassig or even if Kassig was actually beheaded. Likewise, we cannot know for sure whether or not the victims preceding Kassig were truly beheaded, although we can say for sure that the depiction of the beheading shown on film was entirely staged.

What we do know, however, is that Kassig and his predecessors are being used for open propaganda purposes. In fact, all of the beheadings that have transpired beginning with the Foley video have been so conveniently timed to the needs and desires of the NATO agenda so as to preclude any reasonable suggestion that the videos themselves were anything other than propaganda.

Remember, when the United States was “debating” the idea of becoming more directly involved in Syria and Iraq, particularly in the form of bombing civilian and government infrastructure and openly funding the death squads they claim to be fighting, a video allegedly showing the beheading of James Foley was released resulting in widespread anger and indignation amongst a general public who were temporarily yanked away from reality TV long enough to view it.

Likewise, when the British seemed hesitant to directly join the imperialist bombing coalition, a video was released allegedly showing the beheading of a British citizen, Alan Henning, also causing widespread indignation amongst the public and shoring up support for British military involvement in Iraq and Syria.

When the French seemed hesitant to join the bombing, ISIS releases a third video of an alleged beheading of a Frenchman, which provided justification for French involvement.

Such convenient timing was also present when NATO was considering “targeted airstrikes” in Syria but were concerned about Assad’s sophisticated air defense systems. Shortly thereafter, ISIS managed to capture Taqba air base in Raqqa, Syria, eliminating the air defense systems in the entirety of the eastern part of the country.

This timing was present yet again when NATO once again began calling for a “No-Fly Zone,” “Buffer Zone,” or “Safe Zone.” Interestingly enough, during the debate over the possibility of the establishment of a “no-fly zone,” even members of Congress were beginning to question why a “no-fly zone” would be necessary in order to combat ISIS since ISIS had no air force. Conveniently, ISIS immediately seized a number of planes left over in the Syrian air fields and allegedly began flying them off the runway.

Either ISIS has the absolute dumbest public relations personnel in world history, or the actions of ISIS are directly controlled by NATO for propaganda, geopolitical, and military purposes. The timing of ISIS’ actions – always in line with the goals of the NATO faction of the world oligarchy – is clearly the result of the latter.

In addition, it is also important to point out that Kassig’s “humanitarian aid work” involves his founding of Special Emergency Response and Resistance, an NGO that is allegedly focused on “delivering aid” to areas that “larger organizations could not operate in.” Remember that NGOs havenot only been responsible for a significant portion of the organization of death squads but also for the provision of medical help and other logistical assistance need to organize and facilitate the destabilization campaign.

That being said, one must mention that the SERR has received a large portion of funding from the NGO Conscience International, an international “aid” organization that receives its own funding from the National Endowment for Democracy.

It is also important to point out that Kassig himself has expressed sentiment that some would consider sympathetic to death squad fighters in Syria. In an interview with Syria Deeply, Kassig stated

Sometimes rebels want to know if I will help train people or if I will join the fight. I always tell them no. It is of course not that I do not feel terrible for the civilians that are suffering in Syria, but… for an American young man in my position that would be foolish, and regarded as such by pretty much everyone, including the opposition.

I can either be in a position to deliver tens of thousands of dollars of antibiotics for women and children, or I can be another young man with a gun.

Noting that he feels “terrible for the civilians that are suffering in Syria” and that his choices are essentially providing medicine or picking up a gun and joining the rebels, Kassig’s political leanings are relatively clear in that they express obvious sympathy for the death squads painted as “rebels” by the Western media.

Thus, one must ask the question of whether or not Kassig was yet another agent of Western destabilization working under the guise of an NGO and “aid organization.” From what little information is available, it appears that this possibility has fairly high odds of being true.

In the end, this video, which has been used to browbeat the American people and drum up support for yet another foreign military adventure, is set to be used to justify Western military invasion against Syria in the near future. Real or otherwise, it is hoped that the American people do not allow primitive propaganda to fool them into rushing to war on yet another occasion.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

Cancer Deaths Double in Argentina’s GMO Agribusiness Areas

November 19th, 2014 by Lawrence Woodward

Sharply increased levels of crop spraying in Argentina’s most intensively farmed areas have resulted in a public health disaster, writes Lawrence Woodward, with large increases in cancer incidence. And it’s all the result of the widespread use of GMO crops engineered for herbicide resistance.

A report by the Ministry of Health in Córdoba, Argentina reveals that deaths from cancerous tumours are double the national average in areas where genetically engineered crops are grown and agro-chemicals are used.

This comprehensive report documented five years of information on cancer cases in the province.

It provides more evidence that, far from being the miracle it is claimed to be, industrial, GMO driven cropping is turning into a public health hell.

The highest rate of death occurs in the ‘pampa gringa’ area, where most GMO crops are grown and most agrochemicals are used.

The ‘pampa gringa’ makes up the whole of the east of Córdoba province and is its premier agricultural region.

The provincial average for cancer deaths is 158 per 100,000 inhabitants but in four of the ‘pampa gringa’ departments the death rates are much higher – ranging from 216 to nearly 230.

Other intensive agriculture regions in Córdoba also have cancer deaths well above the provincial and national average – ranging from 180-201 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Cancer multiplying ‘as never before’ through pesticide link

The ‘Report on Cancer in Córdoba 2004-2009‘ is the culmination of an official investigation and was prepared by the Provincial Tumour Registry and the Department of Statistics and Census.

But its recent publication has reignited criticism from doctors and researchers about the government delays and unwillingness to take action.

Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez of the University Network for Environment and Health (Reduas) said:

“What we have complained about for years was confirmed and especially what doctors say about the sprayed towns and areas affected by industrial agriculture. Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides.”

Dr. Fernando Manas of the Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Group at the National University of Rio Cuarto, is investigating the effect of agrochemicals. He doesn’t think the cancer cases in agricultural areas are a coincidence.

Researchers at Río Cuarto have studied the people of Córdoba for eight years and have confirmed, in fifteen scientific publications, that people exposed to pesticides suffer genetic damage and are more prone to cancer.

Manas points out that glyphosate – the herbicide that underpins most GMO cropping – and its major degradation product, AMPA have been detected in lakes, soils, and even in rainwater in these most affected regions.

Government and industry refuse to act

Damian Verzeñassi, a doctor and professor of social and environmental health at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Rosario, says:

“The study of Córdoba matches the surveys we conducted in eighteen industrial agriculture areas. Cancer has skyrocketed in the last fifteen years.”

He is scathing about the failure of government and industry to take preventative action:

“They keep demanding studies on something that is already proven and do not take urgent measures to protect the population. There is ample evidence that the agricultural model has health consequences, we are talking about a production model that is a huge public health problem.”

Avila Vasquez demands urgent government action to prohibit aerial spraying, ensure that no terrestrial applications are made within 1,000 meters of houses, and to prohibit the use of agro-chemicals and spraying machinery in urban areas.

But these could only be initial measures to curb the excessive and extreme use of pesticides which is blighting the health of Argentina.

The only real long term solution is to change the GMO driven, intensive, industrial agricultural system that Argentina and other countries have become wedded to and to put in place a genuinely sustainable, agro-ecological alternative.

Lawrence Woodward is founder and director of GM Education, where this article was originally published.

Sources:

http://gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2014/15506-cancer-deaths-double-where-gm-crops-and-agro-chemicals-used

http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/sociedad/3-249175-2014-06-23.html

The Missouri National Guard deployed to the St. Louis region on Tuesday, one day after Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency.

Military vehicles were seen in St. Louis City and in West County.

CERFP Enhanced Response Force Package assets were spotted in Chesterfield in West County. The vehicles are used for CBRNE events: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive events.

The Missouri Guard owns several of these vehicles and that’s what they chose to call up for the State of Emergency. About ten states own these vehicles, Missouri being one of them. The ten states correspond to the 10 FEMA regions. The program was funded by the Feds.

Hopefully, they will not actually need these vehicles.

As a national uprising grows with the approach of one-man rule, fissures within Haiti’s ruling clique began to appear this week, auguring tumult in the days ahead.

On Nov. 18, police fired on a massive march of anti-government protesters in Port-au-Prince, killing two and wounding four.

Thousands of demonstrators also marched in other Haitian cities including Aux Cayes, Jérémie, Petit-Goâve, Cap-Haïtien, and Jacmel, calling for the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to step down.

In Port-au-Prince, the demonstration stepped off at 10 a.m. and traveled through La Saline, along Rue Saint Martin to the Péan intersection in Belair, and then to the Delmas Road. But at Delmas 32, uniformed government forces – some say policemen, others say National Palace security agents, still others say pro-government thugs dressed as policemen – fired on the demonstrators, killing two men and wounding four others: Jocelyn Virgil, Réginald Sinace, Pétion Reynel, and Hérard Adner. The names of the two killed were not confirmed at press time.

The men who fired the fatal shots were in a jeep with government plates marked SE 02570 and a Toyota Land Cruiser.

The demonstration, which had been turning to go to the National Palace, dispersed after the shootings.

Significantly, and to the surprise of many, Kiko St. Rémy, Martelly’s brother-in-law, joined the marchers in the capital to demand the resignation of Lamothe, whom he accuses of corruption and ordering the arrest of about 20 demonstrators in the past month.

St. Rémy’s presence among the protestors reveals the power struggle now occurring between two cliques in the Martelly regime. The schism corresponds to the traditional rivalry between Haiti’s bourgeoisie and big landowners or grandon (often called, in reference to their armed expression, Macoutes), the two feuding sectors of Haiti’s ruling class over the past two centuries.

Dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who died on Oct. 4, was the first modern Haitian ruler to fuse the rival ruling groups into a “Macouto-bourgeoisie” during his reign from 1971 to 1986. He married a bourgeois princess, Michèle Bennett, and gave her family and sector lots of favors, primarily through promoting the growth of Haiti’s assembly industry.

But Baby Doc also kept a foot in the camp of his mother, Simone Ovide Duvalier, and the Duvalierist “dinosaurs,” who were partisans of his father François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, a true representative of grandon rule. Jean-Claude tolerated and took part in many of their feudal ways, like dipping into the millions of dollars in international development aid then being sent to Haiti by the U.S. government and its agencies like the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. This corruption is partly why Washington ditched Baby Doc in 1986.

Today, Martelly straddles the same divide, with a new but equally fragile version of Baby Doc’s “Macouto-bourgeois” alliance. Lamothe, his long-time business partner, is a pure bourgeois, trained in U.S. schools and management techniques. Lamothe, who built a telecommunications empire in Africa and Latin America, is a darling of the U.S. Embassy, and of U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White in particular.

On the other hand, Martelly’s wife, Sofia, is from the St. Rémy family, who are Gonaïves-based grandons. According to reliable sources close to the family, who wish to remain anonymous, Charles “Bébé” St. Rémy, Sofia’s father, used to be a lieutenant of famed Haitian drug trafficker Jean Eliobert Jasmé, known as ED-One. According to the sources, Kiko St. Rémy has taken over his father’s role as king-pin trafficker.

Brothers Gregory and Thierry Mayard-Paul are also part of the Macoute pole of the Martelly regime. When Lamothe became Martelly’s Prime Minister after the resignation of Garry Conille, Thierry was quickly pushed out of his post as Interior Minister in August 2012, having to settle for a more back-seat role, albeit with about the same salary, as one of Martelly’s legion of “advisors.”

Lawyer Gervais Charles, now an attorney for former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after previously serving as one for Martelly, says that his former boss “wants to establish a political dynasty.” The idea is to have Martelly pave the way for a Lamothe presidency in 2016, Lamothe a second Martelly presidency in 2021, and then Martelly a second Lamothe presidency from 2026 to 2031.

The principal obstacle to this scenario has been six senators in the Parliament – Moïse Jean-Charles (North), Wesner Polycarpe (North), Jean-Baptiste Bien-Aimé (Northeast), Francky Exius (South), John Joël Joseph (West) et Jean William Jeanty (Nippes) – who have withheld their vote on a rigged electoral law and electoral council that would ensure an election victory for Martelly’s candidates (what Haitians call a “selection”). Martelly has refused any compromise on the electoral law and council with opposition legislators during his three and a half years in power, leading to the current stand-off.

But the game of chicken comes to an end on Jan. 12, 2015, when the terms of another third of the Senate and all of the Deputies expire, thereby dissolving Parliament by default. From then on, Martelly has indicated, he will rule by decree, an outcome many say he has sought since the beginning of his term.

However, as the Kreyòl saying goes, “Ayiti se tè glise,” Haiti is slippery ground. Just as Martelly sees one-man rule within his reach, a popular uprising of disgust at his regime’s corruption and repression, which has been simmering and sputtering for years, is erupting.

Meanwhile, Lamothe has openly begun his presidential campaign on social media and in tours around Haiti, thereby alarming his Macoute sector rivals that they will soon become even more marginalized.

“For a revolution to take place, it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realize the impossibility of living in the old way and demand changes,” wrote Vladimir Lenin, the leader of Russia’s 1917 revolution. “For a revolution to take place, it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way.”

A conflict within the ruling class, like that which Lenin foretold and which is emerging in Haiti today, provides precisely the kind of historic opportunity for the masses to bring political change. Although popular and opposition forces have been kept down and off-balance until now by Martelly’s money, guns, and propaganda, the days and weeks ahead will tell whether the masses’ superior numbers can perhaps win the day.

Since 2006, the GEAB has analyzed the development and anticipated the next steps of what our teams have called, from the beginning, a “global systemic crisis”. No one can doubt the fact that we have really been in a “crisis” since 2008. That this “crisis” is “global” is also commonly accepted. But has the world really got the measure of the “systemic” dimension of this crisis? 

The visible part of this change of system on which everyone now agrees is the emergence of new very large international players challenging the world order established by the US during the collapse of the Soviet bloc. 

Thus, in the GEAB, for a long time we have been speaking of this strong trend of the world’s multipolarization demanding reform of the existing international authorities and/or, in case of failure on this point, inventing a new world governance (a process of invention in which we consider that Europe has an historic role to play given its unique experience of integrating state entities of different sizes and kinds).

But it’s another strong trend, the Internet, of which everyone will admit its deeply restructuring character, which beyond its contribution to the facilitation of trade and economies’ globalization, de facto connects the whole of humanity in one organic social body thanks to a network “system” profoundly different from the pyramid systems inherited from the 19th century which founded, yet always officially, our national, international and supranational socio-politico-institutional “systems” (1)

These two combined major trends helped to give an idea of what tomorrow’s world would look like: a global social networking body largely self organized and for which the institutional-political model of governance remained to be invented. One perceives from this statement the problem which confronts the world that the model will consist of small, flat, political coordination structures (2) integrated with human networks matching their administrative expertise (3).

But before this system is formalized, the challenge is to integrate these dynamics of the future with the old pyramid system… or get rid of it. Our team believes that the world is currently witnessing this combat: the tenets of empire versus the combination of mutually independent political entities, representative democracy versus direct organized citizen participation, pyramids versus networks, militarized colonization versus globalized regulated trade, national systems versus post-national ones, oil versus renewable energy, a cumbersome economy versus a digital one, banks versus financial flows, employment versus online professional activity, UN institutions versus the BRICS club, etc.

The players of the world before, mainly due to a complete misunderstanding of the motivating features of tomorrow’s society, currently fall back on all the classic tools of domination (finance, military, religion or ideology) to block the world’s “natural” evolution. This fight is doomed to failure, that is certain, but according to the speed at which these players blend in to the new style of organization, the damage inflicted on humanity could be considerable.

It’s in this landscape of the world’s systemic transformation that our team wanted to plant its usual analysis of recent news: China and the BRICS’ influence on economic and geopolitical news, the end of the Euro-Russian stalemate in the middle of the Ukrainian arsenal, nation-states’ heart-attack in Europe, hope of resurrection through the European level.

Chinese-style globalization resumes

And it works! Last month our analysis was of a world that had become Chinese. This month a number of international events show us what this fact changes in terms of global governance:

  • For the first time, the US has agreed to reduce its carbon emissions by 28% by 2025 as part of a US – Chinese agreement on global warming (4) . We note in this agreement that it is actually much more restrictive for the Americans than for the Chinese who are only committed to reverse the growth of their emissions in 2030! Even if it’s likely that Congress refuses to vote for such a strategic change of course, this agreement constitutes the first of its kind where bilateral negotiations involving the US are concluded to the other’s advantage. This agreement also incorporates a principle of reality: the Chinese emit 7 tonnes of CO2 each year whilst the Americans emit 16. For a long time, everyone has known that it was for the US to make a real effort; but for a long time the US has preferred to put forward cumulative emission figures for the whole of China with the real objective of using the environmental agenda to lobby against China’s development and the explosion of its oil consumption (likely to push prices too high).
  • Last week, the APEC summit held in Beijing on 8 – 10 November marked significant progress in all areas and China’s leading role in these dynamics (5) : the US-China environmental agreement which we have just mentioned, but also the broad liberalization of trade with agreements on visas, currencies, security, the environment and trade between the US and China, a free trade agreement between China and South Korea (though a strategic ally of the famous US “pivot” in Asia), calming elements in the territorial disputes between China and various South East Asian countries (the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam) where, in some cases, Shinzo Abe’s goodwill calmed things down. De facto, the globalization agenda has resumed, led by China this time, which changes everything.
  • On the sidelines of the APEC summit, this time its China and Canada agreeing on $2.5 billion in contracts and Yuan currency trades. If, last month, Europe and Russia had been the object of the same charm offensive by China, this month it was North America’s turn… with the difference that the Chinese didn’t need to go to them, it was the latter who went to China.
  • Even the ASEAN summit of 9-13 November in Burma, a minefield for the Chinese given the importance of the territorial disputes in the China-ASEAN relationship, enabled the confirmation of important positions for resolution, starting with the recognition of the Chinese legitimacy to call for bilateral settlement of these disputes (6) , a China-ASEAN friendship treaty, all helped along by a $20 billion loan from China…
  • The G20 summit the 15-16 November in Brisbane, Australia has the declared challenge of finally initiating a reform of the international organizations as evidence of its usefulness. The G20, as the representative defence walls of the 21st century world, will not survive a failure on this point. With this fully legitimate ultimatum, the BRICS thus take control of the G20 agenda which is seeing itself dragged into a search for a solution to the US Congress blockade over IMF reform in particular (ahead of giving the emerging nations and increased role and doubling its capital (7) ). The method of solving this blockade is even planned: a clever division of the reform objectives instead of a bloc reform project will allow their voting in by a majority and bypass the US right of veto. The challenge is there, as well as the solutions; let’s wager that even the G20 is likely to finally produce results under BRICS steering at the end of 2014.
  • As regards the WTO, there is India’s resounding victory which managed to impose its views in the negotiations of the Bali agreements. Without even any need to rewrite the agreement, India has seen its conditions of non-questioning its food security programme accepted and can sign the agreement. It must be said that the WTO’s survival depended on this agreement (8) .
  • As regards Iran, the Russians and Chinese, as well as the Germans, played a strong role in the negotiations to obtain an agreement on the 24 November finally allowing the deadlock to be broken, lifting sanctions, and allowing Iran to make its entry on the international scene… and to play the role which behooves it in Middle East pacification. We anticipate that, despite the difficulties (9) , agreement will be well and truly reached on the 24 November.

All this in just one month! The world seems to have restarted, led by the dynamics of the emerging nations. It’s multipolar, peaceful, open, and the West has its place there too.

Notes: 

(1) In this terminology we note that the nation-state always constitutes the final institutional-political reference point. 
(2) Whose democratic legitimacy remains to be invented. 
(3) By way of example, the European Community’s Secretariat for political coordination could be a small decentralized entity (made up of a handful of individuals who don’t even need to have a common workplace) working on a network to coordinate the implementation of the actions agreed within the framework of a legitimate, decision-making system (our aim here is to show how the system in 2030 would be different to the current one, not to give a picture of how it will be exactly). 
(4) Source : EUObserver, 12/11/2014 
(5) This article in the The Economist (15/11/2014), which follows the same lines as we do, is worth reading. 
(6) Sealing off US interventionism (especially) in this area. Source : Reuters,13/11/2014 
(7) Source : China Post, 09/11/2014 
(8) Source : Deccan Chronicle, 14/11/2014 
(9) The GEAB September issue in particular gave a detailed analysis of the importance of integrating Iran into the Middle East peace strategy. 

A new report by the Ministry of Health in Cordoba, Argentina, has documented a disturbing trend for those who live in areas where pesticide-intensive GM crops are grown — specifically, a dramatic spike in cancer deaths.

The report covered five years of collected data. The average cancer deaths in the province is 158 per 100,000 individuals. And yet, four of the “Pampa Gringa” districts have much higher death rates — between 216 and 230. “Pampa Gringa” is considered the premier agricultural region of the Cordoba province.

The Report on Cancer in Cordoba 2004-2009 is the official investigation which links the use of pesticides — especially glyphosate — to the staggering increase in cancer deaths.

‘Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides’

“What we have complained about for years was confirmed and especially what doctors say about the sprayed towns and areas affected by industrial agriculture. Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides,” said Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez of the University Network for Environment and Health, as reported by The Ecologist.

Dr. Fernando Manas of the Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Group at the National University of Rio Cuarto, agrees. He doesn’t believe that the increasing number of cancer cases in agricultural areas are a fluke.

After studying the population of Cordoba for eight years, researchers at Rio Cuarto have confirmed —in 15 scientific publications — that individuals exposed to pesticides have a much greater risk of genetic damage and cancer.

Manas notes that glyphosate — the herbicide used mainly on genetically modified crops — has shown up in samples from lakes, soils and rainwater.

Slow response from the government inflames scientists

According to the article “Cancer deaths double in Argentina’s GMO agribusiness areas,” Damian Verzenassi, a doctor and professor of social and environmental health at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Rosario, is livid about the failure of the government to take quick and effective action.

“The study of Cordoba matches the surveys we conducted in eighteen industrial agriculture areas. Cancer has skyrocketed in the last fifteen years. They keep demanding studies on something that is already proven and do not take urgent measures to protect the population. There is ample evidence that the agricultural model has health consequences, we are talking about a production model that is a huge public health problem.”

Suggestions on how to safeguard the public include immediately prohibiting aerial spraying, banning terrestrial pesticide applications that are within 1,000 meters of houses and discontinuing the use of agro-chemicals in urban areas.

But as Lawrence Woodward, author of the article and founder of GM Education, points out:

“[T]hese could only be initial measures to curb the excessive and extreme use of pesticides which is blighting the health of Argentina. The only real long term solution is to change the GMO driven, intensive, industrial agricultural system that Argentina and other countries have become wedded to and to put in place a genuinely sustainable, agro-ecological alternative.”

Article Sources:

http://www.theecologist.org

http://gmwatch.org

http://www.gmeducation.org

http://www.pagina12.com.ar

http://science.naturalnews.com

http://truthwiki.org

Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. Follow Carolanne on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Please note: this article by Carolanne Wright first appeared on Natural News.

Al Qaeda affiliates are suddenly now Islamic State (ISIS) affiliates, and entire groups of militants the US has been arming, funding, and training are “surrendering” to Al Qaeda, bringing along with them a large number of US weapons. Is this a failure of US foreign policy? Or is this simply a rhetorical means to explain away what appears to be an immense army of extremists the US is once again building up to direct at one of its enemies, just as it did in Afghanistan in the 1980’s? 

Al Qaeda Morphs into ISIS

In late September, just in time to aid the US in its fumbling justification for bombing Syria, terrorists allegedly beheaded a French tourist kidnapped in the North African nation of Algeria. The timing, as with previous ISIS executions, was impeccable, lending maximum propaganda value, not to the terrorist organization, but to the United States which has utilized each grisly murder as a means for direct and continued military intervention on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The BBC in their article, “French hostage Herve Gourdel beheaded in Algeria,” would report that:

The beheading, the spokesman says, is to “avenge the victims in Algeria… and support the caliphate” proclaimed by IS in Iraq and Syria.

Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) pledged allegiance to IS on 14 September.

Until then it had been known as part of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which grew out of an Algerian militant group and is now active across North and parts of West Africa.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, was directly associated with terrorist groups armed and backed by NATO in the 2011 invasion and bombardment of Libya in efforts to overthrow the government of Muammar Qaddafi in Tripoli.

In a 2007 West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) report and a 2011 CTC report, “Are Islamist Extremists Fighting Among Libya’s Rebels?,” AQIM is specifically mentioned as working closely with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and it was predicted most notably by geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley, that even before NATO began dropping bombs on Libya that by doing so, they would be thrusting not only LIFG into power, but empowering a regional network of extremists, including AQIM. AQIM’s presence shortly thereafter in northern Mali, flush with weapons from Libya and a new sense of purpose as well as the fact that AQIM continues to menace the region years later is the complete fulfillment of this prediction.

Both AQIM and LIFG are listed by the US State Department as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) but were in fact leading the fight against the Libyan government in 2011 with NATO weapons and air support. It would be France itself that would drop weapons into the country illegally to bolster their fighting capabilities during the conflict, and clearly, after the conflict both inside Libya’s borders and beyond them.

In 2011, the Guardian would report in its article, “Nato reviews Libya campaign after France admits arming rebels,” that:

Nato is reviewing the conduct of its military campaign in Libya after France admitted arming rebel fighters in apparent defiance of the UN mandate.

Besides the propaganda value of the September execution by AQIM terrorists now operating under the ISIS banner, the atrocity illustrates perfectly that ISIS itself is not a “new” threat, but rather a very old and familiar threat simply repackaged and marketed anew.

ISIS is clearly a conglomeration of existing terrorist organizations apparently from as far as North Africa to the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia and everything in between. In addition to AQIM, Al Nusra and many other extremist factions either allied with or fighting alongside what the US calls the Syrian opposition, are also affiliated with and fighting in support of ISIS. This is basically what Al Qaeda was, before what can only be described as a marketing gimmick “ISIS” was coined.

US Arms Extremists Openly Affiliated with Al Qaeda/ISIS  

Almost daily reports surface of ISIS obtaining weapon systems first handed over by the US and its allies to this “Syrian opposition.” The most recent were anti-tank missiles supplied to this opposition by the United States. The International Business Times would claim in its article, “Syria: Al-Nusra Jihadists ‘Capture US TOW Anti-Tank Missiles’ from Moderate Rebels,” that:

Weaponry supplied by the US to moderate Syrian rebels was feared to have fallen into the hands of jihadist militants affiliated to al-Qaida after clashes between rival groups.  

Islamist fighters with Jabhat al-Nusra seized control of large swathes of land in Jabal al-Zawiya, Idlib province, at the weekend, routing the US-backed groups the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SFR) and Harakat Hazm, activists said.  

Washington relied on SFR and Harakat Hazm to counter Isis (Islamic State) militants on the ground in Syria, complementing its air strikes.

This, however, is completely false. It was only in September that the Daily Beast would report in its article, “Al Qaeda Plotters in Syria ‘Went Dark,’ U.S. Spies Say,” that rebels armed by the United States, and in particular with the above mentioned anti-tank missiles, condemned US airstrikes on ISIS and Al Nusra. The Daily Beast would claim:

One Syrian rebel group supported in the past by the United States condemned the air strikes on Tuesday. Harakat Hazm, a rebel group that received a shipment of U.S. anti-tank weapons in the spring, called the airstrikes “an attack on national sovereignty” and charged that foreign led attacks only strengthen the Assad regime.The statement comes from a document, purportedly from the group, that has circulated online and was posted in English translation from a Twitter account called Syria Conflict Monitor. Several Syria experts, including the Brookings Doha Center’s Charles Lister, believe the document to be authentic.

Before the official statement, there were signs that Harakat Hazm was making alliances in Syria that could conflict with its role as a U.S. partner. In early Septemeber a Harakat Hazm official told a reporter for the L.A. Times: “Inside Syria, we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusra Front was going to battle us…But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”

Another falsehood emerging is why the weapons were handed over to this group in the first place. Originally, the missiles were given to the rebels to fight the Syrian government not ISIS terrorists, as mentioned by NPR in April of 2014.

Groups the US was arming fought alongside, if not directly under, the banner of Al Qaeda. Claims now that Harakat Hazm “surrendered” to US State Department-listed FTO Al Nusra are clearly lies.

It is only a matter of time before the claim “the rebels surrendered to Al Nusra” becomes “Al Nusra surrendered to ISIS.” The question will then be, how will the US manipulate the narrative once all that is left is Al Nusra, and it still refuses to effectively neutralize the organization and sanction its sponsors abroad.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The Swedish military has confirmed a “Russian” aircraft that entered Swedish airspace on Saturday was actually French. The Expressen newspaper had falsely reported a Russian plane was “a couple of kilometers on the wrong side of the border.”

The military plane actually turned out to be from France and Jesper Tengroth, a press officer for the Swedish military said they are now going to investigate what the plane was actually doing there. Speaking to The Local news website, he was unable to give any further details about the French aircraft and added the Expressen publication would, “have to take responsibility for their sources.”

The French Embassy in Stockholm says they are currently investigating the air violation. “I do not have any information right now. We are in contact with Paris to understand what is happening,” said Lionel Fabre, who is the embassy’s press officer, as reported by Expressen.

However, Janzen made no mention of the mix-up on his Twitter page, preferring to continue condemning Moscow for testing Europe’s air defenses.

The claims about a possible Russian violation of Swedish airspace came just a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin had appeared on German television to say that his country had not violated international airspace.

“Our exercises exclusively take place in international waters and international airspace,” he told the German broadcaster ARD.

Russia does send military patrols towards other nations, but the aircraft are instructed to stay in international airspace. NATO usually scrambles its fighter jets to shadow Russian planes, just as Russia does when NATO warplanes are spotted close to Russian borders.

Reports of Russian incursions into national airspace regularly appear in the media, but they are often not officially confirmed or are disproved later.

Even Washington – which doesn’t typically hesitate to accuse Russia of wrongdoing with little to no evidence – says Moscow complies with international law when flying close to American borders. The US can only say that it doesn’t see “the security environment as warranting international activity,” in the words of State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

The false allegations of a Russian plane entering Swedish airspace come just weeks after Stockholm believed a Russian submarine had strayed into Swedish waters, not far from the country’s capital.

Reports of a Russian distress signal and a grainy-picture were enough to deploy the navy, while the media concluded the vessel had to be a Russian submarine spooking the Scandinavian country. The whole operation set Sweden back to the tune of $2.8 million.

However, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, cited a Swedish Intel source who confessed there was no distress call.

Citing freedom of information requests and its own sources, the paper said Sweden’s signal intelligence agency knows nothing about the alleged distress calls, and registered no spikes in communication with Kaliningrad at the time.

“I’d be glad to read about that emergency call myself. But it didn’t happen, this information is incorrect,”the newspaper cites a source as saying.

A former self-described Al-Qaeda collaborator serving a life sentence in prison now says he wants to testify in court about what he claims to know about a Saudi Arabian prince’s alleged role in financing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen convicted in 2006 for charges related to his admitted role in the 9/11 attacks, wrote in a letter received this month by a federal court in Oklahoma that he wants to take the stand and explain supposed links between the terrorist plot and Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud.

According to a letter sent by the man known as the “20th hijacker” to the Oklahoma Western District Court dated October 23, 2014, the 46-year-old maximum security inmate says the prince assisted with his “Islamic terrorist activities in Norman” – a reference to the Midwestern town where Moussaoui received flight lessons in 2001, as did 9/11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi.

The prince financed Moussaoui’s own flight classes, he asserts, “and was doing so knowingly for Osama bin Laden.”

Zacarias Moussaoui (Reuters/Sherburne County Sheriffs Office)

Zacarias Moussaoui

“I am ready to testify about all the above and more in your court in an Open Hearing that I request,” he added.

But while his claim is being labeled “incredible” by the likes of the Associated Press, some critics are concerned that the allegations Moussaoui wants to make come from a convicted criminal with questionable credibility. Moussaoui was originally apprehended in August 2011 and charged with immigration violations, and federal authorities had him in custody as the 9/11 attacks unfolded. Shortly after, Moussaoui was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with six felony counts related to those events. He was sentenced to six life terms in prison in 2006, but an audio recording attributed to former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden reportedly dismissed connections between the individual and the infamous plot.

Last month’s letter is without any connection to current cases being considered in United States federal court. “However,” a magistrate judge wrote in response, “… the gist of Plaintiff’s complaint to be his desire to testify or be deposed regarding a long list of persons allegedly involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.”

According to that response from US Magistrate Judge Shon T. Erwin, though, Moussaoui’s claims – not withstanding his credibility – shouldn’t be considered in Oklahoma on account of venue.

“Even if his testimony pertains to acts that occurred at the same time he was taking flight classes in Norman, Oklahoma, there is no reason—at least not one apparent from his complaint — why he must testify in the Western District of Oklahoma,” the judge wrote. “His criminal prosecution took place in the Eastern District of Virginia, and the multi-district civil litigation for personal and commercial damages suffered by the 9/11 victims is pending in the Southern District of New York.”

Moussaoui writes that he already laid forth his claims concerning the Saudi prince in a deposition he provided recently pertaining to a compensation fund for the families of 9/11 victims.

Osama bin Laden.(Reuters / Handout)

Osama bin Laden.(Reuters / Handout)

“Even if he somehow got to the point where he could testify, there would be a credibility issue,” Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, told the Daily Mail“Would his testimony be valuable? That’s doubtful.”

Nevertheless, the paper also reports that in order to hear further about his allegations, federal attorneys have since met with Moussaoui at the Colorado facilities he’s slated to spend the rest of his life in.

Earlier this year, lawyers for Saudi Arabia insisted in court filings that the kingdom “had no role in the attacks of September 11, 2001,” and that the US government “has said often and vigorously that Saudi Arabia is an important ally in the fight against terrorism.”

Why Quantitative Easing (QE) May Lead to Deflation

November 19th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

“If [They're] Right, Everything The Fed Has Been Doing To Try To Stimulate The Economy Isn’t Just Useless — It’s Backward”

Preface: Financial experts have been debating since the start of the 2008 financial crisis whetherinflation or deflation is the bigger risk.   That debate is beyond the scope of this essay.  However, it might not be either/or. We might instead have “MixedFlation” … inflation is some asset classes and deflation in others.

Quantitative easing (QE) was supposed to stimulate the economy and pull us out of deflation.

But the third round of quantitative easing (“QE3″) in the U.S. failed to raise inflation expectations.

And QE hasn’t worked in Japan, either.  The Wall Street Journal noted in 2010:

Nearly a decade after Japan’s central bank first experimented with the policy, the country remains mired in deflation, a general decline in wages and prices that has crippled its economy.

***

The BOJ began doing quantitative easing in 2001. It had become clear that pushing interest rates down near zero for an extended period had failed to get the economy moving. After five years of gradually expanding its bond purchases, the bank dropped the effort in 2006.

At first, it appeared the program had succeeded in stabilizing the economy and halting the slide in prices. But deflation returned with a vengeance over the past two years, putting the Bank of Japan back on the spot.

So why didn’t quantitative easing work in Japan? Critics say the Japanese central bank wasn’t aggressive enough in launching and expanding its bond-buying program—then dropped it too soon.

***

Others say Japan simply waited too long to resort to the policy.

But japan has since gone “all in” on staggering levels of quantitative easing … and yet is still mired in deflation.

The UK engaged in substantial QE. But inflation rates are falling there as well.

And China engaged in massive amounts of QE.  But it’s also falling into deflation.

Indeed, despite massive QE by the U.S., Japan and China, there is now a worldwide risk of deflation.

So why hasn’t it worked?

The Telegraph noted in June:

The question is why the world economy cannot seem to shake off this “lowflation” malaise, even after QE on unprecedented scale by the US, Britain, Japan and in its own way Switzerland.

***

Narayana Kocherlakota, the Minneapolis Fed chief, suggested as far back as 2011 that zero rates and QE may perversely be the cause of deflation, not the cure that everybody thought. This caused consternation, and he quickly retreated.

Stephen Williamson, from the St Louis Fed, picked up the refrain last November in a paper entitled “Liquidity Premia and the Monetary Policy Trap”, arguing that that the Fed’s actions are pulling down the “liquidity premium” on government bonds (by buying so many). This in turn is pulling down inflation. The more the policy fails – he argues – the more the Fed doubles down, thinking it must do more. That too caused a storm.

The theme refuses to go away. India’s central bank chief, Raghuram Rajan, says QE is a beggar-thy-neighbour devaluation policy in thin disguise. The West’s QE caused a flood of hot capital into emerging markets hunting for yield, stoking destructive booms that these countries could not easily control. The result was an interest rate regime that was too lax for the world as a whole, leaving even more economies in a mess than before as they too have to cope with post-bubble hangovers.

The West ignored pleas for restraint at the time, then left these countries to fend for themselves. The lesson they have drawn is to tighten policy, hoard demand, hold down their currencies and keep building up foreign reserves as a safety buffer. The net effect is to perpetuate the “global savings glut” that has starved the world of demand, and that some say is the underlying of the cause of the long slump. “I fear that in a world with weak aggregate demand, we may be engaged in a futile competition for a greater share of it,” he said.

The Bank for International Settlements [the "central banks' central bank"] says the world is suffering from addiction to stimulus. “The result is expansionary in the short run but contractionary over the longer term. As policy-makers respond asymmetrically over successive financial cycles, hardly tightening or even easing during booms and easing aggressively and persistently during busts, they run out of ammunition and entrench instability. Low rates, paradoxically, validate themselves,” it said.

Claudio Borio, the BIS’s chief economist, says this refusal to let the business cycle run its course and to purge bad debts is corrosive. The habit of turning on the liquidity spigot at the first hint of trouble leads to “time inconsistency”. It steals growth and prosperity from the future, and pulls the interest rate structure far below its (Wicksellian) natural rate. “The risk is that the global economy may be in a deceptively stable disequilibrium,” he said.

Mr Borio worries what will happen when the next downturn hits. “So far, institutional set-ups have proved remarkably resilient to the huge shock of the Great Financial Crisis and its tumultuous aftermath. But could (they) withstand yet another shock?” he said.

“There are troubling signs that globalisation may be in retreat. There is a risk of yet another epoch-defining and disruptive seismic shift in the underlying economic regimes. This would usher in an era of financial and trade protectionism. It has happened before, and it could happen again,” he said.

The Economist reported last year:

Is QE deflationary? Yes, quite obviously so. Consider:

  • A central bank that is deploying QE is almost certainly at the zero lower bound.
  • QE will only help get an economy off the zero lower bound if paired with a commitment to higher future inflation.
  • If a central bank is deploying QE over a long period of time, that means it has not paired QE with a commitment to higher future inflation.
  • Prolonged QE is effectively a signal that the central bank is unwilling commit to higher inflation.
  • QE therefore reinforces expectations that economic activity will run below potential and demand shocks will not be completely offset.
  • QE will be associated with a general disinflationary trend.

Don’t believe me? Here is a chart of 5-year breakevens since September of 2012, when the Fed began QE3, the first asset-purchase plan with no set end date:

(The article then goes onto say that QE can be deflationary or inflationary depending on what else the central bank is doing.)

Michala Marcussen – global head of economics at Société Générale – believes that QE may be deflationary in the long run because:

Excess capacity is deflationary and the means to deal with it is to shut it down. Indeed, we expect China [which also engaged in massive QE] for now to exert deflationary pressure on the global economy.

***

Unproductive investment is by nature ultimately deflationary. This is a point also worth recalling when investing in paper assets fuelled by QE liquidity and not underpinned by sustainable economic growth.

Prominent economist John Cochrane thinks he knows why. As he explained last year:

Here I graphed an interest rate rise from 0 to 5% (blue dash)  and the possible equilibrium values for inflation (red). (I used κ=1 ρ=1 ).

As you can see, it’s perfectly possible, despite the price-stickiness of the new-Keynesian Phillips curve, to see the super-neutral result, inflation rises instantly.

***

Obviously this is not the last word. But, it’s interesting how easy it is to get positive inflation out of an interest rate rise in this simple new-Keynesian model with price stickiness.

So, to sum up, the world is different. Lessons learned in the past do not necessarily apply to the interest on ample excess reserves world to which we are (I hope!) headed. The mechanisms that prescribe a negative response of inflation to interest rate increases are a lot more tenuous than you might have thought. Given the downward drift in inflation, it’s an idea that’s worth playing with.

Bloomberg noted earlier this month:

Now, the Neo-Fisherites [including Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota] have been joined by a very heavy hitter — University of Chicago economist John Cochrane. In a new paper called “Monetary Policy with Interest on Reserves,” he explains a mechanism by which higher interest rates raise inflation. Unlike Williamson’s model, Cochrane’s model obtains a Neo-Fisherian result without appealing to fiscal policy. In fact, he finds that in some cases, raising interest rates can even stimulate the economy in the short term! He concludes succinctly:

The basic logic is pretty simple: raising nominal interest rates either raises inflation or raises real interest rates. If it raises real interest rates, it must raise consumption growth. The prediction is only counterintuitive because for so long we have persuaded ourselves of the opposite[.]

Cochrane has a simple explanation of the model’s key predictions on his blog. He hypothesizes that now that the Fed pays interest on the reserves that banks hold with the Fed, monetary policy will be even more Neo-Fisherian — i.e., even more perverse.

***

Cochrane’s arguments are based on simple equations that are at the heart of most modern macroeconomic models. If the Neo-Fisherites are right, then everything the Fed has been doing to try to stimulate the economy isn’t just useless — it’s backward.

Now, the overwhelming majority of empirical studies tell us that QE, and Fed easing in general, tends to raise inflation in the short term. But what if that’s at the cost of lower inflation in the long term? Japan has been holding interest rates at zero for many years, and its economy has been in and out of deflation. Massive QE has noticeably failed to make the U.S. hit its 2 percent inflation target. What if mainstream macroeconomics has it all upside down, and prolonged periods of low interest rates trap us in a kind of secular stagnation that is totally different from the kind Harvard economist Larry Summers talks about?

It’s a disquieting thought.

One of the main architects of Japan’s QE program – Richard Koo – Chief Economist at the Nomura Research Institute – explains that QE helps in the short-run … but hurts the economy in the long run(via Business Insider):

Initially, long-term interest rates fall much more than they would in a country without such a policy, which means the subsequent economic recovery comes sooner (t1). But as the economy picks up, long-term rates rise sharply as local bond market participants fear the central bank will have to mop up all the excess reserves by unloading its holdings of long-term bonds.

Demand then falls in interest rate sensitive sectors such as automobiles and housing, causing the economy to slow and forcing the central bank to relax its policy stance. The economy heads towards recovery again, but as market participants refocus on the possibility of the central bank absorbing excess reserves, long-term rates surge in a repetitive cycle I have dubbed the QE “trap.”

In countries that do not engage in quantitative easing, meanwhile, the decline in long-term rates is more gradual, which delays the start of the recovery (t2). But since there is no need for the central bank to mop up large quantities of funds, everybody is no more relaxed once the recovery starts, and the rise in long-term rates is far more gradual. Once the economy starts to turn around, the pace of recovery is actually faster because interest rates are lower. This is illustrated in Figure 2.

costs of qeIndeed, things which temporarily goose the economy in the short-run often kill it in the long-run … such as suppressing volatility.

Postscript:   Quantitative easing fails in many other ways, as well …

The original inventor of QE  – and the former long-term head of the Federal Reserve– say that QE has failed to help the economy.  Numerous academic studies confirm this.  And see this.

Economists also note that QE helps the rich … but hurts the little guy. QE is one of the main causes of inequality (and see this and this).    And economists now admit that runaway inequality cripples the economy.  So QE indirectly hurts the economy by fueling runaway inequality.

A high-level Federal Reserve official says QE is “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time”.  And the “Godfather” of Japan’s monetary policy admits that it “is a Ponzi game”.

The Rule of Lawlessness: The EU’s Mission to Kosovo

November 19th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

Foreign missions are ostensibly sent to monitor and correct perceived problems on the ground.  They are equipped with the language of appropriate righteousness, and the clothing of good will.  That, at least, is what the operation brief is meant to state.  Often, the language fades. 

The mission suffers metamorphosis.  Deals are done on the ground. Money changes hands. Favours are done.  It is not so much building Rome as becoming Rome that becomes important. Join what one cannot change – many local conditions simply resist transformation from the outside.

The EU’s rule of law mission in Kosovo, Eulex, was one such creation. It remains the EU’s biggest foreign crisis mission, despite a slimming operation that cut staff from 2,200 to 1,600. The Economist suggested, rather freely, that the deployment of Eulex in 2008 “delighted” Kosovars.  “Many hoped it would stamp out organised crime and corruption.”[1]  Certainly, the legal infrastructure on the ground proved sparse and susceptible to manipulation.  But the big fish were never going to enter Eulex’s nets. They were the political untouchables, at least without sufficient evidence for conviction.  The reputation of the group, as a result, waned.

Critics started gathering ammunition.  Andrea Capussela, formerly involved in the economic side of things in the EU’s policy in Kosovo, found Eulex indifferent, even timid, in getting the cores of corruption.  At worst, it proved craven.  The errors in the prosecution side of things started mounting.  Prominent local Kosovars, instead of facing a legal brief, found themselves in clover.

The prosecution process has also proven erratic.  Oliver Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb noted for efforts of reconciliation in the north of the province, has been indicted for war crimes allegedly committed against Albanians whilst being a “Bridge Watcher”.[2]  In contrast Azem Syla, close to Kosovo’s prime minister, had the whistle blown on him in 2009 as being the hand behind several killings.  The case is still being investigated by Eulex staff (The Economist, Nov 15).

Gabriele Meucci, the head of the mission, stuck to the high ground at a press conference in Pristina on October 30.  His staff were trying to “make Kosovo a better place for its people and their children… they deserve to do their work and go home at night to their families free from the suspicion of corruption.”[3]  He makes the point that Eulex cannot abide corruption, having a “zero tolerance” policy towards it.  It conducts 100 internal investigations a year, which one would think suggests that both the fruits and barrel are rotten.

The British investigator, Maria Bamieh, is convinced by it.  She has come out with some material on the mission, and it is not pretty.  Bamieh herself has done a stint of whistleblowing that has gotten her former superiors riled up, notably those happy to go home and night, spending time with their families free from the suspicion of corruption.   She claims that she “suffered victimisation” from that most unfortunate of bureaucratic creations: the second line manager. (To deal with one is a terror; two, a monstrosity.)

The lid was blown off with the obtaining of internal Eulex files by Kosovo’s leading daily, Koha Ditore, though the paper denies that Bamieh was the direct source of the leaked material. The files made truly dirty reading.  Close links between suspects in criminal cases and Eulex officials were noted.  Bamieh herself alleged that the former chairman of Eulex’s Assembly of Judges, Francesco Florit, and chief prosecutor Jaroslava Novotna, had endeavoured to shut down cases in return for cash in 2012 and 2013.  The money offered was far from paltry – Florit is alleged to have received 350,000 Euros for dropping the murder case in question.[4]  He denies doing so.

A rather dark turn for the worst were efforts on the part of Eulex to issue Koha Ditore reporter, Vehbi Kajtazi, with veiled threats when he went to speak to officials prior to publishing the expose. According to the paper’s editor-in-chief, “when he [Kajtazi] went to meet them all they wanted to talk about was how difficult life could become for him… to give him the message that if he published the story, he might face criminal prosecution” (EU Observer, Oct 30).

During the course of her employment, Bamieh faced an assortment of practices in Eulex, some of which she duly noted.  Bureaucracy, paradoxically, doesn’t necessarily become impersonal and cold over time. It can become intimate, almost incestuously so, provided it exudes a certain public morality, keeping up appearances, doing the right paperwork.  Friends appoint friends, and the familiar face becomes the reliable face.  The dangerous face is one who doesn’t play along, who decides, rather, to remind the organisation about its operating script.

It was obvious that Bamieh had to go.  She had done a bit too much pissing in an already polluted pool.  The cleaners were coming in – for her.  In being interviewed for her own position, Bamieh claimed that the officious line manager was on the panel.  There was no batting of eyelids – this had become the unquestioned pro-forma, but Bamieh objected.  She then faced two senior colleagues who worked closely with the line manager.  Other candidates of considerable quality were ignored in selection.  Such refuse is hard to shake.

Bamieh also fears good, old fashioned retribution.  She is on record to the Gazeta Express that a certain “N.C.” may be on to her “because I am exposing some data.  He is a cold-blooded killer.”  While such fears might be far fetched, it is certainly not a stretch to presume that a mission undertaken in the name of law becomes indignant when its failure to achieve it becomes public.  A rule of law mission, when it becomes indifferent to its own code, is hardly a body worth taking seriously by the locals.  This is the rule of money in envelopes, protection, and sweet deals.

As for Eulex, an investigation has commenced under the auspices of Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign-policy chief. It is not set to be wide reaching, and will have to face the likes of senior Eulex official, Jonathan Ratel, who is also said to be a master disruptor of internal reviews. Whatever is found will not detract from the harm already done.  Trials of such figures as Ivanovic may well be shrouded in doubt, though the President of the Board of Banja Luka assisting Serbs in Kosovo, Milorad Arlov is confident of an acquittal.[5]  As the rule of law withers, the question being asked now is who is being left out of the dock?

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

Notes

CIA Targeted Assassinations by Induced Heart Attack and Cancer

November 19th, 2014 by Global Research News

Published in 2010 by Signs of the Times, first posted on GR on June 27, 2013

by Press Core

In 1975, during the Church Committee hearings, the existence of a secret assassination weapon came to light. The CIA had developed a poison that caused the victim to have an immediate heart attack. This poison could be frozen into the shape of a dart and then fired at high speed from a pistol. The gun was capable of shooting the icy projectile with enough speed that the dart would go right through the clothes of the target and leave just a tiny red mark. Once in the body the poison would melt and be absorbed into the blood and cause a heart attack! The poison was developed to be undetectable by modern autopsy procedures.

Can you give a person cancer?

If cancer in animals can be caused by injecting them with cancer viruses and bacteria, it would certainly be possible to do the same with human beings!

In 1931, Cornelius Rhoads, a pathologist from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, purposely infects human test subjects in Puerto Rico with cancer cells; 13 of them died. Though a Puerto Rican doctor later discovers that Rhoads purposely covered up some of the details of his experiment and Rhoads himself gives a written testimony stating he believes that all Puerto Ricans should be killed, he later goes on to establish the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Fort Detrick Maryland (origin of the HIV/AIDS virus, the Avian Flu virus and the Swine Flu / A-H1N1 virus), Utah and Panama, and is named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, where he begins a series of radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients.

The answer to the question – Can you give a person cancer – is yes.  After nearly 80 years of research and development there is now a way to simulate a real heart attack and to give a healthy person cancer. Both have been used as a means of assassination. Only a very skilled pathologist, who knew exactly what to look for at an autopsy, could distinguish an assassination induced heart attack or cancer from the real thing.

Is death by heart attack, burst aneurysm, of cerebral hemorrhage a “natural cause”? Not if government agencies have found a way to influence your heart rate, blood pressure, or vascular dilatation. Neurological research has found that the brain has specific frequencies for each voluntary movement called preparatory sets. By firing at your chest with a microwave beam containing the ELF signals given off by the heart, this organ can be put into a chaotic state, the so-called heart attack. In this way, high profile leaders of political parties who are prone to heart attacks can be killed off before they cause any trouble. Jack Ruby died of cancer a few weeks after his conviction for murder had been overruled in appeals court and he was ordered to stand trial outside of Dallas – thus allowing him to speak freely if he so desired. There was little hesitancy in Jack Ruby killing Lee Harvey Oswald in order to prevent him from talking, so there is no reason to suspect that any more consideration would have been shown Jack Ruby if he had posed a threat to people in the US government who had conspired to murder the president of the United States – John F Kennedy.

Matt Simmons, an oil industry expert, was assassinated for turning whistle blower over the Obama administration coverup of the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Investment banker Matt Simmons, who died suddenly, was an energy industry insider and presidential adviser whose profile soared when he wrote that Saudi Arabia is running out of oil and world production is peaking. Simmons, 67, died at his vacation home in Maine. An autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office concluded Monday that he died from accidental drowning “with heart disease as a contributing factor.”

His 2005 best-selling book, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, brought him a wider audience. The book argued that Saudi Arabia vastly overstated the size of its oil reserves and that the world was on the verge of a severe oil shortage as the largest oil fields become depleted. This revelation is backed up by Iran. Iran knows the Middle East oil supply is quickly drying up and for that reason it is now focusing on building nuclear reactors. Once the oil runs out Iran will be the only country in the Middle East that will be energy self-sufficient. All of the other Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia will become Third World impoverished states.

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was also assassinated. He was found dead in the detention center at The Hague tribunal. Mr Milosevic faced charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged central role in the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo during the 1990s. He also faced genocide charges over the 1992-95 Bosnia war, in which 100,000 people died.

Milosevic wrote a letter one day before his death claiming he was being poisoned to death in jail. An autopsy verified his claim as it showed that Milosevic’s body contained a drug that rendered his usual medication for high blood pressure and his heart condition ineffective, causing the heart attack that led to his death.

Former MI6 agent Richard Tomlinson told reporters that he saw documents in 1992 that discussed assassinating Milosevic by means of a staged car accident, where the driver would be blinded by a flash of light and remote controlled brake failure enacted to cause the crash. This exact same technique was utilized for real in the murder of Princess Diana.

If Milosevic was murdered, who would ultimately be responsible? NATO.

Why NATO?

Because, though the ICTY (or ‘Hague Tribunal’) presents itself to the world as a UN body, NATO officials have themselves made clear, in public, that it really belongs to NATO. NATO appointed the prosecutors, and the judges who ruled out investigating any war crimes accusations against NATO. It follows that Slobodan Milosevic, who was a prisoner of the Hague Tribunal’s Scheveningen prison when he died, was a prisoner of NATO. NATO had both motive and opportunity to kill him.

In March 2002, Milosevic presented the NATO controlled Hague tribunal with FBI documents proving that both the United States government and NATO provided financial and military support for Al-Qaeda to aid the Kosovo Liberation Army in its war against Serbia. This didn’t go down too well at the Pentagon and the White House, who at the time were trying to sell a war on terror and gearing up to justify invading Iraq.

During Milosevic’s trial for war crimes NATO alleged that the Serbs had committed a massacre of Albanian civilians in the Kosovo town of Racak. Evidence presented in the court showed that NATO’s claim was a hoax. This is especially embarrassing because the allegation of a massacre at Racak was the excuse that NATO used to begin bombing the Serbs on 24 March 1999 (the carpet bombing were done by the United States Air Force -authorized by then president Bill and Hillary Clinton). Then NATO claimed that the Serbs had supposedly been murdering 100,000 Albanian civilians. However, NATO’s own forensics reported that they could not find even one body of an Albanian civilian murdered by Milosevic’s forces. The failure to find any bodies eventually led to NATO’s absurd claim that the Serbs had supposedly covered up the genocide by moving the many thousands of bodies in freezer trucks deep into Serbia (while Bill Clinton was carpet bombing the place) without leaving a single trace of evidence. But the Hague tribunal showed these accusations to be entirely fraudulent as well.

Milosevic made several speeches in which he discussed how a group of shadowy internationalists had caused the chaos in the Balkans because it was the next step on the road to a “new world order.”

During a February 2000 Serbian Congressional speech, Milosevic stated,

“Small Serbia and people in it have demonstrated that resistance is possible. Applied at a broader level, it was organized primarily as a moral and political rebellion against tyranny, hegemony, monopolism, generating hatred, fear and new forms of violence and revenge against champions of freedom among nations and people, such a resistance would stop the escalation of modern time inquisition. Uranium bombs, computer manipulations, drug-addicted young assassins and bribed of blackmailed domestic thugs, promoted to the allies of the new world order, these are the instruments of inquisition which have surpassed, in their cruelty and cynicism, all previous forms of revengeful violence committed against the mankind in the past.”

Evidence linking Milosevic to genocides like Srebrenica, in which 7,000 Muslims died, was proven to be fraudulent. In fact, Srebrenica was a ‘UN safe zone’, yet just like Rwanda, UN peacekeepers deliberately withdrew and allowed the massacre to unfold, then blamed Milosevic. Milosevic’s exposure of UN involvement in the Srebrenica massacre was another reason why tribunal transcripts were heavily edited and censored by NATO, and another contributing factor for NATO to murder him while he was in their custody.NATO’s Hague Tribunal was clearly a kangaroo court whose sole purpose was to convince ordinary people all over the world that NATO’s destruction of Yugoslavia was justified. Since NATO failed to show this in its own court (a total absence of evidence did make this difficult), there is indeed a powerful NATO motive to murder Milosevic – to prevent his acquittal. In this way, NATO can continue to claim that Milosevic was guilty, and nobody would begin to look into the mountain of evidence that showed that it was NATO leaders (particularly US president Bill Clinton) who committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Yugoslavia.

So many people have been done in by cancer at a convenient time in history that it is now time to ask the question “who is assassinating people by giving their target cancer or inducing a massive heart attack”? Who ordered the hits and why?

Mr. Charles Senseney, a CIA weapon developer at Fort Detrick, Maryland, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in September 1975 where he described an umbrella poison dart gun he had made. He said it was always used in crowds with the umbrella open, firing through the webing so it would not attract attention. Since it was silent, no one in the crowd could hear it and the assassin merely would fold up the umbrella and saunter away with the crowd.

Video footage of the assassination of John F Kennedy shows this umbrella gun being used in Dealey Plaza. Video evidence of the events of November 22, 1963 shows that the first shot fired on the fateful day had always seemed to have had a paralytic effect on Kennedy. His fists were clenched and his head, shoulders and arms seemed to stiffen. An autopsy revealed that there was a small entrance wound in his neck but no evidence of a bullet path through his neck and no bullet was ever recovered that matched that small size.

Charles Senseney testified that his Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick had received assignments from the CIA to develop exotic weaponry. One of the weapons was a hand-held dart gun that could shoot a poison dart into a guard dog to put it out of action for several hours. The dart and the poison left no trace so that examination would not reveal that the dogs had been put out of action. The CIA ordered about 50 of these weapons and used them operationally.

Senseney said that the darts could have been used to kill human beings and he could not rule out the possibility that this had been done by the CIA.A special type of poison developed for the CIA induces a heart attack and leaves no trace of any external influence unless an autopsy is conducted to check for this particular poison. The CIA revealed this poison in various accounts in the early 1970s. The CIA even revealed the weapon that fired those darts that induces a heart attack at a congressional hearing.

The dart from this secret CIA weapon can penetrate clothing and leave nothing but a tiny red dot on the skin. On penetration of the deadly dart, the individual targeted for assassination may feel as if bitten by a mosquito, or they may not feel anything at all. The poisonous dart completely disintegrates upon entering the target. The lethal poison then rapidly enters the bloodstream causing a heart attack. Once the damage is done, the poison denatures quickly, so that an autopsy is very unlikely to detect that the heart attack resulted from anything other than natural causes.

A former CIA agent disclosed that the darts were made of a frozen form of the liquid poison. She disclosed that the dart would melt within the target and would only leave a very tiny red dot at the entry point – the same type of small entrance wound that was found during the autopsy of John F Kennedy.For over 50 years assassinations have been carried out so skillfully as to leave the impression that the victims died from natural causes. Details of some of the techniques used to achieve this were brought to light in 1961 when professional KGB assassin Bogdan Stashinskiy defected to the West and revealed that he had successfully performed two such missions. In 1957 he killed Ukrainian emigré writer Lev Rebet in Munich with a poison vapor gun which left the victim dead of an apparent heart attack. In 1959, the same type of weapon was used on Ukrainian emigré leader Stepan Bandera, although Bandera’s death was never fully accepted as having been from natural causes.

Among the witnesses, important people and conspirators who might have been eliminated by induced heart attack and cancer are: Jack Rudy (died of a stroke due to an undiagnosed form of aggressive cancer, just weeks after he agreed to testify before Congress about the JFK assassination), Clay Shaw, J. Edgar Hoover, Earlene Roberts (Oswald’s land-lady), Marlyn Monroe, Slobodan Milosevic, Kenneth Lay (former CEO of ENRON – the largest political campaign contributor of George W Bush and Dick Cheney), Matt Simmons, Mark Pittman (a reporter who predicted the financial crisis and exposed Federal Reserve misdoings. Pittman fought to open the Federal Reserve to more scrutiny), Elizabeth Edwards (suddenly diagnosed with cancer while her husband was campaigning against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States.

During a campaign speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2007, Edwards called the War on Terrorism a slogan that was created for political reasons and that it wasn’t a plan to make the United States safe. He went further to compare it to a bumper sticker and that it had damaged the US’s alliances and standing in the world.), … enter here the names of every politically outspoken person, whistle blower or witness who died unexpectedly of a heart attack or who quickly died of an incurable cancer.

Global Research: Independent, Analytical, Essential

November 19th, 2014 by Global Research

Citizens across the globe are feeling the blade of austerity measures and corporate greed as they lose their jobs and their wages are reduced. Families worldwide are under increasing pressure as social services such as education are being eroded. We face an age of economic transformation, where the poor are becoming poorer and the rich are becoming richer. The middle class is shrinking and under increasing attack, too.

Global Research was ahead of the current and had alerted our readers about the coming financial crisis. We have brought forward analyses from leading experts on austerity measures and the global economic crisis. We have also offered all our members and readers a volume of collected essays, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century, presented by some of our best politico-economic analysts.

Global Research does not receive foundation money or any form of government or corporate support. This is how we maintain our independence and integrity. We need your support in whatever way you can provide it: it can be financial; it can be through re-posting our material and articles on social media pages or on your blogs or forwarding them to your friends, family, and colleagues; it can include buying books from our Online Store. If you already have copies of our books, how about picking one up for someone else?  This can help open someone’s eyes and educate them about some of the most important current issues facing our planet.

Like millions of average citizens across the world, Global Research has also felt the pressures of the economic hardship. If you can, we urge our readers to support Global Research. Every dollar helps.

Support independent media!

Donate online, by mail or by fax

Become a member of Global Research

Show your support by becoming a Global Research Member
(and also find out about our FREE BOOK offer!)

Browse our books, e-books and DVDs

Visit our newly updated Online Store to learn more about our publications. Click to browse our titles:

Join us online

“Like” our FACEBOOK page and recommend us to your friends!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest videos on global issues.

A note to donors in the United States:
Tax Receipts for deductible charitable contributions by US residents

Tax Receipts for deductible charitable contributions by US residents can be provided for donations to Global Research in excess of $400 through our fiscal sponsorship program. If you are a US resident and wish to make a donation of $400 or more, contact us at [email protected] (please indicate “US Donation” in the subject line) and we will send you the details. We are much indebted for your support.

The US led war against  the Islamic State is a big lie.

Going after ” Islamic terrorists”, carrying out a worldwide pre-emptive war to “Protect the American Homeland” are used to justify a military agenda.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a creation of US intelligence. Washington’s “Counter-terrorism Agenda” in Iraq and Syria consists in Supporting the Terrorists.  

The incursion of the Islamic State (IS) brigades into Iraq starting in June 2014 was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by the US, NATO and Israel.

The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism” 

The Islamic State is protected by the US and its allies. 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  Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map below). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, CF-18) it would have been  -from a military standpoint-  a rapid and expedient surgical operation  

In this article, we address 26 concepts which refute the big lie.  Portrayed by the media as a humanitarian undertaking, this large scale military operation directed against Syria and Iraq has resulted in countless civilian deaths.

It could not have been undertaken without the unbending support of  the Western media which has upheld Obama’s initiative as a counter-terrorism operation.  

THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF AL QAEDA

1. The US has supported Al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations for almost half a century since the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. 

2. CIA training camps were set up in Pakistan.  In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 jihadists from 43 Islamic countries were recruited by the CIA to fight in the Afghan jihad.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.”

3. Since the Reagan 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)

4. Jihadist textbooks  were  published by the University of Nebraska. “. “The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings”

5. Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman and founder of Al Qaeda was 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 trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.

Al Qaeda was not behind the 9/11 Attacks. September 11, 2001 provided a justification for waging a war against Afghanistan on the grounds that Afghanistan was a state sponsor of terrorism, supportive of Al Qaeda. The 9/11 attacks were instrumental in the formulation of the “Global War on Terrorism”.

THE ISLAMIC STATE (ISIL)

6. The Islamic State (ISIL) 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).

China unlikely to join Obama's anti-ISIS coalition: Report

7. The ISIL brigades were involved in the US-NATO supported insurgency in Syria directed against the government of  Bashar al Assad.

8.  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.)

9.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.

10. Western military specialists on contract to the Pentagon have trained the 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)

11. The ISIL’s practice of beheadings is part of the US sponsored terrorist training programs implemented in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

12. Recruited by America’s ally, a large number of ISIL mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISIL. Saudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades. 

13. Israel  has supported  the ISIL and Al Nusrah brigades out of the Golan Heights.

Jihadist fighters have met Israeli IDF officers as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu. The IDF top brass tacitly acknowledges that “global jihad elements inside Syria” [ISIL and Al Nusrah] are supported by Israel. See  image below:

“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″

Inline images 1

SYRIA AND IRAQ

14 The ISIL are the foot soldiers  of the Western military alliance. Their unspoken mandate is to wreck havoc and destruction in Syria and Iraq, acting on behalf of their US sponsors.

15. US Senator John McCain has met up with jihadist terrorist leaders in Syria. (see picture right)

16  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.

17. US and allied bombings are not targeting the ISIL, they are bombing the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria including factories and oil refineries.

18.  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.

THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM (GWOT)

19. “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.

20 U.S. sponsored Al Qaeda terror brigades (covertly supported by Western intelligence) have been deployed in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Yemen.

original

America’s “War on Terrorism” By Mchel Chossudovsky

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.

21 Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) (supported by NATO in 2011),  Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),  Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in Indonesia,  among other Al Qaeda affiliated groups are supported covertly by Western intelligence.

22. The US is also supporting Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. The underlying objective is to trigger political instability in Western China.

Chinese jihadists are reported to have received “terrorist training” from the Islamic State “in order to conduct attacks in China”. The declared objective of these Chinese-based jihadist entities (which serves the interests of the US)  is to establish a Islamic caliphate extending into Western China.  (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, Chapter 2).

HOMEGROWN TERRORISTS

23 The Terrorists R Us:  While the US is the unspoken architect of the Islamic State,  Obama’s holy mandate is to protect America against ISIL attacks.

24 The homegrown terrorist threat is a fabrication.  It is promoted by Western governments and the media with a view to repealing civil liberties and installing a police state. The terror attacks by alleged jihadists and terror warnings are invariably staged events. They are used to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

In turn, the arrests, trials and sentences of “Islamic terrorists” sustain the legitimacy of America’s Homeland Security State and law enforcement apparatus, which has become increasingly militarized.

The ultimate objective is to instill in the minds of millions of Americans that the enemy is real and the U.S. Administration will protect the lives of its citizens.

25.  The “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.

26  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.

The Big Lie has become the Truth. 

Say no to the “Big Lie”. Spread the message.

The truth is ultimately a powerful weapon.

Please help us continue. We rely on the support of our readers.

Consider donating to Global Research. 

For Peace and Truth in Media, Michel Chossudovsky

Montreal, a Model for Repression in Canada

November 18th, 2014 by William Ray

The video below is an examination of the strategy being used in one of Canada’s major cities to repress political dissent.

Brutal police tactics and military weapons being used against senior citizens, young people and the press in an effort to criminalize even the most basic exercise of civic and political rights.

This model is ready for export to the rest of Canada for use against anyone trying to peacefully impact government or corporate agendas through the use of violence and economic pressure.

Coming soon to a town near you…

We have recently been hearing a lot about information wars, propaganda and bullhorns. The pitch of this kind of belligerent rhetoric has increased sharply since the advent of the western-induced crisis in Ukraine.

The mainstream media’s echo chamber claim about Russian media goes something like this: “Russian media is powerful and effective because it is well-funded propaganda.” Really? Having worked in Russian media for well over a decade, I observe it focussing on foreign audiences in a very different way: it challenges the West’s hegemonic grip on shaping and controlling the global media agenda.

Up until recently, western media outlets enjoyed near monopoly in defining the news agenda. It also worked in lockstep with the powers that be. Reading the op-ed pages of the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times one will quickly notice they closely mirror the foreign policies of western governments. It has been a cozy arrangement too. A pliant media whitewashed foreign policy adventurism. In return, major media outlets were given a front row seat to cover wars to be packaged as the West saving the world. This model worked reasonably well until the power of the Internet made itself felt, and until the financial crisis hit, failed wars were exposed, and new and alternative media began to emerge.

I am often asked why new outlets like RT are so popular with audiences around the world. There may be many reasons for this but the short answer is that they offer a refreshingly different perspective.

I believe it important to understand how western media beat the drum of war on behalf of George W. Bush. The echo chamber demonstrated it could be counted on to back acts of aggression around the world with impunity. How many people in media lost their jobs when lying about Bush’s Wars (or Obama’s war for that matter)? We are told to “get over Iraq.” But there is a strong sense today that western media lied to their audiences.

Then there is the great financial crisis of 2008-09.  The bulk of western media is corporate media. How many bankers from Wall Street went to jail? There has been some very good investigative journalism on the subject, but the mainstream is shy to pursue the story, telling us “to get over it.” Today there is a strong sense there is ‘state socialism’ to bail out the bankers and ‘capitalist austerity’ for the rest of us. The mainstream’s echo chamber prefers to dwell on meaningless “first world problems” like pouring buckets of ice water over our heads or the condition of Kim Kardashian’s butt. In the meantime, Wall Street and Washington policy makers are never held to account for their past and present actions.

We in alternative media (or non-western media) are often called propaganda merely because we say something different. Some of the people, institutions and governments making this claim are very afraid of those parting company with standard narratives that are cozy and comfortable for the powers-that-be and their media friends. Our mission is different: we exist to challenge the conventional wisdom and to break western media hegemony. We are interested in hearing so many more and differing voices.

The tragedy being played out in Ukraine is very important for us in alternative media. This story is very clear-cut and those who have done wrong (and continue to do so) are obvious. There is plenty of conclusive evidence that Washington and Brussels backed an illegal coup against a democratically elected government in Ukraine. The West is in complete denial, and its official narrative that there was a people’s revolution is itself propaganda.

The media are even worse. The violent events that ended the constitutional order in Kiev included snipers killing over 90 people. Western media took little interest in the story when it began to appear that those pulling the triggers were associated with anti-government forces. A massacre occurred in the city of Odessa. An ample amount of video available on YouTube shows the culprits were fascistic elements aligned with the coup government. Western media has taken little interest in the story.

Then there is MH-17. For a few weeks it was treated as one of the biggest stories in media history. But then, MH-17 disappeared from the headlines. Why? Common sense dictates western intelligence should know who shot the plane out of the sky. The information is not being disclosed but the media line is of course that ‘the Russians did it’. And western media is not interested in asking any further questions. But those of us who do or who put forward alternative scenarios are called propagandists.

The ultimate trick question when it comes to western coverage of Ukraine is to ask: “When did Russia invade Ukraine?” There is no answer because there has never been an invasion (and most likely never will be either). At the same time western audiences are fed 24/7 wall-to-wall dis- and misinformation about Ukraine. Anyone who challenges this is called a propagandist.

We in the alternative media don’t always get stories right. But why should one be called a propagandist for simply asking questions that challenge those in power? Traditionally, this has been the core mission for journalism to exist. The West’s echo chamber has forfeited its moral right in this regard. It is time the echo chamber made some more space for the rest of us.

It seems as though, with each day that passes, yet another health and environmental hazard is identified as being linked to hydraulic fracking, the process of injecting more than 200 chemicals at high pressure into the ground, shattering rock and releasing one America’s most valued resources, natural gas.

Hydraulic fracking continues to be proven more dangerous than scientists imagined, with the latest research unmasking unthinkable health effects in residents living near a fracking site.

Only through observation have scientists begun to learn exactly which chemicals are being injected at high pressures into the earth, as the industry believes proprietary rights trump the public’s right to know about which chemicals make up fracking mixtures.

Scientists have observed eight poisonous chemicals near fracking wells in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming, all of which have exceeded the federal recommended limit. Benzene, a known carcinogen, as well as formaldehyde, were the most common. Hydrogen sulfide, responsible for a range of health effects including death, was also found.

High levels of benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen sulfide detected in air samples near fracking sites

A study conducted by Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-State University of New York tested air samples taken by trained volunteers living near fracking wells.

The measurements were taken during “heavy industrial activity” or when the volunteers experienced symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or headaches, according to U.S. News. Other samples were taken during designated periods to monitor for formaldehyde.

Slightly less than half of the samples exceeded recommended limits, according to lab results. Samples that exceeded recommended limits did so by very high margins, with benzene levels ranging from 35 to 770,000 times greater than normal concentrations, comparable to a driver being exposed to 33 times the amount they would be while fueling their car.

Hydrogen sulfide levels were 90 to 60,000 times higher than federal standards, while formaldehyde levels reached 30 to 240 times higher than normal.

“This is a significant public health risk,” said the study’s lead author. “Cancer has a long latency, so you’re not seeing an elevation in cancer in these communities. But five, 10, 15 years from now, elevation in cancer is almost certain to happen.”

Benzene, one of the four chemicals in diesel, produces known health complications in people, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require permits for any drilling involving diesel. However, an FDA loophole known as the “Halliburton Loophole” exempts fracking companies from restrictions set by the Safe Drinking Water Act and federal Clean Water Act.

“I was amazed,” said Carpenter. “Five orders of magnitude over federal limits for benzene at one site — that’s just incredible. You could practically just light a match and have an explosion with that concentration.”

Benzene is known to cause leukemia and cancers of other blood cells, as well as short-term effects like headaches, tremors, sleepiness and vomiting, according to Cancer.org.

Hydrogen sulfide, which carries a rotting egg smell, is linked to asthma, headaches, poor memory and eye irritation. Formaldehyde, also a known carcinogen, is linked to nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia, among other health effects.

Residents near fracking wells report sudden asthma, cognitive difficulties and nose polyps

Deb Thomas, a Wyoming woman who helped collect air samples while living across the road from a fracking well, reported the sudden onset of asthmatic symptoms. “I had an asthmatic episode — I’ve never had any asthma, I don’t have a history of asthma. I ended up at the hospital where they gave me breathing treatments. I’ve had really bad rashes.”

Thomas reported similar symptoms while taking air samples from unconventional oil and gas sites across the U.S. that are affecting low-income families.

“We see a lot of cognitive difficulties. People get asthma or breathing difficulty or nose polyps or something with their eyes or their ears ring — the sorts of things that come on very subtly, but you start to notice them.”

Sources:

http://www.usnews.com

http://www.usnews.com

http://www.dispatch.com

https://www.osha.gov

http://www.cancer.org

http://www.cancer.gov

http://science.naturalnews.com

Recession in Japan Sends Shares Tumbling

November 18th, 2014 by Mike Whitney

Japanese stocks suffered their biggest one-day plunge in more than four months following an announcement that the world’s third biggest economy had slipped back into recession. The two consecutive quarters of negative growth were triggered by an increase in the sales tax that was implemented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in April. The VAT tax was designed to put more of the costs of running the government on working people who have been forced to reduce their personal spending due to higher taxes, 23 consecutive months of falling wages, steadily shrinking incomes, and a sharp decline in full-time employment. At present, 38 percent of Japan’s labor-force work at part-time jobs that pay less than fulltime positions, and that provide no benefits, security or retirement. (Note: the economy contracted at a 1.6 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter, preceded by a 7.1 percent drop the quarter before.)

In Japan, consumer spending accounts for more than 60 percent of GDP. Thus, when the government raises taxes, spending declines, deflationary pressures build, and the economy goes into a slump. Quantitative Easing– which involves the purchasing of government bonds by the Central Bank– has negligible impact on the real economy. The Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) extraordinary monetary easing–which includes the buying of ETFs and J-REITs as well as Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs)–has helped to buoy stock prices and lift corporate profits to record highs, but has had a damaging effect on the economy. The weaker yen has lifted import fees on oil and other essentials making it more expensive for working people and retirees to scrape by. Even so, Abe pushed ahead with his tax increase determined to prove his loyalty to his constituency of financial speculators, fatcat corporatists and other wealthy elites, all of who have made out like bandits due to zero rates and QE.

It’s worth noting that the BoJ’s gigantic liquidity injections have had almost no impact on inflation which is still running below the BoJ’s target of 2 percent. That fact holds true in the US too, where a $3.5 trillion increase in the Fed’s balance sheet has failed to lift inflation to the Fed’s target. The reason for this is easy to understand. While QE adds to base money in the financial system, that money has no where to go without a transmission mechanism. In other words, there must be demand for funds (loans-credit) for borrowers to get their hands on that money and use it for additional consumption. But since the private sector (businesses and consumers) are still net savers in Japan, borrowing is minimal and insufficient to produce robust growth. This is why raising the sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent was such a bad idea, because credit was already weak when Abe decided to remove even more fiscal stimulus from the economy. Now Japan is back in recession and the options for pulling the economy out of the ditch are limited. (Monetary policy is already at its highest setting.) This is from Bloomberg:

“No part of Japan’s economy looks encouraging,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, who had the weakest forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, with a 0.8% growth estimate for real GDP. “Today’s data will leave another traumatic memory for Japanese politicians about sales tax hikes.”

It may be a “traumatic memory” as Shinke says, but that doesn’t mean the politicians are calling for a repeal of the VAT tax. Heck, no. Nor are they demanding higher taxes on corporations, financial institutions, and high-income elites who can afford to pay-down Japan’s enormous debt-load without curtailing their own Gucci lifestyles. These are the people who benefit the most from government policy, but who are never asked to pay their fair share.

Japan suffers from a chronic lack of demand that stems from the fact that wages haven’t kept pace with increases in production. If workers got their fair share of the profits, Japan’s economy would be firing on all cylinders and there’d be no problem. But since corporate bosses like to keep their employees as close to starvation as possible, workers have to slash their spending to make ends meet. This, in turn, weakens demand even more further exacerbating the slowdown. It’s a circle. Check this out from the CFR’s magazine Foreign Affairs:

“Imagine the predicament currently facing a growing number of Japanese men in their early 30s. Despite having spent years cramming in high school and attending good colleges, many can’t find a full-time job at a good company. Since Japan’s rigid labor laws make it nearly impossible to lay off permanent employees in downtimes, companies now tend to fill open slots with part-time or temporary workers, and they typically pay them a third less. Today, 17 percent of Japanese men aged 25 to 34 hold such second-class jobs, up from four percent in 1988. Low-paid temps and part-timers now make up 38 percent of Japanese employees of all ages and both sexes — a stunning figure for a society that once prided itself on equality.” (Voodoo Abenomics, Richard Katz, Foreign Affairs)

See what I mean? How are you going to maintain strong growth when 38 percent of your workforce is plugging away at shitty-paying part-time service-sector jobs? It’s can’t be done. And here’s another important fact that’s worth mulling over:

“But all the gains have been for irregular work; regular jobs have fallen by 3.1 percent. Consequently, the average wage per worker in real terms has fallen by two percent under Abe. No wonder consumer spending is anemic.” (Foreign Affairs)

So wages in the aggregate are falling. And if wages are falling, then households have no choice but to reduce their spending which means personal consumption is going to tank, which it has. Unfortunately, the BoJ’s “weak yen” policy has accelerated at the same time wages are tumbling. According to analyst Wolf Richter: .”under the economic religion of Abenomics, inflation has roared higher. In September, prices were up 3.2% compared to a year ago, with goods prices up 4.6% …..(At the same time) Average monthly inflation-adjusted consumption expenditures by two-or-more-person households plunged 5.6% from a year ago. It’s the sixth month in a row that expenditures and incomes have plunged in this manner.” (Bank of Japandemonium Resorts to “Monetary Shamanism,” and all Heck Breaks Loose, Wolf Street)

So prices are up, but wages are down. It’s the double whammy!

So how is QE supposed to change this situation? How is buying financial assets going to raise wages, boost hiring, put more money in the pockets of people who will spend it and pull the economy out of its 20 year deflationary funk?

It won’t. All it will do is trigger a currency war (by slashing the value of the yen) and create conditions for a bond market meltdown. Think I’m kidding? Take a look at this eye-popper from Bloomberg:

“In announcing that it will boost purchases of government bonds to a record annual pace of $709 billion, the central bank has just added further fuel to the most obvious bond bubble in modern history — and helped create a fresh one on stocks. Once the laws of finance, and gravity, reassert themselves, Japan’s debt market could crash in ways that make the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers look like a warm-up. Worse, because Japan’s interest-rate environment is so warped, investors won’t have the usual warning signs of market distress. Even before Friday’s bond-buying move, Japan had lost its last honest tool of price discovery. When a nation that needs 16 digits in yen terms to express its national debt (it reached 1,000,000,000,000,000 yen in August 2013) sees benchmark yields falling, you’ve entered the financial Twilight Zone.” (Japan Creates World’s Biggest Bond Bubble, William Pesek, Bloomberg)

A bond market crash that could make “the collapse of Lehman Brothers look like a warm-up”?

Indeed. The possibility of a sovereign default by the world’s third biggest economy can no longer be excluded. Any rise in interest rates (even if the BoJ reaches its 2% inflation target) will make it virtually impossible to roll-over Japan’s mountainous debtpile. The wacky BoJ has created a doomsday machine that will have catastrophic implications for the people of Japan.

And that’s why Japan’s $1.2 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF)–the largest in the world–announced that it plans to rebalance its portfolio away from Japanese Government Bonds.(JGB). It’s because JGBs can no longer be considered “risk free”, so the pension fund is going to reduce its position now and put more of its resources into stocks where the rewards for risk-taking are more attractive.

Even so, that hasn’t stopped the harebrained BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda from adding more fuel to the fire. Kuroda remains convinced that bigger injections of liquidity via QE will end Japan’s “deflationary mindset” and spark a splurge of spending that will simultaneously boost inflation and beef up GDP. After more than five years of non-stop QE in three separate countries, there’s no evidence that the theory works. Economic stagnation prevails wherever QE has been used.

John Maynard Keynes explained why “increasing the quantity of money” in the financial system would not revive an economy stuck in a balance sheet recession. Here’s what he said 80 years ago in his “Open Letter to President Roosevelt”:

“Rising output and rising incomes will suffer a set-back sooner or later if the quantity of money is rigidly fixed. Some people seem to infer from this that output and income can be raised by increasing the quantity of money. But this is like trying to get fat by buying a larger belt. In the United States to-day your belt is plenty big enough for your belly. It is a most misleading thing to stress the quantity of money, which is only a limiting factor, rather than the volume of expenditure, which is the operative factor.”

Bingo. The amount of money in the economy doesn’t matter. What matters is spending. Without spending there’s no hiring, no investment, no growth. But people can’t spend what they don’t have. And what they don’t have is money, which is why they need higher wages. Unfortunately, corporate bosses aren’t going give away any more than they absolutely have to, which means that workers need to get their act together and fight for what’s theirs.

Let the battle begin.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday and mobilized the National Guard, claiming that this was necessary to “keep members of the public safe and protect property” in anticipation of a grand jury decision on whether to bring charges against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August.

Calling in the National Guard is a deliberate move on the part of state officials to silence and intimidate political opposition to the heavily manipulated grand jury proceeding against Wilson. A decision on whether or not to indict Wilson is expected any day.

As Nixon, a Democrat, announced the state of emergency, the streets of Ferguson, Missouri were entirely devoid of protesters, much less violence and looting. Nixon was in effect declaring that even the possibility of protests is sufficient to prepare the Armed Forces for deployment on the streets of an American city. The move is historically unprecedented, and marks a new stage in the deliberate and systematic destruction of democratic rights.

In his executive order authorizing the state of emergency, Nixon insisted that “regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest.”

“As part of our ongoing efforts to plan and be prepared for any contingency, it is necessary to have these resources in place in advance of any announcement of the grand jury’s decision,” Nixon said in a separate statement. He added that the National Guard will “support law enforcement’s efforts to maintain peace and protect those exercising their right to free speech.”

Nixon’s claim that deploying the military to crack down on protesters is a means to protect the “right to free speech” is Orwellian. The arguments deployed—based on “protecting property,” “ensuring public safety” and stopping “unrest” in a “state of emergency”—are the standard tropes of every police state.

They are being implemented by a government that routinely cites “democracy” and “human rights” as its principle justifications for militarism and violence all over the world. If similar steps were taken in Russia or Iran, they would be accompanied by howls of protest from the political establishment and the media. But in the United States they have evoked no opposition from the representatives of the ruling class.

The declaration of a state of emergency sets a pseudo-legal framework for the ripping up of key democratic rights protected under the Constitution. The last time Nixon declared a state of emergency, during the initial protests over the killing of Brown, police effectively suspended the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly by declaring that demonstrators be arrested unless they kept walking. This so-called “five-second rule” was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge.

The move by Nixon follows the imposition of de facto martial law last year in Boston, where residents were told to “shelter in place” following the Boston Marathon bombing, as heavily armed police conducted house-to-house warrantless searches similar to those used in the occupation of Iraq. Both Boston and Ferguson have the character of test runs aimed at conditioning public opinion for an even further militarization of American society.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, also a Democrat, made clear that the Armed Forces would not be confined to the suburb of Ferguson. He said the National Guard will be deployed to protect “various locations within the city of St. Louis,” adding that the military units would be used for “visibility, deterrence, and early warning.”

“It is my understanding that they will be armed,” said Slay, adding that National Guard units could be deployed at shopping centers, strip malls and government buildings.

These moves are being carefully coordinated with the Obama administration. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson and held meetings with local and state officials. According to one news report, “the feds are playing an unusually hands-on role in preparing for grand jury protests.”

On the same day as the announcement of the state of emergency, ABC News released an FBI intelligence bulletin issued to local police departments in “recent days,” warning, “The announcement of the grand jury’s decision…will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure.”

The FBI said that such “infiltration” could “occur both in the Ferguson area and nationwide.” The report adds that individuals with “intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed with bladed weapons or firearms, equipped with tactical gear/gas masks, or bulletproof vests to mitigate law enforcement measures.”

The memo expresses the degree to which language and concepts developed under the framework of the “war on terror” are being applied to domestic opposition to social inequality and the attack on democratic rights. The “extremists” planning to carry out “attacks” against “critical infrastructure” are not foreign Islamic fundamentalists, but social and political opposition within the United States.

The use of supposed emergency situations as part of the “war on terror” has long been the justification of the US government in its drive to gut every basic democratic protection guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

The Obama administration, under the pretense of protecting public safety, has asserted the right to assassinate anyone it chooses, including US citizens, and has presided over the expansion of a military/intelligence apparatus that records, analyzes and reads the day-to-day communications of millions of people.

It is notable that both Nixon and Mayor Slay are Democrats, and that the deployment of the National Guard against peaceful protests was not met with condemnation from any section of the Democratic Party.

The events in Ferguson are an expression of the disintegration of democracy in the United States. A tiny ruling elite dominates all aspects of economic, social, and political life, while the great majority of the population, facing increasingly precarious economic conditions, sees itself entirely marginalized and alienated—revealed in the mass abstention in the midterm elections earlier this month. Under these conditions, the ruling elite responds to any manifestation of political opposition on the part of the population with massive police violence and intimidation.

Okinawa Elects All Anti-U.S.-Bases Candidates

November 18th, 2014 by David Swanson

Some news of more resistance in Okinawa from Hiroshi Taka:

“I am writing this email to all the friends who have sent warm messages of solidarity to the people of Okinawa, who fought for a military base-free, peaceful Okinawa in the last weekend through the simultaneous elections at four levels: Governor of Okinawa, Mayor of Naha, three Prefectural Assembly members from Naha, Nago, and Okinawa City, and a member of Naha City assembly.  They won the governor election, the mayoral election, the prefectural assembly elections in Naha and Nago. The result demonstrates that the Okinawans are undaunted, that the close-down of the Futemma Base and non-construction of a new base in Nago are an actual consensus of the whole prefecture.

“On Thursday last week, with your messages and Japanese translation, I went to Okinawa, held a press conference, visited the election campaign headquarters of Takeshi Onaga, the then candidate for the governor, and the election campaign headquarters of Ms. Shiroma, the then candidate for the mayor of Naha.  I handed over your messages to Takeshi Onaga personally, at the midst of campaign when all those candidates were preparing to make speeches in the center of Naha City.

“Your messages were taken up by a major local paper Okinawa Times on Friday, Nov. 14 issue, and a number of other media.  At the campaign headquarters of Onaga, the top leaders of the campaign kindly took time to listen to my presentation of the messages.  At the campaign office of Shiroma, all campaign staff there stood up and with big applause, listened to my presentation.  And at the speech rally of Onaga, Shiroma, and the other candidates standing against the Bases, most speakers, including Susumu Inamine, the mayor of Nago, referred to your messages, saying that the whole world was with them.

“Through these visits, I felt first-hand how powerfully and greatly your messages encouraged those who deserved your encouragement.

“Great though their successes are, the struggle for a bases-free Okinawa and peace in the region and the world continues.  I hope you will continue to support their struggle, as we living in the mainland Japan will.

Hiroshi Taka

Data: (* = elected)

   For the Governor

     * ONAGA Takeshi (Anti-base)      360,820

       NAKAIMA Hirokazu (former Governor)  261,076

   For the Mayor of Naha, prefectural capital

      * SHIROMA Mikiko (Anti-base)    101,052

       YONEDA Kanetosh (supported by LDP-Komeito)   57,768

   For the Prefectural Assembly member from Naha

       * HIGA Mizuki (Anti-base)  74,427

        YAMAKAWA Noriji (LDP)  61,940

  For the Prefectural Assembly member from Nago

        *GUSHIKEN Toru (Anti-base)    15,374

         SIEMATSI Bunshinmatsu Bunshin (LDP)     14,281″

____________

I should note that the Mayor of Okinawa is already anti-base and recently came to Washington, D.C. with that message. I wrote this prior to his visit:

Imagine if China were stationing large numbers of troops in the United States.  Imagine that most of them were based in a small rural county in Mississippi.  Imagine — this shouldn’t be hard — that their presence was problematic, that nations they threatened in Latin America resented the United States’ hospitality, and that the communities around the bases resented the noise and pollution and drinking and raping of local girls.

Now imagine a proposal by the Chinese government, with support from the federal government in Washington, to build another big new base in that same corner of Mississippi.  Imagine the governor of Mississippi supported the base, but just before his reelection pretended to oppose it, and after being reelected went back to supporting it.  Imagine that the mayor of the town where the base would be built made opposition to it the entire focus of his reelection campaign and won, with exit polls showing that voters overwhelmingly agreed with him.  And imagine that the mayor meant it.

Where would your sympathies lie? Would you want anyone in China to hear what that mayor had to say?

Sometimes in the United States we forget that there are heavily armed employees of our government permanently stationed in most nations on earth.  Sometimes when we remember, we imagine that the other nations must appreciate it.  We turn away from the public uproar in the Philippines as the U.S. military tries to return troops to those islands from which they were driven by public pressure.  We avoid knowing what anti-U.S. terrorists say motivates them, as if by merely knowing what they say we would be approving of their violence.  We manage not to know of the heroic nonviolent struggle underway on Jeju Island, South Korea, as residents try to stop the construction of a new base for the U.S. Navy. We live on oblivious to the massive nonviolent resistance of the people of Vicenza, Italy, who for years voted and demonstrated and lobbied and protested a huge new U.S. Army base that has gone right ahead regardless.

Mayor Susumu Inamine of Nago City, Okinawa, (population 61,000) is headed to the United States, where he may have to do a bit of afflicting the comfortable as he tries to comfort the afflicted back home.  Okinawa Prefecture has hosted major U.S. military bases for 68 years.  Over 73% of the U.S. troop presence in Japan is concentrated in Okinawa, which makes up a mere 0.6% of the Japanese land area.  As a result of public protest, one base is being closed — the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.  The U.S. government wants a new Marine base in Nago City.  The people of Nago City do not.

Inamine was first elected as mayor of Nago City in January 2010 promising to block the new base.  He was reelected this past January 19th still promising to block the base.  The Japanese government had worked hard to defeat him, but exit polls showed 68% of voters opposing the base, and 27% in favor of it.  In February U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visited Okinawa, where she met with the Governor but declined to meet with the mayor.

That’s all right. The Mayor can meet with the State Department, the White House, the Pentagon, and the Congress.  He’ll be in Washington, D.C. in mid-May, where he hopes to appeal directly to the U.S. government and the U.S. public.  He’ll speak at an open, public event at Busboys and Poets restaurant at 14th and V Streets at 6:00 p.m. on May 20th.

A great summary of the situation in Okinawa can be found in this statement: “International Scholars, Peace Advocates and Artists Condemn Agreement To Build New U.S. Marine Base in Okinawa.”  An excerpt:

“Not unlike the 20th century U.S. Civil Rights struggle, Okinawans have non-violently pressed for the end to their military colonization. They tried to stop live-fire military drills that threatened their lives by entering the exercise zone in protest; they formed human chains around military bases to express their opposition; and about a hundred thousand people, one tenth of the population have turned out periodically for massive demonstrations. Octogenarians initiated the campaign to prevent the construction of the Henoko base with a sit-in that has been continuing for years. The prefectural assembly passed resolutions to oppose the Henoko base plan. In January 2013, leaders of all the 41 municipalities of Okinawa signed the petition to the government to remove the newly deployed MV-22 Osprey from Futenma base and to give up the plan to build a replacement base in Okinawa.”

Here’s background on the Governor of Okinawa.

Here’s an organization working to support the will of the public of Okinawa on this issue.

And here’s a video worth watching:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzAw-jOQwME#t=0

And here’s a video of the Mayor’s visit to DC:

What could be more routine than saving seeds from one season to the next? After all, that is how we grow crops on our farms and in our gardens. Yet from Guatemala to Ghana, from Mozambique to Malaysia, this basic practice is being turned into a criminal offence, so that half a dozen large multinational corporations can turn seeds into private property and make money from them.

But people are fighting back and in several countries popular mobilisations are already forcing governments to put seed privatisation plans on hold.

GRAIN has produced an updated dataset on how so-called free trade agreements are privatising seeds across the world.

Guatemala’s trade agreement with the US obliges it to adhere to the UPOV Convention. But popular resistance forced the government to repeal a national law passed for this purpose. (Photo: Raúl Zamora)

Trade agreements have become a tool of choice for governments, working with corporate lobbies, to push new rules to restrict farmers’ rights to work with seeds. Until some years ago, the most important of these was the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Adopted in 1994, TRIPS was, and still is, the first international treaty to establish global standards for “intellectual property” rights over seeds.1 The goal is to ensure that companies like Monsanto or Syngenta, which spend money on plant breeding and genetic engineering, can control what happens to the seeds they produce by preventing farmers from re-using them – in much the same way as Hollywood or Microsoft try to stop people from copying and sharing films or software by putting legal and technological locks on them.

But seeds are not software. The very notion of “patenting life” is hugely contested. For this reason, the WTO agreement was a kind of global compromise between governments. It says that countries may exclude plants and animals (other than micro-organisms) from their patent laws, but they must provide some form of intellectual property protection over plant varieties, without specifying how to do that.

Image right: In Costa Rica, the fight against the Central American Free Trade Agreement was very much a fight to prevent the patenting of the country’s unique wealth of biodiversity and against UPOV – the Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties. (Photo: Fighting FTAs)

Trade agreements negotiated outside the WTO, especially those initiated by powerful economies of the global North, tend to go much further. They often require signatory countries to patent plants or animals, or to follow the rules of the Geneva-based Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV) that provide patent-like rights over crop varieties. Whether in the form of patent laws or UPOV, these rules generally make it illegal for farmers to save, exchange, sell or modify seeds they save from so-called protected varieties.2 In fact, in 1991 the UPOV convention was modified to give even stronger monopoly powers to agribusiness companies at the expense of small and indigenous farming communities. This 1991 version of UPOV now gets widely promoted through trade deals.

Onslaught of FTAs

The North America Free Trade Agreement – signed by Mexico, Canada and the US, at about the same time TRIPS was being finalised – was one of the first trade deals negotiated outside the multilateral arena to carry with it the tighter seed privatisation noose. It obliged Mexico to join the UPOV club of countries giving exclusive rights to seed companies to stop farmers from recycling and reusing corporate seeds. This set a precedent for all US bilateral trade agreements that followed, while the European Union, the European Free Trade Association and Japan also jumped on the same idea.3

A nonstop process of diplomatic and financial pressure to get countries to privatise seeds “through the back door” (these trade deals are negotiated in secret) has been going on since then. The stakes are high for the seed industry. Globally, just 10 companies control 55% of the commercial seed market.4

But for these corporations, that market share is still not enough. Across Asia, Africa and Latin America, some 70-80% of the seeds farmers use are farm-saved seeds, whether from their own farms or from neighbours or nearby communities. In these unconquered territories, the agribusiness giants want to replace seed saving with seed markets and take control of those markets. To facilitate this, they demand legal protections from governments to create and enforce corporate monopoly rights on seeds. This is where free trade agreements come in as a perfect vehicle to force countries to change their laws.

Latest trends

GRAIN has been tracking how trade deals signed outside the multilateral system are coercing countries to adopt the industry’s wish-list of intellectual property rights for seeds, and ratchet up global standards in that process, since 15 years. A recent update of our dataset shows that this trend is not letting up. In fact, there are worrisome signs on the horizon.

◦ The most important recent gains for Monsanto, Dupont, Limagrain and Syngenta – the world’s top seed companies – have come from new trade deals accepted by Latin American states. In 2006, the US (home to Monsanto and Dupont) closed major deals with Peru and Colombia forcing both countries to adopt UPOV 1991. The EFTA states (home to Syngenta) did the same in 2008 and the EU (home to Limagrain) in 2012.5In Central America, a similar pattern occurred. The US secured a very powerful Central America Free Trade Agreement in 2007, forcing all countries to adhere to UPOV 1991. EFTA did the same last year.

March Against Monsanto in Accra, Ghana – Under a clause included in an interim Economic Parternship Agreement concluded with the EU, Ghana’s government will have to negotiate rules on intellectual property, including traditional knowledge and genetic resources.

◦ An important step towards stronger proprietary seed markets was recently taken in Africa. After ten years of talks, Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) were concluded between the EU and sub-Saharan African states in 2014. Most of them “only” liberalise trade in goods for now, but also contain a commitment to negotiate common intellectual property standards with Brussels. The expectation is that those standards will be based on what the Caribbean states already agreed to in their 2008 EPA: an obligation to at least consider joining UPOV. This is significant because until now African states have been under no obligation to adopt UPOV as a standard, and actually tried to come up with their own systems of plant variety protection.6 And while it’s true that African entities like the anglophone African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and the francophone African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) are already joining UPOV, under the EU trade deals, countries themselves would be the ones to join. Further towards the horizon, Africa is harmonising within itself as its subregional trade blocs merge and unite to form a single continental free trade zone, supposedly by 2017. This is expected to bring with it an internal harmonisation of intellectual property laws across the continent, likely tightening the noose even further.

◦ The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is possibly the scariest FTA under negotiation right now in terms of what it may do to farmers’ rights to control seeds in Asia and the Pacific. This is because the US, which is leading the talks with 11 other Pacific Rim countries, is playing hardball. Leaked negotiating text from May 2014 shows the US calling not only for UPOV 1991 to be applied in all TPP states but also for the outright patenting of plants and animals. We don’t yet know whether these demands will also appear in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the US and the EU, as the text remains inaccessible to the public.

◦ While the extent of what has to be privatised expands, so do the penalties for disrespecting these norms. Under numerous FTAs, countries like the US require that farmers who infringe on these new intellectual property rights on seeds face punishment under criminal law instead of civil law. In some cases, like the recently concluded EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the mere suspicion of infringement could see a farmer’s assets seized or have their bank accounts frozen.7

Big battles heating up

Image right: Solidarity march in Melbourne, Australia: even Colombians far from home were shocked to learn how the US and EU trade deals have pushed Bogotá to criminalise farmers’ seeds. (Source: Erik Anderson/Flickr)

The good news is that social movements are not taking this sitting down. They are becoming very active, vocal, bold and organised about this. In 2013, Colombians from all walks of life were shaken up when they saw firsthand how US and European FTAs could result in their own government violently destroying tonnes of seeds saved by farmers who did not know what the new rules were. The outrage, breaking out in the midst of a massive national agrarian strike, was so strong that the government actually agreed to suspend the law temporarily and re-examine the issue directly with farmers’ representatives.8

In 2014, it was Guatemala’s turn to be rocked when the general public realised that the government was pushing through the adoption of UPOV 1991 without proper debate because of trade deals like CAFTA.9People were furious that indigenous communities were not consulted as is required, especially when the purpose of the law – ultimately – is to replace indigenous seeds with commercial seeds from foreign companies like Monsanto or Syngenta. After months of pressure, the government backed down and repealed the law.10 But – as in Colombia – this retreat is only temporary while other measures will be looked at. In yet other parts of Latin America, like in Chile and Argentina, new laws to implement UPOV 91, often dubbed “Monsanto Laws”, are also being intensely and successfully resisted by social movements.

In Africa too, waves of public protest are rising against the plant variety protection regimes which countries are now going into. In Ghana, a vibrant campaign is under way to stop the country from adopting UPOV 1991 legislation.11

September 2013 protest against FTAs: in Thailand, popular movements are resisting the possibility that talks over a free trade agreement between Thailand and the EU will result in UPOV being imposed on the nation’s farmers. (Photo: FTA Watch)

Elsewhere, civil society networks like the broad based Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa are filing appeals to stop ARIPO from adopting UPOV-based legislation and joining the union.12

Corporate interest groups have pushed too far trying to privatise what people consider a commons. This is not limited to seeds. The same process has been going on with land, minerals, hydrocarbons, water, knowledge, the internet, even important microorganisms, like avian flu a few years ago or the Ebola virus today. People are fighting back to stop these things falling under the exclusive control of a few corporations or defence ministries. A good way to take part in this battle is to join the campaigns to stop important new trade deals like TTIP, CETA, TPP and the EPAs – and to get old ones like the US and European deals with Mexico, Central America, Colombia or Chile rescinded. Trade deals are where a lot of these rules do get written and that is where they should be erased.

For a closer look at the status of trade agreements that impose seed privatisation, download GRAIN’s November 2014 dataset, “Trade agreements privatising biodiversity”.

Going further

- GRAIN, “Seed laws in Latin America: the offensive continues, so does popular resistance”, December 2013. (EN, ES, FR)

- Biodiversidad, “Leyes de semillas y otros pesares”, September 2014. (ES only)

- Daily updates on trade deals at http://bilaterals.org or @bilaterals_org orhttps://www.facebook.com/bilaterals.org (EN, ES, FR)

Notes

1 “Intellectual property” is a government enforced monopoly right. It serves to ensure that people pay for the right to use something for a certain period of time, so that whoever invented it can recoup his or her investment. “Plant variety” means seeds which will grow into a specific kind of plant with specific characteristics.

2 Under the UPOV system, farmers can sometimes save seeds from protected varieties to use them again. It depends on which version of the UPOV Convention a country signs and whether the government exercises this option. Sometimes it is restricted to farmers’ replanting the seeds on their own farm or to only certain crops or to payment of a licence. Under the patent system, it is simply illegal to use patented seeds without paying for them – even if a bird drops them onto your field!

3 EFTA is composed of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

4 ETC Group, “Who owns nature?”, 2008.

5 Ecuador is also now negotiating with the EU, based on the text signed with Colombia and Peru.

6 For example, the Organisation of African Unity drafted its own model law on plant variety protection based on community rights.

7 See National Farmers’ Union, “CETA + Bill C-18 = too much power for seed companies”, June 2014.

9 Perhaps not very visible to the public eye was the 2013 EFTA-Central America FTA, which makes the same demands as CAFTA.

10 See EFE, “Guatemala repeals plant breeder rights law”, 5 September 2014.

11 See the websites of Food Sovereignty Ghana and Panafricanist International.

12 Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, “AFSA appeals to ARIPO, AU and UNECA for protection of farmers’ rights & right to food”, 2 July 2014.

Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined further draconian “anti-terror” legislation.

Under the guise of cracking down on British “jihadists” fighting in Syria and elsewhere, the Conservative-led coalition government is to strip British citizens of their right to leave and return to the UK. This includes under-18-year-olds.

Cameron made his announcement in Australia on the eve of the G20 summit of world leaders. Outlining plans for another “counter-terrorism bill”, he promised to give police new powers “at ports to seize passports, to stop suspects travelling and to stop British nationals returning to the UK unless they do so on our terms.”

Presently, only the home secretary—using the royal prerogative—can prevent British citizens from travelling. Twenty-five people have had their passports confiscated since April 2013.

The new legislation will enable police to seize passports at ports for up to 30 days, if a senior officer has “reasonable suspicion” to believe travel is for terror-related activities. The same person’s passport can be seized multiple times.

New rules will be put in place requiring airlines to provide details of passenger lists or be banned from landing in the UK. Currently, some 10 percent of airline arrivals from Europe to the UK do not post passenger lists in real time, including most German airlines.

Home Secretary Theresa May will have the power to cancel passports and impose a “temporary exclusion” order for two years, to prevent a citizen returning to Britain if there is “reasonable suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity”. The order could be extended at the end of that period.

Any return to the UK will be dependent on the individual first being vetted overseas by the security services and agreeing to an escort home by UK authorities. They will have to agree that they could face prosecution on return, and will be placed on a terrorism prevention and investigation measure (TPIM), subject to strict bail-like conditions that include police monitoring and a “deradicalisation” course.

Anyone attempting to return in secret will face five years imprisonment.

Cameron outlined the measures in a 20-minute speech to the Canberra parliament in which he praised the shared values of “freedom” and “democracy” as the “bedrock” of British and Australian society.

His assertion was framed as part of increasing imperialist provocations against Russia and China, who were the target of much of the discussions at the G20.

Cameron claimed that it was necessary to stand against an “incipient creeping threat to our values” from “those who say that we will be outcompeted and outgunned by countries that believe there is a shortcut to success, a new model of authoritarian capitalism that is unencumbered by the values and restrictions we impose on ourselves. In particular, an approach that is free from the accountability of real democracy and the rule of law.”

In fact, it is the British and Australian governments that are dispensing with democracy and the “rule of law”. The fact that Cameron chose to outline the measures in Canberra, not Westminster, is indicative of this approach. The legislation has been approved behind closed doors between the Conservative leader and his Liberal Democrat coalition partners and is expected to become law in January.

The plans to effectively strip selected Britons of their citizenship are an unprecedented breach of international laws, to which the UK is a signatory, which prevents a person from being made stateless. By deeming the exclusion order as “temporary” the government claims suspects will not be stateless as they will still have the right to return, although on grounds dictated by UK authorities.

Human rights organisations have described such assertions as bogus as it will mean individuals being without travel documents for an extended period. Shami Chakrabarti, for Liberty, a human rights advocacy organization, said, “Dumping suspect citizens like toxic waste, abdicating your responsibilities to the international community, is a very strange way of promoting the rule of law.”

The Islamic “counter-extremism” think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, said the planned bill was a breach of international citizenship laws. “We should not develop legislation that assumes individuals are guilty until proven innocent,” a spokesperson said.

The government claims the moves are necessary to deal with 500 Britons thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the bloody civil wars. Some 23 Britons are estimated to have died in the fighting, with an average age of 23.5 years.

In his speech, Cameron denied that the rise of Islamic extremism had anything to do with western foreign policy. Yet the fact remains that British actions in the Middle East, and the indiscriminate targeting of Muslim’s in the UK under current “anti-terror” measures, have indeed fuelled Islamic extremism. Moreover, just one year ago, the British government—along with the US—was casting the opposition to Syria’s Bashar Assad as a legitimate popular uprising that must be supported by all means, including with western military intervention.

The western powers were covertly helping arm the Syrian opposition and by extension, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Britain’s supposed allies in the “war on terror” include Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major financial and political backers for ISIS.

The fact that the British government is not proposing any measures against ISIS’ backers in the Gulf States makes clear that the proposed legislation has nothing to do with the fight against terrorism. Once again, the threat of “jihadism” is being used to severely curtail democratic rights.

Claiming that the problem is an “extremist narrative” that must be “rooted out,” Cameron outlined new measures to further erode free speech by censoring anything deemed to be “extremist material.”

“We must ban extremist preachers from our country, we must root out extremism from our schools, universities and prisons,” he said.

“We must not allow the Internet to be an ungoverned space,” he went on, citing plans for the UK’s major Internet service providers (ISPs) to “strengthen” filters blocking material deemed to be “extremist.” This includes adding a “public reporting button.” BT and Sky have confirmed that they are working with the government to this end.

The Metropolitan Police have established a Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit, to remove “terror” related material. According to reports, it has removed 34,000 items considered to fall into this category in the last year.

Last month, May pledged that the Conservative manifesto for the 2015 general election will include a commitment to introduce “extremism disruption orders.”

Current legislation only enabled action against “extremists” advocating violence, May said. The proposed disruption orders would apply to anyone deemed to “spread hate” based on grounds of gender, race or religion, but who is not in breach of existing laws.

The orders would also apply to those undertaking “harmful activities” for the “purpose of overthrowing democracy.”

They would enable police to apply for a court order restricting the activities of anyone deemed involved in “harmful activities”, the definition of which includes the risk of “harassment, alarm or distress” or which constitutes a “threat to the functioning of democracy.”

May said that “extremism” covered those who consider “a woman’s intellect as ‘deficient’,” and who denounce “people on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

According to the Guardian, a successful order would include a ban on appearing on TV, radio, or a public forum and publishing on the Internet. It would impose “a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web, social media or in print. Taking part in public protests or speaking at any public event would also be banned.”

Political language can be used, George Orwell said in 1946, “to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” In order to justify its global assassination program, the Obama administration has had to stretch words beyond their natural breaking points. For instance, any male 14 years or older found dead in a drone strike zone is a “combatant” unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving him innocent. We are also informed that the constitutional guarantee of “due process” does not imply that the government must precede an execution with a trial.  I think the one word most degraded and twisted these days, to the goriest ends, is the word “imminent.”

Just what constitutes an “imminent” threat? Our government has long taken bold advantage of the American public’s willingness to support lavish spending on armaments and to accept civilian casualties in military adventures abroad and depletion of domestic programs at home, when told these are necessary responses to deflect precisely such threats. The government has vastly expanded the meaning of the word “imminent.” This new definition is crucial to the U.S. drone program, designed for projecting lethal force throughout the world. It provides a legal and moral pretext for the annihilation of people far away who pose no real threat to us at all.

The use of armed remotely controlled drones as the United States’ favored weapon in its “war on terror” is increasing exponentially in recent years, raising many disturbing questions. Wielding 500 pound bombs and Hellfire missiles, Predator and Reaper drones are not the precise and surgical instruments of war so effusively praised by President Obama for “narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among.” It is widely acknowledged that the majority of those killed in drone attacks are unintended, collateral victims. The deaths of the drones’ intended targets and how they are chosen should be no less troubling.

Those deliberately targeted by drones are often far from conflict zones, often they are in countries with whom the U.S. is not at war and on some occasions have been U.S. citizens. They are rarely “taken out” in the heat of battle or while engaged in hostile actions and are more likely to be killed (with anyone in their vicinity) at a wedding, at a funeral, at work, hoeing in the garden, driving down the highway or enjoying a meal with family and friends. These deaths are counted as something other than murder only for the curious insistence by the government’s lawyers that each of these victims represent an “imminent” threat to our lives and safety here at home in the U.S.

In February 2013, a U.S. Department of Justice White Paper, “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa’ida or an Associated Force,” was leaked by NBC News. This paper sheds some light on the legal justification for drone assassinations and explains the new and more flexible definition of the word “imminent.” “First,” it declares, “the condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

Before the Department of Justice lawyers got a hold of it, the meaning of the word “imminent” was unmistakably clear. Various dictionaries of the English language are all in agreement that that the word “imminent” explicitly denotes something definite and immediate, “likely to occur at any moment,” “impending,” “ready to take place,” “looming,” “pending,” “threatening,” “around the corner.” Nor has the legal definition of the word left room for ambiguity. After World War II, the Nuremberg Tribunal reaffirmed a 19th-century formulation of customary international law written by Daniel Webster, which said that the necessity for preemptive use of force in self-defense must be “instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” That was in the past. Now, any possible future threat – and any person on earth arguably might pose one – however remote, can satisfy the new definition. As far as the Justice Department is concerned, an “imminent” threat is now whomever an “informed high-level U.S. government official” determines to be such, based on evidence known to that official alone, never to be made public or reviewed by any court.

The breadth of the government’s definition of “imminent” is murderous in its enormity. It is all the more ironic that the same Department of Justice will also regularly define the word so narrowly as to convict and imprison law abiding and responsible citizens who act to defend the innocent from genuinely imminent harm by the actions of the U.S. government. On example especially relevant to the issue of killing by drone is the case of the “Creech 14.”

14 activists enter Creech Air Force Base, April, 2009

After the first act of nonviolent resistance to the lethal use of unmanned and remotely controlled drones in the United States took place at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada back in April, 2009, it took more than a year before the 14 of us accused of criminal trespass had our day in court. As this was the first opportunity for activists to “put drones on trial” at a time when few Americans were aware they even existed, we were especially diligent in preparing our case, to argue clearly and cogently, not in order to keep ourselves out of jail but for the sake of those who have died and those who live in fear of the drones. With coaching by some fine trial lawyers, our intention was to represent ourselves and drawing on humanitarian international law, to offer a strong defense of necessity, even while we were aware that there was little chance that the court would hear our arguments.

The defense of necessity, that one has not committed a crime if an act that is otherwise illegal was done to prevent a greater harm or crime from being perpetrated, is recognized by the Supreme Court as a part of the common law. It is not an exotic or even a particularly unusual defense. “The rationale behind the necessity defense is that sometimes, in a particular situation, a technical breach of the law is more advantageous to society than the consequence of strict adherence to the law,” says West’s Encyclopedia of American Law “The defense is often used successfully in cases that involve a Trespass on property to save a person’s life or property.” It might appear, then, that this defense is a natural one for minor infractions such as our alleged trespass, intended to stop the use of drones in a war of aggression, the crime against peace that the Nuremburg Tribunal named “the supreme international crime.”

In reality, though, courts in the U.S. almost never allow the necessity defense to be raised in cases like ours. Most of us were experienced enough not to be surprised when we finally got to the Justice Court in Las Vegas in September, 2010, and Judge Jensen ruled in lockstep with his judicial colleagues. He insisted at the onset of our case that he was having none of it. “Go ahead,” he said, allowing us to call our expert witnesses but sternly forbidding us from asking them any questions that matter. “Understand, it is only going to be limited to trespass, what knowledge he or she has, if any, whether you were or were not out at the base. We’re not getting into international laws; that’s not the issue. That’s not the issue. What the government is doing wrong, that’s not the issue. The issue is trespass.”

Our co-defendant Steve Kelly followed the judge’s instructions and questioned our first witness, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, about his firsthand knowledge of trespass laws from working at the Department of Justice during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Steve specifically guided the witness to speak of “the cases of trespass … of lunch counter activities where laws stated you were not to sit at certain lunch counters” in the struggle for civil rights. Ramsey Clark acknowledged that those arrested for violating these laws had not committed crimes. Steve pushed his luck with the judge and offered the classic illustration of the necessity defense: “A situation where there is a ‘no trespassing’ sign and there is smoke coming out of a door or a window and a person is up on the upper floor in need of help. To enter that building, in a real narrow technical sense, would be trespass. Is there a possibility, in the long run, it wouldn’t be trespass to help the person upstairs?” Ramsey replied, “We would hope so, wouldn’t we? To have a baby burn to death or something, because of a ‘no trespass’ sign would be poor public policy to put it mildly. Criminal.”

Judge Jensen by this time was obviously intrigued. His ruling to limit the testimony to trespass held, but as his fascination grew, so his interpretation of his own order grew more elastic. Over the repeated objections of the prosecution team, the judge allowed limited but powerful testimony from Ramsey and our other witnesses, retired US Army Colonel and former diplomat Ann Wright and Loyola Law School Professor Bill Quigley that put our alleged trespass into its context as an act to stop a heinous crime.

I had the honor of making the closing statement for the accused, which I ended with, “We 14 are the ones who are seeing the smoke from the burning house and we are not going to be stopped by a ‘no trespassing’ sign from going to the burning children.”

Our appreciation for a judge’s extraordinary attention to the facts of the case aside, we still expected nothing but an immediate conviction and sentencing. Judge Jensen surprised us: “I consider it more than just a plain trespass trial. A lot of serious issues are at stake here. So I’m going to take it under advisement and I will render a written decision. And it may take me two to three months to do so, because I want to make sure that I’m right on whatever I rule on.”

When we returned to Las Vegas in January, 2011, Judge Jensen read his decision that it was just a plain trespass trial, after all and we were guilty. Among several justifications for convicting us, the judge rejected what he called “the Defendants’ claim of necessity” because “first, the Defendants failed to show that their protest was designed to prevent ‘imminent’ harm.” He faulted our case for not presenting the court with “evidence that any military activities involving drones were being conducted or about to be conducted on the day of the Defendants’ arrest,” seeming to forget that he had ordered us not to submit any such evidence, even if we had it.

Judge Jensen’s verdict was amply supported by the precedents he cited, including a 1991 appellate court ruling, U.S. v Schoon, that concerned a protest aimed to “keep US tax dollars out of El Salvador” at an IRS office in Tucson. In this protest, the Ninth Circuit ruled, “the requisite imminence was lacking.” In other words, because the harm protested was taking place in El Salvador, a trespass in Tucson cannot be justified. So, Judge Jensen reasoned, burning children in a house in Afghanistan cannot excuse a trespass in Nevada.

The NBC leak of that Department of Justice White Paper wouldn’t happen for two more years (call it suppression of evidence?) and as far as Judge Jensen knew, the dictionary definition of “imminent” was still operant. Even so, had we been allowed to testify beyond the narrow confines set at trial, we would have shown that with new satellite technology, the lethal threat we were addressing there is always imminent by any reasonable definition of the word. Although the victims of drone violence on the day of our arrest were indeed far away in Afghanistan and Iraq, those crimes were actually being committed by combatants sitting at computer screens, engaged in real-time hostilities in trailers on the base, not so far at all from where we were apprehended by Air Force police.

The government does not believe that it needs to have “clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future” to establish an imminent threat and so carry out extrajudicial executions of human beings anywhere on the planet. Citizens who act to stop killing by drones, on the other hand, are required to have specific “evidence that any military activities involving drones were being conducted or about to be conducted,” in order to justify nonviolently entering into government property. The government’s position on this lacks coherence, at best. Even after the publication of its White Paper, the Department of Justice continues to block defendants accused of trespass from even mentioning the fact that they were arrested while responding to an imminent threat to innocent life, and the courts obligingly accept this contradiction.

The defense of necessity does not simply justify actions that technically violate the law. “Necessity,” says West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, is “a defense asserted by a criminal or civil defendant that he or she had no choice but to break the law.” As Ramsey Clark testified in a Las Vegas courtroom five years ago, “to have a baby burn to death because of a ‘no trespass sign’ would be poor public policy to put it mildly.” In a time of burning children, the “no trespassing” signs attached to the fences that protect the crimes executed with drones and other instruments of terror hold no potency and they do not command our obedience. The courts that do not recognize this reality allow themselves to be used as instruments of governmental malfeasance.

There have been many more trials since the Creech 14 and in the meanwhile, many more children have been incinerated by missiles fired from drones. On December 10, International Human Rights Day, Georgia Walker and Kathy Kelly will go to trial in U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Missouri, after they peacefully brought their grievance and a loaf of bread onto Whiteman Air Force Base, another in the growing number of stateside remote control killer drone centers.

Two years ago in that same court in a similar case, Judge Whitworth rejected the necessity defense offered by Ron Faust and me, subsequently sentencing Ron to five years of probation and sending me to prison for six months. It is to be hoped that Judge Whitworth will take advantage of this second chance that Kathy and Georgia courageously offer and exonerate himself and his profession.

Brian Terrell lives in Maloy, Iowa, and is a co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

The continuation of the Cold War 1.0 or the beginning of the Cold War 2.0 created a number challenges and threats for Europe and for the Russian Federation, in particular.

Nowadays, more and more experts underscore that a new Cold War really exists: some experts claim that the new Cold War is the continuation of the previous one known as the Cold War 1.0 that counterproductively embraced the globe during last century for a quite a long time; while others argue that the new war has acquired a qualitatively new phenomena – in the form of the Cold War 2.0.

The proponents of the second theory argue that the current crisis really has a new dimension that its previous pattern in the form of the Cold War 1.0 vanished in the haze officially in November 1990 when European nations in their Charter for a New Europe signed in Paris solemnly heralded its official end.

Personally, I am of opinion that the Cold War 1.0 has ended in 1990 – at least between major global powers and at least politically. The radical difference between the Cold War 1.0 and 2.0 is that the first one had a global dimension while the second one is actually in a bilateral mode – between the USA and Russia, and NATO and Russia.

But unfortunately, a new Cold War 2.0 emerged in 2014 – or 24 years after the first ended. It is per se a great contemporary challenge for Europe. It appeared very quickly and intentionally, though some real and objective factors have gradually created a solid ground for its rebirth. In spite of the end of the Cold War some 24 years ago, the old dividing lines remain discernible there.

What are these major “old” threats and challenges?

First, vast NATO enlargement took place in the Eastern direction: from the Cold War 1.0 to the beginning of the Cold War 2.0 the number of the Alliance member states has nearly doubled (from 1999 to 2009 12 states or 43% have been added to the list). Moreover, NATO is still committed to its expansion: four more states are in the waiting list, including Georgia and Ukraine. NATO official representative Robert Pzschel has confirmed at the end of October that both Georgia and Ukraine can become full-fledged members of NATO. The new NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his inauguration ceremony October 1st, 2014 declared that the Alliance signed agreements with Finland and Sweden that would enable it to have even closer cooperation with the Western military bloc.

October 15, 2014, while addressing the Association of the US Army (AUSA) Symposium, the Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel criticized Russia for standing on the doorstep of NATO.1 As if Russia has moved further West in the direction of NATO. But the reality is that on the contrary the alliance from its inception was getting closer to the Russian territory, to Russia’s doorstep. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu says that such statement is a proof that the USA is preparing a scenario for military actions near Russian borders.

Actually, the USA has been always striving to maintain “robust shaping forces forward”, as the US Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work admitted at the Council on Foreign Relations, in Washington, D.C., September 30, 2014, even while Pentagon was fighting two big wars, namely in Iraq and Afghanistan. The term “forces forward” in the US terminology means permanently “forward-stationed forces” at the US bases overseas, and “rotationally forward-deployed forces” scattered around the globe: 80,000 in the Pacific, 20,000 in South Korea, 40,000 under the Central Command, 28,000 in Europe plus in Africa and Latin America, etc. Nowadays, as Chuck Hagel has put it at the AUSA Symposium, the US soldiers either deployed or forward-stationed in nearly 150 locations around the world. Not only on the doorstep of many countries, but really, directly on their soil.

Second, a unilateral withdrawal of the USA from the ABM Treaty in mid 2002 – the treaty that all previous US Administrations have qualified as “a cornerstone of the global strategic stability”.

Third, a decision of the previous and current US Presidents to deploy global ballistic missile defense system aimed at a number of states: the basic stages are December 2002 (Presidential directive on the US “limited” BMDS deployment), February 2005 (creation of the US Joint Functional Command for Integrated Missile Defense), in February 2007 (when the USA officially presented is the details for BMDS in Poland and the Czech Republic), and in September 2009 (Barack Obama’s announcement about the US EPAA BMD plan).

Fourth, the beginning of the first phase of the US European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) implementation in 2011, and launching its preliminary capabilities the same year, continuation of the 2nd phase, and commitment to bring about all four phases till 2022 and beyond.

Fifth, a broad-based decision made in 2010 by Washington to modernize the USair-based tactical nuclear weapons namely B-61 type, including those deployed in four countries in Europe and in the Asian part of Turkey, while enhancing its penetrating capabilities to hit hardened targets.

Sixth, this challenge is linked with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty orCFE-1 and its adaptive version CFE-1A that ceased to be de facto in 2007 because all NATO participants in these arrangements refused to ratify them and to define a key term “substantial conventional forces”.

Seventh, NATO solidarity with Georgia when it attacked South Ossetia in August 2008 (Operation “Empty Field”).

Eighth, for the first time a creation of the “Chicago triad” – “an appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional and missile defense weapons” at

NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012 and its confirmation at the recent NATO Summit, held last September in Newport, the UK.

And, finally, ninth, when in February 2014 the USA engineered the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine that has empowered an ultra-nationalist and anti-Russian regime in Kiev which has carried out mass war crimes against peaceful citizens in Donbass – de facto and de jure Ukrainian citizens

– by using heavy weapons, including the MRLS “Grad”, “Smerch” and “Uragan”, white phosphorus and cluster bombs prohibited by two international Conventions. The Human Rights Watch acknowledged that in October Ukrainian troops again used cluster bombs against peaceful civilians. These military crime against humanity have already led to nearly 4,000 people killed and 9,000 wounded in Donbass in the last 6 months, as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in its report released October 8th, 2014.

The hostilities ushered in by Kiev created negative results: The Kiev’s aggressive behavior has prompted too many people to flee from the country: 280,000 internally displaced persons moved to the rest of Ukraine, and nearly 900,000 settled in Russia. Despite a ceasefire accord announced in Minsk September 5th and

reiterated September 19th 2014, the Kiev troops are systematically violating the relevant agreements: 330 more people have been killed after the announced ceasefire. After the ceasefire the Kiev’s regular troops and irregular formations have nearly completed their regrouping in the south- east. The Western powers are still acting illegally in a way that encourages Kiev to look for military solutions that can only lead to a dead end.

The cost of Kiev’s military crackdown will weigh heavily on the besieged region of Donetsk and Lugansk, with war damage having been estimated by the freedom fighters in Novorossia by the first week of October at about US $ 1 billion. The figure is very close to Kiev’s own estimates. According to the Ukrainian Government’s figures, it will take about US $ 911 million to rebuild war-hit cities in Donbass. 65% residential buildings and 10% of schools and kindergartens have been destroyed there. No buffer zones have been created by the Ukrainian army with Donbass. 40,000 medium sized enterprises in the region have stopped functioning. The level of unemployment in Ukraine has reached 40% of its workforce. Currently, Ukraine has $ 35-80 billion-worth of external debt. Kiev cannot pay for gas because it spends too much for war against its own people. As the Ukrainian

ex-Primier Julia Timoshemko put it, the post-Maidan corruption has exceeded the level of the pre-Maidan corruption.

Due to the Ukrainian army drive to southeastern regions of the country in April the area still witnessing a severe humanitarian catastrophe, as many citizens have struggled without clean water, electricity and other basic necessities.

A new United Nations report on human rights situation in Ukraine released at the beginning of October says there are continuous violations of international humanitarian law by armed groups and volunteer battalions under control of the Ukrainian armed forces. “During the reporting period, international humanitarian law, including the principles of military necessity, distinction, proportionality and precaution continued to be violated by armed groups and some units and volunteer battalions under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces,” the report reads. Fourth mass grave has been found in a village in the eastern Ukraine.

The site was located a couple of days after the OSCE Monitoring Mission confirmed the discovery of three mass burial sites in areas recently abandoned by Kiev forces. In all more than 400 corpses have been found there with severe wounds and shots in the head from point-blank range. Unfortunately, manywell-known European and international NGOs turn a blind eye to the gross violations of the human rights in Ukraine. POWs that are returned by Ukrainian authorities to Donbass are in a very bad physical condition, sometimes without IDs. Kiev frequently arrests innocent people in the streets to show them up as “rebels” and to exchange them as bona fide POWs.

Another challenge related to Ukraine: the Ukrainian authorities still prevent the Malaysian experts to the visit the MH17 crash site in order to conceal the evidence in the area intentionally heavily shelled and plowed by Ukrainian MRLSs soon after the disaster took place July 17th. The challenge is that there is no proper investigation so far. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have prevented all the time not to let international investigation teams to visit the crash site. Kiev still conceals a real truth: its Air Forces deliberately downed the MH17. A Ukrainian tycoon Igor Kolomoiskiy who at the same time is the Governor of Dnepropetrovsk Region recently confessed that namely Ukrainian Armed Forces who initially wanted to destroy another airliner July 17th, ‘unintentionally’ as he put it knocked down Malaysian Boeing 777 with nearly 300 people.

There is yet another factor related to Ukraine: massive spread of fascist and die-hardultra-national ideology hostile to non-Ukrainians and other nations. The major setback in this respect is: the young Ukrainian generation is actively involved in absorbing these ideologies with the advice and consent of the supreme authorities of that country. Glorification of the German Nazi and recognition of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in Ukraine which has been accused of war crimes including massive

killings of Jews and Poles in Ukraine, as war veterans are alarming bells for Europe that had suffered immensely during the WWII from Nazi. Unfortunately, no European nation or the USA or Canada have ever denounced such phenomena. It looks like the remedy to combat and eradicate a “fascist virus’ – the remedy produced by the Nuremberg Tribunal held in 1945-1946 – in the present-day environment has become non- effective.

What are the potential implications of all these nine challenges and threats listed above? After 2014 the European security and stability as a whole have actually ceased to be – with no room for amelioration in the immediate and even in a far-away future. That is why the window of opportunity for building even modest trust and confidence in Europe is being definitively a closed chapter in the current European history.

Who is responsible for unleashing the Cold War 2.0 and new threats and challenges?

Western optimism associated with the end of the Cold War 1.0 was too exaggerated. Actually, the “Cold Peace” emerged in Europe between the Cold War 1.0 and the Cold War 2.0. The USA and NATO have mistakenly regarded their military build ups during this period as if they are not seen or are innocent entertainment.

So, the new Cold War is the main challenge and threat for European stability and security. It is intentionally initiated by President Barack Obama for obvious reasons: to increase NATO military expenditures, to create more pro-Western states along the perimeter with the Russian territory, to topple the Russian President, to undermine Russia’s military and economic potential and to ruin European economy and security as its main rival. Unfortunately, all 28 NATO and the EU member-states have seconded his option. Currently such a new war is in full swing.

The EU with all of its Washington leaning has its voice to be heard, has the potential to act independently. This, however, remains almost totally unused. That is very sad, because the EU’s own voice could have added real balance to international discussions and efforts to resolve various problems.

The Cold War 2.0 and its threats and challenges deteriorate the global political, military, economic and financial climate. It is very close to the Russian land. It affects many European nations. It affects the Russian Federation. As Stephen Cohen, an open-mindedAmerican scholar, puts it last summer at the in international gathering in Washington: “The epicenter of the new Cold War is not in Berlin, but on Russia’s borders, in Ukraine, a region absolutely essential in Moscow’s view to its global security and even to its civilization”.

The Cold War 2.0 really has its own new unique challenges and threats that will have a future-oriented impact.

What are new challenges and threats in the arms control?

It has completely frozen arms control process. While during the Cold War 1.0 the USA and the Soviet Union and Russia have reached a number of bilateral and multilateral agreements in arms control domain (7 accords on SOA limitation and reductions, nuclear missiles de-targeting agreements, the INF and the Open Skies Treaties, the CFE Treaty, etc.), nowadays the arms control process between the USA/NATO and Russia has been completely stalled, with no immediate chances for its resurrection. There are 15 unresolved issues between Moscow and Washington – in some areas of a paramount importance. They constitute both threats and challenges for the regional and the global stability.

Amongst them: there is uninterrupted US global missile defense deployment; conversion of the US SSBN (strategic submarines equipped with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles) into SSGN (strategic submarines equipped with cruise missiles); there is no desire of the USA to count SOA (strategic offensive arms) warheads stored in active reserve; the USA has dismissed proposals to control long-range nuclear-tipped SLCM (sea- launched cruise missiles); the USA still has tactical nuclear weapons in Europe – outside its territory; the USA has no intention to proliferate INCSEA accord(incidents-at-sea-prevention agreement) on strategic nuclear-powered submarines (12 collisions have been recorded so far between American and Soviet/Russiannuclear-powered submarines); the USA still has an offensive nuclear doctrine based upon general nuclear deterrence and extended nuclear deterrence – with the first nuclear strike provisions in the form of preventive and preemptive strikes; there is no US intention to draft a qualitatively new CFE (CFE-2); there is no US wish to reach accord on PAROS (prevention of arms emplacement in the outer space); the USA has no plans to sign ASAT accord (anti-satellite agreement); the USA is violating of the INF Treaty by testing missile defense interceptors by using medium-range (1,000-5,500 km) and “intermediate- range” ballistic missiles (3,000-5,500 km); the USA and NATO are conducting Air Force Operation “Baltic Air Policing” during 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with DCA(dual-capable aircraft) that can carry nuclear free- fall bombs; Washington still deviates from the ratification of the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) – 18 years have elapsed since it was signed; the USA has no wish to limit armed UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and still uses them against civilians, especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan and

other nations, and finally, the USA has no desire to enforce ceilings on hypersonic conventional weapons with pin-point accuracy to be launched under the “Prompt Global Strike” strategy.

The following new threats and challenges will prevail in many years to come, if they are not contained.

In nuclear forces: The USA will completely replace its SOA traditional triad – it will create new ICBMs, new SLBMs and new heavy strategic bombers. Their warheads will be modernized. New fuel for updated ICBMs will be developed, thrust power for the newly-builtICBMs and SLBMs engines will be enhanced and their target hitting accuracy increased. The Pentagon plans to develop a new long-range ALCM and to convert extra SSBNs into SSGNs (4 “Ohio” class submarines have been already converted). There are far-reachingintentions inside the Pentagon to modernize SOA assets till the end of the current century, and TNW at least till 2075.

In missile defense: currently the US Navy has 30 “Aegis”- capable combat ships, some of them are deployed on a permanent basis in the Black and Mediterranean Seas as well as in the Baltic and Barents Seas. In 2015 the US BMD operational complexes will be launched in Romania, and in 2018 – in Poland. The Pentagon wishes to bring about the EPAA beyond 2030. No doubt, the US BMD program will go on indefinitely. At the latest NATO Summit in Wales its leaders have encouraged more states to join the BMD project. But, if the number of the US strategic interceptors exceeds the number of SOA launchers the already fragile global stability will weaken further, because it will increase a temptation to deliver the first nuclear strike and to protect the attacker with the BMD “shield”.

In conventional forces: Possessing totally 24,000 combat aircraft and 800 blue- water naval vessels, NATO at its latest Summit in Newport last September has announced its intention to enhance its combat capabilities of the forward- deployed forces, especially in the areas adjacent to the Russian borders. The Summit approved the

Readiness Action Plan that will enable the transatlantic military bloc “to respond even faster to fast-moving crises”. NATO will maintain a continuous presence and activity in the Eastern part of the Alliance, on a rotational basis. Its air patrols over three Baltic nations (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and naval deployments in the Baltic and Black Sea will be expanded. Rotation of forces throughout Eastern Europe for exercises will also acquire a routine pattern. NATO will set up the Spearhead Force – so that its troops stand ready to deploy “within days”. Next February NATO defense ministers will agree on the design, the composition and the size of the Spearhead Force.

The USA has opened 8 new military bases in Europe: including 2 Naval bases in Bulgaria and Romania, and 6 Air-Force bases in Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Poland. 2 new NATO C3 I centers will be opened in Poland and Lithuania. The USA uses European landmasses for deployment of its BMDS alongside with the NATO enlargement further East. Two more BMDS bases will be opened soon– in Romania and Poland. Undoubtedly, these bases or any others will be automatically targeted by the Russian BMDS and other weapon systems.

Deterioration of Russia’s relationship with the NATO alliance, particularly regarding the Ukraine crisis, has made too obvious the inability of the alliance to change its geneticmilitary-political code it embedded during the Cold War 1.0 era. NATO military capabilities’ build up in the vicinity of the Russian land and Russian shores can be qualified as the demonstration of hostile intentions and as the scheme for provocative power projection. It is NATO that really moved on Russia’s doorstep.

One more challenge: hostile accusations and war-flagging rhetoric

Hostile statements coming from the White House and addressed to Russia, like “to teach it a lesson”, “Russia will pay a huge price for its military intervention into Ukraine”, “annexation of Crimea”, and, finally, that Russia ranks second place between Ebola disease and “Islamic State”, as Barack Obama put it at the recent UN General Assembly session in September 2014 are completely unfounded. Vladimir Putin’s response to this was in a clear-cut form: together with the sanctions against entire sections of the Russian economy, this approach can be called “nothing but hostile”.

Moscow has never launched any military intervention either in Crimea or in Donbass though there have been many voices to send Russian military contingents in Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (16%). As for Crimea, Russian troops were stationed there a long time ago before the Crimean Republic decided to reunite with Russia – they have stayed there under several bilateral accords with Ukraine on the Black Sea Fleet division and never exceeded the overall limit of 25,000 men. No single shot was fired in Crimea before it reunited with Russia. Crimea has been (from 1783) and will be the Russian land forever. It will never be returned to anybody as a gift or as incentive to expand “friendly ties”.

Russia will not accept the term “annexation” in this respect. After “annexation” only 3,500 Crimeans decided to move to Ukraine for good. On the other hand, nearly all Ukrainian servicemen in Crimea took oath to serve in the Russian Armed Forces. Its reunification with Russia took place peacefully, as the result of democratic referendum held last March.

For Washington it was the easiest thing to do: to recognize the Crimean reunification with Russia. But among the two states – Ukraine and Russia – Washington unfortunately has chosen a failed, unpredictable, dangerous ultra-nationalistic state, a state whose statements are full lies, a state that steals gas and coal without any payment and does not pay back credits and loans.

As to the developments in Donbass, there is no need to send Russian troops there, simply because the number of freedom fighters operating in the area is sufficient to repel Kiev genocide in the form of “Anti-Terror Operation”. Russia has not occupied an inch of the Ukrainian land, and does not have any intention to do so. True, 10 Russian military men that once lost their way and appeared on the Ukrainian territory. Was it an “aggression”? There was no fighting. All of them have returned to Russia. If it is an “aggression”, what term one might use in case when about 460 Ukrainian servicemen crossed the Russian border in several groups? Is it a “super aggression”?

The dramatic developments in Ukraine have revealed a large-scale crisis in terms of international law, the basic norms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. We see numerous violations of Articles 3, 4, 5, 7 and 11 of the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of Article 3 of the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of December 9, 1948.

Unbiased experts are witnessing the application of double standards in the assessment of crimes against the civilian population of southeastern Ukraine, violations of the fundamental human rights to life and personal integrity. People are subjected to torture, to cruel and humiliating punishment, discrimination and illegal rulings.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said on the sidelines of the recent NATO summit in Newport, Wales, that he was promised arms supplies by various NATO countries. So far, five of them openly admitted this, including the USA that have agreed to deliver even lethal arms to Kiev, as the Pentagon official stated October 9th. If so, such deal will be illegal, because it will violate official declarations of the EU and OSCE (of which practically all the NATO states are also members) that expressly prohibit arms supplies to parties involved in a conflict.

Nothing the West can do will change that. Instead of recognizing this reality, the West’s illegal and miscalculated military support for Kiev risks entrenching a regime which will continue to wage the aggressive war on its own people.

Another challenge: economic and financial sanctions

Economic and financial sanctions versus Russia and a number of high- ranking Russian officials outnumber similar restrictive measures imposed upon the Soviet Union in the past, e.g. due to involvement in Afghanistan, or against Russia when Georgia attacked South Ossetia in 2008.

Russia does not understand why these sanctions have been imposed against it. Moscow has done nothing wrong to be punished. But at the same time there is a strong feeling amongst Russians that West’s colonial-style sanctions on Russia have little to do more to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. The true goals of these restrictions are to alter and to reshape Russia, to change its positions on key international issues that are the most fundamental for it, and make it to accept the unacceptable visions of the West. “That is the last century, the past epoch, colonialist thinking linked with inertia”, – said Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Ministry, October 19th. These sanctions are unlikely to divert Russia from its current stance. But the more anti-Russian sanctions are used, the stronger will be moral support of Ukraine from the West in Kiev’s “blundering into a disaster”, as Robert McNamara, the ex- US Defense Secretary, once entitled his famous memoirs.

President Vladimir Putin has recently called the present-day Western economic and financial measures as “full foolishness” and added that they would produce no harm to the state and national social and economic programs. 94% of Russians have said that they are not afraid of any US and the EU sanctions and would tolerate them even if they might have any negative effect. For Russians these sanctions are “not so hot, and not so cold”, as they used to say. Russian Central Bank admitted that Western sanctions have affected only operational activity of some Russian banks, but had no negative impact at all. On the contrary, the trust of clients for “Russia” Bank and SMP Bank that have been included into the sanction list has increased: the deposits went up by 20%.

Sanctions are already undermining the foundations of world trade, the WTO rules and the principle of inviolability of private property.

Sanctions will not produce a deep-seated effect on Russia’s economy as their creators have thought. Russia’s industrial output for the last eight months grew by 2,5% (last year, industrial output grew by only 1.5% during the same period). Last year, Russia’s agriculture sector grew by 2.5% during the first eight months of the last year, whereas this year, we had 4.9% growth for the same period of time. This year national budget will have positive surplus more than 1 trillion Roubles or around Euros 200 billion. Russia still posseses US $ 450 billion in gold and hard currency reserves.

On the other hand Western sanctions are as sharp double-edged tools: so far European countries have lost US $ 1 trillion after they imposed sanctions against Russia.

Besides obvious economic consequences, the EU sanctions versus Russia have political implications that are harmful to the Europeans themselves. It is known that sanctions have inflicted to Russia’s economy a certain damage. But at the same time the European economy also has suffered harmful consequences. A number of European companies representing different branches of industry have been cooperating with the Russian business community. After sanctions have been introduced such cooperation became impossible, and the Western partners’ investments into Russia might not come back in the way it has been expected. No doubt, the medium and small businesses that have been oriented directly linked with such cooperation, have suffered most. Naturally, their bankruptcy will entail mass layouts as well. And, as a result, one may witness the growth of unemployment, mass discontent over state policy and lowering of trust amongst the population. During last several years namely in these conditions “the colored revolutions” or “revolutions caused by controlled chaos” have swept many countries. And nowadays, all these represent additional threat to the European security.

Western sanctions are flying as a boomerang. For example, Poland introduced sanctions against Russia and immediately lost huge Russian apples market: every year Poland sold 900,000 tons of apples to Russia or 90% of all its export volume in apples. Currently Russia buys apples from Serbia, New Zealand and South Africa, but not from Poland. Polish apple industry has been ruined by the Poles themselves. Nobody wants to by buy Polish apples for 10 Eurocents per kilogram.

Some Western sanctions look irrelevant, like a sanction against Nikolai, a 10-year son of the Byelorussian President Aleksander Lukashenko or against Russian MP Elena Mizulina who is opposing gay marriage. Some sanctions are simply laughable, like a sanction versus a horse from a stable belonging to the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. 2

The USA and European nations who have used the mechanism of sanctions will find it difficult to recover from reputational damage inflicted by their own sanctions. Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund said October 9, 2014: “While the impact of the conflict in Ukraine has been relatively contained to date, further escalation could generate significant negative spillovers, both regionally and globally.”

A new package of the US sanctions versus Russia is a primitive attempt to revenge at a time when the situation in Ukraine is not developing along the scenario written hastily in Washington. Whatever their scope, it is useless to talk to Russia in the language of sanctions. In the atmosphere of massive anti-Russian sanctions stemming from the West, Moscow has the right to impose uninterruptedly its own sanctions against the USA in every domain in response. But, as you see Moscow has not embarked upon the entire list of sanctions against those nations who have decided to use them first and for nothing special.

Instead of paying all debts it recognizes, Kiev has stockpiled the Stockholm Arbitrary Court with dubious and irrelevant files and launched various sanctions against Russia first. In general terms, one may put a fair question: “How can we talk about the de-escalation the situation in Ukraine while decisions on new sanctions against Russia are introduced almost simultaneously with agreements on the peace process?”

Ukraine still unpaid 11,5 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia and 100.000 tons of coal from Poland. Including a number of previous debts Ukraine owes to Russia totally $ 9,8 billion. It has not returned this money yet. But Russia is not a charity organization to supply Ukraine with gas free of charge or to give money without return. From 1991 to 2014 Russia gave Ukraine nearly $ 200 billion. So, currently Ukraine is a rather risky and dangerous client in the world economy. As Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, has said in October 2014:”I have a feeling that Ukraine is waiting for resolving its own difficulties by all others, but not by itself”.

It would be fair if such sanctions would have been imposed versus current Ukrainian regime for its atrocities against its own citizens, for the fact that Ukraine has never been and will never be as a fair economic and financial counterpart. If Russia, the EU and the USA have imposed sanctions against Ukraine, Kiev would have immediately stopped its massive war crimes in the South-East against its own citizens.

 

Imposing sanctions is, as a rule, the result of political disagreements. However, the policy of pressure through sanctions is bearing an exclusively counter-productive nature. When sanctions are imposed, there will be no winners. In this particular case Russia is located in one camp, and the USA, Europe and the other pro-Western states are occupying the other. Obviously, somebody will suffer most, and others will suffer less. The USA being far away from Russia in terms of its geographic disposition, is conducting its foreign policy independently from the EU. At the same time, moving into economic and political confrontation with Russia, the White House demands from Europe the relevant support and in so doing first and foremost emplaces the EU member-states in a rather awkward situation.

Moreover, witnessing obvious negative economic and political consequences, the activity of the US intelligence community that inflicts direct losses to the European security interests, pours oil on the flames. The US special services are manipulating the world public opinion via the global mass media. Suffice it to recall at least Iraq where the CW agents have been allegedly found.

One more threat: Color Revolutions & Hybrid Wars

The number of cases of direct intervention of the USA and its closest allies into sovereign states have intensified. Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own “vital interests”. Military interference has become a norm — even despite the dismal outcome of all power operations that the USA has carried

out over the last 70 years. Whenever the USA appears militarily – everywhere one may witness instability, calamity, hostility and bloodshed. Washington has created more failed states than there have been before during the Cold War 1.0.

Madam Sharon Tennison, the president of the Center for Citizen Initiatives, the USA, urged the US leaders not to wage more proxy wars, not to destabilize more the other elected governments, not to demonize more other leaders and countries and to stop using military might to intervene all across the globe. She made an eloquent remark:”All of the countries we [the United States] invaded in the past dozen years are worse off now than before we put boots and weapons on their soils”. In her letter to Nancy Pelosi, a former candidate for the US presidency, Sharon Tennison also confessed that she has never seen anything so egregious, wrong-headed and dangerous as the current Washington’s policy toward Russia. She put quite some logical questions – what the USA will do if Russia put Warsaw Pact armed forces and missile installations along Mexico and Canada’s borders, what the USA will do when there was a possibility of weapons being put in Cuba?

Besides using strong military power to replace “unfriendly governments” like in Libya, Iraq and some other countries in the past (e.g. Guatemala, Cuba, Northern Vietnam and Northern Korea, etc. ), the USA also widely uses its secret services whenever it feels that the use of military force will be too costly or too risky from the prism of the international law. A number of attempts to stage various “colored revolutions” in the former Soviet space is a graphic example of such schemes. It was reported recently that the USA are ready to wage secret and undeclared wars by using rebels against various governments and by exploiting political, economic, military and psychological methods upon the any adversary, as it was stated in the announcement of the US Special Operations Command.

One method was exploited by the USA was to replace the existing governments through elections when substantial amount of money was allocated to bribe potential voters, election commissions at the polling stations and upwards, via carefully calibrated and specifically trained journalists, mass media agencies, through faked voting bulletins and distorted calculation of voters’ returns who supported the opposition being unhappy with the current authorities and their policies.

Such method was vividly described by then the US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul prior to his appointment in that capacity and before his selection for the position of US National Security Adviser – that is when he was a Stanford University professor studying Russia. In his public lecture in a West European country some years ago Michael McFaul openly revealed to the audience the number of the US agencies (e.g. USAID) that have been given moneys to various Ukrainian NGOs and Ukrainian mass media bodies to bring to power a pro-Western President Viktor Youschenko in 2004 who advocated the immediate entry of Ukraine into NATO. The specific amounts of money have been identified by Michael McFaul that have been channeled to the existing and specifically set up Ukrainian NGOs prior to the 2004 presidential elections under the motto to enhance “the civil society” in that country. Substantial resources have been given by the CIA to the Russian opposition via Russian and foreign NGOs implanted in Russia to prevent the election of President Vladimir Putin in 2012.

The latest pattern in this list is Ukraine where using of an air power to topple President Viktor Yanukovich has never been debated in the Pentagon. But it was the major task of the CIA and other US secret services to replace him through different pattern of actions, including via the cover up operations staged inside Ukraine. The latest method of the government change was through inciting massive “Maidan riots” (or “riots in the main square”) by paying lump amounts of money to “peaceful demonstrators” that assembled to initially criticize corruption, poor social welfare system, violations of law etc. When peaceful protests in the Maidan Square and adjacent streets in Kiev turned to be on the verge of exhausting, the US secret services with the direct assistance of the Ukrainian SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) arranged indiscriminate snipers’ fire at innocent people on the either side of barricades: both policemen and demonstrators.

The USA secret services have been broadly involved in implanting a failed, butpro-Western regime in Kiev last February: open sources claim that US$ 10 billion have been spent for this aim, and much more moneys secretly brought to Kiev in the diplomatic pouch at the end 2013-early 2014. A critical remark to the US CIA: the Agency can engineer a coup, but it is not able to forecast – what would happen afterwards. Ukrainian tragedy is a vivid example of this.

Washington has masterminded the Maidan riots last February and has brought to power rather nonprofessional personalities in Kiev. A retired CIA officer confessed last summer that at least a year of planning is needed before a covert operation of this sort can succeed. The West has not given itself that year, and now seems unable to understand that the people of the Donbass have had enough. They will never join Ukraine again. Too much blood of them has been spilt, too many houses have been destroyed, and too muchdeep-seated antipathy has been accumulated. They do not want to live under the Ukrainian yoke and in the Ukrainian shackles. They want a separate state within the administrative boundaries of their own land.

By implanting its “closest ally” as the current President of Ukraine, the US secret services continued to make the entire Ukraine as 100% pro-NATO and pro-American. To maintain anti-Russian mood and pro-Western feelings amongst the general public in that country the US secret services that nowadays have their own “instructors” and “advisers” in almost every Ukrainian state ministry and department and are actively participating in the information war versus Russia and other countries that have not supported a bloody unconstitutional takeover in Kiev and the rest of Ukraine. The gimmick is simple as that: they hammer out in the Internet any type of false or dubious piece of news, and later by referring to it make a far-reaching conclusions and supply them to the US leaders or to the general public as a reality. A recent example: there was a claim by the Ukrainian Security Service that the cadets of the Russian Artillery College took part in artillery fires in Donbass, but such college has been disbanded six years ago. Another story: false Russian IDs have been presented to the mass media as a proof that Russian troops are conducting an “aggression against Ukraine”. But Ukrainian SBU and the US CIA simply do not know that such type of IDs have been cancelled many years ago. Last summer the SBU revealed the story that Vasiliy Geranin, allegedly the GRU officer, had a telephone talk with the freedom fighter in Donbass named Igor Bezler. But I saw the photo of the alleged “Vasiliy Geranin” I realized that the man is actually Musa Khamzatov whom I know personally due to our contacts at MGIMO – the Moscow State Institute for International Relations.

Witnessing obvious negative economic and political consequences, the activity of the US intelligence community that inflicts direct losses to the European security interests, pours oil on the flames. The US special services are manipulating the world public opinion via the global mass media. Suffice it to recall at least Iraq where the CW agents have been allegedly found.

In general terms the CIA manipulates the public perceptions of what is going in this world, it interferes into a private life of rank and file citizens and world leaders. In thepresent-day environment and in the future the USA secret services should stop infiltration into internal affairs of the other nations and single individuals, and better serve its natural goal – to maintain and guarantee the security of its nation. In this context listening of phone calls and readinge-mails of almost every citizen in the USA and more than 30 world leaders should be prohibited because such practice is a threat to individual liberties and runs counter to the basic human rights and the international law.

What are the ways from the impasse of the Cold War 2.0?

Addressing the Valdai discussion club meeting in Sochi October 24th, 2014, Vladimir Putin observed that the world is becoming less safe and more unpredictable, and the risks are increasing everywhere. The security system has become seriously weakened, fragmented and deformed. A unilateral diktat and imposing one’s own models produces the opposite result. Instead of settling conflicts it leads to their escalation, to the growing spread of chaos, to a very dubious support for open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals. The world is witnessing new efforts to fragment the entire global situation, to draw new dividing lines and put together coalitions directed against others having different views, to create the image of an enemy as was the case during the Cold War years, and to impose a convenient model for perpetuating the USA leadership.

The United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War, instead of maintaining order and stability, took steps that threw the current security system into deep imbalance. The so-called ‘victors’ in the Cold War have decided to reshape the world to suit their own ‘vital’ needs and interests.

A Report prepared by the Polish Institute of International relations in October 2014 made it clear that the reasons for the Russia–West crisis run much deeper than a deficit of trust or inadequate channels of communication between the parties. The mistrust itself is not a product of misunderstanding of the motives of the other side, but rather it reflects fundamental differences in the sphere of values and conceptualization of interests between the West and Russia.3 But, unfortunately, the Report puts a blame for this exclusively upon Russia.

Сurrently, there is little or even zero chance of rebuilding trust between the West and Russia without tackling the fundamental differences between them.

As Jeffrey Tayler, an editor of “The Atlantic”, recently observed: “America embarks on this road to confrontation [with Russia] without sure, seasoned hands at the wheel in the White House; in modern history, no US administration has proved more inept at dealing with Russia…. Americans are being marched off to a new war—a cold one for now—with no idea of what the outcome will be. They need to demand of the Obama administration: “Tell us, how this ends.” Really: how this will end? 4

First. The USA and its NATO allies should stop any military build-up near Russia’s borders. The US tactical nuclear weapons with relevant infrastructure and the BMD assets must be removed from Europe and brought to the continental USA. A new multilateral ABM Treaty limiting the number of the strategic interceptors should be developed. A qualitatively new CFE has to be elaborated and signed between all NATO member-states, including new entrants, and Russia. An international treaty banning arms deployment in outer space should be accepted by all states. And de facto and de jurenuclear-weapon states have to assume commitments not to use nuclear weapons in the first strike. The next New US-Russian START (START-4) may be debated provided all previous arrangements are implemented. The USA and NATO have to regard Russia as their permanent ally, rather than permanent foe.

Second. Economic and financial sanctions versus Russia should be lifted for good and in full as unfair and illegitimate arrangement undermining the WTO principles and norms of a fair trade. At the same time Russia will not tackle any conditions aimed at lifting off these sanctions as a trade-off for changing its stance on the Ukrainian crisis created not by it.

Third. Ukraine will have to declare its pledge to retain its non-nuclear and non-aligned status for ever.

The people of Donbass will have the right to determine their own future – without any aggression and punitive actions within its own administrative borders within the rest of Ukraine. A peaceful solution to the Ukrainian crisis requires not merely a ceasefire, but a complete withdrawal of all Ukrainian regular troops and irregular formations from the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics. Kiev authorities should sign a non-aggression pact with them. Kiev should also compensate all human and material losses for Novorossia – promptly and without delays.

The US military and political elite have to realize that Ukraine is a kind of geopolitical andmilitary-political Rubicon that the Russian Federation will never step back or give up its core principles. Nobody must interfere with the upcoming elections in Donbass that fully correspond to the Minsk accord, scheduled for November 4, 2014 – likewise nobody has interfered with the recent Parliamentary elections held in Ukraine.

Fourth. In general terms, the time has come to prohibit from the international life the use of threats under dubious pretexts and vague explanations. Vladimir Putin recently observed: “We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability”.5 The world community at large must firmly oppose the attempts to revive the results of the WWII and consistently combat any forms and manifestations of racism, xenophobia, aggressive nationalism and chauvinism.

A special US-Russia’s summit is badly needed to tackle all these issues. But not with Barack Obama. It is impossible to convene such a meeting during his presidency.

Conclusion

The world we are living in and where the successive generations will live should be built upon the principle of multipolar world and “mutually assured security”, upon the reduced number of weapons rather than on “mutually assured destruction” – the basic motto invented by the USA and NATO during the Cold War 1.0. But, unlike the Cold War 1.0 that proliferated around the globe, the new Cold War has been imposed so far between the USA and Russia, and NATO and Russia. It has a potential to spill over, if it is not stopped. It can create a lot of troubles to many countries. That is why the Cold War 2.0 should not proliferate into other areas of the globe.

At the same time any hybrid-type warfare in its modern connotation meaning conventional wars plus cyber and information wars, and infiltrations into domestic affairs of the other states in the form of the “controlled chaos” or “proxy wars” should be eradicated.

If these measures are not implemented there is a great probability that the Russian Federation will have to rethink its responsive measures especially in relation to the USA and NATO and their policy, and make necessary changes to its updating Military Doctrine that will replace the one enacted in 2010 and in the White Book on Defense that will be released early next year by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Final brush: there is the urgent need to carry out a rational reconstruction of the present-day situation and adapt it to the new realities in the system of international relations.

Instead of imposing the Cold War 2.0 that has already been initiated by the USA and NATO, and producing qualitatively new threats and challenges the entire Europe and the world at large really will have to initiate a really global detente that was developing quite successfully during last century.

Notes

1 “But we also must deal with a revisionist Russia – with its modern and capable army – on NATO’s doorstep.” Association of the United States Army (AUSA).As Delivered by the US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, October 15, 2014// http://www.defense.gov/Speeches/Speech.aspx?SpeechID=1894

2 In late August and early October 2014, horse called Zazu won 5,000 Euros and 2,000 Euros inBaden-Baden and Dusseldorf horse races, respectively. The German Government, however, banned the horses’ owner from receiving price money, saying Kadyrov was subject to EU sanctions. The authorities also banned the horses from further participation in races till sanctions on Kadyrov are lifted. See:<http://rt.com/politics/197396-kadyrov- horses-sanctions-apology>.

3 Is a New Cold War Inevitable? Central European Views on Rebuilding Trust in the Euro- Atlantic Region Warsaw: PISM. 2014. October. P. 5. http //www.pism.pl/files/?id_plik=18495.

4 Jeffrey Tayler. The Seething Anger of Putin’s Russia//The Atlantic. 2014.September 22.http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/09/russia-west-united-states-past-future-conflict/380533/2/

5 Vladimir Putin. Interview to the Serbian daily “Politika”, October 15, 2014 //http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/23099.

Vladimir P. Kozin is Chief Adviser and the Head of the Group of Advisers to the Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Presidential Administration Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Professor of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences.