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The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity by Michel Chossudovsky

America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine —coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.

This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history.

It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of “human rights” and “Western democracy”.

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Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War by Michel Chossudovsky

The object of this book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”.

While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality. The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace. “Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

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Avaaz describe themselves as a ‘global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere’, and are fairly well known within human rights and development circles.

They had previously used their reach and status to drum up support for a ‘no-fly zone’ over Libya (a call which was ultimately realised, to disasterous effect), and this isn’t thefirst time they’ve called for a ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria either.

Their work within Syria itself has attracted controversy, with the Jillian C. York accusing them of being ‘naive’, among other things (lacking transparency, taking credit for work they haven’t carried out, potentially endangering lives, etc).

They’ve now reiterated their call for a ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria, in response to alleged chlorine gas attacks carried out by Syrian regime forces.

I just want to quickly outline why I think their call is misguided at best.

From their appeal:

‘The US, Turkey, UK, France and others are right now seriously considering a safe zone in Northern Syria. Advisers close to President Obama support it, but he is worried he won’t have public support. That’s where we come in.

Let’s tell him we don’t want a world that just watches as a dictator drops chemical weapons on families in the night. We want action’.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/syria_safe_zone_loc_fb_tg_ctrl/?svAouab

(Emphasis mine)

What is this if it’s not an open admission that – at least in this case – Avaaz see their role as helping to drum up public support for U.S. foreign policy?

And will they be publicising the fact that U.S. led bombing has already caused at least 100+ civilian deaths in Syria? Will these deadly raids, which themselves have shattered far too many ‘little bodies’, be prohibited under the ‘no-fly zone’ as well?

Realistically of course, they won’t be. Because it’s the people who have caused these deaths that are being entrusted with enforcing the ‘no-fly zone’ by Avaaz.

And that enforcement will almost certainly require a significant escalation in airstrikes, with all the risks to civilians on the ground that this entails.

General Carter Ham, the head of AFRICOM when the ‘no-fly zone’ over Libya was being enforced, has said for example:

‘We should make no bones about it. It first entails killing a lot of people and destroying the Syrian air defenses and those people who are manning those systems. And then it entails destroying the Syrian air force, preferably on the ground, in the air if necessary. This is a violent combat action that results in lots of casualties and increased risk to our own personnel’.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-the-nation-transcripts-september-28-2014-blinken-kaine-flournoy/

While Philip Breedlove, the senior General within NATO, has said:

‘ I know it sounds stark, but what I always tell people when they talk to me about a no-fly zone is . . . it’s basically to start a war with that country because you are going to have to go in and kinetically take out their air defense capability’.

http://www.stripes.com/news/breedlove-no-fly-zone-over-syria-would-constitute-act-of-war-1.223788

Indeed, the U.S. themselves have openly said that ‘rules meant to temper the civilian death toll from unmanned U.S. drones won’t apply in the fight against terrorists in Iraq and Syria’, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in their ability or willingness to avoid civilian casualties.

Nor does their history of committing, facilitating and supporting almost continuous mass murder and repression around the globe for the last 70 years.

Which is why I for one won’t be joining Avaaz’s campaign to drum up public support formore predatory U.S. led mass murder disguised as ‘humanitarianism’ a ‘no-fly zone’ in Syria.

NATO-Russia

NATO Trains For Air War In Europe, U.S. Troops To Train Ukrainian National Guard Soon, Stop NATO, March 19, 2015

NATO Partners: U.S. Warplanes In Romanian Exercise Within Striking Distance Of Crimea

U.S. Air Forces Europe U.S. Air Force Africa March 18, 2015 USAFE, Romanian Airmen kick off Dacian Warhawk By Staff Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales 86th Airlift Wing Public…

gmo_corn_dnas

US Agencies, Gates Foundation, and Monsanto Trying to Force Unwilling African Nations to Accept Expensive and Insufficiently Tested GMO, Friends of the Earth, March 19, 2015

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – US agencies, funders such as the Gates Foundation, and agribusiness giant Monsanto are trying to force unwilling African nations to accept expensive and insufficiently tested Genetically Modified (GM) foods and crops, according to a new report…

ISIS made in USA

Delivery of US Weapons and Ammunition to ISIS: Iraqi Commander Wiretaps ISIS Communications with US Military, Fars News Agency, March 19, 2015

A commander of Iraq’s popular forces disclosed that wiretapping of ISIL’s communications has confirmed the reports that the US planes have been airdropping food and arms supplies for the Takfiri terrorists.

“The wiretapped ISIL communications by Iraqi popular forces have…

grenada_invasion

“Hollywood-Style” Foreign Policy: Remembering the 1983 US Military Intervention in Grenada, Vladislav B. Sotirović, March 19, 2015

Grenada is an independent state, a member of the U.N., located in the southern portion of the Caribbean Sea very close to the mainland of the South America (Venezuela). The state is composed by southernmost of the Windward Islands combined…

crisis in ukraine3

Obama’s Double-Standard on Russia: He Attacks Russia, then Condemn’s Putin for Defending Russia from His Attack, Eric Zuesse, March 19, 2015

Ukraine is considered by geostrategists (both Republican and Democratic) to be militarily the most important adjoining nation to Russia, serving as the chief buffer to attacks against Russia from the west. Since 1783, Russia has had its key Black Sea…

Middle-East-map2

US-NATO Allies Saudi Arabia and Israel Edge Closer to War with Iran, Steven MacMillan, March 19, 2015

A recent report by an Israeli TV station revealed that Saudi Arabia would allow Israeli jets to use its airspace to attack Iran, demonstrating the clandestine strategic alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel. As the Times of Israel reported in…

FEDERAL-RESERVE-facebook

Deciphering the Fed’s Actions, “Spoon Feeding the Market”: Whatever they Do, the US Economy is Damned, Bill Holter, March 19, 2015

Wednesday is yet another Fed meeting where we get to hear “policy” from them.  So many times in the past, the upcoming meeting has been called “THE” most important meeting ever.  This one is being called the same thing.  I…

ukraine-russia-usa-europe

Who’s Won the “Sanctions War” So Far? Washington, Brussels or Moscow?, Andrew Korybko, March 19, 2015

It’s been one year since European sanctions were first enacted against Russia on 17 March, 2014, and it’s worthy to briefly highlight their consequences on Moscow. Likewise, the counter-sanctions that Russia imposed on the EU last summer must also be…

NATO Partners: U.S. Warplanes In Romanian Exercise Within Striking Distance Of Crimea 

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

March 18, 2015

USAFE, Romanian Airmen kick off Dacian Warhawk
By Staff Sgt. Armando A. Schwier-Morales
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

CAMPIA TURZII, Romania: More than 100 personnel and six F-16 Fighting Falcons landed at Campia Turzii, Romania, to kick off a bilateral Romanian and U.S. Air Force training event March 10 to 27.

Exercise Dacian Warhawk featured U.S. and Romanian Airmen working side-by-side to establish a base and conduct both ground and air operations with NATO partners.

“It’s been a great experience to work alongside the 52nd Fighter Wing to strengthen our alliance with the Romanian air force,” said Col. Steven Edwards, 435th Contingency Response Group commander. “I’m extremely proud of all the 435th AGOW Airmen helping to make this exercise a success–from the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron joint terminal attack controllers supporting operations on Cincu Range, to the 435th Construction and Training Squadron installing aircraft arresting systems here, to 1st Combat Communications Squadron supporting all players with a robust communications capability. Not to mention the air advisors from Detachment 1 working a multitude of events designed to build partnerships with our Romanian counterparts–everyone is stepping-up.”

The 435th Air Ground Operations Wing hosted a series of events designed to build partnerships by sharing knowledge, skills and best practices. Airmen from airfield operations, air traffic control, medical and logistics developed training plans to effectively share knowledge between the two nations…

Military Vehicles On The Way, Biden Says U.S. Troops To Train Ukrainian National Guard Soon

UNIAN
March 19, 2015

Biden: US military to train Ukraine’s National Guard soldiers soon

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has discussed the situation in the Donbas with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, and informed him about the latest laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to implement the Minsk agreements, the Ukrainian president’s press service reported on Wednesday.

Speaking by phone with Poroshenko, Biden said U.S. President Barack Obama had decided to send U.S. servicemen to conduct the training of 780 Ukrainian soldiers of the Ukrainian National Guard in the near future.

The Vice President also said that a first shipment of U.S. military vehicles, which Washington is sending to enhance the country’s defense, would arrive in Ukraine in late March.

Ukrainian President thanked the United States for its strong stance with regard to Crimea and consistent support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

340-Day War: British Military Begins Training Ukrainian Army

Interfax-Ukraine
March 19, 2015

British military begin training Ukrainian army – media

A group of 35 trainers of British military personnel have already begun training members of the Ukrainian army fighting pro-Russian rebels, the BBC learned.

The 35 trainers are working in the southern city of Mykolaiv and will spend about two months in the country.

According to BBC, Ukrainian forces will learn medicine aid algorithm and defensive tactics.

The decision to send British military men to Ukraine was announced by UK Prime Minister David Cameron last month.

NATO Survey Team Assesses Georgia’s War Readiness

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 19, 2015

Visit of NATO Survey Team

Georgia is hosting the NATO survey team. The scoping team arrived in Georgia to conduct initial assessment of Georgia’s capabilities and exiting infrastructure in order to identify the requirements and plan specific actions to successfully implement the Joint Training and Evaluation Center’s Project. The team is led by the representative of Norway, with officers from Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark and Germany, supported by the United States of America.

Establishment of the Joint Training and Assessment Center (JTEC) in Georgia is one of the most ambitious and key initiatives under the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. One of the aims of the JTEC is to train and evaluate military representatives of the Georgian Armed Forces and NATO member and partner countries. The Centre will be designed to conduct a pre-deployment training and certification of units assigned to the NATO-led and other international operations. The Centre will have capabilities to host multinational, joint and combined exercises and training in support of the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI)

Deputy Minister of Defence of Georgia Levan Girsiashvili and Head of NATO Liaison Office William Lahue held a briefing for the representatives of media to inform them about establishment of the JTEC…

Intercepting ICBMs: Pentagon Moves Toward Final Stage Of Star Wars 

U.S. Department of Defense
March 18, 2015

Missile Agency Director: Budget Request Supports Development
By Claudette Roulo

WASHINGTON: The Missile Defense Agency’s fiscal year 2016 budget request continues the development of defenses for the nation, deployed forces and allies and international partners against increasingly capable ballistic missile threats, the agency’s director told Congress today.

Navy Vice Adm. James D. Syring told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee that the $8.127 billion request will also continue his agency’s support of the needs of warfighters and combatant commanders.

The agency’s budget request maintains its commitment to operate and sustain national defenses, he said, including the planned deployment of ground-based interceptors: 40 to Fort Greely, Alaska, and four to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, for a total of 44 by the end of 2017.

Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle

In June, the CE-II Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle successfully intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile target. The demonstration proved that earlier vibration problems affecting the system’s inertial measurement unit have been overcome, Syring said.

The EKV is the heart of the ground-based midcourse defense, or GMD, interceptor program, which uses land-based missiles to intercept ballistic missiles before they reenter the atmosphere. Tracking begins in the boost phase, and uses data from numerous long-range sensors — including satellites, early-warning radars and the sea-based X-band radar…

NATO Excoriates Russia Over Abkhazia, South Ossetia 

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 18, 2015

Statement by the NATO Secretary General on the so-called treaty between the Russian Federation and the South Ossetia region of Georgia

NATO does not recognize the so-called treaty on alliance and integration signed between the South Ossetia region of Georgia and Russia on 18 March.

This so-called treaty is yet another move by the Russian Federation that hampers ongoing efforts by the international community to strengthen security and stability in the region.

It violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and blatantly contradicts the principles of international law, OSCE principles and Russia’s international commitments….

Transdniester Targeted: NATO Strengthens Ties With Moldova 

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 16, 2015

NATO and Moldova discuss ways to strengthen partnership

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici to NATO on Monday (16 March 2015) for talks on strengthening the partnership between the Alliance and Chișinău. Calling Moldova “a valued NATO partner”, the Secretary General underlined that “all NATO Allies support Moldova’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, and respect its constitutional neutrality.”

During their meeting, the Prime Minister and the Secretary General took the next step towards establishing a Defence Capacity Building Initiative for Moldova. “This initiative will help your country modernize the defence and security sectors,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. He further noted that Moldova has agreed to an “impressive” Individual Partnership Action Plan with the Alliance, and the NATO remains committed “to support Moldova in all reform areas it has chosen…”

“Dangerous Areas”: Ukraine To Fortify Borders With Russia, Transdniester

Ukrinform
March 18, 2015

Government to allocate 865 mln to build fortified border with Russia

KYIV: The Ukrainian government will allocate UAH 865 million from the reserve fund to build fortifications on the border between Ukraine and Russia.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk has said this at the government’s meeting on Wednesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“Today the government should urgently decide on the allocation of 865 million from the reserve fund to build the fortifications, which will help to save the lives of Ukrainian military and provide security throughout the border,” the PM said.

======================================================================

Ukrinform
March 18, 2015

Ukraine to strengthen border with Transnistria

KYIV: Ukraine has developed the program to strengthen the borders in “dangerous areas”, particularly in Odesa and Kherson regions.

First deputy head of the Presidential Administration Vitaliy Kovalchuk has said this at a briefing in Kyiv, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“Today it is necessary to distinguish between construction of fortifications and strengthening the border areas, where we can expect the risk. It is clear that the program to strengthen dangerous border areas in certain regions of the country, including in Odesa and Kherson regions, has been developed,” Kovalchuk said.

Ukraine: U.S.-NATO Proxy Army To Reach 250,000 Within Month

Interfax-Ukraine
March 18, 2015

Ukrainian army to grow to 250,000 within month – minister

The Ukrainian Armed Forces will grow to 250,000 men within a month, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said.

“This will happen within a month,” Poltorak said in Kyiv on Wednesday. The reporters asked when the army size might grow to 250,000 men.

Ukraine has approximately 230,000 army servicemen at present but the 250,000 man target will be achieved through mobilization, the minister noted.

The Verkhovna Rada passed a presidential bill increasing the size of the army to 250,000 men, including 204,000 military servicemen, on March 5.

Italy: NATO Trains For Air War In Europe

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

March 18, 2015

Exercise Ramstein Dust I 2015 is underway in Italy

RAMSTEIN, Germany: NATO is continuing to develop deployable air surveillance and tactical air mission control capabilities with the “DARS”. This is the Deployable Air Control Centre, Recognised Air Picture Production Centre and Sensor Fusion Post. This capability currently includes 100 NATO Airmen from 16 Allied nations ready to deploy with their equipment on short notice.

From 4 to 30 March 2015, the DARS is deployed for Exercise RAMSTEIN DUST I 2015 to exercise and validate these operational tasks. In the early hours of 9 March 2015, some 100 DARS Airmen embarked on a 750-km move from the home base at Poggio Renatico in the north east of Italy to Gioia del Colle Air Base on the country’s eastern coast.

After setting-up and conducting integration testing, the DARS conducted both live and simulated control of various aircraft missions. The majority of training was supported by the Eurofighter Typhoon jets of 36th Stormo Fighter Squadron collocated at Gioia del Colle Air Base…

“Freedom Shock”: U.S. Ready For War In Eastern Europe At Moment’s Notice

U.S. Army Europe
March 17, 2015

Freedom Shock: Army Europe, ready at a moment’s notice
By Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

Soldiers, assigned to the 1-214th Aviation Regiment, load a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, assigned to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, onto a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, Dec. 8, 2015, as part of an emergency deployment readiness exercise.

WIESBADEN, Germany: Moving a Soldier from one location to another can be a relatively simple task, but when real-world events arise and an entire unit is called to action, not to mention hundreds of pieces of equipment, how does Army Europe stay ready?

“Freedom Shock” is Army Europe’s name for emergency deployment readiness exercises, or EDRE, the program that enables commanders to activate units at a moment’s notice and move Soldiers and equipment anywhere in the European operational field, often within hours.

A unit, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, recently participated in an EDRE in October 2014. In less than two days, the paratroopers were packed up, had drawn weapons, secured chutes and were headed to Romania on an Air Force C-130 Hercules

U.S. A-10 Thuderbolts Arrive In England For NATO’s Anti-Russian Mission

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

March 13, 2015

A-10s arrive at Lakenheath

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Trevor T. McBride

An A-10C Thunderbolt II sits on the flightline as an F-15E Strike Eagle flies over at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 13, 2015. The A-10s and Airmen are deployed out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., as part of a Theater Security Package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

While deployed, they have conducted training alongside NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe.

No 2 NATO Commander: Must Shift To Article 5 War Clause

Focus Information Agency
March 18, 2015

General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, NATO: We will not allow aggression by a state to any of our allies

Sofia. NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe General Sir Adrian Bradshaw is on an official two-day visit to Bulgaria, the press office of the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence announced.

In the frames of his visit to Bulgaria the deputy commander of NATO forces in Europe met with Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defence Dimitar Kyumyurdzhiev, Head of the Defence Vice-Admiral Rumen Nikolov, and will visit tomorrow the 68th Special Operations Brigade.

“Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine demonstrated the readiness of Russia to begin a process of change in the sovereign borders of sovereign states by force, which was a major deviation from internationally accepted legal norms.” That is what Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, said at a briefing, a reporter of FOCUS News Agency announced.

“This would have implications not only for Bulgaria, but for all EU member states of the Alliance, particularly those of the eastern flank. We need to show clearly that we are steadfast in that we stand behind the provisions of Article 5. Our response so far has been entirely defensive…but again it is necessary to assure our allies, especially those from the Eastern flank that we stand firmly behind the principles laid down in Article 5, the principles of collective defence and that we will not allow aggression by a state to any of our allies,” he said…

NATO’s Eastern Campaign: U.S. To Hold Patriot Missile Drill In Poland

U.S. Department of Defense
March 13, 2015

U.S., Poland to Conduct Patriot Missile Exercise
By Nick Simeone

WASHINGTON: U.S. and Polish forces will conduct an exercise later this month involving a U.S. Patriot missile battery and Poland’s 3rd Warsaw Air Defense Missile Brigade, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren announced today.

The exercise will involve some 100 U.S. soldiers and 30 vehicles at a location on Polish territory.

Warren called the exercise part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which is designed to reassure allies, demonstrate freedom of movement and deter regional aggression on the eastern flank of NATO. The mission began in response to Russia’s armed support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea a year ago.

NATO Warhawks: U.S. F-16s Depart For Romanian War Games

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

March 13, 2015

F-16s depart for Romanian-US exercise
By Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany: Airmen and aircraft assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron departed Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 13 to participate in Dacian Warhawk 2015, a bilateral flying training deployment with the Romanian air force.

The exercise will take place at Campia Turzii, Romania, March 16-27 and aims to strengthen interoperability between the U.S. and Romanian air forces while enhancing their readiness to conduct combined air operations.

Approximately 100 Airmen and six F-16s from the 52nd Fighter Wing will participate in the training alongside the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, which will exercise a full spectrum of capabilities to support the 480th FS’s air operations…

War Games In Ukraine: Bill To Allow U.S., Polish Troops To Enter

Interfax-Ukraine
March 14, 2015

Ukraine plans joint military exercises with U.S., Poland for 2015 – bill

Polish and Ukrainian troops in last year’s U.S.-led Rapid Trident NATO war games

President Petro Poroshenko has introduced a bill to parliament to let foreign armed forces into Ukraine to take part in five joint exercises with Ukrainian forces.

According to the draft law, Ukraine plans three Ukrainian-American command post exercises, Fearless Guardian 2015, Sea Breeze 2015 and Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015, and two Ukrainian-Polish exercises, Secure Skies 2015, and Law and Order 2015, for this year.

Fearless Guardian will take place in Yavoriv district, Lviv region, in the period from March to November and will bring together a maximum of 2,200 troops. Ukraine is providing up to 200 armed forces troops and up to 1,000 National Guard personnel, and the U.S. will be represented by a maximum of 1,000 servicemen…

Brussels: NATO Holds 50-Nation Meeting On Ukraine War

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 11, 2015

NATO Allies and partners discuss Ukraine crisis

Ambassadors of NATO Allies and twenty-two partners met in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council on Wednesday (11 March 2015) for an exchange of views on the current situation in Ukraine. Chaired by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the session was convened at the request of Ukraine.

The meeting, attended by Russia’s Ambassador to NATO, took place almost one year after the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea by Russia, which NATO Allies do not recognise.

Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) nations expressed deep concern over the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine, urging Russia to withdraw its forces and its support for the separatists. All members of the EAPC agreed that the full implementation of the Minsk agreement is the only path to a lasting and peaceful solution. Secretary General Stoltenberg stressed that the ceasefire remains fragile and sporadic violations continue. He said that all parties should fully implement the Minsk agreement in good faith, including Russia, whose support for the separatists has further fuelled the conflict. As a first step, he called for a “withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of contact in a transparent and verifiable manner”, with full access to the OSCE monitors…

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – US agencies, funders such as the Gates Foundation, and agribusiness giant Monsanto are trying to force unwilling African nations to accept expensive and insufficiently tested Genetically Modified (GM) foods and crops, according to a new report released today. [1]

“The US, the world’s top producer of GM crops, is seeking new markets for American GM crops in Africa. The US administration’s strategy consists of assisting African nations to produce biosafety laws that promote agribusiness interests instead of protecting Africans from the potential threats of GM crops,” said Haidee Swanby from the African Centre for Biosafety, which authored the report commissioned by Friends of the Earth International.

The new report also exposes how agribusiness giant Monsanto influences biosafety legislation in African countries, gains regulatory approval for its product, and clears the path for products such as GM maize (corn).

Only four African countries -South Africa, Egypt, Burkina Faso and Sudan- have released GM crops commercially but the issue of genetically modified maize is deeply controversial, given that maize is the staple food of millions of Africans.

Unlike Europe and other regions where strong biosafety laws have been in place for years, most African countries still lack such laws. Only seven African countries currently have functional biosafety frameworks in place.

“African governments must protect their citizens and our rights must be respected. We deserve the same level of biosafety protection that European citizens enjoy,” said Mariann Bassey Orovwuje from Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

Globally, markets for GM crops have been severely curbed by biosafety laws and regulations in the past decade, and GM foods and crops have been rejected outright by consumers in many countries, especially in Europe.

“South African farmers have more than 16 years’ experience cultivating GM maize, soya and cotton, but the promise that GM crops would address food security has not been fulfilled. Indeed, South Africa’s food security is reportedly declining with almost half the nation currently categorised as food insecure even though South Africa exports maize,” said Haidee Swanby from the African Centre for Biosafety.

“The South African experience confirms that GM crops can only bring financial benefits for a small number of well-resourced farmers. The vast majority of African farmers are small farmers who cannot afford to adopt expensive crops which need polluting inputs such as synthetic fertilisers and chemicals to perform effectively,” she added.

From February 24-27, 2015, Friends of the Earth delegates [attended] the International Forum for Agroecology at the Nyéléni Center in Sélingué, Mali [2]

The organisations attending the forum, which represent millions of small scale food producers, believe that genetically modified crops are part of the problem, not the solution, to the hunger, climate, and biodiversity crises we are facing globally. They also believe that agroecology and food sovereignty are the key to address these crises. [3]

In March 2011 the UN Special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, released a report, “Agro-ecology and the right to food”, which demonstrates that agroecology, if sufficiently supported, can double food production in entire regions within 10 years while mitigating climate change and alleviating rural poverty.

The report challenged technological, industrial farming methods including patented seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified crops. [4]

Agro-ecological production models, small scale food producers free to plant and exchange seeds, and strong local markets have been recognized as the best way to feed people and protect the planet. [5]

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Mariann Bassey Orovwuje, Friends of the Earth Nigeria: +234 703 44 95 940 or [email protected]

Haidee Swanby, African Centre for Biosafety, +27(0)82 459 8548 or [email protected]

Notes

[1] The new report, “who benefits from gm crops? the expansion of agribusiness interests in Africa through biosafety policy” is embargoed until 23 February 2015 but available for preview by members of the media at
http://www.foei.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Who-benefits-report-2015.pdf

[2] The forum is hosted by Coordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes du Mali (CNOP); International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), La Via Campesina (LVC), More and Better (MaB), Movimiento Agroecológico de América Latina y el Caribe (MAELA), Réseau des organisations paysannes et de producteurs de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA) , World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fishworkers (WFF), World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP), and World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP).

[3] According to the final declaration of the Forum for Food Sovereignty, held in 2007 in Sélingué, Mali, “Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”

[4] For more information read the 2011 UN report ‘Agro-ecology and the right to food’ athttp://www.srfood.org/en/report-agroecology-and-the-right-to-food

[5] In April 2008 a study by 400 multi-disciplinary scientists and several international organisations known as the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) concluded that agro-ecology, local trade and supporting small farmers is the best way forward to combat hunger and poverty. For more information about the assessment see http://www.unep.org/dewa/Assessments/Ecosystems/IAASTD/tabid/105853/Default.aspx

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Since genetically modified organisms may have adverse effects on human and environmental health, a global agreement known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which came into force in September 2003, was developed to ensure “adequate safe use, handling and transfer” of GM organisms.

Regulatory frameworks are necessary for the commercialisation of GM crops but, depending on how the framework is crafted, they can either promote the introduction of GM organisms with minimal safety assessment (the approach promoted by the US administration and lobby), or promote rigorous safety assessment and the protection of the environment, health and socioeconomic wellbeing.

The US administration long lobbied against an effective, global Biosafety Protocol and, once the Protocol entered into force, started lobbying African governments and institutions (among others) to accept GM organisms with minimal safety assessment.

For instance, the US government agency USAID assists Regional Economic Communities in Africa to develop policies aimed not at ensuring biosafety, but at limiting regulation, which they consider to be a barrier to regional trade in GM food and crops.

Yet the Biosafety Protocol makes clear that products from new technologies must be based on the precautionary principle and allow developing nations to balance public health against economic benefits.

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, a Pan-African civil society network, recently condemned USAID-funded guidelines developed by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in no uncertain terms, stating that the “COMESA policy aggressively promotes the wholesale proliferation of GM organisms on the African continent by way of commercial plantings, commodity imports and food aid and flouts international biosafety law.”

USAID provided funds to set up COMESA’s Regional Approach to Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy in Eastern and Southern Africa (RABESA) project, which was tasked with developing a mechanism for regulating biosafety in the COMESA region.

There is still the time for Africans to demand that their governments implement policies to uplift and protect the millions of small-scale food producers that currently feed the continent.

The African Union has developed and recently endorsed a Model Law on Biosafety which could contribute to more rigorous biosafety regimes across Africa.

Mar. 16, 2000 was a day like any other for Patrick Dorismond. He worked his shift as a security guard at the 34th Street Partnership in Manhattan and went to have a beer with a coworker after work at the Wakamba Cocktail Lounge. He was in a good mood because the next day was payday.

As Patrick left the bar after midnight, some middle-aged men approached him trying to score some marijuana. Patrick politely told them he didn’t do drugs and asked them to keep it moving. They insisted that surely he knew where they could score. The situation escalated until Patrick’s voice rose, warning the troublemakers to get lost.

The men were undercover NYPD officers instructed to “bring in the dope-peddling good-for-nothings.” Patrick, a 26-year-old Haitian-American whose parents had immigrated to Brooklyn, fit the cops’ profile of a “good-for-nothing,” and they planned to fulfill their quota. Without identifying themselves, the cops attacked the security guard. When Patrick defended himself , two other back-up officers – called “ghosts” – intervened, shooting him in the chest, killing him instantly.

That night, Patrick did not go home to his fiancée Karen and their one-year-old daughter Destiny.

To the naïve, the shooting was a terrible isolated tragedy. But the Black community knew this was police “business as usual,” endured by Black people for decades.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attacked the victim, claiming Dorismond was at fault and “no altar boy,” never once expressing regret for the loss of an innocent life. Interestingly enough, Patrick had attended the same Brooklyn Catholic school – Immaculate Heart of Mary – as the mayor, an irony Giuliani chose to ignore.

As the funeral approached, tension was high between a community outraged by police abuse and a police department drunk with arrogance and racism.

Would We Patrol Your Funerals?

Thousands converged in Brooklyn two weekends after Patrick’s murder to stand with his family and express their repudiation of the latest police slaying. The somber funeral procession on Sat., Mar. 25, 2000 grew in size and anger as it slowly rolled up Flatbush Avenue, a central artery of the Haitian community. By the time the march reached Holy Cross Church where the funeral was held, an ocean of humanity filled Church Avenue. The police were clearly alarmed at the size of the crowd. The air was heavy with grief and anger. Young and old alike looked into the police officers’ faces as if to say: “Why are you even here? This is not your family’s affair. Go back to where you came from, and let us grieve. Would we patrol your funerals?”

It was clear that Flatbush was on the brink of combustion. The spark that ignited the crowd came in the form of yet another police miscalculation. Dorismond’s body was taken out of the church’s back door and loaded into a hearse, which started toward the cemetery for burial. The crowd of thousands wanted to quietly and respectfully follow the casket, but the police stopped them. A melee ensued as the furious crowd demanded to accompany Patrick to his final resting place. One, two, or three confrontations soon mushroomed into hundreds. Rocks and bottles flew. The police lost control of the situation, and found themselves surrounded by and drowning in a sea of fury. White-shirted police captains barked into their walkie talkies, chaos enveloping them.

The terrain had shifted under the feet of the invaders. The indigenous army grew emboldened. The ranks of the enraged swelled with fresh recruits, who streamed in from surrounding streets. Police reinforcements also arrived, chasing the mourners turned demonstrators, but they were in hostile territory. Every doorway was an entrance to a hallway that became an escape tunnel. When the cops tried to close in on prey, a door magically opened, snatching the children from their would-be wardens.

Two armies engaged each other on a battlefield called Church Avenue. One was motivated to collect their paychecks and appease their superiors. The other sought to undo and transform years of humiliation into a united fightback. A 15-year-old boy – born in Port-au-Prince but reared in Brooklyn – would later claim that Haitians were born with rocks in their back pockets precisely for these moments of self-defense.

Next, the police cavalry was deployed. In unison, the multitude burst into a chant: “Get those animals off those horses!”

A young man-child ran straight at the approaching enemy lines, did an about face, dropped his drawers, and mooned the cops to the applause and cheers of the mighty crowd. The move struck a chord with the generation of youth warriors. As if rehearsed, the cadre of teenagers saluted their oncoming foes with this perfectly-timed gesture of contempt, signalling a fresh rain of glass, steel, and stone on the police. The horses were turned back. Some mounted cops fell, reduced to a state of atomized desperation.

This was the closest some would ever get to emancipation. Powerlessness dislodged power. Regardless of the aftermath, for that brief moment, oppressed people controlled the situation, their environment, their humanity. Every demonstrator’s smile posed the question: How does it feel, boys, to try to wade into the mighty current of the people’s wrath? Those accustomed to swaggering with full confidence now retreated in full sprints, thinking of their own families and loved ones. Were there human feelings beneath those uniforms and badges?

An NBC news crew wanted to be the first major television network to break the story. The camera crew piled out of the news truck intent upon recording the situation and interviewing the balaclava-clad rebels. They immediately came under fire from a group of young generals who bombarded the news truck with bottles and rocks. Sprinting in high-heals and Dockers, the once-confident news-crew raced back to their van and then sped off with shattered windows and windshield. The masses burst into laughter waving “Bon voyage,” as if to say surely you can misreport from a safe distance, up in your helicopters and your air-conditioned newsrooms. It is not safe for you down here in the street where history unfolds.

Time and again, youths threw bricks and bottles from alleys and rooftops. Time and again, phalanxes of police turned and ran. The underdog was winning.

How many years of accumulated rage detonated that day? The ancestors of the Haitians outside Holy Cross Church that day had risen up against slavery and colonialism and defeated Napoleon’s legions, the mightiest army in that time. Now their Haitian descendants, the daughters and sons of Dessalines, Capois La Mort, and Toussaint L’Ouverture, showed us how to stand up to those who think they are invincible. They showed all of Brooklyn and the oppressed around the world that we all have a Haiti within, searching for redemption.

Resistance to Injustice is Justified

The masses bid farewell to Patrick Dorismond with valiant resistance, assuring that he had not died in vain and promising Guilianni to rache manyòk li – uproot him from office. Dorismond’s murder – coming on the heals of the August 1997 torture of Abner Louima and the February 1999 murder of Amadou Diallo – and the police force’s heavy-hand at his funeral were two drops which made the cup of people’s anger overflow. The police had a taste of the fear of violence their victims live with day in and day out.

“Our best organizers in the South,” the reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “are the police themselves.” Giuliani’s NYPD proved this once again in March 2000.

Some might tell us not to glorify violent resistance and to limit ourselves to hand-wringing when faced with police abuse and aggression, so often lethal. But nothing has ever stopped oppressors in their tracks like organized self-defense, which is sometimes spontaneous. We should not rule out non-violence and civil disobedience. All are viable and valid tactics in the pursuit of freedom.

In the words of Guyanese freedom-fighter Walter Rodney: “the revolution will be as peaceful as possible and as violent as necessary.” Only the victimized and oppressed can determine which weapon is correct at each confrontation with their brutalizers. Those on the sidelines – comfortable with sermonizing – should stay right there as the people take center stage in standing up against injustice, just as they did 15 years ago.

Danny Shaw is an adjunct professor at CUNY’s John Jay College and a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL).

Iran, 47 Republicans and Israeli Control of Congress

March 19th, 2015 by Margaret Kimberley

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have more in common than they like to admit. There is more pretense of difference than actual divergence of ideology between the two parties. Both bend to the will of the ruling class, both support American interventions abroad, both promote austerity and are ready to cut what remains of the safety net. Republicans may agitate against raising the minimum wage, but despite all talk to the contrary, Democrats didn’t raise it either when they had control of the White House and Congress in 2009 and 2010.

Both parties are also controlled by the Israel lobby, one of the most powerful in the country. Israel and its allies exercise control over politicians with the power of fundraising. Dissenters from Zionist orthodoxy may face well funded opponents and find themselves out of office. That simple fact explains much that seems inexplicable about recent events in this country.

It is true that Republicans invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress but in the end most Democrats groveled before him just like their leader Barack Obama did. The Netanyahu speech was a spectacular piece of theater and was soon followed by another when 47 Republican senators sent an open letterto the Iranian government. The goal of the missive was to scuttle nuclear energy negotiations between Iran and the P5 +1 group, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany.

The Republicans looked ham fisted and are easily mocked. Yet it is important to remember that they would never have attempted to commit such mischief if they didn’t have the possibility of Democratic help. The negotiations are not bound by a treaty and as such do not need congressional approval. However if the 54 Republicans in the Senate can get 13 Democrats to join them they would have a veto proof majority in any effort to limit the president’s authority. To date, 15 Democrats have at various times expressed a willingness to go along with the Republicans and end any chance for negotiations with Iran.

It isn’t hard to sneer at the amateurish senator Tom Cotton and his cohorts but more difficult to see through the soap opera and the Democrats who have already declared themselves ready to kill this process too. Republicans and Democrats all follow the lines drawn by AIPAC and other pro-Israel power brokers in Washington. This most recent letter was not the first of its kind. There have been others written by both Democrats and Republicans which exhorted the president not to engage in negotiations with Iran.

The worthlessness of the Democratic Party and its supporters is most evident when Republicans show bad manners. At such moments even progressives use the language of the right wing, condemning Republicans for “strengthening the hard liners” in Iran and other such propagandistic drivel. They call Republicans “traitors” and demand that the seldom used Logan Act be used to prosecute them. It would be amusing if it weren’t so sad.

No one is willing to speak the truth and say that the entire process is a sham. For years Democrats have joined Republicans in telling lies about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and covering up the easily provable existence of an Israeli nuclear arsenal. Unlike the secret nuclear power Israel, Iran is a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty and has always been willing to prove its peaceful intent. Neither the corporate media nor the two-party duopoly explained these facts and the Democrats suffer because of their complicity. Now that the president wants to make a deal he and his party are stuck with all the lies they told in the past.

Both parties are true believers in American imperialism. They differ only in style, not in substance. The Republican strategy of appealing to the yokels in their base is problematic because it lets Democrats off the hook. There is no Democratic equivalent of Tom Cotton, getting facts wrong in an undiplomatic letter to a foreign country and getting sarcastic rebuke in return. But Democrats don’t stand up for peace and justice either. When Israel committed daily atrocities in Gaza every congressional Democrat joined Republicans in voting to approve the war crime.

Every Republican outrage produces a rube du jour. The 47 senators will be joined by the Koch Brothers, Russ Limbaugh, and other right wingers who are turned into bogeymen and used to keep passive Democrats within their party line. If they didn’t exist they would have to be invented. Because they exist Democrats get away with doing little or even joining in their plots.

As long as Netanyahu and friends can tell Americans what to do there will be some sort of Israeli outrage played out in Washington. There will always be congressional speeches or bizarre letters to foreign governments. One would do well to disbelieve the hype and know that the two parties are too often one and the same, and the letter signed by 47 senators may as well have been signed by 100.

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

Not Theory … Admitted Fact

There are many documented false flag attacks, where a government carries out a terror attack … and then falsely blames its enemy for political purposes.

In the following instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admit to it, either orally or in writing:

(1) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: “Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the ‘Incident’ was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army ….” And see this.

(2) A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland.

(3) Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building in 1933, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson.

(4) Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939 – while blaming the attack on Finland – as a basis for launching the “Winter War” against Finland. Russian president Boris Yeltsin agreed that Russia had been the aggressor in the Winter War.

(5) The Russian Parliament, current Russian president Putin and former Soviet leader Gorbachev all admit that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered his secret police to execute 22,000 Polish army officers and civilians in 1940, and then falsely blamed it on the Nazis.

(6) The British government admits that – between 1946 and 1948 – it bombed 5 ships carrying Jews attempting to flee the Holocaust to seek safety in Palestine, set up a fake group called “Defenders of Arab Palestine”, and then had the psuedo-group falsely claim responsibility for the bombings (and see this, this and this).

(7) Israel admits that in 1954, an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this).

(8) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.

(9) The Turkish Prime Minister admitted that the Turkish government carried out the 1955 bombing on a Turkish consulate in Greece – also damaging the nearby birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey – and blamed it on Greece, for the purpose of inciting and justifying anti-Greek violence.

(10) The British Prime Minister admitted to his defense secretary that he and American president Dwight Eisenhower approved a plan in 1957 to carry out attacks in Syria and blame it on the Syrian government as a way to effect regime change.

(11) The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism. As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: “You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security” (and see this) (Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred). And watch this BBC special. They also allegedly carried out terror attacks in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, and other countries.

False flag attacks carried out pursuant tho this program include – by way of example only:

(12) In 1960, American Senator George Smathers suggested that the U.S. launch “a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]“.

(13) Official State Department documents show that, in 1961, the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals.

(14) As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in 1962, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

(15) In 1963, the U.S. Department of Defense wrote a paper promoting attacks on nations within the Organization of American States – such as Trinidad-Tobago or Jamaica – and then falsely blaming them on Cuba.

(16) The U.S. Department of Defense even suggested covertly paying a person in the Castro government to attack the United States: “The only area remaining for consideration then would be to bribe one of Castro’s subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on Guantanamo.”

(17) The NSA admits that it lied about what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 … manipulating data to make it look like North Vietnamese boats fired on a U.S. ship so as to create a false justification for the Vietnam war.

(18) A U.S. Congressional committee admitted that – as part of its “Cointelpro” campaign – the FBI had used many provocateurs in the 1950s through 1970s to carry out violent acts and falsely blame them on political activists.

(19) A top Turkish general admitted that Turkish forces burned down a mosque on Cyprus in the 1970s and blamed it on their enemy. He explained: “In Special War, certain acts of sabotage are staged and blamed on the enemy to increase public resistance. We did this on Cyprus; we even burnt down a mosque.” In response to the surprised correspondent’s incredulous look the general said, “I am giving an example”.

(20) The German government admitted (and see this) that, in 1978, the German secret service detonated a bomb in the outer wall of a prison and planted “escape tools” on a prisoner – a member of the Red Army Faction – which the secret service wished to frame the bombing on.

(21) A Mossad agent admits that, in 1984, Mossad planted a radio transmitter in Gaddaffi’s compound in Tripoli, Libya which broadcast fake terrorist trasmissions recorded by Mossad, in order to frame Gaddaffi as a terrorist supporter. Ronald Reagan bombed Libya immediately thereafter.

(22) The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him “to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident”, thus framing the ANC for the bombing.

(23) An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author).

(24) The United States Army’s 1994 publication Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces – updated in 2004 – recommends employing terrorists and using false flag operations to destabilize leftist regimes in Latin America. False flag terrorist attacks were carried out in Latin America and other regions as part of the CIA’s “Dirty Wars“. And see this.

(25) Similarly, a CIA “psychological operations” manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause. The manual was authenticated by the U.S. government. The manual received so much publicity from Associated Press, Washington Post and other news coverage that – during the 1984 presidential debate – President Reagan was confronted with the following question on national television:

At this moment, we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a CIA guerrilla manual for the anti-Sandinista contras whom we are backing, which advocates not only assassinations of Sandinistas but the hiring of criminals to assassinate the guerrillas we are supporting in order to create martyrs.

(26) An Indonesian fact-finding team investigated violent riots which occurred in 1998, and determined that “elements of the military had been involved in the riots, some of which were deliberately provoked”.

(27) Senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings in 1999 and falsely blamed it on Chechens, in order to justify an invasion of Chechnya (and see this report and this discussion).

(28) According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.

(29) The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings.

(30) As reported by BBC, the New York Times, and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admit that the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the “war on terror”.

(31) Senior police officials in Genoa, Italy admitted that – in July 2001, at the G8 summit in Genoa – planted two Molotov cocktails and faked the stabbing of a police officer, in order to justify a violent crackdown against protesters.

(32) The U.S. falsely blamed Iraq for playing a role in the 9/11 attacks – as shown by a memo from the defense secretary – as one of the main justifications for launching the Iraq war. Even after the 9/11 Commission admitted that there was no connection, Dick Cheney said that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime, that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties. Top U.S. government officials now admit that the Iraq war was really launched for oil … not 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction. Despite previous “lone wolf” claims, many U.S. government officials now say that 9/11 was state-sponsored terror; but Iraq was not the state which backed the hijackers. (Many U.S. officials have alleged that 9/11 was a false flag operation by rogue elements of the U.S. government; but such a claim is beyond the scope of this discussion.  The key point is that the U.S. falsely blamed it on Iraq, when it knew Iraq had nothing to do with it.).

(33) Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country.

(34)  Police outside of a 2003 European Union summit in Greece were filmed planting Molotov cocktails on a peaceful protester

(35) Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo suggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having “our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launch fake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”

(36) United Press International reported in June 2005:

U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.

(37) Undercover Israeli soldiers admitted in 2005 to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians, as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests by the Palestinians.

(38) Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this).

(39) At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence.

(40) Egyptian politicians admitted (and see this) that government employees looted priceless museum artifacts in 2011 to try to discredit the protesters.

(41) A Colombian army colonel has admitted that his unit murdered 57 civilians, then dressed them in uniforms and claimed they were rebels killed in combat.

(42) The highly-respected writer for the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that the head of Saudi intelligence – Prince Bandar – recently admitted that the Saudi government controls “Chechen” terrorists.

(43) High-level American sources admitted that the Turkish government – a fellow NATO country – carried out the chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government; and high-ranking Turkish government admitted on tape plans to carry out attacks and blame it on the Syrian government.

(44) The Ukrainian security chief admits that the sniper attacks which started the Ukrainian coup were carried out in order to frame others. Ukrainian officials admit that the Ukrainian snipers fired on both sides, to create maximum chaos.

(45) Britain’s spy agency has admitted (and see this) that it carries out “digital false flag” attacks on targets, framing people by writing offensive or unlawful material … and blaming it on the target.

(46)  U.S. soldiers have admitted that if they kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants

(47) Similarly, police frame innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit. The practice is so well-known that the New York Times noted in 1981:

In police jargon, a throwdown is a weapon planted on a victim.

Newsweek reported in 1999:

Perez, himself a former [Los Angeles Police Department] cop, was caught stealing eight pounds of cocaine from police evidence lockers. After pleading guilty in September, he bargained for a lighter sentence by telling an appalling story of attempted murder and a “throwdown”–police slang for a weapon planted by cops to make a shooting legally justifiable. Perez said he and his partner, Officer Nino Durden, shot an unarmed 18th Street Gang member named Javier Ovando, then planted a semiautomatic rifle on the unconscious suspect and claimed that Ovando had tried to shoot them during a stakeout.

Wikipedia notes:

As part of his plea bargain, Pérez implicated scores of officers from the Rampart Division’s anti-gang unit, describing routinely beating gang members, planting evidence on suspects, falsifying reports and covering up unprovoked shootings.

(As a side note – and while not technically false flag attacks – police have been busted framing innocent people in many other ways, as well.)

So Common … There’s a Name for It

A former U.S. intelligence officer recently alleged:

Most terrorists are false flag terrorists or are created by our own security services.

This might be an exaggeration (and – as shown above – the U.S. isn’t the only one to play this terrible game). The point is that it is a very widespread strategy.

Indeed, this form of deceit is so common that it was given a name hundreds of years ago.

“False flag terrorism” is defined as a government attacking its own people, then blaming others in order to justify going to war against the people it blames. Or as Wikipedia defines it:

False flag operations are covert operations conducted by governments, corporations, or other organizations, which are designed to appear as if they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is, flying the flag of a country other than one’s own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and have been used in peace-time; for example, during Italy’s strategy of tension.

The term comes from the old days of wooden ships, when one ship would hang the flag of its enemy before attacking another ship. Because the enemy’s flag, instead of the flag of the real country of the attacking ship, was hung, it was called a “false flag” attack.

Indeed, this concept is so well-accepted that rules of engagement for naval, air and land warfare all prohibit false flag attacks. Specifically, the rules of engagement state that a military force can fly the enemy’s flag, imitate their markings, or dress in an enemy’s clothes … but that the ruse has to be discarded before attacking.

Why are the rules of engagement so specific? Obviously, because nations have been using false flag attacks for many centuries. And the rules of engagement are at least trying to limit false flag attacks so that they aren’t used as a false justification for war.

In other words, the rules of engagement themselves are an admission that false flag terrorism is a very common practice.

Leaders Throughout History Have Acknowledged False Flags

Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the danger of false flags:

“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
– Adolph Hitler

“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.

“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
– Josef Stalin

By Tom Blanton and Lauren Harper

Hillary Clinton E-Mail Controversy Illuminates Government-Wide Failure

National Security Archive Lawsuit Established E-Mails as Records in 1993

CIO Council Repeats as Rosemary “Winner” for Doubling Down On “Lifetime Failure”

Only White House Saves Its E-Mail Electronically, Agencies No Deadline Until 2016

Washington, DC, March 18, 2015 – The Federal Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council has won the infamous Rosemary Award for worst open government performance of 2014, according to the citation published today by the National Security Archive at www.nsarchive.org.

The National Security Archive had hoped that awarding the 2010 Rosemary Award to the Federal Chief Information Officers Council for never addressing the government’s “lifetime failure” of saving its e-mail electronically would serve as a government-wide wakeup call that saving e-mails was a priority. Fallout from the Hillary Clinton e-mail debacle shows, however, that rather than “waking up,” the top officials have opted to hit the “snooze” button.

The Archive established the not-so-coveted Rosemary Award in 2005, named after President Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, who testified she had erased 18-and-a-half minutes of a crucial Watergate tape — stretching, as she showed photographers, to answer the phone with her foot still on the transcription pedal. Bestowed annually to highlight the lowlights of government secrecy, the Rosemary Award has recognized a rogue’s gallery of open government scofflaws, including the CIA, the Treasury Department, the Air Force, the FBI, the Justice Department, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Chief Information Officer of the United States Tony Scott was appointed to lead the Federal CIO Council on February 5, 2015, and his brief tenure has already seen more references in the news media to the importance of maintaining electronic government records, including e-mail, and the requirements of the Federal Records Act, than the past five years. Hopefully Mr. Scott, along with Office of Management & Budget Deputy Director for Management Ms. Beth Cobert will embrace the challenge of their Council being named a repeat Rosemary Award winner and use it as a baton to spur change rather than a cross to bear.


Left to Right, US CIO Tony Scott, OMB Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert, and DOS CIO Steven Taylor.

Many on the Federal CIO Council could use some motivation, including the beleaguered State Department CIO, Steven Taylor. In office since April 3, 2013, Mr. Taylor is in charge of the Department’s information resources and IT initiatives and services. He “is directly responsible for the Information Resource Management (IRM) Bureau’s budget of $750 million, and oversees State’s total IT/ knowledge management budget of approximately one billion dollars.” Prior to his current position, Taylor served as Acting CIO from August 1, 2012, as the Department’s Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) and Chief Technology Officer of Operations from June 2011, and was the Program Director for the State Messaging and Archival Retrieval Toolset (SMART).

While Hillary Clinton repeatedly claimed that because she sent her official e-mail to “government officials on their State or other .gov accounts … the emails were immediately captured and preserved,” a recent State Department Office of Inspector General report contradicts claims that DOS’ e-mail archiving system, ironically named SMART, did so.

The report found that State Department “employees have not received adequate training or guidance on their responsibilities for using those systems to preserve ‘record emails.’” In 2011, while Taylor was State’s Chief Technology Officer of Operations, State Department employees only created 61,156 record e-mails out of more than a billion e-mails sent. In other words, roughly .006% of DOS e-mails were captured electronically. And in 2013, while Taylor was State’s CIO, a paltry seven e-mails were preserved from the Office of the Secretary, compared to the 4,922 preserved by the Lagos Consulate in Nigeria.

Even though the report notes that its assessments “do not apply to the system used by the Department’s high-level principals, the Secretary, the Deputy Secretaries, the Under Secretaries, and their immediate staffs, which maintain separate systems,” the State Department has not provided any estimation of the number of Clinton’s e-mails that were preserved by recipients through the Department’s anachronistic “print and file” system, or any other procedure.

Left: President’s IT Budget for FY2015 shows State Department’s IT budget for FY2014 topped $1.4 billion.Click to enlarge.

The unfortunate silver lining of Hillary Clinton inappropriately appropriating public records as her own is that she likely preserved her records much more comprehensively than her State Department colleagues, most of whose e-mails have probably been lost under Taylor’s IT leadership.

The bigger issue is that Federal IT gurus have known about this problem for years, and the State Department is not alone in not having done anything to fix it. A 2008 survey by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) andOpenTheGovernment.org did not find a single federal agency policy that mandates an electronic record keeping system agency-wide. Congressional testimony in 2008 by theGovernment Accountability Office indicted the standard “print and file” approach by pointing out: “agencies recognize that devoting significant resources to creating paper records from electronic sources is not a viable long-term strategy;” yet GAO concluded even the “print and file” system was failing to capture historic records “for about half of the senior officials.”

Right: 2008 reports by CREW, right, and the GAO, left, highlighted problems preserving e-mails. Click to enlarge.

Troublingly, current Office of Management and Budget guidance does not require federal agencies to manage “all email records in an electronic format” until December 31, 2016. The only part of the federal government that seems to be facing up to the e-mail preservation challenge with any kind of “best practice” is the White House, where the Obama administration installed on day one an e-mail archiving system that preserves and manages even the President’s own Blackberry messages.

The National Security Archive brought the original White House e-mail lawsuit against President Reagan in early 1989, and continued the litigation against Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, until court orders compelled the White House to install the “ARMS” system to archive e-mail. The Archive sued the George W. Bush administration in 2007after discovering that the Bush White House had junked the Clinton system without replacing its systematic archiving functions. CREW subsequently joined this suit and with the Archive negotiated a settlement with the Obama administration that included the recovery of as many as 22 million e-mails that were previously missing or misfiled.

As a result of two decades of the Archive’s White House e-mail litigation, several hundred thousand e-mails survive from the Reagan White House, nearly a half million from the George H.W. Bush White House, 32 million from the Clinton White House, and an estimated 220 million from the George W. Bush White House.

Previous recipients of the Rosemary Award include:

Rogue Band of Federal E-mail Users and Abusers Compounds Systemic Problems

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other federal officials who skirt or even violate federal laws designed to preserve electronic federal records compound e-mail management problems. Top government officials who use personal e-mail for official business include: Clinton; former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration; chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board Rafael Moure-Eraso; and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who told ABC’s This Week ”I don’t have any to turn over. I did not keep a cache of them. I did not print them off. I do not have thousands of pages somewhere in my personal files.”

Others who did not properly save electronic federal records include Environmental Protection Agency former administrator Lisa Jackson who used the pseudonym Richard Windsor to receive email; current EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, who improperly deleted thousands of text messages (which also are federal records) from her official agency cell phone; and former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, whose emails regarding Obama’s political opponents “went missing or became destroyed.”

The destruction of other federal records was even more blatant.Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA official in charge of the agency’s defunct torture program ordered the destruction of key videos documenting it in 2005, claiming that “the heat from destroying [the torture videos] is nothing compared to what it would be if the tapes ever got into the public domain;” Admiral William McRaven, ordered the immediate destruction of any emails about Operation Neptune Spear, including any photos of the death of Osama bin Laden (“destroy them immediately”), telling subordinates that any photos should have already been turned over to the CIA — presumably so they could be placed in operational files out of reach of the FOIA.

These rogues make it harder — if not impossible — for agencies to streamline their records management, and for FOIA requesters and others to obtain official records, especially those not exchanged with other government employees. The US National Archives currently trusts agencies to determine and preserve e-mails which agencies have “deemed appropriate for preservation” on their own, often by employing a “print and file” physical archiving process for digital records. Any future reforms to e-mail management must address the problems of outdated preservation technology, Federal Records Act violators, and the scary fact that only one per cent of government e-mail addresses are saved digitally by the National Archive’s recently-initiated “Capstone” program.

For more information contact:
Tom Blanton, Director, National Security Archive – 202/994-7000
Lauren Harper, Associate FOIA Project Director – 202/994-7045
[email protected]

Netanyahu Unmasks Israel

March 19th, 2015 by Robert Parry

Desperate to win reelection, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stripped off Israel’s mask and exposed the ugliness that has deformed his country over the past several decades. He abandoned the subterfuge of a two-state solution, exposed the crass racism that underlies Israeli politics, and revealed Israel’s blatant control of the U.S. Congress.

For years, these realities were known to many Americans, but – if they spoke up – they were condemned as anti-Semites, so most stayed silent to protect their careers and reputations. But – given Netanyahu’s brazen admissions – the American people may have little choice but to finally take notice of this troubling reality and demand a change in U.S. policy.

The truth is that the two-state solution has been a fiction for at least the past two decades, dying in 1995 with the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. But the two-state illusion still served important political purposes both for Israelis, who would pay it lip service while continuing their steady encroachment on Palestinian lands, and for U.S. politicians who could point to the mirage as an excuse not to pressure Israel too hard on its human rights violations.

Yet, whenever any U.S. official actually tried to reach that shimmering oasis of a two-state solution, it would recede into the distance. Then, the Israelis would rely on their friends and allies in the news media and politics to blame the Palestinians. Now, however, the illusion of Israel seeking such an outcome in good faith has been lost in Netanyahu’s anything-goes determination to keep his office – a case of political expediency trumping strategic expediency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with his generals to discuss the offensive in Gaza in 2014. (Israeli government photo)

In the closing days of the campaign, Netanyahu promised that as long as he was prime minister he would block a Palestinian state and would continue building Jewish settlements on what international law recognizes as Palestinian land.

To further rally his right-wing Jewish base, Netanyahu warned that “Arab voters are streaming in huge quantities to the polling stations” – an alarm similar to racist politicians in the United States motivating the white vote with claims about loads of blacks being bused to the polls. With his crude appeal, Netanyahu undermined the longstanding denial that Zionism is a form of racism.

Even before Netanyahu’s last-minute histrionics, he had exploited his relationship with the United States to burnish his reputation as a world leader by appearing for a record-tying third time as a foreign leader addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress. (Only Great Britain’s Winston Churchill had appeared three times before Congress.)

Acting as almost a stand-in for the President of the United States, Netanyahu gave what amounted to a faux State of the Union address filled with scary tales about Iran and with dire warnings against international negotiations seeking to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful.

Though some Democrats boycotted the speech because it represented an unprecedented insult to an American president, the Republican majority and many Democrats gave Netanyahu more than 40 ovations as they cheered his vitriolic attacks on Iran and his denunciations of the negotiations supported by President Barack Obama. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Congress Cheers Netanyahu’s Hatred of Iran.”]

Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran

Then, last weekend, a prominent neoconservative Joshua Muravchik admitted that the almost certain outcome of Netanyahu’s scuttling of the negotiations would be to bomb Iran. Muravchik laid out this scenario in a Washington Post article headlined “War is the only way to stop Iran” in print editions and “War with Iran is probably our best option” online.

“What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? That, in fact, is probably the reality,” Muravchik wrote.

“Sanctions may have induced Iran to enter negotiations, but they have not persuaded it to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons. Nor would the stiffer sanctions that Netanyahu advocates bring a different result. …

“Does this mean that our only option is war? Yes, although an air campaign targeting Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would entail less need for boots on the ground than the war Obama is waging against the Islamic State, which poses far smaller a threat than Iran does. … Wouldn’t destroying much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure merely delay its progress? Perhaps, but we can strike as often as necessary.”

In other words, if Netanyahu keeps pulling the strings of the U.S. government, an open-ended war on Iran is the almost certain result. But Netanyahu, for short-term political gain, risked Israel’s longstanding support from the American people by spotlighting his role as the marionette of the U.S. Congress. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Neocon Admits the Plan to Bomb Iran.“]

Netanyahu’s reelection victory has clarified the situation for the American people in another way. We now know there will be no two-state solution with the Palestinians as Israel cements its status as an apartheid state – and all the cries of “anti-Semitism” are not likely to silence people taking notice of this reality since the Israeli Prime Minister himself has taken the sting out of the slur.

The American people now have little choice but to recognize that Israel intends to maintain and expand its “Jewish state” pushing the Palestinians into isolated enclaves. For nearly a half century, Israel has exercised effective control over these indigenous people in the West Bank and Gaza (totaling more than 4 million people), but there was always the hope of a Palestinian state.

Now, by jettisoning the prospect of a “two-state solution,” Netanyahu will institutionalize what had long been the unacknowledged fate of the Palestinians. In essence, Netanyahu is opting for a one-state solution, just with most Palestinians confined to a state-less netherworld where they will be denied political rights, left to wither and die.

And, whenever some Palestinians act up, Israel will wage war against them, killing thousands at a time and destroying their homes and infrastructure, what Israelis call “mowing the grass.”

With the facades gone, Americans must decide if they will embrace this apartheid system or not. Many Christian Zionists, who are a powerful force inside the Republican Party, are okay with Israel’s brutal repression because they see the Jews taking this land as a step toward fulfilling a biblical prophecy so Jesus can return to earth as its king.

But rational Americans are confronted with a difficult moral choice. Either continue supporting Netanyahu in brutalizing the Palestinians and in his looming war against Iran (using the U.S. military to carry it out) or insist that the U.S. government reassess its relationship with Israel.

The developments of March 2015 – from Netanyahu’s proconsul-style speech before the U.S. Congress to the racist incitements of his victorious campaign – have forced thoughtful Americans to abandon their longstanding excuses for Israeli behavior.

From now on, there’s no pretending that “standing with Israel” doesn’t mean kneeling in an obsequious acceptance of Netanyahu’s cruelty toward the Palestinians and cooperation in an illegal and aggressive war against Iran.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

The decision by major European powers to join the $50 billion China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a significant blow to the United States. It is a clear sign that, amidst deepening global stagnation, the economic mechanisms through which the US has exerted its hegemony are breaking down as other imperialist powers assert their independent interests.

The initial blow came last Thursday when the British government of Prime Minister David Cameron announced that it would become a founding member of the bank. An unnamed White House official responded by denouncing “a trend towards constant accommodation” with China that was “not the best way to engage a rising power.”

The US opposition to Britain’s action was underscored by a comment in the Financial Times which noted that in the lexicon of diplomatic rebukes “accommodation” is only one step below “appeasement.”

US opposition proved to be no deterrent, however, as Germany, France and Italy followed the British decision with announcements that they were also seeking to become founding members of the bank.

Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia and South Korea, which refused to sign up after intense US opposition last year, are also actively reconsidering their position. Last October, the Australian government reversed a previous decision to back the bank, following an intervention by US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Australia is reportedly now on the verge of announcing its participation.

In remarks to Congress, Lew said Washington’s main concern over the bank, which is seen as a rival to the US-dominated World Bank and the Asia Development Bank led by its ally Japan, is driven by concern over whether it would “adhere to the high standards that the international financial institutions have developed,” protect the rights of workers and the environment and “deal with corruption issues appropriately.”

Coming from a representative of the US financial establishment—Lew has held a leading post in Citigroup—the expression of concern over corruption is especially hypocritical. A 2011 US Senate report found that leading US banks and investment houses engaged in what amounted to criminal activity, which played a major role in precipitating the 2008 global financial crisis. The same applies to professed concerns over the environment and workers’ rights.

The real motivation for US opposition is that the China-backed AIIB will weaken US economic dominance of the Asia-Pacific region and undermine its drive to ensure continued military supremacy within the framework of the “pivot to Asia.” It opposed Australian participation on the grounds that infrastructure projects financed by the bank—including ports, airports and railways—could play a role in enhancing China’s military and strategic position.

The European powers have clearly concluded that they see no reason why they should sacrifice valuable economic opportunities in order to fall in line behind American strategic objectives, when the US is unable or unwilling to provide anything in return.

The divergence between the US and the European powers was summed up in a comment by Richard Ottaway, the chairman of the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. The conflict over the bank reflected the fact that Britain and Europe viewed China differently from the US, he said. “The US sees China in a strategic way—as a maritime power in the Pacific. The Europeans see China in commercial terms.”

With the British economy ever more dependent on the speculative and parasitic activities of its major banks and finance houses, participation in the AIIB is seen as another opportunity for the City of London to profit from enhancing the global role of the Chinese currency, the renminbi, as its economic and financial power increases.

The economic motives of other European powers, while having a different emphasis from the British, are no less powerful. They were spelled out by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble at a joint press conference with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai on Tuesday in Berlin. “We want to make a contribution to the positive development of the Asian economy, in which German companies are actively taking part,” he said.

The significance of the conflict becomes apparent when it is placed within the framework of US strategic objectives over the past 25 years. American imperialism viewed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as the opportunity to proceed with its drive for global domination—the fashioning of a “new world order” as George H.W. Bush put it during his presidency.

This new order was to be characterized by the global domination of American capitalism. In 1992, the Pentagon laid out its strategic objectives in the post-Soviet world, declaring that the aim of American policy was to prevent any power or group of powers from assuming hegemony in any significant region of the world.

This strategy was the basis of US policies during the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. When the Japanese government brought forward a proposal for a $100 billion fund to help bail out countries caught up in the turmoil, it was vetoed by the US, which insisted that the Washington-based International Monetary Fund had to direct “economic restructuring” across the region. Faced with a head-on conflict with the US, Japan backed down.

The determination of the American ruling class to maintain its position as global hegemon has run into conflict with the decades-long decline in the global position of American capitalism. In response, the corporate and financial elite has resorted with ever greater recklessness to the use of military force.

The explosive economic expansion of China over the period since the Asian crisis has raised again the question: Who will dominate Asia?

Seven decades ago, when the US put in place the foundations of the post-World War II order, establishing both the IMF and the World Bank, it was the undisputed economic hegemon of global capitalism. That is no longer the case, and the European imperialist powers in particular are once again asserting their interests. As the global economic crisis deepens, the conflicts among the imperialist powers will only intensify.

While it is impossible to make specific predictions, the general tendency of development is clear. The US has suffered what the New York Times described as a “stinging rebuff from some of its closest allies.” How will it respond? Not through economic concessions, because it no longer has the wherewithal and capability to make them, but through increased political and military provocations.

At the same time, the other major powers will be forced to the conclusion that in pursuit of their economic objectives they need to enhance their military capacities. The conflict over the AIIB is symptomatic of major geo-economic shifts that will have explosive political and military consequences.

Obama Set to Veto any Cuts to Pentagon War Machine

March 19th, 2015 by Bill Van Auken

The Obama administration is prepared to veto any cuts to the 2016 Pentagon budget, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the House Armed Services Committee in testimony Wednesday.

Carter said that President Barack Obama would reject any proposal that includes the sequestration caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which the Democratic president supported and signed into law following the staged crisis over the debt ceiling that year.

The statement came as both major parties sought ways to circumvent the mandated cuts in military spending.

Obama, significantly, has made no threat to veto budget proposals imposing spending caps on vital social services. Indeed, while traveling the country touting relatively minor programs that are likely to be trimmed or eliminated in budget negotiations with the Republican congressional leadership, his administration is proposing to implement some $400 billion in cuts to future Medicare and Medicaid spending, even as he seeks to slash corporate tax rates by up to 10 percent.

The president’s threat to veto sequestration for the military while remaining silent over social spending dovetails with Republican policy, which centers on raising arms spending while offsetting it with even deeper cuts to domestic programs.

While the White House is arguing for ditching sequestration when it comes to military spending, the House Republicans this week made an attempt to square the circle with their budget proposal. It leaves the sequestration caps in place but adds tens of billions of dollars to the so-called Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget, a kind of off-the-books slush fund that pays for US military interventions abroad.

The Obama administration has requested $561 billion for the Pentagon base budget, and OCO war funds of $51 billion. The House Republicans have proposed $523 billion—formally adhering to the sequestration spending caps—while pouring $94 billion into the OCO with the idea that the military can dip into it to meet other spending needs. The two combined sums are roughly equal.

The Senate budget committee, meanwhile, submitted its own proposal Wednesday explicitly rejecting the OCO gimmick proposed by fellow Republicans in the House. Likewise pretending to abide by the budget caps for the Pentagon, it introduced its own gimmick, creating a “deficit neutral reserve fund,” which has no appropriations but serves as a placeholder for additional military spending to be negotiated later this year.

Carter’s testimony Wednesday capped a series of appearances by both the uniformed chiefs and civilian secretaries of the armed services, all of whom issued the direst warnings of what would happen without substantial increases to Washington’s gargantuan military budget.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, for example, warned that sequestration “is going to place American lives at risk, both at home and abroad.”

“Missions will take us longer, it will cost us lives and create more injuries,” Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno said.

General Martin Dempsey, chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, predicted that the US military’s “forward presence will be reduced by a third,” meaning “less influence” in the world.

In his own testimony, Secretary of Defense Carter stressed the need to fully fund the global reach of American militarism, while making it clear that the Pentagon is preparing for even bigger wars, specifically against China, Russia and Iran.

“Across the world,” Carter told the committee, it is only the US armed forces that “stand between disorder and order.” US troops, he said, “stand up to malicious and destabilizing actors”—i.e., anyone challenging US hegemony—”while standing behind those who believe in a more secure, just, and prosperous future”—i.e., US imperialism’s puppets and client regimes.

The Pentagon’s spending, he insisted, must be driven by the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, a document that insisted on strengthening the US military’s “global war-fighting capability” and elevated China and Russia as the most likely targets of US military action.

The Pentagon chief said the proposed budget “puts renewed emphasis on preparing for future threats—especially threats that challenge our military’s power projection capabilities.” He indicated that the reduction of troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq following a decade of wars and occupations provided an opening to prepare the US military for far greater wars.

“Being able to project power anywhere across the globe by rapidly surging aircraft, ships, troops and supplies lies at the core of our defense strategy,” he said. Such unfettered ability to attack and invade anywhere was key to protecting US interests as well as to assuring “freedom of navigation and overflight” and allowing “global commerce to flow freely.” These last supposed principles have repeatedly been invoked in Washington’s escalating confrontation with Beijing over the South China Sea.

Carter specifically pointed to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, warning that they “have been pursuing long-term, comprehensive military modernization programs to close the technology gap that has long existed between them and the United States.” He added that “significant investments” in both infrastructure and forces were needed “particularly in the western Pacific.”

Carter ticked off the budgets proposed for the main branches of the armed services and what they would pay for, giving a glimpse of the massive scale of the US war machine.

The Army, he said, would receive a base budget of $126.5 billion, supporting the deployment of over 1 million troops—475,000 active duty soldiers, 342,000 in the Army National Guard and 198,000 in the Army Reserve. In terms of major expenditures, the Pentagon is calling for $4.5 billion to spend on attack and transportation helicopters.

For the Navy and Marine Corps, the proposed allocation is $161 billion for 2016, paying for a fleet of 282 warships that year and 304 by 2020. The force consists of 386,000 active-duty and reserve sailors, as well as 222,900 active-duty and reserve Marines. The Navy’s proposed spending on new warships amounts to $5.7 billion for 2016 and $30.9 billion through 2020, paying for two new DDG-51 destroyers a year and two new Virginia-class attack submarines a year, while supporting 11 carrier strike groups.

The proposed budget for the Air Force is $152 billion, supporting a combined force of 491,700 active-duty, guard and reserve airmen. It includes spending $6 billion in the upcoming fiscal year and $33.5 billion through 2020 to acquire a total of 272 F-35A Joint Strike Fighter planes, which have become the most expensive weapons system in the Pentagon’s history. Another $2.4 billion will go to buy refueling tankers, and $904 million will pay for an additional 29 MQ-9A Reaper drones in 2016. The Pentagon proposes to buy 77 of the remotely piloted assassination weapons by 2020 at the cost of $4.8 billion.

In terms of the $50.9 billion OCO war-fighting fund, the lion’s share, $42.5 billion, will go to cover continuing US military operations in Afghanistan, while $5.3 billion is proposed for the new US intervention in Iraq and Syria. Also proposed is $789 million for a “NATO Reassurance” fund, which is to pay for the escalating series of provocative military operations on Russia’s borders.

Finally, Carter said that the Obama administration’s proposed Pentagon budget includes $1 billion in 2016 and $8 billion by 2020 for a key component in the preparation for global war: ensuring the “security, and effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent, as well as the long-term health of the force that supports our nuclear triad.”

No, John Kerry Doesn’t Want To Negotiate With Assad

March 19th, 2015 by Brandon Turbeville

The recent hysteria surrounding John Kerry’s remarks regarding the necessity of negotiating with Bashar al-Assad has provoked both criticism and praise from a number of very different quarters. Unfortunately, however, the opinions of those up in either arms or exaltation are largely the result of misreporting, war psychosis, and simply reading headlines instead of articles.

While the chorus of the usual suspects of Neo-Con rightwing warmongers and Humanitarian Bomber/R2P leftists erupted in anger at the very thought of the United States inching away from total war in Syria, other commentators and analysts erupted for joy at what they saw as the US State Department tacitly admitting that they had lost the war and that they were going to be forced to accept Assad as the legitimate Syrian leader.

Both sides of the issue could largely agree the remarks meant that the United States was coming to terms that Assad had outlasted the attempts of the US to oust him.

Unfortunately, both sides were completely wrong as only a further reading of any mainstream article would have demonstrated.

Kerry’s statements came as he spoke to Margaret Brennan of Face the Nation. Kerry stated,

KERRY: We are working very hard with other interested parties to see if we can reignite a diplomatic outcome. Why? Because everybody agrees there is no military solution. There is only a political solution. But to get the Assad regime to negotiate, we’re going to have to make it clear to him that there is a determination by everybody to seek that political outcome and change his calculation about negotiating. That’s under way right now. And—and I am convinced that with the efforts of our allies and others, there will be increased pressure on Assad.

BRENNAN: And you’d be willing to negotiate with him?

KERRY: Well, we have to negotiate in the end.

Immediately after the remarks, the mainstream Western Press went into overdrive suggesting that John Kerry and the United States were making concessions to Assad. With headlines like “Kerry Willing To Talk To Assad To Stem Violence In Syria” from PBS, “Kerry: US Will Have To Recognize Syrian Dictator Assad – State Department Walks Back Assertion,” from Breitbart, and “U.S. Will Negotiate With Assad, says Kerry, on 4th Anniversary of Syrian Civil War” from the IB Times, one could scarcely blame the general public from seeing Kerry’s statement as anything but a change of policy.

Unfortunately, much of the alternative media simply followed suit and reported largely the same information but from a perspective of surprise and satisfaction at the possibility of war avoidance.

But one need only read Kerry’s statement further to see that war avoidance is most certainly not the case.

Skull and Bones John Kerry never stated that the United States must recognize Assad as the legitimate leader of Syria, nor did he suggest that the U.S. is backing away on their strategy of destabilization and proxy invasion. What Kerry said is what Kerry has been saying all along – Assad must go.

Note that Kerry also stated the United States would be willing to negotiate with Assad’s government “if he’s ready to have a serious negotiation about the implementation of Geneva I,” the agreement reached by an international group of governments in 2012 that sought to force a “political transition” with Assad stepping down.

Shortly after the howl of the war hawks began to reach fever pitch, the State Department was forced to wheel out its favorite Humanitarian Bombers and leftist “Responsibility to Protect” spokeswomen to reassure the more frothing warmongers that the United States was in no way backing off its proxy invasion and destabilization campaign.

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated that “As we have long said, Assad must go and be replaced through a negotiated political transition that is representative of the Syrian people.”

Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf also released a statement attempting to clear up Kerry’s comments by pointing out that U.S. policy towards Syria “has not changed” and that Assad himself would never be part of any negotiations.

On March 17, top U.S. Envoy and “ISIS Czar” General John Allen told Turkish officials that the U.S. does want a negotiated peace settlement in Syria but one that excludes President Assad.

Statements from the US Embassy in Ankara make this position clear. As Reuters reports,

‘General Allen reiterated that the United States’ position on Assad has not changed,’ the U.S. embassy in Ankara said in a statement after Allen, the special envoy responsible for building the anti-Islamic State coalition, held talks in Ankara.

‘The United States believes that he has lost all legitimacy to govern, that conditions in Syriaunder his rule have led to the rise of ISIL (Islamic State) and other terrorist groups, and that we continue to seek a negotiated political‎ outcome to the Syrian conflict that does not in the end include Assad.’

Allen held ‘constructive talks’ with Turkish foreign ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu late on Tuesday and welcomed Turkey’s support in the training of vetted members of Syria’s opposition, the statement said.

In addition to Allen’s statements, it is important to point out that Kerry’s statement referred to his being convinced that there will be “increased pressure” on Assad to step down. He also said that “It may require that there be increased pressure on him of various kinds in order to do that. We’ve made it very clear to people that we are looking at increased steps that can help bring about that pressure.”

This “pressure” can take a variety of means – the continued arming, funding, training, and directing of al-Qaeda/ISIS terrorists, political pressure, and further US led bombing efforts against Syrian infrastructure – all of which the United States is currently engaged in.

Note, however, that, as recent as March 5, Kerry referenced the possibility that “military pressure” may be needed to oust Assad.

Kerry said that, “Ultimately a combination of diplomacy and pressure will be needed to bring about a political transition. Military pressure particularly may be necessary given President Assad’s reluctance to negotiate seriously. He’s lost any semblance of legitimacy, but we have no higher priority than disrupting and defeating Daesh and other terror networks.” Kerry made these statements in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Air Base at a meeting of Gulf Foreign ministers.

Make no mistake, the United States is not interested in “peaceful settlements” unless the settlement is total capitulation of its “enemies.”

John Kerry’s statements are not legitimizing Assad as the rightful Syrian leader nor are they an overture for peace. They are an affirmation of the West’s attack on Assad and Syria and it is a statement that, if nothing else, reaffirms the stance that the U.S. and NATO have had since the beginning of the crisis.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

Gaze into my crystal ball and see that the innermost thoughts of political candidates are exactly the same as their campaign speeches.

It is amazing how many reporters want to be mind-readers. I guess it’s hard to make a living as a mind-reader. Anyhow, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt took some steps in the mind-reading direction when he told readers that President Obama and Hillary Clinton

both consider the stagnant incomes of recent decades to be a defining national issue. They both want to address the stagnation through a combination of government programs and middle-class tax cuts. They both see climate change as a serious threat. They both think workers have too little power and corporations too much.

Wow, so Leonhardt knows what Obama and Clinton really “consider,” “want,” “see” and “think.” That’s impressive, but readers may want to be somewhat skeptical. After all, most of us recognize that politicians don’t always reveal their true thoughts. We know what they say their priorities are, but only a mind-reader would try to tell us what they really think.

There are also some objective facts that provide some basis for skepticism on this topic. First, many of the big winners from rising inequality are friends of and campaign contributors to Clinton (and Obama). It’s possible that both want to pursue policies that would take away large amounts of money from these people, but some folks may question this fact.

Image right: You don’t need to be a psychic to predict that a financial transactions tax would raise trillions of dollars (cc photo: J. Money)

NASDAQ (cc photo: J. Money)

Also, the incredibly narrow list of policies that Leonhardt says is on Clinton’s plate indicates that she probably is not serious about reducing inequality and promoting middle-class wage growth. For example, many of the highest incomes in the economy are in the financial sector. If Clinton were serious about attacking inequality, it is hard to believe that she would not be promoting a financial transactions tax. This could raise as much as $180 billion a year (more than $2 trillion over a decade). This money would come almost entirely out of the pockets of the high-rollers in the financial industry. It would also increase economic efficiency and growth. Since Clinton has never indicated any interest in financial transactions taxes, it is difficult to believe that she has much interest in countering inequality.

There are many other obvious equality-promoting policies that apparently are not on Clinton’s agenda. For example, we could use trade policy to put doctors, dentists and other highly paid professionals in direct competition with their counterparts in the developing world. Putting manufacturing workers in competition with low-paid workers led to economic gains by lowering the price of manufactured goods, but also had the effect of lowering the wages of US manufacturing workers and less-educated workers more generally. Removing barriers to foreign professionals who train to US standards would lead to lower costs for healthcare and other services, while reducing the income of the most highly paid workers, many of whom populate the One Percent.

Clinton could also try pushing the Federal Reserve Board to keep the foot off the brake and let the unemployment rate continue to fall. This would give workers at the middle and bottom of the wage distribution more bargaining power, allowing them to drive up wages. This is likely to come at the expense of corporate profits, but a politician who favored more growth and equality would surely be pushing on the Fed to let the economy grow.

There are many other positions which a politician who favored equality would certainly be pushing. For example, they would demand an end to a corporate governance structure in which CEOs effectively pay off directors to look the other way as they pilfer the company. They would look to cut back on absurd levels of patent and copyright protection that allow drugs to sell for 10,000 percent above their free-market price and involve ever-more repressive enforcement measures. And they would be looking to end tax scams like the ones employed by private equity and Jeff Bezos that both cost the government money and make some people incredibly rich.

But these more substantive items don’t appear on Leonhardt’s list. This calls into question his abilities as a mind reader; perhaps he should go back to reporting.

Economist Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. A version of this post originally appeared on CEPR’s blog Beat the Press (3/14/15).

A commander of Iraq’s popular forces disclosed that wiretapping of ISIL’s communications has confirmed the reports that the US planes have been airdropping food and arms supplies for the Takfiri terrorists.

“The wiretapped ISIL communications by Iraqi popular forces have revealed that the US planes have been dropping weapons and foodstuff for the Takfiri terrorist group,” Commander of Iraq’s Ali Akbar Battalion told FNA on Wednesday.

He noted that tapping on ISIL disclosed the terrorist group’s regular contacts with the US army, and said,

“They exchanged sentences like if they would have a share of the ammunition dropped near (Spiker Military Base) or responses such as ‘you will also receive your share’.”

“The US forces by dropping weapons and ammunition for ISIL, specially in Yassreb, Al-Ramadi and near Spiker Base in Hay al-Qadessiya have provided a lot of help to the ISIL,” he added.

Many similar reports by Iraqi officials and forces have surfaced in the last few months.

In February, an Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that the US airplanes still continue to airdrop weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL terrorists.

“The US planes have dropped weapons for the ISIL terrorists in the areas under ISIL control and even in those areas that have been recently liberated from the ISIL control to encourage the terrorists to return to those places,” Coordinator of Iraqi popular forces Jafar al-Jaberi told FNA.

He noted that eyewitnesses in Al-Havijeh of Kirkuk province had witnessed the US airplanes dropping several suspicious parcels for ISIL terrorists in the province.

“Two coalition planes were also seen above the town of Al-Khas in Diyala and they carried the Takfiri terrorists to the region that has recently been liberated from the ISIL control,” Al-Jaberi said.

Meantime, Head of Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee Hakem al-Zameli also disclosed that the anti-ISIL coalition’s planes have dropped weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL in Salahuddin, Al-Anbar and Diyala provinces.

In January, al-Zameli underlined that  the coalition is the main cause of ISIL’s survival in Iraq.

“There are proofs and evidence for the US-led coalition’s military aid to ISIL terrorists through air(dropped cargoes),” he told FNA at the time.

He noted that the members of his committee have already proved that the US planes have dropped advanced weaponry, including anti-aircraft weapons, for the ISIL, and that it has set up an investigation committee to probe into the matter.

“The US drops weapons for the ISIL on the excuse of not knowing about the whereabouts of the ISIL positions and it is trying to distort the reality with its allegations.

He noted that the committee had collected the data and the evidence provided by eyewitnesses, including Iraqi army officers and the popular forces, and said, “These documents are given to the investigation committee … and the necessary measures will be taken to protect the Iraqi airspace.”

Also in January, another senior Iraqi legislator reiterated that the US-led coalition is the main cause of ISIL’s survival in Iraq.

“The international coalition is only an excuse for protecting the ISIL and helping the terrorist group with equipment and weapons,” Jome Divan, who is member of the al-Sadr bloc in the Iraqi parliament, said.

He said the coalition’s support for the ISIL is now evident to everyone, and continued, “The coalition has not targeted ISIL’s main positions in Iraq.”

In Late December, Iraqi Parliamentary Security and Defense Commission MP disclosed that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province.

MP Majid al-Gharawi stated that the available information pointed out that US planes are supplying ISIL organization, not only in Salahuddin province, but also other provinces, Iraq TradeLink reported.

He added that the US and the international coalition are “not serious in fighting against the ISIL organization, because they have the technological power to determine the presence of ISIL gunmen and destroy them in one month”.

Gharawi added that “the US is trying to expand the time of the war against the ISIL to get guarantees from the Iraqi government to have its bases in Mosul and Anbar provinces.”

Salahuddin security commission also disclosed that “unknown planes threw arms and ammunition to the ISIL gunmen Southeast of Tikrit city”.

Also in Late December, a senior Iraqi lawmaker raised doubts about the seriousness of the anti-ISIL coalition led by the US, and said that the terrorist group still received aids dropped by unidentified aircraft.

“The international coalition is not serious about air strikes on ISIL terrorists and is even seeking to take out the popular (voluntary) forces from the battlefield against the Takfiris so that the problem with ISIL remains unsolved in the near future,” Nahlah al-Hababi told FNA.

“The ISIL terrorists are still receiving aids from unidentified fighter jets in Iraq and Syria,” she added.

Hababi said that the coalition’s precise airstrikes are launched only in those areas where the Kurdish Pishmarga forces are present, while military strikes in other regions are not so much precise.

In late December, the US-led coalition dropped aids to the Takfiri militants in an area North of Baghdad.

Field sources in Iraq told al-Manar that the international coalition airplanes dropped aids to the terrorist militants in Balad, an area which lies in Salahuddin province North of Baghdad.

In October, a high-ranking Iranian commander also slammed the US for providing aid supplies to ISIL, adding that the US claims that the weapons were mistakenly airdropped to ISIL were untrue.

“The US and the so-called anti-ISIL coalition claim that they have launched a campaign against this terrorist and criminal group – while supplying them with weapons, food and medicine in Jalawla region (a town in Diyala Governorate, Iraq). This explicitly displays the falsity of the coalition’s and the US’ claims,” Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said.

The US claimed that it had airdropped weapons and medical aid to Kurdish fighters confronting the ISIL in Kobani, near the Turkish border in Northern Syria.

The US Defense Department said that it had airdropped 28 bundles of weapons and supplies, but one of them did not make it into the hands of the Kurdish fighters.

Video footage later showed that some of the weapons that the US airdropped were taken by ISIL militants.

The Iranian commander insisted that the US had the necessary intelligence about ISIL’s deployment in the region and that their claims to have mistakenly airdropped weapons to them are as unlikely as they are untrue.

Grenada is an independent state, a member of the U.N., located in the southern portion of the Caribbean Sea very close to the mainland of the South America (Venezuela). The state is composed by southernmost of the Windward Islands combined with several small islands which belong to the Grenadines Archipelago, populated by almost 110,000 people of whom 82% are the blacks (2012 estimations). The state of Grenada is physically mostly forested mountains’ area (of volcanic origin) with some crater lakes and springs. In the valleys are bananas, spices and sugar cane grown. The country is out of any natural wealth significance but has relatively high geostrategic importance. Economy was and is primarily agricultural with some very limited small-scale industry of the food production nature with developing tourism sector as growing source of the national G.D.P. The state budget is constantly under a high level of foreign debt (a “debt slavery” phenomenon).

As the island, Grenada was discovered by the Europeans (Ch. Columbus) in 1498 and colonized by the French in 1650 becoming a possession of the French royal crown in 1674. During the Seven Years War (1756−1763) between all major European states, Grenada was occupied by the British and according to the Peace Treaty of Paris in 1763 was given to the United Kingdom being a British possession for almost two hundred years with preservation of slavery. The process of democratization of the island started in 1950 when the universal adult suffrage is granted by the United Labor Party. Being shortly a member of the West Indian Federation (1958−1962) and seeking internationally recognized independence, Grenada was granted such separate independence only in 1974 with Matthew Gairy (a leader of the United Labor Party) as the first Grenada’s PM. However, only three years later in 1979 Gairy was deposed from the post in a coup d’état lead by Maurice Bishop (1944−1983) as a leader of a Marxist political group under the official title of the New Jewel Movement. M. Bishop proclaimed a new Government under the name of the People’s Revolutionary Government that became not welcomed by the U.S. administration like the Socialist (Marxist-democrat) Government in Chile after the 1970 elections formed by Salvador Allende (1908−1973).

The issue is in this case that Allende was the first Marxist in the world’s history who became elected by the popular vote as the President of one sovereign and independent state. A new President of Chile was a head of the Unidad Popular that was a coalition of the Marxists (Communists) and the Socialists and therefore faced by hostility of the U.S.A. whose administration supported Chili Congress against Allende. The Congress backed by the U.S.A. heavily opposed Allende’s radical program of nationalization and agrarian reform – a program voted by the electorate in 1970. Due to such obstruction, there were inflation, capital flight and balance-payments deficit which heavily contributed to an economic crisis in Chile in 1973: exactly what the U.S. administrated wanted and needed. The crisis became the main excuse for the military coup organized and accomplished by the Chili army Commander-in-Chief general Augusto Pinochet (born in 1915) – a typical local exponent of the US global politics. As a consequence, there were around 15,000 killed people together with President Allende and about 10% of the Chileans who left the country during the new military dictatorship (1973−1990) which replaced Chili democracy elected by the people and brutally abolished all labor unions and any opposition organizations and groups. The capitalism was fully restored with the economy and social order very depended on the U.S. financial support as a price for transformation of the country into classic (U.S.) colony. Nevertheless, the 1973 military suppression of democracy in Chile was a clear message to the whole Latin America that the Monroe Doctrine of “America to the Americans” (read in fact as “Americas to the U.S.”) is still leading framework of the U.S. foreign policy in this part of the globe. For the matter of illustration, for instance, there was the U.S. direct military invasion of Panama followed by the fall of General Noriega in December 1989: “Operation Just Cause”.

Similarly to the case of Allende Case in Chile, Grenada governed by the President M. Bishop turned to the left in both inner and external policy of the state. Therefore, he encouraged very closer relations with F. Castro’s Cuba and potentially to the USSR. As a result, at the island there were some Cuban military presence composed by the engineers who were repairing and expanding the local airport. This fact became the main reason that political situation in Grenada became of interest of the U.S. administration. However, due to the internal quarrel within the People’s Revolutionary Government, Bishop was overthrown from the post and murdered by another Marxist, Bernard Coard, in 1983 who took control over the Government. There were the clashes of protesters with the governmental troops and soon violence escalated. However, the army troops under the command of General Hudson Austin soon took power and established a new military regime. This new Grenada coup was immediately followed by direct US military intervention in the island on October 23rd, under the order by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan (the “Operation Urgent Fury”), for the very real reason to prevent a Marxist revolutionary council to take power. The U.S. military troops left Grenada in December 1983 after the re-establishment of “democratic” (pre-revolutionary) regime and of course pro-American one transforming Grenada into one more Washington’s client state.

It is of very concern to see what was de jure explanation by the U.S. President Reagan for such military intervention and de facto the U.S. military occupation of one sovereign and independent state. The President, based on the C.I.A. reports on the threat posed to the U.S. citizens in Grenada (the students) by the Communist regime, issued the order to the U.S. Marines to invade the island in order to secure their lives. Here we have to remember a very fact of issue how much the C.I.A. reports have been (and are) really accurate and reliable by only two fresh examples:

In 1999 Serbia and Montenegro were bombed by the N.A.T.O.’s troops (the “Operation Merciful Angel”) exactly based on the C.I.A. information about the organized (the “Operation Horse Shoe”) and well done massive ethnic cleansing of the local Kosovo Albanians (100,000 killed) committed by the Serbian regular army and police forces.

In 2003 the U.S. and the U.K. troops invaded Iraq based also on the C.I.A. reports about possession of the A.B.C. weapons for mass destruction by the regime of Saddam Hussein (1937−2006) (the “Operation Desert Storm 2”).

However, in both mentioned cases the reports are “proved to be unproved”, i.e. very false.

The fact was that in the 1983 Grenada Case, there were really about 1,000 U.S. citizens in the island, majority of them studying at the local medical school. Citing the alleged danger to the U.S. citizens in Grenada, the President ordered around 2,000 U.S. troops, combined by some international forces from the Regional Security System based in Barbados. The White House claimed that it received a formal request for military intervention by the PM’s of Barbados and Dominica. If it is true, and probably it is, then any state receiving such invitation by the foreign Governments (second states) has right to invade other state (third state) in order to restore the “democratic” order (in the sense of bringing justice) or at least to protect its own citizens. Nonetheless, the fact was that during the intervention in Grenada, the U.S. troops faced military opposition by the Grenadian army relying on minimal intelligence about the situation in the country. For example, the U.S. military used in this case old tourist maps of the island. Similar “mistake” the N.A.T.O. did in the 1999 Kosovo Case by bombing the Chinese embassy in the wide center of Belgrade using also outdated tourist map on which a new Chinese embassy did not exist. In order to break the Grenadian resistance the “Hollywood” President R. Reagan sent additional 4,000 troops to the island. Finally, an “international coalition” lead by the U.S. troops succeeded to replace the Government of Grenada by one acceptable to the U.S.A.

Regardless to the fact that a great part of the Americans did not support the 1983 Grenada Case that it took place only several days after a very disastrous terror act on the U.S. military post in Lebanon when over 240 U.S. troops were killed, calling into very question the use of the U.S. military force in order to achieve the political goals, Reagan’s administration officially proclaimed the case to be the first “rollback” of the Communist influence since the beginning of the Cold War in 1949 (as the U.S. military interventions against the “Communist infection” in Korea and Vietnam have been unsuccessful). A justification of the military invasion was mainly framed within the idea that the U.S. citizens (students) in Grenada could be taken as the hostages similar to the 1979 Teheran Hostage Crisis. However, several U.S. Congressmen, like Louis Stoks (Ohio), denied any real danger for any American in Grenada prior to the invasion (that was confirmed and by the students themselves) followed by unsuccessful attempt by seven Democrats in the Congress, led by Ted Weiss, to introduce a resolution to impeach R. Reagan. Finally, the U.N. General Assembly with majority votes (108, with only 9 against and 27 abstentions) adopted Resolution 38/7 on October 28th, 1983 which clearly accused the U.S.A. for violation of international law (“deeply deplores the armed intervention in Grenada, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of that State”).

The 1983 Grenada Case is not for sure either the first or the last “Hollywood-style” violation of the international law and territorial sovereignty of some independent state by the U.S. (or other) administration. But it is sure that it was done by the order of up today the only “Hollywood” cowboy-actor star in the office of White House in Washington.

Ukraine is considered by geostrategists (both Republican and Democratic) to be militarily the most important adjoining nation to Russia, serving as the chief buffer to attacks against Russia from the west. Since 1783, Russia has had its key Black Sea naval base located in Crimea, which used to be part of Russia 1783-1954; the Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev blithely donated Crimea from Russia to Ukraine in 1954, though the residents in Crimea didn’t want that — and no referendum was taken on it. After the Soviet Union broke up in 1992, this naval base continued but instead on a long-term lease from Ukraine. 

For Ukraine to become anti-Russian would be like for Mexico to become anti-American: even worse than when Cuba became anti-American in 1959. Mexico, of course, isn’t anti-American, but, during Barack Obama’s second term, Ukraine did, indeed, become anti-Russian. It happened not via any democratic revolution (such as American propaganda pretended), but via a bloody coup. Here is how it transpired:

After Mr. Obama (who had been raised surrounded by CIA operatives) finally became elected to a second term, he switched his key official controlling Ukrainian policy from the benign internationalist Philip Gordon, who considered America’s chief enemy to be global jihadism, to the hard-right America-supremacist Victoria Nuland, who considers America’s chief enemy to be instead the nation of Russia.

Nuland had originally been brought into Bill Clinton’s Administration when the nationalistic Russia-hater Strobe Talbott in Clinton’s State Department made her his Chief of Staff; she then became Vice President Dick Cheney’s foreign-affairs advisor, and was brought back again into the State Department by Hillary Clinton in 2011. In September 2013, Nuland was promoted to become Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, working under John Kerry, and she promptly set herself to the task of overthrowing the democratically elected pro-Russian Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych — to turn Ukraine from pro-Russian to anti-Russian.

Here is Nuland, speaking by phone with Obama’s Ambassador to Ukraine, on 4 February 2014, telling him whom to get to be appointed as the leader of Ukraine after the democratically elected pro-Russian President of Ukraine will be overthrown on 22 February 2014, which happened just 18 days later in a very bloody coup. The man she chose, “Yats,” got the appointment. The founder of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor has said that this was “the most blatant coup in history.” The Czech President has said that “only poorly informed people” don’t know that it was a coup and equate it with Czechoslovakia’s authentically democratic 1968 “Velvent Revolution” against the Soviet Union. Instead of the tactful “poorly informed,” the simple reality is: deceived. The American public are deceived.

Here is a member of Ukraine’s parliament, or Rada, speaking on 20 November 2013, prior to the start of “Maidan” demonstrations against Yanukovych, and even before Yanukovych had announced that he would turn down the EU’s offer to Ukraine, in which this parliamentarian is describing in remarkable detail the preparations that the U.S. Embassy already had underway to produce a coup which would bring down Yanukovych and replace him with a leader who would be controlled from Washington. Hackers had gotten into the American Embassy’s emails, and this parliamentarian reported what they had discovered. He says:

“American instructors explained there how social networks and Internet technologies can be used for targeted manipulation of public opinion as well as to activate potential protest to provoke violent unrest on the territory of Ukraine — radicalization of the population, and triggering of infighting. American instructors show examples of successful use of social networks to organize protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. ‘Tech Camp’ representatives currently hold conferences throughout UkraineA total of five events have been held so far.”

This plan was built upon something that the previous Ambassador (whom Obama had appointed in 2009) had actually started even before Nuland was appointed. Here is an announcement from the Embassy in Ukraine, on 1 March 2013, titled, “U.S. Embassy Hosted TechCamp Kyiv 2.0 to Build Technological Capacity of Civil Society.” (That Ambassador is now our Ambassador to Russia.)

Steve Weissman at Reader Supported News provided, a year ago, on 25 March 2014, the best backgrounder on the man whom Obama chose in 2013 to serve as America’s new Ambassador in Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, the person who worked with Nuland, and it is clear from his background that he was the perfect person on the ground in Kiev to carry out the instructions from an extreme nationalist and imperialist such as Nuland.

So: this was a coup, arranged in the White House. It was Obama to Kerry to Nuland to Pyatt.

Here is the phone-conversation right after the coup, in which the Foreign Affairs chief of the EU receives from her investigator in Kiev, his finding as to what had happened — that it was a coup and not a democratic overthrow, not a democratic revolution at all.

Vladimir Putin knew about all of these things while they were happening. He knew that Obama was clearly set upon attacking Russia and on using Ukraine as the proxy-state to get the conflict going. He acted promptly on this knowledge: For example, he sent an advanced ABM missile system to Crimea — suitable to shoot down planes or anything — to prevent the Ukrainian Air Force from attacking Crimea in the lead-up to the 16 Marcch 2014 referendum.

As I have pointed out previously, the population of Crimea, both before and after the coup, wanted very much to return to Russia. The 96% vote for that in the 16 March 2014 Crimean referendum turns out to be exactly concordant with the Gallup polls that the U.S. Government commissioned and that were taken both before and after the referendum. Gallup found overwhelming public support in Crimea for returning to Russia, and found that overwhelmingly the 500 Crimeans who were sampled after the referendum thought that the 96% vote for returning to Russia was authentically reflecting Crimean opinion on the matter.

Now, with that as the actual history of America’s aggression against Russia during President Obama’s second term, consider that, on 16 March 2015, which was the first anniversary of the referendum in Crimea, Jen Psaki, at the U.S. State Department headlined, “One Year Later — Russia’s Occupation of Crimea,” and she said:

“On this one year anniversary of the sham ‘referendum’ in Crimea, held in clear violation of Ukrainian law and the Ukrainian constitution, the United States reiterates its condemnation of a vote that was not voluntary, transparent, or democratic. We do not, nor will we, recognize Russia’s attempted annexation and call on President Putin to end his country’s occupation of Crimea.”

This is the way that the U.S., which is occupying Ukraine (by coup), talks about Russia, which protected the Crimeans from being subjected to the hell that the people in Donbass are now experiencing from the Ukrainian Occupying Regime, no legal Government at all. And, for that — the sheer illegality of what Obama did — just read this. Then consider that Obama is demanding that the entirely undemocratic and forced transfer of Crimea by the Soviet dictator Khrushchev in 1954 must stand as being legal, while this entirely democratic plebiscite on the issue in 2014 must be called “not voluntary, transparent, or democratic.” That takes some nerve (and a deceived public).

Ms. Psaki continues with her string of lies, including:

“Over the last year, the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated dramatically, with mounting repression of minority communities and faiths, in particular Crimean Tatars, and systematic denial of fundamental freedoms. Local residents have been detained, interrogated, and disappeared and NGOs and independent media have been driven out of the peninsula. These brutalities are unacceptable and we call on Russia to stop further abuses.”

She describes the situation in Crimea as if it were instead the actual situation in Donbass, with all of the U.S. Government’s stooge-regime bombing and even firebombing the residents there in order to, simply, get rid of them.

Adolf Hitler could learn a thing or two from this man O’Bomba.

Obama is the aggressor here, just as Hitler was the aggressor in Poland in 1939. And O’Bomba blames Russia as the aggressor, just as Hitler blamed Poland.

Obama overthrew the legal Government, and replaced it by this illegal one. But now he criticizes Putin as if he were the aggressor instead of the defender here. And Obama demands that the Soviet dictator’s forced transfer of Crimea to Ukraine be legal and that Putin’s defense of Crimeans’ democratic self-determination in response to that coup be considered illegal.

It’s the Big Lie, all over again, but this time backed by, and yet also up against, nuclear weapons, and thus far more dangerous than before.

How did America manage to be headed by such a monster? We Americans need to ponder that. This isn’t a partisan issue. I voted for Obama both times, as the lesser of two evils. But now both Parties are outright rotten. This is not a democracy any longer. Illusions to the contrary must end — and soon. Before we get to World War III.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

A recent report by an Israeli TV station revealed that Saudi Arabia would allow Israeli jets to use its airspace to attack Iran, demonstrating the clandestine strategic alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel. As the Times of Israel reported in an article titled: Saudis ‘would let Israeli jets use their air space to attack Iran’:

“The Saudis have declared their readiness for the Israeli Air Force to overfly Saudi air space en route to attack Iran if an attack is necessary,” the TV report [from Channel 2] said. All that they ask is “some kind of progress” on the Palestinian issue. Being able to use Saudi airspace would allow Israeli planes a shortcut to reach Iran without having to fly around the Persian Gulf, taking up precious time and fuel.”

Even though Riyadh and Tel Aviv have no official diplomatic ties in addition to there being dramatic cultural and religious differences between them, the two nations increasingly have a convergence of interests in the region. Both countries are close allies of the West and share analogous positions on Syria and Iran.

Saudi Arabia and Israel may be given the green light to attack Iran on behalf of NATO powers if NATO feels it could not sell a direct war in Iran to their populations back home. Regime change in Syria is a prerequisite before an overt attack on Iran can take place however, as Damascus is an important Iranian ally in the Middle East. If a military assault on Iran occurs it would be difficult for the arena of conflict to be contained to the Middle East, as it has the potential to rapidly escalate into a wider conflict involving Russia and China.

Western nations have been engaged in attempting to covertly overthrow the present Iranian regime for decades, a country that has been placed under sanctions by an assortment of nations for years. Regime change in Iran has been a dream of Western foreign policy strategists for decades, with Iran pinpointed in a strategic paper written in 2000 by the neoconservative thinktank, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), alongside countries such as Iraq, Libya and Syria. Retired US four star general and former NATO commander, Wesley Clark, also revealed a plan circulating around the Pentagon in 2001 to attack 7 countries in 5 years, with Iran named as one of the seven.

Saudi Arabia and Israel have a real fear of Iranian power in the Middle East as Tehran is a naturally dominant player due to it possessing abundant natural resources, in addition to having the 3rd largest population in the region and having an ancient and rich history. Only a powerhouse of a nation could endure so many restrictions on their economy and not collapse and be forced into subservience to the West.

If Iran was to be struck, Tehran would most likely retaliate by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, where approximately one fifth of the world’s oil supply travels through. Tehran threatened in 2011 that it would block the Strait if the West imposed more sanctions on the nation, with Iran’s navy chief Admiral Habibollah Sayari remarking that closing the strait would be “easy“. As the former Special Adviser in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense, Matthew Kroenig, expresses in an article for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) publication Foreign Affairs in 2012 titled: Time to Attack Iran:

“Those wary of a U.S. strike also point out that Iran could retaliate by attempting to close the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow access point to the Persian Gulf through which roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil supply travels. And even if Iran did not threaten the strait, speculators, fearing possible supply disruptions, would bid up the price of oil, possibly triggering a wider economic crisis at an already fragile moment.”

Kroenig continues in the article to call for “surgical” strikes on Iran:

“Yet Iran’s rapid nuclear development will ultimately force the United States to choose between a conventional conflict and a possible nuclear war. Faced with that decision, the United States should conduct a surgical strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, absorb an inevitable round of retaliation, and then seek to quickly de-escalate the crisis.”

A follow up article in Foreign Affairs by Jamie M. Fly and Gary Schmitt titled: The Case for Regime Change in Iran is even more belligerent, as the authors believe Kroenig’s strategy doesn’t go far enough:

“If the United States seriously considers military action, it would be better to plan an operation that not only strikes the nuclear program but aims to destabilize the regime, potentially resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis once and for all.”

The West along with regional allies including Saudi Arabia and Israel justify attacking Iran through exclaiming that their nuclear program is a nefarious initiative aimed at creating weapons of mass destruction, which Tehran would use against its enemies. Iran however objects to this accusation and claims the program is purely aimed at peaceful energy production. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently stated that “we don’t need an atomic bomb”, adding that the world’s nuclear powers are not safer for having atomic weapons.

The Elephant in the Room – Israel’s Nuclear Program

The elephant in the room that is rarely brought into the discussion is that the state whose leaders spend a large percentage of their time salivating at the prospect of attacking Iran, namely Israel, has been a nuclear power for decades who now possesses approximately 80 nuclear weapons according to some estimates. Whether Iran is really set on building the bomb or not, Israel’s nuclear program is directly related to Iran’s nuclear ambitions yet there is virtually no international outcry against the Israeli program.  The hypocrisy of the Western nations in regards to Iran’s nuclear program is simply astounding considering their zealous support for Israel. What right has the US got to lecture any country on nuclear weapons anyway, dare we forget that America was the nation who dropped atomic bombs – an act which had very little military or strategic merit – on Japan which was on the verge of surrendering in 1945.

The government in Tehran is continuously working to enhance their defensive capabilities in preparation for an attack in the future, with Iran recently activating its new national missile defense system dubbed the ‘Real Iron Dome’ – a clear reference to Israel’s Iron Dome system. Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabifard, vice speaker of Iran’s parliament stated that the defense system provides “the highest deterrence power in the Middle East”.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “NewEasternOutlook”.

 

Why Putin Did Not Send the Russian Army into Donbass

March 19th, 2015 by Global Research News

By Russkiy Malchik 

This article originally appeared at Russkiy Malchik [Russian boy]. It was translated by J.Hawk at Fort Russ

http://russkiy-malchik.livejournal.com/594279.html (Russian)

More commentary on the Crimea film. What finally became clear to me personally is that it was not the Western pressure which influenced Putin’s decision not to send the army into the Donbass. Now we can clearly see that when it comes to the Crimea, Russia’s resolve was demonstrated up to and including the “nuclear briefcase.” In other words, just try something, and you’ll be talking to ballistic missiles. This was improbable even during the best years of the USSR. It tells us that if a similar decision were to be taken concerning the Donbass, you’d see a similar operation, and there would be no clash with NATO—it would drift away.

The obstacle was somewhere else. This deserves close consideration, and not throw about phrases like “how is the Donbass less Russian than Crimea?” This is faulty logic at work, and it was never part of Putin’s thinking. The problem is somewhere else. Donbass is not a peninsula which can be blocked by cutting off the isthmus. If one sends troops into the Donbass, then the frontline becomes longer with every kilometer West, from the  Black Sea to Belarussian forests. Therefore if one enters the Donbass one must march, as a minimum, to the natural border of the Dnepr, but that’s Poltava, Sumy, Chernigov, Dnepropetrovsk with their populations, a significant part of which had already been zombified into Russophobia. With every kilometer we’d get a less pro-Russian and more Russophobic (I know this on the basis of examples). The junta was able to sway people’s minds already by March, April, May, so that one could not expect a full support for the Russian Army even in the cities of the Larger Novorossia, not to mention Vinnitsa.

This is an important point which Putin underscored both earlier and at the anniversary of Crimea annexation: he based his decision on the potential support by the population. Crimea was fundamentally ready for the arrival of the Russian Army (it was already there, which made the task easier). But the rest of Ukraine was not. Even in Donetsk a large proportion of local “white collars” and housewives turned out to be Maidan support and ran away from the DPR and LPR. This is not a criticism of the Donbass, but the sad reality for which we are all at fault. Those who stayed on the Donbass paid for their choice in favor of the Russian World with blood, and there isn’t enough marble in the world for a monument to them. But the Russian Army would have had to march further than Donetsk, to Melitopol, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolayev, all the way to Odessa. There are lots of Maidaneks there. And even more people who very quickly accused Russia of aggression. Look at how people behaved in the border town of Sumy, where nobody is so much as stirring against the junta. Once again, it’s not their fault but ours in general, as is the pain and sadness.

Look at how much importance “tyrannical” Putin attaches to people’s sentiments and desires, even if those desires are imposed from the outside. Now we know for certain that the Kremlin was conducting opinion polls constantly and everywhere—in the Crimea, on the Donbass, in Russia concerning both Crimea and Donbass, and in the various regions of Ukraine. One can criticize VVP for this, but he does not want to do anything that does not have the support of the inhabitants of a given territory. He acts in a similar manner in Russia—he makes a decision only when the people are ready, or even more than ready, for it. I think that’s due to an understanding that the government’s actions are truly historical and make lives better only when they are based on the desires of the majority of the population. When the government and the citizens are acting as a united front, it leads to the government of the people (unlike democracy, in which power belongs to the 2% who are democrats).

Already in March Ukraine was not prepared to welcome the Russian Army as a savior. Marching only into the Donbass would have been a half-measure that would have escalated the conflict and put Russia in a dead end. The decision not to send troops into Donbass was painful and forced, but at the same time the most correct one. If one considers the reality, not desires. Life is like that.

·According to Glen Stewart, a former lawyer with the Community and Legal Aid Services Program whose service area includes the Jane-Finch community,

“Concerns around policing were one of the focal points ([31] years ago) and, unfortunately, they’ve never really gone away. Recently there have been some incidents where youth have been subjects of violence at the hands of police. That, I think, has brought concerns to the forefront again.”[1]

·In 2002, a survey of youth’s sense of safety in the Jane-Finch, Malvern, Regent Park and Parkdale communities identified police violence and drug trade activities as their number one fear.

Edward Keenan and Jennifer Besner reported,

“The report shows that, among young males in those communities, 54.4 per cent felt that police treatment of youth had a “medium-high impact” on youth safety. By comparison, only 42.2 per cent rated gang violence in the same way.”[2]

·On May 2007, Fitzroy Osbourne, a 29-year-old Afrikan Canadian resident of Jane-Finch was detained without justification in the Driftwood Avenue and Driftwood Court area by Constable Judy Grant of 31 Division. The cop charged Fitzroy with assaulting police and causing a disturbance. The judge dismissed the charges against Fitzroy and condemned the cops for exceeding “the proper scope of their authority” in wrongfully detaining Fitzroy.[3]

·On December 10, 2008, residents in the Jane-Finch community carried out a protest against allegations of police brutality the cops at 31 Division. The residents wrote about their experience of police violence, “Our youth are currently more scared of the police violence than they are of ‘street’ related issues.  The over policing of this community has led to increased levels of targeting, harassment, racial profiling and created a fear of persecution amongst residents.”[4]

·On December 13, 2008, Damien Buckley, a 22-year-old Afrikan Canadian man was waiting for a friend in the Jane Street and Sheppard Avenue West area. Constables Nelson Cheechoo and Judy Grant of 31 Division physically confronted Damien and charged him with possession of marijuana under, assault with intent to resist arrest, and disarm a peace officer. Justice Paul M. Taylor dismissed the charges against Damien. The judge ruled that Damien had the right to resist arrest since the cops did not promptly give a reason for arresting him.[5]

·On May 5, 2010, Junior Alexander Manon, a healthy 18-year-old Afrikan Canadian resident of Jane-Finch died while being forcefully accosted by Constable Michael Adams and his partner. The province’s Special Investigations Unit cleared the cops of any wrongdoing. While a coroner’s jury ruled that Junior accidentally died from restraint asphyxia. According to the Manon family’s lawyer, “The officers said Junior Manon was never on his stomach and they never applied any pressure to his back. The jury’s verdict speaks otherwise.”[6]

·A community-based research project carried out with 50 youth between the ages of 16 to 29 in the Jane-Finch community summarized their experience of police violence,

“When speaking about police, most youth were critical. Youth spoke from personal experience or what they heard from peers. They felt that rather than being helpful, police sometimes make things worse by interrogating people, invading their privacy and not treating community residents with dignity.”[7]

·On June 8, 2012, Superintendent David McLeod of 31 Division, an uninvited participant, entered a meeting of the Jane-Finch Crisis Support Network and allegedly accused one of its co-chair, Sabrina “Butterfly” Gopaul, of making a statement in an interview that was “borderline criminal.”

According to a letter from the Jane Finch Action Against Poverty to the Toronto Police Services Board, the continued “inappropriate behaviour” led to many members leaving the room, some participants were reduced to tear, and the eventual premature adjournment of the meeting.[8]

·Heavily racialized, working-class communities such as Jane-Finch and Jamestown have long complained about being over-policed. Toronto’s downtown core gets the greatest amount of violence-related calls. Communities such as Jane-Finch, Jamestown and Kingston-Galloway fall within “the low-to-medium range for the same calls.”[9] The downtown area receives eleven per cent of crime-related news coverage, while thirty-three per cent goes to areas such as Jane-Finch.

In spite of communities such as Jane-Finch being in the low-to-medium range for violence-related requests for law enforcement’s intervention, they are targeted and over-policed by the cops, especially the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) police division, an occupation army-like formation.[10] In the true fashion of an occupation army, TAVIS has its own “hearts and minds’’ programme in these working-class, racialized communities. TAVIS provides recreational activities, engages in beautification projects, gives free bicycles and helmets to children, sponsors and/or participates in barbecuing initiatives and supports playground construction or rehabilitation projects.[11]

·Lola Lawson, a resident of Jane-Finch and fourth-year Afrikan Canadian student at York University speaks of her experience with police violence, “Even when I’m just driving around there, I get pulled over all the time. There are just so many police on the Jane strip and Finch strip that I get pulled over for no reason. Well, because of where I live. I am being profiled because of my address.”[12]

· In November 2014, the Community Assessment of Police Practices survey revealed that 31 Division cops were grossly violating the carding policy of the Toronto Police Services Board that were designed to protect the rights of residents.[13]

·On January 25, 2015, 19-year-old Michael Duru, a Jane-Finch resident, was stopped, questioned and compelled to hand over the papers for a parked rental car. In the process of filming the name tag of Constable A. Keown, Michael was assaulted by the cop and charged with two criminal offences.[14]

The Network for the Elimination of Police Violence is a network of organizations and individuals who co-ordinatcommunity-based responses to police violence.

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an organizer with the Network for the Elimination of Police Violence.

Notes

[1] Tamara Cherry, “Area protests police ‘siege mentality’,” Toronto Sun, December 10, 2008. Retrieved fromhttp://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2008/12/10/7692246-sun.html.

[2] Edward Keenan and Jennifer Besner, “Police value plummets when communities are afraid of them,” Eye Weekly, April 1, 2004. Retrieved from https://edwardkeenan.wordpress.com/tag/police-brutality/

[3] Betsy Powell, “Police went too far, judge rules,” Toronto Star, March 20, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2008/03/20/police_went_too_far_judge_rules.html

[4] City New Toronto, “Jane And Finch Residents Allege Police Brutality In 31 Division,” City News, December 10, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.citynews.ca/2008/12/10/jane-and-finch-residents-allege-police-brutality-in-31-division/; A video of the protest action - http://www.jane-finch.com/videos/policebrutalityprotest.htm

[5] Roger Rowe, Allegations of Profiling: How Much Disclosure of Investigative Records is Appropriate? Pg. 10. rogerrowelaw.com. Retrieved from http://www.rogerrowelaw.com/document/pdf/Cases/Buckley_Trial_Paper_by_Roger_Allegations_of_Profiling.pdf

[6] CBC News, “Coroner’s jury says Junior Manon’s death was accidental,” CBC News, May 8. 2012. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/coroner-s-jury-says-junior-manon-s-death-was-accidental-1.1299795

[7]Ollner, A., Sekharan, A., Truong, J., & Vig, V. (2011).  Jane-Finch Youth Speak Out: Turf Violence Well-Being. The Assets Coming Together For Youth Project. Retrieved from www.yorku.ca/act/reports/Jane-FinchYouthSpeakOut.pdf

[8] Jane-Finch Action Against Poverty, “Jane-Finch org publishes open letter against Toronto police intimidation of local activist-community leader Sabrina ‘Butterfly’ Gopaul,” BASICS Community News Service, July 25, 2012. Retrieved fromhttp://basicsnews.ca/jane-finch-organization-open-letter-against-toronto-police-intimidation-of-local-activist-community-leader-sabrina-butterfly-gopaul/#sthash.W7CYot1j.dpuf

[9] Eric Mark Do, “Crime, coverage and stereotypes: Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood,” J-Source, September 17, 2012. Retrieved from http://j-source.ca/article/crime-coverage-and-stereotypes-torontos-jane-and-finch-neighbourhood#sthash.TRvvAUTu.dpuf

[10] Ellie Kirzner, “Now it’s cops playing race card,” NOW, August 16, 2012. Retrieved from https://nowtoronto.com/news/now-its-cops-playing-race-card/

[11] Neighbourhood TAVIS Initiative, Neighbourhood TAVIS Initiative Community Newsletter, September 27, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/tavis/newsletters/nti_community_newsletter_20100927.pdf

[12] Carina Samuels, “Debunking the myths of Jane and Finch,” Excalibur, February 11, 2014. Retrieved fromhttp://www.excal.on.ca/debunking-the-myths-of-jane-and-finch/

[13] Logical Outcomes, “This issue has been with us for ages”: A Community-Based assessment of Police Contact Carding in 31 Division. November 2014. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/doc/246603303/Community-Assessment-of-Police-Practices-Community-Satisfaction-Survey

[14] Natalie Alcoba, “Video of alleged violent takedown by officer being investigated by Toronto police,” National Post, January 28, 2015. Retrieved from http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/28/video-of-alleged-violent-takedown-by-officer-being-investigated-by-toronto-police/

Washington’s War on Russia

March 19th, 2015 by Mike Whitney

“In order to survive and preserve its leading role on the international stage, the US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, (and) to cut economic ties between Europe and Asia-Pacific Region … Russia is the only (country) within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance… is a vitally important task for America.”

-Nikolai Starikov, Western Financial System Is Driving It to War, Russia Insider

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

-The Wolfowitz Doctrine, the original version of the Defense Planning Guidance, authored by Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992

The United States does not want a war with Russia, it simply feels that it has no choice. If the State Department hadn’t initiated a coup in Ukraine to topple the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, then the US could not have inserted itself between Russia and the EU, thus, disrupting vital trade routes which were strengthening nations on both continents. The economic integration of Asia and Europe–including plans for high-speed rail from China (“The New Silk Road”) to the EU–poses a clear and present danger for the US whose share of global GDP continues to shrink and whose significance in the world economy continues to decline. For the United States to ignore this new rival (EU-Russia) would be the equivalent of throwing in the towel and accepting a future in which the US would face a gradual but persistent erosion of its power and influence in world affairs. No one in Washington is prepared to let that happen, which is why the US launched its proxy-war in Ukraine.

The US wants to separate the continents, “prevent the emergence of a new rival”, install a tollbooth between Europe and Asia, and establish itself as the guarantor of regional security. To that end, the US is rebuilding the Iron Curtain along a thousand mile stretch from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Tanks, armored vehicles and artillery are being sent to the region to reinforce a buffer zone around Europe in order to isolate Russia and to create a staging ground for future US aggression. Reports of heavy equipment and weapons deployment appear in the media on nearly a daily basis although the news is typically omitted in the US press. A quick review of some of the recent headlines will help readers to grasp the scale of the conflict that is cropping up below the radar:

“US, Bulgaria to hold Balkans military drills”, “NATO Begins Exercises In Black Sea”, “Army to send even more troops, tanks to Europe”, “Poland requests greater US military presence”, “U.S. Army sending armored convoy 1,100 miles through Europe”, “Over 120 US tanks, armored vehicles arrive in Latvia”, “US, Poland to Conduct Missile Exercise in March – Pentagon”

Get the picture? There’s a war going on, a war between the United States and Russia.

Notice how most of the headlines emphasize US involvement, not NATO. In other words, the provocations against Russia originate from Washington not Europe. This is an important point. The EU has supported US-led economic sanctions, but it’s not nearly as supportive of the military build up along the perimeter. That’s Washington’s idea and the cost is borne by the US alone. Naturally, moving tanks, armored vehicles and artillery around the world is an expensive project, but the US is more than willing to make the sacrifice if it helps to achieve its objectives.

And what are Washington’s objectives?

Interestingly, even political analysts on the far right seem to agree about that point. For example, check out this quote from STRATFOR CEO George Friedman who summed it up in a recent presentation he delivered at The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs. He said:

“The primordial interest of the United States, over which for centuries we have fought wars–the First, the Second and Cold Wars–has been the relationship between Germany and Russia, because united there, they’re the only force that could threaten us. And to make sure that that doesn’t happen.” … George Friedman at The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, Time 1:40 to 1:57)

Bingo. Ukraine has nothing to do with sovereignty, democracy or (alleged) Russian aggression. That’s all propaganda. It’s about power. It’s about imperial expansion. It’s about spheres of influence. It’s about staving off irreversible economic decline. It’s all part of the smash-mouth, scorched earth, take-no-prisoners geopolitical world in which we live, not the fake Disneyworld created by the western media. The US State Department and CIA toppled the elected-government in Ukraine and ordered the new junta regime to launch a desperate war of annihilation against its own people in the East, because, well, because they felt they had no other option. Had Putin’s ambitious plan to create a free trade zone between Lisbon to Vladivostok gone forward, then where would that leave the United States? Out in the cold, that’s where. The US would become an isolated island of dwindling significance whose massive account deficits and ballooning national debt would pave the way for years of brutal restructuring, declining standards of living, runaway inflation and burgeoning social unrest. Does anyone really believe that Washington would let that to happen when it has a “brand-spanking” trillion dollar war machine at its disposal?

Heck, no. Besides, Washington believes it has a historic right to rule the world, which is what one would expect when the sense of entitlement and hubris reach their terminal phase. Now check out this clip from an article by economist Jack Rasmus at CounterPunch:

“Behind the sanctions is the USA objective of driving Russia out of the European economy. Europe was becoming too integrated and dependent on Russia. Not only its gas and raw materials, but trade relations and money capital flows were deepening on many fronts between Russia and Europe in general prior to the Ukraine crisis that has provided the cover for the introduction of the sanctions. Russia’s growing economic integration with Europe threatened the long term economic interests of US capitalists. Strategically, the US precipitated coup in the Ukraine can be viewed, therefore as a means by which to provoke Russian military intervention, i.e. a necessary event in order to deepen and expand economic sanctions that would ultimately sever the growing economic ties between Europe and Russia long term. That severance in turn would not only ensure US economic interests remain dominant in Europe, but would also open up new opportunities for profit making for US interests in Europe and Ukraine as well…

When the rules of the competition game between capitalists break down altogether, the result is war—i.e. the ultimate form of inter-capitalist competition.” (The Global Currency Wars, Jack Rasmus, CounterPunch)

See? Analysts on the right and left agree. Ukraine has nothing to do with sovereignty, democracy or Russian aggression. It’s plain-old cutthroat geopolitics, where the last man left standing, wins.

The United States cannot allow Russia reap the benefits of its own vast resources. Oh, no. It has to be chastised, it has to be bullied, it has to be sanctioned, isolated, threatened and intimidated. That’s how the system really works. The free market stuff is just horsecrap for the sheeple.

Russia is going to have to deal with chaotic, fratricidal wars on its borders and color-coded regime change turbulence in its capital. It will have to withstand reprisals from its trading partners, attacks on its currency and plots to eviscerate its (oil) revenues. The US will do everything in its power to poison the well, to demonize Putin, to turn Brussels against Moscow, and to sabotage the Russian economy.

Divide and conquer, that’s the ticket. Keep them at each others throats at all times. Sunni vs Shia, one ethnic Ukrainian vs the other, Russians vs Europeans. That’s Washington’s plan, and it’s a plan that never fails.

US powerbrokers are convinced that America’s economic slide can only be arrested by staking a claim in Central Asia, dismembering Russia, encircling China, and quashing all plans for an economically-integrated EU-Asia. Washington is determined to prevail in this existential conflict, to assert its hegemonic control over the two continents, and to preserve its position as the world’s only superpower.

Only Russia can stop the United States and we believe it will.

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].

Ukraine Declares Resumption of War Against Donbass

March 19th, 2015 by Eric Zuesse

On Wednesday, March 18th, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Prime Minister of Ukraine — who was selected for that post by Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State Department on 4 February 2014, 18 days before the U.S. coup that installed him into this office — told his cabinet meeting, “Our goal is to regain control of Donetsk and Lugansk.” Those are the two districts comprising Donbass, the self-proclaimed independent region of Ukraine, which now calls itself “The People’s Republic“ and sometimes “Novorossiya,” and which rejects the coup and its coup-imposed Government. 

That Government of Ukraine is run by Yatsenyuk and the people whom he selected. Ukraine also has a President, who is elected by voters in the northwest of Ukraine, where the coup-government is accepted; but, since the coup, the Government has actually been run by Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, who is entirely dependent upon the United States Government and its subordinates (such as the IMF and NATO, in both of which the U.S. has veto-power) in order to obtain the financial and military support necessary to keep him in office

Yatsenyuk announced there: “Adequate financial resources are available,” to retake Donbass. Those “resources” came largely from the IMF, and from the United States, all with loans to the bankrupt Ukrainian Government. So that the investors will be paid the principal plus the extremely high interest on these junk-loans that are backed by their governments, Western taxpayers will ultimately be, basically, donating to Franklin Templeton, and to George Soros, and to the other financiers who are buying the Ukrainian Government bonds that purchase those weapons and military trainers to conquer the residents of Donbass. The Ukrainian Government officially calls these residents ‘Terrorists,’ and the military operation to conquer them they call the ‘Anti Terrorist Operation’ or “ATO” for short. They call their troops who are doing the killing there, “punishers,” which the residents of northwestern Ukraine take to mean punishers of terrorists. The residents in northwestern Ukraine see only television that is broadcast on stations that are owned by Ukrainian, European, and American, oligarchs. For example, one of these stations is Hromadske TV, which was founded with money from the Dutch Government, the U.S. Government, and George Soros’s International Renaissance Foundation. It has, on occasion, presented ‘experts’ who call for exterminating at least 1.5 million of the residents in Donbass. So, this is how the support of the residents in Ukraine’s northwest for the “ATO” is being maintained. The residents in Donbass have also been called “subhumans” by Yatsenyuk himself.

At this cabinet meeting, Yatsenyuk additionally announced that resumption of the war would be rushed: “We need to move the funding for the purchase of new equipment and weapons from the third and fourth quarter to the first and second quarter,” he told his cabinet.

At this same cabinet meeting, the Minister of Defense, Stepan Poltorak, announced that, to date, 100 contracts for military equipment have been signed, and soon there will be 160. He also said: “Just in the last week alone, factories brought in about a thousand pieces of equipment for repair.”

Yatsenyuk told his cabinet that, ”We will fight using all methods and techniques for the resumption of peace and regaining control of Donetsk and Luhansk region.” By ‘resumption of peace,’ he meant resumption of control over Donbass. “Peace” is the term he uses to mean control. In other words: until the Yatsenyuk Government wins, there will continue to be war in Donbass, “using all methods and techniques” to achieve his (that is, America’s) victory in subduing the residents there. This subduing means exterminating some, and driving the others out; so that, in either case, they won’t become voters in future Ukrainian elections. The last time that these people voted in a Ukrainian election was 2010, when they voted 90% for Viktor Yanukovych, the man whom Obama overthrew. Without that 90% vote, Yanukovych wouldn’t have been elected. Obama consequently doesn’t want them voting in any future Ukrainian election. That’s the reason why they’re being bombed — to get rid of them.

On March 17th, Ukraine’s parliament, the Rada, voted to declare Donbass to be “temporarily occupied territory,” until the residents there are conquered. The day before that, the figurehead President of Ukraine had presented to the Rada a draft resolution proposing to solve the problem of the resistant Donbass with a resolution he published on his website on March 14th saying that the region has “special status,” and temporary self-government, but this proposal wasn’t the one the Rada passed. The President nonetheless declared that his terminology was somehow law from the moment it had been published on his website.

U.S. President Obama wants the war resumed as quickly as possible, but Angela Merkel and other European leaders have urged that it not be resumed at all. Consequently, there is a split in the Western alliance about this matter. Apparently, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk has determined that he now has enough weapons and loans to be able to resume the war very soon, until final victory.

Obama, evidently, is determined to finish the job that he started with his coup. It was bloody, but the follow-through will need to be far more so. And he has the full support of the U.S. Congress, and of the major think tanks, to continue this until victory. EU nations that don’t like it — well, obama’s agent controlling Ukraine said famously, on 4 February 2014, “F—k the EU.”

Many European leaders don’t want to be involved in a war against Russia. However, on March 12th, Yatsenyuk said “Ukraine is in a state of war with … the Russian Federation.” That is the service he is providing to Barack Obama, and to the 98%+ of the members of the U.S. Congress who likewise want this war: Ukraine has become the proxy state for America’s war against Russia.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

In an interview for the German news magazine Zuerst! (April 2015) Srdja Trifkovic considers the significance of Otto von Bismarck’s legacy, 200 years after his birth.

Dr. Trifkovic, how would Bismarck react if he could see today’s map of Europe?

Trifkovic: He would be initially shocked that the German eastern border now runs along the Oder and Neisse rivers. Otto von Bismarck was a true Prussian. In his view, cities such as Königsberg, Danzig or Breslau were more properly “German” than those in the Rhineland. His first impression therefore would be that Germany has “shifted” to the West, and that an important social and cultural aspect of his Germany has been lost. Once he’d overcome this initial shock, he would look at the map of Europe again in more detail. The considerable distance between Germany and Russia would probably amaze him. What in Bismarck’s time was the border between Germany and Russia is now a “Greater Poland” which did not exist at his time. And former provinces of the Russian Empire are now independent states: the three Baltic republics, Belarus and Ukraine. Bismarck would probably see this as an unwelcome “buffer zone” between Germany and Russia. He had always placed a great emphasis on a strong German-Russian alliance and would no doubt wonder how all this could happen. He would probably consider how to bring back to life such a continental partnership today. That would be a diplomatic challenge worthy of him: how to forge an alliance between Berlin and Moscow without the agitated smaller states in-between throwing their spanners into the works.

Map of German Empire in 1914.

Map of German Empire in 1914.

What would he advise Angela Merkel?

Trifkovic: He would probably tell her that even if you cannot have a close alliance with Russia, at least you should seek a better balance, i.e. more equidistant relations with Washington on the one hand and Moscow on the other. The concept of the Three Emperors’ League of 1881 is hardly possible today, but there are other options.

Security and the war in Ukraine would focus Bismarck’s attention…

Trifkovic: Merkel has adopted a very biased position on Ukraine, which Bismarck would have never done. He was always trying to cover his country from all flanks. In Ukraine we can clearly observe a crisis scenario made in Washington. Bismarck’s policy in the case of modern Ukraine would be for Berlin to act as a trusted and neutral arbiter of European politics, and not just as a trans-Atlantic outpost.

You said earlier that Germany since the time of Bismarck has shifted to the west. Do you mean this not only geographically?

Trifkovic: Even as a young man, as the Prussian envoy to the Bundestag in Frankfurt, Bismarck detested the predominantly western German liberals. At the same time, he later endeavored to ensure that Catholic Austria would be kept away from the nascent German Empire. Even at an early age we could discern Bismarck’s idea of Germany: a continental central power without strong Catholic elements and liberal ideas. He also knew that such a central European power must always be wary of the possibility of encirclement. Bismarck knew that he had to prevent France and Russia becoming partners.

At all times the rapport with Russia appeared more important than that with France…

Srdja TrifkovicTrifkovic: Here is an oddity in Bismarck’s policy. After the 1870-71 war against France, the newly created German Empire annexed Alsace and Lorraine and thus ensured that there would be permanent tensions with a revanchist France. In real-political terms it should have been clear that any benefits of Alsace-Lorraine’s annexation would be outweighed by the disadvantages. French irredentism made her permanently inimical to Germany. No political overture to Paris was possible. The entire policy of the Third French Republic (1870-1940) was subsequently characterized by deep anti-German resentment.

As an American with Serb roots, you know East and West alike. Are there some differences in their approach to Otto von Bismarck?

Trifkovic: Apart from a few individuals in the scientific community, I am sorry to say that Otto von Bismarck is not adequately evaluated either in the West or in the East. On both sides, you will often encounter a flawed caricature of Bismarck as a bloodthirsty warmonger and nationalist who was ruthlessly pursuing Germany’s unification and whose path was paved with corpses. Nothing is further from the truth. The three wars that preceded unification were limited armed conflicts with clear and limited aims. Bismarck ended two of those wars without unnecessarily humiliating the defeated foe; France was an exception. The war against Austria in 1866 in particular showed that Bismarck’s only concern was to secure Prussia’s supremacy in German affairs. Only a few years later he concluded an alliance with Austria-Hungary. Let me repeat: Bismarck was not a brutal warmonger; he was a brilliant political realist who quickly grasped his advantages and his opponents’ weaknesses. Therein lies an irony that today’s moralists find difficult to explain: Bismarck was a cold calculator and his decisions were rarely subjected to ethical criteria – but the result of his Realpolitik was a relatively stable German state which under Bismarck’s chancellorship managed Europe’s adjustment to its rise without armed conflicts. Between 1871 and 1890, the German Empire was on the whole a stabilizing factor in Europe. During the Berlin Congress to end the Balkan crisis in 1878, Bismarck effectively presented himself as an honest broker, respected by all of Europe. However, with Bismarck’s departure in 1890, this period of the relaxation of European tensions and Germany’s stabilizing influence was over.

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany

What changed after 1890 for Europe?

Trifkovic: After Bismarck there was no longer a steadfastly reliable Chancellor and the German policy lost its sureness of touch. Suddenly the neurotic spirit of the young Emperor, Wilhelm II, started prevailing, a feverish “we have-to-do-something” atmosphere. The massive naval program was initiated, while the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia was not renewed – and it was the cornerstone of Bismarck’s scenario to prevent a war in Europe. Initially the Czarist Empire urged the renewal of the bilateral agreement with Berlin. The Kaiser took the view that the Reich could be better protected by its own military buildup than through alliances. And suddenly, Bismarck’s nightmare came true. Since Russia abruptly found herself with no international allies, and the German-Russian relations cooled more and more, it approached France and arranged the military convention of 1892. In 1894 a firm alliance was signed. It was not ideological. The liberal, Masonic, secular and republican France was allied with the Orthodox Christian, deeply conservative, autocratic Russian Empire. And Germany was in the middle. Bismarck always dreaded this sort of two-front alliance, which laid the foundations of the blocs of belligerent powers in World War I. You can see some current parallels in the policy shift of 1890.

In what way?

Trifkovic: The often neurotic policy of Berlin after Bismarck’s dismissal reminds one of the aggressive style of the likes of Victoria Nuland and John McCain today. Looking at Germany from 1890 to 1914, one sees striking parallels with today’s U.S. neoconservatives. The obsession with Russia as the enemy is one similarity. After Bismarck’s dismissal, Russia was depicted in the media of the German Empire in darkest colors, as backward, aggressive and dangerous. If we take today’s Western mainstream media – including those in Germany – this image has just been reinforced: the dangerous, backward, and aggressive Putin Empire.

Bismarck was not a German Neocon?

Trifkovic: (laughs) No, he was the exact opposite! He was not a dreamer, nor an ideologue. He did not want to go out into the world to bring Germanic blessings to others, if necessary by the force of arms. Bismarck was always a down-to-earth Prussian landowner. While Britain as a naval power opened up trading posts and founded colonies all over the world, and British garrisons were stationed all over in India or Africa, Bismarck’s Germany was created as a classic land-based continental power. I would even suggest that Bismarck himself had an aversion to the sea. Very reluctantly he was persuaded in the 1880’s to agree to the acquisition of the first protectorates for the German Reich. On the whole, Germany’s colonial program was economically questionable. What Germany was left with in the 1880’s was what the other major colonial powers had left behind, especially the United Kingdom. Bismarck knew that, and he saw that all the important straits and strategic points, such as the Cape of Good Hope, were under British control. In Germany the colonial question was mostly about “prestige” and “credibility” – and Bismarck the master politician had no time at all for such reasoning.

Bismarck also had a clear position on the Balkans. In 1876, he said in a speech that the German Empire in the Balkans had no interest “which would be worth the healthy bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.” This seems to have changed, however: Today German soldiers are in Kosovo, the Federal Republic of Germany was the first country to recognize the independence of Slovenia and Croatia from Yugoslavia in 1991…

King Petar I of Serbia after coronation, 21 September 1904

King Petar I of Serbia after coronation, 21 September 1904

Trifkovic: Otto von Bismarck was always weary of tying Germany’s fate to that of Austria-Hungary. His decision to steer clear of the conflicts in the Balkans was sound. After Bismarck’s dismissal Germany saw the rise of anti-Russian and anti-Serbian propagandistic discourse which emulated that in Vienna. Incidentally, there is another quote by Bismarck which was truly prophetic. “Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal,” he warned. “A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all. I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where. Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off.” In relation to Serbia there are parallels to the current situation in Europe. In 1903 a dynastic change in Belgrade ended Austria-Hungary’s previous decisive influence in the small neighboring country. The house of Karadjordjevic oriented Serbia to the great Slav brother, to Russia. Vienna tried to stop that by subjecting Serbia to economic and political pressure. But out of this so-called “tariff war” Serbia actually emerged strengthened. We recognize the parallels to Russia today: one can compare the Vienna tariff war against Belgrade with the sanctions against Russia. Sanctions force a country to diversify its economy, thus making it more resistant. In Serbia it worked well a hundred years ago, in Russia it may work now. When Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, there was a serious emergency and only Germany taking sides with Vienna ended the Bosnian crisis. In the end Germany picked up the tab: After the outbreak of World War I Austrian-Hungarian troops failed to defeat Serbia. They needed military assistance from Germany. Prussian Field Marshal August von Mackensen finally defeated Serbia, and proved to be a truly chivalrous opponent: “In the Serbs I have encountered the bravest soldiers of the Balkans,” he wrote in his diary. Later, in 1916, Mackensen erected a monument to the fallen Serbs in Belgrade with the inscription “Here lie the Serbian heroes.”

When we in Germany think of Bismarck today, we come back time and over again to the relationship with Russia … [Trifkovic: Indeed!] … Is it possible to summarize the relations as follows: If Germany and Russia get along, it is a blessing for Europe; if we go to war, the whole continent lies in ruins?

Trifkovic:  The only ones who are chronically terrified of a German-Russian understanding are invariably the maritime powers. In the 19th century the British tried to prevent the rise of an emerging superpower on the continent, such as a German-Russian alliance. Looking at the British Empire and its naval bases, one is struck by how the Eurasian heartland was effectively surrounded. Halford Mackinder formulated it memorably: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; who rules the World-Island commands the world.” Dutch-American geo-strategist Nicholas J. Spykman developed Mackinder’s theory further. It is the “Rimland” – which surrounds the heartland – that is the key to controlling the land mass. Spykman is considered as a forerunner of the U.S. containment policy after the war.

Spykman was focused especially on the communist Soviet Union, not so much on Germany …

Trifkovic: He was concerned with controlling the “Heartland” quite independently of the dominant land power’s ideology. Spykman wrote in early 1943 that the Soviet Union from the Urals to the North Sea, from an American perspective, was no less unpleasant than Germany from the North Sea to the Urals. A continental power in Eurasia had to be curtailed or at least fragmented – that is exactly the continuity of the global maritime power’s strategy to this day.

On sanctions against Russia, and U.S.-EU disputes, Germany is in the middle. What would Chancellor Bismarck do today?

Trifkovic: He would swiftly end the sanctions regime against Russia because he’d see that Germany was paying a steep price for no tangible benefit. He would also seek to reduce the excessive U.S. influence on German policymaking. But Europe does not necessarily need a new Bismarck: as recently as 50 years ago we had several European politicians of stature and integrity. People like Charles de Gaulle or Konrad Adenauer had more character and substance than any of the current EU politicians. Europe in its current situation is in great need of them.

Wednesday is yet another Fed meeting where we get to hear “policy” from them.  So many times in the past, the upcoming meeting has been called “THE” most important meeting ever.  This one is being called the same thing.  I have mentioned more than a few times in the past six years “what can they really say?”  I’ve done this because the Fed never had any choices.

Do they have any choices now and for this meeting?  Let’s look at what they can do, what they cannot do and what they shouldn’t do.  The first option is for the Fed to do nothing and not even change what their mantra has been for so long by remaining “patient”.  If this is their choice and I suspect it should be, the question then begs whether the markets will remain patient with the Fed?  An impatient market place would presumably cast their vote in the Treasury and dollar markets amongst others.

Another option and the one the press wants you to believe is the Fed will do nothing, but with a caveat being the Fed actually hints at the June meeting as their target date to begin tightening.  I am not sure about this one because the markets will react by front running the Fed.  Let me sidetrack for a moment and point out how front running was initialized during Alan Greenspan’s era.  It used to be the Fed would meet and decide policy, and then implement it.  Market participants needed to decipher by Fed actions whether they were tightening, loosening or what the policy decision was, and then place their bets.  (Mr. Greenspan changed this deciding to “spoon feed” the markets and actually say what their policy was).  It was in this manner the Fed truly kept people guessing and more “cautious”.  Caution was thrown to the wind when the Fed began making policy statements after each meeting.  I am convinced they did this because they knew by announcing an easing of credit, it would be “front run” by the markets and thus the heavy lifting done by the market.  In other words, the Fed could jawbone and let the market do their work for them.

This works (worked) quite well during the easing cycles, it doesn’t work so well if the Fed needs to tighten.  You see, the markets are now so levered, any front running of a tightening cycle will turn into an outright panic overnight.  This is the problem.  The Fed CANNOT actually tighten, they cannot even put a date on a tightening.  The only thing they can do is say “we are gonna gonna gonna tighten” but never say when.  They have well over a $4 trillion balance sheet that must, but can never be wound down or liquidated.  The financial markets have been a one way street where the Fed could either do nothing, or accommodate more, tightening has been off the table for nearly 10 years.

Were the Fed to tighten to any extent now, the dollar will move even higher, setting losing carry trade positions even further offside.

Consumer consumption represents about 2/3rds of the U.S. economy.  No matter what you look at, actual consumption, inventories or new orders, they are all in decline.  The last two times all three series went negative in unison the U.S. was already well into recession.  Tightening credit now will not only blow up the financial markets but also take the real economy with it.  You see, the real economy need help, not a headwind.  Were the Fed operating with a clean slate and the Treasury a clean balance sheet, the argument today would not be whether or not the Fed was going to tighten, it would be the reverse, whether they were going to or already EASING!  The Fed is cornered …and it is of their OWN DOING!

Lastly, this meeting has a lot to do with “credibility”, or in this case, the lack of.  This meeting is important because the Fed stands to lose ALL credibility because of the space they have painted themselves into.  They need to actually ease and begin QE4 to soothe the markets (more importantly the real economy) but all they have done is talk about “when” they will begin to tighten.  Six years worth of “medicine” has clearly not worked, can the Fed really admit this?  They surely cannot reverse their talk of tightening and instead dispense more medicine  …can they?

Clearly the recent economic numbers argue the economy at best is treading water and is flat lined.   Even the Fed’s own growth model shows a .3% growth rate for the first quarter.  Add on top of this the dollar’s strength as the euro implodes and European banks begin to fail (two in just the last 10 days in Austria which were AAA rated).  Does the Fed really believe they can tighten and press the dollar even higher?  Without blowing up markets and derivatives?  Can they really believe blown up derivatives will not affect our own banks …which are not exactly healthy?  While I am not saying the Fed “cannot” tighten, because they can do anything they choose, if they do put a date on it we will not reach that day without a panic.  The markets will front run any tightening because in effect it will be a margin call …ON EVERYTHING!  A margin call with no free margin available I might add.

To finish I would like to mention Eric Sprott’s latest interview with King World News.  http://kingworldnews.com/billionaire-eric-sprott-just-made-the-most-terrifying-prediction-of-2015/  He is concerned about the markets going into collapse where we see a “no bid” scenario.  In my opinion he is quite correct, but this is only half of the equation.  The other half will be gold and silver going “no offer”.  The danger with this scenario is your avenue for insurance will be closed.  As I’ve mentioned over the last couple of days, and since we are discussing “options”, I believe the Chinese will ultimately have no other option than to re mark gold into the stratosphere in order to recapitalize themselves and their banks.  Any such action will put the no offer scenario front and center even if you are able to afford the new price of gold.

The Fed is now faced with the scenario of not having any options left, yet they must make a choice.  They are damned whatever they do… and little time to do it.   Hopefully this is something you calculated into your own actions before arriving at such a “choice”!

Kiev Rejects Minsk Mandated Donbass Self-Rule

March 19th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Minsk II terms Kiev agreed to mandated parliamentary legislation affording Donbass “special regime” self-rule within 30 days of the document’s February 12 signing.

Kiev missed the deadline. On March 17, it reneged. It passed draft legislation only.

It declared Donetsk and Lugansk “temporarily occupied territories.”

It refused special autonomous status. It postponed entering the law into force until elections are held.

The Donetsk News Agency quoted Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) parliament speaker Denis Pushilin saying:

“Uncoordinated amendments to the law made by Poroshenko are not recognized by the (DPR and LPR) republics.”

“From our point of view, (amendments passed) are legally meaningless and politically void.”

“(T)hey directly violate the spirit and word of the Minsk agreements. The Minsk process is practically interrupted as its basis – the law on special status – is in fact cancelled by Poroshenko’s amendments.”

“He does not respect the people of Donbas. He does not want peace.”

DRP and LPR leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Poltnisky respectively called Kiev’s action “disgraceful.”

They urged Merkel and Hollande to pressure Kiev to comply with what it agreed to.

An LPR Information Center added:

“By refusing to give Donbass its special status, Kiev shattered the fragile Minsk peace and drove the situation into a dead-end.”

“Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk cynically laughed at their partners from the EU, who wasted so many efforts for these negotiations.”

“The leaders of the DPR and the LPR say that no compromise with Kiev is possible until yesterday’s decisions by Poroshenko and the Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament) are cancelled.”

Kiev left no doubt where it stands. It wants war, not peace. It used Minsk to buy time, rearm, regroup and mobilize for more war. It violated its letter and spirit straightaway.

Failure to grant Donbass autonomous special status renders Minsk null and void. A state of war continues.

On March 16, Russia’s Foreign Ministry rebuked Kiev sharply, saying:

“Proposals on identifying several districts in the Donentsk and Lugansk regions to be granted a special self-government status, which President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has submitted to the Verkhovna Rada, arouse serious questions and concerns.”

“At all stages in the negotiations within the Contact Group and the Normandy Four, the parties referred solely to Kiev identifying the concrete territories where the Law on the Temporary Procedure for Local Self-Government in Certain Districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, which has already been approved by the Verkhovna Rada, will be applied.”

“This approach has been fixed in the documents coordinated in Minsk on February 12, 2015, and endorsed by the representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as by Russia, Germany, France and the OSCE.”

“In violation of this commitment, the proposals that President Poroshenko has submitted to the Verkhovna Rada are changing the very essence of the Package of Measures adopted in Minsk, making the enactment of the said law conditional on a number of additional requirements that have never been discussed before.”

“In particular, it has been attempted to make the introduction into force of this law conditional on recognising the results of elections to local governments in certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the organisation of which is stipulated by an ultimatum and beset with numerous demands that were not envisaged by the Minsk Agreements.”

“The proposals totally disregard the provisions of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which state that the modalities of local elections, like the future status of certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, should be subject to dialogue with the representatives of Donbass.”

“These actions by the Kiev authorities are yet another evidence of its policy of undermining the Minsk process, which is already manifested in its appeals to the West to step up weapon deliveries to the Ukrainian military, its constant threats to solve the Donbass problem by force of arms, and its stubborn unwillingness to create within the Contact Group the working mechanisms for the implementation of all aspects of the Minsk Agreements, including a constitutional reform and full restoration of socio-economic ties.”

“Instead, Kiev continues to intensify the blockade of Donbass, ruthlessly restricting the contacts between residents of areas controlled by the self-defence forces and the rest of Ukraine as well as their trans-border ties with regions of the Russian Federation in direct violation of provisions fixed in the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements.”

“The developments confirm that the Ukrainian leadership has set the course for renouncing the key principle of the Minsk process, which consists in addressing all issues of settlement in consultations and by coordination with the representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk.”

“Against this background, it is hard to call President Poroshenko’s March 16 statement in Berlin to the effect that ‘there is no alternative to the Minsk Agreements’ other than hypocritical.”

“We are calling on the guarantors of these Agreements – the leaders of Germany and France – to urge their strict implementation, including honest compliance with the content and sequence of actions coordinated in the February 12 documents.”

“The Kiev authorities should meticulously abide by their commitments and start a real political dialogue with the representatives of Donbass on all aspects of Ukrainian crisis settlement.”

Separately, Russia’ Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Kiev “grossly violate(d)” Minsk. He called on Germany and France to issue a joint demarche indicating Kiev breached its terms.

He expressed serious doubts where things go from here.

Since Kiev launched naked aggression on Donbass last April, efforts to end fighting failed.

Chances of Minsk II succeeding are virtually nil. Kiev initiated low-intensity conflict persists.

Kiev continues rearming. It’s just a matter of time before full-scale conflict resumes.

Washington’s dirty hands are manipulating things in this direction. Kiev violated virtually everything it agreed to.

Tuesday’s legislation breaching Minsk is the latest example. Expect no “party of war” peace initiatives ahead.

LPR military staff office head Sergey Kozlov reported junta forces building strength near front line positions – a clear indication of preparing for more conflict.

Poroshenko Bloc leader Yuriy Lutsenko claims full-scale war with Russia may erupt this spring.

“There are far more threats to Ukraine than just (the Donbass) gray zone,” he said.

“We are in danger of a full-scale military conflict which may be started by Russia at the end of April or May.”

“Intelligence information and analysis indicate a large concentration of armored and mechanized forces, their support formations, and greater activity by the Russian intelligence and reconnaissance.”

“This may be an indication that Putin, having failed at Plan A of separating the Russian-speaking part of the population and at Plan B of organizing a rebellion in Kiev, may launch Plan C of full-scale war.”

Is Lutsenko suggesting a possible major US/junta false flag blamed on Russia as pretext for resuming full-scale war on Donbass?

IMF billions are funding Kiev’s war machine. It violated its own mandate prohibiting use of loans for military purpose.

Managing director Christine Lagarde lied saying “the ceasefire agreed to last month in Minsk seems to be largely holding for now.”

Days earlier, DPR and LPR reported over 400 shelling and other violations since February.

Multiple breaches occur daily. IMF rules are what Washington wants them to be. Low intensity war on Donbass heading toward getting red hot is ignored.

A Russian central banker/former IMF official commented, saying:

“(T)he Fund should not place military spending below the line. But if you try to nail the Fund down on that, you would be wasting your time.”

“The Fund has internationally-renowned expertise in doublespeak and hypocrisy.”

“What (it’s) doing around Ukraine was at first laughable. Now (it’s) outrageous.”

“No matter what, (it’ll) keep financing the civil war in Donbass because the Americans want the fighting to continue and spread. Period.”

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

It’s been one year since European sanctions were first enacted against Russia on 17 March, 2014, and it’s worthy to briefly highlight their consequences on Moscow. Likewise, the counter-sanctions that Russia imposed on the EU last summer must also be critically looked at in order to assess the economic and political impact of the ‘sanctions war’ on both parties. The results are certainly not at all what the West had anticipated.

Russia

Economic:
Although there have been mild price increases, no significant consumer shortages of any kind have occurred. In fact, most contemporary economic issues (or speculation thereof) in the country are related more to the oil price slump than to the sanctions. The greatest unintended economic effect of the sanction war on Russia has been that the country has begun to diversify its agricultural suppliers, seeing the counter-sanctions as an impetus to look for more non-Western economic partners such as Egypt. This correlates to its larger multipolar-oriented policy that it’s been practicing with vigor ever since the New Cold War started.

Political:
Russian patriotism has been solidified and the people have united in support of their country and governmentThe sanctions redirected Russia’s political and economic trajectory towards non-Western countries, which fulfills its stated multipolar objective. While not abandoning the West, Russia now recognizes the vulnerability of depending mostly on a singular bloc of economic partners, since this makes it susceptible to forms of economic blackmail like sanctions. In retrospect, the sanctions war can be seen as the watershed event that placed Russian firmly on the path of multipolarity, with the full support of its citizenry.

Europe

Economic:
The weaker economies of the Union have been direly affected, such as Poland and Greece, since Russia’s counter-sanctions targeted their vulnerable agricultural sectors. Excess product in these countries, plus a lack of new customers, means that they either have to sell them for unprofitable margins and receive miniscule capital in return, or simply get rid of the perishable products and lose all their investment. The damage that this has dealt to the agricultural field in192625586these respective countries might lead to the creation of a lobby group (of uncertain impact) that could influence upcoming elections, either by acting on their own or by teaming up with current opposition parties in each of those states.

Political:
The EU has been divided into countries that support the sanctions and those who are against them. Most notably,ItalyHungaryGreece, and Cyprus are against them, as well as the Czech Republic, Slovakia,Spain, and Austria to an extent, which creates a type of ‘bloc within a bloc’ comprising South, Central, and Southeastern Europe. Serbia and Macedonia, which are not EU members but ‘officially’ aspire to join one day, refused to sanction Russia, thus creating problems between their governments and Brussels. There is now a division between pro-Atlantic Europe (those who are siding with the US’ interests), such as Poland, the Baltic States, and Romania, and pro-Continental Europe (those who pursue Europe’s genuine interests and are against the sanctions). France and Germany are currently in the pro-Atlantic camp, but if one of them ‘switches sides’, then it would create a major shift and division within the entire EU, which would of course have a resultant aftereffect on EU-US relations.

Concluding Thoughts

As a simple summary, the sanctions war united Russia but divided Europe, giving the former a unique and pressing opportunity to diversify its partnerships, while depriving the latter of what was inarguably its most important one. The EU didn’t anticipate the extent to which the US would exploit it amidst the New Cold War, but as has been widely analyzed, the whole point of renewed US-Russian tensions has been for Washington to divide the EU from Russia and preempt the type of collusion between the two that would torpedo America’s Eurasian hegemony (as per Brzezinski’s forecast in “The Grand Chessboard”). While the US has been partially successful in dividing Europe from Russia, it’s totally failed in keeping Moscow and Beijing apart, and the two are now making rounds across the world in strengthening multipolarity and pushing back against the US’ designs. It is this inter-civilizational partnership, more so than confluence of European-Russian interests, that has proved its potential to upend unipolarity and usher in a new era of global affairs.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

As a lifetime student of classical mainline Islamic jurisprudential school of thought called “Sunni fiqh”,  I feel saddened to note how the Western mainstream media succumbed to the Islamophobic propaganda of affixing the epithet “Sunni” to the militia of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

I can confidently say that ISIS is not Sunni because all that ISIS has done is to contravene the ethical teachings of Sunni Islam.

I consider Sunni Islam as the normative Islam practiced by the disciples of the Prophet Muhammad, who are called Sahabah (model companions) and the righteous caliphs “Al Khalifah Rashidun” (The Rightly Guided Caliphs) who were democratically elected by the whole Islamic Ummah (community). When the Islamophobic Western media equates ISIS barbarity and inhumanity to the normative Islamic term “Sunni” (which literally means followers of orthodox Islam), the Western media is simply serving US Hegemonic interests: by ensuring that neo-colonial and hegemonic forces will continue unabated the rising Islamophobia against Muslims and by effectively maligning Sunni Islam which is the prevalent school of Islamic jurisprudence in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world. 

I can honestly attest that as per my readings of Shariah principles of the Four Imams of Sunni Islam (Imams Abu Hanifa, Shafi’i, Malik and Ibn Hanbal) who were the eminent jurisprudents of classical Sunni Islam, I have never encountered any of their treatise justifying barbarism and inhumanity that are now being perpetrated by ISIS.

In fact, these Four Imams of classical Sunni Islam through their treatises strongly detest the barbarity of the ISIS militia. Here are six (6) reasons why the entire ISIS war outfit cannot not be considered a ‘Sunni movement” and should never be called “Sunni” militia, and therefore Western mainstream media should not and must not commit Islamophobic name-calling, and must therefore stop referring to ISIS as “Sunni” militia:

1.) ISIS destroyed many holy shrines of Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria, including the shrine and mosque of the Prophet Yunus (Jonah) of Ninawa (Nineveh), Iraq and the shrine of Prophet Ayyub (Job) in Oz, Mosul, Iraq; to mention a few. They destroyed holy graves of Sufi-Sunni Muslim saints in and around Mosul and Kirkuk in Iraq and in Damascus, Aleppo and Kobane in Syria.

2.) The Holy Quran declares that Muslims are forbidden to destroy places of worship of all religions; and particularly, the shrines of the Ahl-ul-Kitab (literally, “People with Sacred Scriptures”) i.e., Jews and Christians must be held inviolable and must even be secured by Muslims (Al-Qur-an 22:40-41), and yet ISIS barbarically destroyed Christian churches. Also, Islam in the Holy Quran solemnly declares that there should be no compulsion in religion (Al-Qur’an 2:256), and yet this ISIS militia are forcing Yezidis and Christians to convert or else face death. This is very strange: there is no news that records that Jews were forcibly converted by ISIS and synagogues around Mosul, Aleppo, Kirkuk and in cities of North Iraq were never destroyed by ISIS, even though there are resident Jews and there are a number of synagogues in these areas. This is a strange thing indeed! (See, The Majlis: Council of Ulama in South Africa; p. 8.)

3.) The Shariah Islamiyyah (Divine Law) of classical Sunni Islam are found in the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Qur’an clearly says that civilians and non-combatants’ lives are inviolable: (Al-Qur’an2:256, 5:69). As of this juncture, to quote from the Holy Qur’an is in order: “Allah forbids you to fight those who did not oppress you, nor threw you out of your homes, you ought to show compassion on them and manifest justice upon them. Verily Allah loves those who are just” (60:8). The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden in all Sunni rulings concerning defensive warfare. Sayyidina Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first Caliph of Sunni Islam penned this ruling to the armies of the Caliphate: “I instruct you in ten matters: Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm; do not cut down fruit-bearing trees; do not destroy any town and do not touch those who do not bear arms, do not kill those who surrender and take refuge in the designated places of refuge, all who surrender to you must be safe in your care.” (See Imam Malik’s Muwatta’, “Kitab al-Fatawah-ul-Jihad-e-Abu Bakr Siddiq” [The Book of Abu Bakr Siddiq on the Proper Conduct of Warfare], pp. 37-39.).

4.) As far as my research goes, there are no Sunni scholars (ulama) and legitimate Sunni muftis and fuqaha (Islamic jurists and doctors of Islamic law) among the so-called ISIS Caliphate to clearly establish legitimate fatwas (Shariah rulings) on the legitimacy of their jihad from the Sunni Islamic perspective. There is not even an ustadh (Islamic scholar) of eminence among their ranks! The truth is that eminent Sunni scholars of Iraq and Syria have denounced ISIS for killing over 300 Sunni imams: which effectively belied the ISIS claim that it represents itself as the protector of Sunnis in Iraq and Syria. Many Sunni clerics in Iraq and the Levant declare ISIS combatants as “outside the bounds of Islam and are therefore excommunicated from the Islamic faith” because of their brutality inflicted on non-Muslims and on Sunni Muslims

(See: www.breitbart.com/national-security/2014/07/03/sunni-mufti-isis-and-affiliates-have-killed-over-300-sunni-imams-and-preachers/).

5.) Using the classical rulings of Sunni Islam on governance as basis of legitimacy, the so-called ISIS Caliphate is illegitimate. Genuine and bonafide Sunni Caliphate is established by the expressed consensus and consent (al-mushshuw’ara al jamaah) of the whole Islamic community by explicit public allegiance (bay-ah) of the whole body of Muslims. ISIS has unilaterally declared their so-called caliph, Al-Baghdadi as Khalifah-ul-Muslimin” (Caliph of all Muslims) clandestinely and covertly, in which the whole Muslim Ummah did not participate in his election, nor choose him to be its caliph, nor give him pledge of allegiance!

6.) ISIS was only able to successfully recruit combatants from Europe to wage war in Iraq and the Levant, but it failed to enlist the grassroot support of Iraqi and Levantine Sunnis. Furthermore, it failed to enlist allegiance of the Sunni Arab and Kurdish clergies who strongly denounced ISIS as outside the pale of the Islamic faith

(See: www.breitbart.com/national-security/2014/07/03/sunni-mufti-isis-and-affiliates-have-killed-over-300-sunni-imams-and-preachers/).

In fact most of these ISIS militia are Australians, British, Americans, Belgian, French, German, Chechens, who mostly came from Europe, so that most Iraqis and Syrians regard ISIS as an alien power forcing and imposing themselves and their barbarity upon Arab lands with their sophisticated weaponries and ammunition that are mostly sourced from US, Britain and the rest of Europe.

If ISIS is not a Sunni militia, then who are they working for?

Who employed them to wreck havoc in the Middle East?

Why is it that the US government and its NATO allies cannot seriously fight ISIS in Iraq, Syria and the rest of the Levant? ISIS is US-made monster! ISIS Caliphate is never an Islamic Caliphate.

It is a “U.S.-made Caliphate” that does not have any binding authority whatsoever over worldwide Muslims.

It is known truth that CIA constantly backs-up and supports all known so-called jihadist groups from the Taliban of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to even Jemaa Islamiyya and Al-Qaeda in the Middle East, and the Boko Haram of Nigeria.

That is why US will never seriously fight these monsters it created.

US is the invisible director of all international terrorism groups so that these monsters can commit crimes mercilessly and with impunity against humanity. These monsters are made alive and sustained by American dollars and ably, yet subtly directed by the master of the puppetry: US invisible hegemonic hand!

NATO is in unholy partnership with the CIA operators who are currently training, arming, funding and equipping thousands of ISIS combatants from Europe to overthrow secular and socialist Syria as part of the CIA ploy called “Arab Spring”—which is nothing but a covert ideological operation to to conquer the Middle East and Central Asia, its oil reserves, its pipeline corridors as part of an imperial agenda. (On The Trans-Afghan pipeline see Michel Chossudovsky, “America’s War on Terrorism”, chapter 5, pp. 65-91).

Therefore, who is supporting this ISIS militia, who is equipping them, who is funding them so heftily?

For what purpose are they doing these despicable acts? If they are truly Islamic fighters bent on fighting for the rights of Islam and the Muslims, then why do they bomb Sunni Muslim mosques, Sufi Muslim shrines and Shi’ite Muslim prayer halls of their co-religionists?

Is this about establishing a war scenario in the Middle East so that the global weaponry business of the US military industrial complex is at its best and profitable business as usual?

These are relevant questions for our sober reflection.

Professor Henry Francis B. Espiritu is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines, Cebu City. His research interests also include Islamic Studies; particularly Sunni (Hanafi) jurisprudence, the writings of Al-Ghazali and Turkish Sufism. His email address is [email protected].

George Orwell wasn’t psychic; he was a time traveler, and we’re permanently falling down the rabbit hole of 1984.

If you live in France, your right to visit certain websites has just been terminated by the almighty government.

Why? Because terrorism.

According to a report by Glenn Greenwald, “What’s Scarier: Terrorism, or Governments Blocking Websites in Its Name?,” the French Interior Ministry has now ordered that five websites be blocked by the government because they have officially been accused of promoting terrorism.

And this is just the beginning.

Greenwald explains:

When the block functions properly, visitors to those banned sites, rather than accessing the content of the sites they chose to visit, will be automatically redirected to the Interior Ministry website. There, they will be greeted by a graphic of a large red hand, and text informing them that they were attempting to access a site that causes or promotes terrorism: “you are being redirected to this official website since your computer was about to connect with a page that provokes terrorist acts or condones terrorism publicly.”

No judge reviews the Interior Ministry’s decisions. The minister first requests that the website owner voluntarily remove the content he deems transgressive; upon disobedience, the minister unilaterally issues the order to Internet service providers for the sites to be blocked. This censorship power is vested pursuant to a law recently enacted in France empowering the interior minister to block websites.

Forcibly taking down websites deemed to be supportive of terrorism, or criminalizing speech deemed to “advocate” terrorism, is a major trend in both Europe and the West generally. Last month in Brussels, the European Union’s counter-terrorism coordinator issued a memo proclaiming that “Europe is facing an unprecedented, diverse and serious terrorist threat,” and argued that increased state control over the Internet is crucial to combating it.

(photo: The Intercept)

“I do not want to see sites that could lead people to take up arms on the Internet,” proclaimed Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

In other words, what you have decided to see is banned and you are redirected to the ministry… (Surely they aren’t keeping track of (read: databasing on a “special list”) any IP address of those Internet users they have to redirect. They wouldn’t do that, would they?)

This comes in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, dubbed France’s 9/11. Mac Slavo of SHTF Planpoints out the irony of a new European Patriot Act and the now burgeoning surveillance/police state over there in the wake of the attacks:

Establishing a framework to enhance police work and intelligence sharing concerning the actions of alleged terrorists and extremists, the joint statement from 12 European ministers and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder declares the intent to: “counter violent extremism” and “fight against radicalization, notably on the Internet,”in part through the “swift reporting [and removal] of material that aims to incite hatred and terror.” Meanwhile, it aims to beef European border control, “step up the detection and screening of travel movements” and enhance law enforcement, particularly in “working to reduce the supply of illegal firearms throughout Europe.

Although the statement takes a vow of respect and “scrupulous observance of fundamental freedoms, a forum for free expression, in full respect of the law,” it doesn’t hold much water with the focus on new surveillance and police powers to chill free speech in the name of fighting radicalization. It seems the terrorists have once again won before the fight has even begun.

How painfully ironic, considering the Charlie Hebdo attack was supposed to be a terroristic attack on free speech to begin with.

So France will counter terrorist attacks on free speech by… attacking free speech?

We now live in a time when, under the all-encompassing blanket of “national security,” governments get to decide what is good and bad for you to say and see and think, apparently. Where does this slippery slope end? How long until merely disagreeing with the government is deemed a “terroristic threat” online?

Just wait until the new FCC Net Neutrality rules get into full swing here. The road to censorship has already been well paved, America. We’re next.

Melissa Melton is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple where this article first appeared, and she’s a co-creator of Truthstream Media with Aaron Dykes, a site that offers teleprompter-free, unscripted analysis of The Matrix we find ourselves living in. Melissa also co-founded Nutritional Anarchy with Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, a site focused on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Wake the flock up!

The Mainstream Media and the Destruction of Libya

March 18th, 2015 by Media Lens

Islamic State’s horrific mass beheading of 21 Coptic Christians last month forced a reluctant UK media system to return to Libya, scene of saturation news coverage in 2011.

Then, the media lens hovered obsessively over every Libyan government crime – indeed, over every alleged and even predicted crime – in an effort to justify a Nato ‘intervention’ that was supported by most media and 557 British MPs, with just 13 opposed.

‘We have to do something‘, we were told. The results are summed up by the single fact that ‘about 1.8 million Libyans – nearly a third of the country’s population – have fled to Tunisia’. Civilians have been ‘driven away by random shelling and shooting, as well as shortages of cash, electricity and fuel’, with conditions ‘only worsening’, the New York Times reports.

Today, as many as 1,700 armed gangs are fighting over a country in which at least five governments have tried and failed to restore basic order. Djiby Diop, a 20-year-old from Senegal who spent three months amidst the chaos, explains:

‘Everyone in Libya is armed now. Every guy of my age has a gun. If you don’t work for them, they shoot you. If you don’t give them all your money, they shoot you. Or they shoot you just for fun. Or they will throw you in prison and you have to pay 400 dinars (£200) to get released.’

Or in the words of Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration:

‘It’s complete anarchy in Libya and it has become very, very dangerous for migrants.’

One consequence is that thousands of Libyan refugees are risking their lives in rough winter seas as they try to reach Italy. The bad weather and small vessels mean the journey, frequently forced at gunpoint, is ‘like a death sentence’.

According to the New York Times, the fighting has damaged Libya’s oil exports so severely that ‘there is now a risk that the country’s currency and economy will soon collapse’. Musbah Alkari, manager of the reserves department at the Central Bank of Libya, warns:

‘A currency collapse is less than two years away.’

The atrocity by Islamic State terrorists took place in Sirte, a city of 100,000 people that was reduced to a smoking ruin by Nato’s terror flyers in 2011. The BBC reported in 2012 that it was ‘hard to find a building undamaged by bullets or shells’. Or indeed bombs.

‘An Inspiration To The World’

Just three-and-a-half years ago, controversial British prime minister David Cameron flew to Benghazi to celebrate Britain’s role in illegally overthrowing the Libyan government under Colonel Gaddafi. Cameron declared:

‘It’s great to be in a free Benghazi and a free Libya. Your city was an inspiration to the world.’

To its credit, even the Daily Mail perceives a problem:

‘With carnage spreading throughout the Arab world, this is yet another lesson to jejune politicians, of every party, that they should be careful what they wish for – and think once, twice and three times before they intervene in foreign wars.’

The Mail’s own record on Nato’s regime change – technical term, ‘no-fly zone’ – although oppositional was patchy. In March 2011, a Mail leader wrote of Cameron:

‘In this respect, his plan to establish a military no-fly zone is sensible, if not without risk to British pilots.’ (Leader, ‘Mr Cameron and a gamble on Gaddafi,’ Daily Mail, March 1, 2011)

In fact, as was obvious then, Nato’s bombing campaign made regime change all but inevitable, if not without risk to the entire Libyan population. Gaddafi would of course not be allowed to ‘defy the international community’ and thus humiliate Nato.

It is now clear that the claims that Gaddafi used Viagra-fuelled mass rape and foreign mercenaries as weapons of war, and that he had plans for a massacre in Benghazi, were pure invention. Similarly, there is no doubt that the West, fully focused on regime change, refused to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict.

How much of this has been covered by ‘mainstream’ news just four years later? The level of denial was indicated by BBC News at Ten on February 16:

‘Islamic State extremists have exploited a power vacuum in Libya after the fall of Colonel Gaddafi, and started building a power base there as well as in Iraq and Syria.’

Islamic State can be made to take the blame for the actions of our own, far more lethal, extremists. There was no hint from the BBC that Western power was a major cause of the ‘power vacuum’. Over triumphant archive footage from Benghazi, diplomatic correspondent James Robbins added:

‘David Cameron and then French President Sarkozy jointly celebrated with the Libyans of Benghazi after leading Western air strikes which saved the city and helped bring down Gaddafi, a ruthless dictator.’

‘Saved the city’? In the Telegraph, right-wing London mayor Boris Johnson peddled a similarly deceptive version of history, claiming that David Cameron ‘was instrumental in ending the massacre in Benghazi’. Johnson is presumably aware that the massacre never actually took place. He presented the UK’s record of mass killing as a kind of Wodehousian lark:

‘It is not necessarily something to brag about, but it is nonetheless a fact that of the roughly 200 countries in the world today, Britain has at one time or other invaded or conquered 178 of them. The only people to escape are places like Luxembourg… All we want is to do our very considerable best to help keep the world safe…’

With a million dead in Iraq, with Afghanistan, Libya and Syria in ruins, Johnson chuckled:

‘As our American friends instinctively understand, it is the existence of strong and well-resourced British Armed Forces that gives this country the ability to express and affirm our values overseas: of freedom, democracy, tolerance, pluralism.’

Thus the loveable, toussle-haired rogue – Bertie Wooster redrawn by Stephen King – proving once again that anything goes.

‘Where Government Falters’

A Guardian leader on February 16, commented:

‘Where government falters or is absent, simple chaos can be the consequence, which is bad enough. But it is worse when such movements as Islamic State (Isis) take root.’

Libya’s government did not falter in 2011; it was overthrown with the crucial assistance of Nato’s air armada. Literally the only, oblique reference to US-UK responsibility came in this Guardian comment:

‘Outside actors supporting different groups have made matters worse.’

Even this could have been a reference to post-bombing support. The Guardian’s reticence is understandable given its enthusiasm for the ‘intervention’. On February 24, 2011, in a leader titled, ‘The urge to help,’ the Guardian wrote:

‘The quicker Muammar Gaddafi falls, the better.’

The newspaper supported the no-fly zone:

‘If… the [Libyan] regime starts, or resumes, bombarding its citizens and shows signs of being able to do so for some time, a no-fly zone should become an option. Lord Owen was therefore right to say that military preparations should be made and the necessary diplomatic approaches, above all to the Russians and the Chinese, set in train to secure UN authority for such action.’

Whereas the Guardian 2015 buried the role of Nato, the Guardian on March 29, 2011, commented:

‘That gives Nato planes a slender window to tip the military balance further against Gaddafi.’

The Guardian quietly cheered the results of violence five months later:

‘Critics and supporters of the intervention should be able to join in agreeing that it was a close-run thing, that we are lucky it has turned out, so far, reasonably well…’

Four years later, with thousands dead, towns smashed and 400,000 homeless, the same newspaperreported:

‘”It was better under Gaddafi,” says the young Libyan student, studying the froth bubbling over the top of his cappuccino in a cafe in Tunis as he contemplates the revolution that swept Muammar Gaddafi from power four years ago. “I never thought to say this before, I hated him, but things were better then. At least we had security.”‘

In the ostensibly left-liberal, oligarch-owned Independent, Ian Birrell recognised that almost a third of the country’s 6.2 million population had fled. No matter, Birrell felt able to write:

‘I would argue that Britain and France were right to step in. The failures came later on… And it should be remembered that this was not the unwarranted invasion of a foreign nation, as in Iraq, but limited air strikes in support of a popular uprising against a hated regime.’

Again, with US-UK prestige on the line, Gaddafi had to be overthrown – the ‘no-fly zone’ was a de facto invasion. The attempt to ‘build a democracy’ failed for various historical reasons, Birrell laments, but:

‘That does not mean it was wrong to support those seeking dignity and freedom.’

The problem was not that the Nato allies became involved in a violent and illegal regime change but that they didn’t interfere more deeply:

‘Unfortunately the West, scarred by experiences in Iraq, was reluctant to become too involved in the country’s post-conflict reconstruction…’

Birrell concludes:

‘British foreign policy should be biased on the side of democracy and human rights rather than towards despotic regimes that cannot last for ever.’

Yes it should, but the fact is it is not, making a nonsense of the idea that ‘we’ should have done more to ‘build a democracy’.

DE

Proteção frente à Rússia seria a justificativa para a criação da Força Militar da União Europeia, mas também estaria no cenário a redução da influência dos Estados Unidos, agora que houve desencontros entre a União Europeia e Alemanha frente a OTAN e EUA, em relação à Ucrânia.

O presidente da Comissão Europeia, Jean-Claude Juncker, em declarações ao jornal alemão Welt am Sonntag , afirmou ter chegado o tempo da criação de uma força militar unificada da União Europeia. A retórica de Juncker versou sobre “a defesa dos valores da União Europeia”, insinuando que a criação de uma força armada europeia teria sido pensada como consequência de polêmicas com a Rússia, como maneira de enviar uma mensagem à Moscou.
Apesar da vontade, argumentação e polêmica da criação de uma tal força estar baseada na Rússia, a ideia real está dirigida diretamente contra os Estados Unidos. Nas entrelinhas estão as tensões que se desenvolveram entre os Estados Unidos, de um lado, e a União Europeia e a Alemanha, de outro. É por isso que a Alemanha reagiu de maneira entusiástica à proposta, dando total apoio para a confecção de um acordo que permita a criação de uma força armada da União Europeia.
Anteriormente a Força Militar da União Europeia já havia sido pensada de forma mais séria durante os desenvolvimentos da invasão ilegal contra o Iraque em 2003, quando a Alemanha, França, Bélgica e Luxemburgo reuniram-se para discutir a possibilidade da criação de tal força como alternativa à OTAN, dominada pelos Estados Unidos. A ideia é recorrente quando situações similares acontecem. Em 2003, o atrito foi causado pela invasão liderada pelos EUA contra o Iraque. Em 2015, a vontade da criação da força armada da UE ocorre porque aumenta a polêmica entre Alemanha e Estados Unidos, relacionada à crise ucraniana.
Berlim e Paris estão repensando?
Para se compreender as recentes e intensas demandas pela constituição de um exército europeu temos que observar os acontecimentos ocorridos entre novembro de 2014 e março de 2015. Começaram quando Alemanha e França começaram a dar sinais de que estavam pensando melhor sobre as intenções belicistas que OTAN e EUA estavam evidentemente desenvolvendo e levando a efeito na Ucrânia e Europa Oriental.
As divergências entre Estados Unidos e França/Alemanha surgiram depois que Tony Blinken, antigo Vice Conselheiro para a Segurança Nacional de Barack Obama e atualmente Vice Secretário de Estado, o número dois da diplomacia do Departamento de Estado dos EUA anunciou que o Pentágono ia enviar armas para a Ucrânia durante uma inquirição do Congresso dos Estados Unidos sobre sua nomeação, que se realizou em 19 de novembro de 2014. Como colocou o Fiscal Times“(…) ao revelar que está pensando em armar a Ucrânia, Washington golpeia ao mesmo tempo a Rússia e os europeus.”
A resposta russa a Blinken veio através do Ministro de Relações Exteriores da Rússia, por meio de declaração de que se o Pentágono derramasse armas na Ucrânia, seria não apenas uma escalada perigosa do conflito, mas um sério sinal enviado pelos Estados Unidos de que a dinâmica do conflito ucraniano estaria mudando.
Percebendo que as coisas poderiam e na realidade já estavam saindo do controle, França e Alemanha reagiram através de uma iniciativa para a paz por meio de conversações diplomáticas levadas a efeito em Minsk, Belarus, que eventualmente conduziram a um novo acordo de cessar fogo, sob a coordenação do “Formato da Normandia”, que consistiu dos representantes da França, Alemanha, Rússia e Ucrânia.

Os pessimistas podem argumentar que França e Alemanha só optaram pelas vias diplomáticas em fevereiro de 2015 porque os rebeldes do leste ucraniano, ou Novorussia como eles se denominam, derrotaram as forças de Kiev. Em outras palavras, a motivação primária pela diplomacia teria ocorrido apenas para salvar o governo de Kiev de ruir completamente mesmo antes de encontrar uma solução justa para o conflito no leste da Ucrânia. Em certa medida isso é bem verdade, mas a dupla Franco/Germânica também teve a motivação de não ver a Europa transformada em um inferno que transformaria a tudo e todos em cinzas escaldantes.
Tornaram-se visíveis as diferenças transatlânticas durante a Conferência de Segurança de Munique, em fevereiro. Roberto Corker, Senador dos Estados Unidos e Presidente do Comitê do Senados dos Estados Unidos para Relações Exteriores comentou durante uma sessão de pergunta e resposta com a Chanceler alemã Angela Merkel que hoje se acredita no Congresso dos EUA que Berlin se empenhava em impedir que Washington publicamente aumentasse a ajuda militar dos Estados Unidos e da OTAN para as autoridades em Kiev.
Na resposta ao Senador Corker, a chanceler Merkel foi muito explícita ao afirmar que a crise aguda pela qual passa atualmente a Ucrânia não poderia ser resolvida por meios militares e que a abordagem dos Estados Unidos não seria proficiente e ainda teria o condão de tornar as coisas muito piores do que já estão. Quando Merkel foi pressionada pelo membro do Parlamento Britânico, Malcom Rifkind, Presidente do Comitê de Inteligência e Segurança do Parlamento Britânico, ela afirmou que mandar mais armas a Kiev era irreal, além de inútil. Merkel exortou o britânico a “encarar a realidade”. Salientou ainda a chanceler que não há perspectiva de segurança para a Europa sem a Rússia.
Os esforços dos Estados Unidos, que queriam levar seus aliados europeus para a crescente militarização do conflito na Ucrânia foram contrariados pela posição assumida publicamente pela Alemanha. Enquanto o Secretário de Estado americano, John Kerry, teve que se abalar na tentativa de convencer a mídia e o público de que não havia qualquer ruptura ou estremecimento entre Washington e as posições da França e Alemanha, o rompimento foi largamente anunciado quando o Senador norte americano John McCain, notório fomentador de guerras perdeu mais uma vez as estribeiras enquanto visitava a Bavária. Conforme relatado ele chamou a iniciativa de paz da França e Alemanha, de “ palhaçadas de Moscou ” . Passou então à crítica aberta contra Angela Merkel em uma entrevista para o canal alemão Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen – ZDF, o que levou o membro do parlamento alemão, Peter Tauber, Secretário Geral da União Democrática Cristã (CDU) a exigir um pedido de desculpas do Senador McCain.

O ressentimento alemão com o controle da OTAN pelos EUA
Bloomberg escreveu em fevereiro: Mesmo levando em conta a retórica alarmista sobre os bárbaros russos no portão, os países da OTAN estão relutantes em gastar dinheiro com base apenas em falatório. Aumento real de gastos militares neste ano, apenas nos países que fazem fronteira com a Rússia. Quanto aos demais, na maioria houve cortes.Independentemente do que dizem seus líderes sobre Vladimir Putin, eles não parecem acreditar que ele seja uma ameaça real para o ocidente.
No entanto, Washington não desiste. Quando da ofensiva da França e da Alemanha pela paz teve início em fevereiro, o general Philip Breedlove – que é o Supremo Comandante Militar da OTAN – disse em Munique que: (…) penso que não devemos deixar de lado a possibilidade da opção militar na Ucrânia.
Ora, o general Breedlove é um oficial da Força Aérea dos Estados Unidos, de cujo governo recebe ordens, o que faz com que a estrutura militar da OTAN esteja sob o comando dos Estados Unidos. Enquanto Paris e Berlim tentam desescalar o conflito, Washington sobe a aposta na guerra, usando Breedlove e o Secretário Geral da OTAN, Jens Stoltenberg.
Depois de falar com o Comitê das Forças Armadas do Congresso, o general Breedlove voltou a alegar que cresce a agressão russa na Ucrânia. A Alemanha, no entanto, refutou Breedlove classificando suas afirmações como uma propaganda perigosa.”
O jornal Der Spiegel noticiou em 6/3/2015: Os líderes alemães ficaram estupefatos. Não conseguiam entender sobre o que diabos falava Breedlove. E não era a primeira vez. Mais uma vez, o governo da Alemanha, apoiado pelas informações reunidas pelo Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), a agência de inteligência externa da Alemanha não compartilhou a visão do Supremo Comando Aliado na Europa (SACEUR), da OTAN.

Enquanto Berlim tentava abafar os relatos sobre as rachaduras nas relações com a OTAN sobre os comentários desastrados de Breedlove, o Ministro de Relações Exteriores da Alemanha, Steinmeier, candidamente admitiu que era real o desacordo entre a Alemanha, Estados Unidos e OTAN, durante visita à Letônia em 7/3/2015. Na verdade, o que Steinmeier fez foi rebater e desmentir tanto as declarações dos Estados Unidos, quanto as da OTAN sobre a agressão russa na Ucrânia.
Na Letônia, a Alta Representante da União Europeia para Política Externa e Segurança, Federica Mogherini, deu anuência às declarações de Steinmeier. Em Riga, declarou aos repórteres que a União Europeia buscará uma abordagem realística com Moscou e que não forçará nem será forçada por ninguém na direção de uma relação de confrontação com a Rússia . Trata-se de uma mensagem tácita para Washington: A União Europeia já entendeu que não há paz possível na Europa sem a Rússia e não será posicionada como mero peão dos Estados Unidos contra Moscou.
A própria Alemanha é a cereja do bolo, o prêmio principal para os Estados Unidos no que tange ao conflito na Ucrânia, pela sua grande influência nos rumos da União Europeia. Assim, os Estados unidos continuarão a jogar lenha na fogueira na Ucrânia para desestabilizar a Europa e a Eurásia. Faz isso porque pode perfeitamente prever que Rússia de Europa caminhando juntos e formando um Mercado Comum de Lisboa a Vladivostok é o pesadelo presente nos sonhos das aspirações geopolíticas de Washington.
O Fiscal Times apresenta realisticamente a série de comunicados de altos oficiais americanos sobre o envio de armas dos Estados Unidos para a Ucrânia: Dada a coreografia ensaiada repetidamente os analistas em Washington dizem que a probabilidade mais alta é a de que tudo não passa de um exercício de relações públicos para assegurar apoio para um programa de entrega de armas que já estaria além dos estágios iniciais de planejamento, conforme notícia veiculada em 9/2/2015.
Na realidade, depois da Conferência de Segurança de Munique, revelou-se que carregamentos clandestinos de armas já estavam sendo feitos para Kiev. O Presidente russo, Vladimir Putin, tornou o fato de conhecimento público durante uma conferência de imprensa conjunta com o Primeiro Ministro Húngaro, Viktor Orban, em Budapeste quando disse que: (…) armas já estão sendo entregues secretamente para as autoridades em Kiev.

No mesmo mês, um artigo intitulado O que devem fazer os Estados Unidos e a OTAN para preservar a Independência da Ucrânia e resistir à agressão russa, foi publicado discutindo a necessidade de enviar armas para a Ucrânia – suprimentos estes que variariam desde peças sobressalentes até mísseis de grosso calibre – como uma forma de finalmente lutar contra a Rússia. O artigo foi elaborado por um triunvirato dos principaisthink-thanks dos Estados Unidos, O Brookings Institute , o Atlantic Council e o Chicago Council on Global Affairs – os dois últimos fazem parte da torre de marfim do “ think-tankistan ” que faz parte dos círculos de Washington. Trata-se da mesma gangue que advogou pela invasão do Iraque, da Líbia, da Síria e do Irã.
OTAN, presta atenção! Um exército europeu unificado no horizonte?
O apelo pela formação de uma força militar da União Europeia tanto pela Alemanha quanto pela Comissão Europeia vem no contexto das divisões entre Europa e Washington.
A união Europeia e a Alemanha já entenderam plenamente que não há muito o que fazer para impedir as ações de Washington enquanto os EUA tiverem algo a dizer em relação à segurança europeia. Tanto Berlim quanto uma larga porção da Europa estão furiosos pela maneira pela qual os Estados Unidos estão usando a OTAN para cuidar de seus interesses e influenciar os acontecimentos dentro da Europa. Se não uma maneira de pressionar nas negociações entre a UE com Washington, os apelos pela formação de uma força militar europeia destinam-se a reduzir a influência de Washington na Europa e talvez, extinguir a OTAN.

Um exército que tornasse possível dispensar a OTAN teria um enorme peso estratégico negativo para os Estados Unidos. Neste contexto, Washington perderia seu apoio ocidental na Eurásia. O que “ automaticamente representaria o fim do jogo na participação americana no tabuleiro do xadrez geopolítico da Eurásia ” , nas palavras do antigo Conselheiro para a Segurança Nacional dos Estados Unidos, Zbigniev Brzezinski.

Os serviços de inteligência nos Estados Unidos já estão em alerta em relação aos riscos que um exército europeu representaria para a influência norte americana. A influente revista mensal Comissão de Judeus Americanos – que é filiada aos noecons do circulo de Washington pergunta no título de artigo elaborado por Seth Mandel: “ Por que a Alemanha está enfraquecendo a OTAN? ” . Enquanto isso, o Washington Examiner repica com outra pergunta impertinente, no título do artigo de Hoskingson: “ O que está acontecendo com a influência dos Estados Unidos? ” .
É por isso que os fantoches mais abjetos dos Estados Unidos na Europa – especificamente Inglaterra, Polônia e os três Estados Bálticos – fazem um alarido oposicionista à ideia de uma força militar comum. Enquanto Paris está ainda relutante de juntar-se aos apelos pelo exército da Europa, a sempre oportunista líder política de direita Marine Le Pen já afirmou ter chegado o tempo em que a França deve sair da sombra dos Estados Unidos.
O Primeiro Ministro inglês, David Cameron, retrucou a Jean-Claude Juncker afirmando que a ideia não passa de uma fantasia escandalosa, declarando que a segurança é atribuição nacional de cada país e não responsabilidade da União Europeia. Polônia e Letônia também reagiram ceticamente à proposta.Essas declarações só servem aos interesses dos Estados Unidos na preservação da OTAN como um instrumento de sua influência na Europa e na Eurásia.
10 Downing Street ( endereço da residência oficial e gabinete do Primeiro Ministro da Inglaterra – NT) se contradiz quanto a ser o exército um assunto nacional e não assunto coletivo. Recentemente, em 2010 , Londres assinou um tratado que na essência criou uma força militar naval conjunta com a França, compartilhando porta-aviões, o que se tornou, na prática, uma força militar conjunta. Além disso o exército Britânico e os setores industriais militares da Inglaterra se encontram integrados com os dos Estados Unidos em vários graus.

Aqui há várias questões a serem examinadas. Serão os apelos para a formação de um exército europeu apenas uma forma de pressionar os Estados Unidos ou uma tentativa real para conter a influência de Washington na Europa? Mais: terão os movimentos efetuados por Berlim e seus parceiros nessa direção o objetivo de extinguir a influência de Washington na Europa através da desativação da OTAN pela criação de um exército comum europeu?

____________________________

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya é cientista social, escritor premiado, colunista e pesquisador. Suas obras são reconhecidas internacionalmente em uma ampla série de publicações e foram traduzidas para mais de vinte idiomas, incluindo alemão, árabe, italiano, russo, turco, espanhol, português, chinês, coreano, polonês, armênio, persa, holandês e romeno. Seu trabalho em ciências geopolíticas e estudos estratégicos tem sido usado por várias instituições acadêmicas e de defesa de teses em universidades e escolas preparatórias de oficiais militares. É convidado freqüente em redes internacionais de notícias como analista de geopolítica e especialista em Oriente Médio.

Tradução Roberto Pires Silveira.

O original encontra-se em RT12 março de 2015.

San Diego, CA — The Unified Port District, along with the City of San Diego, launched a lawsuit yesterday against chemical giant Monsanto and its subsidiaries.

The lawsuit alleges that Monsanto is responsible for massive amounts of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) pollution which was leaking into the San Diego bay for decades.

PCB’s are known to cause various severe health conditions, including cancer, to both animals and humans. According to the EPA,

PCB’s have been demonstrated to cause a variety of adverse health effects. PCB’s have been shown to cause cancer in animals. PCB’s have also been shown to cause a number of serious non-cancer health effects in animals, including effects on the immune systemreproductive systemnervous systemendocrine system and other health effects. Studies in humans provide supportive evidence for potential carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic effects of PCB’s. The different health effects of PCB’s may be interrelated, as alterations in one system may have significant implications for the other systems of the body.

According to the complaint filed in the March 16th lawsuit, San Diego claims that,

PCB’s manufactured by Monsanto have been found in Bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life in the Bay. PCB contamination in and around the Bay affects all San Diegans and visitors who enjoy the Bay, who reasonably would be disturbed by the presence of a hazardous, banned substance in the sediment, water, and wildlife.

It’s also been shown, according to Monsanto’s own internal documents, that they knew about the health risks of PCB’s, yet did nothing to curtail their use. In fact, they did everything in their power toincrease PCB use — which makes sense since it would have cut into their profits otherwise.

The (Monsanto) committee believes that there is no practical course of action that can so effectively police the uses of these (PCB) products as to prevent environmental contamination. There are, however a number of actions which must be undertaken to prolong the manufacture, sale and use of these particular Aroclors (Monsanto’s proprietary PCB product) as well as to protect the continued use of other members of the Aroclor series.

PCB’s, including Monsanto’s Aroclors, were used heavily in San Diego’s large ship building industry, which is mainly how the bay was polluted by these chemicals.

PCBs are still present in the San Diego bay, sea life, ecosystem, and patrons who swim in or interact with the water. PCBs are not just a San Diego problem, though; it’s been shown that the entire earth is pollutedby this chemical. According to Food and Water Watch, Monsanto manufactured about 99% of the world’s PCBs.

An open letter from Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, and the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the people of the U.S., published today (March 17) in the New York Times.

By Nicolas Maduro and The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

We are the people of Simon Bolívar, our people believe in peace and respect for all nations.

Freedom and Independence

More than two centuries ago, our fathers founded a Republic on the basis that all persons are free and equal under the law.

Our nation made the greatest sacrifices to guarantee South American people their right to choose their rulers and to enforce their own laws today. The historical legacy of our father, Simón Bolívar, is always remembered. Bolívar was a man who gave his life so we would inherit a nation of justice and equality.

We believe in Peace, National Sovereignty and International Law 

We are a peaceful people. In two centuries of independence, we have never attacked another nation. Our people live in a region of peace, free of weapons of mass destruction, and in freedom to practice all religions. We uphold respect for international law and the sovereignty of all people of the world.

We are an Open Society

We are a working people, we care for our families, and we have freedom of religion. Immigrants from around the world, live among us, whose diversity is respected. We have freedom of press and we are enthusiastic users of social media.

We are friends of the American people:

The histories of our people have been connected since the beginning of our struggles for freedom. Francisco de Miranda, a Venezuelan hero, fought with the American people during their independence fight. We share the idea that freedom and independence are fundamental elements for the development of our nations.

The relations between our peoples have always been peaceful and respectful. Historically, we have shared business relations in strategic areas. Venezuela has always been a responsible and trustful energy provider for the American people. Since 2005, Venezuela has provided “heating oil” through subsidies for low-income communities in the United States, thanks to our company CITGO. This contribution has helped tens of thousands of American citizens survive in harsh conditions, giving them relief, and necessary support in times of need, evidencing how solidarity can create powerful alliances across borders.

Incredibly, the U.S government has declared our country a threat to its national security and foreign policy

In a disproportionate action, the government of Obama has issued a “National Emergency” declaring Venezuela as a threat to its national security (Executive Order, 03-09-2015). This unilateral and aggressive measure taken by the United States Government against our country is not only unfounded and in violation of basic principles of sovereignty and self-determination under international law, but also has been unanimously rejected by all 33 nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the twelve member states of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).  In a statement made on March 14, 2015, UNASUR reiterated its firm rejection of these coercive measures that do not contribute to the peace, stability and democracy in our region and called on President Obama to revoke his Executive Order against Venezuela.

We reject unilateralism and interventionism

President Obama, without any authority to interfere in our internal affairs, unilaterally issued a set of sanctions against Venezuelan officials with potentially far-reaching implications, interfering in our constitutional order and our justice system.

We advocate for a multipolar world

We believe that our world must be based on the rules of international law, without interference in the internal affairs of other countries. We are convinced that the relationship of respect between all the nations is the only path for strengthening peace and coexistence, as well as for ensuring a more just world.

We honor our freedoms and uphold our rights 

Never before in the history of our nations, has a president of the United States attempted to govern Venezuelans by decree. It is a tyrannical and imperial order and it pushes us back into the darkest days of the relationship between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the name of our long-term friendship we alert our American brothers and sisters, lovers of justice and freedom, of the illegal aggression committed by your government on your behalf. We will not allow our friendship with the people of the United States to be affected by this senseless and groundless decision by President Obama.

We demand:

1- The U.S. Government immediately cease hostile actions against Venezuelan people and democracy.

2- President Obama abolish the Executive Order that declares Venezuela a threat to U.S. national security, as has been requested by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

3. The U.S. Government retract its libelous and defamatory statements and actions against the honorable Venezuelan officials who have just obeyed our laws and our constitution.

Our sovereignty is sacred 

The principles of the founding fathers of the United States of America are followed today with the same dignity by the people of Simón Bolívar. In the name of our mutual love for national independence we want the government of President Obama to think about and rectify this dangerous precedent.

We are convinced that the defense of our freedom is a right we shall never give up because the future of the humanity lies also in our country. As Simón Bolívar said:“The freedom of the New World is the hope of the universe”. 

“Venezuela is not a threat, but a hope”

“Independence or nothing”

Simón Bolívar

From Alaska Dispatch News: Polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea area are suffering hair loss due to a condition called alopecia syndrome. This adult bear was biopsied on sea ice north of Barrow in 2012. Elizabeth Peacock / USGS

Alaska Dispatch News, Dec 11, 2014 (emphasis added): Polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea area are suffering hair loss due to a condition called alopecia syndrome… but the precise cause of that stress is yet to be determined, according to a new study… in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases… Over the study period, 3.45 percent of the bears examined had alopecia syndrome — [loss of] hairs around the head, neck and shoulders, accompanied by crusty lesions on the exposed skin. The incidences peaked in 2012, when 28 percent of the examined polar bears had the problem [when] a mysterious affliction, with patchy fur loss and bleeding skin lesions, sickened hundreds of Arctic Alaska seals, killing many of them. The affliction was seen among some walruses… There were some years when none of the captured polar bears had alopecia syndrome, and some years, like 2012, with relatively high rates… “They might be more energetically stressed, and then they encounter some other stressors,” [USGS biologist Todd Atwood] said.

Journal of Wildlife Diseases, scientists from USGS and Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Jan 2015: Alopecia (hair loss) has been observed in several marine mammal species… From 1998 to 2012, we observed an alopecia syndrome in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska that presented as bilaterally asymmetrical loss of guard hairs and thinning of the undercoat around the head, neck, and shoulders, which, in severe cases, was accompanied byexudation and crusted skin lesions. Alopecia was observed in 49 (3.45%) of the bears sampled during 1,421 captures [peaking in] 2012 (28%)… The cause of the syndrome remains unknown and future work should focus on identifying the causative agent and potential effects on population vital rates.

Seal with hair loss – Shishmaref, AK, Nov 18, 2014: A [bearded seal] had fur missing from its back, flippers and stomach… There has been a disease of some kind that killed many ice seals and bearded seals in the region… when we see this it makes us nervous… sealscontinue to be reported with hair loss.

NOAA (pdf), 2014: The [Unusual Mortality Event] investigation will remain open and active for… ringed seals, ribbon seals, bearded seals and spotted seals… reports from the Bering Strait region continue regarding an unusual number… with patchy to generalized hair loss and/or sores. Some of these “hairless seals” may represent survivors of the 2011 mortality event… the exact cause of this disease is not currently known… we cannot give specificrecommendations on the safety of these animals for food or contact with people.

See also: Scientists present links between unusual Alaska seal deaths & Fukushima fallout – Skin lesions, hair loss, lethargy – Wildlife health implications from radiation exposure (PHOTOS)

And: Report: Fukushima fallout detected in Alaska fish — Dose equal to samples caught 100 miles from destroyed nuclear plant

Israel: What Now, Bibi? — Early Election Takeaways

March 18th, 2015 by Noam Sheizaf

Benjamin Netanyahu gives a victory speech on election night, March 18, 2015. (Photo: +972 Magazine)

Netanyahu picked a fight with a sitting U.S. president and declared there will never be a Palestinian State. It might have helped him squeeze out another election victory, but where is Israel heading?

The Likud and Labor (The Zionist Camp) are tied with 27 seats, but Benjamin Netanyahu has way more paths to bring together the 61 seats necessary for forming a government, and another term for himself. That’s the bottom line of the exit polls published by the Israeli TV channels as the polling stations closed on Tuesday night. Netanyahu and his party members are celebrating, and Bibi is already testing the waters with potential coalition partners.

(Update: Early Wednesday morning, with over 90 percent of votes counted, Netanyahu took a large lead with 30 seats to the Zionist Camp’s 24. Read more here.)

Netanyahu was able to surge in the last few days, following a desperate – and at times, racist –campaign that warned right-wing voters of a “left-wing government backed by the Arabs.” On election day, he published a Facebook status declaring that “Arabs are heading to the polls in masses” and called for his supporters to rush and save the Right from losing power. This was a prime minister warning that his own citizens are voting. But in Netanyahu’s rhetoric, Palestinians were never really citizens anyway, even those who have Israeli identity cards; he sees himself as the leader of the Jewish people, not of Israelis.

The warnings worked. Other right-wing parties hemorrhage support – Bennett and the settlers dropped to eight seats in the exit polls (they had 12 until now), Liberman dropped five, and the far-right Yahad party probably didn’t even make it in. But Likud rose from 20-21 seats to 27-28, and the Right, along with the ultra-Orthodox parties and Moshe Kahlon’s centrist party has about 64 seats. Despite all the recent drama, there wasn’t much movement between the political blocs, compared to 2013 (61:59) or 2009 (65:55).

Sixty-four seats doesn’t constitute a huge majority, but it’s enough for a stable government – as long as Kahlon doesn’t pull any surprises and refuse Bibi’s offer (it’s highly unlikely). Netanyahu will probably try to have a larger majority by inviting Labor or Yair Lapid to join, but whether they do or not, they won’t be able to deny him the victory. Assuming there are no major changes when the final results are in, Bibi will probably remain Israel’s prime minister – for the third consecutive time, and the fourth altogether.

 

The big question is – to what end? Netanyahu may have won a major victory – he destroyed the opposition on the right and he will once again lead a big party – but he ran a nasty campaign that alienated major parts of the public. He put himself in a diplomatic corner on Iran andcommitted to never permit the creation of a Palestinian state. What now, Bibi?

In the final days of the campaign, Netanyahu said twice that there will be no Palestinian state – not on his watch. But what alternative Bibi is offering? In two years, Israel will mark 50 years of military control over the lives of millions of Palestinians. The international community is more vocal in its demands for change, and the Palestinian Authority is more desperate than ever. Netanyahu won’t be able to blame the PA for the failure of the ever-lasting peace process when he himself declares that no matter what the Palestinians do, they will never gain their independence, nor will they become full citizens of Israel.

There is symbolic significance to the fact that Netanyahu openly campaigned on his opposition to Palestinian statehood. It means that he is backed by a majority of Israeli voters, and an absolute majority of the Jewish vote. There needs to be, and I think there will be, a debate on the implications of this decision by the Jewish public. For years we have been hearing that Israel will either end the occupation or cease to be a democracy. Could it be that the Jewish public has made its choice?

There is also the problem of picking a fight with an American president on his signature foreign policy issue. Netanyahu pretty much made it clear in Washington that he has no alternatives to offer on the deal with Iran, but that he will still do everything in his power to prevent it. Not only is the conflict with the White House is far from over, Bibi will need to decide what to do if and when a deal does go through. Tonight I really don’t know where Bibi is heading, and for that matter — Israel.

A couple of side notes following the exit polls:

The Joint List. The combined list of Palestinian parties known as the Joint List is now the third-largest party in the Knesset. If Labor enters the government, the Joint List could even assume the formal role of the leader of the opposition. The Palestinian parties were hoping to gain more from this situation – they would have been in a better bargaining position had Herzog ended up with a clear path to a majority – but this is still a significant development.

Will the unified list survive? There are major challenges ahead, for example, over whether to support Herzog’s bid for the premiership in consultations with the president next week. This is part of the larger dilemma the list faces surrounding any possible cooperation with other (lefty, but Zionist) parties. There are two distinct approaches on this question that split the four factions that make up the Joint List. In fact, it won’t be that surprising if the list breaks up over this very question, which touches on the deepest conflicts in the political identity of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Meretz. The small liberal party seemed to have survived this campaign, which almost saw it eliminated as lefty voters turned to Herzog in order to increase the chances of toppling Netanyahu. The exit polls give Meretz five seats, as oppose to the six they have now. But the campaign revealed deeper problems with Meretz, which can’t seem to break out of its small circle of core supporters, most of them centered in and around Tel Aviv. Squeezed between “The Zionist Camp” and the Palestinian list, Meretz’s fate is but another symbol for the grim state of affair in the Jewish left.

Netanyahu commits national suicide as he denies a Palestinian state

The European Union will apparently now have no option but to implement economic and political sanctions against the Israeli state as Netanyahu comes clean with his real intentions to annex the West Bank in an illegal push for a ‘Greater Israel’ stretching from the Red Sea to the Golan Heights. 

This would entail implementing Likud’s original charter that requires the ‘transfer’ of all Arabs out of former Palestine. The world knows this as ‘ethnic cleansing’ and will undoubtedly trigger universal condemnation and the naming of Mr Netanyahu’s Israel as an international pariah.

In the interim, by this gift to the illegal settlers, both the Israeli government and its entire electorate have a very serious problem indeed with existing bilateral trade with Europe.  Israel’s two primary trading partners, the EU and the U.S. would be obliged to cut or restrict trading ties with the recalcitrant government until it decides to comply with the will of the United Nations.

Furthermore, Netanyahu’s effective declaration that the peace process is dead and buried will send tremors throughout the international community. And this is undoubtedly the signal for the Palestinian Authority to now move decisively in the United Nations and other international institutions to include also its application to the International Criminal Court to declare the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, a war crime.

The world now knows that Netanyahu never intended to use for peace and that all his former pronouncements to the UN, the EU and the U.S. were duplicitous – as was indeed suspected by so many. Not a man to be trusted.

Washington and Kiev Want War, not Peace

March 18th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Donbass is Obama’s war. He didn’t launch it to quit. Minsk II won’t work any better than previous failed peace efforts.

Expect full-scale conflict to resume at Obama’s discretion. Meanwhile, Kiev is aggressively rearming.

It’s mobilizing its military for more war. It’s spending money desperately needed internally for armaments and paying bankers first.

Its forces commit multiple daily ceasefire violations. Western media ignore them.

They blame Russia and rebels for their high crimes. They’ve done so irresponsibly throughout months of conflict.

On March 16, Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR)  reported 34 truce violations in the last 24 hours.

According to DPR Defense Ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin:

“Over the past day, there were 34 shellings, including 15 violations last night.”

“The attacks were mounted on the villages of Spartak, Shirokino, Gorlovka, Peski and the Donetsk airport.”

“Anti-aircraft weapons, mortars and automatic grenade launchers were used in the attacks.”

On Sunday, Poroshenko blustered one Big Lie after another. In a German Bild newspaper interview, he blamed rebels and Russia for Kiev high crimes, saying:

“Ukraine has fulfilled every single point of the Minsk agreement.”

“The ceasefire has been implemented immediately on our part, but the Russian fighters have done the exact opposite.”

“Every day, there is shooting from the Russian side, often more than 60 times a day.”

“In total, the ceasefire has been broken 1,100 times. The truth is that the agreement is not working.”

“The truth is” Poroshenko is a serial liar, an imperial stooge. In league with Washington and rogue EU partners, he wants war, not peace.

Last April, junta forces launched naked aggression on Donbass. Kiev violates Minsk ceasefire terms multiple times daily. Blaming Russia and rebels for its crimes doesn’t wash.

Poroshenko urged more sanctions on Moscow. On March 19 and 20, EU leaders will discuss earlier ones imposed in Brussels.

Germany and other EU states want them maintained. They irresponsibly blame Russia for Kiev junta ceasefire violations. Their commitment to peace remains suspect.

German political expert Ulrich Kuhn fears longterm Donbass conflict. Settling things won’t happen easily or soon, he believes.

“I would not speak of a mere ‘crisis’ anymore because that would be blurring the facts in Ukraine on the ground,” he said. “We have a full-fledged war.”

Low intensity conflict remains ongoing. Ceasefire is pure fantasy. Anything ahead is possible.

Kiev could surprise, says Kuhn. It could change policy and pursue peace. Continued low intensity conflict is more likely, he believes.

Western countries will tighten sanctions. East/West relations will deteriorate further.

Things may head toward resuming full-scale war. Washington and EU nations support Kiev’s war machine.

Poroshenko repeatedly accuses Russia and rebels of Kiev Donbass ceasefire violations.

If they continue, he said, “we will immediately receive both lethal weaponry and new wave of sanctions against the aggressor. We will act firmly and in a coordinated manner.”

Kuhn sees no easy end to conflict. Deteriorated East/West relations won’t be repaired smoothly, he believes – “even if war in Ukraine comes to an end.”

A decade or longer may be needed to restore stability, he argues. If nuclear war erupts, all bets are off.

A Final Comment 

On Sunday, Rossiya 1 news channel aired a documentary titled “Crimea – The Way Home.” Interviewed for the film, Putin was blunt accusing Washington for Ukraine’s February 2014 coup.

“The trick of the situation was that outwardly the (Ukrainian) opposition was supported mostly by the Europeans,” he said.

“But we knew for sure that the real masterminds were our American friends.”

“They helped train the nationalists, their armed groups, in Western Ukraine, in Poland and to some extent in Lithuania. They facilitated the armed coup.”

US-led Western nations went all-out to prevent Crimean reunification with Russia, he explained – “by any means, in any format and under any scheme.”

US/Kiev coup plotters ignored rule of law principles, Putin explained. “And the consequences were grave indeed.”

“Part of the country agreed to (what happened), while another part wouldn’t accept it. (Ukraine) was shattered.”

Putin directed Russian special services and Defense Ministry to protect ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.

“Otherwise he would have been killed,” Putin explained. Russian intelligence learned his motorcade route would be ambushed.

He wanted to stay, not leave. After spending several days in Crimea, he realized “there was no one he could negotiate with in Kiev.” said Putin.

He asked for safe haven in Russia. Putin personally ordered Crimean special operations preparation after Yanukovych fled.

“(W)e cannot let (Crimeans) be pushed under the steamroller of the nationalists,” he said.

He assigned “tasks,” directed operatives involved, told them “what to do and how (to) do it…”

He stressed acting “only…if we were absolutely sure that this is what the people living in Crimea want us to do.”

Overwhelming Crimean sentiment favored rejoining Russia. Putin accommodated popular wishes.

“Our goal was not to take Crimea by annexing it,” he said. “(It was) to allow the people to express their wishes on how they want to live.”

“I decided for myself: what the people want will happen. If they want greater autonomy with some extra rights within Ukraine, so be it.”

“If they decide otherwise, we cannot fail them. You know the results of the referendum. We did what we had to do.”

Putin’s personal involvement expedited things. He ordered K-300P Bastion coastal defense missiles deployed to show his willingness to protect Crimea from attack.

“We deployed them in a way that made them seen clearly from space,” he said.

He didn’t know if US-led NATO would act aggressively or not. He was ready to respond as necessary – including by deploying nuclear weapons.

Crimean based Russian forces never exceeded numbers authorized under agreement on basing its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.

“(N)othing was violated,” Putin stressed. He sent allowable additional Russian forces to prevent possible bloodshed during Crimea’s legitimate referendum.

He believed he had to act to prevent tragedies like Odessa’s May 2014 massacre.

Crimea’s decision to rejoin Russia was entirely legal. Self-determination is a universal right.

Putin acted responsibly. Ukrainians are entitled to democratic governance, he believes.

He’s gone all-out to resolve Donbass’ conflict diplomatically.

They continue daily. Conflict didn’t end. It could erupt into full-scale war any time at Obama’s discretion. Sustained, durable peace remains pure fantasy.

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

Writer and researcher Colin Todhunter responds to Dr. Anthony Trewavas below. 

The following is in response to an open letter published on the AgBioWorld Facebook page by Professor Tony Trewavas of Edinburgh University. He wrote it after reading my article “So You Want to Help Africa Mr Paterson? Then Stop Promoting Ideology and Falsehoods to Push GMOs” published by Global Research. 

Professor Trewavas is a prominent supporter of GMOs in Britain.

His original letter is provided in full below Colin Todhunter’s response.

*     *     *

Dear Professor Trewavas

I find your response to my piece disappointing. You failed to address many of the issues I discussed (not least that the world can feed itself without GMOs and that hunger and poverty are due to structural factors and not a lack of food, which GMOs have merely exacerbated) and have decided to indulge in the same type of smear-scare tactics that Owen Paterson employed in his Pretoria speech.

You forward the baseless assertions that GMOs are safe, even though there has not been one long-term epidemiological study conducted to show this.

While condemning Greenpeace and other groups for somehow being authoritarian and anti-choice, you say nothing about agribusiness corporations whose financial clout has brought them political influence that allows them to exert huge control over the WTO and capture regulatory bodies and public research institutions. These corporations have had a key role in driving trade policies from India to Europe, not least in terms of the secretive Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the world’s largest secretive, pro-corporate trade deal, the proposed TTIP.

Where is the choice and democracy here?

You have nothing to say on that but proceed to lecture me on the virtues of choice and democracy.

In your opening paragraph alone, you make four fallacious assertions.

First of all, I did not say GMOs would be a disaster for “any” farmer. In India’s Punjab state, for example, some farmers have done quite well from the introduction of petrochemical farming (‘green revolution’). But water tables are falling drastically, pesticides have contaminated the water supply, there is a big cancer problem and many farmers are experiencing economic distress. In Punjab, this form of agriculture is unsustainable. There is now an agrarian crisis and it is a health, environmental and social disaster. My point is that GMOs would similarly be bad for agriculture in general and would have a systemic, detrimental impact on the environment and human health.

Second, you claim that I fear GMOs will not be a disaster for African farmers but a success. Not true. You have ignored the fact that a number of GMO projects in Africa to date have indeed been failures and in my article I provided a link to a report to highlight this (which you go on to conveniently dismiss as a “biased” source).

Third, you say that the word “choice” is conspicuously absent from my article. Any objective reader would appreciate that the concept is central to it, not least where I discuss the “choices” imposed on Ethiopia via the West’s ‘structural adjustment’ of agriculture (which I refer to at the end of the article). That was not a case of farmers “choosing” to restructure their agriculture, but a case of policies being forced on them at a macro policy level. And this is one of the issues that I have with GMOs.

Although you conveniently do not mention that part of my piece, Michel Chossudovsky’s analysis takes account of the way by which agribusiness conglomerates can and do set rules at the WTO, manipulate market forces and restructure agriculture in foreign countries for their own ends. That is very much related to “choice” and its denial. You talk a great deal about “democracy” but fail to address how this situation fits with your ideas of giving choice to farmers and not imposing authoritarian agendas on people.

You say I should buy a farm and exert my choice to farm as I wish. Talk about exercising such a choice to the people in South America who Helena Paul wrote about (described in my piece). They are being driven out as agribusiness and the planting of GMOs (mainly for export) takes hold. She describes this as ecocide and genocide. Tell it to the peasant farmers who are being forced from their lands by speculators and corporations as described by reports by GRAIN and the Oakland Institute last year. These are the people who feed 80 percent of the “developing world”, without GM technology, yet are being squeezed out. Where is choice and democracy? Certain words are used cheaply by some.

The issue of choice not only concerns the options made available to people, but those which have been closed off. Owen Paterson’s claims that “primitive, inefficient” farming techniques would condemn “billions” to hunger, poverty and underdevelopment is ridiculous. He engages in hyperbole in order to denigrate credible alternatives that are forwarded by the groups he is attacking and thus trying to deny those alternatives.

Fourth, nowhere do I say that only agroecological farming should be implemented to feed the world, as you claim I do. However, there are many studies and official reports that demonstrate the efficacy of organic and agroecological approaches that are well publicised. In my article, I referred to some of these studies and reports. But rather than regurgitating references, I would say that no matter what data is presented, certain people seek to marginalise agroecological approaches and prefer to focus on external input-intensive ‘solutions’ and proprietary technologies, such as GMOs.

I find it strange that supporters of GMOs talk so much about choice when the GMO biotech industry has spent £100 million in the US to deny choice by preventing labelling of GM food.

Where is the choice for the farmer who uses non-GM crops but has his field contaminated by GMOs? Where was the choice when parts of the US wheat crop were contaminated as a result of open-field trials or when contamination took place because of Liberty Link 601? Where is the choice in West Bengal where GMOs from Bangladesh have been found?

Where is the choice for farmers when the only ones that end up on the market are company seeds, or where thousands of varieties have been reduced to a relative handful?

In my piece, Daniel Maingi and Mariam Mayet mentioned the squeezing out of alternatives as a result of the impact of Western agribusiness in Africa. Are they to be dismissed as “biased”  sources too?

You say the following:

“Most objectors in this area have a political programme not a scientific one but they like to bend science to their own political point of view. Science is by its nature not politics or political propaganda or anything like it. It deals with evidence not superstition, or political or social philosophies. If you have a political programme then please stop trying to justify it by claiming it has scientific support, it does not.”

First of all, I provided valid references which referred to peer-reviewed science in the article (and have again below), but all you can say is that my “political programme” has “no scientific support”. I say to you: please stop justifying your own pro-GMO stance by smearing critics and rejecting any evidence because it does not fit your own agenda. Please do not talk about “choice” and “democracy” when your own agenda is to support powerful corporations who via the distortion of science and the capture of strategic national and international bodies deny choice.

Your view of science is either deliberately misleading or simply naïve. And for someone in your position, I find it difficult to believe it could be the latter. From acquiring funding and formulating the questions to be addressed, to conducting research, interpreting findings and peer review, politics are present in science throughout. The manufacture of scientific knowledge involves a process driven by various sociological, methodological and epistemological conflicts and compromises, both inside the laboratory and beyond. Writers in the field of the sociology of science have written much on this. I refer you to the following link, which contests your lofty view of science and scientists: Monsanto wants to know why people doubt science.

The very fact you have responded to me in a certain manner discredits your view of scientists, not least because it becomes difficult to appreciate where the line between science and lobbying is in your case.

There is an authoritarian, political agenda behind the GMO project – not set by some environmental group (as you say) that you like to use as a whipping boy – but by the agribusiness concerns behind GMOs and petro-chemical industrial agriculture. Focusing on Greenpeace with its supposed agenda serves as a convenient diversion.

It is not NGOs, groups, activists, and campaigners that have failed to provide convincing arguments. And, by the way, to conflate such groups with intolerance, authoritarianism, and killings by brutal regimes or groups is ludicrous and smacks of desperation on your part. You are a scientist but are using all the cheap smears and tactics of a lobbyist!

When peer-reviewed science is provided by critics to support their claims, the onslaught by the GMO agritech industry and its mouthpieces against those who legitimately and scientifically contest the claims about the efficacy of GMOs is relentless. Just ask Arpad Pusztai, P. M. Bhargava, Judy Carman, Terje Traavik, Andrés Carrasco, Ignacio Chapela, Allison Snow, Marc Lappé, Britt Bailey, Bela Darvas, and G. E. Seralini.

These scientists have all either been threatened, smeared, or hindered in their work because their research called into question the safety and/or efficacy of GMOs or associated products.

The hypocrisy of those from the pro-GMO lobby who call for sound science to inform the debate on GMOs is glaringly obvious. Those who argue against GMOs are accused of not having science or facts on their side and of engaging in propaganda, while it is clear the pro-GMO lobby that hurls such allegations is itself guilty of all such things. This tactic goes hand in glove with a strident populist agenda whereby the pro-GMO lobby portrays itself as on the side of the people, while its opponents are “elitists” and are “stealing food from the bellies of the poor”.

If you really do value democracy as much as you say and wish to call to account those who show contempt for it, you would do better by reading Steven Druker’s new book “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth”. Instead of attacking Greenpeace and other groups, you should be more even handed (and employ just a little “scientific objectivity” in your approach) by looking at the fraudulent practices and processes in US government departments that led to the commercialisation of GMOs in that country.

As far as your point on there being a scientific consensus is concerned, it has been well established in recent months by over 300 scientists in a peer reviewed journal that there is no consensus. Furthermore, you bring the issue of climate change into the debate. If I am to accept your claim that there is overwhelming consensus on climate change then I certainly reject your assertion that the same applies to the GMO issue.

What you claim to be “biased” sources have demonstrated that the claims made on the back of many studies on GMOs are not supported by the evidence and that in many instances certain findings are marginalised as not being significant when they actually are (I supply these two links which provide reference to support my claims, the first of which you have already dismissed as being from a biased source, without addressing the issues raised therein:  An evidence-based examination of the claims made for the safety and efficacy of GM crops and food and Adverse impacts of transgenic crops/food: a compilation of scientific references with abstracts).

Moreover, climate change is fundamentally different to the GMO issue. Climate change may or may not be anthropogenic, but scientists are deliberately genetically engineering food and adopting a wait and see attitude towards the impact. Wouldn’t it be better to prove safety beforehand?

But let’s get one thing clear, as Druker shows, GMOs were placed on the commercial market due to political arm twisting and official bodies in the US ignoring science that pointed out the dangers of this technology. The decision to commercialise GMOs was not based on scientific evidence; in fact, it ignored such evidence. Yet you are still placing the onus on scientists to prove that GMOs are safe – and when they show they are not, they are attacked. It seems science is only called on when it suits.

Releasing GMOs onto the commercial market is not like boarding a plane, as you suggest. The genetic engineering of food affects every member of the population. It presents a widespread, systemic risk to the human population. Most planes are safe and have been tested. Moreover, we have a choice to board a plane. We have no other choice than to eat (unlabelled) food. GMO food has not been proven safe.

The GMO biotech industry carries out inadequate, short-term studies and conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of “commercial confidentiality”, while independent research highlights the very serious dangers of its products. It has in the past also engaged in fakery in India, bribery in Indonesia, smears and intimidates those who challenge its interests and distorts and censors science by restricting independent research. If science is held in such high regard by the GMO agritech sector, why engage in such practices and why in the US did policy makers release GM food onto the commercial market without proper long-term tests?

Despite its claims to the contrary, the sector cannot win the scientific debate, so it resorts to co-opting key public bodies or individuals to propagate various falsehoods and deceptions. Part of the deception is based on emotional blackmail: the world needs GMOs to feed the hungry, both now and in the future. This myth has been blown apart. In fact, the organisation GRAIN highlights that GMOs have thus far have actually contributed to food insecurity!

You say:

“If agroecological approaches can currently match yield that can be attained by using modern farming methods then by all means use it.”

Why doesn’t Paterson adopt this attitude? He denigrates such alternatives, and you deem it necessary to jump to his defence by responding this way.

“But if not and my understanding is that currently it cannot, then they should not be the farming method of recommended choice at present.”

Perhaps you need to do some more reading and consult a few more UN and scientific reports.

You say that:

“No-one with any concern for humanity or the welfare of its population should currently consider any other alternative. The groups that campaign for this kind or that kind of farming method and destroy crops to try and bounce others into their point of view have lost that fundamental concern for their own species.”

Why do you persist in attacking those who clearly do have compassion? Environmental groups have not engaged in decades of massive criminality, in decades of cover ups and serious environmental pollution. You would do better by focussing on one particular leading company whose record clearly shows that it has no regard whatsoever for humanity, yet which claims it wants to ‘feed the word’ with altruistic intent.

If you really do believe in dispassionate, objective discourse, then adopt an even-handed approach. You talk so much about democracy and choice yet there is no mention whatsoever of the crimes, cover ups, and decades of environmental pollution that a certain company that forms part of the pro-GMO lobby has been involved in.

You talk about choice and democracy but say nothing about how big agribusiness has at international and national levels captured policy making bodies to effectively impose ‘choice’ on US consumers and poorer nations and devastate local economies. Where is your condemnation? Where is your condemnation of “big list” studies and fallacious claims made by the likes of Jon Entine about safety and efficacy on the back of them? Or are your condemnations, attacks, misrepresentations and ridiculous assertions reserved for those who flag up such things?

While powerful corporations have instant access to policy makers who work closely together, ordinary people and groups have to resort to Freedom of Information legislation to ascertain what happens behind closed doors. They have to rely on whisteblowers or leaked documents or must go through the courts to gain access to studies that formed the basis of regulatory bodies’ approvals for commercial agribusiness products. And you talk to me about democracy and of how I or some campaign group have scant regard for it?

Your response is full of warm sounding notions about democracy and choice and some high-minded words about science and scientists (of course, only the science that fits your paradigm). Rhetoric, platitudes and clichés do not constitute a considered response. Projecting the pro-GMO lobby’s deficiencies onto its critics is not valid. It’s disappointing from a scientist.

You indulge in cheap, fallacious attacks on critics, which is symptomatic of a very transparent and predictable propaganda campaign aimed at critics.

In finishing, I would like to make clear that I do not belong to any environmental or campaign group. I received no payment for the article you responded to. This is why I refer to myself as an ‘independent’ (not freelance) writer.

I wonder how many scientists can claim such a level of independence from for-profit corporate entities.

With kind regards,
Colin Todhunter

***

Open letter from Professor Trewavas

Dear Mr Todhunter

I read your article against GM crops (So You Want to Help Africa Mr Paterson? Then Stop Promoting Ideology and Falsehoods to Push GMOs; http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/want-help-africa-mr-paterson-stop-promoting-ideology-falsehoods-push-gmos/) but I searched in vain for one small word, ‘choice’.  It seems never to enter the commentaries of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth or WWF or the other odd environmentalist/activist groupings that appear now and again. Your claim is that Africa can do very well just on agroecology. Well, put your money where your mouth is. Buy a farm in Africa and farm it in the way that you want. But allow others to farm as they wish and if they wish to use GM crops that is their right to do so just as it yours, not to. According to you any African farmer using GM crops will be a disaster so in that case they will stop using them. If it’s not a disaster, which I suspect is what you fear most, then they will reap the benefit and perhaps persuade you in due course to farm like them. Do you want to impose your opinions on others without allowing them to make their own minds up and choose how they wish to farm?

It is an unfortunate situation that in our present world many environmentalist groups have become typically authoritarian in attitude. Greenpeace notably decides its opinions must prevail regardless of others, so it arrogates to itself the right to tear up and destroy things it doesn’t like. That is absolutely typical of people who are unable to convince others by debate and discussion and in the last century such attitudes, amplified obviously, ended up killing people that others did not like. But the same personality type the authoritarian, ‘do as I tell you’, was at the root of it all. Such groups therefore sit uneasily with countries that are democracies. It would be nice if you could say you are a democrat and believe that argument is better than destruction but argument that deals with all the facts and does not select out of those to construct a misleading programme. Misleading selection of limited information is causing considerable problems in various parts of the world that leads some into very violent behaviour, particularly in religious belief. I am sure you agree that this is not a good way forward.

There is a consensus amongst scientists, at least those that have made themselves aware of all reasonable scientific facts, that GM is both safe for consumption and with appropriate regulations for the environment too. Do you agree with that consensus or not? There is another scientific consensus over climate change that is impelling governments to take action. The consensus over GM food safety is stronger amongst scientists than that over climate change, according to a current survey. I assume you accept the one over climate change, most do. But science and scientific fact is not a pick and mix situation, if you accept a scientific consensus on one than you have to accept it for the other. I am sure you will be aware that there are minorities of scientists, different in both cases, that object to both. But I have found that those that do object to the consensus on GM crops always fail to provide an acceptable balance of information in their objections. They select out only the very limited data they consider supports their view and neglect everything else that does not. That is not science that can be used to construct policy. It’s like claiming flying is unsafe because several planes a year crash whilst ignoring the hundreds of thousands every day that haven’t. If you want unbiased information on GM crops go to the many university personnel who can provide it for you. But please do not quote the so obviously-biased publication which you have, as though it were scientific fact.

Most objectors in this area have a political programme not a scientific one but they like to bend science to their own political point of view. Science is by its nature not politics or political propaganda or anything like it. It deals with evidence not superstition, or political or social philosophies. If you have a political programme then please stop trying to justify it by claiming it has scientific support; it does not.

All human activities have costs and benefits, that will include agroecological approaches that you apparently favour, but at the start both costs and benefits have to be drawn up to see what is appropriate to the particular circumstance. Given the rapidly increasing African population I would say that currently yield is crucial but that can change just as farming methods are changing in Europe towards increasing environmental concerns. Farming methods that do both such as no-till or integrated farm management currently offer the best compromise. Malawi, I understand, subsidizes minerals for crop growth and has turned the country from a food importer into a food exporter. That seems an excellent approach at present to solve a pressing problem.

If agroecological approaches can currently match yield that can be attained by using modern farming methods then by all means use it. But if not and my understanding is that currently it cannot, then they should not be the farming method of recommended choice at present.

When Africa has got its population increases under control and producing sufficient to feed everybody then alternatives like agroecology may come to the fore. No-one with any concern for humanity or the welfare of its population should currently consider any other alternative. The groups that campaign for this kind or that kind of farming method and destroy crops to try and bounce others into their point of view have lost that fundamental concern for their own species.

I am not dogmatic about the methods that farmers use since I consider that decision is the province of individual farmers themselves. Whatever their choice is their right in the framework of their country but they must be allowed to make that decision in full knowledge of all the scientific information and advice, not the tiny amount available to support alternative points of view. That is the nature of every democracy that I hope all will finally live under.

Good science is not set in stone or concrete, the current view on GM crops is simply based on the wealth of the factual and reproducible evidence that all good scientists recognise. But if the evidence indicates change then scientists change with it. Why not join those whose job it is to provide farmers and the populace with unbiased evidence constructed by independent university personnel? You have nothing to lose but the constraints of closed thinking and everything to gain that comes from reasoned and open scientific debate.

With my best wishes
Professor Tony Trewavas FRS
University of Edinburgh

Wall Street Bonuses at Highest Level Since 2008 Crash

March 18th, 2015 by Shannon Jones

The average bonus paid out to employees in New York City’s financial industry hit $172,860, the highest level since the 2008 financial crash, according to figures released last week by the New York State Comptroller. Even after adjusting for inflation, the average Wall Street bonus is five times greater today than it was in 1987.

The bonus pool for Wall Street financial firms rose by some 3 percent in 2014 to reach the astronomical sum of $28.5 billion.

In a report published last week, the Institute for Policy Studies notes that the total bonuses handed to Wall Street employees amount to double the total annual pay for the 1 million US workers employed full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

The typical Wall Street bonus is three times the annual US median income and almost four times the annual pay of a typical US worker. The report notes that the Wall Street bonus pool was 27 percent higher than in 2009, the last time Congress raised the minimum wage.

According to the New York Post, the average total pay on Wall Street including bonuses is now $355,900—five times the private sector average in New York City.

After several years of decline, total securities industry employment rose to 167,800 in 2014, an increase of 2,300. The securities industry in New York City accounted for 21 percent of all private sector wages paid in the city last year even though it accounts for less than 5 percent of private sector jobs.

The rise in bonus payouts on Wall Street comes despite a 4.2 percent decline in security industry profits. That makes the bonus pool 170 percent of total profits and 40 to 50 percent of total revenues. 2014 was the second year in a row that bonuses have risen despite a decline in profits.

Meanwhile, banking industry CEOs continue to collect massive pay packages. Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein received a cash bonus of $7.3 million, up $1 million from the year before, out of a total compensation of $24 million in 2014.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon received a $4.7 million cash bonus out of total pay of $20 million. Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman received restricted shares valued at $4.5 million. This is part of a pay package that will reportedly exceed $18 million.

Swelling salaries in the financial sector are part of a broader trend of rising executive pay nationally. This week, US Steel announced that CEO Mario Longhi’s 2014 compensation doubled to $13.2 million, compared with $5.6 million in 2013. The pay of Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent shot up 23 percent last year, hitting $25.2 million.

Meanwhile, Boeing said that its CEO, Jim McNerney, got a 24 percent rise in pay last year to $28.9 million. In 2014 McNerney, with the collaboration of the International Association of Machinists, scrapped the defined benefit pension plan for its unionized employees. That was followed by the freezing of pensions for 68,000 non-union employees and the transition to a 401(k) style plan.

The continued growth of Wall Street pay takes place in a city that is already one of the most economically unequal in the United States. New York City is home to the most billionaires of any city in the world.

For New York State as a whole, the average income of the top one percent of wage earners is $2.1 million, compared to an average income of $44,049. In part due to the concentration of the financial sector in metropolitan New York, both New York state and neighboring Connecticut have the largest gaps between the average income of the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent, with a ratio of 48 to 1.

A study authored by the Urban Institute found that 21.4 percent of New York City’s population lived in poverty in 2012. Out of that total, 3.8 percent were in “deep poverty,” meaning they had incomes less than one-half the official poverty level.

According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, the average New York City resident pays 60 percent of their income in rent, leaving only 40 percent for other basic needs such as food, clothing and medical care. According to the same report, rents in New York have risen faster than in any other American city since 2009.

Homelessness is at an all-time high in New York City, with nearly 60,000 people per night depending on the city’s emergency shelter system. Meanwhile, there is a construction boom in the city for residences for the ultra wealthy. A Manhattan penthouse recently set a new record by selling at more than $100 million.

Netanyahu Claims Victory in Close Israeli Election

March 18th, 2015 by Patrick Martin

Right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed victory after a closely contested national election in Israel. According to unofficial figures released by the Israeli election committee, Netanyahu’s Likud Party has won at least 29 seats in the 120-seat parliament, the Knesset, putting it in a strong position to form a ruling coalition.

Likud’s main challenger, the Zionist Union, won 24 seats. Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog has called Netanyahu to concede defeat.

President Reuven Rivlin, a longtime Likud loyalist, will designate Netanyahu to form the next government once the distribution of seats is finalized among the ten parties that reached the threshold of 3.25 percent of the vote.

Talks began on the shape of the next coalition well before voters went to the polls. Netanyahu has pledges of support from his own Likud, two other right-wing nationalist parties, Jewish Home and Yisrael Beiteinu, and, more conditionally, two parties of ultraorthodox Jews. These five parties combined will hold 53 seats, according to exit polls.

Herzog heads the Labor Party. His partner in the Zionist Union bloc is former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the tiny Hatnuah party. Herzog had the assured support of only the Zionist Union, the middle-class “left” Meretz Party and Yesh Atid, the secular party of former TV newscaster Yair Lapid. According to exit polls, these three parties may win 44 seats between them.

This would give the Kulanu Party, a split-off from Likud, the kingmaker role, with its ten seats bringing a new right-wing coalition to 63 seats, a narrow majority. Netanyahu has offered the finance ministry to Kulanu Party leader Moshe Kahlon, a former Likud cabinet minister.

The parliamentary arithmetic is itself an expression of intractable contradictions within Israeli society. The parties comprising the Joint Arab List, which won 13 seats, making it the third largest in the Knesset, traditionally refuse to participate in government (nor would either the Zionist right or “left” form a government dependent on Arab support).

The secular Yesh Atid backed Herzog as prime minister. It was Netanyahu’s firing of Lapid as finance minister and Livni as justice minister that broke up his previous coalition and precipitated elections two years early.

Two factors dominated the final days of the campaign: Netanyahu’s increasingly strident and racist attacks on the Palestinians, calculated to whip up his right-wing supporters, and the spineless character of his so-called “opposition,” which sought to profit from popular discontent with social inequality and the right-wing economic policies of Netanyahu, without offering an alternative.

Netanyahu was clearly shocked by the deep unpopularity of his government revealed in opinion polls in the weeks leading up to the vote. The Likud leader fired Lapid and Livni last December and forced an election two years early in the expectation of an easy victory.

But large sections of the Israeli public are weary of his constant harping on the alleged danger of an Iranian nuclear weapon. Netanyahu has been warning that an Iranian bomb was only months away for more than 20 years. His trip to Washington, where he addressed a joint session of Congress to denounce a prospective nuclear deal between Iran and the Obama administration, did not improve his poll numbers in Israel.

In the final days of the campaign, Netanyahu shifted focus from Iran to the Palestinians, seeking, with some success, to lure the racist and settler vote away from Jewish Home and Yisrael Beiteinu. He publicly declared his opposition to a two-state agreement with the Palestinians.

On Tuesday, he made an unusual Election Day appearance in Har Homa, a Jewish suburb of East Jerusalem built illegally on Palestinian land, to warn that his government was in danger from a reportedly heavy turnout among Israeli Arab voters.

The Zionist Union offered only mealy-mouthed criticism of Netanyahu’s increasingly unhinged diatribes about external and internal security threats. Herzog himself boasted of his service as an officer in military intelligence. He and Livni criticized Netanyahu for aligning himself too closely with the Republican Party in the United States rather than working with the Obama administration.

The Likud campaign portrayed Livni, whose father commanded a unit of the Zionist terrorist force Irgun and who herself served as foreign minister during the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, as soft on the Palestinians. In a direct concession to these attacks, the opposition announced Monday it was abandoning its plan to split the prime ministership, with Herzog serving the first two years and Livni then taking over. Zionist Union declared that Herzog would serve the full term, up to four years, if his opposition bloc led the next government.

On economic issues, where Zionist Union sought to focus the campaign, the opposition offered little beyond highlighting the corruption and high living of Netanyahu and his unpopular wife Sara, who, according to one report, spent $24,000 on takeout food and $30,000 on hairstyling in a single year.

Herzog was hardly a convincing vehicle for populist criticism of the corrupt Zionist establishment, however, since he is a product of it—the son of former President Chaim Herzog. He occupied several cabinet positions between 2005 and 2011 in governments led by Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Netanyahu.

The increasingly acute socioeconomic contradictions within Israel find no genuine expression within the existing political structure, dominated by rival Zionist factions (and an array of nationalists and Islamists appealing to the Arab minority).

According to a study by the National Insurance Institute, unemployment in Israel stands at 7.2 percent among men and 9.0 percent among women, both figures far above the overall 5.6 percent rate cited by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The new NII study asserts that previous estimates grossly undercount the number of involuntary part-timers, workers who want full-time work but cannot find it.

Israel is one of the most class-divided societies in the world, with just 20 families controlling the bulk of the country’s wealth, dominating the share markets, and calling the shots in Israeli politics.

From Ottawa and Washington to Paris, governments and the media sympathetic to those in power take advantage of attacks to drum up support for military adventures abroad. In this context, it is important to take a look back and see how Canadian troops got wrangled into Washington’s ever-expanding “war on terror” in Iraq and Syria.

How Harper Leveraged the Parliament Attack to Mislead Canada into Iraq

Speaking on January 22, 2015 about the multinational insurgents that he deployed the Canadian military to fight in the Middle East, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper confidently declared to reporters in St. Catharines, Ontario, that, “If those guys [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants] fire at us, we’re going to fire back and we’re going to kill them.”

Harper’s comments immediately came under fire by political leaders, who accused the prime minister of deliberately misleading Canadians and their legislators in the wake of the attack on Parliament Hill several months earlier — an attack perpetrated by one mentally ill drug addict.

In considering the series of events, “cui bono,” a Latin adage used by the ancient Romans, comes to mind. In other words, who benefits from events like the attack on Parliament Hill that took place on October 22, 2014? And more importantly, how are they framed? Empirically, an evaluation of these events should include an assessment of how they are used by those in power: Are these events exploited to justify steps that the authorities already wanted to take or were already in the process of taking? How do these events help and fit in with government policies and objectives?

Canadians Opposed Government Policies Prior to the Shootings

The political atmosphere inside Canada at the time of the attack on Parliament Hill, the home of Canada’s federal bicameral legislature in Ottawa, needs to be scrutinized. It is no coincidence that during this timeframe a report by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) showed that there was no critical debate in the US mainstream media about the escalation of the US military presence in the Middle East or the expanded US-led “war on terror” in Iraq and Syria. In Canada, however, Harper was having a hard time getting the majority of Canadians on board with a Canadian combat role in Washington’s newest military adventure in the Middle East. Reflective of public opinion, the main Canadian opposition parties — the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Liberal Party — as well as smaller opposition parties and an entire spectrum of groups ranging from Christian groups to the Canadian Peace Congress, also opposed the war that the Harper camp was unilaterally sucking Canadians into.

Although polling results appeared to be given in terms that were complementary to the Harperite plans, the polls conducted in September about Canadian involvement in Iraq were still not sympathetic to Harper and his foreign policy. Response categories were collapsed into one another and demographic gaps existed alongside manipulative wording, which contributed to skewed data.

At best, a margin of Canadians polled reported that they would support limited involvement, such as dispatching Canadian military advisors. Some 77 percent of Canadians polled by Nanos Research for the pro-Harper channel CTV “agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that sending Canadian soldiers to Iraq would entangle Canada in a prolonged conflict, while only 45 percent of Canadians polled by Abacus Data supported deploying Canadian forces “to combat Islamic terrorism” in the Middle East. Angus Reid, however, reported that only 38 percent of Canadians backed the idea of sending Canadian military advisors to support the US-led coalition in Iraq, and only 28 percent of Canadians said they “would support Canada getting more involved, including military intervention.”

On October 2, 2014 another pro-Harper channel, the Global Television Network, owned by the Calgary-based telecommunications company Shaw, misreported that the results of an Ipsos-Reid poll — commissioned by the channel — found that “more than two-thirds” of Canadians supported Harper’s plans to send McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet warplanes. The Global Television Network report was inaccurate because the actual figure was 64 percent — a figure of at least 67 percent would be needed to claim “more than two-thirds.” More importantly, the 64 percent itself was a numerical illusion that was the result of the combination of two different response categories that said: (1) they’re “strongly” supportive of Harper’s commitment, and (2) “somewhat in support of Canada sending jets.”

During the period leading to Canada’s combat mission in Iraq, from August to September, Harper did not even want to discuss his plans. Breaching the parliamentary codes of conduct in the House of Commons, the parliament’s lower chamber, the Harperites refused to answer any inquiries from other federal legislators during question period about Harper’s military commitment to the latest US war in Iraq. In contrast, while the Conservative Party refused to tell other federal legislators in the Canadian Parliament anything about Iraq, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence and Manitoban MP James Bezan outlined to the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) how Harper had unilaterally established a military timetable in Iraq. (Earlier last year Bezan himself had been accused of being a Russophobe and warmonger to such an extent that he was sanctioned alongside twelve other federal legislators by Russia and specifically banned from entering the Russian Federation last March for his role in stoking anti-Russian sentiment in Canada and Ukraine.)

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair started questioning the Harperites on September 23, 2014 by pointing out how their Conservative Party government had continuously refused to be transparent to the Canadian Parliament about what it was doing inside Iraq. Mulcair also cited Bezan’s comments on CPAC. Addressing House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer in parliamentary fashion, Mulcair stated the following:

“Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has failed to answer clear questions about his ill-defined military deployment in Iraq.

Yesterday, Conservatives refused once again to answer in this House, but the member for Selkirk-Interlake stated on CPAC that the mission will end on October 4.

Will the Conservative government confirm that the 30-day Canadian commitment in Iraq will indeed end on October 4?”

Instead of answering the questions about Iraq being asked in the House of Commons, Harper’s parliamentary secretary, MP Paul Calandra, responded by changing the subject from Iraq to Israel. Each time Harper’s government was asked for an explanation about what type of commitment the Canadian government had made to Washington in Iraq, Calandra would respond by discussing how the Harperite wing of the Conservative Party was supporting Tel Aviv and the Israeli military by saying things like, “Israel is on the front lines. Canada will continue to support our friends in Israel.”

Speaker Scheer allowed this stonewalling to continue. He even rebuked Mulcair after the NDP leader demanded that Scheer start enforcing parliamentary procedures and rules by asking Harper’s side to answer the questions being floored instead of watching idly from the Speaker’s Chair. Scheer, himself a virtual Harperite appointee and a Conservative Party MP, instead refused to let Mulcair continue with the questions about Iraq, offering a clear demonstration of how Harper has bypassed and overridden the system of checks, balances, and oversight of important Canadian public institutions.

After the October 22, 2015 attack on Parliament Hill, Harper grew more comfortable talking about his involvement in the US military campaign in Iraq and his plans to extend and expand the Canadian role in the war. He would eventually reveal that Ottawa was also going to illegally bomb Syria alongside the Pentagon. Feeling empowered enough to reveal the true extent of Canada’s military involvement in the Middle East, Harper would thus reveal his game plan and true intentions. This was similar to how US President George W. Bush used the 9/11 attacks as an opportunity to pass intrusive surveillance measures and to invade Taliban-controlled Afghanistan with little to no domestic opposition.

On the day of the Parliament Hill attack, Harper was, in fact, in the process of passing intrusive Canadian surveillance legislation that roughly corresponded to the PATRIOT Act passed by the US Congress in 2001, which went unchallenged in the United States in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Since October 22, 2014 Harper has been beefing up surveillance and security legislation even though the Canadian government’s own Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien confirmed on October 29, 2014 that Canadian security and law enforcement forces already had all the tools that they need and do not need new security measures. In addition to Privacy Commissioner Therrien, UN counter-terrorism advisor Hamed El-Said has said that the Canadian laws that already exist are “more than enough to deal with terrorism.”

The Construction of Different Narratives

From June to the day of the shooting on Parliament Hill, three individuals had murdered soldiers and police constables in Canada. Only two of the attacks, however, received intense national scrutiny by the Canadian federal government and mainstream media. More importantly, different standards were used to frame and explain those three attacks.

On June 14, 2014 Justin Bourque attacked five members of Canada’s national police force in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Bourque’s attack took place in Moncton, New Brunswick, where the RCMP is contracted as a local police force by the provincial government. Three of the RCMP constables — David Ross, Fabrice Gevaudan and James Larche — died from their gun wounds, while the other two — Eric Dubois and Marie Goguen — were hospitalized from injuries suffered from their encounter with Bourque.

The accounts of the day reveal that Bourque, who was dressed in combat apparel and armed with a rifle and a crossbow, was deliberately targeting the RCMP and did not harm civilians when they came near the scene of the crime.

Months after Bourque’s rampage in New Brunswick, Martin Couture-Rouleau — who the RCMP had been watching and even visiting regularly — hit two Canadian soldiers with his car in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, on October 20, 2014. One of the soldiers suffered minor injuries, while the other, Warrant Patrice Vincent, died as a result of the hit-and-run attack. Couture-Rouleau would himself be killed when he was gunned down by St-Jean-sur-Richelieu local police, after his car flipped over in the course of the police chase.

On the same day, citing Québecor Media’s TVA channel, Allan Woods, Bruce Campion-Smith and Les Whittington reported for the Toronto Star that multiple local witnesses confirmed that Couture-Rouleau’s hands were up in the air and that he was surrendering himself to the police when he was shot. The Toronto Star reported: “Witnesses who spoke with the TVA network Monday afternoon said they saw a man emerge from the flipped vehicle that was lying in a ditch on the side of the road. The man had his hands in the air and was walking toward police when at least one officer opened fire on the suspect. The witnesses said they heard up to seven gunshots.”

Yet shortly after the article was posted online, the Toronto Star revised it, redacting that portion of the report. Only syndicated copies of the article, like those featured in the Cambridge Times, carry the redacted passage.

Two days after Couture-Rouleau’s hit-and-run, a solitary gunman named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (originally Michael Joseph Hall) attacked Parliament Hill. Armed with a loaded 1894 Winchester rifle, Zehaf-Bibeau murdered Corporal Nathan Cirillo, an unarmed reservist from the city of Hamilton, and carjacked a ministerial car parked in front of Parliament Hill’s East Block. He then ran into the Canadian Parliament’s Centre Block, where the landmark Peace Tower stands, and was killed by armed guards and the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons Kevin Vickers during a shootout.

By all measures the standards applied to framing these three events were wildly different and inconsistent. Although all three acts of murder were criminal acts of violence, only Bourque’s attack in Moncton was framed as a domestic crime by Harper and much of the media. Almost like battles in distant lands, the attacks in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and on Parliament Hill were presented extra-judicially as outside the usual procedures of Canadian justice and well beyond the scope of domestic criminal incidents. The crimes committed by Couture-Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau were framed as acts of foreign terrorism, attacks on Canada carried out by a foreign enemy.

Further, the Harperite government immediately commented on Couture-Rouleau’s hit-and-run. As the Toronto-based Globe and Mail reported on October 20, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that there were “‘clear indications’ the suspect in this incident ‘had become radicalized.’” On the very same day, one of Harper’s own Conservative Party backbenchers in the Canadian House of Commons, Saskatchewanian MP Randy Hoback, asked Harper to comment on the “possible terror attack against two members of the Canadian Armed Forces near Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.”

Harper and his government would go on to flimsily try to connect Couture-Rouleau’s hit-and-run attack to Zehaf-Bibeau’s rampage in Ottawa as part of an orchestrated attack on Canada by the ISIL/ISIS/DAESH/IS. On November 24, the news service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that the Privy Council Office (PCO) had issued an internal memorandum warning Canadian authorities on October 17, 2014 that there could be potential “violent acts of terrorism” in Canada. This warning came days before Couture-Rouleau or Zehaf-Bibeau had committed their crimes — on October 20 and 22, respectively. While this internal memorandum has been used haphazardly to corroborate Harper’s narrative of Canada being under siege, the PCO document is by no means definitive — it even says that “there is no information indicating that an attack is imminent.”

The Demonization of Arabs and Muslims in Canada

In part, the actions of Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau have either ipso facto or subtly been presented by the Harperite camp as the threats to Canadian society and security being posed by Islam, Muslims and Arabs. In this context, the journalist Steven Zhou pointed out on December 18, 2014 that the Conservative Party “has gone after many Arab and Muslim groups that have publicly challenged the party’s hawkish foreign policy stances. These crackdowns have laid the groundwork for further repression and histrionics when the Tories need a boost in the polls.”

“In a time of austerity, Canada’s prime minister has mastered the art of xenophobic demonization,” Zhou observed. It is in this context that Harper has even openly been accused inside the House of Commons of using inflammatory language and demonization to divide Canadians for political gain. “Mr. Harper specifically singles out mosques [in the debate]. That leads to Islamophobia and that’s irresponsible,” according to NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

Muslims and Arabs have been problematized as not only a security problem, but as a socio-cultural problem in Canada.

Harper had Jason Kenny, who was his immigration minister at the time, bar any Muslim women who opted to wear niqabs, which are cloths that cover or mask the face, from being allowed to take their citizenship oaths in 2011. After four years the Canadian judicial system overturned the move by Jason Kenny and Harper as an unconstitutional act that went against religious freedom inside Canada. Harper, however, said he would refuse to accept this.

“I believe, and I think most Canadians believe, that it is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family,” Harper had said when he made the announcement in Victoriaville, Québec. “This is a society that is transparent, open, and where people are equal,” he paradoxically added.

The blatant hypocrisy and twisted logic should be apparent. While the Harperites claim all Canadians are equal and free, they are saying that those women that choose to cover their faces as a part of their personal identity are unequal and that they are not acting Canadian and must conform by abandoning the way they want to dress in their personal lives. More specifically, they are underhandedly using the debate over the niqab symbolically to target Muslims and to equate them as non-Canadians.

After Harper announced that he would work to revoke the right of Muslim women who decided to cover their faces during Canadian citizenship ceremonies and that he would challenge the Canadian court system on it, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau accused Harper’s government of essentially “employing the same kind of rhetoric to raise fears against Muslims that was used to promote a ‘none is too many’ restrictive immigration policy toward Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.” “It is a cruel joke to claim you are liberating people from oppression by dictating in law what they can and cannot wear,” Trudeau added.

Ignoring minority rights and constitutional freedoms, Harper tried to defend his actions by saying that it was what the majority of Canadians wanted. On March 10, 2015, in a revealing moment, Harper would rhetorically ask the House of Commons the following question: “Why would Canadians, contrary to our own values, embrace a practice at that time that is not transparent, that is not open and frankly is rooted in a culture that is anti-women?”

What Harper essentially claimed was “that religious freedoms should be overruled because almost all Canadians do not support the wearing of a niqab,” as Trudeau put it while questioning Harper on the issue the next day on March 11. Ignoring the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms again, Harper would clumsily respond yet again claiming that it was what the majority of Canadians wanted. “These are not the views only of the overwhelming majority of Canadians, they are the views of the overwhelming majority of moderate Muslims,” Harper responded.

Not long after Harper’s government ignited the niqab controversy, one of his Conservative Party backbenchers created a scandal that critics say is part of a trend among Steven Harper and his followers. “If you’re not willing to show your face in the ceremony that you’re joining the best country in the world, then frankly…if you don’t like that or don’t want to do that, then stay the hell where you came from,” Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Larry Miller told CFOS radio on March 16, 2015.

It is because of incidents like this that Harper has been repeatedly accused of giving in to “racist sentiments within his own party” in Parliament Hill.

Liberal MP John McCallum pointed out during a session of Parliament held on March 12, 2015 that Prime Minister Harper had remained silent after New Brunswick Southwest MP John Williamson told “a conference in Ottawa that it makes no sense to pay ‘whities’ to stay home while companies bring in ‘brown people’ as temporary foreign workers.”

This bigoted discourse is common among the Harperites, because it uses xenophobia to scapegoat others for the exploitation of Canadian workers that Harper’s government itself is responsible for. It creates a false picture of the Conservative Party as working to protect Canadian workers and their families, when it is directly involved in their exploitation. John Williamson was either utterly ignorant or lying and engaged in polemics. Temporary foreign worker programs are programs that Harper and his corporate patrons heavily support, because foreign workers are brought in to work to Canada at low costs that are below minimum wage as cheap labour.

When it was brought up, the issue was ignored by Harper in the House of Commons. Instead of answering McCallum’s question about Williamson’s racist and xenophobic comment, Employment and Social Development Minister Pierre Poilievre responded by referred instead to the complaint made by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs about Justin Trudeau’s comparison of Prime Minister Harper’s immigration policy against Muslims being akin to Canada’s anti-Jewish immigration policies of the past

Ironically, on the same day that McCallum called out Harper for his tacit approval of racist political discourse, a survey study was released by Ekos inferring that 41 percent of respondents had attitudes that believed that “too many” immigrants to Canada are visible minorities. Among Harper’s support base the figure was 51 percent whereas it was 35 percent and 32 percent respectively among NDP and Liberal Party supporters. When experts were asked about what the Ekos survey inferring about growing intolerance in Canadian society, the finger was pointed at Prime Minister Harper. Professor Guida Man, a sociologist at York University, told the newspaper Metro that the xenophobic “discourse from Ottawa on subjects like wearing a niqab in citizenship ceremonies contributes to a racist view of immigration.”

Individual Crimes Tacitly Portrayed as a Collective Crime

While all of the murderers — Justin Bourque, Martin Couture-Rouleau, and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau — in the three cases were French-Canadian, no correlations have been made between their French-Canadian background and their criminal actions. Nevertheless, the fact that Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau had become Muslims recently in their adult lives has been used to diagnose and partially explain their crimes.

This type of demonization is Orientalist discourse that distorts popular perceptions about Arabs and Muslims and emphasizes or exaggerates their perceived characteristics. Orientalism is a part of a discursive process tied to policy-setting agendas that manage public perception and concepts that support modern-day empire.

To varying degrees whenever Muslim or ethnically Arab individuals commit crimes in what are considered Western societies, such as Canada or France or the United States, the assessments made have either tacitly or openly passed judgment on all Muslims or Arabs. The Arab or Muslim backgrounds of these individuals are used to explain their crimes, and this is why the crimes of Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau are not presented just as the crimes of two individuals, but as the crimes of two Muslims — their crimes are connected to their faith. The tacit or overt explanation is that their crimes were not perpetrated because they are criminals or psychologically ill, but because they are Muslims. If they were also of Arab background and not French-Canadian, their Arab background have been also used to explain the pathology of their crimes.

To Susan Bibeau, the mother of Zehaf-Bibeau, her son was mentally ill and his actions were a form of suicide by homicide. She makes this very clear in an open letter to the RCMP, where she points out that the RCMP misrepresented her statements about her son. “I want to correct the statement of the RCMP [sic.] I never said he wanted to go to Syria, I specifically said Saudi Arabia. They taped my conversation so there can little doubt about the accuracy of what I said. I did phone the agent to point the error, I don’t know it they corrected it,” Susan Bibeau writes. “What about Michael, if I try to understand his actions, for me he was an unhappy person at odds with the world. In his final days, I would add mentally unbalanced,” she also says.

Instead of being evaluated as the crimes of individuals, the crimes of Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau were assessed in the context of their faith or perceived ethnicity. These factors have been used to justify the foreign policy of Prime Minister Harper, his semi-hushed deployment of Canadian military to Iraq, and his support for both US foreign policy and Israel’s wars in the Middle East. This is why their crimes have also been explained as acts of terrorism instead of homicides.

Bourque held deeply conservative Christian views, but this factor has been ignored and not used to explain his pathology as a murderer and as the perpetrator of violence in Moncton. Unlike Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau, Bourque — who viewed himself as “a soldier of Jesus Christ” — is not described as an “extremist,” or a “self-radicalized” individual, or a “terrorist.” In fact, Bourque’s faith is rarely — if ever — mentioned. Unlike Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau, Bourque is still alive too.

Court documents reveal that Bourque was sleep-deprived and felt “depressed about his life” in the days leading up to his rampage in New Brunswick. The documents also show that he had a strained relationship with his family while friends told Global News that he was “sick” and that “he said that he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.” The Globe and Mail also reported that he had used cocaine and that his parents had kicked him out of their home at the end of 2012. Yet a psychiatric assessment concluded that he was not suffering from clinical depression and was thus fit to stand trial.

Meanwhile, Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau reportedly suffered from chronic psychological problems. On October 23, 2014 the Montreal Gazette interviewed several mental health professionals who prominently linked the men’s alleged mental health issues to their decisions to join “an extremist fringe.”

These assessments are important, because they are reflective of the false ethos that has been used to justify the militarization of Canada and its role as an accomplice of US militarism and Washington’s adventurism in Iraq and Syria.

Why does it Appear that only Arab or Muslim Crimes are Considered Terrorism?

The prejudiced position of Prime Minister Harper becomes clear when his government’s handling of other Canadian criminal cases are examined. Based on an individual’s perspective, it can be argued that terrorism is a euphemism or dysphemism for crimes committed by individuals that are Arabs or Muslims. In either case, terrorism appears to simply be a word that is applied to the crimes of these individuals. While Couture-Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau were described and categorized as terrorists, Justin Bourque and other criminals in Canada were not labeled such by Harper and actually given very little attention.

One such case is that of Canadian military veteran Glen Gordon Gieschen.

Glen Gieschen was arrested in January 2013 for putting together an elaborate plan to attack the Veterans Affairs Canada office in Calgary by killing its staff and blowing up the Bantrel Building. He had felt betrayed by the Canadian government, which did not help him with his medical bills after he was discharged as an intelligence operative from the Canadian military. “His wife had contacted Okotoks RCMP in January 2014 and advised them that her husband was possibly suicidal based on a note he had written. She said he was an ex-military man and had taken a rifle with him,” the Calgary Herald reported about the circumstances behind his arrest.  The newspaper also revealed that he had “a typed building plan of the Bantrel Building on 6th Ave. S.W., building specifications on the Bantrel Building, its exits, entrances and location of offices” on his cellular phone and laptop computer that “also included surveillance videos and photographs taken by the accused of the Bantrel Building including on and around the 7th floor which contains the Veterans Affairs Canada office, and a detailed attack plan including equipment and armaments to be used, military assault apparel to be worn by him during the attack, and strategies to complete the attack then escape the scene.”

Despite the elaborate nature of Gieschen’s plans, which unlike the improvised attacks of Couture-Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau, was planning on taking out an entire office building, there was no wailing for the need for increased security measures by Steven Harper. In fact, Gieschen’s name was banned from even being publicly published until 2014.

Another case is that of Christopher B. Philips. Police arrested Phillips, a US military veteran and ophthalmologist, at the Chimo Hotel in Ottawa on January 21, 2015. Philips was arrested for threatening police with harm and possessing two caches of chemical weapons in Halifax. The chemical that Philips possessed was osmium tetroxide, which is highly poisonous. His actions were attributed to his military injuries, chronic pain, and mood swings by the Ottawa Citizen.

The caliber of the media and government attention would have been much different if Philips were to have been an Arab or a Muslim. Because he was not an Arab or a Muslim, little media or government focus was given to the case. It did not serve the Harperite agenda.

A month after the arrest of Philips another incident occurred in Halifax. It was revealed on February 14, 2015 that an actual plot to create a mass casualty event in Halifax, Nova Scotia was thwarted. “Two people were arrested at Halifax Stanfield International Airport and have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder after an alleged plot was foiled to kill a large number of people at the Halifax Shopping Centre in the city’s west end on Valentine’s Day,” the CBC reported. Although the police said that the conspirators — Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath and Randall Steven Shepherd — “had some beliefs and were willing to carry out violent acts against citizens,” they were not referred to as terrorists by Harper.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay — the man who auctioned off the Progressive Conservative Party for personal political gain and elevation by openly lying on guarantying that he would not allow a takeover of it by Harper’s Canadian Alliance — stressed that the thwarted Halifax attack was not a planned terrorist attack. The journalist Laura Kana rightly pointed out the following: “Police said there is no evidence that ideology or culture is part of the allegations. But if plotting to cause mass murder in a public place is not called terrorism, then what is?”

What was not being told by MacKay or the mainstream media was that their “beliefs” were racist leanings and Nazi political views. Halifax Media Co-Op points this out in an article by Robert Devet:

“That at least some of the plotters were into posting Nazi paraphernalia on their facebook pages, or espousing white supremacist ideas on message boards has been downplayed by local reporters.

The Tumblr blog of James Gamble, the 19-year old found dead in Timberlea, features pictures of Adolph Hitler and marching Nazis.

You go to the Tumblr blog of Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, the Illinois woman now in custody, and a swastika is the first thing you see.

Meanwhile, thanks to the work of people who know their way around in the world of blogs, message boards and handles, there are strong suggestions that at least Souvannarath has a long-time infatuation with fascist and white supremacist ideas.  None of this has made it into Nova Scotia news outlets.

One CBC reporter looked at Gamble’s Tumblr blog, and mentions the Nazi references in passing, almost as an afterthought.”

If the individuals that had planned on committing the killing spree were Muslims, another narrative would have been in play, as it was in regards to Martin Couture-Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Harper and MacKay would have labeled the conspirators terrorists and talked about the need for increased security “to keep Canadians safe” and sending the Canadian military overseas to fight their ideological base.

Harper’s Labeling Politics

The politics behind Harper’s labeling practices should become clear. As well as being a tactic of division and political pandering, the discussion and framing of terrorism is taking place through the partisan lens of the Canadian government. The fear and panic being generated by it is additionally a convenient tool for Harper to distract the attention of Canadians about the decline in living standards, Canada’s economic problems, austerity, and his administration’s rampant corruption.

There is major concern of impending human rights violations inside Canada that will take place under Harper’s banner of domestic security and fighting terrorism. “The government is not listening. We need to be louder,” Alex Neve, the secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, wrote on March 13, 2015 about Prime Minister Harper’s plans to legislate Bill C-51 in the name of domestically fighting terrorism.

Numerous Canadians have protested against Harper’s legislation calling him the real terrorist and threat to Canadian society, because of his political agenda.

Harper’s opponents believe that he will abuse the label of terrorist against political opponents, could arrest innocent people merely for opposing US foreign policy, the demonization of the Russians, Canada’s military involvement in the Middle East, the seizure of Aboriginal Canadian territory, or Israel’s occupation of Palestine. This is why Prime Minister Harper’s announcements that he plans on mandating “life without parole” sentences — meaning putting individuals in prison until death — for those convicted of high treason, murdering a peacetime or correctional officer, terrorism, kidnapping, sexual assault, and crimes “of a particularly brutal nature” was viewed very suspiciously across Canada by civil liberties organization and political activists.

Four Canadian former prime ministers have spoken out against Harper and joined eighteen other prominent Canadians “who have served as Supreme Court of Canada justices, ministers of justice and of public safety, solicitors-general, members of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee and commissioners responsible for overseeing the RCMP” in writing an open letter on February 19, 2015. The group of ex-prime ministers — the Conservative Joseph Clark and the Liberals John Turner, Jean Chrétien, and Paul Martin — warned about the “serious problems for public safety and for human rights” that Harper’s agenda posses.

Harper himself has said that anyone who appears to have been “radicalized” will be arrested regardless of their age. This means that political sympathies for Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the Kurdistan Workers Party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or, maybe even, the separatist forces in East Ukraine (Novorossiya) have the potential of being used to categorize someone as “self-radicalized” and to imprison them.

How Harper Spreads Hate at Home While Expanding Wars Abroad

Adding fuel to the fire, the six-minute video of a Canadian member of the ISIL was conveniently highlighted by the partisan Harper-supporting National Post in its “Israel and the Middle East” section on December 8, 2014. After the National Post reported that the ISIL/ISIS/DAESH/IS member John Maguire, who called himself Abu Anwar Al-Canadi in the video, said that Canadians deserved to be attacked, it cited Maguire as saying that the slapdash attacks by  Couture-Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa were direct results of the Canadian military fighting in Iraq. Although Maguire’s claims were out of line with the facts, the National Post report was meant to further support the stance of Prime Minister Harper in the eyes of Canadians.

Canada is involved in mission creep in the Middle East. Despite the fact that it promised Canadians that there would be no ground combat involving Canadian troops under a “non-combat” mandate, Harper’s government began tacitly admit that Canadian soldiers were actually involved in ground combat in Iraq without using the word combat by the end of January-2015. It would phrase it by saying that “mission had evolved.”

Towing the Harper government’s line, General Tom Lawson — the commander of the Canadian Armed Forces — told MPs that Canadian soldiers were directing airstrikes from the ground inside Iraq, but were still operating within their non-combat mandate on January 29, 2015. General Lawson said that he “had not anticipated” that Canadian forces would be in a position to safely direct airstrikes inside Iraq when he had ruled it out in October 2014.

About one month after General Lawson spoke to Canadian MPs, on March 7, it was announced Sergeant Andrew Joseph Doiron, from the Canadian Special Operations Regiment in Petawawa, was killed during the fighting in Iraq. Ottawa attributed it to friendly fire, but up until that point Canadian soldiers had already gotten into at least three battles.

Even though Harper has claimed that Canada will not be attacking Syria, which international law repudiates, he has navigated Canada into joining Washington’s illegal airstrikes in Syria. This is the same prime minister whose ministers and government have continuously stated that they are willing to join any wars against Syria. Although it has always tried to give its statements about attacking Syria a veneer of legitimacy in the past by saying that Canada would go to war if the UN authorized it, that is out the door now. The ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/IS is being used by Ottawa as a justification and means to ignore the UN Charter and international law by throwing them out the window.

Why was Zefaf-Bibeau’s October 2014 Message Released in March 2015?

In close conjunction with the timing of Sergeant Doirion’s death, the RCMP finally released an RCMP-edited video that was a shortened version of the original one that Zehaf-Bibeau had made on his cell phone. RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson would give the following explanation to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security for why the video was withheld from the public on March 6:

“I first learned about the video when I was briefed on its discovery during the forensic examination of the cellphone seized from the suspect’s vehicle. It was the Sunday following the attack. I directed that a press release be issued that day. My thinking was that announcing the existence of the video would — while we were examining and assessing it — insure against any subsequent criticism that we were concealing the existence of this evidence.

What followed were dynamic discussions within the RCMP about the evidentiary value and the operational utility of the video. We had also to carefully consider what impact its public release could have — not only on this investigation — but what impact it might have on others.

In the video Zehaf-Bibeau says that his actions are “retaliation for Afghanistan and for what Harper wants to do in Iraq.” Chances are had the video been released there would have been greater opposition to Harper’s Iraq war campaign and that is why the video was withheld. If the video was released in 2014, it probably would have had a negative on Harper’s plans to deploy the Canadian military to the Middle East.

Harper’s Dirty Hands: Harper in Bed with the ISIL?

Harper’s rush to ensnare Canada in the wars in Iraq and Syria should come as no surprise. As the leader of the Canadian Alliance — the successor of the Reform Party — Harper pushed for Canada to help the US and Britain illegally invade Iraq in 2003. He even read the exact same speech that Australian Prime Minister John Howard had read to the Australian Parliament. Although the Conservative Party staffer Owen Lippert resigned for plagiarism in 2008, there was and still is suspicion that the speech was forwarded from Washington to both Harper and John Howard.

Regardless of whether Harper’s 2003 speech was really a script from Washington or a case of plagiarism, what should not be lost is that Harper was aligned to the neo-conservative camp in the Washington Beltway that has called for perpetual imperial wars. (It is in the same tradition of his alignment with the neo-cons that Harper has sided with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US Republicans against US President Barack Obama. This could be why Obama exercised his presidential veto against the Keystone XL Pipeline and justified it by explaining that the way they “get oil out in Canada is an extraordinarily dirty way of extracting oil,” which would create tensions between Harper and his supporters in the Canadian oil industry.)

While the Harperites demonize Arabs and Muslims, in one way or another, at home in Canada, they have also been accused of supporting the head chopping ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/IS in Iraq and Syria. Charges and reports have been made that Prime Minister Harper’s government has been recruiting for the same terrorist organization that it has told Canadians it is fighting in the Middle East. The Ottawa Citizen had this to say about it: “Canada’s embassy in Jordan, which is run by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s handpicked ambassador and former top bodyguard, is being linked in news reports to an unfolding international terrorism and spy scandal.”

Reuters has also confirmed the Harper government’s role in recruiting for the same terrorists it claims to be fighting alongside the US, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. “A European security source familiar with the case of the three girls said the person in question had a connection with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) spy agency,” Reuters reported on March 12, 2015.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney has refused to comment on the reports that Canada is recruiting for ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/IS, saying it was an issue of operational security whereas Ray Boisvert, a former Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) director, said that the story is plausible. This is while Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that the situation is very complicated, but that the ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/IS recruiter is a Syrian national working on of the countries inside Washington’s coalition fighting the ISIS/ISIL.DAESH/IS. Although the man — reported to be called Mohammed Al-Rashed — is not a Canadian citizen, he had Canadian government-issued equipment and was known to have visited the Canadian Embassy in Amman frequently.

Balanced skepticism of those in power is never a bad thing. It has to be emphasized that if anything is to be learned from all these events, it is that the most vital action to watch and critically analyze is the reaction of a government and the authorities to events like the attack on Parliament Hill, the Martin Place hostage crisis in Sydney, and the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. What do they have to gain?

Turkish Media Disclose Identity of Alleged Spy for Canada

March 18th, 2015 by Joseph Fitsanakis

Turkish media have released the name, as well as video footage, of an alleged agent for Canadian intelligence, who says he helped three British schoolgirls travel to territory controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The three girls, aged between 15 and 16 years old, crossed into ISIS-controlled territory on February 17, after traveling by plane from London to Istanbul. The incident prompted international criticism of the Turkish government’s hands-off attitude toward a growing influx of Western Islamists who cross into Syria from Turkey, intent on joining ISIS. However, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu said last week that the girls had been assisted by an intelligence agent working for a member-state of the military coalition fighting ISIS.

The minister declined to offer further details. But Turkish media eventually disclosed the identity of the alleged agent, who has been detained by authorities in Turkey as Mohammed al-Rashed. Also known as “Mohammed Mehmet Rashid” or “Dr. Mehmet Rashid”, the man is a Syrian national who claims to be working for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. According to Turkey’s pro-government daily Sabah, al-Rashed is a 28-year-old Syrian dentist who fled from Syria to Jordan in 2013 to escape the civil war there. While in Jordan, he sought asylum at the Canadian embassy in Amman. He was subsequently offered Canadian citizenship, said Sabah, in return for working as an agent of CSIS. According to the Turkish daily, al-Rashed then traveled to Canada, where he stayed for several months before returning to Jordan.

Sources in Turkey say al-Rashed explained upon his detention that he had been tasked by CSIS to uncover the methods by which European and American ISIS recruits travel to Syria through Turkey. For that reason, he said, he had helped at least 15 individuals, including the three British schoolgirls, cross form Turkey to Syria. He would then provide information on the transfers —including passport data and baggage tags— to the Canadian embassy in Jordan, he said. Sabah added that the Canadians would pay for al-Rashed’s frequent trips to Jordan, where he would meet a Canadian embassy employee called “Matt”, who would then pass on the information to his superior at the embassy, called “Claude”. The Syrian alleged agent added that CSIS would compensate him for his work through frequent deposits of between $800 and $1,500 made to bank accounts opened in his name in British banks. Turkish sources added that al-Rashed had recorded details of his activities on a personal laptop, which had been seized and was being examined.

The Canadian government has yet to comment publicly on the allegations about al-Rashed. Unnamed Canadian sources said last week that he was neither a Canadian citizen nor a CSIS employee. But officials so far refused to speculate on what they describe as “operational matters of national security”.

The head of the private intelligence agency Stratfor has for the first time publicly said that the US government considers to be its overriding strategic objective the prevention of a German-Russian alliance. Blocking that alliance is the only way to prevent an alternative world power capable of challenging extension of the American position of being the world’s lone superpower.

[In this video, he says that the U.S. will fail in that overriding objective; German technology and capital will combine with Russian natural resources and “land-power,” to produce a truly bipolar world: U.S. v. Eurasia. So: he sees the U.S. strategy as being to block that, by weakening both Germany and Russia. That strategy would explain what Obama is doing in Ukraine, and the sanctions that are hurting both Russia and Germany, but Friedman thinks that nothing can work.] 

 

Background:

The American political scientist George Friedman is chief of intelligence think tank ”Stratfor Global Intelligence”, which he founded in 1996. The headquarters of Stratfor is located in Texas. Stratfor advises 4,000 companies, individuals and governments around the world, reports the New York Times. These include Bank of America, the US State Department, Apple, Microsoft and Lockheed Martin, Monsanto and Cisco, on security issues.

In December 2011 there was a hacker attack on the computer system of Stratfor. Then 90,000 names, addresses, credit card numbers, passwords Stratfor clients were published. The attack was by the hacker Jeremy Hammond. But later it turned out that an FBI employee Hammond had instigated the attack on the Stratfor system. The FBI was involved in all phases of the attack.

Friedman published in 2009 a book titled “The Next 100 Years”, in which he discussed security policy issues for the 21st century. He said that between 2020 and 2030, Turkey, Poland and Japan, with US support, will be regional powers. In the same period, a pro-American block of several States will be formed in Eastern Europe. [The latter has already happened. Furthermore, on page 66, he said: “Europe may yet have to deal with the resurgence of Russia, the bullying of the United States, or internal tensions.” All three of those things have also already happened.]

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

The Economy Has Not Recovered And Is Again On Its Way Down

March 18th, 2015 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The first quarter GDP will be negative unless the figure is again manipulated and faked.

I am looking at two charts.  One is the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s forecast.  During the past 30 days, the Atlanta Fed’s forecast has dropped from 2.3% first quarter growth to 0.3 percent.

The other chart is the Blue Chip consensus.  This is Wall Street’s forecast used to market financial products.  It is a sales device and nothing more.  This forecast as of March 6 is 2.4 percent.

Today (March 17) Zero Hedge list 43 leading economic indicators that totally contradict the payroll jobs reports.  As I and John Williams (shadowstats.com) have pointed out over and over, the reported payroll job gains are totally inconsistent with the behavior of the economy.  How can anyone believe that when retail sales are declining and large retail chains are closing stores, tens of thousands of new retail clerks are being hired?  How can construction jobs be increasing when housing starts are declining?

Here is the Zero Hedge article:

US Economic Recovery or Misleading Economic Statistics: Something Strange Is Going On With Nonfarm Payrolls By

Tyler Durden, March 18, 2015

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-17/something-strange-going-nonfarm-payrolls

Let’s start with the basics: why is there a majority consensus that the Fed will hike rates after it removes its “patient” language tomorrow? One simple reason: non-farm payrolls. As reported earlier in the month, following the report of March’s expectations smashing 295,000 jobs added, there have now been a 13 consecutive months of 200K+ payroll months…

… something which together with the 5.5% unemployment rate, is for the Fed is a clear indication that the slack in the labor is about to disappear and wages are set to surge.

Sadly, as we showed before, wages are not only not rising, but for 80% of the population they are once again sliding.

Falling wages aside (a critical topic as it singlehandedly refutes the Fed’s bedrock thesis of no slack in a labor force in which there are 93 million Americans who no longer participate in the job market) going back to the original topic of which economic factors are prompting the Fed to assume there is an economic recovery, without exaggeration, all alone.

Is there nothing else that can validate the Fed’s rate hike hypothesis? Well… no.

Below is a selection of the economic data points that have missed expectations in just the past month.

MISSES

  1. Personal Spending
  2. Construction Spending
  3. ISM New York
  4. Factory Orders
  5. Ward’s Domestic Vehicle Sales
  6. ADP Employment
  7. Challenger Job Cuts
  8. Initial Jobless Claims
  9. Nonfarm Productivity
  10. Trade Balance
  11. Unemployment Rate
  12. Labor Market Conditions Index
  13. NFIB Small Business Optimism
  14. Wholesale Inventories
  15. Wholesale Sales
  16. IBD Economic Optimism
  17. Mortgage Apps
  18. Retail Sales
  19. Bloomberg Consumer Comfort
  20. Business Inventories
  21. UMich Consumer Sentiment
  22. Empire Manufacturing
  23. NAHB Homebuilder Confidence
  24. Housing Starts
  25. Building Permits
  26. PPI
  27. Industrial Production
  28. Capacity Utilization
  29. Manufacturing Production
  30. Dallas Fed
  31. Chicago Fed NAI
  32. Existing Home Sales
  33. Consumer Confidence
  34. Richmond Fed
  35. Personal Consumption
  36. ISM Milwaukee
  37. Chicago PMI
  38. Pending Home Sales
  39. Personal Income
  40. Personal Spending
  41. Construction Spending
  42. ISM Manufacturing
  43. Atlanta Fed GDPNow

So a pattern emerges: we have an economy in which jobs and only jobs are acting as if there is a strong recovery, while everything else is sliding, disappointing economists, and in fact hinting at another contraction (whatever you do, don’t look at the Fed’s internal model of Q1 GDP).

To be sure, economists these days are better known as weathermen, and so they are quick to blame every economic disappointment on the weather. Because, you see, they were unaware it was snowing outside when they provided their forecasts about the future, a future which should be impacted by the snowfall that day, and which they promptly scapegoat as the reason for their cluelessness. Yet one wonders: why didn’t the harsh snow (in the winter) pound February jobs as well? Recall last year’s payroll disappointments were immediately blamed on the weather which was just as “harsh” as this year. Why the difference?

And yet, today this rising “anomaly” between Nonfarm Payolls “data” and everything else, hit a crescendo, and some – such as Jim Bianco – have had it with the lies anomalies, which prompted him to ask the following:

Why Are Construction Jobs and Housing Starts Telling Different Stories? Is The Problem Non-Farm Payrolls

Bloomberg.com – Housing Starts Plunge by the Most in Four Years

Housing starts slumped in February by the most in four years as bad winter weather in parts of the U.S. prevented builders from initiating new projects. Work began on 897,000 houses at an annualized rate, down 17 percent from January and the fewest in a year, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday in Washington. The median estimate of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 1.04 million. “It was just the weather, basically,” said Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corp. in Birmingham, Alabama. Still, “my view of the recovery in single-family housing is that it’s coming more gradually than others think.”

Comment

The red line above shows seasonally adjusted housing starts for February plunged by one of the largest amounts in the post-crisis period.

The chart below shows a subset of the February non-farm payroll report, residential construction jobs. Seasonally adjusted these jobs increased by 17,200 in February, the most in two years (Feb 2013 was greater) and the second most in four years.

The vast majority of residential construction jobs are due to new housing starts. Existing housing does not create a lot of construction jobs. So while economists are blaming the weather for the plunge in housing starts, residential construction jobs were fairly robust in February. This makes no sense.

Could remodeling have accounted for this discrepancy? Was there a big rush to redo kitchens in February? In Home Depot’s February 24 investor conference call, they made no mention of an unusual or a big increase in remodeling. Remodeling is so important to Home Depot that they partnered with Harvard University to create an economic series to help track sales (noted in the conference call).

If remodeling was not responsible for this discrepancy, we are left with a theme we have brought up on multiple occasions over the past few weeks. Payrolls data continues to paint a rosy picture of the economy while the rest of the economic data is doing quite the opposite.

Economists seem to start with the premise that the non-farm payroll data is correct and everything else needs to be dismissed by weather and other factors. Maybe we should ask why the non-farm payrolls number is different from everything else.

* * *

Here is another way of seeing the above “anomaly”:

So, instead of asking why everything else is showing an abnormal – and rapid – slowdown in the US economy (and blaming everything on snow) is it about time that everyone – the Fed included – finally asks: just what is going on with the “data” that is reported every month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics?

EU Allies Defy US to Join China-led Asian Bank

March 18th, 2015 by The Brics Post

The new China-led Asian investment bank, a potential rival to institutions such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, has enlisted more US allies as members after Britain decided to join last week.

The membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is set to expand further, with three more European countries following Britain’s lead.

France, Germany and Italy have defied US instructions not to participate in the Bank, said UK daily, The Financial Times.

The decision of the three European countries, yet to be officially announced, came in the wake of Britain’s application last week to be a founding member of the $50 billion bank.

Meanwhile, Australian leaders have been lining up in the past few days to voice support for joining the AIIB, which marks a conspicuous U-turn from the cabinet’s previous stance.

“Our position all along has been that we are happy to be part of some thing which is a genuine multilateral institution such as the World Bank, such as the Asia Development Bank,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said during an interview with Sky News over the weekend.

In addition, South Korea, Switzerland and Luxembourg are deliberating over the decision to participate in the infrastructure investment Bank.

In a last-ditch attempt to hinder its allies’ participation in the China-backed Bank, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel said in Seoul on Tuesday that there must be “unmistakable evidence” about the standards of the Bank before members join in.

“Every government can make its own decision about whether the way to achieve that goal is by joining before the articles of agreement are clarified or by waiting to see what the evidence looks like as the bank starts to operate,” the US official was quoted by Reuters.

China, with $4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, is pushing for the growth of its own multilateral bodies, including the AIIB, the BRICS Bank and a bank for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, but also seeking to strengthen its voice at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

As regards Japan, Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said earlier this month that the chance to be an AIIB founding member is available for all Asian countries including Japan by March 31, and the ball is in Japan’s court.

“They told us they are considering. Whether Japan will join, we do not know. It is Japan’s own decision,” Lou said.

Nearly 30 countries have confirmed their participation in the AIIB, which is aimed at helping finance infrastructure projects across Asia and expected to be operational within 2015.

In response to US concerns about the standards of the AIIB, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said last week that the AIIB’s operation and governance will be open, transparent, inclusive and responsible.

“It will draw experiences from other multilateral development banks and avoid their detours so as to be more cost-effective and efficient,” he told a press conference.

“The AIIB will complement existing multilateral development banks and support the infrastructure and economic development in Asia,” he added.

Learning to Love Drone Proliferation

March 18th, 2015 by Charles Pierson

The United States has a new policy on drone proliferation: we’re for it.

On February 17, the Obama Administration announced new, less strict conditions for selling killer drones to foreign governments.[1]

Up till now, sales of drones have been regulated by the 1987 Multilateral Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The MTCR was drafted with ballistic missiles in mind but now also encompasses drones.

As a control mechanism, the MTCR is seriously flawed. First, the MTCR is a voluntary control regime. Second, thirty-four states participate in the MTCR, but not China, India, Iran, Israel, or Pakistan. (On Friday, Pakistan revealed that it has developed an armed drone.)

The Predator and Reaper drones used for targeted kills fall under MTCR’s Category I which is defined as systems whether armed or unarmed which can deliver a 500 kg payload to a range of 300 kilometers. Transfers of Category I systems are subject to a “strong presumption of denial.”

The United States has only transferred armed drones to the United Kingdom (February 2007). The Obama Administration has previously turned down requests for armed drones from Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.[2] Under the new export policy, the MTCR’s “strong presumption of denial” may become a thing of the past.

True, the new policy does not promise a drone to all comers—a policy which, albeit alarming, would at least have the virtue of even-handedness. Instead, the US State Department assures us that sales will be evaluated on a “case-by-case basis.” The criteria that will be applied, like most of the new policy, are classified. We can expect the Administration will greenlight armed drone transfer to countries we like and reject transfers to countries we don’t.

The Obama Administration has told us this much: prospective purchasers of UAS (unmanned aerial systems, i.e., drones) must meet the end-use restrictions set out in the State Department’s February 17 “Fact Sheet”:

* Purchasers must use UAS “in accordance with international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable.”

* Purchasers must not use “military UAS to conduct unlawful surveillance or use unlawful force against their domestic populations.”

* “Armed and other advanced UAS are to be used in operations involving the use of force only when there is a lawful basis for use of force under international law, such as national self-defense.”

The problems with these restrictions should be immediately apparent. Discussing armed drones in February 2014, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said: “I would hope, as other countries acquire similar capabilities, that they follow the model that we have for the care and precision that we exercise.”[3]

Let’s hope that they don’t. The US model for using drones includes staggering numbers of civilian deaths, including drone strikes on weddings and funerals, and “double tap” strikes on rescuers who go to aide those injured in an initial strike. Military-age males in conflict areas are assumed, without more, to be terrorists and thus legitimate targets—all this taking place in countries with which the US is not at war.

Micah Zenko of the Council for Foreign Relations says this about the new restrictions: “Even analysts less skeptical than me would ask if the United States itself adheres to these principles.”[4] Sarah Knuckey, who teaches at Columbia Law School and who was one of the authors of the influential study, Living under Drones, comments of the new policy that “the US has advanced interpretations of international law that many have described as dangerous, novel, and expansive.”[5]

Expansive, indeed. Start with the US interpretation of self-defense. Micah Zenko and Professor Sarah Kreps rightly observe that: “The United States takes a more expansive view of self-defense than its allies, not just with respect to drones and targeting individuals, but also to invading countries.”[6] Law professors of a right-wing bent justified the 2003 US invasion of Iraq as preemptive self-defense. Going further back, the US justified its 1989 invasion of Panama as self-defense because the Canal Zone was considered US territory and US nationals were stationed there. Given sufficient ingenuity, any act of aggression can be rebaptized as self-defense.

Call the Repo Man

William D. Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy points out that: “Middle Eastern allies from Bahrain to Egypt to Saudi Arabia have used U.S.-supplied weapons to put down democracy movements. Yet these are precisely the kinds of regimes that Washington may be tempted to supply drones to for use in the war on the Islamic State group.”[7]

Suppose—even after if it pinky swears not to—a state like Egypt unleashes a drone-fired Hellfire missile on the next crowd of demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square? What could the US do about it? Send a repo man to Cairo?

Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary, took a shot at these questions at a press conference on February 18. Kirby said that the Department of Defense “will have a role in what we—what we call end-use monitoring, so I mean, we will have a role as well as the State Department, in monitoring the use of these things.”

Kirby was then asked: “[G]iven that the United States use of drones to carry out extra-judicial killings abroad is a subject of great debate, about whether that conforms with international laws and human rights, how could the U.S. possibly ensure that these things be held to those standards if other countries are using them once we let the technology go.”

Kirby replied that the United States has been selling various arms overseas for years. (This is supposed to make us feel better?) The US knows how to do end use monitoring (EUM), and “We’re very good at this….”

No, we’re not. Kirby’s questioner was correct: once the US transfers weapons there’s no telling how they’ll be used or who they’ll wind up with. Don’t they get CNN in the Pentagon? Hasn’t Admiral Kirby heard about the weapons the US gave the Iraqi army which are now in the hands of ISIS? Or the arms we supplied in the 1980s to mujahideengroups in Afghanistan who later became Al-Qaeda?

Even if the US permits drone sales only to the most cuddly, lovable, human-rights observant states, nothing prevents those states from passing their drones on to someone nasty. Sure, the US can refuse to sell more drones to that country in the future, but the damage will be already done.

If only the drones we sell had an OFF switch the US could throw. The idea of installing some sort of malware in drones that would allow remote disabling has been kicked around in industry circles, but to date it remains science fiction.

Even if the US did have an OFF switch would we use it? Like the US itself, US allies do not commit rights violations. So ignore anyone who tells you that the US has repeatedly given weapons to states while knowing full well that those states would use those weapons against their own people or in attacks on neighboring countries.

Potentially, Congress could put a brake on drone sales abroad. Under the U.S. Arms Export Control Act of 1976, Congress must be notified of most arms sales over $14 million after which it is given 30 days to block the transaction. During the Cold War, any nation, however vile, which claimed to be fighting Communism could get all the US arms it wanted. Substitute “terrorists” for “Communists” and the same tactic works today.

Given the risks in selling drones overseas, why do it? Do we need to ask?

Back to the State Department Fact Sheet: the new UAS export policy “also ensures appropriate participation for U.S. industry in the emerging commercial UAS market, which will contribute to the health of the U.S. industrial base, and thus to U.S. national security which includes economic activity.” In other words, what’s good for General Atomics, make of the Predator, is good for America. Micah Zenko writes: “With a projected $80 billion in global spending over the next ten years, drones constitute a potential growth industry for the aerospace and defense sectors.”[8] Putting corporate profits before human lives—there’s thereal US model.

Charles Pierson is a lawyer and a member of the Pittsburgh Anti-Drone Warfare Coalition. E-mail him at [email protected].

Notes

[1] Missy Ryan, “Obama Administration to Allow Sales of Armed Drones to Allies,” WASHINGTON POST, Feb. 17, 2015.

[2] Micah Zenko, “The Great Drone Contradiction,” foreignpolicy.com, February 19, 2015.

[3] Quoted in Micah Zenko and Sarah Kreps, Limiting Armed Drone Proliferation, Council on Foreign Relations Special Report No. 69, June 2014, at page 15.

[4] Micah Zenko, “The Great Drone Contradiction,” foreignpolicy.com, February 19, 2015.

[5] Sarah Knuckey, “Washington’s New Drone Sales Policy Could Export US-Style Drone War,” justsecurity.org, February 20, 2015.

[6] Zenko and Kreps, Limiting Armed Drone Proliferation, at page 26.

[7] William D. Hartung, “A Lot Could Go Wrong Here,” Center for International Policy, cipoline.org, Mar. 7, 2015.

[8] Micah Zenko, Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies (Jan. 2013), at p. 18

The most absurd political pronouncement of 2015 was made on March 9.

The US President issued an Executive Order that declared “a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela …” A White House spokesman explained that Venezuela was a threat because of “Venezuelan officials past and present who violate the human rights of Venezuelan citizens and engage in acts of public corruption…” He further asserted that these officials will not be welcome in the US, “and we now have the tools to block their assets and their use of US financial systems.” Seven individuals have been targeted by the White House. There have been other sanctions against Venezuelan officials and citizens in the past.

So far the US has not provided any tangible evidence of how Venezuelan officials have violated human rights or indulged in public corruption. Its reckless allegations have been effectively refuted by the Caracas government. Even leaders from other Latin American countries have condemned the statements emanating from Washington DC.

They have also criticized Washington for demanding that Caracas release all “political prisoners” allegedly detained by the government including “dozens of students.” The Venezuelan government insists that those detained are facing trial for criminal offences linked to violent attempts to destabilize the situation and oust the democratically elected government of the day. The government has been able to offer incontrovertible proof of this to the public.

Former Caracas mayor, Antonio Ledezma, for instance, was arrested in February for his role in the February 12 coup which also implicated Air Force personnel and terrorists such as Lorent Saleh. Another opposition leader facing trial is Leopoldo Lopez who was at the head of a series of violent opposition protests in 2014 that sought to overthrow the Nicolas Maduro government. The protests that Lopez led caused the death of 43 people, the majority of whom were from the security forces or followers of the charismatic late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.

In fact, Ledezma and Lopez, together with a third right-wing leader, Maria Corina Machado, were actively involved in the infamous April 11 2002 coup against Chavez. The coup failed, it is worth reiterating, mainly because tens of thousands of ordinary Venezuelans came out in full force to demand that Chavez be restored to power. As I stated in an article on the 1st of June 2009, “Never before in history have ordinary unarmed people played such a decisive role in defeating a coup.” The US, through the CIA, was, needless to say, responsible for engineering the coup.

This time all three coup manipulators from 2002, had allegedly signed a document which openly espoused the overthrow of the Maduro government. President Maduro has shared with his people recordings of phone conversations that some of these individuals had in recent months with other Venezuelan politicians living in New York and Miami which suggest a complex coup plot. The execution of the plot envisaged the privatization of most public services and the intervention of the IMF, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank in the Venezuelan economy for the benefit of the pro-US elite in the country and their masters in Washington and other Western capitals. Maduro has promised to reveal more details of the planned coup at the Summit of the Americas scheduled for April in Panama.

Since this is what is happening — a concerted drive by the US elite to oust a democratically elected government which has been going on for at least 13 years — how can Obama talk of a Venezuelan threat to the US? If anything, it is the US that is a present and continuous threat to the people of Venezuela. It is the US elite that is undermining Venezuelan democracy.

Why is the US doing this to Venezuela? The reason is simple. Since Hugo Chavez Frias became President through the ballot-box in 1998, he and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, have been determined to preserve and enhance the independence, sovereignty and integrity of their nation. The Venezuelan people as a whole are not prepared to yield to US dominance and control over their land which was the reality for long decades before 1998.

It is not just because of the resistance of the Venezuelan people to US hegemony that they are being threatened and punished in this way. The US elite knows that their resistance is part of an ever-widening, ever-expanding resistance that encompasses a large number of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Their collective desire to protect and enhance their sovereignty and independence has now found expression through regional initiatives such as ALBA and CELAC. The Venezuelan leadership itself continues to play a significant role in these initiatives.

As more and more nations in a region that was once contemptuously referred to as “the US’s backyard” assert their dignity and self-respect, it is obvious that US power and influence in Latin America and the Caribbean is waning rapidly. The very fact that that the overwhelming majority of states in the region have rallied around Venezuela as it faces threats from its northern neighbor is proof that the tide has changed. A while ago, Latin American states also stood by Argentina when it was subjected to enormous pressures from Wall Street speculators and financers. If the US realizes that it cannot throw its weight around anymore it is also because of the increasingly close ties that are developing between nations in the region and China, and to a lesser extent, Russia. In other words, the new scenarios that are unfolding are not to the US’s liking.

Perhaps, it is in that sense that Venezuela — one of the movers of change in Latin America and the Caribbean — is a “threat” to a declining hegemon.

Dr.Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). Malaysia.

Netanyahu Wins

March 18th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

He’ll likely be able to form a hard-right coalition and become Israel’s first ever four-term prime minister.

Headlines explained:

New York Times: “Netanyahu Soundly Defeats Chief Rival in Israeli Elections”

London Guardian: “Netanyahu claims ‘great victory’ after last minute surge in support”

Haaretz: “Netanyahu’s Likud scores decisive victory in Israeli election”

Times of Israel: “Netanyahu scores crushing victory in Israeli elections”

Jerusalem Post: “Israeli elections take dramatic turn as official tally gives Likud sweeping victory”

Pre-election polls had Isaac Herzog/Tzipi Livni’s Zionist Union winning 24 of 120 Knesset seats to Likud’s 20.

Exit polls showed a dead heat. Final results surprised with Likud winning 30 seats to Zionist Union’s 24.

The Joint (Arab) List party finished third with 14 seats. Yesh Atid got 11, Kulanu 10, Bayit Yehudi 8, Shas 7, United Torah Judaism 6, Yisrael Beytenu 6, and Meretz 4.

Early Wednesday morning, Herzog conceded. He congratulated Netanyahu on winning. He told reporters:

“I wished him luck, but let it be clear, the problems are the same problems. Nothing has changed.”

Zionist Union will continue serving as “an alternative in every area.”

Final results will be announced Thursday morning. They’ll include a record number of female MKs – 28 won seats, one more than the previous Knesset.

Turnout exceeded 70% of Israel’s 5.9 million eligible voters. Israelis vote for parties, not individual candidates.

Knesset seats are allocated according to the voting percentage participating parties win.

Netanyahu has up to six weeks to form new coalition governance.

Likud said he hopes it will include Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu, Aryeh Deri’s Shas, and Yaakov Litzman’s United Torah Judaism.

Combined would be a 67-seat Knesset majority –  six more than needed.

Reports indicated heavy Arab turnout hoping to oust Netanyahu. Joint (Arab) List party head Ayman Odeh called Tuesday “a historic day for the Arabs.”

“Today we are giving our answer to racism and to those who want to exclude us,” he said.

He ruled out participating in coalition governance. At the same time, he indicated keeping his cards close to his chest, saying:

“After the elections, we will listen to what Herzog has to say and then we will decide.”

“The right wing has taken over, so I’m hoping the Arabs can be part of a bloc formed against Netanyahu.”

Despite emerging as third largest Knesset party, Joint List has no say whatever under either a Netanyahu or Herzog-led coalition.

Believing otherwise is foolhardy. Israel’s 20% Arab population is powerless, persecuted, and denied rights afforded solely to Jews. Election results changed nothing.

Israel is like America. Democracy is pure fantasy. Not a dime’s worth of difference separates major parties on issues mattering most.

Voter choices are largely bad or worse. For Israeli Arab citizens and most Jews, Netanyahu or Herzog makes no difference.

Election results changed nothing. Government headed by either leader assures ugly business as usual.

Both and likely coalition partners support:

  • apartheid worse than South Africa’s;
  • militarized occupation harshness;
  • settlement construction on stolen Palestinian land;
  • war, not peace;
  • Arabs denied virtually all rights afforded Jews; and
  • continuation of decades if institutionalized racism.

Bottom line: Whenever things change in Israel they stay the same. It’s been this way since 1948 – especially under nearly half a century of militarized occupation.

Netanyahu openly campaigned against Palestinian self-determination.

Doing so and election day Facebook fear-mongering about “Arabs heading to the polls in masses” got him last minute support enough for decisive victory.

Fascists rule Israel. Left of center governance is too inconsequential to matter.

Israelis are as mindless as Americans. They have themselves to blame.

Reelecting Netanyahu assures hardening extremist governance – ideologically over-the-top and then some.

Belligerence, state-sponsored terrorism, militarized occupation, racist persecution, settlement expansions, and neoliberal harshness reflect official policy.

Netanyahu is a world-class thug – a ruthless demagogue. He spurns rule of law principles. He abhors democratic values.

He prioritizes stealing all valued Palestinian land. He deplores peace. He calls pursuing it a waste of time.

His likely coalition partners are militantly hardline, racist, anti-democratic, and offensive to all values progressives and civil libertarians hold dear.

On Tuesday, ugly business as usual triumphed. Right-wing extremist rule continues. Neoliberal harshness remains official policy.

long denied justice for Palestinians hasn’t changed. Israel’s political system remains a blight on humanity.

It’s just a matter of time before more naked aggression erupts. Maybe war on Iran before Netanyahu’s tenure ends.

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

 His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

 http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

A major recent event last week largely went unnoticed by both MSM and independent news sources alike. The British are apparently jumping ship away from the US dollar/petrodollar in an overt effort to align itself more closely with the BRICS alliance as it seeks a new standard international currency. For several years Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa (BRICS) have been preparing the world for its transition from USD standard international currency to its own alternative-in-the-making. America’s so called mother country England has seen the writing on the wall and knows the global balance of power is rapidly tilting in favor of where the sun always rises in the emerging East. 

The European central banking cabal from the City of London, a separate and private political and financial entity apart from the rest of both London and England, sent British royalty Prince William to China to quietly sign a deal to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This surprising new development is a clear indication that the royal Bank of England is placing its financial bet and future on China and the East as its rock solid anchor. Much of the world has been looking to move away from and abandon the longtime global financial stronghold of the US Federal Reserve, its World Bank and US dollar standard. A US official feebly chastised UK in the Financial Times:

We are wary about a trend toward constant accommodation of China, which is not the best way to engage a rising power.

More consternation arose when Germany, France and Italy have additionally made overtures in the same direction. This worldwide trend spells utter defeat for Obama and his disastrous foreign policy. After Washington’s been exerting strong-armed pressure on Australia as its key allied partner supporting its failing Asian pivot designed to check China’s growing regional and global dominance in the Pacific Asian market, Australia is now also looking to follow suit accepting and embracing China’s lead.

According to international investor and entrepreneur Simon Black, the US is experiencing major economic blowback after two plus decades of aggression as the only global superpower:

     … After years of endless wars, spying, debt, money printing, bailouts, and insane regulations, the

rest of the world has had enough. And they’re looking for an alternative.

Enter the China led BRICS alliance and its New Development Bank and now China’s other investment bank entry AIIB. Simon takes liberty in his interpretation of Britain and Europe’s bold rebellion after decades relegated to being a mere puppet of the US Empire:

Look, you have $18.1 trillion in official debt, you have $42 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and you’re kind of a dick. I’m dumping you.

Perhaps some Americans may feel a bit betrayed and unsettled by our longtime strongest global allies one by one seemingly abandoning the US dollar and American Empire in its reckoning time of need. If these geopolitical and economic trends are examined beyond their face value though, the changes occurring now may reflect much more significant, deeper changes than a mere alteration of standard international currency (as impactful as that will likely be for the US). These deep rooted fundamental changes have everything to do with the major global shift now taking place where the West’s ruling power elite itself is losing to the emerging global power rising in the East.

The latest act of bold economic defiance breaking rank with US Empire interests mirrors last month’s bucking trend that Europe exercised when putting the skids on the US campaign for sending heavy armaments to Ukraine and pushing for war against Russia. The fact is Europe and especially Germany depend on natural gas from Russia and the US imposed sanctions on Russia hurt Europe even more than Russia. That along with wanting to avoid war in their own backyard has nations like Germany and France softening their hardline, US pushed anti-Russian posturing.

Several weeks ago German and French leaders attended meetings in Mink, Belarus to negotiate a peaceful way out of the escalating violence in Eastern Ukraine between the government forces in Kiev and the ethnic Russian separatists seeking autonomy in the Donetsk and Lugansk region. In the same way Netanyahu attempted to fan the war flames against Iran, the same day Germany and France were gathering in Minsk to meet with Putin and Ukraine leaders, Secretary of State Kerry showed up in Kiev mouthing the same worn out lie of “Russian aggression” in a transparent feeble attempt to sabotage the Minsk talks. Again, the tie-in is the Israeli-US crime cabal constantly at work every chance they get peddling and promoting more global violence, death and war.

For over a year now Washington’s war drums have been beating louder for NATO to join forces with Ukraine, pressuring Europe to submit as it always has in going along with its permanent war agenda, all the while falsely demonizing Russia’s President Putin with outrageous propaganda lies and nonstop false flags not unlike the WMD lies against Hussein in 2002-3 Iraq. But in a rare gesture of independence, unwilling to start a war so close to home against nuclear powered Russia that Europe relies heavily as a critical source for its natural gas consumption, the powers of Europe are seeking a non-violent resolution to its regional conflict that carries the devastating potential of triggering World War III.

Meanwhile, NATO Supreme Commander US Air Force General Philip Breedlove fashions himself to be a Dr. Strangelove incarnate, making repeated bogus claims and lies of Russian army presence inside Eastern Ukraine in a vain yet persistent attempt to foment war. Having such a deluded and deceitful warmonger in charge of the NATO nuclear arsenal poses a calamitous threat to the entire world. Yet his commander-in-chief Obama has chosen not to relieve him of command. Instead German leaders have openly criticized Breedlove and the European Union wants to replace NATO with its own continental army. This very public geopolitical conflict over such widely differing Western approaches toward Ukraine seriously undermine American Empire’s global influence and power, again underscoring simultaneous developments around the world that indicate consistent across the boards US foreign policy failures and from the broader context, a rapid US decline as the sole global hegemonic superpower.

Putin advisor Sergei Glazyev nailed it when he said:

The war has been provoked to destroy the Russian World, to draw Europe into it, and to surround Russia with hostile countries. Unleashing this world war, America is trying to deal with its own internal problems.

Current economic turmoil reverberating in Japan is in large part due to the notorious corruption of the Abe government that may soon have additional problems to contend with once accusations over a fraudulent past elections get fully exposed. Abe has been a subservient tool used by the same international crime syndicate controlled by subversive Israeli-American forces. As such, Japan will also be moving away from the USD/West geopolitics and very likely pivoting toward China and a Pacific alliance that excludes the US Empire finding itself increasingly isolated on the outs.

Though incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu is the apparent winner in today’s Israeli election, the despot had to claw and fight for his political life to survive another day. Recent revelations that he’s been a Russian spy surfaced right after his disgraceful debacle in front of the Israeli captured US congressional audience on Capitol Hill two weeks ago and then came the despicable treasonous display of 47 Republican senators threatening letter to Iran. Bibi’s days of hate, war and paranoia are numbered as the ugly truth about his evildoing will continue to unfold that will soon bring him down. Showing his true evil colors right to the end, the day before the election Netanyahu once again reminded the world that an autonomous Palestinian state will never come to pass while on his watch.

Within the last couple weeks other mysterious events suggesting some cataclysmic, behind-the-scenes development included the apparent disappearance of Vladimir Putin for 11 consecutive days, fueling speculation from an internal political coup to possible sickness and/or death to witnessing the birth of his child at the bedside of his girlfriend in Switzerland. Because so many monumental breaking stories and developments seem to abound every week, Putin’s normally high profile lifestyle would naturally generate even higher profile speculation over his abrupt, extended disappearance. Of course it begs the question asking if it’s merely coincidental with these other earth-shaking events or very much related.

For years the CIA and US Empire have been hard at work in nations from Eastern Europe through the Caucasus to Central Asia all the way to China courting the favor of corrupt dictators and supporting coups promoting anti-Russo-Sino US puppet governments along the entire corridor bordering Russia and China. Despite such Obama’s plan after the 2008 Russian-Georgia conflict was to a reset relations with Russia. But with last year’s US-induced Ukrainian coup and Russia’s annexation by consensual vote of Crimea that “reset” plan went out the window. In 2011 Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the economic alliance of the Eurasian Union. Meanwhile, recognizing the strategic importance of the land bridge between Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Putin has made inroads strengthening ties with the three South Caucasus nations. Putin enticed Armenia to also join the Eurasian Union and has mediated hostilities between Armenia and oil rich Azerbaijan while seeking to repair and realign with Georgia that previously leaned toward the West. US Empire has largely failed to gain a foothold in this part of the world.

Other key geopolitical developments that have been ongoing for some time center in such remote places as western China’s mineral and oil-rich Xinjiang Province. With the powerful US Navy patrolling and to a great extent controlling Pacific waters in conjunction with Obama’s flop of an Asian Pacific pivot, the geopolitics chessboard strategy to hem the two adversarial giants in with hostile neighbors has generally backfired. Furthermore, the US was not prepared for Russia and China to suddenly renew an ultra-close economic, political and military bond that would effectively counter US Empire’s hegemonic aggression. They promptly signed a $400 billion oil-gas pipeline deal that will span a landlocked pathway, thereby foiling the US plan to seal off the China’s energy access via the Pacific. Hence, Moslem populated Xinjiang Province that is the proposed pipeline passage route has become a highly contentious target where the West and CIA in particular have been funding and supporting a separatist movement and acts of terrorism as a disruptive interdiction tactic. Overall this covert strategy has failed.

The Western cabal controlled crime syndicate led by the likes of kingpin Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu financed and supported by the likes of multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson and the Saudi royal family along with congressional henchman and ISIS friend Senator John McCain and the rest of his treasonous Republicans, the rogue US intelligence agency the CIA and NATO’s General Breedlove are all bent on plunging the US Empire-NATO forces into World War III on multiple warfronts at every global hotspot – Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the Caucasus all the way eastward to China’s Xinjiang Province and northward to the oil-rich Arctic against the forces of the two most powerful nations of the East – Russia and China. As a desperate last ditch attempt to retain its many centuries of Rothschild-Rockefeller power and dominance, these evil-minded, megalomaniacal psychopaths know that their hitherto unchallenged global control and strength that have bankrupted and nearly destroyed the planet is fast slipping away. So they seem all the more erratically resolute in seeking revenge by taking the entire earth down with them.

The truth about the horror and destruction these Western oligarchs have conspired and caused worldwide for centuries cannot even be fathomed. They have ensured a permanent state of war (in the US alone 93% of its 239 years) right up to the present Bush crime family-neocon fabrication of the “war on terror,” then under Obama this last year alone wrongly plunging America into another dangerous cold war with Putin’s Russia, and dozens of tragic false flag events like 9/11 designed to demonize Moslems into becoming the instantaneous post-Communist designated enemy of the twenty-first century with the US-Saudi-Israeli creation of al Qaeda/ISIS. These dark malevolent forces of evil that have propagated so much misery and suffering on humanity for so long are finally at last being exposed like never before.

The Western oligarch agenda to inflict a globalized system of absolute totalitarian fascist police state NWO control on every nation and people on earth trapped in hopeless debtor bondage may just be running into a brick Eastern wall as clear losers in the ongoing economic/currency war. Despite the constant jabbing of Putin and his Russian bear in vain attempts to manipulate him to react with military force in eastern Ukraine and despite the failed overt assault in the form of US Empire’s Asian pivot designed to close in and isolate China from the rest of Pacific Asia, ironically it’s the United States that finds itself increasingly alone as the longtime global village bully that’s finally met its match about to get its comeuppance. The smarter, economically stronger forces emerging from the East are winning the power war potentially without even firing a single shot against Western oppressors. Hopefully peace will prevail and the international crime syndicate that has long controlled the West will be deposed of as the murderous traitors to both peace and humankind.

As a necessary qualifier, actual real life tends toward shades of gray far more than black and white. Undoubtedly elements of corruption and evil lurk behind all the most powerful nations in both the West and the East. But the forces of China and Russia appear to be seeking a far more rational, humane and even peaceful resolution to the West-instigated West vs. East geopolitical military showdown sinisterly orchestrated by the international crime cabal’s global agenda of polarization, militarization, privatization and unsustainable, insurmountable debt-driven feudalism based on pure theft, deception, exploitation, impoverishment and pervasive planetary destruction.

Seeking to avoid the inevitable bloodbath that would result from world war and possible nuclear annihilation of all life forms on earth, the East appears to be seeking to avert such global disaster by ensuring that this ongoing war is won by successfully transitioning to an international currency backed once again by the gold standard. The Western central banking cabal consisting of the Bank of England and other European central banks, America’s Federal Reserve Board, its World Bank and International Monetary Fund along with the Israeli-US government crime cabal all stand to ultimately be stripped of their absolute power that have the entire world drowning in debt, crushing destabilization and impoverished despair. But now a light at the end of the tunnel at least is shining a little brighter.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/.

Marijuana: Legalize―Don’t Advertise

March 18th, 2015 by William John Cox

The War on Drugs has proven to be a monstrous mistake resulting in the waste of a trillion dollars and the shameful criminal conviction and incarceration of thousands of Americans. While the end to drug prohibition may not be entirely possible, the more limited movement to decriminalize the use and possession of marijuana is gaining momentum. Those who support ending drug prohibition, but continue to believe drug use is harmful, have the responsibility to find ways to avoid the advertising and promotion of legalized marijuana.  

Given the ways of capitalism and the greed of corporate America, how long will it be before highway billboards, radio and television advertisements, and Internet pop-up ads begin to promote the latest and best in marijuana products? “This bud’s for you” will take on a whole new meaning.

The American people have learned that the prohibition of intoxicating liquor only led to the glorification of drinking and criminality. Experience has also shown that education and reasonable regulation has led to a substantial reduction in the use of tobacco products. Both of these substances remain readily available and are widely advertised. What’s wrong with this picture?

Even though a society may come to believe the prohibition and criminalization of a product is not the best way to confront the problems it causes, does not mean it should also roll over and allow the product to be promoted. Just because people can legally purchase something does not mean it is necessarily good for them. Products such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana can become habituating and addicting, causing harm to individuals who are enticed by advertising to crave them.

It may be that one small glass of red wine a day can help reduce the risk of heart disease, or that a couple of tokes of marijuana may relieve the pain of some diseases, encourage the appetite of someone suffering from cancer, or perhaps even prevent cancer. Unrestrained recreational use of these substances will, however, lead to harmful consequences in many people who consume them. While warning labels on cigarette packs and cautions to drink responsibly may provide some benefit, warnings are not as effective as avoiding advertising the product in the first place.

Members of the alcohol industry spend billions of dollars each year in an attempt to secure their market share of the lucrative business. The expenditure exposes young people to thousands of television and magazine ads each year, many of which target this impressionable audience.

Advertising by the tobacco industry exceeds that of the liquor industry, amounting to more than $15 billion per year. The money is ostensibly spent to secure brand and customer loyalty, but it also attracts new users, as older ones die off or learn to stop abusing their bodies with tobacco. With tobacco use killing almost six million people each year, the World Health Organization has called on all countries to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

The First Amendment provides the right of free speech, and this right has been extended to corporations that make money supplying these legal, albeit risky and inherently dangerous products. The public also requires truthful and factual information in making decisions regarding the purchase and use of the products. Advertising hype is not designed to supply that need.

Can the public protect itself from being misled by the promotion and advertising of inherently harmful products it chooses to not criminalize? Answering that question requires an understanding of the difference between ideological and commercial speech.

There is a difference between a well-researched and balanced article discussing the benefits of a glass of wine each evening or the medical uses of marijuana, and paid commercial advertising depicting the glamour of drinking or touting a marijuana product that provides the greatest high this side of Colorado. Requiring marijuana products to be sold in plain brown paper bags is not the same as allowing pot to be peddled in a psychedelic package. 

 As late as 1942, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment posed no “restraint on Government as respects purely commercial advertising.” In doing so, the Court said there was a difference between ideological (harm versus benefits) and commercial (advertising) speech.

The issue was reconsidered by the Court in 1976 regarding a Virginia statute that restricted pharmacies from advertising their prices, as being unprofessional conduct. In overruling the statute, the Court said, “If there is a right to advertise there is a reciprocal right to receive such advertising.” The opinion did, however, allow for some circumstances, such as false and deceptive advertising, in which commercial speech could be restricted.

Four years later, the Court expanded on its ruling by finding that commercial speech could be protected “from unwarranted governmental regulation” if it “protects not only the speaker but also assists consumers and furthers the societal interest in the fullest possible dissemination of information.”

The Supreme Court went on to decide that Rhode Island could not entirely ban liquor price advertising, nor could the Federal Communications Commission ban casino advertising in states where gambling is legal. The Court left it up to the speaker and the audience to “assess the value of accurate and nonmisleading information about lawful conduct.”

The Supreme Court looks to the legislative intent of Congress whenever it reviews the constitutionality of a law. In doing so, the Court  starts with a “strong presumption of validity” in favor of the policy judgments that led to the legislation. Thus, it is essential that congressional deliberations justify its choice of policy alternatives, based on evidence it considered.

Given the several sides of the issue, could Congress find it better policy to prohibit the advertising of inherently harmful products, instead of outlawing the actual product? The fact that a deliberate decision is made to deal with a social problem by means other than the criminal justice system could well justify a policy to disallow its being advertised and promoted.

Let us assume Congress decided it was not in the best interests of society for the criminal justice system to deal with the sale, purchase, possession or use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana products. Congress could also find that it was equally in the public interest that manipulative advertising should not be allowed to tempt people into purchasing the products.

In arriving at these decisions, Congress could hold hearings and consider the factual evidence weighing on the issues. It would not be unreasonable for Congress to conclude that consumption of these products is inherently more harmful, than beneficial, to individual users and society in general. Effective prevention of use in a balanced system of justice can rely on prohibiting advertising of a product, rather than prohibiting its sale and possession.

Although it is difficult to imagine, Congress might find the political courage to actually represent the voters and resist the inevitable lobbying campaign by the industries involved, including the mass media that profits from advertising. Constitutional legislation could be passed prohibiting the advertising and promotion of inherently dangerous products.

Would such a law benefit American society? The government would not punish people for their personal choice to indulge in potentially harmful products, it would just prevent the producers of the products from inducing them to do so. Wine would still be available for those wanting to sip their glass a day to keep the doctor away, but young people would not be enticed to chug the latest sugar-laced wine coolers.

Essentially, the advertising and promotion of risky products are inherently false and misleading, even if they truthfully list price differences and promote brand logos. Consumers may think products are safe, if the government allows them to be advertised. Why should anything requiring a warning label be advertised?

Once the concept is established that it is better to disallow advertising of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana products rather than to criminalize their sale, purchase, possession or consumption, there are other similar products Congress might want to consider for inclusion.

Should gambling, including state-sponsored lotteries, be advertised to compulsive gamblers and the poor, who can least afford the risk? Should prescription drugs be directly marketed to patients, especially for off-label use? Should video games, movies and music containing adult-level violence be marketed to children? Should hard-core, particularly violent, pornography, be advertised at all?

It remains to be seen whether corporations should have any constitutional rights, particularly First Amendment rights of free speech and commercial advertising. But for now, a good first step would be to prohibit inherently harmful advertising from all sources.

The best time to restrict or eliminate the advertising of marijuana is when the initial decision is being made to legalize the product, before it achieves legal status and becomes entrenched in the marketplace.

William John Cox is a retired prosecutor and public interest lawyer who writes on political, policy and social matters.

As an addendum to yesterday’s writing, today we should tie together the new alliances and what appears to be Western defections toward the East.  Just overnight, Australia also applied for membership to the AIIB, a U.S. rebuke is sure to follow, who is next?  With this in mind, it is my belief the Chinese will be the key player in the gold market and the “pricing” of gold in the future.  In turn they will gain even more financial strength because of the massive amounts they have already accumulated.  As a side note, do you believe it is by mistake China is now the largest gold producer in the world?  I think not.  I will give you my theory first, then work my way toward supporting it.

Very simply, I believe China will fare poorly when the paper and derivatives markets around the world collapse.  They have a very over levered real estate market to which many of their banks and “shadow banks” have lent to and have exposure.  Their real economy and manufacturing will suffer as global demand drops further because of economic depression.  It won’t be “pretty” but they will survive and eventually thrive.  Why?  Because undoubtedly, China is working toward the yuan becoming “a” reserve currency and given time, “the” reserve currency.  My theory is this, China, even though they are probably willing and plan to eventually re mark gold much higher than where it trades today, will be FORCED to mark gold higher to re liquefy or re capitalize their banking system.  This is not groundbreaking thought as gold has been marked higher in past monetary episodes in order to re capitalize treasuries and banking systems.  It also had the side effects of generating some inflation and kick starting the economy.  It is in a parallel fashion to this which I believe China will ultimately be forced into.

As you know, Britain (and Australia) has applied to become a charter member of the AIIB.  No matter what is given as reason, this is simply their recognition of where the future is headed and the Brits wanting to be allied with the winner in a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” type of move.  Britain must first clear the hurdle of being accepted.  China has introduced them but they must be ratified by the various founding countries.  I find this intriguing because of the potential motivations for either a yes or a no vote.  Does Britain bring much to the table other than reputation or the fact they are the number one U.S. ally changing their allegiance?  If Britain is accepted, they will merely be a “feather” in the East’s cap.  A no vote would be quite embarrassing because Britain has now shown their hand and intent, …only deemed to be “not good enough”?  A very bad place to be if you asked me.

Why am I even bringing Britain’s application up?  Because I believe it is a timing thing.  The East, obviously led by China is beginning a new “fix” to challenge London’s and they are also beginning a new cash and carry metals exchange which will challenge COMEX and LBMA.  Maybe “challenge” is the wrong the word.  Better said would be to make these two exchanges “obsolete”.  What will happen if (when) China’s physical exchange prices metal higher than the paper exchanges?  “Arbitrage” will happen and the Western vaults will be cleaned out, that’s what!  I hate to state the obvious but how do you have a “business”, in this case an exchange, if you have no product?  For Britain to make application now and against direct “orders” from the U.S., at this point in time, tells me something is changing and it may now be coming to a head.

Whether or not the timing of the East beginning new exchanges and pricing, along with their own alternate clearing system and global bank is “cause” can be debated.  Have they timed it with the demise of the overleveraged system of the West?  Or will the alternative systems themselves pull the rug out from under the dollar and all that goes with it?  It really does not matter.  As I wrote above, China will not go unscathed and will be defaulted on in many instances and will also watch as much of their internal leverage defaults.

It is the nature of defaults that leads me to my theory of China revaluing gold higher whether they want to or not.  It will be their natural, if not ONLY choice.  I don’t believe they will have any other choice even though they have been preparing for many years, simply because they have played and are playing in the paper game.  They have built a manufacturing base the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Fords would marvel at in both size and technology.  They have built new infrastructure and even new cities preparing for “something”.  During this “build out”, China has also amassed more gold than the U.S. even claims to have.  It is my contention China has done all of this because they understand the end game.  They understand the dollar game fully. They have known ever since and even before 1971 the rules were “never pay” or settle as the key component.

Think this through, clearly default of nearly everything paper is coming.  If you don’t agree with this or cannot see it then my theory is useless to you.  If you can see this, and the Chinese surely do based on their actions, what is the plan?  Just as has always been done in the past many times, their “treasury” will require a MUCH higher gold price to rebuild their base from.  With much of everything paper defaulted on (and including “to” the Chinese), there will by necessity need to be a restart button pushed.  China’s gold will serve this function.  As with Exter’s pyramid I recently showed you, a new pyramid will begin to build …using China’s gold as a foundation.

Revaluing their gold hoard has many advantages and zero disadvantages as I see it.  Their treasury coffers will swell, their currency will begin to enjoy the fruits of reserve status and along with this, they will enjoy new found power.  We will witness not only the greatest transfer of wealth in all of history, along with this will come a transfer of power, financial power.  When China revalues gold higher, this will serve several functions beyond the obvious of devaluing their currency against it.  For those countries not holding gold, a very long and arduous financial time will follow.  By marking the price up, they will be making any accumulation or “catch up” plans very difficult.  Another aspect is from the very micro standpoint of gold being priced too high for the average citizen to buy much if any.  For China to do this makes perfect sense.  They take the lead and the power while making it difficult for anyone to catch up to them for possibly several hundred years …which is exactly how they think.  The West has clearly forgotten the old saying about gold and those making the rules, I believe China will be forced to invoke it!

There was nothing ordinary about the Abid Naseer trial, which was a proceeding that gave off different fumes and smells depending on the audience.  After September 11, 2001, terror trials became something of a carnival, with manipulated legal whispers and stretched suggestions as to how best to net suspects. Naseer, a Pakistani national, claimed that the voluminous chat sessions with his supposed co-conspirators via the Qiran.com site were entirely based on seeking a rather innocent target: a suitable wife.[1] The prosecutors claimed, on the contrary, that he wished to cause catastrophic mayhem to a mall in Manchester and the New York subway – with the help of associates.

Writing in Lawfare, Diane Webber asked the question why Naseer found himself being convicted in a Brooklyn Federal Court on March 4.  The “saga,” as Webber termed it, “has an additional strange element underlying the whole case: Naseer was apparently convicted in the wrong country, and was extradited from the country where his crime took place to take trial there.”[2]

The troubling feature, and one that has characterised the seemingly fluid nature court proceedings have been launched after September 11, 2001, lies in glaring procedural problems. The UK authorities found themselves unable to prosecute Naseer due to taxing evidentiary standards.  The Crown Prosecution Service, as Webber notes, has to have sufficient evidence to support what is deemed a “realistic prospect of conviction”.

In the somewhat more mangled words of the Crown Prosecution Service, “The Code requires that in order for a prosecution to take place, there must be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction, meaning that a conviction is more likely than not.”[3]  It was easier, in fact, to extradite the suspect to the US, which requires the somewhat lower standard of probable cause that the suspect perpetrated the offence.  Hence the absurd spectacle of MI5 agents dressed in wigs and wearing make-up in a US court session (BBC News, Feb 24).

As a CPS spokesperson explained, using words that should make civil liberty advocates shriek with dismay, “The evidence in our possession in relation to Abid Naseer which would have been admissible in a criminal court was very limited.”[4]  The spokesperson proceeds to show how utterly hopeless the prosecution case was to begin with, a notable point given that Naseer’s activities had supposedly taken place on British soil.  “Crucially, there was no evidence of training, research or the purchasing of explosives.”  Nor did the prosecutors have “evidence of an agreement between Abid Naseer and others which would have supported a charge of conspiracy in this country.”

Naseer was not prosecuted, as he should have been had the case been viable, in a British court, suggesting that a bit of judicial outsourcing goes a long way.  (We have seen it in the context of allies who happily allow their own nationals to be tried and convicted in foreign jurisdictions for ease of effort.)  The result was a legal feast of absurd efforts to keep Naseer under some form of lock and key.

Deportation was sought on grounds that the Pakistani national’s presence would pose a threat to national security, in other words, conducive to the public good.  Naseer appealed, with the Special Immigration Appeals Commission affirming (May 18, 2010) the view that he did constitute a serious threat, but could not deport him to Pakistan, where he faced a real risk of illegal detention, disappearance or torture.[5]  In the damning words of Mr Justice Mitting, “There is a long and well-documented history [in Pakistan] of disappearances, illegal detention and of the torture and ill-treatment of those detained, usually to produce information, a confession or compliance” (para 32).

The release of Naseer then brought US authorities into play, who sought his extradition for purported roles in bomb plots linked to targets in the UK, Norway and the US.  The British prosecution team did not seem to concern itself with seeing the extradition documents to begin with, and the District Judge at Westminster Magistrates Court in London duly approved the US request.  “The CPS lawyers that decide on a domestic prosecution do not see the papers submitted by the American extradition request or vice versa.”  Is there any wonder, then, that individuals domiciled or resident in the UK might feel a certain concern that they might be shipped off to the wonders of US penal justice?

As if perceiving the local British rules to be a failure of prosecutorial discretion, it became essential that American partners would charge to the rescue.  Justice is such a malleable, elastic creature.  As the CPS itself noted, the Scott Baker Review of 2012 gave a clean bill of health to the UK’s extradition arrangements with the US.  They were “fair” and “balanced”.

The evidence adduced at the trial provided glazed terror pundits, overly engaged security voyeurs, and virtually everybody else with a range of striking impressions.  For one thing, the famed incompetence of the CIA was again on show – the result of material found by the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in Pakistan.  The documents produced at Naseer’s trial do make for interesting reading about al-Qaeda’s struggle with the drone campaign, but they make no mention of the Pakistani national.[6]

The documents also show how money ended up being used by Afghan authorities to recover a diplomat in the custody of al-Qaeda authorities.[7]  The price for Abdul Khaliq Farahi, Afghanistan’s future ambassador to Pakistan, was a healthy $5 million.  But Kabul deemed it a bit rich.  This resulted in a raid on a CIA bank account used in remunerating Hamid Karzai for various expenses.  (Karzai was hardly a stranger to being in US clover.)  “Allah blessed us with a good amount of money this month,” claimed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman in a letter to bin Laden.  Given the loss of recruits and personnel via drone strikes, the money would enable the organisation to make a few more purchases.

The bounty of evidence, and the subsequent verdict, was hardly the end of it for Naseer.  A few days after his initial conviction, the bemused Pakistani had to be reconvicted.  The reason for this double conviction: no court stenographer was present at the original verdict.  “Due to my inadvertence,” claimed an inattentive Federal Judge Raymond Dearie, “we took the verdict without the reporter.  We have a need to comply with the rule and create a record.”  In its usual language, the New York Daily vengefully noted how, “Two days after it was discovered that no stenographer was present when Naseer’s verdict was taken, the jury forewoman returned to the courtroom Friday to confirm the terrorist thug was indeed found guilty of all three counts.”[8]  The terrorist thug must have been well and truly bemused by the wonders of Anglo-American justice.

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

Cracks In Washington’s Empire

March 18th, 2015 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Washington’s EU vassals might be finding their backbone. Britain, Germany, France, and Italy are reported to have defied Washington’s orders and applied to join the Chinese-led Asian Investment Bank. Australia, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Luxembourg might also join.

Washington uses its development banks such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, along with the IMF, in order to exercise financial and political hegemony. These banks are crucial elements of American economic and political imperialism.

The Chinese-led bank will, of course, be much more effective. The Chinese will use the bank to actually help countries and thereby make friends and grow trust, whereas Washington uses its banks for domination by force.

This new bank, together with the BRICS Bank, will provide countries with escape routes from Washington’s domination.

The Evil Empire is beginning to crack. It will crack more as the Russian-Chinese alliance unfolds its potentials and when European capitals understand that hegemonic Washington has put their existence at risk in order to try to prevent Russia’s rise. The crazed American and British neocon nazis, and their dupes among the populations, comprise the greatest human threat that the world has ever known. The sooner the Evil Empire collapses, the safer the world will be.

Here is the report:

http://thebricspost.com/eu-allies-defy-us-to-join-china-led-asian-bank/#.VQe4BCkRW-M

In early 2014 there were unusual news stories about Gallup’s end-of-2013 polling because after polling in 65 countries with the question “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” the overwhelming winner had been the United States of America.

Had Gallup then conducted a poll on whether Gallup would ever ask that question again, I’m willing to bet large numbers would have said no. And thus far they would have been right. But Gallup managed to ask some other good questions, almost certainly by accident as well, in its end-of-2014 polling, revealing something else about the United States and militarism.

Curiously, Gallup’s end-of-2014 polling managed to ask a lot more questions — 32 instead of 6 and even squeezed in one on whether people wash their hands after using the bathroom — so the threat-to-peace question wasn’t dropped for lack of space.

In both the 2013 and the 2014 polling, the first question is whether people think the next year will be better than the last, the second whether their country’s economy will do well, and the third whether the person is happy. This sort of fluff is odd, because Gallup advertises the polling with this quote from Dr. George H. Gallup: “If democracy is supposed to be based on the will of the people, then somebody should go out and find out what that will is.” So, what policies do the people want? Who the hell can tell from this sort of questioning?

By question 4 of those questions made public, the 2013 and 2014 polls diverge. Here’s what was asked in 2013:

  • If there were no barrier to living in any country of the world, which country would you like to live in?
  • If politicians were predominantly women, do you believe the world would in general be a better place, a worse place or no different?
  • Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?

And that’s it. There’s nothing like Should your government invest more or less in militarism? or Should your government expand or reduce support for fossil fuels? or Does your government imprison too many or too few people? or Do you favor greater or less public investment in education? The questions Gallup asks are supposed to produce fluff. What happened is that the last question ended up producing a substantive response by accident. When the rest of the world declared the United States the greatest threat to peace (the people of the United States gave Iran that designation) it amounted to a recommendation to the U.S. government, namely that it stop launching so many wars.

We can’t have that! Polling is supposed to be fun and diverting!

Here are the remaining questions from the end of 2014:

  • Compared to this year, do you think that 2015 will be a more peaceful year freer of international dispute, remain the same or a troubled year with more international discord?

What a great polling question, if you don’t want to learn anything! Any discord is equated with the opposite of peace, i.e. war, and people are asked for a baseless prediction, not a policy preference.

  • If there were a war that involved [your country’s name] would you be willing to fight for your country?

This reduces respondents from citizen sovereigns to cannon fodder. It’s not “Should your country seek out more wars?” but “Would you be willing to commit murder on behalf of your country in an unspecified war for an unstated purpose?” And again, Gallup accidentally revealed something here, but let’s come back to that after listing the rest of the questions (feel free to just skim the list).

  • Do you feel that elections in [your country’s name] are free and fair?
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: [your country’s name] is ruled by the will of the people.
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Democracy may have problems but it is the best system of government.
  • Which of the following is more important to you: your continent, your nationality, your local county/state/province/city, your religion, your ethnic group, or none of these?
  • Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?
  • How sympathetic or unsympathetic would you say you feel toward those who come to your country for the following reason: lack of political or religious freedom in their country?
  • How sympathetic or unsympathetic would you say you feel toward those who come to your country for the following reason: to join their family who are already in the country?
  • How sympathetic or unsympathetic would you say you feel toward those who come to your country for the following reason: fleeing persecution in their country?
  • How sympathetic or unsympathetic would you say you feel toward those who come to your country for the following reason: wanting a better life?
  • How sympathetic or unsympathetic would you say you feel toward those who come to your country for the following reason: escaping sexual or gender discrimination?
  • How sympathetic or unsympathetic would you say you feel toward those who come to your country for the following reason: escaping war or armed conflict?
  • Overall do you think globalization is a good thing, bad thing, or neither good nor bad for the USA?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Judges?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Journalists?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Politicians?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Business people?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Military?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Healthcare workers?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Police?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Teachers?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Bankers?
  • Do you trust or distrust the following groups of people: Religious leaders?
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statement: We should not allow corrupt foreign politicians and business people to spend their proceeds from corruption in my country.
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statement: The Government is effective at preventing corrupt politicians and business people from spending their proceeds from corruption in my country.
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statement: The Government should require companies to publish the real names of their shareholders and owners.
  • How strongly do you feel that your mobile device (including mobile phone and other hand held devices) enhances your quality of life?
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statement: Washing my hands with soap after going to the toilet is something I automatically do.

Now, something interesting might be gathered from any of these questions, even the soap one. It’s interesting that in religiosity the United States resembles the places it wages war on, as opposed to the places its military is allied with which have virtually no use for religion. And the questions on corrupt investment and shareholder transparency almost seem like policy questions, although the predictably one-sided responses give them a dog-bites-man non-news quality.

Which Nations’ Populations Are Most Accepting of More Wars?

This question is quite interesting because of the answers given around the world: “If there were a war that involved [your country’s name] would you be willing to fight for your country?” Now, if your country were under attack or recently under attack or threatened with attack, that might, I suppose, lead you toward a yes answer. Or if you trusted your government not to launch offensive wars, that too — I’m guessing — might lead you toward a yes answer. But the United States routinely launches wars that, before long, a majority of its population says shouldn’t have been launched. What percentage of Americans will nonetheless say they’re theoretically willing to join in any war whatsoever?

Of course, the question is a bit vague. What if “a war that involved the United States” were taken to mean the actual United States and not the affairs of its government thousands of miles away? Or what if “fight for your country” were taken to mean “fight in actual defense of your actual country”? Obviously such interpretations would add to the yes answers. But such interpretations would require serious distance from reality; those aren’t the kind of wars that are waged by the United States. And very clearly people who answered this survey in some other parts of the world tended not to use such an interpretation. Or even if they understood the question to involve an attack on their nation, they did not see war as a viable response worthy of their participation.

In Italy 68 percent of Italians polled said they would NOT fight for their country, while 20 percent said they would. In Germany 62 percent said they would not, while 18 percent said they would. In the Czech Republic, 64 percent would not fight for their country, while 23 percent would. In the Netherlands, 64 percent would not fight for their country, while 15 percent would. In Belgium, 56 percent would not, while 19 percent would. Even in the UK, 51 percent would not participate in a UK war, while 27 percent would. In France, Iceland, Ireland, Spain, and Switzerland, more people would refuse to be part of a war than would agree. The same goes for Australia and Canada. In Japan only 10 percent would fight for their country.

What about the United States? Despite waging the greatest number of most baseless and most costly wars, the United States manages 44 percent claiming a willingness to fight and 31 percent refusing. By no means is that the world record. Israel is at 66 percent ready to fight and 13 percent not. Afghanistan is at 76 to 20. Russia, Sweden, Finland, and Greece are all ready to fight with strong majorities. Argentina and Denmark have ties between those who would fight and those who would not.

But look at the incredible contrast in the two places I’ve lived, for example: the United States and Italy. Italians clearly view it as largely unacceptable to say you would participate in a war. The United States has 44 percent saying that despite the destruction of Iraq, despite the chaos brought to Libya, despite the misery added to Afghanistan’s lot, despite the destabilization of Yemen, despite the costs even to the aggressor and despite the world believing the United States to be the greatest threat to peace on earth, those 44 percent at least feel obliged to claim they would participate in an unspecified war.

Are those 44 percent rushing to the recruitment offices to get trained up and be ready? Luckily, no. It’s just a poll, and we all know how Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly would have answered it, but even lies told in polls reflect cultural preferences. The fact is that there is a sizable minority in the United States that has never believed any of its recent wars were crimes or blunders, never questioned trillion dollar military spending, and never desired a world without war in it. Trying to explain that to people from the Netherlands can be like trying to explain why Americans don’t want healthcare. The gap is wide, and I thank Gallup for accidentally revealing it.

Further study is needed to find the roots of the relative degrees of militarism revealed.

Who Owns the Media?

March 18th, 2015 by Information Clearing House

Massive corporations dominate the U.S. media landscape. Through a history of mergers and acquisitions, these companies have concentrated their control over what we see, hear and read.   

Camouflaging the reality of elite domination with rhetorical sleight of hand techniques and symbol manipulation has catapulted Barack Obama over Ronald Reagan as the new “great communicator.” And while this privileging of style over substance is not new in bourgeois politics, Obama’s ability to demobilize opposition from the left sets him apart and is becoming a model for liberal accommodationist parties.

This version of Trojan horse politics is being deployed by the Zionist Union (ZU) in Israel in both its domestic campaigning and international public relations. Led by Isaac Herzog, the ZU, with its political and social base in the Israeli Labor Party, appears to have been successful in constructing a narrative that the ZU is a more moderate and reasonable change from the polarizing and pugnacious policies of Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party. With liberal Zionist money pouring into Israel from throughout the Jewish diaspora and a resuscitation of the public relations stunt called the two-state solution, the ZU became the party of “hope and change” for many Israelis fed-up with Netanyahu’s alienating style – sound familiar?

Of course Isaac Herzog is no Obama and the public relations challenge is even more daunting for the Israeli elite when the reality of Israel’s existence as a “Zionist state” depends on the political subordination of its Palestinian citizens, a rejection of the right to return for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled for their lives in 1948, and the colonization of more and more of the “officially recognized” occupied territories in Palestine.

Gideon Levy points out:

“While Netanyahu’s insistence on Israel’s continued ruling over millions of Palestinians is expressed in aggressive, often religious and nationalistic language, Herzog’s justifications for doing the same thing would sound much softer and easier to digest in the Western world.”

The shift that liberal Zionism is attempting to effect with its support for the ZU is merely at the level of perception. On the substantive and essentially colonialist issues, the historic positions of the Israeli Labor Party – and now of Herzog and the Zionist Union – do not depart significantly from the positions of Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

On the issue of settlements, one of the main issues that has continually undermined agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, Herzog and the ZU have not committed to building new settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank but have expressed support for expansion in existing settlement projects. For Palestinians expanding settlements or new settlements both translate into more territory lost to the Israeli state.

On the right of return for the more than 700,000 Palestinian refugees displaced in the war of 1948, Herzog is clear: “No right of return for the Palestinians to Israel in any way.” And on the issue of Jerusalem and the desire for a contiguous Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, Herzog and the ZU have not strayed away from the historic positions of the Labor Party or of Likud that “for Zionism to prevail and to succeed we must make sure that Gush Etzion and Maaleh Adumim (settlements that disconnect Jerusalem from the West Bank and make a contiguous Palestinian state almost impossible) will be part of Israel forever.

The consistency of the Zionist Union with the Zionist policies since 1948 should not be surprising. After all, they named it Zionist Union for a reason! However, there are many people in the U.S. and Western Europe who need to believe that the ZU represents some significant change in the Zionist project. This particular affliction emanates from an inability to accept that the Zionist project is a colonial project in which the appropriation of Palestinian land and the subordination and repression of Palestinian people and the denial of authentic self-determination is an inevitable by- product.

But for Palestinians there is no escape from the oppressive reality of Israeli occupation and the systematic denial of fundamental human rights. It is a lived reality. It is lived in Gaza where Palestinians live in the blasted ruins of what were once their homes, shivering through the winter without adequate food, water, and the basic material needs of life. It is lived by the 1.4 million Palestinians living as second-class citizens in Israel and discriminated against in every sector of life, and it is lived by the millions of stateless, de-humanized, and degraded Palestinians living the hell of military occupation.

And while some Palestinians in Israel are participating in the electoral process, others decry the elections as an unprincipled “normalization” of the occupation. For those Palestinians, the elections are seen as a macabre joke.

Like the bait and then switch policies of the Obama era in the U.S that promised liberal reforms but delivered neoliberal austerity and permanent war, liberalism in Israel does not offer Palestinians anything more than the continuation of the same, except the added and more nefarious consequence that with a “liberal” Zionist Union in power there will be less international mobilization against the policies of occupation.

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

EU-US Power Play Behind Regime Change in Russia

March 18th, 2015 by Pepe Escobar

With “friends” like European Council President Donald Tusk and top NATO commander Gen. Philip Breedlove, the EU certainly doesn’t need enemies.

Gen. Breedhate has been spewing out his best Dr. Strangelove impersonation, warning that evil Russia is invading Ukraine on an everyday basis. The German political establishment is not amused.

Tusk, while meeting with US President Barack Obama, got Divide and Rule backwards; he insisted, “foreign adversaries” were trying to divide the US and the EU – when it’s actually the US that is trying to divide the EU from Russia. And right on cue, he blamed Russia — side by side with the fake Caliphate of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

Tusk’s way out? The EU should sign the US corporate-devised racket known as Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), or NATO on trade. And then the “West” will rule forever.

NATO may indeed incarnate the ultimate geopolitical/existential paradox; an alliance that exists to manage the chaos it breeds.

And still, revolving around NATO, there are many more diversionist tactics than meet the eye. Take the latest uttering by notorious Russophobe Dr. Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski. In a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dr. Zbig advanced that the US and Russia should have an understanding that if Ukraine becomes a member of the EU, it won’t become a member of NATO.

Well, dear Doctor, we got a problem. The EU has zero interest in incorporating a failed state on (immensely expensive) life support by the IMF, and technically mired in a civil war.

On the other hand the US has undivided interest in a Ukraine as NATO member; that’s the whole rationale of the relentless post-Maidan demonization of Russia.

Call it the Dr. Zbig maneuver; neo-con wishful thinking; what certain key Empire of Chaos/Masters of the Universe factions would die for; or all of the above; the ultimate target is regime change and dismemberment of Russia. Russian intelligence knows all about the inside story.

To forestall it, there would be only one possible settlement, including; end of sanctions on Russia; end of the raid on the ruble/oil price war; eastern European nations out of NATO; Crimea recognized as part of Russia; eastern Ukraine totally autonomous but still part of Ukraine.

We all know this won’t happen anytime soon – if ever. So a nasty Cold War 2.0 atmosphere is bound to prevail – alongside with relentless demonization reaping its benefits. A new Gallup poll shows most Americans now see Russia – ahead of North Korea, China and Iran – as the US’s public enemy number one and the greatest threat to the West.

Let Me Take You on a Missile Cruise

The Empire of Chaos dream of regime change in Russia has always hinged on controlling large swathes of Eurasia. A puppet in Moscow – a carbon copy of the drunken stooge Yeltsin – would free up Russia’s immense natural resources for the West, with those from the contiguous Central Asian “stans” as a bonus.

If on the other hand Russia maintains its influence, even indirectly, in Ukraine and on Central Asia’s oil and natural gas wealth, Moscow is capable of projecting itself again as a superpower. So once again this is largely about the domination of Eurasian Pipelineistan; anything else means a direct threat to the unipolar world.

Russian intelligence is very much aware of relentless US pressure geared to breaking parts off of Russia, weakening them, until Russia becomes a chaos wasteland not dissimilar to Iraq or Yemen – with natural resources then flowing freely to the West.

That’s why the pressure has been ratcheted up to nearly nuclear war proportions. Some adults in the EU though are starting to get the picture.

The EU simply does not have the funds to really invest in the Central Asian stans, or to pump billions of (devalued) euros into pipelines through Azerbaijan. Libya, Nigeria and the Middle East (from Iraq to Yemen) are a mess. The EU has no energy security in the Middle East and North Africa, and without Russia will have no energy security at all.

This set of circumstances unveils the specter of Cold War 2.0 turning hot as even more bewildering. Needless to add, Poland, Ukraine, and other hapless Eastern Europeans would be mere pawns if a full-blown civil war does break out in Ukraine – the explicit aim of that American fantasyland, the Kaganate of Nulands, or Nulandistan.

In a – admittedly terrifying — war scenario, Russia would seal eastern Ukraine airspace against US air power using an array of sophisticated defensive missiles. Tactical nuclear weapons would be used for the first time. Europe would be basically defenseless as NATO’s Dr. Strangeloves would be tempted to launch a full-scale nuclear war. Still, NATO’s ICBMs, cruise missiles and jet fighters would not pierce the S-400 and S-500 Russian defensive missile systems.

Provoking the Russian bear is a self-defeating proposition. Russia quitting the landmark Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe is really serious business; NATO is beyond alarmed. Not to mention Moscow announcing it has the right to place — and may even have placed — nuclear weapons in Crimea. Meanwhile the Russian military continue to test NATO’s defenses by flying their planes into NATO’s defensive perimeter.

Eurasia swings from one minute to another from reconciliation to provocation. Cui bono? Moscow is a master in keeping Washington and NATO guessing.

Watch That Lady Sing

It was Putin that first wanted, years ago, to create a vast trade emporium from Lisbon to Vladivostok, also including China, using high-speed rail to avoid the US-controlled seas. That was the trade-fuelled original plan, rather than a China-Russia alliance against NATO.

What the Empire of Chaos achieved in Ukraine, at least for now, was to divide Eurasia into three competing blocks; Germany-France allied with the US (but with both now having second thoughts); Russia; and China offset by Japan. Once again, that’s Divide and Rule — with the US as perpetual hegemon always capable of adapting and tweaking its proverbial bomb-and-bully foreign policy strategy.

Yet it ain’t over till the fat (geopolitical) lady sings. The Russia-China strategic partnership keeps evolving – check out the upcoming BRICS and SCO summits in Russia this summer. The oil and natural gas wealth of Russia and Central Asia will keep performing their U-turn towards China and Asia. And in a few years the “Exceptionalists Rule the Waves” mantra will cease to be a game-changer.

Regime change? Keep dreaming.

Pepe Escobar’s latest book is “Empire of Chaos”. Follow him on Facebook.

With the situation in the Middle East seemingly spinning out of control, many political observers are left wondering what it all means. The war in Syria has been at the forefront of the news since 2011, and rightly so, as Syria has become the epicenter of a larger regional conflict, particularly with the ascendance of ISIS in the last year.

Undoubtedly, the mainstream acceptance of the ISIS threat has changed the strategic calculus vis-à-vis Syria, as the US prepares to launch yet another open-ended war, ostensibly to defeat it. And, while many in the West are willing to buy the ISIS narrative and pretext for war, they do so with little understanding or recognition of the larger geopolitical contours of this conflict. Essentially, almost everyone ignores the fact that ISIS and Syria-Iraq is only one theater of conflict in the broader regional war being waged by the US-NATO-GCC-Israel axis. Also of vital importance is an understanding of the proxy war against Iran (and all Shia in the region), being fomented by the very same terror and finance networks that have spread the ISIS disease in Syria.

In attempting to unravel the complex web of relations between the terror groups operating throughout the region, important commonalities begin to emerge. Not only are many of these groups directly or tangentially related to each other, their shadowy connections to western intelligence bring into stark relief an intricate mosaic of terror that is part of a broader strategy of sectarianism designed to destroy the “Axis of Resistance” which unites Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. In so doing, these terror groups and their patrons hope to internationalize the war in Syria, and its destructive consequences.

Terrorism as a Weapon in Syria and Iraq

In order to understand how these seemingly disparate groups fit into the regional destabilization, one must first recognize how they are connected both in terms of ideology and shared relationships. On the one hand you have the well known terror outfits operating in the Syria-Iraq theater of this conflict. These would include the ubiquitous ISIS, along with its Al Qaeda-affiliated ally Jabhat Al-Nusra.

However, often left out of the western narrative is the fact that the so called “moderate rebels,” such as the Al Farouq Brigade and other similar groups affiliated with the “Free Syrian Army,” are also linked through various associations with a number of jihadi organizations in Syria and beyond. These alleged “moderates” have been documented as having committed a number of egregious war crimes including mutilation of their victims, and cross-border indiscriminate shelling. And these are the same “moderates” that the Obama Administration spent the last three years touting as allies, as groups worthy of US weapons, to say nothing of the recent revelations of cooperation with US air power. But of course US cooperation with these extremist elements is only the tip of the iceberg.

A recent UN report further corroborated the allegations that Israeli military and/or Mossad is cooperating with, and likely helping to organize, the Jabhat al-Nusra organization in and around the Golan Heights. Such claims of course dovetail with the reports from Israeli media that militant extremists fighting the Syrian government have been treated in Israeli medical facilities. Naturally, these clandestine activities carried out by Israel should be combined with the overt attacks on Syria carried out by Tel Aviv, including recent airstrikes, which despite the inaction of the UN and international community, undeniably constitute a war crime.

Beyond the US and Israel however, other key regional actors have taken part in the destabilization and war on Syria. Turkey has provided safe haven for terrorists streaming into Syria to wage war against the legally recognized government of President Assad. In cooperation with the CIA and other agencies, Turkey has worked diligently to foment civil war in Syria in hopes of toppling the Assad government, thereby allowing Ankara to elevate itself to a regional hegemon, or so the thinking of Erdogan and Davutoglu goes. Likewise, Jordan has provided training facilities for terrorists under the guidance and tutelage of “instructors” from the US, UK, and France.

But why rehash all these well-documented aspects of the destabilization and war on Syria? Simple. In order to fully grasp the regional dimension and global implications of this conflict, one must place the Syria war in its broader geopolitical context, and understand it as one part of a broader war on the “Axis of Resistance.” For, while Hezbollah and certain Iranian elements have been involved in the fighting and logistical support in Syria, another insidious threat has emerged – a renewed terror war against Iran in its Sistan and Baluchestan province in the east.

Rekindling the Proxy War against Iran

As the world’s attention has been understandably fixed upon the horrors of Syria, Iraq, and Libya, a new theater in the regional conflict has come to the forefront – Iran; specifically, Iran’s eastern Sistan and Baluchestan province, long a hotbed of separatism and anti-Shia terror, where a variety of terror groups have operated with the covert, and often overt, backing of western and Israeli intelligence agencies.

Just in the last year, there have been numerous attacks on Iranian military and non-military targets in the Sistan and Baluchestan region, attacks carried out by a variety of groups. Perhaps the most well known instance occurred in March 2014 when five Iranian border guards were kidnapped – one was later executed – by Jaish al-Adl which, according to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium is:

an extremist Salafi group that has since its foundation claimed responsibility for a series of operations against Iran’s domestic security forces and Revolutionary Guards operating in Sistan and Balochistan province, including the detonation of mines [link added] against Revolutionary Guards vehicles and convoys, kidnapping of Iranian border guards and attacks against military bases… Jaish al-Adl is also opposed to the Iranian Government’s active support of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which they regard as an attack on Sunni muslims…Jaish ul-Adl executes cross border operations between the border of Iran and Pakistan and is based in the Baluchistan province in Pakistan.

It is important to note the centrality of Iran’s support for Syria and the Syrian Arab Army (and of course Hezbollah) in the ideological framework of a group like Jaish al-Adl. Essentially, this terror group sees their war against the Iranian government as an adjunct of the war against Assad and Syria – a new front in a larger war. Of course, the sectarian aspect should not be diminished as this group, like its many terrorist cousins, makes no distinction between political and religious/sectarian divisions. A war on Iran is a war on Shia, and both are just, both are legitimate.

Similarly, the last 18 months have seen the establishment of yet another terror group known as Ansar al-Furqan – a fusion of the Balochi Harakat Ansar and Pashto Hizb al-Furqan, both of which had been operating along Iran’s eastern border with Pakistan. According to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium:

They characterize themselves as Mujahideen aginst [sic] the Shia government in Iran and are linked to Katibat al Asad Al ‘Ilamiya; Al-Farooq activists; al Nursra Front (JN), Nosrat Deen Allah, Jaysh Muhammad, Jaysh al ‘Adal; and though it was denied for some time, appears to have at least personal relationships with Jundallah…The stated mission of Ansar al Furqan is ” to topple the Iranian regime…”

Like its terrorist cousin Jaish al-Adl, Ansar al-Furqan has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks against the Iranian Government, including a May 2014 IED attack on a freight train belonging to government forces. While such attacks may not make a major splash in terms of international attention, they undoubtedly send a message heard loud and clear in Tehran: these terrorists and their sponsors will stop at nothing to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Two inescapable facts immediately come to the fore when examining these groups. On the one hand, they are Sunni extremists whose ultimate goal is the destruction of the Iranian state and all vestiges of Shia dominance, political, military or otherwise. On the other hand, these groups see their war against Iran as part and parcel of the terror wars on Syria and Iraq.

And then of course there’s Jundallah, the notorious terror organization lead for decades by the Rigi family. Anyone with even cursory knowledge of the group is undoubtedly aware of its long-standing ties to both US and Israeli intelligence. As Foreign Policy magazine reported in 2012, Israeli Mossad and US CIA operatives essentially competed with one another for control of the Jundallah network for years. This information of course directly links these agencies with the covert war against Iran going back years, to say nothing of the now well-known role of Israeli intelligence in everything from assassinations of Iranian scientists to the use of cyberweapons such as Stuxnet and Flame. These and other attacks by Israel and the US against Iranian interests constitute a major part of the dirty war against Iran – a war in which terror groups figure prominently.

It should be noted that a number of other terror outfits have been used through the decades in the ongoing “low-intensity” war against Iran, including the infamous Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a terrorist group hailed as heroes by the US neocon establishment. Thanks to Wikileaks, it also now documented fact that Israel has long since attempted to use Kurdish groups such as PJAK (Iraqi Kurdish terror group) to wage continued terror war against Iran for the purposes of destabilization of the government. Additionally, there was a decades-long campaign of Arab separatism in Iran’s western Khuzestan region spearheaded by British intelligence. As Dr. Kaveh Farrokh and Mahan Abedin wrote in 2005, “there is a mass of evidence that connects the British secret state to Arab separatism in Iran.”

These and other groups, too numerous to name here, represent a part of the voluminous history of subversion against Iran. But why now? What is the ultimate strategy behind these seemingly disparate geopolitical machinations?

Encircling the Resistance in Order to Break It

To see the obvious strategic gambit by the US-NATO-GCC-Israel axis, one need only look at a map of the major conflicts mentioned above. Syria has been infiltrated by countless terrorist groups that have waged a brutal war against the Syrian government and people. They have used Turkey in the North, Jordan in the South, and to a lesser degree Lebanon and, indirectly, Israel in the West. Working in tandem with the ISIS forces originating in Iraq, Syria has been squeezed from all sides in hopes that military defeat and/or the internal collapse of the Syrian government would be enough to destroy the country.

Naturally, this strategy has necessarily drawn Hezbollah into the war as it is allied with Syria and, for more practical reasons, cannot allow a defeated and broken Syria to come to fruition as Hezbollah would then be cut off from their allies in Iran. And so, Hezbollah and Syria have been forced to fight on no less than two fronts, fighting for the survival of the Resistance in the Levant.

Simultaneously, the regional power Iran has made itself into a central player in the war in Syria, recognizing correctly that the war could prove disastrous to its own security and regional ambitions. However, Tehran cannot simply put all its energy into supporting and defending Syria and Hezbollah as it faces its own terror threat in the East. The groups seeking to topple the Iranian government may not be able to compete militarily with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, but they can certainly create enough destabilization through terrorism to make it more difficult for Tehran to effectively aid in the fight in Syria.

The US-NATO-GCC-Israel alliance has not needed to put its own boots on the ground to achieve its strategic objectives. Instead, it is relying on irregular warfare, proxy terror wars, and small-scale destabilizations to achieve by stealth what it cannot achieve with military might alone.

But it remains paramount for all those interested in peace to make these connections, to understand the broad outlines of this vast covert war taking place. To see a war in Syria in isolation is to misunderstand its very nature. To see ISIS alone as the problem is to completely misread the essence of the conflict. This is a battle for regional hegemony, and in order to attain it, the Empire is employing every tool in the imperial toolkit, with terrorism being one of the most effective.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The appointment of Robert Malley as White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region is not considered a sufficient indicator that there will be any radical change in U.S. strategy despite the campaign launched against the U.S. by the Zionists due to its openness to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Syria and Iran.

On 6 March, President Barack Obama’s administration appointed Robert Malley, the former senior director of the National Security Council who dealt with the Iraqi, Iranian, and Gulf issues, and a member of the delegation negotiating the Iranian nuclear programme, as the Special White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf region. Malley is scheduled to assume his new position on 6 April, succeeding Philip Gordon.

Edward Abington, former U.S. consul general in occupied Jerusalem, described the lawyer specialised in “conflict resolution” as being an “American Jewish” and that his appointment is a “positive development”. He was also described by U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice as “one of our country’s most respected experts on the Middle East, since February 2014 Rob has played a critical role in forming our policy on Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf.”

However, the Zionist Organisation of America (ZOA) opposed the appointment of Malley for several reasons, stating that Malley is an “Israel-basher, advocate of U.S. recognition of major, unreconstructed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, and proponent of containment of Iran (i.e., not preventing them from attaining nuclear weapons) and proponent of negotiating with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad (i.e. not changing his regime).”

He also believes that working with the Muslim Brotherhood is “not a bad idea” and called Israel’s settlements located in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 “colonies”. He also called for abandoning the Road Map for Peace approved by the international Quartet in 2003 and replacing it with a comprehensive settlement plan to be imposed on the parties with the backing of the international community, including Arab and Muslim states. He did so before the Foreign Relations Committee in the U.S. Senate in 2004. He also continues to urge the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, Palestinian Authority and Hamas “to unite”.

Malley also called for “involving” Hamas in the PLO’s negotiations with the occupation, explaining his statement by saying that the PLO must include Hamas because it has become “antiquated, worn out, barely functioning, and is no longer considered the Palestinian people’s sole legitimate representative.” He also called for the resumption of negotiations between the Arabs and Israel ”on all levels on the basis of the Arab peace initiative.”

The ZOA did not fail to mention his father, Simon Malley who was born and worked in Egypt as a journalist for Al-Goumhouria newspaper before moving with his family to France and founding Afrique-Asie magazine. The ZOA said that Simon Malley was “a virulently anti-Israel member of the Egyptian Communist Party, a close confidante of Yasser Arafat, and an enthusiast for violent Third World ’liberation’ movements.” As for his mother, Barbara Malley, she worked with the United Nations delegation of the National Liberation Front (NLF), the Algerian independence group.

Robert Malley was Barack Obama’s colleague at Harvard Law School and a Middle East affairs adviser for his 2008 campaign. However, Obama was forced to cast him aside due to the Zionist campaign against both of them after Britain’s the Times revealed that Malley had been in contact with Hamas.

In his media interviews Malley explained that the contacts were part of his work with the International Crisis Group, saying: “My job with the International Crisis Group is to meet with all sorts of savoury and unsavoury people and report on what they say. I’ve never denied whom I meet with; that’s what I do.”

He added that he used to inform the State Department about his meetings beforehand and briefs them afterward. During the same year, London’s Al-Hayat newspaper quoted deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, and Hamas official Dr Ahmed Yousef as saying: “We were in contact with a number of Obama’s aides through the internet, and later met with some of them in Gaza, but they advised us not to come out with any statements, as they may have a negative effect on his election campaign.”

Before this, Malley, who was a member of the U.S. negotiating team in the 2000 Arafat-Barak-Clinton summit at Camp David, was the target of an Israeli-Zionist campaign because he held all three leaders responsible for the failure of the summit, and not only the late Palestinian leader, who was repeatedly accused by Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and their team of negotiators of causing the failure.

Morton A. Klein, president of the Zionist Organisation of America, said: “How exactly does someone, who is dropped as an adviser because he advocates recognition of, and meets with, the genocidally-inclined terrorist organisation Hamas, now became a senior adviser to the president, unless President Obama has all along agreed with much of what Malley thinks and advocates?”

Due to the fact that the appointment of Malley coincided with the crisis in relations between the U.S. and Israel, caused by the recent speech made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the U.S. Congress behind Obama’s back and without his approval, analysts have begun to talk about “changes in the U.S. role in the Middle East” in the context of the Israeli media outlets and its Zionist and Jewish arms abroad.

They have also predicted that “there will be no doubt that the U.S. policy will be focused exclusively on pressuring Israel over the course of the last 22 months of Obama’s term,” as written by Jonathan S. Tobin in America’s Commentary magazine on 10 March.

During this time, Obama will be “free of electoral pressure” so the Obama administration’s treatment of the Palestinian issue is about to take on a much more aggressive attitude over the next two years. This will allow Obama to “invest the little political credit he has left in ‘bringing world peace’,” as written by Alex Fishman in the Israeli daily the Yedioth Ahronoth.

In Fishman’s view, there are now two courses of work on the White House’s agenda. First, it can follow the path of the “European Initiative” which proposes issuing a UN Security Council resolution for a “lasting solution in the Middle East”, while the second path involves waiting for the results of the Israeli elections this week, as it is a “renewal of the American peace initiative, which will have behind it a very skilled, determined person, who isn’t very fond of the current government: The president’s new man in the Middle East,” Robert Malley.

It is clear that these courses of action, the appointment of Malley and his record will undoubtedly breathe life into the PLO’s negotiating team, especially since President Abbas repeatedly says that going to the UN and international organisations, as well as the latest PLO’s Central Council recommendations, do not necessarily mean that negotiations will be abandoned.

These negotiations can also be considered new material used by the American camp in the Arab League to justify its on-going pressure on the PLO to continue to rely on the United States.

The appointment of Malley indicates one conclusion: that the U.S. is heading towards a new initiative to resume negotiations between the PLO and the Israeli occupying power without making any changes to its references. If the PLO interacts and deals with the “European initiative” then it is likely to deal and interact with any new U.S. initiative, according to all indications in this regard.

In this case, the PLO’s recent diplomatic actions not related to the negotiations and the United States has merely been “playing on borrowed time” while waiting for the results of the Israeli elections.

However, these actions can still be built upon in order to completely depart from the American vision for the “resolution of the conflict” in the event that Netanyahu is re-elected as prime minister.

On the other hand, Hamas should not be fooled by Robert Malley’s positions towards the movement, despite its importance, as it is an attempt to contain the movement and drag it into “negotiations” between the PLO and Israel based on the same references rejected and opposed by Hamas thus far.

As for Malley’s performance in Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf, over the past year, which was praised by Susan Rice, it has had catastrophic consequences on the ground that speak for themselves. Malley’s openness to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran and Syria is nothing more than tactical dealings in order to serve the unchanged U.S. strategy with forces that have proved their presence.

Appointing Robert Malley as White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region is not a sufficient indicator of any radical change in the U.S. strategy that is on the verge of tearing the Arab world apart, along with its Islamic surroundings, unless it is deterred. This is true despite the Zionist campaign opposing his openness towards Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Syria and Iran.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories ([email protected]). This article was translated from Arabic and first published by the “Middle East Monitor”.

Canada’s minister of immigration and citizenship, Chris Alexander, was one of the featured speakers at a fundraising dinner in Toronto on February 22, 2015 organized by the extreme-right Ukrainian Canadian Congress. The minister delivered a pro-war rant that could easily serve as dialogue in a film sequel to the 1964 doomsday-nuclear war film, ‘Dr. Strangelove’.

Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander speaking to pro-Ukraine war fundraising event in Toronto Feb 22, 2015

Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander speaking to pro-Ukraine war fundraising event in Toronto Feb 22, 2015

Alexander told the audience that “every” military option must be exercised in the process of giving a “comeuppance” to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“What is going on in eastern Ukraine… really has to do with the incomplete process of ending the existence of the Soviet Union for good. Ending the oppression and ending the Faustian bargain that was made during the Second World War with Stalin’s Soviet Union, for good…

This minister continued, “We have been expecting this. We have been expecting a crisis in Ukraine because there have always been Russians, since 1991—everywhere, and now around Vladimir Putin–who wanted to put humpty dumpty back together, who couldn’t accept that Ukraine could be an independent country. They are a menace to Russia, they are a menace to Ukraine, they are a menace to the whole world.”

Andriy Parubiy (L) applauds Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander speaking to pro-Ukraine war fundraising event in Toronto Feb 22, 2015

Andriy Parubiy (L) applauds Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander speaking to pro-Ukraine war fundraising event in Toronto Feb 22, 2015

Of note in the minister’s speech is the threat to move against RT.com and other news services out of Russia, “which are preaching absolute poison”.

The minister sounded a stirring finale in his speech: “This is going to be a great struggle. We are just at the beginning of this struggle.”

The aggressive tone of the minister was no doubt occasioned by the presence of the principal guest speaker at the dinner–Andriy Parubiy. He is a deputy chairperson of the Ukrainian parliament. He was a founder of an important organization of the extreme right in Ukraine back in 1991, the Social-National Party of Ukraine. The party became a fount of future extreme-right formations, including today’s Svoboda Party.

Parubiy was also a ‘commander’ of the far-right shock troops which seized the leadership of the protest movement called ‘Euromaidan’ in Kyiv in late 2013 and early 2014. The violent actions of the extreme-right on Maidan Square in Kyiv sparked the overthrow of the elected president Viktor Yanukovych and the commencement of the civil war by the new government against the people of eastern Ukraine.

Chris Alexander at Ukraine Independence Day event in Toronto, Aug 2014. In background are red-black flags of Ukraine far-right

Chris Alexander at Ukraine Independence Day event in Toronto, Aug 2014. In background are red-black flags of Ukraine far-right

The dinner was attended by several hundred people. Parubiy travelled to Ottawa the next day where he was feted by the Conservative Party government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The shock troop commander received a warm welcome from Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, Rob Nicholson, and from many members of Parliament.

Below is a transcript of excerpts of Chris Alexander’s four-minute speech to the Toronto event. His speech can be viewed (beginning at the 10′ mark) as part of a one-hour Ukrainian-language news program, ‘KontaktUkrainian TV2′, published here on You Tube.

The program episode was posted to YouTube more than two weeks ago and has garnered a mere 71 viewers. It includes portions of Andriy Parubiy’s speech to the dinner as well as a nine-minute interview with him.

Chris Alexander and other political leaders in Ontario attended a Ukrainian Independence Day event in Toronto last August 24, 2014 which featured fundraising booths of the Ukrainian fascist party ‘Right Sector’. The group was raising funds for its paramilitary battalion in Ukraine. When asked by reporters of CBC’s English and French-language services if he was aware of the Right Sector’s activity at the event, Alexander bristled and said he was “very proud” to be in attendance.

That event was organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. The same group organized a gala event in Toronto on November 29 to mark the one-year anniversary of the Euromaidan movement. The guest speaker there was Valeriy Chobotar, a leader of the Right Sector brought all the way over from Ukraine.

* * *

Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander, speaking to a fundraising dinner in Toronto on February 22, 2015, organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (excerpts):

We know, as you know, that Vladimir Putin is only going to face his comeuppance, that his whole, mad nightmare is only going to come apart at the seams, when the whole world is standing against him, with every option [speaker emphasis] on the table, denouncing his illegal action and standing with Ukraine. With military assistance, and with every other form of assistance.

This is the biggest issue facing the world today, in my view. I think [also] in the view of the prime minister, in the view of my team…

There is absolutely no scenario going into the future that leads to peace and security for this world… that does not include a full international effort to give Ukraine the tools it needs to drive Russian forces from [Ukraine’s] border and to secure its borders for good…

What is going on in eastern Ukraine… really has to do with the incomplete process of ending the existence of the Soviet Union for good. Ending the oppression and ending the Faustian bargain that was made during the Second World War with Stalin’s Soviet Union, for good…

We have been expecting this. We have been expecting a crisis in Ukraine because there have always been Russians, since 1991–everywhere–and now around Vladimir Putin, who wanted to put humpty dumpty back together, who couldn’t accept that Ukraine could be an independent country. They are a menace to Russia, they are a menace to Ukraine, they are a menace to the whole world. We must speak out against this dangerous ideology, which is present in our own city of Toronto. Which is present across Canada. Which comes to us via Russian, state-sponsored channels which are preaching absolute poison…

All of our democracies, all of our democracies, depend on the outcome of this struggle. This is going to be a great struggle. We are just at the beginning of this struggle. When I see groups like this assembled… I know that the future of Ukraine is still bright. I know that the times that bring Canada to Ukraine have never been stronger.