Two power lines providing electricity to the Gaza Strip were disconnected overnight Tuesday further fueling an ongoing energy crisis in the beleaguered coastal enclave.

Gaza’s energy authority said that the Jabalia line feeding northern Gaza off the Israeli electricity grid had failed due to a technical issue.

The authority said that another power line feeding the central Gaza Strip, line 7, had also failed. The two lines together provide roughly 24 MW.

For four days, the main power line from Egypt’s electrical grid, which provides a total of 28 MW, has also been down.

Sources inside Gaza’s energy authority said Wednesday that the total supply of energy was now covering only 30 percent of the population’s minimum needs.

Even at full capacity, the Egyptian and Israeli electricity grids, together with Gaza’s sole power plant, fail to cover the territory’s energy needs.

They provide only 230 MW of electricity, while Gaza-based think tank Pal-Think has estimated Gaza’s needs to fall between 350 and 450 MW.

In recent days, Gaza’s power station has also been struggling to maintain its output due to both fuel shortages and lack of funds.

The coastal enclave has seen a series of large demonstrations protesting the energy crisis, with Gazans calling for the resignation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s government.

Gaza’s energy authority has blamed the power plant’s low output on taxes imposed by the PA’s petroleum authority.

An inability to cover these costs forced the power station to close for more than a month earlier this year, and it has not run at full capacity in years.

However, Israel’s crippling blockade has also severely limited fuel imports into the coastal enclave.

War has also had taken its toll, and during Israel’s 50-day offensive on Gaza last summer, the power plant was targeted completely knocking it out of commission.

Earlier this month, the UN warned that that the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable for residents within just five years, pointing to the devastation of war and nearly a decade of Israel’s blockade.

“The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020,” the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) wrote in its annual report.

Russia so desperately desires to be part of the disreputable and collapsing West that Russia is losing its grip on reality.

Despite hard lesson piled upon hard lesson, Russia cannot give up its hope of being acceptable to the West. The only way Russia can be acceptable to the West is to accept vassal status.

Russia miscalculated that diplomacy could solve the crisis that Washington created in Ukraine and placed its hopes on the Minsk Agreement, which has no Western support whatsoever, neither in Kiev nor in Washington, London, and NATO.

Russia can end the Ukraine crisis by simply accepting the requests of the former Russian territories to reunite with Russia. Once the breakaway republics are again part of Russia, the crisis is over. Ukraine is not going to attack Russia.

Russia doesn’t end the crisis, because Russia thinks it would be provocative and upset Europe. Actually, that is what Russia needs to do—upset Europe. Russia needs to make Europe aware that being Washington’s tool against Russia is risky and has costs for Europe.

Instead, Russia shields Europe from the costs that Washington imposes on Europe and imposes little cost on Europe for acting against Russia in Washington’s interest. Russia still supplies its declared enemies, whose air forces fly provocative flights along Russia’s borders, with the energy to put their war planes into the air.

This is the failure of diplomacy, not its success. Diplomacy cannot succeed when only one side believes in diplomacy and the other side believes in force.

Russia needs to understand that diplomacy cannot work with Washington and its NATO vassals who do not believe in diplomacy, but rely instead on force. Russia needs to understand that when Washington declares that Russia is an outlaw state that “does not act in accordance with international norms,” Washington means that Russia is not following Washington’s orders. By “international norms,” Washington means Washington’s will. Countries that are not in compliance with Washington’s will are not acting in accordance with “international norms.”

Washington and only Washington determines “international norms.” America is the “exceptional, indispensable” country. No other country has this rank.

A country with an independent foreign policy is a threat to Washington. The neoconservative Wolfowitz Doctrine makes this completely clear. The Wolfowitz Doctrine, the basis of US foreign and military policy, defines as a threat any country with sufficient power to act as a constraint on Washington’s unilateral action. The Wolfowitz Doctrine states unambiguously that any country with sufficient power to block Washington’s purposes in the world is a threat and that “our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of” any such country.

Russia, China, and Iran are in Washington’s crosshairs. Treaties and “cooperation” mean nothing. Cooperation only causes Washington’s targets to lose focus and to forget that they are targets. Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov seems to believe that now with the failure of Washington’s policy of war and destruction in the Middle East, Washington and Russia can work together to contain the ISIS jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

This is a pipe dream. Russia and Washington cannot work together in Syria and Iraq, because the two governments have conflicting goals. Russia wants peace, respect for international law, and the containment of radical jihadists elements. Washington wants war, no legal constraints, and is funding radical jihadist elements in the interest of Middle East instability and overthrow of Assad in Syria. Even if Washington desired the same goals as Russia, for Washington to work with Russia would undermine the picture of Russia as a threat and enemy.

Russia, China, and Iran are the three countries that can constrain Washington’s unilateral action. Consequently, the three countries are in danger of a pre-emptive nuclear strike. If these countries are so naive as to believe that they can now work with Washington, given the failure of Washington’s 14-year old policy of coercion and violence in the Middle East, by rescuing Washington from the quagmire it created that gave rise to the Islamic State, they are deluded sitting ducks for a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

Washington created the Islamic State. Washington used these jihadists to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya and then sent them to overthrow Assad in Syria. The American neoconservatives, everyone of whom is allied with Zionist Israel, do not want any cohesive state in the Middle East capable of interfering with a “Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates.”

The ISIS jihadists learned that Washington’s policy of murdering and displacing millions of Muslims in seven countries had created an anti-Western constituency for them among the peoples of the Middle East and have begun acting independently of their Washington creators.

The consequence is more chaos in the Middle East and Washington’s loss of control.

Instead of leaving Washington to suffer at the hands of its own works, Russia and Iran, the two most hated and demonized countries in the West, have rushed to rescue Washington from its Middle East follies. This is the failure of Russian and Iranian strategic thinking. Countries that cannot think strategically do not survive.

The Iranians need to understand that their treaty with Washington means nothing. Washington has never honored any treaty. Just ask the Plains Indians or the last Soviet President Gorbachev.

If the Russian government thinks that Washington’s word means anything, the Russian government is out to lunch.

Iran is well led, and Vladimir Putin has rescued Russia from US and Israeli control, but both governments continue to act as if they are taking some drug that makes them think that Washington can be a partner.

These delusions are dangerous, not only to Russia and Iran, but to the entire world.

If Russia and Iran let their guard down, they will be nuked, and so will China.

Washington stands for one thing and one thing only: World Hegemony.

Just ask the Neoconservatives or read their documents.

The neoconservatives control Washington. No one else in the government has a voice.

For the neoconservatives, Armageddon is a tolerable risk to achieve the goal of American World Hegemony.

Only Russia and China can save the world from Armageddon, but are they too deluded and worshipful of the West to save Planet Earth?

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books areThe Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.


British Politicians Plot A Charter for Cover-Ups – A Return to Secrecy

September 24th, 2015 by Campaign for Freedom of Information

The Government’s decision to launch a review of the Freedom of Information Act was widely condemned when it was announced back in July as likely to lead to “more secrecy, more mistakes and bad decisions”. It is effectively a review by government officials that provides the excuse to water down current transparency laws to create a charter for cover-ups and sees a return to an era of secrecy.

The unexpected move to set up a review of the law emerged just hours after a FoI request revealed how British pilots were involved in Syrian air strikes – a fact the Prime Minister and other high ranking officials had kept from the public.

Scepticism has grown that it will be biased, given that one of the commissioners, former Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, is an outspoken critic of how the Act is enforced. After all, it was the freedom of information allowed in the UK, not just the act itself that saw Jack Straw miss out on a peerage recently because he was under investigation over cash-for-access claims.


Tony Blair, who introduced the Act, later described it as one of his “biggest regrets”. Of course he would say that given what the act has done.

Labour’s deputy leader MP Tom Watson said: “It is quite clear this isn’t a review, it’s a process to roll back the Freedom of Information Act. This is an Act which should be extended to cover more public bodies, yet the Government is going to weaken it by making changes that will render it virtually useless for people who believe in greater accountability.”

David Banisar of Article 19, a human rights organisation that champions freedom of information, criticised the move. “The Government’s proposals will lead to more secrecy, less accountability, and a more insular and unresponsive Government. It is moving the law from the right to know to the right to no information.”

The content of the letter to David Cameron clearly spells out the damning issues that the review has in mind, that it effectively challenges not just transparency of government but also of democracy itself more widely.

Amongst other things, the government is also proposing that there should be a £100 charge for appealing to the First-tier Tribunal against an Information Commissioner decision. An oral hearing would cost an additional £500. Appeals are currently free.

The nature, timing, the commission itself and speed of the review is suspicious at best, at worst, the public’s right to know is under clear threat from a government that does not believe in accountability or democratic values.

Address for response c/o

Campaign for Freedom of Information

Unit 109
Davina House
137-­149 Goswell Rd
London EC1V 7ET

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

21 September 2015

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to express our serious concern about the government’s approach to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and in particular about the
Commission on Freedom of Information and the proposal to introduce fees for tribunal appeals under the Act.

It is clear from the Commission’s terms of reference that its purpose is to consider new restrictions to the Act. The Commission’s brief is to review the Act to consider: whether there is an appropriate balance between openness and the need to protect sensitive information; whether the ‘safe space’ for policy development and implementation is adequately recognised and whether changes are needed to reduce the Act’s ‘burden’ on public authorities. The ministerial announcement of the Commission’s formation stressed the need to protect the government’s ‘private space’ for policy-­making. There is no indication that the Commission is expected to consider how the right of access might need to be improved.

The Commission’s five members consist of two former home secretaries, Jack Straw and Lord Howard of Lympne (Michael Howard), a former permanent secretary, Lord Burns, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile of Berriew (Alex Carlile) and the chair of a regulatory body subject to FOI, Dame Patricia Hodgson. A government perspective on the Act’s operation will be well represented on the Commission itself.

One of the Commission’s members, Jack Straw, has repeatedly maintained that the Act provides too great a level of disclosure. Mr Straw has argued that the FOI exemption for the formulation of government policy should not be subject to the Act’s public interest test. Such information would then automatically be withheld in all circumstances even where no harm from disclosure was likely or the public interest clearly justified openness. Mr Straw has also suggested that the Supreme Court exceeded its powers in ruling that the ministerial veto cannot be used to overturn a court or tribunal decision under the Act unless strict conditions are satisfied. He has argued that there should be charges for FOI requests and that it should be significantly easier for public authorities to refuse requests on cost grounds. Mr Straw’s publicly expressed views cover all the main issues within the Commission’s terms of reference. Speaking in the Commons shortly before the Commission’s appointment, the Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, expressly cited Mr Straw’s views with approval saying that he had been ‘very clear
about the defects in the way in which the Act has operated’.

Another member of the Commission is Ofcom’s chair, Dame Patricia Hodgson. In 2012, when she was its deputy Chair, Ofcom stated that ‘there is no doubt’ that the FOI Act has had a ‘chilling effect’ on the recording of information by public authorities. One of the Commission’s priorities is likely to be to consider whether there has been such an effect — and whether the right of access should be restricted to prevent it. Ofcom has also called for it to be made easier for authorities to refuse requests on cost grounds and for the time limits for responding to requests to be increased.

An independent Commission is expected to reach its views based on the evidence presented to it rather than the pre-existing views of its members. Indeed, in appointing members to such a body we would expect the government to expressly avoid those who appear to have already reached and expressed firm views. It has done the opposite. The government does not appear to intend the Commission to carry out an independent and open minded inquiry. Such a review cannot provide a proper basis for significant changes to the FOI Act. The short timescale for the Commission’s report, which is due by the end of November, further reinforces this impression. At the time of writing, half way towards the Commission’s final deadline, it has so far not even invited evidence from the public.

The FOI Act was the subject of comprehensive post-legislative scrutiny by the Justice Committee in 2012 which found that the Act had been ‘a significant enhancement of our democracy’ and concluded ‘We do not believe there has been any general harmful effect at all on the ability to conduct business in the public service, and in our view the additional burdens are outweighed by the benefits’. We question the need for a further review now.

We are also concerned about the government’s proposal to introduce fees for appeals against the Information Commissioner’s decisions. Under the proposals, an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal on the papers would cost £100 while an oral hearing would cost £600. The introduction of fees for employment tribunal appeals has led to a drastic decrease in the number of cases brought. A similar effect on the number of FOI appeals is likely. Requesters often seek information about matters of public concern, so deterring them from appealing will deny the public information of wider public interest. On the other hand, fees are unlikely to discourage public authorities from challenging pro-disclosure decisions, so the move will lead to an inequality of arms between requesters and authorities. Given that the Ministry of Justice and the Justice Committee have recently begun to review the impact of employment tribunal fees on access to justice we find it remarkable that this proposal should be put forward before the results of their inquiries are even known.

We regard the FOI Act as a vital mechanism of accountability which has transformed the public’s rights to information and substantially improved the scrutiny of public authorities. We would deplore any attempt to weaken it.

Yours sincerely,

See list of nearly 100 organisations which, includes news organisations but more importantly dedicated pressure groups and activists seeking more transparency and the scrutininsing of areas that government and corporate organisations do not want publicity on, such as; the arms trade, corporate corruption, democracy, unfettered corporate malfeasance, drone killings, environment, censorship, human rights, civil rights, privacy, propaganda and the like.

Campaign Against Arms Trade, Ann Feltham, Parliamentary Co-ordinator
Campaign for Freedom of Information, Maurice Frankel, Director
Campaign for Press & Broadcasting Freedom, Ann Field, Chair
Centre for Public Scrutiny, Jacqui McKinlay, Executive Director
Corporate Watch / Corruption Watch, Susan Hawley, Policy Director
Democratic Audit, Sean Kippin, Managing Editor
Drone Wars UK, Chris Cole, Director
Exaro, Mark Watts, Editor in Chief
Finance Uncovered, Nick Mathiason, Director
Friends of the Earth, Guy Shrubsole, Campaigner
Global Witness, Simon Taylor, Co-Founder and Director
Greenpeace, John Sauven, Executive Director
Index on Censorship, Jodie Ginsberg, Chief Executive Officer
Jubilee Debt Campaign, Sarah­‐Jayne Clifton, Director
Labour Campaign for Human Rights, Andrew Noakes, Director
Liberty, Bella Sankey, Policy Director
Privacy International, Gus Hosein, Executive Director
Rights Watch (UK), Yasmine Ahmed, Director
Spinwatch, David Miller, Director
Transparency International UK, Robert Barrington, Executive Director
38 Degrees, Blanche Jones, Campaign Director

2 The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, oral evidence before Justice Committee, Post-Legislative Scrutiny of the Freedom of Information Act, 17 April 2012,

3 BBC Radio 4, Today programme, 14 May 2015. The Supreme Court’s ruling related to the use of the veto to block the release of Prince Charles’ correspondence with ministers in response to a request by the Guardian newspaper

4 Oral evidence to Justice Committee, 17 April 2012, Q.355 &

5 House of Commons, oral questions, 23.6.15, col. 754,‐0001.htm#15062354000032

6 Ofcom, February 2012, Written evidence to the Justice Committee, Post-legislative Scrutiny of the Freedom of Information Act, Volume 3, Ev w176-177.

The Government response to consultationon enhanced fees for divorce proceedings, possession claims, and general applications in civil proceedings and Consultation on further fees proposals

Visit: Campaign for Freedom of Information

The United States Air Force (USAF) is going to station 20 new B61-12 nuclear bombs in Germany, each 80 times more destructive than the one used on Hiroshima, a report says.

The nukes will be deployed to Luftwaffe’s Büchel Air Base in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which is already host to USAF nuclear bombs stored there since 2007 under a nuclear sharing deal, Germany’s ZDF public television network reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, in the third quarter of the current year, the base will receive budget for the future storage and deployment of the new atomic weapons, which are considered to be on the borderline between strategic and tactical, as well as funding for upgrading the German Panavia Tornado multipurpose aircraft that are also stationed in the base and are capable of deploying older types of nukes.

Back in 2010, however, the German parliament (Bundestag) called on the federal government to take necessary action for the removal of the American nuclear weapons from the territory of Germany, citing public support for such a decision.

A bird’s-eye view of the Büchel Air Base in Germany (Wikipedia)

Moscow has referred to the new move to upgrade Büchel Air Base’s nuclear arsenal as a threat from NATO to Russia’s borders.

“The comprehensive analysis of the situation points to the threat posed by the increasing military capability of NATO and its endowment with global functions, which it performs in violation of the international law, as well as the encroachment of the military infrastructure of NATO members on the borders of the Russian Federation,” said Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, in an interview with ZDF on Tuesday.

“At the same time in Europe, not just in Germany, but also in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey, US tactical nuclear armaments remain deployed. The Americans are modernizing their aerial bombs, and the NATO European members are modernizing their aircraft that carry these weapons,” she further noted.

According to Zakharova, the move would be in breach of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to prevent the spread of atomic weapons. A total of 191 countries have joined the NPT, which was enforced in 1970.

British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has risked sparking fresh controversy after blaming the rise of ISIS on Britain and the United States.

The veteran anti-war campaigner said ISIS hadn’t “come from nowhere” and was partly “a creation of Western interventions in the region.”

Corbyn, 66, said attacking the fanatical group would only make things worse and instead claimed Britain would be safer it if declared that it supported the “diversity of faith and diversity of aspirations around the world.”

The remarks round off a turbulent week for Corbyn after overseeing chaotic cabinet reshuffle culminating in a public u-turn over Labor’s position on the European Union.

Corbyn was roundly condemned on Tuesday for refusing to sing the national anthem at a memorial to Battle of Britain heroes.

The veteran socialist, speaking to the obscure website ‘Middle East Eye,’ said Labor needed to stick to its ‘principles’ and vowed to stay on as Labor leader for the next five years.

But he risks a major rebellion over a proposed vote on extending the military action against ISIS into Syria.

The Prime Minister has called for a ‘political consensus’ in favor of authorizing military strikes before calling a vote in Parliament.

In 2013 Cameron was left humiliated after MPs – including Corbyn – rejected airstrikes. Speaking today, Corbyn said he would not change his position.

Corbyn said:

ISIS did not come from nowhere. They have got a lot of money that’s come from somewhere. They’ve got a huge supply of arms that have come from somewhere. They are – not in total, but in part – a creation of Western interventions in the region. What I would do is try to economically isolate them. And also try to unite the other groups in the region by supporting autonomy for the Kurdish groups and recognize the vast amount of arms that we have sold – particularly to Saudi Arabia – end up somewhere and those are now being used.

Bombing by the West in Syria now would create more mayhem. It’s very unclear who the alliances would be with and it would make the situation worse. I opposed the bombing of Syria in that historic 2013 vote and would continue that position.

Despite his position Corbyn insisted he would keep Britain safe.

He said: “We make ourselves safer by not being part of US foreign policy at every single turn. We make ourselves safer by saying we understand the diversity of faith and diversity of aspirations around the world. And also by becoming a force for human rights rather than military interventions around the world. I think that would make us safer.”

Corbyn has previously sparked fury by comparing ISIS brutality to US military action in Iraq; Daily Mail reported.

Selected Articles: Institutional Corruption, Censorship, Neoliberalism

September 24th, 2015 by Global Research News

By Felicity Arbuthnot, September 24, 2015

The “crown jewels” have been handed to a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. Saudi Arabia will head a Consultative Group of five Ambassadors empowered to select applicants globally for more than seventy seven positions to deal with human rights violations and mandates.

images_News_2014_08_20_british_300_0Why Are Millions of Pounds Sent to Israel by British Charities, Tax-Free?

By Anthony Bellchambers, September 24, 2015

What happens to the many millions of £s collected in Britain each year and sent, tax free, to Israel by UK registered charities? Is it used to help underprivileged children in Israeli orphanages or is it used to help finance Israel’s seven year illegal blockade of 1.8 million innocent civilians in Gaza? Does the UK Charities Commission (or the Inland Revenue) know? Who checks and what controls, if any, are in place?

By Eric Zuesse, September 24, 2015

OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which is run by the Western powers and which is the leading organization concerning security and cooperation in Europe, squelches Ukrainian Commission on Human Rights Speaker.

By Stephen Lendman, September 24, 2015

US administrations under Republicans and Democrats are the greatest threat to world peace. It’ll take more than Security Council actions to reign in their madness.

greek-flag“Neoliberal Barbarity”: There Is Nothing to Celebrate after Sunday’s Greek Elections

By Theodoros Karyotis, September 24, 2015

Skyrocketing abstention, social demobilization and an impending wave of harsh austerity measures call for critical reflection after SYRIZA’s victory.

Governments from around the world admit they’ve used the bully’s trick … attack first, and then blame the victim:

  • 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
  • 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.  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
  • 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, and Putin
  • Israel admits that 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)
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in the 1960′s, 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 reportthe official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
  • 2 years before, American Senator George Smathers had suggested that the U.S. make “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]“.
  • And Official State Department documents show that – only nine months before the Joint Chiefs of Staff plan was proposed – the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussedblowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The 3 plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings
  • 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”
  • 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
  • Similarly, 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 wasnot the state which backed the hijackers)
  • 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.”
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this)
  • 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
  • Egyptian politicians admitted (and see this) that that government employees looted priceless museum artifacts in 2011 to try to discredit the protesters
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The former Ukrainian security chief admits that the sniper attacks which started the Ukrainian coup were carried out in order to frame others
  • Britain’s spy agency has admitted to (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

So Common … There’s a Name for It

Painting by Anthony Freda

The use of the bully’s trick 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 in its own navy. 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 navalair and land warfare all prohibit false flag attacks.

Leaders Throughout History Have Acknowledged False Flags

Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the danger of false flags:

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”
– Plato

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
– U.S. President James Madison

“A history of false flag attacks used to manipulate the minds of the people! “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“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

People Are Waking Up to False Flags

People are slowly waking up to this whole con job by governments who want to justify war.

More people are talking about the phrase “false flag” than ever before.

The Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) between the US and EU intends to create the world’s largest free trade area, ‘protect’ investment and remove ‘unnecessary regulatory barriers’. Corporate interests are driving the agenda, with the public having been sidelined. Unaccountable, pro-free-trade bureaucrats from both sides of the Atlantic are facilitating the strategy (1) 

In addition to the biotech sector and Big Pharma, groups lobbying for the deal have included Toyota, General Motors, IBM and the powerful lobby group the Chamber of Commerce of the US. Business Europe, the main organisation representing employers in Europe, launched its own strategy on an EU-US economic and trade partnership in early 2012. Its suggestions were widely included in the draft EU mandate.

An increasing number of politicians and citizens groups have criticised the secretive negotiations and are demanding that they be conducted in an open way. This is growing concern that the negotiations could result in the opening of the floodgates for GMOs and shale gas (fracking) in Europe, the threatening of digital and labour rights or the empowering of corporations to legally challenge a wide range of regulations which they dislike.

One of the key aspects of the negotiations is that both the EU and US should recognise their respective rules and regulations, which in practice could reduce regulation to the lowest common denominator. The official language talks of ‘mutual recognition’ of standards or so-called reduction of non-tariff barriers. For the EU, that could mean accepting US standards in many areas, including food and agriculture, which are lower than the EU’s.

The US wants all so-called barriers to trade, including controversial regulations such as those protecting agriculture, food or data privacy, to be removed. Even the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, made it clear that any agreement must reduce EU restrictions on genetically modified crops, chlorinated chickens and hormone-treated beef.

The public in Europe does not want such things. People want powerful corporations to be held to account and their practices regulated by elected representatives who they trust to protect their interests, the public good. However, the TAFTA seems an ideal opportunity for corporations to force wholly unpopular and dangerous policies through via secretive, undemocratic means. They have been unable to do this in a democratic and transparent manner, so secret back room deals represent a different option.

Corporate demands include an “ambitious liberalisation of agricultural trade barriers with as few exceptions as possible.” Food lobby group Food and Drink Europe, representing the largest food companies (Unilever, Kraft, Nestlé, etc.), has welcomed the negotiations, with one of their key demands being the facilitation of the low level presence of unapproved genetically modified crops. This is a long-standing industry agenda also supported by feed and grain trading giants, including Cargill, Bunge, ADM and the big farmers’ lobby COPA-COGECA. Meanwhile, the biotech industry on both sides of the Atlantic is offering its “support and assistance as the EU and the US government look to enhance their trade relationship.”

New Report

If the pro-free-market bureaucrats and corporations get their way and successfully bar the public from any kind of meaningful information input into the world’s biggest trade deal ever to be negotiated, Europeans could end up becoming the victims of one of the biggest corporate stitch ups ever. Left unchallenged, it will allow huge private interests to dig their profiteering snouts into the trough of corporate greed at the expense of ordinary people.

And that’s not hyperbole. Such a view is confirmed by the release of a new report on the eve of the second round of negotiations that are due to begin in Brussels next week.

The report, published by the Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B) (2), reveals the true human and environmental costs of the proposed TAFTA. ‘A Brave New Transatlantic Partnership’ highlights how the European Commission’s promises of up to 1% GDP growth and massive job creation through the EU-US trade deal are not supported even by its own studies, which predict a growth rate of just 0.01% GDP over the next ten years and the potential loss of jobs in several economic sectors, including agriculture.

The report also explains how corporations are lobbying EU-US trade negotiators to use the deal to weaken food safety, labour, health and environmental standards as well as undermine digital rights. Attempts to strengthen banking regulation in the face of the financial crisis could also be jeopardised as the financial lobby uses the secretive trade negotiations to undo financial reforms, such as restrictions on the total value of financial transactions or the legal form of its operations.

Kim Bizzarri, the author of the report:

“Big business lobbies on both sides of the Atlantic view the secretive trade negotiations as a weapon for getting rid of policies aimed at protecting European and US consumers, workers and our planet. If their corporate wish-list is implemented, it will concentrate even more economic and political power within the hands of a small elite, leaving all of us without protection from corporate wrongdoings.”

The report also warns that the agreement could open the floodgate to multi-million Euro lawsuits from corporations who can challenge democratic policies at international tribunals if they interfere with their profits.

Pia Eberhardt, trade campaigner with Corporate Europe Observatory and author of ‘A transatlantic corporate bill of rights’:

“The proposed investor rights in the transatlantic trade deal show what it is really about: It’s a power grab from corporations to rein in democracy and handcuff governments that seek to regulate in the public interest. It’s only a matter of time before European citizens start paying the price in higher taxes and diminished social protection.”

Consumer watchdogs, digital rights and trade activists, environmentalists and trade unions are preparing to fight the corporate dystopia put forward in the EU-US trade deal.

Luis Rico of Ecologistas en Acción, a member of the Seattle to Brussels network:

“We hope that the disturbing evidence we provide will show why all concerned citizens and parliamentarians on both sides of the Atlantic need to urgently mobilise against the proposed EU-US trade deal. We have to derail this corporate power grab that threatens to worsen the livelihood of the millions of people already seriously affected by the financial crisis and by the crippling consequences of Europe’s austerity reforms.”

Do we want increasingly bad and unhealthy food, our rights at work being further eroded, the environment being damaged in the chase for profit, ever greater reckless gambling in the financial sector or our elected representatives being by-passed via international tribunals? Of course we don’t. 

Where is the democracy surrounding this proposed TAFTA? Where is ordinary people’s  protection from the ‘free’ market corporate-financial cabals that ultimately drive global economic policy and geo-political strategies? By translating corporate power into political influence at the G8, G20, WTO, NATO or elsewhere, whether it is by war, threats, debts or coercion, secretive and undemocratic free trade agreements are but one tool that very powerful corporations use in an attempt to cast the world in their own image (3,4).

The TAFTA is little more than an attempt at a corporate power grab masquerading as something that promotes growth, freedom, harmony and job creation. Those claims are bogus. It must be stopped

Please noteMore concerns from environmental and consumer groups will be raised in a press conference on Monday, 7 October, 11am in the International Press Center, Résidence Palace, in Brussels. On Tuesday, 8 November, 9am, a protest stunt will take place in front of the Berlaymont building, 200 Rue de la Loi, Brussels.

Contact [email protected] for further information.



2)  The Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B) includes development, environmental, human rights, women and farmers organisations, trade unions and social movements working together for a truly sustainable, just and democratic trade policy in Europe. Corporate Europe Observatory is one of its members.



European Union Adopts Plan to Keep Out Refugees

September 24th, 2015 by Martin Kreickenbaum

A summit of European Union heads of government concluded in the early morning hours of Thursday, with no details of the hours-long discussions or decisions reached given out to the press or public. The Associated Press cited a draft text as saying EU leaders had discussed long-term means to end “the dramatic situation at our external borders and strengthen controls at those borders.”

The AP reported that proposals under discussion included deploying more personnel to seal off EU borders and donating at least €1 billion to international aid agencies to keep refugees in camps near conflict zones such as Syria, while boosting support to Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, which are housing millions of people fleeing the fighting in Syria.

The heads of government meeting followed a meeting of EU interior ministers on Tuesday, at which, after 10 hours of talks, the ministers agreed on a new quota system for distributing refugees to individual member states. The quotas have been the subject of heated disputes.

Contrary to the customary procedure by which such policy matters require unanimous agreement, the interior ministers came to a majority decision. The Polish government, which had originally opposed the quota plan, agreed to support it in the course of the meeting in exchange for certain concessions.

Contrary to the initial proposal put forward by the EU Commission, there will be no fixed quotas determined on the basis of population, economic power and unemployment levels. Instead, every government will adopt an admission allotment on a voluntary basis. In addition, individual states will be able to choose which refugees they agree to accept.

The meeting centered on the distribution of a total of 120,000 refugees out of the hundreds of thousands already seeking to enter Europe. Within the next two years, 15,600 refugees currently in Italy and 50,400 currently in Greece are supposed to be taken in by other countries.

Some 54,000 refugees originally designated for resettlement in Hungary will instead be resettled in Italy, Greece and other countries, since most of the refugees registered in Hungary have already left the country and the Hungarian government refuses to either accept more or abide by a redistribution scheme.

Given that the EU expects at least 1 million refugees this year alone, the number of 120,000 to be resettled over two years is a token figure. With an average influx of 6,000 refugees a day, the two-year maximum will be reached in just 20 days.

Contrary to official claims, the purpose of the quota system is not to “justly distribute” the burden across Europe. Rather, a new mechanism is being put in place to bring the flow of refugees under control, expedite their deportation and seal off the EU’s external borders.

The interior ministers of Germany and Austria were most insistent on the quotas. Although Berlin and Vienna are committed to taking in additional refugees, they hope the regulations will lead to a dramatic decrease in refugee numbers.

After the meeting, Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner made clear that the new rules were intended to have a deterrent effect. “The quite decisive thing today was that we brought about the beginning of the end,” she told the television channel ORF .

“Because if 120,000 are evenly distributed, including to so-called ‘unattractive countries,’ that is a double strike and a signal in two respects. First, it is an easing of the burden along the route through the Balkans and an easing of the burden on Austria. Second, the refugees will no longer be able to decide where they seek asylum.”

Mikl-Leitner indicated that the quota system was only a first step in bringing the influx of refugees to a halt. She emphasized that “control over the external borders and the setting up of hotspots are quite decisive in diminishing the flow of refugees.”

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière made similar comments. “What we need is an end to the influx,” he said. He added in a press release that the purpose of the measures was the “protection of the external borders of the EU, the consistent repatriation of immigrants who are not in need of protection, and attention to and use of the rules of the Common European Asylum System by all member states.”

Contrary to the claims of several refugee organizations, the quota rules do not invalidate the Dublin agreement. According to that agreement, the first European country that a refugee enters is responsible for taking the refugee in and initiating asylum proceedings. The EU decision is quite explicit that the distribution mechanism of the Dublin rule has not been replaced, but only expanded to deal with an emergency.

Furthermore, the 42-page EU document bluntly and in minute detail lists the repressive measures refugees will face. The refugees will have no right to determine where they are sent. Moreover, only refugees from countries with an average recognition rate of 75 percent will be distributed. At the moment, primarily refugees from Syria and Eritrea meet these criteria.

In addition, the affected refugees will receive no internationally valid travel documents. This, in practice, means an expansion of the residence requirements in Germany to all of Europe. In effect, refugees will be kept captive in their assigned country. They must report regularly and will receive only non-cash benefits.

The central component of the agreement is the rapid establishment of so-called “hotspots” in EU border states. This is a synonym for concentration camps where arriving refugees will be registered in an accelerated procedure and their asylum applications subjected to a preliminary review.

The registration of the refugees will be carried out by the border protection agency Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the European police authority Europol. In addition to a medical checkup, the primary purpose of these procedures is to determine the country of origin, the escape route and the identities of those who helped the refugee escape. All refugees will be fingerprinted.

Anyone who falls through the cracks in the “hotspots” will be deported. Frontex, whose mandate is being broadened, will be responsible for this task. The budget for Frontex will be increased by 54 percent to €176 million, and the EU wants to make an additional €500 million available for the deportations.

The first camp is currently being built in Catania in Sicily. The plans for a second camp in the Greek city of Piraeus are far advanced.

The Dublin rule that places responsibility on Greece and Italy for the asylum proceedings of refugees arriving in those countries has virtually collapsed due to the dramatic surge of refugees. This year alone, 442,400 refugees have already traveled across the Mediterranean to the EU, including 319,000 through Greece, according to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Since August alone, the Greek authorities have registered 192,000 refugees.

The Greek and Italian authorities were neither willing nor able to carry out asylum proceedings on their own and sent the refugees on their way with temporary travel documents. This is what started the refugee trek through the Balkans, which reached as far as Germany, where the government now expects about 800,000 refugees this year.

The quota rules and the establishment of “hotspots” are aimed at regaining control over the flow of refugees and facilitating the complete implementation of the Dublin rule, whose primary purpose is to keep refugees out of the wealthy EU countries such as Germany, France, Great Britain and the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg). The opposition of the Eastern European states to the distribution quotas is based, in part, on their fear that in the future, masses of refugees from the richer countries in the West will be sent back to Eastern Europe in accordance with the Dublin rule.

Along with the effort to keep refugees in the EU border countries, the EU is seeking to deploy military reinforcements to the external borders. In an invitation letter for Wednesday’s EU summit of government heads, EU Council President Donald Tusk declared that keeping out refugees was the most urgent task. “We as Europeans are currently not able to manage our common external borders,” Tusk wrote, “hence some states decided to protect themselves by closing their national ones. The protection of the European community is our first duty and obligation and we have failed on this front.”

Along with erecting barbed wire fences in Bulgaria, Greece and Hungary with financial support from the EU, the border protection police will be massively armed with the help of Frontex, and the military will be stationed at the external borders in order to prevent refugees from entering the EU. Following the example of the Hungarian government, the Bulgarian government has now announced that it will station up to 1,000 soldiers on the border with Turkey.

Hungarian Minister President Victor Orban has behaved in a particularly bellicose manner, calling the flow of refugees a “brutal danger” and declaring, “They are overrunning us. They are not just banging on the door, they are kicking it down.”

Orban is by no means the only one with this outlook. The Bavarian Christian Social Union, which is part of the German federal coalition government, invited Orban to a closed-door meeting, where he was permitted to repeat these remarks and received enthusiastic applause. This demonstrates all too clearly that Orban is not a pariah. Rather, he speaks for the mainstream of European politics. This is in sharp contrast with the attitude of broad layers of the population, who have responded to the refugee crisis with demonstrations of solidarity and a readiness to help the desperate migrants.

Image Credits: Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar.

Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, aka Muhajireen Brigade, has joined al-Nusra, the jihadi terror organization linked to the Islamic State.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a one-man operation run by an anti-Assad activist from Britain, the Muhajireen Brigade made the pledge in a statement distributed by supporters online.

From Reuters: “The pledge is a boost for Nusra Front against its rival Islamic State, an ultra hardline jihadist group which has seized territory in Syria and Iraq.”

This is clearly not the case.

In August reported on the close alliance between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

In addition to pledging allegiance to the Islamic state, al-Nusra, according to to its leader, Abu Mussab al-Makdessi, considers ISIS fighters “brothers” and the “ideological bond between us is stronger than anything. We are ready to fight by their side … our blood is their blood.”

In November the last purportedly “moderate” Syrian rebel group, the Syrian Revolutionary Front, handed over bases and weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra in the Idlib province.

Additionally, thousands of fighters, many formerly aligned with the Free Syrian Army and other groups supported by the United States and its Gulf Emirate partners, have defected to ISIS and al-Nusra.

Muhajireen Brigade: An Element of the CIA’s War in Chechnya

Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar is comprised primarily of Chechen and other Russian-speaking foreign fighters. It was led by an ethnic Chechen, Abu Omar al-Shishani, aka Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili.

Batirashvili and two other amirs assumed leading positions in the Syrian jihad and were backed by Chechen warlord Doku Umarov.

Umarov, described as “Russia’s Bin Laden,” at one time ran a propaganda clearinghouse, the Kavkaz Center, that was funded by the US State Department and various fronts including the National Endowment for Democracy-funded Russian-Chechen Friendship Society. “The former currently supports US efforts to overthrow the Syrian government,” writes Tony Cartalucci.

Research shows the conflicts in Chechnya and neighboring Dagestan were engineered by NATO and the CIA to destabilize Russia.

“Ethnic Muslim populations in this region of Russia and of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and into China’s Xinjiang Province, have been the target of various US and NATO intelligence operations since the Cold War era ended in 1990,” writes F. William Engdahl.

“Washington sees manipulation of Muslim groups as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia. It’s being carried out by some of the same organizations engaged in creating chaos and destruction inside Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad.”

Rebel leaders Shamil Basayev and Al Khattab, who vowed to establish a Wahhabist the Caucasian Emirate, were trained and indoctrinated in CIA sponsored camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) played a key role in organizing and training the Chechen rebel army. The ISI also played a role in supporting the Afghan Mujahideen, a Muslim paramilitary force that would eventually mature into the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The CIA also worked to destabilize the Balkans, a fact documented by the media in Europe but largely ignored in the United States. The effort to convert the Balkans into a “safe haven” for fanatical jihadists was aided by the CIA and the Pentagon. In 1993, CIA asset Osama bin Laden reportedly installed his number two man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to run the organization’s operations in the Balkans.

The CIA, British and Turkish intelligence, with ample funding from Wahhabist fanatics in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates, created the jihadist menace in Syria as part of an effort to overthrow al-Assad and establish a Sunni caliphate in Syria.

In May Judicial Watch obtained DIA documents showing the U.S. has supported the Islamic State from its inception as an al-Qaeda offshoot in Iraq and is working with the Wahhabists to establish an Islamic principality or princedom in Syria.

Armed U.S. Drones Alone Killed Twice As Many As Al Qaeda …

A new  report from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNCHR) documents the number of civilian deaths in Yemen over the year-long period between July 1, 2014 to June 30 of this year.

The UNCHR report states:

At least 24 civilians were killed and 65 injured in attacks claimed by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in Sana’a, Aden and Taizz. [all cities in Yemen.]

We all know that Al Qaeda are bad guys … but let’s compare that with civilian deaths caused by the U.S. and the “coalition” partners of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and various other Mid-East dictatorships .

The U.N. report documents:

Allegations of violations committed by coalition and joint government forces

  • Information gathered by OHCHR indicated that, on 30 March 2015, the coalition forces launched a number of air strikes that hit the al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons in Harad. At least19 civilians were reportedly killed and 35 others injured, including 11 children. The camp, which shelters some 4,000 people, was established by the United Nations in 2009 and, at the time of the attack, hosted at least 300 families recently displaced from Sa’ada. Information provided to OHCHR did not identify the presence of any military objectives in the area.
  • At least 20 civilians were killed and 59 others injured when a dairy factory was directly hit in four air strikes in Hudaydah city (Al Hudaydah Governorate), on 31 March 2015. The people killed inside the factory were personnel. On 12 May, at least 43 civilians, including eight women and 12 children, were killed, while an additional 135 were injured as a result of four air strikes that directly hit the Al-Wajeeh building located in a busy commercial hub in Zabeed (Al-Hudaydah Governorate). The majority of the casualties belonged to Al-Muhamasheen community. The information received by OHCHR did not clarify whether the building was deliberately targeted.
  • On 20 April 2015, at least 87 civilians were killed, including six children and two women, and at least 647 others injured as a result of airstrikes that appeared to be directed at the Faj Attan military base in Sana’a. Hundreds of homes and private businesses in the vicinity of the base (as far as Al-Tahrir Square) were damaged.
  • On 21 April 2015, 40 civilians were killed, including seven children, and 70 civilians were injured as a result of air strikes that hit the Al-Dhaleel bridge (Ibb Governorate). Reports indicated that the connection bridge between Ibb and the main route to Sana’a Governorate was hit twice by air strikes, causing a large number of civilian casualties. People were arriving to assist those injured by the first explosion when missiles were launched in a second round of air strikes.
  • OHCHR received reports alleging that, in late April 2015 in Sa’ada Governorate, cluster munitions were used by the coalition forces in several air strikes, which resulted in at least six civilian casualties, including children. Owing to the continuing airstrikes, OHCHR was unable to collect any further information.
  • … Although OHCHR was unable to obtain detailed information on affected cities and resulting casualties, it was informed that coalition air strikes hit at least six residential homes and five markets in Sa’ada, reportedly with no evidence of Houthi military deployment.
  • On 6 May 2015, 15 civilians were killed, including four children and three women from the same family, when two homes collapsed while the families were inside. The homes were hit by two air strikes in Al-Dhaid, Sa’ada.
  • OHCHR gathered information indicating that, on 7 June 2015, coalition forces conducted air strikes against an area hosting a high concentration of internally displaced persons in Duaij village (Hajjah Governorate), allegedly killing four civilians, including three women, and injuring 41 civilians, including 12 women and 16 children. Four makeshift homes for displaced persons were allegedly destroyed in that incident. On 14 June, a family of 10, including four women and two children, were allegedly killed in Al-Hamza as a result of an air strike by coalition forces that struck their vehicle travelling from Al-Jawf to Sana’a.
  • OHCHR documented allegations that, on 17 June 2015, two buses transporting displaced families were hit by air strikes conducted by coalition forces in Al-Alam (Abyan Governorate). It found that 17 civilians had been killed in the incident, including five women and five children, while 10 others, including two women and three children, had been injured. The victims were reportedly fleeing the violence from Al-Mansoura district (Aden Governorate), and were on their way to Hadramout.

Next, the U.N. report discusses murder by armed drones:

  • OHCHR was informed of reports of drone strikes in parts of the country with allegations of civilian casualties. The attacks are believed to have been conducted by joint forces of the United States of America and Yemen as part of a campaign against Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. OHCHR received reliable information indicating that as many as 40 civilians, including a child, may have been killed during the period under review as a result of drone attacks in Al-Baida, Al-Jawf, Marib and Shabwah. According to a Yemeni non-governmental organization, a one-year-old boy and two adults were killed on 26 January 2015 after a Yemeni Air Force drone struck a vehicle at Huraib (in Marib Governorate).

The U.S. is the only nation flying armed drones in Yemen.

Adding up the numbers, approximately 304 civilians were killed by the U.S. and other coalition members in the past year … 13 times more than killed by Al Qaeda during the same period.

And there were twice as many civilians killed by armed U.S. drones alone than by Al Qaeda during this period.

Whew!   Good thing we’re the good guys.

Postscript: The above quotes come from the footnotes to the UNCHR report (namely, footnote 28 and 44 through 54).  For the sake of readability, I deleted the footnote numbers.

Article 27 of the UN Charter states:

1. Each member of the SecurityCouncil shall have one vote.2. Decisions of the Security Council on procedural matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members.

3. Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members; provided that, in decisions under Chapter VI, and under paragraph 3 of Article 52, a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting.

Five countries were granted special status: America, Britain, China, France and the former Soviet Union – now the Russian Federation. They’re permanent Security Council members with special voting power known as the “right to veto” SC measures.

During the post-Soviet era, Washington used its veto power scores of times, Russia only eight “no” votes. Ahead of the UN’s 70th anniversary next month, US-installed Ukrainian fascists want Moscow stripped of its right to dissent during this month’s General Assembly session. It’ll take more than a GA vote to alter the UN Charter. It requires a two-thirds majority of member states – including all P5 countries with veto power. It’s unlikely any will choose to limit their own authority.

Washington nonsensically claims Russian vetoes threaten the Security Council’s legitimacy. It  challenges its hegemonic agenda, blocking efforts to authorize war on Syria among  other important actions.

US UN envoy Samantha Power is one of numerous neocons infesting the Obama administration, an advocate of endless wars dressed up as humanitarian intervention.

She criticized Russian vetoes, saying they force America to “forum-shop” to further its agenda. “If a particular body reveals itself to be dysfunctional, then people are going to go elsewhere,” she claimed.

And if that happened for more than Syria and Ukraine and you started to see across the board paralysis…it would certainly jeopardize the security council’s status and credibility and its function as a go-to international security arbiter. It would definitely jeopardize that over time.

Russia’s veto power is an important tool able to prevent Washington from getting legitimacy for its imperial wars. “The Security Council will lose its relevance” without it, Moscow’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin explained.

It would “simply…rubber-stamp decisions…made in Washington, Paris, London, (and) Brussels…(It would prevent SC members from) do(ing) the important work of bringing about consensus decisions.”

Putin is expected to meet with Obama when both leaders address the General Assembly later this month. Churkin expects no major breakthroughs. If agreement is reached on anything, it’ll be an achievement, he explained.

He dismissed the hype about alleged Russian military buildup in Syria as baseless Western propaganda. Russia fully observes international law. “There’s no secret about” its legitimate activities.

Putin’s initiative for world unity to confront Islamic State terrorists is the most effective way to defeat it, Churkin explained – impossible as long as Washington wants war.

US administrations under Republicans and Democrats are the greatest threat to world peace. It’ll take more than Security Council actions to reign in their madness.

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.”

Visit his blog site at 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 1PMCentral time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

To achieve victory in the Middle East, the US needs to establish and protect rebel enclaves in Syria, and launch another “surge” in Iraq, former CIA director and retired US Army general David Petraeus told a Senate panel.

This was the first public appearance for the retired general and former spymaster, following his April sentencing for revealing classified information to his mistress.

Former CIA director David Petraeus © Chris Keane

Former CIA director David Petraeus © Chris Keane / Reuters

Describing Syria as a “geopolitical Chernobyl… spewing instability” all over the Middle East, Petraeus urged the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) to endorse a policy that would “stop the Syrian air force from flying” and establish safe areas where civilians and anti-government rebels could be protected by US airpower and advisers. Meanwhile, all the elements of the surge were once again required in Iraq, but this time around the Iraqis would have to provide the ground troops, he said.


Petraeus echoed the official position of the State Department that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was to blame for the rise of Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL), blaming the government’s “barrel bombs” rather than IS for most of the civilian deaths in Syria. The general pushed for the creation of US-backed protected areas where civilians and militia opposed to the government could shelter under the coalition air umbrella. Eventually, he said, US advisers could be deployed there as boots on the ground. “This is a very complicated military activity, but it is doable,” Petraeus told lawmakers.


Petraeus resigned as director of the CIA in November 2012, following the revelations that he had shared classified information with his biographer – and lover – Paula Broadwell. As part of a plea bargain with the government, he was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine. The ex-general began his testimony with an apology, calling what he did a “serious mistake” and a “violation of the trust placed in me.”

The panel, chaired by Arizona Republican John McCain, repeatedly thanked Petraeus for his military service and commended him on the apology. Without bringing up the Broadwell scandal at all, McCain praised Petraeus as a “distinguished” leader and argued his 2007 testimony was critical to securing Senate support for the ‘surge’ strategy that “defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq, brought security to the Iraqi people, and created the possibility for meaningful political reconciliation.” Both Republicans and Democrats on the panel were eager to hear Petraeus’s prescriptions for salvaging the US war effort against Islamic State. A yearlong air campaign by the 60-nation coalition, at the cost of $4 billion, has not dislodged the self-proclaimed Caliphate, while the handful of US-trained Syrian fighters were ambushed and scattered by Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate.


Petraeus argued that the “train and equip” program was impossible to abandon, since the US strategy in the region absolutely depended on having a Sunni Arab fighting force. Asked whether there was anyone inside Syria actually available to train, he said that many moderate rebels “drifted” to Islamist groups like Al-Nusra, because they had resources and were fighting against the Assad government. Peeling off these low-ranking members could work, he said, just as it did in Iraq.


Arguing that working with the government in Damascus would damage US credibility among the Sunnis, Petraeus called for lawmakers to resist Russian effort to “force” the US into an alliance with president Bashar al-Assad. If Russia really wanted to fight ISIS, it could have joined the US-led coalition and asked to be integrated into the air war, Petraeus said. Russian president Vladimir Putin recently proposed a coordinated international effort against IS, but rebuffed speculation that Russian forces would engage in combat operations in Syria. “We are providing Syria with quite strong support in terms of equipment, training of military servicemen and weapons,” Putin said. “We are considering various options, but so far what you are talking about is not on the agenda.” Petraeus did caution against the rush to overthrow Assad, noting that Syria “could actually get worse” if there was no plan for the aftermath.


During Petraeus’s testimony before the SASC, it was reported that retired Marine General John Allen, head of the anti-IS coalition, would be stepping down in November. Sources within the Obama administration told Bloomberg that Allen made the decision out of concern for his wife’s poor health.

Skyrocketing abstention, social demobilization and an impending wave of harsh austerity measures call for critical reflection after SYRIZA’s victory.

There is nothing to celebrate, really. The European leftists that arrived in Athens to support Tsipras are justified to celebrate, since they have a vision of Syriza that is external and more often than not romanticized. As far as Greeks are concerned, no one can doubt that there are honest and well-meaning left-wing people who have voted for Syriza or are even (still) members of Syriza. But after the developments of the last few months the last thing they want to do is celebrate.

How can they celebrate, when tomorrow the new Syriza-led government has to enforce and oversee the implementation of a harsh attack on nature and the popular classes, having given up its capacity to legislate without the tutelage of Brussels and Berlin, and being under constant financial blackmail by the creditors?

Left-wing pragmatism and social demobilization

Tsipras’ new “selling point” is his fight against corruption and the oligarchy, since his newly-adopted “pragmatism” dictates that he cannot anymore fight against austerity and neoliberal restructuring. Thus, the horizon of left-wing politics in Greece has become an “austerity with a human face”, a “less corrupt” and “more just” enforcement of neoliberal barbarity.

Unfortunately, in the coming months we are going to witness Tsipras’ “political maturity” and “pragmatism” extending to ever new areas: Pragmatism dictates that you cannot fight against those who own all the wealth and the mass media in Greece, that you cannot shut down the mine in Skouries, that you have to privatize the water companies after all, that you cannot permit worker occupations like VIOME to challenge private property, that you have to deal with protest and dissent deploying the forces of public order.

In short, left-wing pragmatism is going to achieve everything that right-wing arrogance could not, that is, to subdue a population that has been fighting against neoliberal barbarity for 5 years.

All the while, the social movements have been tricked into standing by and waiting for Syriza to fullfil the role it assigned for itself: that of the mediator between social resistances and political power. The government is gaining political time, while movement demobilization means that struggles are defeated one by one: The self-managed workers of ERT banished by the new management, the anti-mining movement in Halkidiki seeing the destruction of its land… Who is next? Maybe self-managed VIOME, struggling to legitimize its activity in adverse conditions? Maybe Thessaloniki’s water movement, which fiercely fought and stopped privatization, only to see it back on the table according to the terms of the new memorandum?

The failure of SYRIZA’s splinter “Popular Unity” to mobilize voters comes as no surprise: despite the anti-memorandum rhetoric, the new party repeated some of the more objectionable practices of SYRIZA: It was constituted in a top-down process, solely on party cadres, built around flamboyant and self-centred personalities, projecting a hegemonism towards movements and other political forces, seeking followers rather than allies, projecting its state-centric program of national capitalist reconstruction outside the euro as the holy grail of transformatory politics. It failed to mobilise ex-SYRIZA voters, most of whom preferred to stay at home rather than go out to vote for Popular Unity; it also failed to convince the disenchanted movement-friendly party base of SYRIZA, which to this moment remains politically homeless. It thus allowed Tsipras to emerge as the absolute winner of the electoral game.

Electoral abstention and the “lesser evil”

Someone could argue that Syriza retaining its electoral percentage on Sunday’s elections is a sign that the bulk of the population consents to the party’s “pragmatism”. Two points should be stressed here:

Firstly, it is a perfectly respectable stance to vote for Syriza as the lesser neoliberal evil. Voting by definition involves complex calculations, political blackmail and a host of ethical dilemmas that the Greeks have faced three times in less than 8 months. Those who abstain for political reasons cannot claim moral superiority over those who use their vote instrumentally in this fluid and complex political situation. But let’s not assume either that all the people who cast an instrumental vote for Syriza in order to prevent the reinstatement of the hated New Democracy are going to stand by with their arms crossed when the government begins its raid against people and nature in the next few months.

Secondly, and most importantly, while the political system is designed to maintain appearances and guarantee the continuity of power, no one can deny that the most significant aspect of Sunday’s elections was the abstention skyrocketing to 45% from 36% in January and from 29% in 2009. It is easy to calculate that in a country of 10 million registered voters this translates to over 4 million people who do not vote, or about 1 and a half million people who have lost their faith in the political system since the start of the crisis. This last figure represents about as many people as those who vote for either of the two major political parties.

We shouldn’t hasten to claim all these people for the forces of social emancipation and self-determination, as some anarchists would have it. Certainly a critical mass of people refrains from voting because it has a conception of politics as an embodied collective process, not as a ritual stuffing of the ballot box -even of one does not necessarily preclude the other. Nevertheless, a wide range of motives and circumstances can lead to this disenchantment, which can include apathy, helplessness, individualism and resignation.

While the political system could not care less about this huge mass of disenchanted citizens –as long as they stay at home and they do not vote for protest parties that could cause disruption, it is all the same to them. Indeed, the ones that should be really concerned about this part of the population should be the social movements and the ideological movements that feel closer to the grassroots, namely the libertarian movement and the extra-parliamentary left. How can we break through the wall of apathy and individualism, connect with the desires and aspirations of the disenchanted population, cultivate collective spirit, social organization and creativity, desire for change and emancipation?

The inadequacy of political practices

Unfortunately large chunks of the libertarian and leftist movements are more concerned about preserving their own identity than connecting with the disenchanted classes. We circulate our indecipherable manifests, largely for internal consumption; we cling to our ideological purity and our maximalist rhetoric; we shout out our angry slogans and cradle our flags; we boast when we have a handful of protesters more in our marches or when our parties get a few thousand votes more in the elections. All the while, millions of people out there are hungry for social change, but are probably resigned into an individualistic existence, and we have no means of getting through to them.

While many would interpret the 45% of abstention as a healthy rejection of the pointless simulacrum that is representative democracy, it can as well be interpreted as a failure, or rather as a chain of failures: The failure of a social order to incorporate large chunks of the population in the mainstream of social life; the failure of a political system to offer effective avenues of changing said social order; the failure of the social movements and the left to create a new imaginary of transformation of this political system.

An opportunity to reflect

The politics of “there is no alternative” promoted by our left-wing government are sure to heighten resignation and apathy; nevertheless a society under extreme pressure for so many years is definitely bound to explode sooner or later. The social movements in Greece have produced admirable responses towards self-emancipation in the last few years, but they have failed to articulate these responses into a coherent voice, a proposal for overcoming the present political and economic order. They have idealised partiality and fragmentation, they have not addressed the issue of political organization, and have thus been tricked into submission by the hegemonic project of SYRIZA.

The pyrrhic victory of the left in last Sunday’s elections should initiate a process of critical reflection, both in Greece and throughout Europe. We have ahead of us difficult moments of resistance, and the social movements, however small and insignificant, constitute at present the only remaining antagonistic force against capitalist barbarity.


The speech of Theodoros Karyotis (in English) minute 32 to 40.

Human beings comprise an omnicidal species. Apparently there is nothing they won’t kill. Yet some claim to value life and say that all lives matter. But if all lives matter, Palestinian lives matter, Syrian lives matter, Iraqi lives matter, Afghan lives matter, Libyan lives matter. If all lives matter, Osama bin Laden’s life mattered. So did Al Awlaki’s and his fifteen year old son’s. So did Gaddafi’s and the lives of every member of the armed forces who died on a Middle Eastern battlefield, including the Americans who died there. But they are dead now, gone forever, and George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and all the neoconservatives who advocated going to war in Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein from acquiring nonexistent weapons of mass destruction murdered them as surely as Dr. Palmer murdered Cecil the lion.

A few weeks ago, my wife came in from the back yard yelling, “John, John, a snake. There’s a snake in the back yard. Get something to kill it. Kill it.”

I was in no mood to do any killing and didn’t have anything handy to kill it with anyhow so I calmly went outside to have a look around. Sure enough, there it was. A beautiful, completely benign, about 18 inches long, orange and black, western ribbon snake sunning itself.

Not only was there no reason to kill it, there was no reason to even disturb it. Yet in the interests of domestic tranquility, a little nudging induced it to slither into some underbrush and disappear. But my wife had really wanted it dead even though she’s a kind compassionate person who generally loves animals. She contributes to local animal shelters and is always horrified when she hears stories of animal cruelty. Neither she nor anyone else I know would have considered killing that snake animal cruelty. Why? Was it because of the story they all were told when they were young about Eve’s tryst with a serpent in the Garden of Eden or because of a wild imagination based on ignorance of what snakes might be capable of doing like swallowing the whole house, for instance? I don’t know.

A few days later I read about a hiker’s being mauled by a bear in Yellowstone. A sow was spotted and although no one had witnessed the mauling, the assumption was made that she was the mauler. She was captured and put down. Why? For having offended human sensibilities? She may not even have been guilty, and no other bear in the park could have been prevented from mauling anyone because of her death. Her killing had no purpose whatsoever. It was purely gratuitous, an act of vengeance.

Then the news of Dr. Palmer’s killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe hit the air. Palmer, an exceedingly rich American wanted the pleasure of killing a lion so he could hang its head on a wall. He wanted a trophy! He claims to have done no wrong but he tried to hide the killing. Cecil’s collar was hidden in a tree before his head was removed for mounting. It was all perfectly innocent, of course. Except for Cecil’s special status, being a lion with a name and a collar, Dr. Palmer, the lion slayer, would have been delighted with the kill. I suspect a celebration would have been in order.

Of course, a vast difference exists between people like my wife and Dr. Palmer. My wife would be horrified at the thought of mounting even a beautiful dead snake on the wall of her living room, but Dr. Palmer would be delighted with it. Yet Dr. Palmers are not rare. In my neighborhood, a barber has a shop adorned with mounted fish all of which he has gleefully murdered. They were beautiful fish. Why would anyone want them dead? And Sarah Palin posted a video of her shooting a superb elk to demonstrate how firm she would be dealing with the Russians had he been elected to the office of Vice President. What shooting a clueless elk standing still in a clearing on a hill says about how aware Russians armed, hidden, and willing to shoot back would react eludes me.

When Osama Bin Laden was assassinated by navy seals, the President and his advisors, keeping track of the event electronically, are said to have cheered when the fatal shot was fired. But is there any essential difference between their glee and Dr. Palmer’s when he killed Cecil? I don’t know. Readers can judge for themselves. What kind of human being is cheered by a killing? Perhaps a very normal one.

Maybe a psychological malady exists that describes such people—Dr. Palmer, the barber, and all the President’s men. Do they all suffer from some gross inadequacy that causes them to over compensate by killing animals that pose no danger to them? If there is one, psychologists certainly don’t emphasize it. Are normal people natural killers and are the healers deranged? Is the Grim Reaper a member of this species? Is there anything human beings won’t find a way to kill?

Think about it? Life is an oxymoronic activity. Some living things must kill other living things to endure. A mathematician would recognize that as a reductio ad absurdum, an absurdity that cannot be sustained. But few human beings are mathematicians. Some killing may have to be done to subsist, but gratuitous killing does not.

People sought ways to kill bacteria that are deadly. Antibiotics were discovered. A good and necessary thing. But immediately people began feeding antibiotics to chickens, cows, horses, none of whom exhibited any signs of being infected. Whether bacteria were benign or malign made no difference. People were going to kill them. And ways of killing other things have been developed too. There are herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, insecticides, every kind of cide. There are bullets, bombs, missiles, hooks, snares, traps, spears, and nets to kill animals and sea life of all kinds. People also kill each other and even themselves. Children kill parents, parents kill children, neighbors kill each other and strangers, strangers kill strangers. Is there anything human beings won’t kill?

Apparently not. Scripture exists that describes the killing of even God. Worse, humans glorify His murder by hanging amulets of an effigy of the God hanging from a cross around their necks. Is this essentially different from hanging the head of an animal on a wall? Why do these human beings glorify the murder of God rather than His birth or resurrection? What does the fascination with death consist of? Human beings seem to enjoy and be entertained by it. (Bill Nye the science guy who searches for life forms in the sky—why? Do you want to kill them?)

Since long before motion pictures and television, a literary genre called the murder mystery has entertained people. These people say they enjoy solving the conundrums. But writers can concoct similar conundrums about things other than killing. But no robbery mysteries exist. No who started the nasty rumor mysteries exist either. The killing seems to be a necessary ingredient of the story. Why this fascination with death? Why are people so quick to turn to killing?

Yet despite this ubiquitous killing, a group exists that calls itself pro life. It seeks to stop the aborting of fertilized human fetuses but gives no evidence of any concern about the killing that goes on around them every day. These people claim to value life. Mike Huckabee, in reacting to the Black Lives Matter movement has said “white lives matter; all lives matter” but he doesn’t mean it and neither does anyone else in the pro life movement. They don’t seem to understand that if all lives matter, Palestinian lives matter, Syrian lives matter,

Iraqi lives matter, Afghan lives matter, Libyan lives matter. If all lives matter, Osama bin Laden’s life mattered. So did Al Awlaki’s and his fifteen year old son’s. So did Gaddafi’s and the lives of every member of the armed forces who died on a Middle Eastern battlefield, including the Americans who died there. But they are dead now, gone forever, and George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and all the neoconservatives who advocated going to war in Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein from acquiring nonexistent weapons of mass destruction murdered them as surely as Dr. Palmer murdered Cecil. They cannot avoid the guilt.

No person express how much s/he values life by trying to save the nonexistent lives of the unborn but by how the living are treated. The living are not being treated well when the homeless go unsheltered, the hungry go unfed, and the sick go untreated which may explain why those interred in cemeteries are commonly described as being in a better place. What a bitter judgment that expression is on the quality of the human condition. We all aught to be ashamed!

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.

Snipers shooting enemy combatants from a helicopter is a normal occurrence for soldiers engaged in a combat zone, but this is exactly what occurred on September 18,2015 in San Bernardino County in California. Police were pursuing a suspect on the 215 freeway who was traveling against traffic.
That is when a sniper aboard a police helicopter opened fire on the vehicle which resulted in the suspect’s vehicle colliding head first onto an oncoming vehicle. [1] San Bernardino County Sheriff Department’s spokeswoman stated that the suspect was “threatening the public” which served as justification for the shooting. However, there has not been a “published legal decision testing officers’ ability to use that specific tactic” according to law enforcement legal counselor, Deputy Ed Obayashi. [2] 
The San Bernardino Sheriff Department has not yet stated how many shots were fired from the helicopter. The lack of transparency from this event is appalling. Although it has been rare for police to shoot from a helicopter, this situation must be viewed in the context of the United States’ increasingly militarized police force. With recent revelations about police drone surveillance in conjunction with high profile cases of police shootings of unarmed black people and its subsequent militarized response (e.g. Ferguson), the public should be skeptical of such police activities.
If similar events occur, there will be a debate around such actions, especially when standard police tactics generate much controversy. Surely a debate would include its legality, safety, and accuracy. The fact that President Obama has authorized the drone killings of U.S. citizens, it is possible that these war zone techniques will be used here domestically. [3]
It is likely that helicopter assisted sniper shootings would be used during civil unrest situations. However, officer safety and accuracy would be a concern to police departments. Therefore, the use of drones to subdue suspects instead of helicopter snipers seems naturally plausible . A soft-launch of such police tactics would utilize drones that fire non-lethal projectiles, such as the Skunk Riot Control Copter,  in order to justify its legality. [4] Consequently, it is imperative that the public reject the use of helicopter assisted shootings from becoming standard procedure because of its potential use for abuse and militarized state-oppression of protest movements.


[1] Melissa Pamer, Chip Yost, and Rick Chambers,“Gunshots Fired From Sheriff’s Helicopter Kills Pursuit Suspect; NB 215 Fwy Shut” September 18, 2015
[2] Richard Winton and Garrett Therolf,“Police shooting from helicopters–rare but not unheard of” September 19, 2015
[3] Sue Owen, “Four U.S. citizens killed in Obama drone strikes, but 3 were not intended targets” March 19, 2014
[4] Sarah Gray, “Terrifying riot drone is equipped to shoot paint balls, plastic bullets and pepper spray” June 19, 2014

Andrew J. Santos holds a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Riverside

OSCE Squelches Ukrainian Commission on Human Rights Speaker

At a 21 September 2015 meeting of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which is run by the Western powers and which is the leading organization concerning security and cooperation in Europe, a couragous speech against Ukraine’s imprisonment and killing of independent journalists was made by Alexey Tarasov, the Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Commission on Human Rights.

Nearly halfway through the prepared text of his intended 6-minute summary description of the main cases, his speech was terminated by the Chairperson. It was cut off at 2:31 in this video:

However, in this video of it, the termination is at 2:38:

Here, then, is the complete printed text, as it was posted at Fort Russ on September 22. I have additionally placed a mark at the point where Tarasov’s speech was cut short:


Dear colleagues,

Please allow me to welcome this meeting.

Probably everyone knows that today’s Ukraine is the most problematic European country in terms of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Especially where it concerns the tragic situation with the freedom of speech and freedom of expression, the situation of access to information, limitation of journalists’ activity and the mass media in general.

According to information by the Institute of Mass Media, since the beginning of 2015 in Ukraine, there has been recorded 224 violations of the rights of journalists. According to the Institute’s reports, almost every day journalists in Ukraine are beaten or intimidated.

The worst thing is the continuation of journalists’ murders. For example, last year the talented journalist Oles’ Buzina was killed right near the entrance of his house. He was a consistent supporter of the Ukraine’s unity, at the same time fundamentally opposing to the war in the Donbass, which contradicted the official doctrine. The suspects of the murder of Buzina were arrested. They are under investigation. Human rights defenders are very concerned with the political pressure on the investigation and law enforcement agencies. They are afraid that the real killers will escape  punishment.

In Kiev this year, journalists Sergei Sukhobok and Margarita Valenko, were killed in Cherkassy region – Vasily Sergienko.

In Ukraine there is political pressure on opposition media, harassment, illegal criminal searches and arrests of journalists became a reality. There are varied forms of violence against dissent in the Ukrainian media.

State officials are trying to illegally shut the license of the popular opposition 112 TV channel and of the metropolitan newspaper “Vesti”. There were a great number of provocations, criminal searches, etc. Ukrainian authorities are forcibly trying to substitute owners of the mass media. Employees of the Odessa opposition website “Timer” for “prevention” were summoned for questioning at the office of the Ukrainian security service (SBU). There were some searches in journalists’ houses.

Ukrainian authorities always have standard charges on “separatism” with following arrests for those media professionals who are disagree with the state policy. The Chief Editor of the Internet newspaper “Vzapravdu” Artem Buzila, for the last five months has been imprisoned in Odessa on such fabricated accusations.

The Editor of the newspaper “Rabochiy class”, Alexander Bondarchuk has been illegally jailed for the last six months in the Kiev prison. And I can continue this list. There are dozens of journalists who are jailed or are in the wanted list of the SBU for their opposition publications.

Also, I want to draw your attention to the problem with the freedom of expression and regulation of the rights of conscientious objectors (COs) in Ukraine. They are individuals who have claimed their right to refuse to take military service, who have special ideological and moral convictions. …


… This is a normal practice for the European countries to protect rights of conscientious objectors, but not for the Ukraine. Nowadays the position of Ukrainian COs, who are not members of any religious organization, violates the law of the country. Authorities criminally prosecute even those journalists who are COs.

A striking confirmation of this problem is the prosecution of journalist Ruslan Kotsaba, who is CO. For his public conscientious objection, Ruslan Kotsaba has been jailed and his case has been considered for several months by the Ivano-Frankivsk City Court. The authorities consider the open position of the honest journalist as “obstruction of the lawful activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations during the special period.” Such behavior of the authorities is difficult to imagine in a normal democratic society. Now, according to the information of Ukrainian prosecutors thousands of COs have been prosecuted, and hundreds of them have been jailed. Therefore, in our country there is a total process of transformation of ideological Ukrainian COs into real prisoners of conscience.

In addition, there is another issue. Between Ukraine and the European Union the Association Agreement was signed, which was simultaneously ratified in September 16, 2014 by the European Parliament and the Parliament of Ukraine. According to the Agreement, particular attention is paid to the observation of human rights. Article II (two) states: “Respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as defined in particular in the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1975) and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe (1990) …”.

This Agreement has not yet entered into force, and the Parliament of Ukraine on May 21, 2015 has adopted a resolution “On the withdrawal from certain obligations, certain International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.” This resolution also violates Helsinki Final Act obligations. Ukrainian Deputies motivated their decision to adopt the resolution by the tragic events in Donbass.

By the way, our Ukrainian Human Rights Commission issued a report “Undeclared war at the center of Europe”. It concerns the observance of human rights during the so called «anti-terrorist operation» in Donbass by Ukraine’s state officials. You can see and have it near the conference hall.

So, the Ukrainian state instead of focusing on the implementation of international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians during the armed conflict in Donbass, has substituted these concepts and instead withdrew itself from the obligations of the state to respect international human rights, to protect them, and the exercising of  rights of millions of inhabitants of Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

By the adoption of such a decision, the Ukrainian state has applied to a part of its citizens discriminatory measures based on their residence, and has restricted their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including their right to liberty and security, freedom of residence and movement, the right to fair trial and effective means of legal protection, social protection etc.

There is a question to the EU countries, who ratified the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, the main elements of which are based on international and European standards of human rights without any exceptions:

Will these countries suspend the entry into force of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU before the termination of the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of millions of citizens in Ukraine? Or will they want to support Ukraine’s position of double standards, and not to extend the requirements of this Agreement to particular regions of Donetsk and Lugansk?

We hope that the international community will stop the ignorance of massive and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Ukraine, first of all, in matters of freedom of speech and the rights of journalists, and will put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities in order to force them into complying with their international obligations in the field of human rights.

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.


My Name is Nobody: Religious Fanaticism is a Western Tradition

September 24th, 2015 by Dr. T. P. Wilkinson

Amidst all the handwringing across the political spectrum, commentators of every type decry the deplorable conditions that prevail in the parts of the world that have been under attack by the US, NATO, and the historic colonial powers of Europe: Britain and France. That is to say the actions for which the wealthiest countries on Earth, concentrated in the North Atlantic region, are jointly and severally responsible. However, the vast majority of the text generated on this subject is truly tiresome.

While nearly everyone is willing to say that the nature of the violence prevailing in the Middle East and various parts of the “Dark Continent” (the ignorance displayed with respect to Africa only verifies that whites still consider Blacks next to worthless) is horrible, it is conspicuous that nobody is willing to face a fundamental fact. Religious fanaticism is essentially a European and Anglo-American tradition.

The French colonised Algeria and deliberately gave the archconservative Islamic clerics the job of policing Algeria’s native population.[1] That was an essential part of their control over the country. The British colonisers historically sought out the peoples in Africa who were most susceptible to their puritan form of Christianity and educated them to dominate the rest of the ethnic groups in their colonies. This was in fact the main function of missionaries throughout the Euro-American colonial enterprise.[2] Europe itself was created by the process of imposing Christianity with the sword and the Inquisition. The Roman pontiff extorted money and manpower for over three centuries to subdue the Eastern Christian (Orthodox) church and dominate the Middle East. A militarised bureaucracy emerged from a Greco-Roman sect and declared itself the universal church. Based upon all manner of forged documents and brute force, the Roman Catholic Church undertook to drive adherents of Islam from the Iberian Peninsula, southern France and the Levant. The more honest historians of those periods admit that Islam was more tolerant of other religions than Roman Catholicism ever was. The institution of anti-Semitism became part of the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies’ enrichment strategy after the Islamic rulers were expelled.[3]

This is by no means ancient history. Thus US regime, in particular, sponsored missionaries to destroy the culture of Native Americans while the US Army was annihilating any that dared to resist. The US oil dynasties, e.g. Rockefeller, Pew, Mellon, have spent billions funding reactionary Protestant missionaries throughout the world whose job it has been to depopulate areas for Christ (help the indigenous get closer to the Christian god by dying early) so as to seize land and mineral rights.[4] Various Pentacostalists were notorious supporters of military dictatorships in Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, and elsewhere– not only preaching but collaborating with the secret police.[5] South African apartheid could not have been so enduring without the Christian missions who helped soften resistance and even helped expropriate land from Blacks throughout the country. As one wag said, the Christian missionaries brought us the Bible and took everything else.[6]

In the great wave of national liberation that started in Ghana and Egypt and Mesopotamia after World War II, movements were born that comprised all the religious groups in those countries.[7] Their models were the “enlightened” secular states anticipated by their leaders– many of whom had been educated in Europe and North America. Without exception secular states were formed throughout Africa and the Middle East– with the exception of the European settler-colonial regime in what is now called Israel. Of course whites in South Africa imitated this move by Black Africans but instead created states whose official religion was white supremacy.

From the very beginning the West– mainly Britain, the US and France– did everything in their power to destroy these newly independent states or to burden them with ethnic dictatorships. The latter were simply a result of re-creating the indirect rule regime of colonial days and installing a quasi-remote control mechanism: arms supplies for the old favourite clique so that it could suppress the rest of the population. Where ethnic division was not so easy, religion used.

Only ethnic or religious fanaticism– an essential trait of the imperial elite– could endow a minority in any of these countries with the capacity to rule other ethnic or religious groups as ruthlessly as the colonisers had done.

There is a guiding principle for the use of extremists to enforce imperialism today. It is based on a division of labour. A small group of religious fanatics, take the Saudis and their like, can be cheaply bought.[8] Then by arming them to the teeth and granting them every conceivable immunity it is possible to continue the exhaustive exploitation of the country and its population. Truly pious fanatics are only interested in enough money to satisfy their immediate passions. Therefore they have no interest in “economic affairs”. This was especially true when the British and US oil cartel installed the house of Saud to rule the populations wandering about the massive oil fields. In return for fanatical religious tyranny (and loads of cash for a tiny family), the entire Arabian Peninsula was surrendered to Aramco. In the case of Iran, Britain got control over all the oil by arming a dictator who pretended to be a monarch. The US continued this legacy by usurping Iran’s democratic aspirations. Carter and Reagan secretly supported the reactionary Islamic clerics in 1979 as a means of preventing– or so they thought– a resurgent nationalist movement with the fall of the Shah. (Sometimes plans do not work perfectly.)

At the same time Carter– at least the people who actually ran his administration– started the wave of fanatical reactionary Islam in Afghanistan– to crush a secular regime there and indirectly attack the Soviet Union.[9] This campaign continues unabated. The Anglo-American elite together with their vassals and the settler-colonial regime in Palestine have been using the tried and true tradition of religious fanaticism to promote their own religion: fanatical capitalism. One cannot function without the other because they are in essence two sides of the same historical coin.

Since threat manufacture is the main function of the mass media– even on the so-called Left– even those who write for the progressive (no one can say the “c” or “s” words) media have to maintain some illusions, distortions or misconceptions. Whether they go by the name Islamic fundamentalists or Islamicists or Al Qaeda or ISIS or (Wahhabist is rarely used because that would directly implicate Western vassal Saudi Arabia) whatever name is fashionable, nobody seems ready to call these forces what they are: mercenaries and missionaries for capitalist fanaticism, the global extremism that the US Empire now forces everyone to accept as universal, esp. since 1989. Instead of the real names, the media gives us pseudonyms to disguise the lies and to help us lie to ourselves.

It would take too long to cite all the supposedly well-meaning articles that try to tell us that the threat to Syria is a somehow uncontrollable “Frankenstein” or even an independent force, which we must all oppose. Of course people who work in the well-paid or otherwise privileged elements of the digital and analogue propaganda machines would at least suffer professionally if they called things by their right names. Others avoid stating the obvious because they are simply too ignorant or uninformed to write or say more than what everyone else is writing and saying. Truth be told, if you read the “liberal press” every day it does soften your brain– if only because to speak differently would make you very odd at most parties.

Many years ago I watched a film that was considered at the time slightly pornographic, Last Tango in Paris (1972). In this film an older man and a young woman meet regularly in an empty flat for sex. In fact the sex is often quite rough– which was probably why it had an adult rating at the time. In Bertolucci’s film the man, Paul, is played by Marlon Brando. Maria Schneider plays Jeanne. The two meet regularly and anything is allowed except to ask the names. That is to say they meet anonymously. One day the rule is broken and the names said. The next time they meet Jeanne comes with her father’s revolver and kills Paul.

What is the moral of the story? Paul and Jeanne lived those hours in that Paris flat and anything was possible, except identification. When Jeanne learned that the man with whom she had had sex so often, often even painfully, had a name and could name this man. Everything else that she had experienced became nameable. The choice became clear continue to suffer or destroy that which was causing the suffering. It was no longer possible to simply walk away.

This is the situation in which we find ourselves when we follow the continuous circular complaints of our current condition. (Alliteration intended.) As long as those we allow to describe our world and the supposed reality in which we live are permitted to anonymise the facts; to suppress the identities at the root of the violence being done in the name of this universal fanatical religion– capitalism– with its current fanatical manifestations in the imperial mercenary armies of Africa and the Middle East– we will be held in awe, held unable to contemplate action.

By action I do not presume to know what the best course is. I do not know if there is enough protest to stop things– but we haven’t protested enough. I do not know if things are so difficult that we have to cower before the almighty military, psychological and economic war machine, euphemistically called the 1%.

However, I am sure that as long as names are not named, we will not get to the root of the problem that threatens us more than CO2 or greenhouse gas. Given the gravity of the real threat– the threat posed by this fanatical “economic religion” and its masked mercenaries– it seems clear to me that the refusal to name names is not accidental.


[1] See the discussion of the Algerian War of Independence by the French officer who wrote the textbook on counter-insurgency there. David Galula, Pacification in Algeria 1956-1958, originally published by RAND Corporation in 1963.

[2] See Church Clothes: Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid, 2004, for a discussion of mission, especially in Africa.

[3] See inter alia Alexandre Herculano, History of the Origin and Establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal, trans. John C. Branner, 2003

[4] Gerald Colby and Charlotte Dennett, Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil, 1996.

[5] Rubem Alves, Protestantism and Repression, 2007

[6] A similar quote is attributed to Desmond Tutu: “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”

[7] Upon assuming the leadership of the newly independent Republic of Ghana (1960), Kwame Nkrumah initiated meetings in Accra, which were intended to form a “united states of Africa” by helping to found the Organisation of African Unity. Nkrumah was deposed in 1966 with the aid of the CIA. See inter alia John Stockwell In Search of Enemies, 1984. Gamel Abdel Nasser sought a similar approach through the United Arab Republic (with Syria 1958-1962) and support for pan-Arab unity—essentially based on unity of the Arabic-speaking peoples. The Arab Socialist Ba’ath parties (Iraq and Syria) in what had been British Mesopotamia since 1918 were founded in 1947 as Arab nationalist, socialist and anti-imperialist parties. Muammar al-Gaddafi was also a younger member of this generation of nationalists who led a bloodless coup, which expelled the British-sponsored King Idris (1969) and expelled both US and British troops from the country.

[8] Wahhabism became the political ideology of the house of bin Saud when it adopted Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792). The Saudi state promotes the teachings of Wahhab not only its official religion but as the only legitimate form of Islam. The domination by the house of bin Saud of the entire Arabian Peninsula was established in the 1930s with the help of the British and Americans, with the Americans promoting the new Saudi state with the formation of the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO). See John Blair, The Control of Oil, 1976.

[9] Carter’s national security advisor and CFR member Zbigniew Brzezinski is on record as saying how proud he still is of that policy.

A Short History of British Military Coups and Conspiracies

September 24th, 2015 by Adeyinka Makinde


Recent comments in a recent edition of the Sunday Times attributed to a serving British army general contained the not so veiled threat of mounting a military rebellion in the event of a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government getting close to exercising the levers of power. The anonymous general painted a scenario which would involve “mass resignations” by high level officers in the British armed forces in what he claimed would “effectively be a mutiny.”

Although a source for the Ministry of Defence sought to dampen the remarks by issuing a condemnation of the comments, they have caused much alarm.

The comments come in the midst of a concerted media campaign aimed at discrediting the leader and proposed policies of the Labour opposition party. While there is some room for treating words expressed anonymously with some caution, events in the recent political history of Britain suggest that they should not be readily dismissed.

There is much evidence that elements within the British military and the security services have acted against serving governments which the Establishment have viewed as threatening the interests of the United Kingdom as they perceive it. Targeted were the Labour administrations headed by Harold Wilson in the 1960s and 1970s. Threats of coups and efforts geared towards destabilising Wilson’s government have been credibly corroborated over the years.

It was also reported that Tony Benn, the late Labour figure whose Left wing positions inspired great revulsion on the British political Right was threatened with assassination in the event of his ever assuming the leadership of an elected Labour government. The source of that threat is said to have emanated from the late Airey Neave, an Establishment figure in the Conservative Party who was well-connected to the British military and the security services.

Those who are aware of the manner in which state intelligence organisations can feed information to the public for the purpose of creating alarm as well as carving out what the powers that be perceive to be a threat to the well-being of society, may conclude that recent media activity seeking to discredit Labour’s lurch to the Left culminating with the threat of a military rebellion, bear the unmistakable hallmark of the implementation of a ‘strategy of tension.’

This is an excerpt from a wide-ranging essay that I wrote in early 2013 entitled ‘Democracy, Terrorism and the Secret State’ covering plots which were engineered by the military and security services.

*       *      *

In Britain the ‘secret state’ was active during this era of the communist threat, reaching the stage where at two distinctive points in history, the possibility of a military takeover of the country became mooted and later heightened to the extent that plans for action were substantively laid out.

Both coups were to have been directed against the socialist administrations led by Harold Wilson, the first plot occurring in the late 1960s and the second, a culmination of intrigues perpetrated by Right-wing operatives in British military intelligence and the domestic security service, MI5.

The latter part of the 1960s witnessed certain events and trends which caused certain members of the British elite to be alarmed at the direction in which the former imperial power was heading.

One key event was the devaluation of the pound in 1967, a symptom of the continuing perceived ‘degradation’ of a waning nation-empire still traumatised by the humiliation of the Suez debacle of 1956.

Another was the deteriorating situation in Northern Ireland, where the bourgeoning civil rights movement of the Roman Catholic community was being transformed into a militarised struggle led by a revived Irish Republican Army (IRA).

There was also the perception of Wilson and the Labour Party being tolerant of the ‘Ban the Bomb’ movement and a drift towards a policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament. Furthermore, fears about the increasing power of trade unions and controversies related to the uneasiness felt about non-white immigration may have added to the sense of a nation in perpetual crisis.

In 1968, meetings were held at the instigation of the newspaper baron and M15 agent, Cecil King who took the lead in an enterprise which proposed that the army would depose the elected government and install a military alternative with Lord Louis Mountbatten at the helm.

Wilson’s electoral victory in 1964 signified a lurch to the Left, a direction in which elements in the United States government looked upon balefully. The CIA’s ‘spy-hunter’, James Jesus Angleton, believed that Wilson was a Soviet-plant. The thesis went along the lines that Wilson had been compromised years before by Soviet agents when as chairman of the Board of Trade, he made several trips behind the ‘Iron Curtain’.

What is more is that the sudden death in January 1963 of Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, came to be believed by Angleton and some in the British intelligence community to have been engineered by the KGB in order to pave the way for Wilson to succeed him as the leader of the party.

Gaitskell was on the Right of the Labour Party, and he had proposed the then radical measure of ditching Clause Four of the party’s constitution on common ownership. Wilson, on the other hand, was identified with the Left-wing of the party.

What followed was a dirty-tricks campaign mounted by British intelligence operatives. Code-named ‘Operation Clockwork Orange’, its remit was to smear a number of British politicians including not only Wilson, but significantly, Wilson’s political rival from the Conservative Party, Edward Heath.

Heath’s brand of ‘One Nation’ Toryism and perceived weakness in his handling of the increasingly belligerent trade unions did not meet with the approval of members of the Establishment who wanted a more Right-wing leader and agenda from the Conservatives.

This sort of thing was not without precedent in British political history. The infamous ‘Zinoviev Letter’, a 1924 forgery which came by way of an asset of MI6, was purportedly a communication from Grigori Zinoviev, the president of the Comintern, enjoining British communists to stimulate “agitation-propaganda” in the armed forces.

Thus, four days before the British General Election, the Daily Mail had as its banner headline the following: “Civil War Plot by Socialists’ Masters: Moscow Orders To Our Reds; Great Plot Disclosed.”

The Labour Party lost the election by a landslide.

The early part of the 1970s, a period which on the European continent was marked by an intensification of the ideological polarisation of the political Left and Right with malcontents on the Left favouring the use of urban violence in favour of the ‘ineffectual’ results of mass street demonstrations, saw the birth in Britain of an organisation calling itself the Angry Brigade.

The Angry Brigade, an anarchist group, temporarily provided Britain with a taste of continental-style guerrilla warfare which involved targeting figures of the state such as government ministers and judges as well as the bombing of foreign embassies and establishments of those states which its members considered as ‘imperialist’ or ‘fascist’.

The “law and order issue” became the short-handed appellation of choice in referring to the battles between the radicalised forces of the Left and the apparatus of state authority which permeated the political and cultural discourse.

The question of how these deep-rooted tensions were going to be resolved were framed in terms ranging from a revolution which would profoundly alter the status quo to that involving the state preserving its authority through the implementing of  extreme measures.

The sentiments representing one version of a possible resolution to society’s discordant drift, namely one providing the template of the ‘strategy of tension’, even made its way into the public eye through the realm of popular entertainment.

In 1971, the ITV network aired an episode of the TV series, ‘The Persuaders!’’ entitled ‘The Time and The Place’ wherein the playboy heroes stumble upon a plot to carry out a coup d’etat by members of the British establishment which is being co-ordinated by a member of the aristocracy.

The idea is to have the prime minster assassinated during a live TV debate on a contentious law and order bill, which according to its opponents and proponents represents either a “death to democracy” or a “return to sanity”.

The assassin, who appears to be a subdued and detached figure nestled in the audience, is to be activated Manchurian Candidate-style with a gun hidden in the compartment of what on the outside is a book. The murder would then present itself as the justification for a takeover of the government and the imposition of martial law.

As one of the foot soldiers of the eventually failed conspiracy explains, “the public will be outraged, and when Croxley (the Lord leading the coup) makes an impassioned plea for strong action, the people of this country will not only approve of a new government, they’ll demand it.”

The aforementioned fiction from early evening light entertainment nonetheless did reference one consistent aspect of the prevalent understanding among the mass of Britons about the nature of their governance: namely its alluding to the existence of the Establishment; a group of powerful people who although unelected and unseen, consistently influence the direction of the country.

It also followed that any plan to effect any radical change in society such as by a military coup would find its conception and execution from persons belonging to such Establishment.

Traditionally, the British Establishment referred to those of high-born status and usually with an old school tie/Oxbridge background, who along with others in high government positions of the judiciary, the armed forces, civil service, courtiers within the royal family, the police and security services, have a tendency to form coteries within the exclusive enclaves of gentleman’s clubs.

The fictional Lord Croxley meets with establishment figures in the grandiose settings of a club to finalise the details of the coup which bears traces of reality to the claimed influence of the real life Clermont Club at which some argue that a plot to overthrow the Labour government in the 1970s was hatched.

It is useful to note that the Establishment does not necessarily merge with the concept of the ‘Deep State’, i.e. the ‘state within a state’ of which the Turkish derin devlet is considered the standard.

This other aspect of the secret state; that of a parallel government manipulating events in the background without the knowledge of the incumbent, visible elected power, has, unlike in the case of Turkey and Italy, never been specifically identified in the British context, although her majesty the Queen is once believed to have alluded to the “powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge.”

However, what is not disputed is the existence of an influential establishment alongside at least a sizeable element of the secret service which plotted against the Labour government in the 1970s with the aim of destabilising it. Wilson himself had made intimations to the reporters Barrie Penrose and Roger Courtiour of “dark forces threatening Britain.”

There are historian-experts in the field such as the author Rupert Allason who assert that the intelligence services in the United Kingdom, unlike some of their European counterparts such as in Italy, is not composed overwhelmingly of individuals of a Right-wing bent. Those with Leftist tendencies, he has argued, were always represented.

While the personnel of the British secret service have tended to come from the elite of society, they did, after all, produce the notorious Cambridge set consisting of the likes of Burgess, McClean, Philby and Blunt, who indoctrinated earlier in their student days by the communist ideology, would later turn traitors against their country.

By the mid-1970s during Wilson’s second tenure as prime minister, the nation had already been through a three-day working week during Heath’s confrontation with the powerful miners union. Militant unions and a Left-wing agenda which could compromise Britain’s commitment to the free market economic system as well as to NATO was a cause of great concern.

Thus it was that in this noxious atmosphere of suspicion and paranoia of the existence of pro-Soviet subversive elements within the political classes, the intelligence services and the powerful labour unions that a group of MI5 agents led by Peter Wright, the author of Spycatcher, “bugged and burgled” their way across London, he claimed, “at the behest of the state.”

Harold Wilson was convinced that he was being watched and that insidious information about him was being disseminated from sources within the security services; part of the executive branch of the government which he was supposed to control.

Apart from the troublesome spooks who were lurking in the shadows, he was also of the mindset that waiting in the wings were high-ranking figures of the military, both serving and retired, who were ready for the signal to overthrow his government.

Not since 1648, when Colonel Thomas Pride strode into the august precincts of the English legislature one December day to bring an end to the ‘Long Parliament’, had anything of the semblance of a military coup d’etat taken place in the ‘mother-nation’  of democracy.

It seemed then to be a most unlikely development.

But Wilson, who privately complained of being undermined by the security services, also took note of a “ring of steel” mounted by the army around London’s Heathrow Airport, first in January and again in June of 1974. The first occurred on the eve of the February general election in which Labour was returned to power after a narrowly contested result.

Although explained as security measures in response to unspecified terrorist threats, Wilson considered these manoeuvres to be clear warnings pointed in his direction.

Warnings came from elsewhere. General Sir Walter Walker, a retired former high echelon figure within the command structure of NATO, expressed dissatisfaction over the state of the country and wrote to the Daily Telegraph calling for “dynamic, invigorating, uplifting leadership…above party politics” which would “save” the country from “the Communist Trojan horse in our midst.” He was involved with Unison (later renamed Civil Assistance) an anti-Communist organisation which pledged to supply volunteers in the event of a national strike.

Another military figure, Colonel David Stirling, the founder of the elite SAS regiment, created ‘Great Britain 75’. Composed of ex-military men, its task would be to take over the running of government in the event of civil unrest leading to a breakdown of government functioning.

These two, however, were red herrings according to Peter Cottrell, author of Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe, who claims that these public utterances were a distraction from “what was really going on.”

But the Rubicon was not crossed. There would be no tanks rolling down Whitehall along with the probable modus operandi of solemn martial music preceding the presumed clipped upper class tones of a lord or general proclaiming a state of national emergency and the establishment of a junta.

In the end, however, the British Right won. Wilson abruptly resigned in March 1976, thoroughly exhausted by the campaigns directed at him, while Edward Heath lost the Conservative Party leadership to Margaret Thatcher, the choice of the Right.

Adeyinka Makinde is a law lecturer with an interest in security and intelligence matters.


What happens to the many millions of £s collected in Britain each year and sent, tax free, to Israel by UK registered charities?

Is it used to help underprivileged children in Israeli orphanages or is it used to help finance Israel’s seven year illegal blockade of 1.8 million innocent civilians in Gaza? Does the UK Charities Commission (or the Inland Revenue) know? Who checks and what controls, if any, are in place?

If such tax-free tranches of money are used for military or political purposes; for illegal blockades or illegal settlement programs then Britain would be colluding in criminal behaviour by a foreign government against a persecuted minority – subsidised by the British taxpayer – and that would make it an accessory to such criminality as well as being a prima facie violation of the Geneva Conventions, and also illegal under UK legislation.



United Nations Farce: Saudi Arabia to Head UN Human Rights Council

September 24th, 2015 by Felicity Arbuthnot

All victims of human rights abuses should be able to look to the Human Rights Council as a forum and a springboard for action. (Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, 12 March 2007, Opening of the 4th Human Rights Council Session.)

Article 55 of United Nations Charter includes: “Universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

In diametrical opposition to these fine founding aspirations, the UN has appointed Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the United Nations Human Rights Council to head (or should that be “behead”) an influential human rights panel. The appointment was seemingly made in June, but only came to light on 17th September, due to documents obtained by UN Watch (1.)

… Mr Faisal Bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was elected as Chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.

As head of a five-strong group of diplomats, the influential role would give Mr Trad the power to select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.

Such experts are often described as the “crown jewels” of the HRC, according to UN Watch.

The “crown jewels” have been handed to a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. Saudi Arabia will head a Consultative Group of five Ambassadors empowered to select applicants globally for more than seventy seven positions to deal with human rights violations and mandates.

In a spectacular new low for even a UN whose former Secretary General, Kofi Annan, took eighteen months to admit publicly that the 2003 invasion of, bombardment and near destruction of Iraq was illegal, UN Watch points out that the UN has chosen: “a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key Human Rights panel …” (2)

In May, just prior to the appointment, the Saudi government advertised for eight extra executioners to: “ … carry out an increasing number of death sentences, which are usually beheadings, carried out in public” (3.)

Seemingly: “no special qualifications are needed.” The main function would be executing, but job description: “also involves performing amputations …”

The advert was posted on the website of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of the Civil Service.

By 15th June this year executions reached one hundred “far exceeding last year’s tally and putting (the country) on course for a new record” according to The Independent (15th June.) The paper adds that the Kingdom is set to beat it’s own grisly, primitive record of one hundred and ninety two executions in 1995.

The paper notes that: “ …the rise in executions can be directly linked to the new King Salman and his recently-appointed inner circle …”

In August 2014, Human Rights Watch reported nineteen executions in      seventeen days – including one for “sorcery.” Adultery and apostasy can also be punished by death.

In a supreme irony, on the death of King Salman’s head chopping predecessor, Salman’s half bother King Abdullah in January (still current decapitation record holder) UK Prime Minister David Cameron ordered flags flown at half mast, including at the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, leading one MP to question: “On the day that flags at Whitehall are flying at half-mast for King Abdullah, how many public executions will there be?”

Cameron apparently had not read his own Foreign and Commonwealth Office Report citing Saudi as “a country of concern.”

Reacting to a swathe of criticism, a spokesperson for Westminster Abbey responded: “For us not to fly at half-mast would be to make a noticeably aggressive comment on the death of the King of a country to which the UK is allied in the fight against Islamic terrorism.”

The Abbey’s representative appears to have been either breathtakingly ignorant or stunningly uninformed. In December 2009 in a US Embassy cable (4) the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton wrote that:

While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) takes seriously the threat of terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.


 … donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide … engagement is needed to … encourage the Saudi government to take more steps to stem the flow of funds from Saudi Arabia-based sources to terrorists and extremists worldwide.

At home women are forbidden: “from obtaining a passport, marrying, traveling, accessing higher education without the approval of a male guardian.” (HRW Report, 2014.) Saudi is also of course, the only country in the world where women are forbidden to drive.

The country is currently preparing to behead twenty one year old Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. He was arrested aged seventeen for participating in anti-government protests and possessing firearms – the latter charge has been consistently denied. Human rights groups are appalled at the sentence and the flimsy case against him, but pointing out that neither “factors are unusual in today’s Saudi Arabia.”

Following the beheading, al-Nimr’s headless body will be allegedly mounted: “on to a crucifix for public viewing.”(5)

What was that mantra issued unceasingly from US and UK government Departments in justification for blitzkriegs, invasions and slaughters in countries who “kill their own people”?

Numerous Reports cite torture as being widespread, despite Saudi having subscribed to the UN Convention Against Torture.

There are protests at Saudi embassies across the world highlighting the case of blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to a thousand lashes – fifty lashes a week after Friday prayers – and ten years in prison for blogging about free speech.

Since March, Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen – with no UN mandate – destroying schools, hospitals, homes, a hotel, public buildings,  an Internally Displaced Persons camp, historical jewels, generating: “a trail of civilian death and destruction” which may have amounted to war crimes, according to Amnesty International. “Unlawful airstrikes” have failed to distinguish between military targets and civilian objects. “Nowhere safe for civilians”, states Amnesty (6, pdf.)

Further, the conflict … has killed close to 4,000 people, half of them civilians including hundreds of children, and displaced over one million since 25 March 2015.” There has been: “ … a flagrant disregard for civilian lives and fundamental principles of international humanitarian law (killing and injuring) hundreds of civilians not involved in the conflict, many of them children and women, in unlawful (disproportionate and indiscriminate) ground and air attacks.”

It is alleged that US-supplied cluster bombs have also been used. One hundred and seventeen States have joined the Convention to ban these lethal, indiscriminate munitions since December 2008. Saudi Arabia, of course, is not amongst them.

Saudi was also one of the countries which bombed Iraq in 2003, an action now widely accepted as illegal. It is perhaps indicative of their closeness to the US that the bombardment of Yemen is mirror-named from the Pentagon Silly Titles for Killing People lexicon: “Operation Decisive Storm.” Iraq 1991 was of course: “Operation Desert Storm”?

Saudi is also ranked 164th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. All in all Saudi leading the Human Rights Council at the UN is straight out of another of George Orwell’s most nightmarish political fantasies.

Oh, and of course we are told that nineteen of the hijackers of the ‘plane that hit the World Trade Centre were Saudis – for which swathes of Afghanistan and region, Middle East and North Africa are still paying the bloodiest, genocidal price for the “War on Terror”– whilst Saudi’s representatives stroll in to the sunlight of the UN Human Rights body.

On the UN Human Right’s Council’s website is stated:  “The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) represents the world’s commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. We have a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights.” Way to go, folks.









The Obama Two-Step on Syria

September 24th, 2015 by Ajamu Baraka

President Obama is disavowing his failed strategy to train “moderate” rebels to fight ISIS, claiming the Republicans made him do it. Under Washington’s plan for regime change in Syria, radical jihadists would be used as the ‘boots on the ground’ for the U.S. in Syria,” as they were in Afghanistan. The West’s plans for ISIS and al Qaeda have gone awry, as have U.S. schemes to deploy “moderates” proxies of imperialism.

It was a pathetic spectacle, another black face in a high place in the person of General Lloyd J. Austin III, head of the United States Central Command, came before the Senate’s Armed Services Committee to report to incredulous members that the 500 million dollar program to train 5000 so-called moderate rebels in Syria had only resulted in the training of a few dozen.

He went on to report that of that number, half had already been either captured, or some say “integrated,” into the al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front, leaving just four or five individuals in what must be a record for the most expensive training process in human history.

With howls of criticism coming from right-wing Democrats and Republicans, the impression developing in Congress and the general public is that similar to the debacle that Iraq and Afghanistan became for George Bush, Syria is Obama’s foreign policy disaster.

Strangely however, while General Austin was falling on his sword in front of the Senate committee, spokespersons for Barack Obama were busy telling anyone who would listen that President Obama could not be blamed for the calamity unfolding in Syria.

The White House claimed that it is not to blame for the training issue. In what some are calling his “the devil made me do it” defense, Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary argued that the finger should be pointed at those who convinced President Obama to get directly involved in training Syrian rebels, including by implication the former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And on the general Syrian issue, the Administration appears to be trying to put distance between itself and its own policies.

But facts can be stubborn things, even when the interpretative framework for assessing facts is different. For many of us, the historical record is clear – this war was/is Mr. Obama’s. And what we are witnessing in Syria today is the human and political consequences of his administration’s decision to embrace a policy of regime change in Syria.

Plan A- Regime Change, Plan B – The Destruction and Dismembering of the Syria State and Society:

This notion that Obama was a reluctant warrior who only got involved in Syria recently is a fiction.

From the very beginning of the phony Arab Spring actions in Syria, it was not even necessary for former general Wesley Clark to reveal that Syria was on a hit-list of governments slated for subversion to see the reactionary presence of U.S. intelligence agencies in the “rebellion” in Syria.

Former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas blew the whistleon Western war plans against Syria, long before the first “spontaneous” protests erupted in 2011. While Dumas told a story of British and French intrigue, it was always clear that those two sub-imperialist nations would not have been engaged in anything of that magnitude and sensitivity without a green light from the U.S. hegemon.

WikiLeaks conformed those plans when it released over 7000 secret diplomatic cables that documented that from 2006 to 2010, the US spent 12 million dollars in order to support and instigate demonstrations and propaganda against the Syrian government.

Millions were spent to support dissident groups and for disinformation campaigns targeting the corporate media in the U.S. and Western Europe.

Once the destabilization plan was launched reports in the alternative press immediately emerged of CIA involvement with illicit arms being funneled to Syria opposition fighters, including tons of equipment from Libya that had been destroyed by NATO forces.

From 2006 to 2010, the US spent 12 million dollars in order to support and instigate demonstrations and propaganda against the Syrian government.”

Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter,revealed that President Obama and the Turkish PM, Erdogan concluded a secret deal in the beginning of 2012 in which the CIA and the British M16 would move heavy weapons out of Libya to supply the Free Syrian Army. This was the activity that Chris Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, was providing political cover for in Benghazi when the CIA annex and diplomatic compound was attacked by one of the disaffected armed groups that the U.S. was dealing with.

Those reports became so wide-spread in media outlets globally that finally even the New York Times could no longer avoid the reports and ran a story that essentially corroborated reports of CIA involvement in support of Syrian opposition forces.

But clearly the most damaging information that revealed the extent of the Obama’s administration moral complicity with the carnage that it unleashed in Syria was the report from the Defense Intelligence Agency ( DIA) written in 2012 that clearly documented that “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al- Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” being supported by “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey.” And like the report that exposed that white terrorist organizations represented a major threat to domestic security in the U.S., this report was also ignored by the administration.

When retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), was asked why the Obama administration didn’t act on his agency’s concerns, his response was that the administration apparently decided to ignore the findings, “I think it was a willful decision.”

The DIA report was ignored because the Obama Administration had already decided on its course of action. The strategy that the administration was implementing was detailed in another piece ofreporting by Seymour Hersh. Hersh revealed that the strategy first formulated in the latter years of the Bush administration and carried over into the Obama Administration, was that radical jihadists would be used in a manner similar to how they were used in Afghanistan in the 80s, as the “boots on the ground” for the U.S. in Syria.

Obama is now taking a familiar position that European imperialists have taken for years after committing unspeakable crimes against humanity – they feign innocence.”

Embracing this strategy was not a very difficult one for the Administration, especially since Obama and many others in his administration believed that the creation of a “moderate” force of what Obama divisively referred to as former doctors, farmers and pharmacists capable of dislodging Assad was a fantasy.

The geo-strategic objective for the Obama Administration was regime change, therefore, the plan implemented for that objective had nothing to do with wanting to liberate Syrians. In their cynical calculations, eliminating al-Assad outweighed any considerations for the longer term interests of the Syrian people. For the cold-hearted strategists of the Obama Administration, the talk of a people’s revolution was only a ploy to obscure their real intentions and confuse liberals and even some leftists.

The Administration peddled the outrageous fiction that there was a viable force of so-called moderates in Syria that they were supporting at the same time that they knew that the al-Nusra Front, and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) had emerged as the central forces in the anti-Assad insurgency.

And by early 2013 when it became clear that the al-Assad government would not surrender, the destruction and dismemberment of the Syria State became the goal of U.S. policy. The impact that this decision would have on the people of Syria was of no concern for U.S. planners.

It would not be an exaggeration to argue that despite whatever contradictions existed in Syria, and there were many, without the subversion by the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination and its allies, it is highly unlikely that any social upheaval that might have developed in the country as part of a pro-democracy movement would have reached the scale of suffering experience by the people of Syria today.

No, the devil did not make Obama engage in the incredible cynicism that sacrificed an ancient culture and the lives of so many. It was the imperatives of empire and the ethical position that Westerners have the right to determine the leadership of states and what lives have value.

Being the self-centered narcissist and operating from a colonialist, Eurocentric mindset, Obama is now taking a familiar position that European imperialists have taken for years after committing unspeakable crimes against humanity – they feign innocence.

But this is Obama’s war and while he may escape prosecution as the war criminal that he is, the consequences and moral condemnation that it has generated is inescapable. It is his legacy, a legacy written in blood that no amount of slick public relations will be able to erase from the pages of history.

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


EUA e Colômbia vs Venezuela: conspiração, trama e complot

September 24th, 2015 by Nil Nikandrov

O Comando Sul do exército dos Estados Unidos – [SOUTHCOM para a região sul do continente americano] – fechou um contrato com a companhia Airtec para a condução de aviões de inteligência e informação em áreas fronteiriças da Colômbia, trabalho esse estipuladas para até 2018. O jornalista venezuelano José Vicente Rangel disse que o tipo de avião usado para essa missão seria o avião de bombardeio DH C- 8/200, o qual possui instrumentos eletrônicos avançados que permitem um total controle das cidades fronteiriças na Venezuela.

Os serviços de inteligência dos Estados Unidos propuseram um maior empenho dado ao agravamento da situação nas tradicionais zonas de conflitos fronteiriços entre a Venezuela e a Colômbia. Certos círculos políticos e militares próximos do governo colombiano pronta, voluntária, ansiosa, e alegremente ofereceram-se para assistir Washington nas operações subversivas dos mesmos contra o que percebem como o maior adversário regional da Colômbia, ou seja, a Venezuela.

O presidente Juan Manuel Santos da Colômbia, o porta-voz de grandes famílias oligárquicas, já muitas vezes disse que ele é a favor de um aprofundamento das “relações especiais” com Washington, entre essas estando então as relações militar-estratégicas. A presença das sete (7) bases militares dos Estados Unidos na Colômbia são vistas por Santos, assim como por suas equipes e esquadrões, como etapas intermediárias numa fase de engajamento do exército colombiano nas atividades da OTAN. Washington por sua vez usa Bogotá para subverter o processo de integração dos países latinoamericanos e do Caribe, entre si. Esse é para os Estados Unidos um ponto essencial quanto a um restabelecimento da sua posição de domínio na região.

É impressionante a paciência do governo de Nicolás Maduro em relação as demonstrações hostis da Colômbia. A oposição interna na Venezuela tenta mostrar que o governo de Nicolás Maduro não consegue estabilizar a vida econômica do país, sendo até incapaz de manter ar prateleiras dos mercados bem providas para satisfazer os requisitos legais dos consumidores. Tem-se aqui então que uma sabotagem interna na Venezuela faz por onde esconder, ou até mesmo por onde fazer desaparecer produtos de primeira necessidade no país. Tudo é sustentado pela, ao mesmo tempo em que também sustenta, a sabotagem estrangeira, a qual faz com que os produtos e mercadorias desaparecidas na Venezuela, em uma boa parte, reapareçam na estrutura de contrabando no território da Colômbia.

Uma resolução do problema exigiria um esforço das duas partes, mas as autoridades colombianas minimizaram a guarda das fronteiras para possibilitar um espaço livre para as atividades de grupos criminosos, os quais em muitos casos são constituídos de grupos armados dos “destacamentos de autodefesa” da extrema direita (AUC na sigla estrangeira do original). Por dados dos serviços de inteligência da Venezuela os comandantes desses grupos colaboram com as forças de segurança da Colômbia.

Recentemente grupos armados dos “destacamentos de autodefesa” da Colômbia prepararam uma armadilha na qual caíram patrulheiros venezuelanos do contra-contrabando. Como consequência do tiroteiro levantado três militares venezuelanos ficaram gravemente feridos. O presidente Maduro anunciou estado de emergência na fronteira com a Colômbia, no estado de Tajira, assim como o fechamento dessa fronteira por um tempo indeterminado. Forças militares e policiais foram dirigidas para lá.

Iniciou-se um trabalho para identificação dos pontos fortes dos paramilitares contrabandistas. Procuraram-se os bunkers e depósitos onde se guardariam as mercadorias roubadas destinadas para a compra de elementos susceptíveis de alistamento, ou outros usos. Foram feitos prisioneiros (até agora 35). Interrogatórios, assim como descobertas de aterramento e dumpings secretos revelaram a escala dos crimes dos paramilitares contra a Venezuela. Maduro disse que a Venezuela estava descobrindo a terrível verdade quanto a ação criminosa dos grupos armados. Ele declarou também que era sobre ele, Nicolás Maduro, que caia a obrigação de livrar a Venezuela de tudo isso.

A severa posição de Maduro é totalmente justificada. Essa guerra econômica contra a Venezuela adquiriu uma tal amplitude que nas cidades fronteiriças tem-se um sumiço de produtos de primeira necessidade, assim como de higiene, de alimentação e medicamentos. Tudo foi retirado dessas cidades, indo de roupas a sapatos, peças de reposição para reparação de autos, pneus,e até mesmo máquinas de gasolina, de quando da demolição de um posto de gasolina.

Na Venezuela a gasolina é muito barata. Encher o tanque de um carro não deveria custar mais do que $2 (dois dólares). Tem-se aqui o porque do levar-se extremas quantidades de gasolina da Venezuela para a Colômbia, ao longo da fronteira conjunta. A cidade de San Cristóban na Colômbia, a pequena capital de Tajira, “exigiu” de acordo com a estatística oficial, muito mais gasolina do que a capital do país, Caracas. Chegou-se até ao ponto do contrabando de gasolina ter se tornado num negócio mais lucrativo para os paramilitares do que o tráfico de narcóticos.

O contrabando estimula uma grande diferença nos preços de bens de consumo de maior necessidade para o consumidor. Na Venezuela esse tipo de produto é subvencionado. Na fronteira tem-se também uma grande manipulação quanto ao curso da moeda venezuelana, o bolivar. O centro das operações econômico-financeiras subversivas é a cidade de Kukuta, na Colômbia. Nela encontram-se mais do que três mil (3.000) casas e locais de câmbio, trabalhando na desvalorização da moeda venezuelana, o que no total mostra-se no empobrecimento dos venezuelanos e num mal estar social no país.

Na fronteiriça Kukuta os seviços americanos da DIA e da CIA trabalham ativamente. DIA sendo a agência de defesa, e CIA, mais conhecida, a agência central de inteligência. Ambas instruem células radicais da oposição venezuelana. Lá também em estado permanente são mantidas consultações com os dirigentes de três especialmente construídas organizações de subversão contra a Venezuela: Centro de Pensamento Primero Colombia, FTI Consulting e Fundacão Internacionalismo Democrático.

Dirigindo a conspiração contra a Venezuela tem-se o ex-presidente da Colômbia Álvaro Uribe, recrutado pela CIA nos meados dos anos oitenta, em situações comprometedoras; Na lista de narcotraficantes feita pela DEA (direção da luta contra narcótica) ele recebeu o nr 82. Durante todos os seus oito anos no cargo de presidente da Colômbia Uribe fez seu trabalho subversivo contra Hugo Chávez, construindo as condições para um isolamento do regime bolivariano no Continente das Américas. Os serviços de contra-espionagem da Venezuela vêem Uribe como uma figura-chave usada pelos serviços secretos dos Estados Unidos para uma derrubada de Nicolás Maduro.

O atual governo de Santos na Colômbia usufrui da ajuda propagandística da mídia ocidental. Em primeiro plano entra aqui o “The New York Times” e o “Washington Post”. Na redação dos diversos artigos encontra-se sempre em ambos conteúdo similar. Persistente, insistente e agressivamente apresentam-se sempre temas em que os problemas fronteiriços não passam de fabricações de Nicolás Maduro para com fins publicitários conseguir um necessário apoio nas eleições parlamentares.

Aqui não se vê nem uma palavra a respeito dos cinco milhões e meio de refugiados indo da Colômbia para a Venezuela por causa da guerra civil na Colômbia, das formações paramilitares, do tráfico de narcóticos e do contrabando na Colômbia. O Ministério do Interior da Venezuela claramente determinou o ponto de partida dos ataques da guerra de informação contra si:- “Isso é resultado dos meios de comunicação de massas dos Estados Unidos contra a Venezuela, e sua revolução bolivariana”.

O embaixador da Venezuela na OEA – Organização dos Estados Americanos, Roy Chalerton da Venezuela, comentando os acontecimentos nas fronteiras chamou a atenção para o tom hostil da mídia colombiana – no Jornal El Tiempo, na Rádio e TV RCN, e também na CNN em espanhol, entre outras, publicando material que divulgava ódio e racismo contra o povo venezuelano e seu país. Roy Chaderton disse que “essa campanha de ódio” poderá levar a uma guerra, caso os líderes venezuelanos não encontrarem uma mistura sensível e subtil nessa situação melindrosa. Ele disse então que recomendaria aos diplomatas na OEA – que tomassem tudo isso com um pouco de sal. A mídia colombiana está ainda, antes de mais nada, engajada numa guerra. Essa seria então uma guerra já de quarta geração.

O Departamento de Estado dos EUA numa declaração quanto ao fechamento da fronteira concentrou-se no problema humanitário e recomendou para a normalização da situação o recorrer-se a ajuda das organizações regionais. Foi também dito que a diplomacia dos EUA estaria pronta a participar na regularização do diálogo. Entretanto, diplomatas nem sempre vem da mesma forma, ou seja, eles apresentam peculiaridades específicas, ou em outras palavras, são diferentes uns dos outros. Por ex., Kevin Whitaker, ex-embaixador dos Estados Unidos na Colômbia, trabalhou em 2006 como residente da CIA na Venezuela. É muito duvidoso que esse tipo de diplomatas venham a “estabelecer” o pretendido.

A sua frente verão sempre coisas completamente diferentes do oficialmente pretendido.

Nil Nikandrov

Referências e notas.


Tradução do original russo por Anna Malm – -




A administração de Obama leva a frente uma incansável, implacável, impiedosa e cruel guerra contra os presidentes dos países latinoamericanos que não levem a cabo uma política que tenha sido arranjada e organizada por poderes em Washington, ou que não satisfaça aos mesmos. As tarefas relacionadas com uma derrubada dos por Washington indesejáveis líderes latinoamericanos,sobre toda a extensão de seus termos em ofício, é determinada nas Embaixadas dos Estados Unidos na Venezuela, Equador, Bolívia, Brasil e Argentina. Os intensivos ataques contra Nicolás Maduro, Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, Daniel Ortega, Dilma Rousseff e Cristina Fernandes de Kirchner aumentam constante e sucessivamente. Washington conta com que a caída de um deles leve a um dominó efeito na América Latina que acabe por esmagar com os “populistas” [populistas para nós significando o poder popular].

Nesse cenário de fundo a operação especializada da Embaixada dos Estados Unidos para retirar do poder o presidente da Guatemala Otto Peres Molina não se apresenta como nenhuma surpresa. Depois tem-se também que sempre se esteve contando com o fato de que ele seria uma uma aposta certa do Pentágono e do Departamento do Estado dos Estados Unidos. Nos anos oitenta, de quando Washington estava a instigar uma repressão sangrenta para esmagar o movimento guerrilheiro na Guatemala, e na América Central, o general Peres Molina foi o homem a dirigir as operações de represália feitas pelo conjunto de esquadrões particulares especializados, os quais eram conhecidos como “Caibiles”. O general Molina tornou-se depois, através das pressões da CIA, o diretor dos serviços secretos do país. Em Washington não havia dúvida de que ele no cargo de presidente da Guatemala iria executar todas as diretivas dadas a ele.

Entretanto dentro de pouco tempo Peres começou a dar sinais de pretender estabelecer sua independência e autonomia conquanto ignorando ordens diretas da Embaixada. Ele começou também a demonstrar de muitas maneiras que na Guatemala quem mandava era ele, e daí chega, basta. Alguém de dentro dos seus círculos começou a falar que ele estaria querendo declarar o embaixador dos Estados Unidos como “persona non grata”. A Embaixada de quando ouvindo esses planos decidiu tomar a liderança. O pretexto usado para a sua derrubada do poder foi o estabelecimento de uma guerra contra a corrupção. Quem formalmente tomou a direção dessa guerra foi a Comissão Internacional Contra a Impunidade na Guatemala (CICIG), padronizada pela OTAN. Na verdade essa comissão era dirigida pelo Departamento do Estado dos Estados Unidos e pela CIA, e usada  para propelar o campo político na Guatemala para estabelecimento de uma pro-americana “nova geração” no poder.

Peres compreendeu muito bem que informações comprometedoras quanto a ele e seus funcionários e associados tinham sido dadas à CICIG pela Embaixada dos Estados Unidos onde funciona o sistema de espionagem e escutas [ilegais]. Sem fazer muito estardalhaço quanto ao seu mal-estar frente as atividades da CICIG ele tentou terminar com o trabalho da comissão dizendo que a tarefa poderia ser dada por concluída e que essas poderiam ser encerradas no final do ano. Entretanto a pressão americana fez-se sentir e Peres recapitulou anunciando o prolongamento do mandato da CICIG por mais dois anos.

Em fevereiro de 2014 CICIG estava sendo dirigida pelo colombiano Ivan Velasquez, membro do Supremo Tribunal do seu país, onde também se fazia o mesmo que na Guatemala: “Limpava-se” com os dados comprometedores fornecidos pela CIA e pelos serviços militares de inteligência dos Estados Unidos. Diga-se de passagem que esses fazem parte dos métodos habituais de trabalho da estrutura de poder dos EUA. Quanto a mídia pro-americana na Guatemala essa apresentava Velasquez como um herói. Publicações a respeito dele se dão com títulos como “O colombiano que derrubou Peres”. Ele mesmo sabe como calar-se quanto ao envolvimento da Embaixada dos Estados Unidos nos inquéritos e mais ainda sobre seus próprios contactos com os centros de atividades da CIA.

A manipulação da informação, frequentemente no nível do fuxico e da fofoca, faz acusações sem escrúpulos e sem provas numa tarefa de “estufar as linguiças”. Entretanto, esse trabalho foi suficiente para convencer o povo da Guatemala que no seu país existiam dois grupos mafiosos armados. Um deles apresentava-se com a denominação? El Sindicato, que apresentava-se como dirigido por Peres, o próprio presidente da Guatemala. O outro apresentava-se como a “Confradaria” [?] – no original “Cofradía” – que dizia-se ser dirigido por Roxana Baldetti, a vice-presidenta. Frequentemente acusações semelhantes são alinhavadas/cozidas/construídas no decorrer das discussões ao vivo. Tudo fica destruido antes mesmo de qualquer análise e avaliação seriosa seja feita. Tem-se  – da maneira que tudo se desenrolou, e depois de muitas águas terem passado – que o resultado obtido, visto da perspectiva deles, só possa ser considerado como um grande sucesso. Muitos foram os que cairam depois das primeiras tarefas de comprometer e tirar do poder políticos indesejáveis para os Estados Unidos na América Latina terem sido dadas aos serviços secretos norteamericanos.

Abaixo da pressão da para ele total necessidade de apaziguar e silenciar as manifestações de rua nos protestos contra a corrupção, Peres começou a fazer concessões: Para começar retirou a vice-presidenta Roxana Baldetti do seu posto. Depois vieram a perder os seus postos ainda umas dezenas de funcionários. Muitos deles foram acusados de pertencer uma estrutura de corrupção denominada como “La Linea” [A Linha?] – ativa na alfândega e nos orgãos das autoridades fiscais. A mídia acusava Peres de ser a figura chave nessa estrutura, e de que a sua inimizade contra a CICIG vinha do fato dele não querer perder a sua parte desse mercado negro e obscuro, feito nas sombras.

Peres começou a perder o controle da situação no país. Ele tentou manobrar, deu garantias ao embaixador americano Todd Robinson de que tinha tomado providências para a instalação de reformas políticas e jurídicas. Entretanto já era tarde demais. Chegando quase ao seu auge as demonstrações de rua e outras ações de protesto continuavam a crescer incontrolavelmente. Em 5 de junho ativistas de uma organização pouco conhecida denominada como “Aliança Cristã dos Trabalhadores”, chamada assim como na melhor das tradições da CIA, bloquearam a via central da capital da Guatemala. No final de agôsto começou uma greve-geral, a primeira em dezenas de anos, na qual tomaram parte não menos que 100.000 pessoas [observe-se que aqui já se trata de um novo conceito de democracia – não a das urnas, mas a dos gritos e berros e das desordens dos arruaceiros… Canja de galinha chamar 2-5 milhões de pessoas as ruas num país de 100.000.000 de habitantes, não é verdade? No caso da Guatemala ca de 15.000.000 / 100.000. Foi tudo contra seu voto? Cale a boca ou lá vem porretada da nova ordem assim estabelecida].

O parlamento reagiu a esse [democrático?] protesto e tirou a imunidade de Peres. O presidente se viu obrigado a deixar o seu cargo em 2 de setembro. No dia seguinte, no 3 de setembro então, o Tribunal da Guatemala apresentou a ordem de prisão de Peres, por corrupção.

Foi dito que “dada a gravidade das acusações” o ex-presidente tinha sido levado a uma prisão militar. Numa entrevista com a CNN Otto Peres Molina acusou principalmente Washington, sublinhando que a “Comissão Internacional Contra a Impunidade na Guatemala” era controlada pelos americanos. Peres disse então que:- “Isso me foi dito em pelo menos três ocasiões (e numa delas) pelo vice-presidente Biden, que também me pediu, durante minha visita em Washington, que eu prolongasse a credencial da CICIG”. Peres disse que não tinha se decidido quanto a isso porque a direção militar do país via essa comissão como um órgão repressivo, construída com o dinheiro americano para assédio, perseguição, busca, acusação e repressão, além de retaliação contra cidadãos da Guatemala, e isso não só por motivos, suspeitas, ou pretextos de corrupção, mas também para a perseguição dos que tinham “protegido o país” nos anos da guerra civil.

De acordo com a Constituição o posto presidencial foi ocupado pelo vice-presidente Alexandro Maldonado, 79 anos. Ele é um indestrutível político, entendido como “o homem de Washington”. Maldonado ocupará esse cargo até o 14 de janeiro de 2016, de quando o novo presidente fará seu juramento e tomará posse. A Embaixada dos Estados Unidos publicou o seguinte pronunciamento no seu site, em 3 de setembro: “Nós notamos o fato da saída do poder pelo presidente Otto Peres Molina e iremos trabalhar com o novo presidente Alexandro Maldonado Aguirre, com o seu programa de reformas que continua a luta contra a corrupção e desenvolve a segurança na Guatemala. Nós cumprimentamos o povo da Guatemala e suas instituições pela pacífica abordagem graças a qual essa crise foi superada. Confirmamos também nosso apoio para os processos democráticos na Guatemala e entre esses o das eleições programadas para o 6 de setembro”.

As rápidas eleições sairam no prazo determinado. Entretanto ninguém conseguiu vencer no 1º. Turno. Em 25 de outubro virá o 2º. Turno. De acordo com a mídia, Jimmi Morales, 46 anos, apresentador de televisão, regissor cinematográfico e ator do gênero cômico tem as melhores chances. Ele se candidatou pelo partido FCN, Frente/Fronte Nacional de Convergência. Ele apoia uma direção militar- conservativa- nacionalista e os grupos da burguesia. Seu grito de guerra:- “Sem Corrupção e Sem Ladrões”. Incerto quem será seu concurrente. Poderá ser Sandra Torres, UNE- União Nacional de Esperança, ou Manuel Baldison do partido “Líder” – LDR. Nenhum desses três levanta medo, apreensão, receio ou preocupação no Departamento de Estado [dos Estados Unidos].

Porque teria os Estados Unidos derrubado Peres? A corrupção no continente é muito grande e para os Estados Unidos de onde viria a maior e mais perigosa escala de corrupção senão de seu vizinho, o México? Será que estariam planejando algum tipo de combinação geopolítica como uma futura “Aliança em nome da prosperidade” (incluindo Guatemala, Honduras e Salvador)? Será que Peres recusou-se a liderar uma “oposição regional” contra a construção do canal interroceânico na Nicaragua? Será que terá rejeitado propósitos do Pentágono quanto a construção de uma grande base de referência/apoio na Guatemala?

Teria tudo simplesmente sido para mostrar aos centro-americanos quem é o dono da casa, partindo do princípio “bata nos seus, para que lutem melhor/façam medo ao inimigo”? Estou inclinado a pensar nessa variante, porque tudo que os Estados Unidos estiveram fazendo nos últimos 25 anos pode ser concentrado na fórmula “Use Muita Força- Raciocínio Não Necessário” ou alternativamente “Muitos Poderes- Não Mente”.

Teria o presidente da independente e soberana Guatemala podido imaginar o que acabaria por cair nas mãos de “uma comissão internacional contra a impunidade” – da CICIG?

Nil Nikandrov

Referências e Notas:

Título original “Певеворот в Гватемале” = Reviravolta na Guatemala

(Певеворот significando também quando se tratando de uma entidade política um golpe de estado. Implica sempre um virar, revirar, por em desordem, revolucionar, mudar. Para finns pedagógicos a manchete do título ficou como apresentado acima do título original).

Nil Nikandrov, Певеворот в Гватемале, Нил Никандров –

Nota da Tradução – Otto Peres Molina – nascido em 1950 em Guatemala City. Pertencendo ao Partido Patriota e General. Presidente da Guatemala de Janeiro de 2012 até 3 de setembro de 2015.

Traduzido do russo por Anna Malm* –

Phil.Lic. – Risk Research. Stockholm School of Economics


Democracia OTAN na Ucrânia

September 24th, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

“Histórica” visita do secretário geral da OTAN, Stoltenberg, na Ucrânia 21-22 de setembro onde ele participa (pela primeira vez na história das relações bilaterais) no Conselho Nacional de Segurança, assina um acordo para a abertura de uma embaixada da OTAN em Kiev, e tem duas conferências de imprensa conjuntamente com o presidente Poroshenko.

Esse é um passo decisivo para a integração da Ucrânia na Aliança. Tendo começado em 1991, de quando apenas tinha vindo a ser um estado independente a seguir a desintegração da URSS, a Ucrânia entrou primeiro no “Conselho de Cooperação Norteatlântica” e depois em 1994 na “Parceria para a Paz”. Em 1999 – enquanto a OTAN estava a demolir a Iugoslávia com a guerra e a encorpar ex-países do Pacto de Varsóvia (Polônia, República Tcheca e Hungria) – foi inaugurado em Kiev o “Gabinete de Ligação da OTAN” e formado um batalhão polaco-ucraniano para as operações de “Manutenção de Paz”, em Kosovo. Em 2002 o presidente Kuchma, da Ucrânia, declarava a disponibilidade do país para uma sua entrada na OTAN. Em 2005, nas águas da “revolução laranja” organizada e financiada por Washington, ou seja o governo dos EUA, através de uma especializada Organização Não Governamental financiada pelo oligarca Poroshenko o presidente de então, Yushenko, foi convidado à cimeira da OTAN em Bruxelas.

Entretanto, em 2010 o então recentemente eleito presidente Yanukovich anunciava que uma adesão da Ucrânia a OTAN não fazia parte da sua agenda. No meio tempo a OTAN foi tecendo suas redes no interior das forças armadas ucranianas, e treinando grupos de neo-nazistas (como pode ser comprovado por uma documentação fotográfica de militantes da Uno-Unso sendo treinada por instrutores da OTAN na Estônia, em 2006. Os neo-nazis foram usados como forças de ataque no golpe de estado da “Piazza Maidan” que veio a derrubar Yanukovich em fevereiro de 2014, enquanto o secretário geral da OTAN ordenava as forças armadas da Ucrânia a “manterem-se neutras”, sem reagir. Poroshenko toma logo depois a posse da presidência e a OTAN declara que abaixo de sua direção a Ucrânia está a se tornar “num estado soberano e independente, firmemente empenhado a democracia e ao direito”.

Quanto a soberania e a independência da Ucrânia o demonstra as denominações de cidadãos estrangeiros escolhidos por Washington e Bruxelas para encargos ministeriais na Ucrânia: o ministério das finanças foi dado a Natalie Jaresko, cidadã norteamericana que trabalhou no Departamento de Estado dos Estados Unidos; o ministério do comércio e do desenvolvimento econômico foi dado a Abromavicius, da Lituânia, que trabalhou, por sua vez, para grupos bancários europeus; o ministério da saúde foi dado ao ex-ministro georgiano Kvitashvili. O ex-presidente da Geórgia, Saakashvili, o homem da confidência de Washington, foi denominado governador da região ucraniana de Odessa. Para completar o quadro Kiev confiou sua própria Receita Federal a uma companhia particular britânica.

Quanto a Ucrânia estar impregnada pela democracia e a justiça o demonstra o fato que os batalhões neo-nazistas responsáveis pelas atrocidades cometidas contra os civis de etnicidade russa na Ucrânia do leste foram enquadrados na Guarda Nacional treinada por instrutores americanos e britânicos. Essa sua impregnação também é demonstrada pela proibição do grupo do partido comunista ucraniano, assim como a de toda a ideologia comunista, em um clima de perseguições similar aquele do advento do fascismo na Itália dos anos 20. Depois tem-se que para evitar testimônios incômodos para si, Kiev decidiu-se, em 17 de setembro, a impedir a entrada no país de dezenas de jornalistas estrangeiros, entre esses então três da BBC, decisão essa que foi definida como determinada por “uma ameaça a segurança nacional”.

A Ucrânia de Poroshenko, o oligarca enriquecido com o saqueio da propriedade estatal, e ao qual o Primeiro-ministro Renzi da Itália elogia a “sábia direção”, contribuiria até mesmo para a nossa própria “segurança nacional” de quando participando como um parceiro nos exercícios militares da OTAN denominados como “Trident Juncture” – 2015 [TJ 15]  desenrolando-se na Itália.

Manlio Dinucci

 Artigo original :

Traduzido do italiano por Anna Malm, para  

The rituals and secret-keeping of Britain’s privately educated elites are a cornerstone of Conservative Party unity.

Whether or not it’s true, the Internet has decided for the time being that British Prime Minister David Cameron probably put his private parts into the mouth of a dead pig when he was at Oxford. The allegations have been made by extremely well-connected Establishment figures, former Conservative Party Deputy Chairman Lord (Michael) Ashcroft, and former Sunday Times political editor Isabel Oakeshott, and the story is published in the Daily Mail, which makes this the highest possible tier of character assassination in British politics.

Ashcroft’s goal is, according to the Mail, “revenge”. In the years leading up to Cameron taking office in 2010, the tax-dodging billionaire had donated over £8 million to the Conservative Party, bailing them out of debt after their disastrous election defeat in 2005. He had worked as Treasurer and later Deputy Chairman of the party, helping to manage them back to an electable public image under Cameron. Yet Ashcroft had expected that he would be given high office in exchange for this, and Cameron didn’t pay up when the time came. It now appears Ashcroft has spent the last five years compiling his new book, Call Me Dave, in which the pig story and other damning allegations about the Prime Minister are made.

Outsiders to the British cultural landscape are focusing on the central detail that a leader of a G8 country screwed a dead pig, because it’s hilarious. But the howling laughter of the British themselves goes deeper than just schadenfreude at a man doing something disgusting and getting caught – this is about class.

When Cameron was at Oxford, he was a member of several secret societies of rich young men. The most famous of these is the Bullingdon Club, after which Yale’s infamous Skull and Bones is fashioned. The aim of the Bullingdon Club is ostensibly to dress up fancy with the chaps, get blind drunk at an expensive restaurant or private dining room, and trash the place – because they can afford to pay for the damages without doing a day’s work. Among their known initiation rites, they are said to have to burn a £50 bill in front of a homeless person.

And that leads to the other side of what the Bullingdon Club (and societies like it) is about: upper class right wing team-building. The friendships and alliances forged in the secret drinking societies of powerful rich kids go on to define their careers, and these young men all have access to the highest rungs of British society. Threeprominent members of Cameron’s cabinet were members, whilst many others went on to run the banks that crashed the economy in 2008 and the media empires that protect them.

Burning money in front of a homeless person isn’t just intended to be a nasty prank, it serves to train a Bullingdon boy’s senses, to make other humans seem somehow less. That David Cameron and his allies George Osborne and Boris Johnson have all done this, and that they have all presided over a sharp spike in homelessness in London and throughout the UK, are not coincidental. The MP who provided Lord Ashcroft with the details of the pig story attended one meeting of the expensive club but left in disgust because ‘it was all about despising poor people’.

And thus part of the reason why the British are so ready to believe Lord Ashcroft’s story, aside from the fact that Ashcroft is a top-tier Establishment figure in a country with absurdly plaintiff-friendly libel laws, is that Cameron’s ideological training is already well understood by the public. There is nothing likable about such a background, particularly when the ruling class it produces is waging a war on the poor and disabled that would have made Thatcher blush.

So to then hear that the guy at the top of that pyramid was peer-pressured into putting his dick in a pig’s mouth or risk not being included in a club of nasty, entitled people, it creates a much more satisfying reaction than mere laughter. A figure of terror becomes a figure of ridicule, a reversal like the boggarts in Harry Potter, who impersonate your worst nightmares until you can cast a spell on them that makes them look absurd.

The pig scandal that now has the world laughing at Cameron wasn’t from the Bullingdon Club but the Piers Gaverston, less well-known (until this week), but with a reputation for bizarre sexual rituals and initiation rites. Where the Bullingdon boys built their fraternity around shared values of hating the poor, the Piers Gaverston was about sexual humiliation and the creation of shared secrets. Its structural function is as an agreement of mutually assured destruction between the rulers of tomorrow – I know your secret and you know mine, so let’s stay on the same side, yeah?

This forms one of the core mechanics of the British ruling class – why reveal someone’s dirty little secret when you can keep schtum about it and control them? This forms the basis of the parliamentary whipping system, where the Chief Whip of each respective party is expected to have an arsenal of dirt locked away in their office so that when the time comes, their party leader can ‘whip’ rebellious backbenchers with threats that sometimes include leaking that story about you that you really don’t want to be leaked.

In this elite culture not all corruption is financial. When it comes to the top of British politics, sound character and a clean record do not make you an asset. You’ll have a hard time joining unless they can confirm that you are scum – and can make sure that the public don’t know about it.

An interesting example of this is the role Margaret Thatcher played in the elevation of certain members of her government and its allies. Recent allegations in the growingparliamentary child abuse scandal arose that Thatcher “turned a blind eye” to pedophiles that she promoted, including the provision of knighthoods to known serial child abusers Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith. Her own Home Secretary, the now deceased Leon Brittan, is still being investigated.

In each case, Thatcher is now thought to have been warned by security services about the deviancy of these men, but is alleged to have studiously ignored it. When it comes to secret-keeping and elite power, it is not out of the question that in knowing they were child abusers, Thatcher would have had political leverage over these allies of hers, and so promoting them would have helped her strengthen her own power while in office.

The parliamentary child abuse scandal is horrifying enough on its own terms, but beyond that it has also further undermined public trust in Westminster, already increasingly despised for being out-of-touch and unaccountable after financial crises and expenses scandals turn in a unsatisfyingly low number of scalps for voters to collect.

Where this relates to Cameron’s little mishap is that the public are already exhausted to the point of raw antipathy with the way Westminster power works, as a marketplace of secrets among unaccountable elites. Our politicians might be screwing children, but the ones who could help us to find out about it are making sure that story is blocked. When that kind of behavior is the norm, the British public can’t really be blamed for believing that their PM put his knob into a pig to join a secret society. This, too, is probably normal to these people.

Something grievously misunderstood by many members of the British ruling class is that they believe hatred of the ‘Bullingdon boy’ archetype comes from mere jealousy. The vast majority of the privately educated men who run the country really think that everyone wants to be more like them, and that therefore any criticism of elites comes first and foremost from envy.

This is in large part because one of the core beliefs instilled into the 7% of pupils who attend Britain’s divisive independent schools is that of meritocracy. This despite the fact that not only can most people not afford to send their children to these fee-paying schools, the ones who do attend them end up getting an easy ladder up to high society. They make up a third of MPs, nearly half of all newspaper columnists, a majority of Lords, diplomats and senior civil servants, and over 70% of senior judges. It is common knowledge that the old boys’ network looks after its own.

This doesn’t stop them from telling the public that the system is fair. Alumnus of Eton and former Bullingdon boy Boris Johnson said in a speech to the Centre for Policy Studies that the people with the highest IQ have the best jobs because they’re smart. Not only was this not even remotely true, Boris then ‘failed’ a live IQ test on air, yet persisted in the notion that kids who go to independent schools do well because they’re brilliant. He has served variously as a cabinet minister, Mayor of London, newspaper columnist, and magazine editor, enjoying each job with the support of powerful people with whom he went to school.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne (also of the Bullingdon Club), was criticized by charities representing poor and disabled people whose economic and household security was ruined by his reforms. He dismissed them as “anti-business” and gave tax breaks to millionaires (half of whom, incidentally, went to independent schools) in the name of “fairness”.

And David Cameron himself often likes to talk about the supposed existence of meritocracy in the United Kingdom. He, too, went to Eton before joining the Bullingdon Club and the Piers Gaverston. He is one of the most vocal Conservatives when it comes to championing the ideology of meritocracy, telling poor people and ethnic minorities that their lack of social climbing is because they lack “aspiration”, and that ‘free’ markets (that is, unregulated financial bonanzas, by his allegiances) “can make you a better person”.

Separate from what he says, however, his government has significantly increased inequality and decreased social mobility, making it even harder for people outside of his privileged background to fulfill the meritocratic values he regularly trumpets.

The wound of that hypocrisy was already festering before Lord Ashcroft punished him this week for breaking the rules of the ritual: that you will obey the people who made you, or you will be humiliated. This wasn’t, as some have said, young men being silly. Not if the secrets being kept are designed by powerful men to keep other powerful men under control. That kind of arrangement is the antithesis of democracy.

And it is also the antithesis to the meritocracy they proclaim. Not just because it’s rich boys getting an easy ride to the top – we already knew that – but because David Cameron’s nasty little scandal speaks to a suspicion many people already have: that in British society, you don’t get to become Prime Minister because you’re talented or because you work hard. You don’t even get there just because you’re rich. You get there by traumatizing the homeless and skull-fucking a dead pig, and that ritual gives you power because you have demonstrated utter, pathetic submission to your fellow oligarchs.

That is why we’re laughing.

Health Impacts of Wireless Radiation on Children

September 23rd, 2015 by Global Research News

Italian State of Tyrol Also Calls for Curbing Wireless in Schools

by Environmental Health Trust
Sep 22, 2015

Teton Village, WY — (SBWIRE) — As of this fall, Israel and Italy are officially recommending schools reduce children’s exposures to wireless radiation.

The Israeli Ministry of Health has initiated a major public awareness effort to reduce wireless and electromagnetic radiation exposures to children. In similar action, the Italian State Parliament of South Tyrol voted to allow the application of the precautionary principle to replace existing wireless networks whenever possible with wired networks or those that emit less radiation.wifi-children-cell

The Israeli Ministry of Health (MoH) recommendations are published in the Environmental Health in Israel Report 2014 which states that

“Precautions should be strictly enforced with regard to children, who are more sensitive to developing cancer.”

The Report makes the following points:

Cell Phones: “The MoH recommends sensible use of cellular and wireless technology, including: considering alternatives like landline telephones” MoH recommendations include: use a speaker or hands-free phone accessory or (non-wireless) personal earphone in order to distance the telephone from the body, reduce the amount and duration of calls, and in areas of weak reception reduce calls because of higher radiation.

Children: MoH recommends: “refraining from installing the base of wireless phones in a bedroom, work room, or children’s room.”

Schools: Levels of non-ionizing radiation were measured in 25 schools nation-wide and “based on these findings, the MoEP recommends that students remain at a distance of at least 1.5 meters from electrical cabinets and that use of wireless communication networks in schools be reduced.”

Reduce Exposure in Cars: The MoH recommends not using cellphones in closed places like cars or elevators, buses, and trains unless there is an external antenna “due to amplified radiation in such places.” “When driving, a hands-free device should be used for calls. It is recommended to install an antenna outside the vehicle and to use a line connection between the telephone and the speaker as opposed to using Bluetooth.”

Research: Previous research findings in Israel “clearly indicated a link between cellphone use for more than 10 years and the development of tumors in the salivary glands.” Israel is currently a partner in two additional international studies: (1) MOBI-Kids, a multi-center study involving experts from 16 countries who are examining potential associations between use of communication devices and other environmental factors and risk of brain tumors, and (2) the GERoNiMO (Generalised EMF Research using Novel Methods) project, which uses an integrated approach and expertise from 13 countries to further the state of knowledge on EMF and health.

The Report concludes with a chapter by Linda S. Birnbaum, Director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, who states, “Israel is a world leader in research on the health effects of non-ionizing radiation. If some of the studies turn out to be harbingers of things to come, we may have major health consequences from the nearly ubiquitous presence of wireless equipment.”

The recently published ISRAEL 2015 RF Safety Report details current actions on EMFS such as:

New Public Education Website: The Israeli government launched the public education website TNUDA ( of the National Information Center for Non-Ionizing Radiation to guide the public and decision-makers on the educated use of technology.

Guidelines for the installation and operation of Wi-Fi networks in schools: Following a petition seeking an outright ban on Wi-Fi in Schools, the government is banning Wi-Fi in kindergartens and restricting hours of use in schools, installing equipment with exposures to be set as low as possible, and monitoring radiofrequency (RF) radiation levels.

Government Testing Finds that Mobile Phones Violate Manufacturers’ Reported SAR: In a study conducted by the Ministry for Environmental Protection and the Holon Institute of Technology, the SAR of 10 models of mobile phones was measured using phantoms. The measured SAR exceeded the SAR declared by the manufacturer, when the phone was held close to the head and in bad reception mode (100% of the maximum power).

ELF EMF limits are recommended at numbers far below international limits. These recommendations were set to account for research showing links to leukemia. “The Ministry of Health (MoH) jointly recommend a threshold of two milligauss on an average annual basis when planning an electrical facility or four milligauss on a daily average.” A study performed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and by the Education Ministry has found that in more than 60% of the schools in Israel at least one classroom had magnetic fields exceeding 0.4 ?T. Action was taken to reduce exposure in these schools.

Headsets and safety information required with every new mobile phone: According to a settlement agreement accepted by the Tel Aviv-Yafo District Court in February 2014, cellular operators must inform buyers of new mobile phones about the radiation safety instructions as formulated by the manufacturer, provide a hands-free kit with every new mobile phone, and provide information on the safe use of mobile phones on its website.

National radiofrequency monitoring program: The Ministry of Environmental Protection is operating a national RF monitoring system with stations that continuously measure the entire range of RF and transmit the data to a central computer that analyzes and displays online the results of measurements.

On June 10, 2015, the Italian State Parliament of South Tyrol voted to allow the application of the precautionary principle to cell phones mandating the state government to:

1. To replace existing wireless networks whenever possible with networks that emit less radiation at schools, preschools, hospitals, nursing homes, and other public facilities.

2. Establish a working group whose mandate it is to assess these new technologies and their exposure levels. With regard to wireless communication technologies, mobile Internet access, and public health, the working group shall clarify which technologies emit less radiation and provide sustainable technology options and

3. To start an education and awareness campaign that informs about possible health risks, especially regarding the unborn, infants, children, and adolescents and that develops guidelines for a safer use of cell phones, smartphones, and Wi-Fi.

Environmental Health Trust (EHT) educates individuals, health professionals and communities about controllable environmental health risks and policy changes needed to reduce those risks. Currently EHT is raising health concerns about wireless in schools and recommending safer hardwired internet connection installations. The foundation’s website is the go-to place for clear, science-based information to prevent disease.

Please visit and on Facebook.

Copyright, 2015

Turkish-Uyghur Terror Inc. – America’s Other Al Qaeda

September 23rd, 2015 by Tony Cartalucci

It is no longer tenable for the United States and its regional allies in and near the Middle East to claim they are backing “moderate rebels” in the proxy war raging in Syria, Iraq, and parts of Lebanon. There is the Syrian government on one side, and terrorists including Al Qaeda and its various franchises such as the Al Nusra Front and the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS/ISIL) on the other.

If one is not supporting the Syrian government, it is very clear they are supporting Al Qaeda. So obvious is this fact, that the Western press and the corporate-financier think tanks that produce for them their talking points, have begun a campaign to re-brand Al Qaeda as a lesser evil vis-a-vis ISIS. In reality, there is virtually no difference, with the US and its regional allies clearly arming, funding, and supporting both.

The most recent and obscene manifestation of this re-branding was US Army General and former CIA Director David Petraeus’ open calls to use Al Qaeda to “fight” ISIS. In the Daily Beast’s article, “Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS,” it was reported that:

Members of al Qaeda’s branch in Syria have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power: retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus. 

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast.

Within this rhetorical shift we find an admission that there is indeed no “moderate rebel” force to speak of. All that exists, admittedly, are extremists operating under the various banners of Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Revelations of America’s support behind Al Qaeda may not have ever been so overt, but are certainly nothing new. It is admitted that the US and its Saudi allies first created Al Qaeda as a proxy mercenary force to fight the Soviet Union in a proxy war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. In 2007, long before the current war in Syria broke out, it was warned by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh in the pages of the New Yorker that under the then Bush administration, support already began to flow to the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and other extremists groups including Al Qaeda for the purpose of violently undermining the Syrian government in Damascus.

Hersh’s article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” it is explicitly stated:

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

Past and present, it is clear that Al Qaeda was and still is a central instrument of the United States in achieving geopolitical objectives – particularly where Western forces cannot immediately or in any practical sense intervene directly.

But Al Qaeda and its various affiliates are only one faction among many terrorist groups minding the vast interests of American global hegemony. A recent bombing in the heart of  Bangkok, capital of Southeast Asia’s nation of Thailand, and ongoing violence in China’s Xinjiang region expose another vast network of US-sponsored terrorism operating in tandem with Al Qaeda and in fact stretching from Asia all the way to frontiers of America’s proxy war with Syria.

Turkish-Uyghur Terror – the Other Al Qaeda 

Because it relatively poorly understood and under-reported in comparison to other more notorious terrorist groups, the Turkish-Uyghur terror network is perhaps more dangerous and of greater utility to the United States and its allies presently versus their increasingly exposed Al Qaeda legions.

The genesis of modern Turkish-sponsored terrorism, like Al Qaeda, also originates from the Cold War. Part of the wider stay-behind networks known as “Gladios” created by NATO to allegedly fight Soviet forces in the event of a Soviet invasion and occupation of Western Europe, these terrorist groups were instead turned against the population of NATO member states and engaged in violence, terrorism, mass murder, and assassinations. A group of ultra-nationalists known as the “Grey Wolves” would be cultivated for this task within Turkey.

In a 1998 LA Times article titled, “Turkish Dirty War Revealed, but Papal Shooting Still Obscured,” it would be reported that (emphasis added):

In the late 1970s, armed bands of Gray Wolves launched a wave of bomb attacks and shootings that killed hundreds of people, including public officials, journalists, students, lawyers, labor organizers, left-wing activists and ethnic Kurds. During this period, the Gray Wolves operated with encouragement and protection of the Counter-Guerrilla Organization, a section of the Turkish Army’s Special Warfare Department. Working out of the U.S. Military Aid Mission building in Ankara, the Special Warfare Department received funds and training from U.S. advisors to establish “stay behind” squads of civilian irregulars who were set up to engage in acts of sabotage and resistance in the event of a Soviet invasion. Similar Cold War counter-guerrilla units were created in every member state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But instead of preparing for foreign enemies, these operatives often set their sights on domestic targets.

Another LA Times piece titled, “Turkey’s Gray Wolves Nip at Heels of Power,” would reveal the extent of the Grey Wolves reign of terror (emphasis added):

At the height of the Cold War, the army used the Gray Wolves as a violent counterweight to Turkish Communists. The party’s coffers swelled with secret contributions from the government. 

By the late 1970s, the Gray Wolves had spun out of state control. Their paramilitary wing fought a campaign against leftist rivals that killed nearly 6,000 people. Ali Agca, who shot Pope John Paul II in a 1981 assassination attempt, is alleged to have been affiliated with the party.

The article would also reveal that despite this horrific past, the Grey Wolves and their political allies were still a very potent political force in Turkey. Today, the Grey Wolves function as a paramilitary wing of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which holds the third largest number of seats in Turkey’s parliament.

As troubling as this should be to Turks who may find themselves on the receiving end of a politically powerful terrorist organization apparently tolerated, even sponsored by NATO for decades and in particular, supported by the United States, the Grey Wolves’ terrorism has branched out far beyond Turkey’s borders.

NATO Gladio Goes Global 

According to a 2009 New American Media report titled, “Behind the China Riots — Oil, Terrorism & ‘Grey Wolves’,” Turkey’s Grey Wolves have established militant training camps as far as China’s western Xinjiang region, helping produce violent terrorists who have carried out a series of deadly attacks across China. The report would state (emphasis added):

Enter the Grey Wolves, one of the world’s most notorious terrorist organizations. Founded in the 1960s, the Wolves are a pan-Turkic paramilitary group with 1 million followers across the Near East, Central Asia and inside Xinjiang. During the decade of political violence in Turkey in the 1980s, the military-backed activists launched a wave of assassinations, massacres of ethnic minorities, and extortions of businesses. By official count, the Turkish government holds the Wolves responsible for more than 600 murders, while leftists estimate the victims numbered in the many thousands. 

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Grey Wolves set up training camps in Central Asia for youths from Turkic language groups, including Uighur. Their indoctrination program embraces the goal of establishing Turan, a Turkish empire across Euro-Asia, subjugating non-Turkish races and unleashing violence to achieve their ends. Out of the limelight, the Wolves provided commando training and material support for the East Turkestan Independence Movement.

In essence, NATO’s stay-behind networks had become NATO’s “go-abroad” networks, projecting the same sort of violence, terrorism, and political coercion abroad after the Cold War that these networks carried out domestically during the Cold War.

The alleged “struggle” by the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, referred to by the terrorists and their foreign sponsors as “East Turkistan,” consists of two essential components – a foreign harbored political front including the Washington D.C. and Munich-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and a militant front clearly backed by the US and NATO through intermediary groups like Turkey’s Grey Wolves.

Like the Grey Wolves, the World Uyghur Congress is a creation and perpetuation of Western special interests. WUC is directly funded by the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) over a quarter of a million dollars (on record) a year. The NED admittedly organizes and underwrites all of WUC’s events, and their annual meetings usually feature almost exclusively US representatives reaffirming their commitment to support WUC’s objectives which, as stated on their official website, include:

The WUC declares a nonviolent and peaceful opposition movement against Chinese occupation of East Turkestan and an unconditional adherence to the international accepted human rights standard as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and adherence to the principals of democratic pluralism and rejection of totalitarianism, religious intolerance, and terrorism as an instrument of policy.

And while WUC claims to stand for a “peaceful opposition” to resist what it calls “Chinese occupation,” it regularly justifies, defends, or covers up violence. Perhaps the most appalling example of this was when it failed to condemn the 2014 brutal murder of prominent Uyghur imam, 74 year old Jume Tahir, in front of China’s biggest and oldest mosque. WUC would denounce him as a “tool” of the Chinese government and even go as far as denounce China for sentencing his killers - Uyghur terrorists – to death for the horrific murder.

Clearly WUC not only finds it impossible to denounce terrorism, it willfully serves as rhetorical cover for it.

Looking at a map of China it is clear that this campaign of separatism directly serves the long-standing plans of the United States to encircle and contain China’s rise – a campaign that has been openly and repeated outlined in US policy papers for decades – the most recent of which was published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and was titled, “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China.” It states in no uncertain terms:

Because the American effort to ‘integrate’ China into the liberal international order has now generated new threats to U.S. primacy in Asia—and could result in a consequential challenge to American power globally—Washington needs a new grand strategy toward China that centers on balancing the rise of Chinese power rather than continuing to assist its ascendancy.

Encouraging separatism in China’s western Xinjiang region, if successful, would carve off a substantial amount of territory. In conjunction with US-backed separatism in China’s Tibet region, an immense buffer region stands to be created that would virtually isolate China from Central Asia. And while the Grey Wolves and their Uyghur proxies are working hard to create this barrier to China’s west, with their involvement in a recent bombing in Bangkok, it appears the US is now using them to augment efforts to create a similar encirclement across Southeast Asia.

NATO Terror Expands into Southeast Asia

The Turkish-Uyghur terror network, in addition to fomenting violence across China, has more recently been trafficking terrorists from Xinjiang, through Southeast Asia, and onward to Turkey where they are staged, armed, trained, and then sent to fight NATO’s proxy war in Syria. This trafficking network apparently snaked its way through Thailand – exposed when Thailand detained over 100 Uyghurs which it then deported upon Beijing’s request back to China in July.

On the same day the deportations occurred WUC and NATO’s Grey Wolves organized violent protests in Turkey both in Ankara and at the Thai consulate in Istanbul during which the consulate was invaded and destroyed.

A month later, a devastating bomb would detonate in the heart of Bangkok, killing 20 mostly Chinese tourists and injuring over 100 more. In addition to the BBC already being on site before the blast, the British network would conclude even before bodies were cleared from the site that Uyghurs were likely behind the blast. This was done specifically to deflect blame from another US proxy, Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been attempting for years to regain power in Thailand.

In reality, Shinawatra and the Uyghur terrorists are both functions of the same Westesrn agenda to encircle and contain China by building up a “wall” of proxy states around Beijing, and if nothing else, to create chaos in which Beijing finds it nearly impossible to prosper.

What is perhaps most concerning regarding these two Western proxies is the fact that many past bombings associated with Shinawatra’s terrorist networks – networks which are extensive – match the methods used by Turkish-Uyghur terrorists making it likely that NATO’s extraterritorial networks New American Media reported on in 2009 being set up in China, are likely now dotting Uyghur trafficking routes throughout Southeast Asia as well.

The blast in Bangkok likely took place for a number of reasons. Not only did Thailand ignore US demands to release the detained Uyghurs to Turkey, as well as oust a long-cultivated US proxy – Thaksin Shinawatra – but it has been cultivating unmistakably closer ties to Beijing including the signing of major joint-infrastructure development projects, closer military cooperation, and even the potential procurement of 3 Chinese-made submarines – all of which US policymakers have been decrying with increasing indignation.

Turkish-Uyghur Terror Beyond Asia

And while the US is using Turkish-Uyghur terror to extort concessions from Southeast Asia and to destabilize China, it is likely that this “other Al Qaeda” will turn up still in other regions – most predictably, Russian Crimea.

Crimea rejoined Russia after a NATO-backed, violent Neo-Nazi coup overthrew the government of Ukraine, creating a cascade of anti-Russian violence across the country. Eager to avoid the fate of many cities across Ukraine, the people of Crimea overwhelmingly voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia. Since then, Crimea has enjoyed peace and prosperity just across the border from a Ukraine now mired in civil war and economic catastrophe, all compounded by an illegitimate regime beholden to the US and NATO who thrust it into power.

The fact that the border between Russian Crimea and Ukraine also represents the border between peace and pandemonium highlights the criminal chaos fostered by US-NATO meddling in Ukraine. A peaceful, stable Crimea serves as a constant reminder to all in Eastern Europe that where ever NATO goes, chaos follows.

If the US and its NATO allies could destabilize Crimea, thus creating chaos within newly repatriated Russian territory, the West could make a compelling case that dealing with Russia is at least as undesirable as dealing with NATO.

US-NATO backed Turkish terrorism would be the key to accomplishing this. Crimea’s proximity to Turkey and a sizable Turkish Tatar minority serves as a potential medium for the West to carry this out. Already the Western media has invested heavily in a narrative centered around “disenfranchised Tatars” and has begun working with opposition groups to stir up confrontations. Like in Xinjiang, those willing to participate in such an opposition constitute a fractional minority – but through the power of Western media, are inflated in the minds of impressionable audiences.

The US State Department’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty media outlet in an article deceptively titled, “Putin Warns Crimean Tatars Not To Seek Special Status,” indicated that Russia was well aware of the ruse:

Putin suggested that foreign countries were funding rights activists in an effort to “destabilize the situation” by playing up problems faced by Crimean Tatars, the third-largest ethnic group after Russians and Ukrainians on the peninsula, and said that Moscow would not allow this. 

“You and I know full well who we are talking about. There are a number people who consider themselves professional fighters for rights,” he said, adding that “they want to receive foreign grants and acknowledgement and realize their ambitions, including political ambitions.” 

Already in Kiev, these Tatar opposition fronts have begun organizing and attempting to fan the flames of conflict in Crimea. This includes ATR – a Tatar media channel with opaque funding, now based in Kiev and now what US NED funded “Human Rights in Ukraine” (KhPG) calls fighting “to counter the psychological and propaganda influence from Russia.”

Understanding the scope of Turkish-Uyghur terrorism, their rhetorical supporters, and the function both serve toward maintaining US global hegemony helps disarm the West of its various volatile narratives and criminal conspiracies aimed at creating and leveraging terrorism. If when each bomb goes off, or when any consulate is attacked, the public points the finger not at America’s proxies, but directly at the special interests upon Wall Street and lining Washington instead, all benefits of carrying out a proxy campaign of global terrorism to begin with will evaporate before the West.

As is already happening in Syria where Western plans have been frustrated by growing global awareness of the West’s true involvement in the conflict and its role behind groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, by exposing their “other Al Qaeda,” their plans elsewhere around the globe will likewise be confounded.

And while the US has attempted for years to galvanize the world behind its global agenda through the use of terrorism, it is ironic that now China, Russia, and even nations like Thailand all now find themselves on common ground, having reason to cooperate closer together in facing a common threat – America’s global terror enterprise.

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

The US special envoy for the alleged war on Daesh terrorists in Iraq and Syria, is stepping down, officials say.

John R. Allen, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, will leave his position in early November, four US State Department officials told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity.

According to the officials, who were not prepared to publicly announce Allen’s departure, he has already let his superiors know he will step down.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen

Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen

Allen’s chief of staff, Karin von Hippel, will also quit to join a British think tank.

U.S. officials familiar with Allen’s decision say he has been frustrated with White House micromanagement of the war and its failure to provide adequate resources to the fight. He unsuccessfully tried to convince the administration to allow U.S. tactical air control teams to deploy on the ground to help pick targets for air strikes in Iraq,” said the Tuesday report.

Apart from support for the militants, the US military has also been leading a coalition to conduct airstrikes allegedly aimed at Daesh militants in Syria as well as Iraq since last year, despite which the Takfiris have gained ground in some of the regions.

This September 23, 2014 US Air Forces Central Command file photo shows a US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flying over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria. (AFP)

Last month, the incoming Marine Corps Commandant, Lieutenant General Robert Neller, testified that the situation of the US fight was at a “stalemate” and the program to train militants there had yielded not more than four or five militants.

“John Allen has put his heart and soul into trying to make the president’s strategy work,” said Derek Harvey, a former senior military intelligence official who worked with Allen at US Central Command. “I have sympathy for the hard task he was given because I do not believe the president’s team was fully on board and he was never empowered to bring the leadership necessary to achieve the mission.”

Initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012, the Takfiri militants have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, including public decapitations and crucifixions in areas under their control in Iraq, Syria and more recently Libya.

Greece and Its Creditors: A new Paradigm – Front of Resistance

September 23rd, 2015 by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Introduced by Peter Koenig

It is [….] a triumph of the empire to have the victims elect their executioners.”

These are the words of Dimitris Konstantakopoulos this Monday morning, 21 September, the morning after the Greek ‘snap’ elections, when the Greek people re-elected Syriza and their leader Alexis Tsipras, who betrayed them with impunity and on several occasions in the last eight months – yes, when the people of Greece re-elected their hangman with more than 35%, almost the same percentage of votes as on 25 January 2015; not an absolute majority, but a majority all the same that will allow them to form the next government and to call the shots on the already signed-off austerity package – against another debt of 86 billion euros, of which not one euro goes to Greece’s vital social programs – only to the banks, which are bleeding the country to death.

If the Parliament re-confirms the new debt which it already approved before Tsipras resigned on 20 August 2015, the debt to GDP ratio will climb to above 210% – completely unmanageable – and illegal, as debt acquired under duress and blackmail which is the case in Greece – is illegitimate under all international standards and laws – as also stated in Zoe Konstantopoulou’s (former  President of the Greek Parliament) speech at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 3 September 2015 –

The bulk of this article was written about 3 weeks before the elections. THE NO FRONT is an essay on how to build a Front of Resistance, including remarks on moral and national aspects of politics, on left and right, on left and nationalism, and on euro versus drachma. In the author’s own words, it

represents the views its writer has supported in a lot of political talks and deliberations which have taken place in Greece between the 20th of August and the 3rd of September. But the question of how to build a front will remain very much in the agenda after the elections.”

Dimitris Konstantakopoulos is a renowned Greek journalist, writer, philosopher, and he is the cofounder of The Delphi Initiative, a group of international intellectuals called to meet in Delphi, the birthplace of Democracy, at the end of June 2015 to formulate ideas for the government to extricate itself from the debt dilemma, the dictate of the troika and the colonization of Brussels. To no avail. In today’s globalized neoliberal world, Democracy is not worth the breath it takes to pronounce it.

How to build a Front of Resistance (some remarks on moral and national aspects of politics, on left and right, on left and nationalism, on euro and drachma) (*)

While Greek politicians travel around the country telling nonsense and narratives, Greece is disintegrating at an appalling pace. Only God knows what is going to happen this winter. Neither the first Memoradum nor the second can be compared with the third one. It may lead Greece towards a “low intensity” civil war or police state or even to major losses of sovereignty abroad, or it may contribute to the dismantling of the Republic of Cyprus.
Old and new supporters of the Memorandum agree in supporting the program agreed between the Greek government and the creditors, in spite of all the fighting between them, in reality about who will be the best, elected Gaulaiter of the foreigners in the country. But at the same time, everybody knows that this program will not work. Every single Greek knows this, those who signed it know it, all serious economists around the world also know it. It is as clear as that the Earth orbits around the Sun and not the opposite. But on this basic fact, on this major question for the destiny of the nation, the two main parties claiming now our vote either remain silent or they lie blatantly.
While the country is in a process of decomposition and the nation is being threatened with death, as an organized entity, our TV news are full of no news, like the coincidental meeting of Tsipras and Meimarakis at Heraclion airport. Tomorrow, it is not excluded that we will see the two participating in the same government, ruling the country on behalf of its creditors.

A memorandum aiming at destroying Greece
It is unbelievable and this is exactly the reason many people refuse to believe it. But the program applied in Greece is not a mistake. If it was it would have been long ago corrected.

It is aiming exactly at what it achieves, that is our destruction. It has already provoked by far the biggest economic, social, moral-psychological and demographic disaster in post-1945 capitalist Europe. This is not subject to argument, as most economic, social or political questions. The climax of the disaster is clearly reflected in all objective indicators (GDP, unemployment, especially unemployment of the young, dramatic deterioration of living standards and health levels, sovereign and private debt as percentage of GDP etc.)

Only Kafka or Orwell could name this a program of “help” to Greece! It is indeed a program for destroying Greece. It aims at what it is really achieving. And by provoking economic and social disaster, those who engineered it, aim – and so far they succeed – at our enslavement and promote their political, or rather “regime change” agenda, first in Greece, then, if the experiment proves successful, to all of Europe.

Only by causing such a catastrophe could they oblige a European people to accept the unbelievable terms (translated from English with the help of an automatic translation program) that the Parliament has voted in an all-night humiliating parody of a debate, under the blackmail of immediate “bankruptcy of the state”. It is through a new form of financial and political “war” that they are pushing their aim and this aim is to destroy bourgeois democracy, the social welfare state and the Greek nation, as a coherent institutional, political and cultural structure.

It is exactly because they need absolutely our complete destruction, in order to promote their extremely radical agenda, that they refuse and kind of concession. Not just to Tsipras, which after all could be considered more or less normal, but also to Samaras before him, who was their man and he was very close, politically and ideologically, to the forces now dominating Europe.
For political-geopolitical reasons they decided to write off much of the debt of the occupied Iraq or of the US-friendly government in Kiev. But they insist on Greeks paying the debt until the last euro. Even if they will alleviate a little bit the terms of its repayment, they will keep it at unsustainable levels, in order exactly to continue its use as a weapon against the country!

Greece has experienced its dependence from the US and its tragic consequences after 1947. But even the Americans have not aimed at our complete destruction. They threw us a carrot in the form of the Marshall Plan. Now the threat is complete annihilation!

The program imposed on Greece is not an accident. It reflects the strategy and the ultimate goals of the most extremist segment of the global financial oligarchy, which is now using Greece and Europe in order to implement its European and global agenda. This oligarchy estimates that, after the fall of the Soviet Union, it has a historical, unique opportunity to impose a global dictatorship, a global totalitarianism, which, they think, is the only way to keep their present hegemonic position. If you have any doubts, just see what has happened in Iraq or Libya, Ukraine or Yugoslavia.

The financial, social and psychological-moral disaster caused by the program itself is exactly the weapon used to effectively abolish democracy and the welfare state, free health care and the right of citizens to a pension and to a decent living, which are the most important conquests of human civilization until today.

A «Greece without Greeks» (and also a Cyprus without Greeks) may be the end-result of it. The mechanism is already in place and working: massive emigration of the best educated young people, demographic crisis as a result of the Memorandum policies, serious deterioration of the health situation of the population predictably leading to a serious decline of life expectancy. If the Republic of Cyprus is dissolved, by accepting to become a post-modern protectorate through a new version of the “Annan plan”, which was rejected in the 2004 referendum, the loss of state protection will also force Greeks to emigrat in large numbers.
There is no more vital task for all Greeks than to stop this program. This is not linked to the facility or difficulty of trying to stop it, nor to the risks and dangers associated with that. Obviously it will be very difficult and dangerous to stop it. Simply we don’t have any other choice. A very intelligent and competent leadership could, maybe, I say maybe, achieve a compromise, but even to achieve a compromise, you should have an iron determination to go all the way. By compromise I mean a stabilization of the situation where it is, that is to stop the work of the “death spiral” in which Greece is now found. (The term “death spiral” is quite exact if one wishes to describe the situation in Greece. It was introduced in the debate by George Soros who knows better than anyone else what is all about, as he himself has greatly contributed to the launching of this vicious circle!).

The upcoming elections

The September elections will take place under conditions of brutal violation of the constitutional and democratic order, as the Greek people, after deciding by an overwhelming majority in the referendum to reject the policy imposed to them, are now called to decide who will implement the policy they rejected! In such circumstances, there can be no democratic political solution uniting the nation. Although formally legal, the elections and their result cannot be considered as a legitimate and genuine expression of the will of the people.

The social and political forces that supported the “No” vote are still in a state of cataplexy, of deep shock after the sudden transformation of the leader of the anti-memorandum struggle into the main spearhead of the Creditors and the Americans.

Large sections of the Greek people, angry with the whole political class, are now thinking of abstaining. But such an attitude, perfectly understandable from a certain point of view, will not help in the end but will only precipitate the collapse of democracy. The entire Greek and international historical experience is pointing to this conclusion, first of all our own experience of abstention of the Left in the 1946 elections.

Such attitudes will contribute to facilitate the victory of a political system and a government, which will rule in opposition to the people. Umable to protect the most vital interests of the Greeks citizens, they will have lost their legitimacy to govern, even if they win the elections.

The most probable result in the short or medium term is a sort of formally legal -but not legitimate- “low intensity” police state of a “selective character”.

What is to be done

In such conditions, what is really required is the creation of a broad and credible national and popular front for the defense of the Greek people and the economic and national rebirth of the country. Such a front should assimilate, in the way it is constituted, the many and hard lessons from the total bankruptcy of SYRIZA and AN.ELL., as well as the ease with which their leaders joined, almost without resistance, the opposite camp.

This, for a number of reasons, is impossible to achieve in the little time left until the elections. But if the various “anti-memorandum” personalities and organized forces realize to a sufficient degree that Greece faces the specter of a national disaster of incalculable proportions, if their consciousness of the risk to the homeland will prevail in their thoughts and dominate other, micro-personal and micro-party interests and considerations, then what they have to do is to unite and provide the population at least with the prospect of such a front in the form of a common ballot in the next elections.

Five personalities, who have a nationwide appeal, everyone of them with his own advantages and disadvantages, have disagreed with the capitulation of the government and with its transformation into an instrument of the Creditors-colonialists. They are, in alphabetical order, Yanis Varoufakis, Manolis Glezos, Mikis Theodorakis, Zoe Konstantopoulou and Panagiotis Lafazanis

Why can’t these persons cooperate and support such a ballot in circumstances of a looming national disaster? In the past the Communist Party was able to cooperate with New Democracy (under the leadership of Mitsotakis) against PASOK. SYRIZA was able to cooperate with Independent Greeks (An.Ell.) or the Bolshevik Lenin with Russian Old Believers (“Beat together, march separately” was the formula).What are the colossal differences that prevent such a temporary, even partial, cooperation, respecting all other differences, when the country is in decomposition and the most vital interests of the Greek people are threatened?

There are many others in Greece, whο are distinguished for the integrity of their character, their selflessness and their seriousness. Those are the properties we need desperately. These people have distinguished themselves by their participation in the struggles of society and of ideas in the most diverse domains of social life, thus expressing existing social currents and sensitivities in a society which, being often amorphous, is better expressed in some cases by individuals and less by social institutions, organizations etc. We know them and we can find them, if we put aside our enormous -but really so small- egos, our selfishness and opportunism. These should be the candidate MPs on the ballots of the front.

Only a caricature of a Front could be formed on the basis of party and parliamentary hierarchies, or by supposedly uniting organizations devoid of a genuine social dynamic or serious ideas, thus perpetuating the “mediocracy” which characterizes our social fabric in the most diverse areas.

It is unfortunately impossible within 15 days to elaborate a credible economic program. The lack of such a program is one more of the things for which the SYRIZA leadership bears enormous, we should say criminal, responsibility. The absence of such a comprehensive program has been the Achilles heel of the “anti-memorandum” movement in all its forms and wings. But, still, there is at least the possibility of outlining in the remaining time the main principles and guiding ideas of such a program and of an alternative vision for our country.

Left or Right?

The Front we need to create should stand, somehow, “over” and “above” the classical division between left and right. This has to be done not because such a difference does not bear any significance, as some people claim. This has to be done because we should try to unite all Greeks, if possible, in an effort to save and “regenerate” our country.

In Greece, we don’t face just a neoliberal counter-reform program which provides for the violent deterioration of the situation of the poorer classes. If we had to confront such a program, it would only be natural to try to create a class-based, not a national and social front.

An ultra-neoliberal program of course is imposed in Greece. But it is part of and a consequence of a project of destroying the fundamental conditions of reproduction of the Greek social formation and of the Greek nation-state, of establishing a form of “self-destroying debt colony”. It is also a project leading to the rapid and violent deterioration of the terms under which Greece participates in the international division of labor.

This is not happening by accident, as we emphasized above. The nation-state in Europe represents an embedded institutional identity, a strong ideological identity, but also the only framework in which there can be some exercise of democratic control and some level of social protection. All these qualities make the nation-state a huge obstacle to the forces that wish to impose a global dictatorship in the concrete, real conditions we are now facing in Europe and the world.

In such conditions, the defense of the nation is not nationalism. On the contrary, it is the only way to maintain the dignity of people and the most basic human, social and political rights and conditions of existence of all citizens, and in particular the poor and working classes of society.

No one of course can defend the nation without defending the people, which we consider more or less identical with the nation, as well as the other way round. The forces that organize the economic warfare against Greece, taking advantage, needless to say, of the pre-existing serious crises of its internal structures, are in fact destroying the nation-state in the form we have known it, because only in this way can they finish with democracy and the social welfare state.

It is the (form of the) problem we are confronting that has to define the means and the tools of addressing it. Communists created in Greece the largest resistance movement in Hitler’s Europe. They did not name it a “class”, or “workers’ and peasants’”, or “socialist” front. They named it the National Liberation Front.

Those who want to fight for the hegemony of their leftist or rightist ideas, can do so and try to prove within such a front that their ideas are the most suitable to help organize and constitute the identity of the struggling nation and the people.

Drachma or Euro

This issue has now become the main issue dividing the country, but also the “anti-memorandum” forces.

The “No” front cannot be a “front for the drachma”, but it should not also preclude, in all circumstances, the need to resort to a national currency, a national means of payment, if the necessities of the struggle and the need to resist foreign pressure and war so requires.

The “No” camp consists of social forces that, at present either want to stay in the eurozone or want to exit from it. If one were to adopt a categorical position on this subject, the only result would be to split apart the unity of the antimemorandum social forces.

But this is not just a political tactic, which someone could criticize as opportunistic. We need indeed the dialectical synthesis of the two views, keeping in the arsenal of Greece all weapons available. We can’t predict now under what conditions, in Greece and in Europe, the Greek question will be raised again. There is no reason to decide now what will be our negotiating position in the future. On the opposite, it is extremely important to study very seriously, prepare ourselves and prepare the country for all options.

And this has not to do only with the choice of currency. It has to do with the whole international orientation of Greece, which probably will have to change, if the need of saving our nation will impose such a fundamental change. We should say all this very clearly. Greece should not be taken for granted by anyone.

But if we should leave open all possibilities, we don’t need to define as of now and in a categorical way what we will do at a given moment.

Sometimes, the discussion on the currency seems like talking to someone who had a heart-attack and telling him that he needs to quit smoking and start eating normally. He should of course do this, but he should first be saved from the attack!

We must remember that the weapons used against Greece by its“Creditors” are not only -or even mainly- the euro.

Economically, Greece has been attacked through debt. Legally it was attacked through the imposition of British colonial law and the jurisdiction of foreign courts, in conjunction with the clearly colonial terms of the loan agreements it was obliged to sign. Politically, it has been attacked through a “communication war”.

It is on all these fronts that the country needs to organize its defense and its counterattack. And at the same time, it has to organize and struggle for its internal redressing. Without at least the beginning of efforts and struggles to redress the internal situation, it will be impossible to resist external pressure and vice-versa. The choice of a currency has to derive from global strategy, not substitute for its lack.

Along the way, of course, we may need to change everything, including the currency and the entire international orientation of the country. But this has to be done when the need clearly demands it and the Greek people understands it.

Maybe we are wrong in all that we have said so far. Still we would like to ask the supporters of the national currency, is the opponent making a mistake here? Why are the pro-Memorandum forces so anxious to limit the whole discussion in Greece to the “Euro or Drachma” question and to portray the entire opposition to the Memoranda and loan agreements, as the “party of drachma”?

The discussion about what and how we produce, how we survive in conditions of economic warfare, how we create consumer, production, small business cooperatives, how we set society again on the path of production, cooperation, solidarity and assertion, has to be organized at all levels of society. It has barely started. It certainly precedes the absolutely necessary debate on the currency. The Greeks know that the euro is a bad currency and the EU is a very spiteful environment. But they have no confidence in themselves and in their country, nor in us. That’s why the majority in the polls say they prefer the euro!
We should all, to the extent that our forces and influence permit, also propose an electoral-political solution to the Greek people, despite the enormous difficulties of this task. Mere talk and blaming each other simply won’t do. The responsibility for the tragic situation we are experiencing lies not only with the leader of SYRIZA and his associates, nor only with the old parties and servants of foreign interests. We all bear a part of the responsibility, each according to the role he has played, his power and influence. These responsibilities are very different for all of us but they exist. And everyone will be judged and very severely indeed.

Athens, September 3, 2015

(translated from Greek)

(*) The decision to call an early election, announced on the 20th of August by Alexis Tsipras, with the encouragement of the Creditors and Washington, has found the political forces which still are against the capitulation in a dire state. Not unity between them, not clear perception of what is to be done, internal antagonisms for “power”, inside their camp, no new credible message for the continuation of the struggle.

The “Left Platform” tendency of SYRIZA, afraid that they would simply be kicked out of the SYRIZA party lists, decided to form a new party “Popular Unity”. They formed the (over-centralized) structure of the party, they wrote the outlines of its program and then called on other people to cooperate. Such a method provoked a lot of protests and remorse, but nobody else was really ready or had the will and the mechanism necessary to participate in the elections. Leaders of “Popular Unity” decided also that the electoral lists of the new party would be comprised essentially of the SYRIZA deputies who have disagreed with the Memorandum, thus excluding a possibility of political and social enlargement. And they have insisted on adopting a strong position on the introduction of a national currency for Greece, a point which divides the anti-memorandum camp.

All this provoked a rather negative atmosphere inside the “No” camp. The very probable consequence will be a rather low electoral result for “Popular Unity”, which has proven that it cannot by any means represent, even a significant part of what was the “No” camp in July.

This article represents the views its writer has supported in a lot of political talks and deliberations which have taken place in Greece between the 20th of August and the 3rd of September. But the question of how to build a front will remain very much in the agenda after the elections.

Many in Europe had put great hopes in the election of Alexis Tsipras as Greek Prime Minister. When, after long and exhausting negotiations, the Syriza leader signed the European diktat, the disappointment was great. It would be unjust and presumptuous to want to give moral lessons to Alexis Tsipras and Syriza. After these experiences for the European left, it would be better to reflect on the conditions in which a democratic and social politics (and thus a left politics) is possible in Europe. We have learned one thing: while the European Central Bank, which claims to be independent and apolitical, can turn off the financial tap to a left government, a politics that is oriented toward democratic and social principles is impossible.

The old investment banker Mario Draghi is neither independent nor apolitical. He was with Goldman Sachs when this Wall Street bank aided the Greek government to distort its spreadsheets. And this is how it was able to enter the Euro.

In the past few months, many discussions have been held to try to work out if the drachma should have been reintroduced. But that led to nothing, and to reduce the debate to this question is a bad option. Not only in Greece, but in the whole South of Europe, youth unemployment is indecently high, and deindustrialization affects many countries in the Eurozone. A Europe in which the youth have no future is at risk of collapse and could fall prey to the forces of a resurgent nationalist extreme right.

Return to EMS

This is why the question for us cannot be, “The drachma or the euro?” Instead the left must decide if it will continue to defend the maintenance of the euro despite catastrophic social consequences, or if it will apply itself to a progressive transformation toward a flexible European monetary system.

For my part, I plead for a return to a European Monetary System (EMS), taking into account the experiences that we have had with this system and ameliorating its construction in the interests of all the participating countries. The EMS functioned for many years, certainly not without frictions, but better than the single currency.

Despite inevitable tensions, it continually permitted compromises that served to re-establish the equilibrium between different rates of economic development. Since the central banks of the member countries were required, and unfortunately only for a curtailed period, to stabilize the course of changes between the partners of the EMS.

But in the euro, the Spanish, Greek or Irish workers and retirees are alone in bearing the brunt of the internal devaluations through lowering of their salaries and their pensions, and the augmentation of their taxes. In contrast to the euro, the EMS favoured, and this is what counts, the cooperation between the people of Europe.

The successive re-evaluations and devaluations prevented too large of a gap between the economies of the European countries from emerging. The dominance of the Bundesbank has certainly always been a large problem, but this was incomparably less than the current tutelage exercised by the economy and government of Merkel, Schäuble and Gabriel toward the rest of Europe.

It is now only a question of time until a government in Italy, for example, recognizes that it cannot for much longer participate in the rampant de-industrialization of its country.

Necessity of Decentralization

In this context, in particular on the German left, an error of structural thinking has appeared that leads the debate on the future of Europe in a bad direction. Every demand to re-transfer a particular European authority to a national level is accused of nationalism or hostility to Europe. With such commentaries, the big media corporations chime in, in the interests of the large corporations and German banks, with musical accompaniment. And much of the left falls into the trap.

Already in 1976, the master of this ideology, Friedrich August von Hayek, demonstrated in a seminal article that the transfer of authority to the international level clears open the way for neoliberalism. And this is why the Europe of the free market and of non-regulated exchange of capital is never a left project. And since the European Commission and European Parliament are at the beck and call of the economic lobby, a new transfer of authority toward the European level signifies the deconstruction of the democratic and social state.

This – and in saying this I make a self-criticism, because, as a convinced European, I had long supported the politics of a growing transfer of tasks toward the European level – we should have been able to understand before. It is regrettable that the influential German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, and many political figures and economists having participated in these discussions continue to stick to this path, even while from one year to the next it seems more and more to lead to error and set the people of Europe against each other.

Thomas Mann dreamed of a European Germany: his wish has turned into its opposite. Today we have a German Europe. Democracy and decentralization are mutually conditioning. The larger a unity, the more opaque it is, the more removed it is, the less controllable it is.

What can be managed at a lower level, that of the level of the commune (local government), should be managed there, at the level of the canton, of the region, at the national level and that of the EU or the UN, it is necessary to hold to the same principle. One should not transfer to a higher level those things that can better manage themselves. The examples of bad transfers are now standard fare. We do not need those casinos of speculators who act globally, but instead savings banks that can still be controlled.

The banks of the Länder, who at the beginning were regulated with severity, have for a long time satisfied great financial interests. We don’t need energy giants acting across all of Europe with their large power stations and their grids, but instead city technical services and renewable energies and local storage capacities.

The national issuing banks have been put under pressure in a situation where exchange of capital is deregulated and where the door is wide open to global speculation. The issuing banks should once again do what they were initially founded for: financing states.

The passage to a renewed European Monetary System should be done step by step. When the drachma is reintroduced, for example – and this would be the first step – the ECB should support its course. Perhaps the Greek government should have encouraged Schäuble to develop his project of temporary exclusion of Greece from the Eurozone. He promised a restructure of the debts and human and technical support for the development of growth.

Develop a Plan B

If this offer had been sincere and if monetary support from the ECB had been agreed, then all the catastrophic scenarios developed by the partisans of the euro against the return of the drachma would have lost all foundation. Then Greece would have been able to, like Denmark with its krone, participate in the existing mechanism of the exchange rate (EMS II).

It is striking to see the degree to which economists and monetary experts of international reputation coming from conservative milieus and from the liberal left have recommended a Greek exit from the euro system. The courageous Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who already met with difficulties with his European counterparts because he truly made himself heard in political economy, had projected a scenario for returning to the drachma.

He wanted a plan B in case Draghi cut them off, thus using the “nuclear option,” as the specialists say. Effectively the ex-investment banker did make use of this weapon. With Schäuble, he is the real thug of the eurozone. From the moment Syriza arrived in power in Athens, he used the torture instruments of the European Central Bank to force Tsipras to his knees.

It is now necessary for the European left to develop a Plan B for the case where a member party arrives in a comparable situation. It is necessary to transform the European mechanism to remove from the ECB, which has no democratic legitimacy, the power to render democracy ‘out of order’ with a simple press of the button. The progressive introduction of a renovated EMS opens the way to this. Even the German left should discover the trap of Angel Merkel’s mantra of “If the euro dies, Europe is dead.”

This euro has become the instrument of domination of the German economy and of the German government over Europe. After the Greek experiences, a left that wants a democratic and social Europe must modify its European politics and set out upon new paths. •

Oskar Lafontaine is a former co-chair of Germany’s Die Linke (The Left). This article is reposted from Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

With the announcement that Barack Obama will soon host Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, it is time to brace for the resumption of a tired debate about whether the Israeli prime minister seriously wishes to revive the peace process. Few now believe Netanyahu can change his right-wing spots, but many still wonder whether the Israeli left can exert an influence for good.

There is much speculation about whether opposition leader Isaac Herzog, head of the Zionist Union party, can be enticed into Netanyahu‘s government and encourage it towards peace. But a deeper truth about the Israeli left was exposed this month by the introduction of a draconian terrorism bill.

The measure, called “wildly authoritarian” by one Israeli analyst, lets the government define any group it dislikes, including civil ones, as a terrorist organisation. Offering non-material support, such as a “like” on Facebook, could land you three years in jail. “Abetting terror”, even unwittingly – say, by selling a car to someone who later carries out an attack – can earn you 30 years.

It is no surprise that Netanyahu and his right-wing partners rallied behind the legislation. But so too did the supposedly centre-left Zionist Union.

Lined up almost alone against the bill were the parliament’s small number of Arab legislators. Those chiefly targeted by the bill will be Israel’s 1.5 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of the population, as well as Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Afterwards, Arab MPs berated the Israeli left. Jamal Zahalka accused his so-called opposition partners of being “the mother of all racism” in Israel.

An icon of the young left, Stav Shaffir, who led Israel’s social justice protests before becoming a Zionist Union MP in 2013, came in for especial scorn. She had failed even once to acknowledge Zahalka when their paths regularly crossed. “The extreme right are at least human beings – they say hello to you and smile at you,” he noted.

Many Israelis assumed he was grandstanding. But his assessment of a hypocritical left is widely shared by Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories – and for good reason.

The peace industry’s mistake has been to assume that there is a clearly delineated political spectrum in Israel from right to left, with the latter’s positions favouring human rights and peace. In fact, in contrast to perceptions abroad, Palestinians often point out that in admittedly limited ways Netanyahu has offered them more than his centre-left predecessors did.

His policy of “economic peace” – maybe better characterised as pacification – at least dismantled many of the hundreds of checkpoints that for a decade choked ordinary life for occupied Palestinians.

In recent years he has even opened small sections of the Israeli economy to the Palestinian minority.

Where Israel’s right distinguishes itself from the left is not on the question of justice for Palestinians. It is in its ready resort to fear-mongering and, alarmed by its own rhetoric, in its desperate need for the comfort blanket of anti-democratic legislation.

This difference is more superficial than it sounds, however.

The terrorism bill, for example, is designed to supersede emergency regulations devised by the British and readily adopted by Israel’s “leftist” founding fathers.

These regulations operated in the dark and were hard to challenge in the courts. The new terror legislation at least brings Israel’s medieval security apparatus into the daylight.

It is part of a pattern. One of Netanyahu’s early laws effectively barred the large Palestinian minority from living in hundreds of rural communities. Israel’s version of apartheid, screamed headlines.

Widely overlooked was the fact that these vetting committees were set up by Israel’s founders and quietly enforced by the communist-orientated kibbutz movement for decades. Netanyahu was simply putting a long-standing practice on the statute books.

And so too with his centrepiece legislation to define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people – that is, of Jews around the world – rather than Israel’s own citizens.

Critics have accused him of outrageous ethnic chauvinism, ignoring the fact that the law will not change the Palestinian minority’s legal status. The bill only consolidates the mess of laws and administrative practices established in Israel’s first years to ensure degraded citizenship for Palestinians.

In fact, Netanyahu may be doing Palestinians a favour by making the state’s racist foundations and its occupation policies far more visible.

For Zahalka and other Palestinian leaders, it is easier to grapple with an Israel that grows ever less sophisticated, ever less capable of concealing its central goals. It looks uglier, not simply because things are getting worse but because they are finally out in the open.

The popular shift rightwards in Israel means that even the left can no longer afford to keep its racism hidden from view. That is why it is past time for the international community to admit there is no prospect of an Israel, of either the left or right, becoming a partner for peace.

As the left loses the battle for votes to Netanyahu and the right, paying lip-service to Palestinians’ rights and peace – or even smiling at an Arab MP – simply carries too heavy a price.


There would be mass resignations at all levels and you would face the very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny. Unnamed British General, Sunday Times, Sep 20, 2015

Having stirred the soup of British politics sufficiently to make it interesting again, UK Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn finds himself exciting one conservative grouping after another. The pacemakers are refusing to work. Cardiac arrest in some circles, it seems, is imminent. The “security thesis” against him, entailing, for instance, that he would pose a threat to Her Majesty and country, continues to inflate.

This thesis takes the form of a double headed eagle: on the one hand, what he will do in the context of Britain proper, be it military deployments or, as it may turn out, non-deployments; on the other, what his approach to Israel might be. Regarding the former, the weekend offered a few unhappy surprises with the remarks of a senior serving general, who contended that the Army would initiate a mutiny if a Corbyn government tried to shrink their numbers should he win the elections in 2020.[1]

In true masculine reflex, the unnamed general claimed a few immutable points, already suggesting how his view of true authority is distinctly at odds with the idea of civilian control. Leave Trident alone, he was saying. Stay deep and buried in Nato. Do not announce “any plans to emasculate and shrink the size of the armed forces.” In short, going against a long understood rationale, leave war, and even peace, to the generals.

The general evidently found it difficult to forgive Corbyn for not taking a strong stance against the IRA, which managed to kill 730 British troops and injure 7,000 more during the Troubles. (He is said to have served in Northern Ireland during the 1980s and 1990s.) To even suggest that IRA members might be honoured, including the hunger strikers lead by Bobby Sands, was something that stirred the blood.

The statement made to the Sunday Times is a measure of how Corbyn has gotten under the skin of various branches of officialdom. “The Army just wouldn’t stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible fair or foul, to prevent that. You can’t put a maverick in charge of a country’s security.”[2]

The statement comes on the heels of a growing war lust within Labour’s own ranks. Corbyn is facing a good deal of jingo from the shadow cabinet, which is gradually moving into Caesarean assassination mode. Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn has simply decided to refuse any idea that nuclear disarmament might be affected, let alone a withdrawal from NATO. Case closed.

A primary topic of consideration is the embrace of airstrikes on Syria that Prime Minister David Cameron has been pressing for. As long as the plan to target ISIS targets in Syria is “coherent”, Cameron is guaranteed that a good number of the shadow cabinet will cross the floor.

What, then, about this general? Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan, has reminded the general, in the same breath as calling him an “idiot” that, “We’re not Bolivia for God’s sake.” A campaign of sorts has begun to out him, with a petition started by Left Unity securing over 5,000 signatures. It calls upon the prime minister to sack the general in question. “It is a direct interference in Britain’s democratic process.”

Ben Griffin, a former member of the Special Air Service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hawk turned dove, has argued that such generals pose an obvious menace to democratic process. “He should go public with his statement. He is threatening the democratic will of the British people and he exposes the lie that the armed forces exist to protect our freedoms.”[3]

A Ministry of Defence source did note that such political commentary on any “future government” was unacceptable. “No one thinks that it is a good idea for a senior serving officer to undermine a potential future government.”[4] But a good deal of foot dragging was also in order, with the MoD telling theIndependent that launching an investigation into who actually spoke out would be nigh impossible – they would be, it was suggested, too many generals to investigate.

The rebuff would have been unthinkable if the matter had concerned another Edward Snowden like scenario. The big, threatening fish must be left alone, with the MoD reluctant to go through the dirty laundry of the higher-ups. As Griffin noted, “GCHQ could tell the MoD today which general it was.” They, after all, “collect the metadata of all phone calls and emails so they will have a record of which generals have been in touch with the journo who wrote the story.”

Now that would be a turn up for the books and tabloid headlines: GCHQ, grand surveillance bugbear, protects democracy by disclosing the identity of potentially mutinous, leaking general.

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







Selected Articles: GMOs, Quantitative Easing & American Exceptionalism

September 23rd, 2015 by Global Research News

gmo_basf_735_350Genetically Modified Mustard in India: Monumental Fraud and Regulatory Delinquency

By Colin Todhunter, September 23, 2015

The approval and planting of large-scale field trials of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India is currently taking place. According to environmentalist Aruna Rodrigues, this is completely unconscionable. It is occurring even as the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC) Report awaits adjudication in India’s Supreme Court, which expressly recommends a bar on herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops. As a result, Rodrigues is mounting a legal challenge as the lead petitioner in a Public Interest Litigation.

gmo_africa_seeds_735_350-735x350Kenyan Farmers Suing Government to Uphold GM Crop Ban

By Christina Sarich, September 23, 2015

First Kenyans demonstrated to try to get through to their government for ‘encroaching on constitutional rights’ and reversing a GM crop ban, and now a small group of farmers has taken their plea to the courts.

central-banks-economyTime for “Quantitative Easing for People instead of Banks” (PQE): Raining Money on Main Street

By Ellen Brown, September 23, 2015

Predictions are that we will soon be seeing the “nuclear option” — central bank-created money injected directly into the real economy. All other options having failed, governments will be reduced to issuing money outright to cover budget deficits. So warns a September 18 article on ZeroHedge titled “It Begins: Australia’s Largest Investment Bank Just Said ‘Helicopter Money’ Is 12-18 Months Away.”

drapeau usDebunking the Myth of American Exceptionalism

By Dr. Gary G. Kohls, September 23, 2015

The myth of American Exceptionalism is widely, but perhaps insincerely, believed by most American thought-leaders and political and economic elites, whether they are radical Republican Party members/voters or are members/voters of the moderate “Republican” wing of the Democratic Party.

putin-obamaWill US Grasp Putin’s Syria Lifeline?

By Robert Parry, September 23, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown U.S. policymakers what amounts to a lifeline to pull them out of the quicksand that is the Syrian war, but Official Washington’s neocons and the mainstream U.S. news media are growling about Putin’s audacity and challenging his motives.

The US Has a Duty to the Syrian Refugees

September 23rd, 2015 by Marjorie Cohn

Many of us are familiar with the Emma Lazarus poem on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words, written in the late 19th century, depicted the United States as a refuge for people who had crossed the Atlantic seeking a new home and a better life than they experienced in the places they left behind. The current massive humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, which has created a flood of refugees exiting Syria, obliges our country to live up to the welcome promised in that poem.

With George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, which led to the birth of Islamic State, the U.S. government played a significant role in destabilizing the Middle East. The United States and its allies—including Saudi Arabia and Turkey—have trained, financed and supplied weapons to forces fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. This has exacerbated the refugee crisis we are now witnessing.

History professor and author Juan Cole wrote that the U.S. invasion of Iraq created 4 million refugees, about one-sixth of Iraq’s population. But “the U.S. took in only a few thousand Iraqi refugees after causing all that trouble,” he noted. The United States must do better with the Syrian refugees.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking about the U.S. invasion of Iraq, famously said, “If you break it, you own it.”

Yet President Barack Obama pledged to lift the U.S. lamp to only 10,000 of the 4 million refugees fleeing Syria. After fielding criticism of the United States for taking so few, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. would accept 185,000 refugees over the next two years. But this figure reflects the total number from many countries; there is no indication the administration will accept more than 10,000 from Syria.

The United States has a moral obligation, and perhaps a legal one, to accept many of the Syrian refugees. Evolving international norms suggest that all the countries of the world have a duty to provide refuge to those who have fled their homeland to escape persecution or war. Because the United States has 28 percent of the world’s wealth, we should take at least 28 percent of the refugees, according to Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies. That would amount to about 350,000 people. And she says the United States should immediately pay 28 percent of the United Nations’ refugee relief request, about $5.5 billion, to support nearly 6 million refugees from Syria and nearby countries through the end of 2015.

The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol define a refugee as someone outside his or her country who has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. Due to the fear of persecution, he or she is unable or unwilling to remain in his or her country of origin.

Although many Syrian refugees may meet this definition, many others don’t because they fled to escape the violence of the armed conflict ravaging their country, not necessarily to avoid persecution.

Some scholars, however, think a much broader definition of “refugee” is evolving under conventional and customary international law. For example, William Thomas Worster wrote in the Berkeley Journal of International Law that a refugee could be a person who has a well-founded fear of “a threat to life, security or liberty due to events seriously disturbing public order” throughout his or her country—and because of that fear is unable or unwilling to remain or return.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has defined “temporary protection” of refugees as “a means, in situations of large-scale influx and in view of the impracticality of conducting individual refugee status determination procedures, for providing protection to groups or categories of persons who are in need of international protection.” Temporary protection “is primarily conceived as an emergency protection measure of short duration in response to large-scale influxes, guaranteeing admission to safety, protection from non-refoulement and respect for an appropriate standard of treatment.” The first time the UNHCR formally recommended the granting of temporary protection involved “persons fleeing the conflict and human rights abuses in the former Yugoslavia.”

The principle of international law called non-refoulement is the prohibition of forced return. This means a country has a duty not to return an individual to a country where he or she will face persecution. Article 33(1) of the Refugee Convention provides, “No Contracting State shall expel or return (‘refouler’) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” Even if a country is not a party to the Refugee Convention, it is bound by the customary international law norm of non-refoulement.

As reported in a recent New York Times editorial, immigrants provide many more benefits than burdens, including paying more in taxes than they claim in government benefits and doing jobs that are hard to fill. As the Congressional Budget Office concluded in 2013, gross domestic product would rise by 5.4 percent and the federal budget deficit would fall by $897 billion over the next 20 years if undocumented workers are given a path to citizenship and more work-based visas are made available to foreigners.

In accordance with its legal and moral duty, the United States should step up to the plate and welcome significant numbers of refugees. More than 20 former senior Democratic and Republican officials are urging the Obama administration to accept 100,000 Syrian refugees, and to contribute up to $2 billion to finance their resettlement and help international refugee efforts. The United States has already accepted 1,500 Syrian refugees since the beginning of the hostilities and has contributed more than $4 billion in humanitarian aid for them.

Instead of demanding regime change in Syria, the United States and its allies must stop providing weapons, training and funding to the violent opposition forces. They should enlist Russia and Iran in pursuing a diplomatic solution to this tragic conflict.

Up to this point, some of Syria’s immediate neighbors—Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt—have taken in 95 percent of the refugees, according to Amnesty International. Turkey has accepted nearly 2 million, followed by Lebanon, which has taken over 600,000. Jordan has taken half a million. Iraq has accepted almost 250,000. Egypt has accepted more than 130,000.

Germany agreed to take 800,000 refugees. Britain will take in 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, at the rate of 4,000 per year. Canada will take 10,000; Australia will take 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees; Venezuela will take 20,000.

But Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait—the wealthiest nations in the region—have taken none of the refugees. Likewise, Iran and Russia, which support the Assad government, have refused permanent residency or asylum to the refugees.

Some of the Syrian refugees are Palestinians who first became refugees after the 1947-48Nakba, when 80 percent of historic Palestine was ethnically cleansed to create Israel. They are “double refugees.” But Israel has refused to take in any Syrian refugees.

Israel has apparently forgotten that in 1939, 937 Jewish refugees seeking to escape the Nazis made the perilous ocean voyage on the SS St. Louis, but the United States turned them away. Forced to return to Europe, hundreds of them were then killed by Hitler’s forces. The nations of the world, and particularly the United States, must ensure the current refugees obtain the shelter to which they are entitled.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Her latest book is, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. Previous books include: Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd); and an anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse.

America: The World’s Greatest Threat

September 23rd, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

All US presidents at least since WW II were unindicted war criminals, Obama the latest in a long line of rogue leaders, reflecting America’s odious history, systematically pursuing empire, ravaging and destroying one country after another, remaining unaccountable for his high crimes.

Whoever succeeds him in 2017 will continue the same reckless policies, maybe overstepping enough to launch WW III, potential armageddon if occurs.

All presidential aspirants from both parties favor endless wars of conquest. Peace is anathema. Maintaining America’s menacing military global footprint is prioritized, its empire of bases, its alliances with other rogue states, its rage to dominate unchallenged – the greatest threat to world security and stability.

No nation threatens them more than America, none more likely to start global war, none more greatly endangering humanity’s survival.

Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick co-authored “The Untold History of the United States” – now made into a 10-part Showtime documentary, covering US history since the FDR era.

In discussing the series, Stone said when he studied untold US history, “one thing that really hit (him) hard was (America’s) nefarious involvement in the Middle East” – beginning before WW II, exploding with GHW Bush’s 1991 Iraq invasion and subsequent endless wars.

“We never got out of there,” said Stone. “Once we were in, we’re in forever.” The curse of oil cost millions of lives. America “destabilized the entire region, created chaos. And then we blame ISIS for the (horrors) we created.”

“It’s all about the oil,” Kuznick explained. “You remember the bumper sticker: ‘What is our oil doing under their sand?’ “

“We created” violence and chaos throughout the region – “then have a grand military plan…(M)ilitary solutions just don’t work.”

Americans don’t get it, Stone explained. They live in a bubble – spoon-fed what government, academia and supportive media want them to know. Reagan touted a “shining city on a hill.”

“It’s very comforting to be an American,” Stone said. “You get the sense that you are safe and have prosperity of material goods, and that you have enemies everywhere – Russia, China, Iran, North Korea.”

“You get into this cocoon where you have a big country, two (protective) oceans, but you’re always under threat.” Stone served in Vietnam, returned home “puzzled, completely confused about what was going on there. But I did get a heavy dose of the doublespeak, the militarese talk,” he said.

He began asking questions, read “progressive history” when studying filmmaking. New ideas influenced his work since the 1980s. His films include Salvador, Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Nixon and Wall Street among others – challenging the official narrative.

His film about Edward Snowden was delayed until 2016. His “Untold History of the United States” collaboratively with Peter Kuznick presents an alternative perspective from the FDR era to today – far different from mainstream propaganda.

The documentary’s last episode is called “Bush & Obama: Age of Terror,” covering the following topics:

— The Project For A New American Century, the neocon think tank calling for a new Pearl Harbor to enlist popular sentiment for endless wars, notably in the Middle East;

— The tyranny of neocons responsible for pushing America to war with Iraq, using fabricated intelligence;

— The repressive Patriot Act, the first of a series of post-9/11 police state laws heading America toward full-blown tyranny;

— The destructive War on Terror at home and abroad;

— Using 9/11 as a pretext to invade and destroy Afghanistan;

— Unconstitutional torture and other forms of abuse at Guantanamo and other US black sites;

— Mainstream media’s support for US wars of aggression;

— Obama selling out to Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma and other corporate interests;

— Bailing out bankers responsible for causing financial and economic crisis conditions;

— The rise of unprecedented CEO compensation at the expense of a disappearing middle class;

— Obama’s betrayal – his failure to deliver hope, change, or transparency, his prosecution of government whistleblowers, his continuation of Bush’s national security state; and

— His drone wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia – including his appalling Big Lie claiming “(u)nlike the old empires, we don’t make these sacrifices for territory or for resources…We do it because it’s right.”

Stone calls his book and documentary an antidote to “educational crime. American exceptionalism has to be driven out of our curriculums,” he said. We’re not under threat. We are the threat” – to world peace, stability and security.

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.” Visit his blog site at 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.

Image: Soldier at Hebron checkpoint points gun at Hadeel Hashlamoun, 18, before she is shot

On Yom Kippur, there is one story from Israel and Palestine: the killing of 18-year-old Hadeel Hashlamoun at a Hebron checkpoint after she was confronted by soldiers pointing guns.

Youth Against Settlements says, “She tried to leave” before she was shot. Israeli government claims that the soldiers believed she was going to pull a knife.

Below is the shocking video of Hashlamoun’s form being roughly dragged on the ground after her shooting. News accounts state that she was then still alive; she did not die for several hours, at a hospital. Israeli settlers observe her with detachment and even smiles. One of these settlers wears a blue t-shirt with the words in Hebrew on it (visible at 1:41):

MEDICINE Rescue/Medical Aid (the Hebrew word is Hatzala) Judea and Samaria

If he is a medical professional, he takes no interest in the Palestinian woman’s situation except to gawk. That organization provides emergency medical services to the settlers. Presumably only to Jews. Another settler grins at the scene at 1:38.

Toward the end of the video you can see the Palestinian community of Hebron, caged inside the checkpoint.

Electronic Intifada states:

Wattan TV reported that the young woman was left to bleed for more than 30 minutes.

Here is a photo of Hashlamoun’s funeral, today, posted by NasserZB.

Image: Hadeel Hashlamoun’s funeral

A researcher for Amnesty, Jacob Burns, has posted this photograph of a knife he says the Israelis claim Hashlamoun was carrying when she was killed. He notes, of course, that even if she were trying to attack soldiers, they would not be justified in firing. The New York Times report is that the soldiers were not at risk.

Photo of knife said to be carried by Hadil Hashlamoun

Photo of knife said to be carried by Hadeel Hashlamoun

The Times headline deceives readers about the Palestinian victims of this and another incident in the occupied West Bank– 2 Are Killed in West Bank as Jewish and Muslim Holidays Approach– but Diaa Hadid’s reporting is excellent:

[A] European activist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because his employers do not permit him to talk to reporters, provided photographs of the episode. One showed a soldier pointing his weapon at Ms. Hashlamoun, and another showed her lying on the ground.

He said a soldier had asked Ms. Hashlamoun to open her bag for inspection. “When she was opening at her bag, he began shouting: ‘Stop! Stop! Stop! Don’t move! Don’t move!’ ” the activist said. “She was trying to show him what was inside her bag, but the soldier shot her once, and then shot her again.”

The activist said three or four other soldiers had raced to the scene and also fired.

Another witness, Fawaz Abu Aisheh, 34, who appeared in the photographs taken by the activist, said Ms. Hashlamoun did not respond as soldiers screamed at her in Hebrew to step back. A soldier shot at her feet twice, but she did not move, he said.

“She was like a nail, like she was in shock,” he said. “I was shouting, ‘She doesn’t understand Hebrew!’ ”

Mr. Abu Aisheh said he had opened a small gate inside the checkpoint so that she could back away from the soldiers. She did so, creating more distance between her and the soldiers.

A shame that the New York Times does not include Hashlamoun’s picture in that article. The Times does include a photo of Palestinian women mourning at the funeral of the other Palestinian killed in the West Bank.

Here is another photo from NasserZB’s twitter feed:

Hadeel Hashlamoun dying at Hebron checkpoint

Hadeel Hashlamoun dying at Hebron checkpoint

al Jazeera’s account says that Hashlamoun was left bleeding on the ground and that the killing has fostered clashes across the occupied city.

However, a video posted by the news agency PalMedia shows the woman being left to bleed on the ground after she was shot and then being roughly pulled out of the frame of a camera.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Hebron resident Issa Amro identified the woman as 19-year-old Hadeel Salah al-Hashlamon.

“Now the soldiers have increased their numbers throughout the city,” said Amro, who is the coordinator of the Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements monitoring group.

According to Amro, clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers in the area following the shooting and “are still ongoing across the city”.

Thanks to Dena Shunra, Ofer Neiman, and James North.

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Some organic food experts are worried that the term used to describe non-genetically modified crops and produce may soon become nearly meaningless, thanks in large part to undue (readcorporate) influence on the Department of Agriculture.

According to Jerome Rigot, PhD, writing in a blog posted at the Cornucopia Institute, which promotes food safety backed by science, it may no longer be accurate to rely on the USDA’s “organic” labeling as remaining “true to its mandate of assuring consumers that food under this label is truly healthy and grown or raised with minimal impact to the environment,” as well as respecting “the health and well-being of the workers and animals involved.”

Rigot notes that, among other concerns, Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, recently downgraded its rating of the Agriculture Department’s organic seal and label. The director of the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Center for the magazine, Dr. Urvashi Rangan, testified to the National Organic Standards Board in late 2014: “Organic is slipping. And as a result, we have downgraded its rating from highly meaningful to meaningful.” He further noted that the rule of the magazine “is to help educate people about what organic means as well as what it doesn’t mean.”

Regarding these concerns, Rigot wrote:

As an example, the Cornucopia Institute filed formal legal complaints with the USDA in December 2014 against 14 giant poultry and dairy CAFOs (read: concentrated animal feeding operations or “factory farms”) for allegedly violating the USDA organic regulations requiring outdoor and pasture access. Each complaint was summarily dismissed, withoutan investigation, by the enforcement division of the National Organic Program (NOP), which stated, “The NOP has reviewed these complaints and has determined that investigation is unwarranted.”

Inept, corporatists or lobbyists

The determination was odd, says Rigot, because literally hundreds of high-res photos, satellite imagery and state regulatory documents were submitted as evidence to the NOP which, together, should have produced more than enough doubt to motivate someone to launch an investigation.

A former NOSB board member who manages the country’s first certified organic dairy farm, Kevin Englebert, was clearly disappointed by the NOP decision, seeing it as a lapse of the organization’s responsibilities.

“For the NOP to not even investigate these facilities means one of three things: 1) the personnel who made that decision are inept, 2) they are too close and friendly with corporate lobbyists and multimillion-dollar certifiers that are involved in the process, or 3) the most likely scenario, corrupt politicians are preventing them from enforcing the law,” he said, as quoted by Rigot, who intimated that elements of all three reasons might be at play.

He noted that the National Organic Program is a very small part of the Agriculture Department. However, many large corporations have a significant vested interest in organic foods, especially the processed foods industry (including General Mills, Smuckers, Coca-Cola, etc.), and similar to GMO corporations, they’ll do whatever it takes to expand their bottom line.

“Circumstantial evidence makes it reasonable to conclude that the same type of undue industry influence that appears to have prevented Vilsack and the USDA from acting quickly to end the Salmonella outbreak [in 2014] and limit the health toll is behind efforts to dilute the federal organic standards, control the NOP leadership, and limit or obstruct the ability of the congressionally authorized National Organic Standard Board from doing its job efficiently and with integrity,” Rigot wrote.

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Compromised board members

In September 2014, we reported that the Cornucopia Institute had conducted a study to examine the voting records and backgrounds of the 15 members of the NOSB.

The board is an advisory body created by the secretary of agriculture to make recommendations aimed at preserving and protecting the organic farming industry. What’s more, the board is also required to maintain and update the National List of Approved and Prohibited Substances – a list that identifies substances and other compounds that cannot be used in organic crop and livestock production.

The NOSB’s seats are supposed to be filled with members representing farmers, environmentalists, public interest advocates, handlers, retailers, scientists and a USDA certifying agent. However, Cornucopia found in its study that corporate representatives were filling seats intended for farmers and other independent organic industry stakeholders, often leading to decisions that were not beneficial to the organic food and livestock industry.

Details surrounding that study are posted here.


BRICS and the Fiction of “De-Dollarization”

September 23rd, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The financial media as well as segments of the alternative media are pointing to a possible weakening of the US dollar as a global trading currency resulting from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) initiative. 

One of the central arguments in this debate on competing World currencies hinges on the BRICS initiative to create a development bank which, according to analysts, challenges the hegemony of Wall Street and the Washington based Bretton Woods institutions.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) was set up to challenge two major Western-led giants – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. NDB’s key role will be to serve as a pool of currency for infrastructure projects within a group of five countries with major emerging national economies – Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa. (RT, October 9, 2015, emphasis added)

More recently, emphasis has been placed on the role of China’s new Asia Infrastructure Investment  Bank (AIIB), which, according to media reports, threatens to “transfer global financial control from Wall Street and City of London to the new development banks and funds of Beijing and Shanghai”.

Russia to invest $18 billion for currency stabilization of BRICS

 The decision to create general reserves was made in July 2014 at the Sixth Summit of BRICS at Fortaleeza in Brazil. Source: AP

There has been a lot of media hype regarding BRICS.

While the creation of BRICS has significant geopolitical implications, both the AIIB as well as the proposed BRICS Development Bank (NDB) and its Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) are dollar denominated entities. Unless they are coupled with a multi-currency system of trade and credit, they do not threaten dollar hegemony. Quite the opposite, they tend to sustain and extend dollar denominated lending. Moreover, they replicate several features the Bretton Woods framework.

Towards a Multi-Currency Arrangement? 

What is significant, however, from a geopolitical standpoint is  that China and Russia are developing a ruble-yuan swap, negotiated between the Russian Central Bank, and the People’s Bank of China,

The situation of the other three BRICS member states (Brazil, India, South Africa) with regard to the implementation of (real, rand rupiah) currency swaps is markedly different. These three highly indebted countries are in the straightjacket of IMF-World Bank conditionalities. They do not decide on fundamental issues of monetary policy and macro-economic reform without the green light from the Washington based international financial institutions.

Currency swaps between the BRICS central banks was put forth by Russia to:

“facilitate trade financing while completely bypassing the dollar. “At the same time, the new system will also act as a de facto replacement of the IMF, because it will allow the members of the alliance to direct resources to finance the weaker countries.” (Voice of Russia)

While Russia has formally raised the issue of a multi-currency arrangement, the Development Bank’s structure does not currently “officially” acknowledge such a framework:

We are discussing with China and our BRICS parters the establishment of a system of multilateral swaps that will allow to transfer resources to one or another country, if needed. A part of the currency reserves can be directed to [the new system]” (Governor of the Russian Central Bank, June 2014, Prime news agency)

India, South Africa and Brazil have decided not to go along with a multiple currency arrangement, which would have allowed for the development of bilateral trade and investment activities between BRICs countries, operating outside the realm of dollar denominated credit. In fact they did not have the choice of making this decision in view of the strict loan conditionalities imposed by the IMF.

Heavily indebted under the brunt of their external creditors,  all three countries are faithful pupils of the IMF-World Bank. The central bank of these countries is controlled by Wall Street and the IMF. For them to enter into a “non-dollar” or an “anti-dollar” development banking arrangement with multiple currencies, would have required prior approval of the IMF.

The Contingency Reserve Arrangement

The CRA is defined as a “framework for provision of support through liquidity and precautionary instruments in response to actual or potential short-term balance of payments pressures.” (Russia India Report April 7, 2015). In this context, the CRA fund does not constitute a “safety net” for BRICS countries, it accepts the hegemony of the US dollar which is sustained by large scale speculative operations in the currency and commodity markets.

In essence the CRA operates in a similar fashion to an IMF precautionary loan arrangement (e.g. Brazil November 1998) with a view to enabling highly indebted countries to maintain the parity of their exchange rate to the US dollar, by replenishing central bank reserves through borrowed money.

The CRA excludes the policy option of foreign exchange controls by BRICS member states. In the case of India, Brazil and South Africa, this option is largely foreclosed as a result of their agreements with the IMF.

The dollar denominated $100 billion CRA fund is a “silver platter” for Western “institutional speculators” including JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Goldman Sachs et al, which are involved in short selling operations on the Forex market. Ultimately the CRA fund will finance the speculative onslaught in the currency market.

Neoliberalism firmly entrenched

An arrangement using national currencies instead of the US dollar requires sovereignty in central bank monetary policy. In many regards, India, Brazil and South Africa are (from the monetary standpoint) US proxy states, firmly aligned with IMF-World Bank-WTO economic diktats.

It is worth recalling that since 1991, India’s macroeconomic policy was under under the control of the Bretton Woods institutions, with a former World Bank official, Dr. Manmohan Singh, serving first as Finance Minister and subsequently as Prime Minister.

Moreover, while India is an ally of China and Russia under BRICS, it has entered into a  new defense cooperation deal with the Pentagon which is (unofficially) directed against Russia and China. It is also cooperating with the US in aerospace technology. India constitutes the largest market (after Saudi Arabia) for the sale of US weapons systems. And all these transactions are in US dollars.

Similarly, Brazil signed a far-reaching Defense agreement with the US in 2010 under the government of Luis Ignacio da Silva, who in the words of the IMF’s former managing director Heinrich Koeller, “Is  Our Best President”, “… I am enthusiastic [with Lula's administration]; but it is better to say I am deeply impressed by President Lula, indeed, and in particular because I do think he has the credibility”  (IMF Managing Director Heinrich Koeller, Press conference, 10 April 2003 ).

In Brazil, the Bretton Woods institutions and Wall Street have dominated macro-economic reform since the outset of the government of Luis Ignacio da Silva in 2003. Under Lula, a Wall Street executive was appointed to head the Central Bank, the Banco do Brazil was in the hands of a former CitiGroup executive. While there are divisions within the ruling PT party, neoliberalism prevails. Economic and social in Brazil is in large part dictated by the country’s external creditors including JPMorgan Chase, Bank America and Citigroup.

Central Bank Reserves and The External Debt

India and Brazil (together with Mexico) are among the World’s most indebted developing countries. The foreign exchange reserves are fragile. India’s external debt in 2013 was of the order of more than $427 Billion, that of Brazil was a staggering $482 billion, South Africa’s external debt was of the order of $140 Billion. (World Bank, External Debt Stock, 2013).

External Debt Stock (2013)

Brazil  $482 billion

India   $427 billion

South Africa  $140 billion

All three countries have central banks reserves (including gold and forex holdings) which are lower than their external debt (see table below).

Central Bank Reserves (2013)

Brazil  $359 billion

India:  $298 billion

South Africa $50 billion

The situation of South Africa is particularly precarious with an external debt which is almost three times its central bank reserves.

What this means is that these three BRICS member states are under the brunt of their Western creditors. Their central bank reserves are sustained by borrowed money. Their central bank operations (e.g. with a view to supporting domestic investments and development programs) will require borrowing in US dollars. Their central banks are essentially “currency board” arrangements, their national currencies are dollarized.

The BRICs Development Bank (NDB)

On 15 July 2014, the group of five countries signed an agreement to create the US$100 billion BRICS Development Bank together with a US dollar denominated  ” reserve currency pool” of US$100 billion. These commitments were subsequently revised.

Each of the five-member countries  ”is expected to allocate an equal share of the $50 billion startup capital that will be expanded to $100 billion. Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion from the federal budget for the bank over the next seven years.” (RT, March 9, 2015).

In turn, the commitments to the Contingency Reserve Arrangement are as follows;

Brazil, $18 billion

Russia $18 billion

India  $18 billion

China $41 billion

South Africa $5 billion

Total $100 billion

As mentioned earlier, India, Brazil and South Africa, are heavily indebted countries with central bank reserves substantially below the level of their external debt.  Their contribution to the two BRICs financial entities can only be financed:

  • by running down their dollar denominated central bank reserves and/or
  • by financing their contributions to the Development Bank and CRA, by borrowing the money, namely by “running up” their dollar denominated external debt.

In both cases, dollar hegemony prevails. In other words, the Western creditors of these three countries will be required to “contribute” directly or indirectly to  the financing of the dollar denominated contributions of Brazil, India and South Africa to the BRICS development bank (NDB) and the CRA.

In the case of South Africa with Central Bank reserves of the order of 50 billion dollars, the contribution  to the BRICS NDB will inevitably be financed by an increase in the country’s (US dollar denominated) external debt.

Moreover, with regard to India, Brazil and South Africa, their membership in the BRICS Development Bank was no doubt the object of behind closed doors negotiations with the IMF as well as guarantees that they would not depart from the “Washington Consensus” on macro-economic reform.

Under a scheme whereby these countries were to be in be in full control of their Central Bank monetary policy, the contributions to the Development Bank (NDB) would be allocated in national currency rather than US dollars under a multi-currency arrangement. Needless to say under a multi-currency system the contingency CRA fund would not be required.

The geopolitics behind the BRICS initiative are crucial. While the BRICS initiative from the very outset has accepted the dollar system, this does not exclude the introduction, at a later stage of a multiple currency arrangement, which challenges dollar hegemony.

The president that expanded U.S. wars throughout the Muslim world thinks he can make himself appear Muslim-friendly by inviting a kid to the White House. President Obama “makes a mockery of principles such as the right to trial when his agenda finds democracy too inconvenient,” calmly placing people on his weekly Kill List, then pretends to empathize with a teenager victimized by Texas-style Islamophobia.“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

Those words came from president Obama’s twitter account after a 14-year old Texan named Ahmed Mohamed became world famous. The high school student brought his homemade clock to school but was later escorted out in handcuffs after a teacher reported that he had a bomb. Racism, Islamophobia, draconian “zero tolerance” policies, and base ignorance all played a role in the disgraceful turn of events.

When social media turned Mohamed’s name into a household word the president weighed-in with his words of support. But unlike other individuals who felt genuine empathy or outrage about this case, the presidential tweet came with doses of hypocrisy and opportunism. Obama is no protector of the rights of Muslim teens, as Abdulrahman al-Awlaki’s family can attest.

Abdulrahman and his father Anwar were murdered on the president’ orders in 2011. Both American citizens, they ran afoul of the never ending “war on terror” and Obama’s political ambitions in the year before his re-election campaign.

In the absence of legislation, judicial precedent or any case law, Barack Obama declared that he had the right to assassinate anyone in the world, including American citizens like the Awlakis. Anwar al-Awlaki was never even charged [3] with a crime. Like his predecessors, Obama makes a mockery of principles such as the right to trial when his agenda finds democracy too inconvenient. His acolytes love to point out that the president once taught constitutional law. That fact doesn’t count for much in reality but neither do any of the claims that justify continuing a war of terror against the Muslim world.

The Obama administration made quite a big show of announcing the “kill list” policy which ended the Awlakis lives. The New York Times was happily used as the messenger [4]when the administration eagerly revealed the inner workings of the assassination decision making process. There was precious little outrage about the president of the United States acting like a mafia boss, even after Anwar al-Awlaki was rubbed out like a rival gangster. When his son was killed in another drone strike two weeks later the White House pretended it had all been a mistake and tried to cover their crime by claiming that the 16-year old was 21.

Needless to say there were teenage victims of the United States and NATO in Libya in 2011. That was not just a bad year for the Awlakis, but for millions of people first in Libya and then Syria who had the misfortune of being on the wrong side of the regime change line.

These aggressions should not be forgotten because the president decided to jump on the #istandwithahmed bandwagon. He may have Ramadan Iftar dinners at the White House or speak Arabic words at the opportune moment, but his policies against the Muslim world are even more ruthless than those of his much more reviled predecessor George W. Bush.

The president cannot be let off the hook because of a social media post. He bears a great deal of responsibility for the continued animus against Muslim people. By criminalizing an entire region he gives credence to the belief that its people are criminals and unworthy of being thought of as human beings. If the Awlakis can be killed, if Syrians and Libyans can have their countries torn asunder and Pakistanis and Afghans can be victims of drone strikes on presidential whims, then a precocious teenager can be hauled off by the police.

Obama has always gotten too much credit and too little scorn because he is disliked by racist, dead ender Republicans. Of course, if Fox news and Sarah Palin criticize the president’s response to the Ahmed Mohamed case he is again seen as the bulwark of enlightenment when he is in fact just the more effective evil.

Ahmed was released without being arrested and no charges were filed against him. He has been embraced by people all over the world and the White House is not alone in rolling out the red carpet of welcome. But the effects of the traumatic experience have apparently not left him. His father reported that his son has lost his appetite and isn’t sleeping well. Ahmed added that the family is now “torn and confused” by their experience.

There are thousands of Ahmeds all over the country, reliving the terror of interactions with police. There are Ahmeds in the Middle East and north Africa who have survived America’s attempts to take their lives. Unfortunately that will all be forgotten when Obama gets his photo opportunity with this teenager. He is lucky to live in Texas and not Syria. In this country the president isn’t trying to kill him.

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 [5]Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

Kenyan Farmers Suing Government to Uphold GM Crop Ban

September 23rd, 2015 by Christina Sarich

First Kenyans demonstrated to try to get through to their government for ‘encroaching on constitutional rights’ and reversing a GM crop ban, and now a small group of farmers has taken their plea to the courts.

This past week, a petition was filed against the Kenyan government representing a group of small-scale farmers, which claims the lifting of the ban will harm indigenous farmers and their ability to grow non-GM food.

The Kenyan Small Scale Farmers Forum argues that the safety of GM crops is undetermined and the reversal of the GM ban impedes upon public rights, imposing safety and economic risks on small farmers.

For months, activists have been irate over Deputy President William Ruto’s full-steam-ahead attitude to reverse a former GM ban. Supposedly relying on a task force to inform him before making the decision, Ruto is said to have ignored public opinion, and also failed to disclose the results of the task force’s inquiry into GM seed safety before forging ahead to lift the ban.

The current lawyer for the Farmers Forum is trying to have the case classified as an ‘urgent’ lawsuit. It will be heard on September 24th.

Will US Grasp Putin’s Syria Lifeline?

September 23rd, 2015 by Robert Parry

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown U.S. policymakers what amounts to a lifeline to pull them out of the quicksand that is the Syrian war, but Official Washington’s neocons and the mainstream U.S. news media are growling about Putin’s audacity and challenging his motives.

For instance, The New York Times’ lead editorial on Monday accused Putin of “dangerously building up Russia’s military presence” in Syria, even though Putin’s stated goal is to help crush the Sunni jihadists in the Islamic State and other extremist movements.

Instead, the Times harrumphs about Putin using his upcoming speech to the United Nations General Assembly “to make the case for an international coalition against the Islamic State, apparently ignoring the one already being led by the United States.”

The Times then reprises the bizarre neocon argument that the best way to solve the threat from the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other jihadist forces is to eliminate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his military who have been the principal obstacles to an outright victory by the Sunni terrorist groups.

The dreamy Times/neocon prescription continues to be that “regime change” in Damascus would finally lead to the emergence of the mythical “moderate” rebels who would somehow prevail over the far more numerous and far better armed extremists. This perspective ignores the fact that after a $500 million training project for these “moderates,” the U.S. military says four or five fighters are now on the battlefield inside Syria. In other words, the members of this U.S.-trained brigade can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

But rather than rethink Official Washington’s goofy “group think” on Syria – or provide readers a fuller history of the Syrian conflict – the Times moves on to blame Putin for the mess.

“No one should be fooled about Russia’s culpability in Syria’s agony,” the Times writes.

“Mr. Putin could have helped prevent the fighting that has killed more than 250,000 Syrians and displaced millions more, had he worked with other major powers in 2011 to keep Mr. Assad from waging war on his people following peaceful antigovernment protests. … Mr. Assad would probably be gone without the weapons aid and other assistance from Russia and Iran.”

This “group think” ignores the early role of Sunni extremists in killing police and soldiers and thus provoking the harsh retaliation that followed. But the Syrian narrative, according to The New York Times, is that the “white-hat” protesters were simply set upon by the “black-hat” government.

The Times’ simplistic storyline fits neatly with what the influential neoconservatives want the West to believe, since the neocons have had Syria on their “regime change” list, alongside Iraq and Iran, since the list was compiled as part of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s 1996 political campaign. The Times’ narrative also leaves out the crucial role of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other U.S. “allies” in supporting Al Qaeda and its Islamic State spinoff.

Bush’s Unaccounted-for Cash

Further complicating Official Washington’s let’s-blame-Putin Syrian narrative is the unintended role of President George W. Bush and the U.S. military in laying the groundwork for these brutal Sunni extremist movements through the invasion of Iraq last decade. After all, it was only in reaction to the U.S. military presence that “Al Qaeda in Iraq” took root in Iraqi and then Syrian territory.

Not only did the ouster and execution of Sunni leader Saddam Hussein alienate the region’s Sunnis, but Bush’s desperation to avert an outright military defeat in Iraq during his second term led him to authorize the payment of billions of dollars to Sunni fighters to get them to stop shooting at American soldiers and to give Bush time to negotiate a U.S. troop withdrawal.

Beginning in 2006, those U.S. payments to Sunni fighters to get them to suspend their resistance were central to what was then called the “Sunni Awakening.” Though the program preceded Bush’s “surge” of troops in 2007, the bought-and-paid-for truce became central to what Official Washington then hailed as the “successful surge” or “victory at last.”

Besides the billions of dollars paid out in pallets of U.S. cash to Sunni insurgents, Bush’s “surge” cost the lives of another 1,000 U.S. soldiers and killed a countless number of Iraqis, many just going about their daily lives until they were blown apart by powerful American munitions. [See, for example, the “Collateral Murder” video leaked by Pvt. Bradley/Chelsea Manning]

But what the U.S. intelligence community is only now assessing is the collateral damage caused by the bribes that the Bush administration paid to Sunni insurgents. Some of the cash appears to have become seed money for the transformation of “Al Qaeda in Iraq” into the Islamic State as Sunnis, who continued to be disenfranchised by Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, expanded their sectarian war into Syria.

Besides the Iraqi Sunnis, Syria’s secular government, with Assad and other key leaders from the Alawite branch of Shiite Islam, also was set upon by home-grown Sunni extremists and foreign jihadists, some of whom joined the Islamic State but mostly coalesced around Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and other radical forces. Though the Islamic State had originated as “Al Qaeda in Iraq” (or AQI), it evolved into an even more bloodthirsty force and, in Syria, split off from Al Qaeda central.

Intelligence Reporting

U.S. intelligence followed many of these developments in real time. According to a Defense Intelligence Agency report from August 2012, “AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. … AQI declared its opposition of Assad’s government because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.”

In other words, Assad’s early complaint about “terrorists” having infiltrated the opposition had a basis in fact. Early in the disorders in 2011, there were cases of armed elements killing police and soldiers. Later, there were terrorist bombings targeting senior Syrian government officials, including a July 18, 2012 explosion – deemed a suicide bombing by government officials – that killed Syrian Defense Minister General Dawoud Rajiha and Assef Shawkat, the deputy defense minister and Assad’s brother-in-law.

By then, it had become clear that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other Sunni-ruled countries were funneling money and other help to jihadist rebels seeking to oust Assad’s regime, which was considered a protector of Christians, Shiites, Alawites and other minorities fearing persecution if Sunni extremists prevailed.

As the 2012 DIA report noted about Syria,

“internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction. … The salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria. … The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.”

The DIA analysts already understood the risks that AQI represented both to Syria and Iraq. The report included a stark warning about the expansion of AQI, which was changing into the Islamic State or what the DIA referred to as ISI. The brutal armed movement was seeing its ranks swelled by the arrival of global jihadists rallying to the black banner of Sunni militancy, intolerant of both Westerners and “heretics” from Shiite and other non-Sunni branches of Islam.

As this movement strengthened it risked spilling back into Iraq. The DIA wrote:

“This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi [in Iraq], and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters [apparently a reference to Shiite and other non-Sunni forms of Islam]. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”

Facing this growing Sunni terrorist threat — which indeed did spill back into Iraq — the idea that the CIA or the U.S. military could effectively arm and train a “moderate” rebel force to somehow compete with the Islamists was already delusional, yet that was the “group think” among the Important People of Official Washington, simply organize a “moderate” army to oust Assad and everything would turn out just great.

On Oct. 2, 2014, Vice President Joe Biden let more of the cat out of the bag when he told an audience at Harvard’s Kennedy School:

“our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria … the Saudis, the emirates, etc., what were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” [Quote at 53:20 of clip.]

In other words, much of the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition actually has been involved in financing and arming many of the same jihadists that the coalition is now supposedly fighting. If you take into account the lost billions of dollars that the Bush administration dumped on Sunni fighters starting in 2006, you could argue that the U.S.-led coalition bears primary responsibility for creating the problem that it is now confronting.

Biden made a similar point at least in reference to the Persian Gulf states:

“Now all of a sudden, I don’t want to be too facetious, but they have seen the lord. …  Saudi Arabia has stopped funding. Saudi Arabia is allowing training [of anti-Islamic State fighters] on its soil … the Qataris have cut off their support for the most extreme elements of terrorist organizations, and the Turks … [are] trying to seal their border.”

But there remain many doubts about the commitment of these Sunni governments to the cause of fighting the Islamic State and even more doubts about whether that commitment extends to Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and other jihadist forces. Some neocons have even advocated backing Al Qaeda as the lesser evil both vis a vis the Islamic State and the Assad regime.

Blaming Putin

Yet, the Times editorial on Monday blamed Putin for a big chunk of the Syrian mess because Russia has dared support the internationally recognized Syrian government in the face of vicious foreign-supported terrorism. The Times casts no blame on the United States or its allies for the Syrian horror.

The Times also hurled personal insults at Putin as part of its equally one-sided narrative of the Ukraine crisis, which the editorial writers have summarized as simply a case of “Russian aggression” or a “Russian invasion” – ignoring the behind-the-scenes role of neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in orchestrating the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

In Monday’s editorial, the Times reported that President Barack Obama “considers Mr. Putin a thug,” though it was President Obama who boasted just last month, “I’ve ordered military action in seven countries,” another inconvenient fact that the Times discreetly leaves out. In other words, who’s the “thug”?

Yet, despite all its huffing and puffing and calling Putin names, the Times ultimately concludes that Obama should test out the lifeline that Putin has tossed to Obama’s Syrian policy which – with all its thrashing and arm waving – is rapidly disappearing into the quicksand. The editorial concluded:

“Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in London on Friday, made it clear that America would be looking for ‘common ground’ in Syria, which could mean keeping Mr. Assad in power temporarily during a transition. The Russians should accept that Mr. Assad must go within a specific time frame, say six months. The objective is a transition government that includes elements of the Assad regime and the opposition. Iran should be part of any deal.

“America should be aware that Mr. Putin’s motivations are decidedly mixed and that he may not care nearly as much about joining the fight against the Islamic State as propping up his old ally. But with that in mind there is no reason not to test him.”

Kerry’s apparent willingness to work with the Russians – a position that I’m told Obama shares – is at least a sign that some sanity exists inside the State Department, which initially mounted an absurd and futile attempt to organize an aerial blockade to prevent Russia from flying in any assistance to Syria.

If successful, that scheme, emanating from Nuland’s European division, could have collapsed the Syrian regime and opened the gates of Damascus to the Islamic State and/or Al Qaeda. So obsessed are the neocons to achieve their long-held goal of “regime change” in Syria that they would run the risk of turning Syria over to the Islamic State head-choppers and Al Qaeda’s terrorism plotters.

However, after the requisite snorting and pawing of hooves, it appears that the cooler heads in the Obama administration may have finally asserted themselves – and perhaps at The New York Times as well.

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 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 Times’ description on Saturday 19th September: ‘universally unpopular’, having ‘strained relations’ with unions, ‘abrupt’ and dismissive’.

Not so, he has many friends, co-operative colleagues in all parties and admirers in this country and the United States.

And though his versatility is shown in his inspiring and wide-ranging book,‘Another World is Possible: a manifesto for 21st century socialism’, a challenge to New Labour, putting forward a set of attractive new ideas, principles and policies, his most sustained work has been directed towards peace-building – and without peace there can be no real prosperity for the 99%.

He will – of course – be anathema to partyfunding arms manufacturersarms traders and the politicians who need their cash and non-executive directorships, because of the following activities.

In 2003 he was inspired by Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio who was calling for a Cabinet-level Department of Peace within the Executive Branch of the US Government. His bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace was repeatedly reintroduced in each session of Congress, attracting 72 cross-party co-sponsors. This work was later carried forward by the Peace Alliance.

jmcdonnell in AmericaThis ‘unpopular man’ was heartily welcomed in the States where city councils across the country welcomed the practical impact a Department of Peace would have on reducing violence in their nation and abroad. 18 cities -representing a collective population of over 6.5 million people – had endorsed it at the time of writing. They included Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Oakland, San Jose and more.

John McDonnell advocated a ministry for the promotion of peace in all areas of life from the “playground to the Government” to embrace education/conflict resolution within business, prisons, homes, the media and the whole of life. He pointed out that this would be in line with developments in the USA and Europe, adding that Gordon Brown had set aside £500m in a “united Govt approach to reduce conflict in society and specifically to promote conflict resolution”.

jmcdonnell mfp header

Ministry for Peace meetings often attracted 70 & 80 people from peace organisations, lawyers and individuals committed to the idea – despite his ‘abrupt’ and dismissive’ behaviour? Unlikely.

John McDonnell introduced a Ten Minute Bill, the Ministry for Peace (Interim Provisions) Bill, passed unopposed on Tuesday 14th October, 2003. A second reading is planned for 21 November. The Bill’s second reading was passed unopposed but it was unable to go through all its parliamentary stages before the end of the session in November.

The other cross-party sponsors joining the less than ‘universally unpopular’ John McDonnell were the much-missed Elfyn Llwyd – Plaid Cymru, Jeremy Corbyn – Lab, Alex Salmond – SNP, John Randall – Con, Rudi Vis – Lab and the excellent also-missed Alan Simpson – Lab, who has become a great asset to the environmental movement.

Simon Hughes MP (Liberal Democrat) and Gary Streeter MP(Conservative, current chair) were also moved to work with John McDonnell to set up All-Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues in September 2006

jmcdonnell appg meetingThis holds meetings such as a series of three with young Israelis and Palestinians who presented their visions and aspirations for changes they wished to see in the region during the next 20 years.

The APPG provides a forum for dialogue between Parliamentarians, Her Majesty’s Government and civil society on alternative methods of preventing and resolving violent conflict, on the basis of expert information and opinion from across the political spectrum, in dialogue with officials from the Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, as well as various conflict NGOs, academics, members of the business community and the media. The Group currently consists of twentynamed members from both Houses of Parliament. Others in the new Parliament who express support or interest will be added to this list.


Hansard recorded words summarised John McDonnell’s message in a Commons debate: “The most civilised form of defence is actually securing peace and preventing conflict.”

The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

September 23rd, 2015 by Peter Schwarz

The scandal at Volkswagen (VW) over the manipulation of emissions readings from its autos in the US has plunged the firm into a major crisis. The company, which along with Toyota is the world’s largest auto producer, faces the threat of up to $18 billion in fines, along with massive costs related to the recall of almost half a million vehicles and huge compensation claims. The US Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation and a congressional committee has announced plans for a hearing on the scandal.

VW has already acknowledged that accusations by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are valid. It has admitted that it deliberately deceived American customers and government authorities.

“Let’s be clear: our company was dishonest,” said VW’s American head Michael Horn at the unveiling of the new Passat model in New York. “We totally screwed up.”

In a calculated manner, VW broke the law in order to manipulate emissions readings. In diesel models sold in the US, the company installed specially developed software to enable the vehicles to determine when they were being tested and automatically switch to a mode that reduced the emission of pollutants. After the test, the cars automatically switched back to the normal mode, increasing their release of poisonous oxides between 10- and 40-fold.

VW used the low emissions test rates as a selling point for the US market, where diesel cars comprise just one percent of total sales, a far lower percentage than in Europe. Many US buyers decided to purchase a diesel car from VW or Audi because, in contrast to hybrid vehicles from Asian producers, which have low emission rates but are cumbersome, the German models were considered both environmentally friendly and sporty.

The ultimate scale of the scandal is not yet known. The suspicion is that VW manipulated emissions figures not only in the US, but also in other markets. Germany, Switzerland, France and South Korea have all announced investigations into diesel vehicle manipulation.

VW announced Tuesday that the software had been built into many more vehicles than had previously been believed. There are a total of 11 million vehicles around the world with the engine model EA189, whose emissions are significantly lower during tests than under normal use.

VW stock, which dropped Monday by 20 percent, fell a further 23 percent on Tuesday. This brings the company’s loss of share value since the beginning of the scandal to €27 billion.

Also raised is whether other firms are manipulating emissions readings. Along with VW, BMW, Mercedes and many other European and Asian companies sell the type of vehicle involved in the scandal. “The fear of widespread destruction in the German auto industry on this Monday is pervasive. Is VW the exception? Or are they only the first to be exposed?” wondered theSüddeutsche Zeitung.

Experts warn that the VW scandal could lead to major job losses in Germany. Within the country, one in seven jobs is directly or indirectly dependent on the auto industry. The relatively expensive German vehicles have been able to retain their position in the world market because of their reputation for technical quality and reliability. That reputation is now at risk.

It is unclear who was aware of the manipulation. Many commentators consider it improbable that it could have taken place without the knowledge of VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, who has led the company since 2007. Winterkorn, like his two predecessors, Bernd Peschetsrieder and Porsche’s grandson Ferdinand Piëch, is a technical expert and not a financial manager. He reportedly has detailed knowledge of the technical aspects of VW vehicles.

Earlier this year, Winterkorn defeated Piëch, who had headed the VW Supervisory Board since 2002, in a power struggle triggered by Piëch’s attempt to sack him. Piëch subsequently resigned his position on the board.

Winterkorn’s contract was to have been extended for a further two years at a board meeting this Friday. This has now been called into doubt, and the company confronts another power struggle at the top.

Many commentators have described VW’s audacity in deceiving customers and regulators as not only criminal, but also stupid. They argue that it did not take a great deal to foresight to realize that the swindle would eventually be exposed, delivering a massive blow not only to the firm’s finances, but also to its image.

However, VW is not an aberration. Recent years have seen a series of scandals in which auto companies deceived the public and government regulators, covering up gross negligence or lawlessness. For almost a decade, General Motors concealed a problem with ignition switches that resulted in engine cut-offs, disabling steering mechanisms as well as the deployment of air bags. The company did not begin to recall 2.6 million vehicles with the defect until at least 124 people had been killed and 275 injured in accidents caused by the problem.

Last week, the Obama administration announced a settlement with GM effectively foregoing any criminal penalties and imposing a token $900 million fine. Not a single company official was cited by name in the deal.

Japanese supplier Takata was targeted by the US Justice Department for equipping tens of millions of vehicles around the world with defective air bags. At least eight people were killed by exploding air bags and more than 100 injured.

Toyota had to pay $1.2 billion in fines in the US and recall millions of vehicles that accelerated on their own. At least five people died as a result of the defect.

Major technical advances have recently been made in the auto sector. New technologies and digital steering have significantly improved the safety and environmental friendliness of cars. Automatically driven electric cars are no longer a utopia. But such technical progress is in permanent conflict with an irrational social system that subordinates every aspect of life to the profit drive of a financial aristocracy.

The unscrupulousness and criminality employed by VW and other automakers in the struggle for global market share reflect the inherent contradictions of the capitalist system, which make impossible the rational and socially progressive development of man’s productive forces. These basic contradictions, between socialized production and private ownership of the means of production, and between a globalized economy and the division of the world into rival nation states, find their political reflection in wars waged by the major powers to expand their spheres of influence and control of markets, devastating entire countries and turning tens of millions of people into desperate refugees.

The other side of corporate criminality is the relentless assault on the rights and living standards of workers. These are justified with the argument that they are necessary to remain internationally competitive. In the US, the real wages, adjusted for inflation, of many autoworkers have been reduced to the levels that prevailed under Henry Ford’s “five-dollar-a-day” regime in the first decade of the last century. In Germany, wage cutting is spearheaded by the outsourcing of production to low-wage Eastern European countries and the growth of part-time and contract employment.

The closest allies of the auto companies in attacking the workers are the trade unions, which, like management, see their main goal as the defence of the competitiveness of their company against international rivals.

VW has taken the lead in this. The company exemplifies the specific German form of “social partnership.” Nowhere is the symbiosis between shareholders, management and the trade unions so close. Winterkorn largely owes his position to the chairman of the VW works council, Bernd Osterloh, and to the IG Metall union, whose former chairman, Berthold Huber, headed up VW’s board until a few days ago.

In the US, autoworkers are beginning to rebel against the automakers’ attacks and coming into sharp conflict with the United Auto Workers union. VW workers should declare their solidarity with their American brothers and sisters. Only through a united international struggle for socialism, i.e., the reorganisation of society based on the satisfaction of social needs rather than the drive for private profit, can the criminal activities of the companies and the destruction of workers’ jobs and living standards be halted.

‘Migrant Crisis: Result of EU Blindly Joining US Strategy’

September 23rd, 2015 by Živadin Jovanović

Europe is facing a backlash over its wrong policy in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, says Zivadin Jovanovic ,Yugoslav Foreign Minister from 1998-2000. The EU blindly joined the US strategy of global interventionism, he told RT.

RT: Just months ago, in the spring, the flow of migrants was relatively low, but now it’s in the hundreds of thousands.  What has changed?

Zivadin Jovanovic: I think that there has been growing inflow in the refugee centers and camps in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and other countries surrounding countries the conflicts in the Middle East. As a consequence we have a tremendous pace now of incoming refugees and immigrants here through the Balkans…For example, Serbia has received [within] the last couple of months over 160,000 immigrants and refugees.

On [Sunday] night Serbia received a group of 5,000 new refugees. At the same time… borders to Hungary and Croatia have been almost closed. Now only passengers can pass border crossings, no trucks and no trade is flowing over the border crossings. Incidents occur close to the borders. And [yesterday] we heard the official representative of the EU commission say that all EU countries have a right to return refugees or immigrants to Serbia. Serbia is receiving a great many from the south – from Greece and Macedonia. And it [was] announced [yesterday] that Serbia is supposed to be receiving back those who are not accepted in EU countries. This makes the situation very difficult for Serbia and [leads to a] rise in tension in relations with neighboring countries.

© Stoyan Nenov

© Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

RT: Germany has pointed the blaming finger at US foreign policy. But how much is Europe to blame? 

ZJ: I have just returned from an international conference in Zurich which was devoted to the problem of immigrants, and I heard the assessment of a German analyst, who said it is joint project of the US, Turkey and elements of extreme Islamists. I just cannot confirm this and accept totally, but I certainly think there is [some] truth in that. However, Europe is to be blamed and Europe, it seems to me, is receiving back the fruits of a wrong policy in the past – first of all of joining almost blindly the US strategy of global interventionism…beginning with Yugoslavia in 1999 and then Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Mali and many other countries. Now Europe is faced with the fruits of its own wrong policy. I just hope that Europe will have to think twice in the future on how [it] would define its own interest and own policy.

© Stoyan Nenov

© Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

RT: There is growing concern that there could be terrorists hiding among the refugees.  How genuine is that risk?

ZJ: [It’s estimated] that around one million immigrants will come from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe before the end of this year. Only Germany has consented to accept 800,000. When you have such figures, such an enormous inflow, you can only suppose by theory of great numbers that there would be all kinds of people. Having regard that they are coming from war-torn areas… one can really suppose that terrorists may come too.

[On Monday] the Serbian government announced that they are discussing a new anti-terrorist strategy. I don’t attribute this exclusively to the inflow of immigrants, but it is certainly coincides with a growing number of immigrants…If they don’t handle this problem properly instead of 1.5 million this year Europe may have two or three million this year.

Debunking the Myth of American Exceptionalism

September 23rd, 2015 by Dr. Gary G. Kohls

The myth of American Exceptionalism is widely, but perhaps insincerely, believed by most American thought-leaders and political and economic elites, whether they are radical Republican Party members/voters or are members/voters of the moderate “Republican” wing of the Democratic Party.

Members of the democratic wing of the Democratic Party and anybody that espouses Green Party values (whether they are registered members or not) are skeptical of the mass media’s constant reportage on American Exceptionalism.

Oh, America is certainly an exceptional nation, all right, but the reality is that most of the evidence of exceptionalism should be sources of sorrow, shame and embarrassment. All American patriots, including the pseudo-patriots who espouse the classical fascist/nationalist notion of “My nation, right or wrong”, should be on their knees repenting of what America has done on behalf of that misbegotten belief, starting with the “patriotic” genocidal massacres of the aboriginal Native Americans, the quasi-genocide of America’s African slaves, the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny.

Take the fact that America leads the world in the percentage – and total numbers – of its citizens that are incarcerated (and that includes the statistics from such previously totalitarian communist nations (and now newly capitalist) such as the USSR, Russia and China).

America is – embarrassingly so – exceptional in one major area. It leads the world in military expenditures, spending approximately the same amount that the rest of the world combined spends, despite the fact that there are no nations that have the naval, air or land combat capabilities that could repel or withstand even a single day of full-fledged American military assault (for which the Pentagon probably already has contingency plans). Every American Special Forces soldier knows in his heart of hearts that, compared to his highly lethal, highly trained killing unit, Nazi Germany’s Wehrmacht soldiers and Luftwaffe airmen were pussies.

Exceptional America, With 5% of the World’s Population, Spends more on Militarism Than the Rest of the World Combined

America’s political elites represent only 5% of the world’s population, and yet, because of the Myth of American Exceptionalism, they act like they deserve to rule the world. If the truth were to be told, American politicians are often the laughingstock of the rest of the developed world because of their obvious historical illiteracy and their moral imbecility. Showing no humility or self-understanding, most self-deluded, bullying political candidates (watch any GOP presidential debate for proof) still believe that, because of America’s military and economic power, Americans are somehow exceptional. (These over-privileged millionaire candidates were, as the old saying goes, “born on third base and think that they just hit a triple”.)

But whenever someone has the courage (or temerity) to say out loud that “those emperors of ours have no clothes”, it becomes apparent to everybody that they are largely lapdogs to the elites and therefore obedient to and dependent on the largesse of any number of secret, unelected, corporate bribers/paymasters/lobbyists and afraid of not complying with the wishes of the highly decorated, unelected brass in the Pentagon who are drawing $100,000+ annual military pension payments and don’t want to mess with the gravy train..

Are Corporate Campaign Contributions Bribes or What?

America’s political system is dominated by campaign “contributions” from major “donors” (better characterized as “investments” or “bribes”), with promised “paybacks” that come from the “donee” or “bribee”. As a result, our elected legislators (and whomever is the “current occupant” of the Oval Office) manage to spend/waste more taxpayer dollars complying with the desires of their paymasters and helping cover for the military destabilization of the rest of the exploitable world (under the guise of fostering peace in the world by killing alleged “bad guys with guns”).

A case in point is the ubiquitous multi-billion dollar propaganda campaign with which the Pentagon has been blanketing the TV, radio and print media for the past year or so. Some cunning entity has decided to spend billions of scarce dollars trying to glorify America’s past wars (even the illegal and criminal ones), making “exceptional” heroes of every honorable or dishonorable soldier and veteran, even the sadistic ones who were torturers and sexual abusers. They are even trying to honor and justify the atrocity-producing, inglorious Vietnam War.

The Pentagon is probably sensing an important congressional initiative to cut the excessive, wasteful military spending that has contributed so much to our nation’s $17,000,000,000,000 (17 trillion) national debt and impending national bankruptcy. If the past is prologue, the initiative is doomed to fail if the Pentagon and the war-profiteering corporations have anything to say about it.

The total price for “defending” us over-privileged 5% of the world from foreign enemies is approximately what the rest of the world (combined) spends on their militaries. That sobering reality includes the “defense” spending of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, our allegedly worst potential enemies, whose citizens don’t want war any more than do most Americans. With unaffordable spending like that, what could possibly go wrong?

Study the two charts below and re-evaluate your impression that America is exceptional.

US military spending vs spending on domestic programs of social uplift

A few statistics and a little re-education will prove the true nature of American exceptionalism, but the reality is other than what the propagandists want us to believe. The United States is exceptional only in ways that should embarrass all Americans.

For example, America leads the developed world in

1) the number and percentage of its children that live in poverty and have poor access to health care,

2) the number of its citizens that are overweight, obese or morbidly obese (see image further below),

3) the number of its drugged-up and traumatized military veterans and active duty soldiers that contemplate suicide or actually commit suicide,

4) the number of psychiatrically drugged white adolescent boys who are the perpetrators behind the uniquely American school shooting epidemic,

5) the number of fully vaccinated children who become chronically ill with autoimmune disorders (thanks to the aluminum immune-stimulating [indeed, over-stimulating] adjuvants that are in the inoculum),

6) the number of its citizens that are hopelessly – and sometimes suicidally – saddled with unpayable credit card debt,

7) the number of college students who are saddled with unpayable college loan debt,

8) the number of our increasingly unhealthy citizens who are saddled with unpayable health care costs,

9) the number of citizens who are saddled with unpayable mortgage debt and are faced with homelessness,

10) the widest divide (in the history of the world) between the wealthy economic elite (the upper 1%) and the lower 99% who are having their diminishing wealth extracted from their pockets in any number of ways, and

11) the number of (brain-altered and thus impoverished) people who qualify for total and permanent social security disability due to psychiatric prescription drug neurotoxicity and addiction..

Qui Bono (who benefits)? (The key forensic question to find out who has a motive for a crime)

And who benefits from the above examples of American Pseudo-exceptionalism?

It doesn’t take much critical thinking to discover that the main benefactors of the propagation of the Myth are the wealthy elites in the banks, Wall Street’s institutional investors (including the foxes in the US Treasury Department’s henhouse) and those corporate predatory lenders that profit from the interest payments from the above noted 1) credit card debtors, 2) college loan debtors, and 3) mortgage debtors. Those “investments” are the reason that these sociopaths are at the top of the income inequality gap.

The elites that have been eagerly snapping up US Treasury debt securities over the many decades of US “borrow and spend” economic stimulation. America’s military buildup was guiltlessly underwritten by those elites, including the gruesome destabilizing overseas wars that created so many economic opportunities. These war profiteers are now safely conspiring behind boardroom doors, counting their money behind gated community walls and probably vary happy to pay armed bodyguards to keep the angry “riffraff” away.

They are collecting their perpetual quarterly interest payments (over $100,000,000,000 (100 billion annually) thanks to the investments they made that paid for the Vietnam War and the other military misadventures (particularly Ronald Reagan’s massive nuclear arsenal buildup in the 1980s that resulted in the de-stabilizing and unaffordable arms race with the USSR). These guys are laughing all the way to the bank and, thanks to the continued propaganda that their bought and paid for media obediently spews out for them, their amoral activities remain unexposed and unpunished.

But that isn’t the whole story. Below is another image that needs to be shown, one that should be worth a thousand words.

Two Malnourished Victims of American Exceptionalism

Guess which child is a well-fed, proud-to-be-an-American boy, whose parents (and culture) may think that he has a God-given right to more food than he deserves or needs, and who may never have seen the reality – nor understood the sources – of human suffering and starvation. These otherwise good people are likely to be oblivious to the suffering of the millions of non-American, non-white, non-Christian, homeless, hungry and war-ravaged refugees, because those stories are never shown on the nightly news. Making the connections will not be good for the Myth.

Both hard-to-look-at images are of children who are doomed to die and suffer prematurely for America’s delusional Myth. The parents of either child are, or soon will be, suffering emotionally, right along with their child. And America’s wealthy elites are, not as indirectly as you might think, profiting from the sufferings of both children – not to mention the highly profitable domestic and military agendas that are behind both tragedies.

I end with a very short list of some of the boycott-worthy corporations (that probably have very happy shareholders). Included in the list are such corporate culprits as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, McDonalds, Burger King, WalMart, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Syngenta, Lockheed-Martin, Northrup-Grumman, Pfizer, Novartis, Merck, Lilly, Exxon-Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Halliburton, Deepwater Horizons, Rio Tinto, Glencore and the thousands of other inhumane and non-human, exploitive and extractive companies of their ilk, all of which are knowingly polluting the planet and raking in the profits.

This sample list of corporations are representative of the paymasters of almost every known multi-millionaire Republican presidential candidate that I can think of (plus a few Democrats [but no Greens]). It shouldn’t be hard to imagine that every one of those corporations are eagerly supportive of the GOP’s pro-corporate, anti-environment, anti-worker, union-busting, pro-pollution political platform that keeps wages and expenses low and profits high.

The survival of the planet and of our democracy demands that their agendas be resisted.

Dr Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic, non-drug, mental health care for the last decade of his family practice career. He now writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Many of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived at

Predictions are that we will soon be seeing the “nuclear option” — central bank-created money injected directly into the real economy. All other options having failed, governments will be reduced to issuing money outright to cover budget deficits. So warns a September 18 article on ZeroHedge titled “It Begins: Australia’s Largest Investment Bank Just Said ‘Helicopter Money’ Is 12-18 Months Away.”

Money reformers will say it’s about time. Virtually all money today is created as bank debt, but people can no longer take on more debt. The money supply has shrunk along with people’s ability to borrow new money into existence. Quantitative easing (QE) attempts to re-inflate the money supply by giving money to banks to create more debt, but that policy has failed. It’s time to try dropping some debt-free money on Main Street.

The Zerohedge prediction is based on a release from Macqurie, Australia’s largest investment bank. It notes that GDP is contracting, deflationary pressures are accelerating, public and private sectors are not driving the velocity of money higher, and central bank injections of liquidity are losing their effectiveness. Current policies are not working. As a result:

There are several policies that could be and probably would be considered over the next 12-18 months. If private sector lacks confidence and visibility to raise velocity of money, then (arguably) public sector could. In other words, instead of acting via bond markets and banking sector, why shouldn’t public sector bypass markets altogether and inject stimulus directly into the ‘blood stream’? Whilst it might or might not be called QE, it would have a much stronger impact and unlike the last seven yearsthe recovery could actually mimic a conventional business cycle and investors would soon start discussing multiplier effects and positioning in areas of greatest investment. 

Willem Buiter, chief global economist at Citigroup, is also recommending “helicopter money drops” to avoid an imminent global recession, stating:

A global recession starting in 2016 led by China is now our Global Economics team’s main scenario. Uncertainty remains, but the likelihood of a timely and effective policy response seems to be diminishing. . . .

Helicopter money drops in China, the euro area, the UK, and the U.S. and debt restructuring . . . can mitigate and, if implemented immediately, prevent a recession during the next two years without raising the risk of a deeper and longer recession later.

Corbyn’s PQE

In the UK, something akin to a helicopter money drop was just put on the table by Jeremy Corbyn, the newly-elected Labor leader. He proposes to give the Bank of England a new mandate to upgrade the economy to invest in new large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects. He calls it “quantitative easing for people instead of banks” (PQE). The investments would be made through a National Investment Bank set up to invest in new infrastructure and in the hi-tech innovative industries of the future.

Australian blogger Prof. Bill Mitchell agrees that PQE is economically sound. But he says it should not be called “quantitative easing.” QE is just an asset swap – cash for federal securities or mortgage-backed securities on bank balance sheets. What Corbyn is proposing is actually Overt Money Financing (OMF) – injecting money directly into the economy.

Mitchell acknowledges that OMF is a taboo concept in mainstream economics. Allegedly, this is because it would lead to hyperinflation. But the real reasons, he says, are that:

  1. It cuts out the private sector bond traders from their dose of corporate welfare which unlike other forms of welfare like sickness and unemployment benefits etc. has made the recipients rich in the extreme. . . .
  2. It takes away the ‘debt monkey’ that is used to clobber governments that seek to run larger fiscal deficits.

OMF as a Solution to the EU Crisis

Mitchell observes that OMF has actually been put on the table by the European Parliament. According to a Draft Report by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs on the European Central Bank Annual report for 2012, the European Parliament:

  1. Considers that the monetary policy tools that the ECB has used since the beginning of the crisis, while providing a welcome relief in distressed financial markets, have revealed their limits as regards stimulating growth and improving the situation on the labour market; considers, therefore, that the ECB could investigate the possibilities of implementing new unconventional measures aimed at participating in a large, EU-wide pro-growth programme, including the use of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance facility to undertake an ‘overt money financing’ of government debt in order to finance tax cuts targeted on low-income households and/or new spending programmes focused on the Europe 2020 objectives;
  2. Considers it necessary to review the Treaties and the ECB’s statutes in order to establish price stability together with full employment as the two objectives, on an equal footing, of monetary policy in the eurozone;

These provisions were amended out of the report, says Prof. Mitchell, largely due to German hyperinflation paranoia. But he maintains that Overt Money Financing is the most effective way to solve the Eurozone crisis without tearing down the monetary union:

  1. It amounts to the ECB telling member states that they will provide the Euros to permit sufficient deficit spending aimed at increasing employment and production.
  2. No public debt is issued.
  3. No taxes are raised.
  4. Interest rates would not rise.
  5. A Job Guarantee could be introduced immediately.
  6. The Troika can retire – no more bailouts.
  7. As growth returns, structural changes – better public services, better schools, better health care etc. can be implemented. Growth allows structural changes to occur more quickly because people are happy to move between jobs if there are jobs to move between.

The Bogus Inflation Objection

Tim Worstall, writing in the UK Register, objects to Corbyn’s PQE (or OMF) on the ground that it cannot be “sterilized” the way QE can. When inflation hits, the process cannot be reversed. If the money is spent on infrastructure, it will be out there circulating in the economy and will not be retrievable. Worstall writes:

QE is designed to be temporary, . . . because once people’s spending rates recover we need a way of taking all that extra money out of the economy. So we do it by using printed money to buy bonds, which injects the money into the economy, and then sell those bonds back once we need to withdraw the money from the economy, and simply destroy the money we’ve raised. . . .

If we don’t have any bonds to sell, it’s not clear how we can reduce [the money supply] if large-scale inflation hits.

The problem today, however, is not inflation but deflation of the money supply. Some consumer prices may be up, but this can happen although the money supply is shrinking. Food prices, for example, are up; but it’s because of increased costs, including drought in California, climate change, and mergers and acquisitions by big corporations that eliminate competition.

Adding money to the economy will not drive up prices until demand is saturated and production has hit full capacity; and we’re a long way from full capacity now. Before that, increasing “demand” will increase “supply.” Producers will create more goods and services. Supply and demand will rise together and prices will remain stable. In the US, the output gap – the difference between actual output and potential output – isestimated at about $1 trillion annually. That means the money supply could be increased by at least $1 trillion annually without driving up prices.

Don’t Sterilize – Tax!

If PQE does go beyond full productive capacity, the government does not need to rely on the central bank to pull the money back. It can do this with taxes. Just as loans increase the money supply and repaying them shrinks it again, so taxes and other payments to the government will shrink a money supply augmented with money issued by the government.

Using 2012 figures (drawing from an earlier article by this author), the velocity of M1 (the coins, dollar bills and demand deposits spent by ordinary consumers) was then 7. That means M1 changed hands seven times during 2012 – from housewife to grocer to farmer, etc. Since each recipient owed taxes on this money, increasing M1 by one dollar increased the tax base by seven dollars.

Total tax revenue as a percentage of GDP in 2012 was 24.3%. Extrapolating from those figures, $1.00 changing hands seven times could increase tax revenue by $7.00 x 24.3% = $1.70. That means the government could, in theory, get more back in taxes than it paid out. Even with some leakage in those figures and deductions for costs, all or most of the new money spent into the economy might be taxed back to the government. New money could be pumped out every year and the money supply would increase little if at all.

Besides taxes, other ways to get money back into the Treasury include closing tax loopholes, taxing the $21 trillion or more hidden in offshore tax havens, and setting up a system of public banks that would return the interest on loans to the government. Net interest collected by U.S. banks in 2014 was $423 billion. At its high in 2007, it was $725 billion.

Thus there are many ways to recycle an issue of new money back to the government. The same money could be spent and collected back year after year, without creating price inflation or hyperinflating the money supply.

This not only could be done; it needs to be done. Conventional monetary policy has failed. Central banks have exhausted their existing toolboxes and need to explore some innovative alternatives.


Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at Listen to “It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown” on PRN.FM.

The approval and planting of large-scale field trials of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India is currently taking place. According to environmentalist Aruna Rodrigues, this is completely unconscionable. It is occurring even as the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC) Report awaits adjudication in India’s Supreme Court, which expressly recommends a bar on herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops. As a result, Rodrigues is mounting a legal challenge as the lead petitioner in a Public Interest Litigation.

Large-scale field trials may only be conducted when a crop has comprehensively cleared all biosafety protocols in rigorous independent long-term testing and appraisal. However, this has not been the case with GM mustard. Rodrigues argues that official regulators have even hidden all data from the public and the independent scientific community, which is against constitutional provisions and the orders of the Supreme Court. She concludes this means one thing: mandatory rigorous biosafety protocols have not been carried out and the data pertaining to ‘mustard DMH 11’ therefore needs to be concealed.

Requests for data have been refused. Rodrigues asserts that the secrecy surrounding GM mustard exemplifies the appalling state of regulation and smacks of corruption. She thus concludes the Indian government is using underhand means to introduce GM crops into Indian agriculture. There appears to be no place for science or transparency in this process, which will inevitably contaminate India’s mustard diversity.

Mustard DMH 11 is an herbicide-tolerant crop that has been made resistant to Bayer’s glufosinate, which is even more toxic that glyphosate. Glufosinate is a broad spectrum herbicide thatcauses nerve damage and birth defects and is toxic to most organisms. It is also a neurotoxin of mammals that doesn’t easily break down in the environment.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the WHO confirmed glyphosate to be a “probable human carcinogenic.” It missed by a whisker being labelled ‘definitely’ carcinogenic.

Rodrigues says this implicates the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for complicity and fraud with regard to its oversight of glyphosate; and similarly implicates Monsanto, which has known since at least the 1980s that glyphosate causes cancer/is an endocrine disruptor.

In addition, a new peer-reviewed study by Heinemann et al states that herbicides can cause bacteria to change their response to clinically-relevant antibiotics. The effect occurs upon simultaneous exposure to antibiotics and is faster than the lethal effect of antibiotics. Simultaneous is clarified to mean that the bacteria do not need to have had a history of herbicide exposure to become resistant. The resistance can arise immediately. So it can happen if someone is exposed to spray drift or pets a cat that has walked through a treated lawn.

According to Rodrigues, these two studies epitomise the problem with GMOs: historical fraud on the one hand and the ‘latency lacuna’ or long-period hazards that become known or manifest only over time.

The fall-out of the IARC conclusion is that Sri Lanka has banned glyphosate/Ht crops and Scotland and Germany (among several other countries) will use the opt-out clause of the EU to ban GMOs in their agriculture.

Rodrigues says DMH 11 must be barred on a number of counts, which include the following.

1) HT crops comprise a failed technology. The incontrovertible evidence is based on USDA crop data from 20 years of commercialised HT crops, which have failed to positively affect performance yield and have spawned intractable super weeds as a direct consequence of the huge increase in herbicide use. The pesticide treadmill for farmers is like a drug addiction: different herbicides to counter resistance and more herbicides as super weeds emerge. This is leading to the use of more toxic herbicides, including glufosinate, which has led to triple herbicide weeds in Canada in the case of HT rape.

2) Under the PPVFRA (Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Authority, India), no national law allows toxins to be put in foods/food crops and seeds. The PPVFRA expressly refuses registration of such ‘injurious’ seeds. Thus, DMH 11 is doubly banned for seed registration under the PPVFRA for being “injurious to life” and for being a GURT – “For the purposes of this subsection, the expression “any technology” includes genetic use restriction technology and terminator technology.”

3) The TEC Report: Mustard DMH 11 is required to be doubly barred: it is an HT crop and second, a Crop of Origin and /or diversity in India like Bt brinjal. Both are recommended to be banned.

4) Contamination: The potential for contamination by HT mustard is particularly high and it should not be risked in small field trials (FT), let alone large-scale. Approval of DMH 11 in large-scale FT is also in Contempt of the SC Order of “no contamination.”

5) The claim is that DMH 11 will provide yield increases of 25-30%. However, higher yields are not the result of these particular transgenes but rather a direct result of hybridisation of normal crop genes. This is why in the case of corn that has natural male sterile genes, hybrid corn can be made that has nothing to do with genetic engineering. Neither Bt nor HT crops have traits for yield. Bt and HT are traits for pesticides. The use of hybrids is also a deliberate ploy to camouflage the yield attributable to the hybrid and assign it to the GM crop instead. This is precisely the story that ensued with Bt cotton and that thread wove its way through Bt brinjal and now, openly for mustard. The fraud is unprecedented.

Rodrigues goes on to list a number of serious toxicity issues with both GM mustard and glufosinate. For instance, she says that both the EPA and the European Food Safety Authority have confirmed that glufosinate poses a risk to mammals and that a number of studies have also indicated that glufosinate is toxic to beneficial insects that control crop pests and to pollinators.

She finishes by noting environmental dangers: the EPA has stated that glufosinate is “expected to adversely affect non-target organisms.” The EPA classifies glufosinate ammonium as ‘persistent’ and ‘mobile’. It is likely to leach into drinking water sources, could increase nitrate leaching and is toxic to beneficial soil micro-organisms and “terrestrial plant species.”

Aruna Rodrigues concludes by stating that the case surrounding GM mustard in India is evidence of unremitting regulatory delinquency.

It all raises the question: why the rush and by-passing of proper procedures and regulations to get GMOs into the Indian food chain? (See this.)


France says it may carry out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria as an act of self-defense. Last week French aircraft started to undertake reconnaissance missions over Syria.

On Monday, French President Francois Hollande said French military sorties in Syria would soon expand to include airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

“We are part of the coalition in Iraq [against ISIS],” Hollande said in a news conference with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari. “We started reconnaissance flights [in Syria] to enable us to consider air strikes if they were necessary and they will be necessary in Syria.”

A destroyed building in Al-Hasakah in eastern Syria.

A destroyed building in Al-Hasakah in eastern Syria. / RIA Novosti

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the use of weapons on Syrian territory is justified due to a string of Islamist attacks in Europe.

“We received specific intelligence indicating that the resent terrorist attacks against France and other European nations were organized by Daesh [Arabic derogatory term for IS] in Syria. Due to this threat we decided to start reconnaissance flights to have the option for airstrikes, if that would be necessary. This is self-defense,” the minister told the Belgian media.


Paris previously announced its readiness to bomb targets in Syria in 2013, when the United States threatened military intervention against the government of President Bashar Assad. Damascus never formally requested the US-led coalition, which was formed in response to IS taking over large parts of Iraq last year, to expand its airstrikes into Syria. This technically makes such attacks illegal under international law. However, the Syrian government is so far turning a blind eye to the violations of its sovereignty. Damascus is facing a war with IS as well as with other terrorist groups like Al-Nusra Front and US-backed rebel forces, who Washington consider to be moderates.


The US and its allies insist that President Assad should be ousted and has no place in the future of Syria. France now says his departure must not be a condition for political dialogue to start.

“If we require, even before negotiations start, that Assad step down, we won’t get far,” Fabius told Le Figaro.

Russia, which is supporting Syria in its fight against IS jihadists and is providing Damascus with military supplies, has repeatedly called on a broader coalition to fight the terrorist organization.

Europe has endured several attacks by Islamist militants since the turn of the year, including the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris and a failed to attempt to kill passengers aboard a high speed Thalys train travelling near the French-Belgian border.

How Britain’s Propaganda Machine Controls What You Think

September 23rd, 2015 by Graham Vanbergen

On the one hand, just five individual Billionaires in Britain get to control 80% what you read in printed media and on the other hand, just five Internet Service Providers get to control what 87% of people get to see on their devices. Both are heavily influenced by government. It is no wonder what the public think is a misinterpretation of the truth. In fact, so far from the truth, it is more a departure from reality. Propaganda works!

Owen Jones’s book, “The Establishment and how they get away with it” focuses on how British democracy is threatened from within explained best by it’s own description;

Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today – and it is time they were challenged.

Jones makes a good point in highlighting “how the media controls Britain” and how it reveals the schism between popular British sentiment about key social issues courtesy of media influences and reality, indicating that the “establishment” is more than happy to sow discord within the working/middle classes using its traditional “objective” distribution channels, while it remains aloof, collecting the rent its record capital provides.


For instance, the book says, 24% of the population think that British society is Muslim, the figure is actually 5%. 31% believe the British population are immigrants when it’s 14%, 27% believe social security money has been fraudulently gained when the figure is 0.7%. It continues with statistics that distort the truth such as 41% of the public believe all social security money goes to the unemployed when it’s actually 3% and 29% of Britons think more taxpayers money goes on jobseekers allowance than on pensions – when 15 times more money is spent on pensioners.

This clearly demonstrates just how much that the media controls the minds of the general public. It is how propaganda is peddled so effectively by the very rich and very powerful to reach their goal of attaining even more wealth and power and to stay there.

In terms of Britain’s media, the reality is that there are 5 billionaires who run our media, and they have huge power in our democracy forcing our political parties to prioritize their wishes over the wishes of the British public. These 5 people not only own 80% of the newspapers we read every day, they also own TV stations, press agencies, book companies, cinemas, so everything we think or speak about in Britain is nearly controlled entirely by these 5 men.

These are the men in control : Rupert Murdoch, Jonathon Harmsworth, Richard Desmond and the Barclay’s Twins. None of these people live in Britain.

They dominate and monopolise our culture and that is a disaster for democracy, because it means the wishes of the super wealthy 0.1% dominates our governments actions. The recent revelations in Lord Ashcroft’s book finely tunes the thought that the wealthy buy power and when they don’t get what they want, well, ask David Cameron!

The leaders of our political parties are not the leaders of our country, they are basically rent boys for the 5 billionaires who decide everything.

However, behind the principle that the media in Britain has been highjacked by the vested interests of corporations such as Murdoch’a News Corporation, a company that now ranks as the worlds fourth largest media company, there is a much more sinister side to how media and their messages are disseminated in Britain.

Essentially, to be a news or current affairs publisher you must be registered as such with a government regulatory body. That this is a despicable idea goes without saying: it’s a reversal of the past three hundred years of liberty where we’ve been allowed to say or print whatever we want to subject only to the laws of libel, incitement to violence and pressing concerns of national security.

If a news or current affairs publisher is taken to court, by anyone, including the state, and not registered then no matter the outcome, in all circumstances, win or lose, the publisher loses and can’t claim costs.

Worse, it doesn’t matter where your servers are. For that’s not what defines publication. It also doesn’t matter who the material is aimed at: nor even what language it is in. Publication happens if someone in the UK downloads whatever it is. That, in itself, is the act of publication. This effectively censors the entire world’s press and media in the United Kingdom.

The three politicians who dreamt up this suppression strategem are the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Prime Minister of the time in 2013. In itself that’s an interesting commentary on the quality of those individuals and what they think of democracy and freedom more generally.

Of course, over recent years restricting press freedom in the name of national security has been a focal point for government. The UK’s lack of constitutional guarantees for freedom of expression were only some of the things criticised in a new report by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The organisation represents over 18,000 publications and 15,000 websites in over 120 countries.

Referring to the UK’s influence internationally WAN-IFRA says: “How changes to the system of press regulation are managed in the UK will have an unparalleled impact beyond its shores.” They fear that a regulator with government involvement risks being “an open invitation for abuse” of press freedom. The report in many ways echoes Index on Censorship’s position on press regulation and threats to press freedom in the UK.

The report comes after concerns were expressed by UK media and press freedom organisations over the state of press freedom following the Leveson debate, and the threats and pressure faced by the Guardian over their reporting on Snowden and mass surveillance, culminating in the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian’s basement overseen by GCHQ representatives.

The speed of implementation of new rules, the lack of legislative scrutiny, parliamentary vote or public consultation was criticised, with the report arguing the whole process should have been more transparent.

PM David Cameron’s claims at the time of The Guardian incident that the reporting harmed national security, with no evidence to back this up suggested an unprecedented level of political interference in the freedom of the press.

Around the same time, a court judgement finding the detention of David Miranda (partner of Glen Greenwald, reporter at The Guardian) legal under the UK’s Terrorism Act suggests that the government is unconcerned with press freedom and arbitrary detention and more concerned with its own agenda – damage control.

Laws have now extended into curbing social media by criminalising it and censoring the internet by way of introducing online filters. It was always going to be an easy win, harping on about the need to protect children and threatening internet service providers with legislation if they didn’t comply with prime ministerial demands over filtering.

Using the supposed threat of paedophiles as a pretext to attack basic democratic rights and bring in broader censorship, PM David Cameron declared , “The actions we’re taking today come back to that basic idea: protecting the most vulnerable in our society, protecting innocence, protecting childhood itself. That is what is at stake, and I will do whatever it takes to keep our children safe.”

According to the civil liberties organisation Open Rights Group, the filters don’t just block pornography but “also restrict access to sites deemed unsuitable for under 18’s including information on alcohol and other drugs, forums, YouTube and controversial political views.”

The government then introduced a “whitelist of websites” to counter indiscriminate ISP’s site blocking. At the ISP level, on public wi-fi and via mobile operators, the UK will be subject to a substantial amount of network-level filtering.  The new network-level filtering from both ISP’s on the one hand and government on the other increases the level of over-blocking.

The government’s filter blocks far more than just dirty pictures though. That was always the intention, and it has become clear that the mission creep of internet censorship is even creepier than campaigners had feared.

One ISP now uses these restrictions to cover “sites with information about illegal manipulation of electronic devices [and] distribution of software” – in other words, file-sharing. As The Guardian says “It looks like a convenient way to block a lot of content the British government doesn’t want its citizens to see, with no public consultation whatsoever”.

With minimal argument, a Conservative-led government has given private firms permission to decide what websites we may and may not access. This sets a precedent for state censorship on an enormous scale – all outsourced to the private sector, of course, so that the government does not have to hold up its hands to direct responsibility for shutting down freedom of speech.

Just 5 billionaires and 5 ISP’s and about as many government officials are controlling what you read and see and manipulate what you believe to be factual and real. Propaganda works!

It appears that it isn’t enough that government officials and their agencies do things such as listen in on phone calls, take illicit images of you and your family, read your emails and troll through the web browsing histories of everyone. They want to control not only what you read and see, they want you to believe a manufactured story to keep them where they are and keep you where you are.

Refugee Crisis: Brought to You by Western Imperialism

September 22nd, 2015 by Andre Vltchek

While Europe is erecting fences, deploying armies and expressing its “concern” about how to deal with the annual influx of some 300,000 asylum seekers, vast areas of the world – namely the Middle East and Africa – are essentially ceasing to exist.

For years, I have been witnessing the desperate movements of millions of refugees and migrants all over the world.

The West has been redrawing the borders everywhere, performing direct invasions, or using proxy wars, in order to destabilize or directly destroy all “hostile” governments (read: those that have been determined to feed, educate, house and cure their own people).

Somali refugees in Dadaab © Andre Vltchek

Somali refugees in Dadaab © Andre Vltchek

Wherever a socially oriented government gets into power, the West immediately begins to manufacture and sponsor so-called “opposition movements.” Civil wars are triggered, sometimes followed by direct invasions.

Syrian refugees Lebanon © Andre Vltchek

Syrian refugees Lebanon © Andre Vltchek

The result is easy to predict: when progressive governments are forced to leave and the extreme, pro-business and pro-Western regimes are installed, the social fabric quickly collapses, brutality begins to reign and millions of desperate people are forced to flee. The same goes for when some horrific civil war is triggered from outside and divides the country.

Internally displaced, people begin to move all around their countries, aimlessly and in deep confusion. In the past it happened in such places as Cambodia, during and after the savage US carpet-bombing of the countryside, and it is now happening in Syria.

Those whose cities, village and livelihood were destroyed have to search for basic safety, food and shelter. After all, parents must feed their children. Natural survival instincts kick in. Borders become irrelevant. The Empire knows all that; it employs thousands of psychologists to analyze and manipulate the world. To claim that the “refugee crisis” comes as a surprise to the West’s governments is absolute hypocrisy.

Kibati Camp, Goma, East Congo © Andre Vltchek

Kibati Camp, Goma, East Congo © Andre Vltchek

In just a few years, I have seen masses of Syrian refugees, 2 million of them, scattered all over tiny Lebanon. I have also witnessed Syrians and Iraqis escaping to Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, Syrians fleeing to Turkey, South Asians escaping to Turkey via Iran, North Africans and Central Africans escaping directly to Europe. Sometimes it feels that all of humanity is on the move.

I made a documentary film about the Somali refugees and incorporated stories of Congolese refugees into my film about Rwanda.

The great majority of Westerners has no idea how many human lives of what George Orwell used to call “un-people” have been sacrificed in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, in order for them to be able to maintain their routine and unrealistically high standards of living.

A long time ago, Congo had one of the greatest leaders on earth – Patrice Lumumba. He was a true patriot, and an anti-imperialist fighter. A joint British, US and Belgian operation murdered him (the same thing occurred in Iran in 1953, in Indonesia in 1965 and in Chile in 1973, to name just three places). Much later, in 1995, two of the West’s client states, Rwanda and Uganda, were designated to exploit the DRC, potentially one of the richest countries on earth. They overthrew governments and murdered millions.

The plight of the refugees pouring from the Congo is too far from Europe. The faces of these people will never be seen. Their suffering will not be witnessed on television screens in Paris, London or Berlin. For Europe, these are “perfect refugees”and “perfect victims.” They are dying, getting raped, getting robbed, “silently,” without any scandal, without bothering or annoying citizens of Western countries, without demanding anything, without receiving any compensation for the horrors they are being put through.

Palestinian camp in Lebanon © Andre Vltchek

Palestinian camp in Lebanon © Andre Vltchek

Nobody knows exactly how many Congolese lives have been lost or shattered (estimated number is 6 to 10 million deaths, between 1995 and now), so cheap coltan can be inserted into the smart phones and tablets sold like hot cakes in the rich world, or for uranium to be supplied to the West military industrial complex… or how many Somali fishermen had to flee their own coast, so the European Union could continue dumping its toxic waste in the sea (all that is said is that “Somalis suddenly became pirates”).

I saw places that most Westerners know nothing about, cannot even imagine: horrendous refugee camps based in Uganda and Rwanda, housing absolutely ruined families or what is left of them, pouring from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I also saw the refugee camps inside the DRC itself, in East Kivu, camps where, as I was told, all women are victims of rape and torture. And, some time ago, I filmed the biggest camp on earth, Dadaab, built in Kenya and designated for refugees fleeing completely decimated Somalia.

All this is not happening “because those countries cannot govern themselves.” On the contrary!

Western companies and governments are benefiting.

And in the West, there will never be any acknowledgement of the suffering of the Congolese or Somali people.

Somali peace agreements were torpedoed. Kenyan forces on behalf of the West invaded it and millions fled.

When filming in Dabaab camp, I heard stories about women entering Kenya from Somalia, being strip-searched, raped in front of their children, robbed by Kenyan border guards, and then forced to walk dozens of miles to the camp through the desert. Many were eaten alive by wild animals. Others died from dehydration. In Dadaab and other Kenyan camps for Somali refugees, people lived in a dry desert for one entire generation, without ever seeing the sea, the mountains, rivers and greenery. Children were born in those repulsive camps; they grew up there, reaching adulthood basically locked in a prison.

The victims of Western geopolitical games in the DRC, Somalia, Papua, and so many other places on earth… Who will ever at least acknowledge those shattered lives?

Somali refugees in Djibuti © Andre Vltchek

Somali refugees in Djibuti © Andre Vltchek

Some of the people escaping from Libya, Syria, Mali, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, are now at least able to make it in front of the cameras, to tell their stories, to force their way (at least a few of them are succeeding) into those countries that have destroyed theirs. Not that too many people in the West are really willing to listen and to understand, but still, at least there is some chance.

However, in so many other places that are destroyed by the commercial and political interests of the Empire, people are trapped by dire circumstances; they are killed, or starve to death, silently conveniently far from the West’s cold gaze.

“What are we going to do with them?” I listened to the repeated laments in a the French city of Calais, where hundreds of refugees are staying in a horrific makeshift camp nicknamed the Jungle, jumping on international lorries and running into the Eurotunnel, trying to make it by any desperate means to the UK. I heard the same questions in Greece and Germany. As if the refugees were coming from thin air, not from horrific wars and conflicts triggered by the West.

In its recent editorial, a major Argentinian daily newspaper El Clarin argued that many refugees and migrants are not actually fleeing misery, but Western geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East.

It is correct. Refugees are not always poor, but they are, almost without exception, forced to act through desperation.

Many refugees come from formerly rich countries that were attacked, destabilized and in some cases destroyed by the West: Iraq, Libya and Syria.

The Jungle, Calais © Andre Vltchek

The Jungle, Calais © Andre Vltchek

There are also countries that are “exporting refugees” because of the collapse of their economic and social fabric, mainly due to inhuman sanctions imposed on them by the West, such as Eritrea and Iran.Others come from destitute or relatively poor countries that were also destabilized or just destroyed by North American and European geopolitical and economic interests: Afghanistan, Pakistan, several states in central Africa, Yemen and Somalia, to name just a few.

Recently I wrote:

 When one looted country after another begins to sink, when there is nothing left there, when children begin dying from hunger and when men commence fighting each other over tiny boulders and dirty pieces of turf, pathetic boats, or dinghies, begin crossing the waterways, bringing half starved, half-mad refugees to the European sea-fronts decorated with marble. What a horrifying sight! As if a woman, her hair waving in disarray, her lips broken, comes begging a man who raped her after killing her husband – begging for shelter and at least some work and a piece of bread. She decided to abandon all her pride, because her children are sick and starving, because it is either this, or death. That is what you reduced the world to, Europe – you, and your huge, insatiable offspring – North America!

I saw the camps on the Turkish-Syrian border, near the city of Hatai, being used by NATO as training and recruitment facilities for Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL/DAESH). But I also saw real refugee camps on Turkish turf. They were well managed and clean. “We want to act as a mini-empire in the Middle East,” I was told by a Turkish intellectual in Istanbul, “Well… then we have to pay for it.”

But Europe does not want to pay. As in the colonial days, it wants booty, in exchange for… nothing.

I talked to several refugees from South Asia, at the bus terminal in the city of Bodrum. Most of them admitted that Turkey has been treating them much better than Greece or the rest of the EU. But their mind was set on Germany and the UK: they were conditioned. It was all totally irrational, but that’s how it was.

Syrian refugee in Bekaa Valley  © Andre Vltchek

Syrian refugee in Bekaa Valley © Andre Vltchek

In Kos, a horrific provisory camp was not helping the refugees and migrants at all – just a couple of volunteers and one part-time doctor to take care of hundreds. Local activists told me about extreme right-wing groups like Golden Dawn, and about the pogroms against the refugees, periodically. To make things worse, the island now has a right-wing mayor. The Greek economy and the social system have almost collapsed, but European holidaymakers kept coming. While the refugees from several desperate nations were sleeping all over the streets and in the parks, German and Scandinavian tourists were stuffing themselves on fresh seafood, downing liters of wine, just a few steps away.

The Greek coast guard was periodically beating up refugees, sometimes extorting money. Many died, trying to cross from Turkey to Greece. Others died crossing from Africa to Italy or Malta. Those who made it were humiliated, mistreated, and even cheated.

However, refugees keep coming. It is because for many, there is no home, anymore. In their own countries, they are left with nothing. What they used to have was grabbed and transferred to Europe.

In Prague, a Czech philosopher and renowned political performer and a friend of mine, Milan Kohout, has organized several actions in support of asylum seekers: “It is immoral. Europe took everything from so many countries, and now it wants to wash its hands of any responsibility!”

As a result of such statements, Mr Kohout is facing constant death treats, and physical attacks, in an increasingly xenophobic Europe.

In Latin America, before the revolutions, people used to say: “We are poor because they are rich!” Some refugees and migrants coming to Europe are beginning to see it this way, too.

In Calais, a 25-years-old Syrian man, Hassan, half jokingly, half seriously shouted at me: “Many of us are not really emigrating. We are just chasing a thief! We want to go where they took our possessions!”

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. Discussion with N. Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East.

Bernie Sanders is wrong — Hugo Chávez was no dictator.

Dear Bernie,

Like millions of Americans, I’ve been watching your campaign with growing excitement. You’re spot on about the pernicious effects of rising inequality and absolutely correct that the United States now resembles an oligarchy more than a democracy. I applaud your willingness to directly and repeatedly denounce the billionaire class that runs this country. And I wholeheartedly support your call for universal health care.

It’s been a joy to watch you make Hillary Clinton squirm as your poll numbers rise. I smile every time I imagine the possibility of a self-described socialist calling for a political revolution winning the Democratic nomination. I’m encouraged that you have made fighting racism a priority in your campaign, alongside the rest of your progressive agenda.

So I was surprised and dismayed to see you label the late Hugo Chávez a “dead communist dictator” last week. I would expect this from candidates like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or Hillary Clinton — not from someone who supported the Sandinistas in the 1980s and accepted discounted heating oil from Chávez for low-income Vermont residents.

Supporters of Hugo Chávez at a demonstration.

Supporters of Hugo Chávez at a demonstration.

I know you’re busy these days, Bernie, so I’ve compiled a list of ten reasons why you might want to think twice before calling Chávez a dictator.

1. Hugo Chávez was democratically elected. Not once. Not twice. Butfive times over the course of fourteen years.

2. Chávez won these elections by massive margins. He prevailed in the 1998 presidential election with 56% of the vote. He was reelected in 2000, netting 60% of votes cast. In 2004, Chávez won a recall referendum with 59%. In 2006 he was again victorious, receiving a whopping 63% of the vote. And in the 2012, while dying of cancer, he still triumphed, this time garnering 55%.

3. On the rare occasions when Chávez suffered a political defeat (e.g., the December 2007 referendum on constitutional changes), he accepted the loss immediately. It’s true that Chávez engaged in certain practices that are open to criticism, such as gerrymandering and using executive decrees to get around congressional opposition. But these practices are common in many actually-existing democracies, including the US, and hardly constitute evidence that Chávez was a dictator.

4. Chávez’s electoral success was not due to electoral fraud. The Venezuelan opposition (which supported a military coup against Chávez in 2002) and US mainstream media frequently level this charge, but there is no credible evidence to support it. Jimmy Carter has said, “Of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored [at the Carter Center], I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

5. The reason Chávez was so successful politically is because he implemented some of the same sorts of policies you support. After Chávez took office, the Venezuelan state more than doubled spending on health and education. (Sure this was made possible by the high price of oil from 2003 to 2008, but it was also possible because of Chávez’s success in reasserting state control over the oil sector, which was quasi-privatized in the 1990s.)

6. The policies implemented under Chávez led to vast improvements in access to health care, education, housing, and pensions. Poverty in Venezuela was cut in half between 2003 and 2008, with extreme poverty falling by 72%.

7. Chávez also made progress on the issue you care the most about: inequality. By 2012 Venezuela was the most equitable country in Latin America.

8. While you haven’t declared that you want to build “twenty-first century socialism,” Chávez’s Bolivarian Revolution bears at least some resemblance to the type of “political revolution” you claim to favor. In 1998, when Chávez was first elected, turnout was just 63%, one of the lowest percentages in Venezuela’s democratic history. In Chávez’s last election, it was 81% — the highest percentage since 1988, when voting in Venezuela was still mandatory. In December 2013, 59% of registered voters went to the ballot box for local elections — a higher turnout than every US presidential election since 1968.

There was also a significant increase in Venezuelans’ interest in politics during Chávez’s time in office. In the three years before Chávez took office, Venezuelans’ interest in politics was consistently below the Latin American average (by 7–8% each year). Since 2003, Venezuelans’ interest in politics has been consistently above the Latin American average. In 2013, the year Chávez died, the percentage of Venezuelans who expressed interest in politics (47%) was the highest in Latin America and far higher than the Latin American average (28%).

9. Under Chávez, Venezuela made significant, if contradictory, progress towards the goal of becoming a “participatory and protagonistic democracy.” This was done through the establishment of numerous types of participatory institutions: communal councils, health and water committees, communes, participatory budgeting, and more. These institutions are not perfect, but they have undoubtedly fostered greater decision-making power for ordinary Venezuelans.

I learned this firsthand through a year of research in various cities in Venezuela, including Torres, a municipality in central-western Venezuela where ordinary citizens decide how to spend 100% of the city’s investment budget. Miriam Gimenez, a grassroots activist from Torres, told me about the improvements she saw when Chávez was in office: “Life has changed substantially for our people because this process has given society a place to speak, to study, to work, to struggle. Now we know that we’re living, that we’re worth something, and that we can have hope of a dignified life and country.”

10. Portraying Chávez as a dictator is a profound insult to the millions of Venezuelans who supported him. Chavistas were not mindless drones who offered their unconditional support to a “great leader.” They were and are active participants in a messy and imperfect but inspiring and profoundly important attempt to forge a radical transformation.

I hope you’ll take some time to consider these points. Not only because bad things tend to happen to Latin American countries when US presidents call their democratically elected leaders dictators, but because Chávez engaged millions of people in a democratic process of far-reaching reform. And even if you’re setting your sights a bit lower than Chávez, you more than anyone else should recognize that redbaiting will just end up hampering your own reform efforts.



Selected Articles: Social Crisis and Political Corruption in Europe

September 22nd, 2015 by Global Research News

Nuclear Weapons And Interceptor Missiles: Twin Pillars Of U.S.-NATO Military Strategy In EuropeU.S. Will Station New Nuclear Weapons in Germany Against Russia

By Eric Zuesse, September 22, 2015

Germany’s ZDF public television network headlines on Tuesday September 22nd, “New U.S. Atomic Weapons to Be Stationed in Germany,” and reports that the U.S. will bring into Germany 20 new nuclear bombs, each being four times the destructive power of the one that was used on Hiroshima. Hans Kristensen, the Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, says, “With the new bombs the boundaries blur between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.”

TURKEY-SYRIA-KURDS-REFUGEESWho Is Twitter-Luring Refugees To Germany?

By Oriental Review, September 22, 2015

Content-analysis of a great number of tweets that triggered the ongoing wave of migration from Turkey to Germany since August this year suggests that these human streams were inspired and channeled from outside of continental Europe.

RefugeeThrongsEU Political Divisions Leave Thousands of Migrants Stranded and Abused

By Abayomi Azikiwe, September 22, 2015

Successive meetings fail to reach an agreement on how to deal with refugees from oppressed nations. Tens of thousands of migrants are living under precarious conditions in Hungary and Croatia as well as other states in the European Union (EU).

The United Nations Security Council:  An Organization for InjusticeUN Condemns Ukrainian Government Cover-Ups

By Eric Zuesse, September 22, 2015

On September 18th, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights headlined “Statement of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns Ukraine: Lives lost in an accountability vacuum,” and condemned there the current Ukrainian Government in strong language, regarding not only the coup which had brought them to power in February 2014, but regarding also the massacre of the people who on 2 May 2014 had been peacefully demonstrating in Odessa against the coup. Specifically, the ongoing cover-ups by the Ukrainian Government concerning both of these matters were condemned by him.

syrizaManaging the Occupation: Syriza Wins Again, … on Behalf of the Banksters

By Binoy Kampmark, September 22, 2015

Greeks are the victim[s] of anti-democratic and criminal policies that carry with them the threat of a humanitarian crisis. Zoi Konstantopoulou, The Daily Beast, Sep 20, 2015

Chemtrails: The Secret War

September 22nd, 2015 by Global Research News

“ This documentary is dedicated to everyone who wants to fight for truth and life on planet Earth.

Let’s stand up and defend our rights ! ” Antonio and Rosario Marciano (

Antonio and Rosario Marciano, of the Italian website Tanker Enemy have produced an outstanding documentary entitled: “ Chemtrails: the secret war ”. This film analyses  and provides scientific evidence pertaining to the chemtrails phenomenon. 

Weather manipulation is only one (collateral) aspect of this phenomenon. What is at stake is a covert military agenda. 

This HD documentary film is the first Italian professional film on illegal geo-engineering aka chemtrails. It has been realized thanks to many friends and collaborators. For years this issue has been denied and mocked but the chemical spraying of our sky is still going on !

In September 2014, Jacques Daidié, a French activist, went to Italy and met Antonio and Rosario Marciano, well-known Italian activists against geo-engineering. The French translation is born from this meeting and has been realized by several members of the French association “Ciel voilé”, (

We thank him warmly and all those who have contributed to the translation: Jacques, Dominique from Avignon, Mary from Monteux, Sebastien from St Firmin in Valgaudemard and Danielle from Gap.

All our gratitude to “Sky Watch Geneva”, on Facebook, for the English translation.

Those Condemning Syria Have Themselves Recently Used Chemical Weapons

We condemn all use of chemical weapons.

But the U.S. used chemical weapons against civilians in Iraq in 2004. Evidence herehereherehere,herehere.

Israeli also used white phosphorous in 2009 during “Operation Cast Lead” (and perhaps subsequently).  Israel ratified Protocol III of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (“Protocol III”) – which outlaws the use of incendiary devices in war – in 2007. So this was a war crime.

Moreover, the 1925 Geneva Protocol (which is different from Protocol III) prohibits “the use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases”.

The use of White phosphorus (“WP”) may also be a war crime under other international treaties and domestic U.S. laws. For example, the Battle Book, published by the U.S. Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, contains the following sentence: “It is against the law of land warfare to employ WP against personnel targets.”

The U.S. National Safety Council states that “White phosphorus is a poison . . . If its combustion occurs in a confined space, white phosphorus will remove the oxygen from the air and render the air unfit to support life . . . It is considered a dangerous disaster hazard because it emits highly toxic fumes. The EPA has listed white phosphorus as a Hazardous Air Pollutant.

Indeed, it is interesting to note that the U.S. previously called white phosphorous a chemical weapon when Saddam used it against the Kurds.  Interestingly, it has just come out that the U.S. encouragedSaddam’s use of chemical weapons.

Moreover, the U.S. and Britain have been dropping depleted uranium in virtually every country they fight, which causes severe health problems. See thisthisthis and this.

And Israel has been accused of using depleted uranium in Syria.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.  But it is hypocritical for the U.S., Britain and Israel to say that we should bomb Syria because the government allegedly used chemical weapons.

The decision by the US Federal Reserve not to raise interest rates at its meeting last week has added to the growing uncertainty and volatility in global financial markets and contributed to the sense that the world’s major central bank has no real plan or perspective, but is deciding policy on the run.

The fallout from the Fed’s decision has exposed divisions among the financial elites. On the one hand there is the view that the Fed decision was necessary amid concerns that the downdraft from lower growth in China and other so-called emerging markets could tip the global economy into recession. On the other, there is criticism that Fed decisions are being made in response to stock market turbulence, creating the conditions for major problems in the future.

Richmond Federal Reserve president Jeffrey Lacker, the lone dissenter among the twelve Fed officials who made the decision, said exceptionally low interest rates for an economy with increasing consumption was “unlikely to be appropriate.” It deviated from the way the Fed had made decisions in the past and was dangerous because such departures were “risky and raise the likelihood of adverse outcomes.”

His views were echoed by St Louis Fed president James Bullard, who does not have a vote on the Fed policy-making body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which made the decision. He said it was time to increase rates and policy should not be made in reaction to market turmoil.

Bullard said that had he been a voting member of the FOMC, he would have dissented from the decision not to raise the benchmark federal funds interest rate. There was a “powerful case to be made that it’s time to normalise interest rates,” he declared.

The Fed could not permanently boost stock prices, he argued, adding that the strategy should be to increase rates gradually, which would provide flexibility. The alternative was not to move until absolutely necessary, and that was “very much a volatility-inducing kind of scenario.”

The counter argument was advanced by Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart, who voted in favour of the decision. He cited recent market volatility, while indicating that he would be the “first” to vote for an interest rate rise as “things settle down.”

Far from settling down, financial markets and the global economy more broadly are being wracked by increased turbulence under the impact of falling growth in China and the fears of capital flight from emerging markets.

In her press conference following the decision, Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen referred to the uncertain international outlook produced by concerns over growth in China and “volatility in financial markets,” leading to an increase in risks.

The market initially responded to the decision with a spike, but then fell into negative territory once the implications of Yellen’s remarks were considered. It rose again on Monday—the Dow was up by 125 points—evidence of continuing turbulence.

A report published last week in the Financial Times made clear that many of the conditions that led to the financial crisis of 2008 have returned. According to the article, the volume of “mega deal” mergers so far this year has reached an all-time high, exceeding the levels reached in the dotcom bubble and in the years leading to the crash. The total value of attempted $10 billion-plus transactions has now reached $1.19 trillion, beating the previous record set in 1999 on the eve of the dotcom collapse.

Lack of investment in the real economy means that companies seek to maintain and increase shareholder value through essentially parasitic operations—takeovers, mergers and share buybacks—in areas such as pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and telecommunications, financed through the low-interest rate regime of the Fed.

The degree to which market valuations have soared was underlined by an analysis of the expansion of the French telecom group Altice, which has taken over the US firm Cablevision. According to one analyst cited in the report, the stand-alone value of Cablevision was about $8 per share, but Altice paid $34.90.

The fact that such deals depend on an unending supply of ultra-cheap cash from the Fed and other central banks is the source of the tremendous pressure generated to continue the low-interest rate regime, whatever might be the longer-term consequences.

However, those consequences are looming larger in the considerations of those calling for a shift in interest rate policy.

Writing in the Financial Times, Andrew Sentance, a former member of the Bank of England policy committee, said that seven years into a “recovery,” central bankers needed to explain “why the interest rate playing field is still so heavily tilted to borrowers.” If interest rates could not rise now, when could they? There was always a reason for not raising rates, but monetary policymakers were timid, lions that had lost their roar.

“Central bankers,” he continued, “appear to lack a clear strategy for monetary policy.” A realistic policy would be to gradually lift rates, so that the debate would be over the pace and extent of any increase, not whether it should take place at all.

Other critics say the non-action by the Fed, instead of lessening volatility in financial markets, has actually increased it. According to Kevin Adams at Henderson, a British asset manager, the Fed decision was “frustrating” because it means “more uncertainty, more complexity and potentially more confusion.”

While the low interest rate regime significantly benefits parasitical financial activities, it has an adverse impact on pension and other insurance funds, which invest heavily in government bonds and other secure assets. But with the return on these assets being kept down to extraordinarily low levels, the viability of these financial institutions, which have formed a pillar of the financial system over decades, is being called into question. Their liabilities are rising, while the returns they receive on their investments are under increasing downward pressure.

Hence the calls for a return to a more “rational” policy. But the reality is that neither the Fed nor any of the other central banks have such a policy at hand. This is because the crisis of 2008 was not primarily the result of a policy failure, but represented a breakdown in the mode of capitalist profit accumulation. With returns in the real economy in decline, the chief source of profit accumulation has become the growth of parasitism in financial markets.

While the value of American shares has increased by $17 trillion since the bottom of the market in 2009, investment remains at historically low levels, as corporations sit on record amounts of cash, estimated to be as much as $2 trillion for non-financial companies.

According to the International Monetary Fund, the central problem in the global economy is that investment levels are still some 25 percent below where they were before the financial crisis, with no sign of any upturn. The deepening malaise of the global economy caused by this breakdown is revealed in global trade figures, a key indicator.

In the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, global trade plummeted—at one point falling at a rate comparable to the contraction in the early 1930s. But then it recovered. However, the recovery petered out in 2010, and since then it has been rising at an annual rate of just 2 percent, well below the level of 6.5 percent in the years before the crisis.

A recent study by the Reserve Bank of Australia has pointed to one of the central reasons. It noted that business investment is usually the most trade-intensive component of demand. However, “the continuing weakness in business investment … is likely to have slowed growth in global trade in the post-crisis period.”

Writing on the Business Spectator web site, columnist Callam Pickering noted that global trade growth would remain subdued unless business investment returned to pre-crisis levels and global uncertainty was lower. “Neither scenario is likely in the near term, particularly with regard to business investment,” he noted.

This points to the fact that the inability of the Fed and other central banks to devise a coherent policy and their obvious fear that even a small rise in interest rates could set off a financial storm are rooted in fundamental shifts in the very foundations of the global capitalist system.

Democrazia Nato in Ucraina

September 22nd, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

«Storica» visita del segretario generale della Nato Stoltenberg, il 21/22 settembre, in Ucraina, dove partecipa (per la prima volta nella storia delle relazioni bilaterali) al Consiglio di sicurezza nazionale, firma un accordo per l’apertura di un’ambasciata della Nato a Kiev, tiene due conferenze stampa col presidente Poroshenko.

Un decisivo passo avanti nell’integrazione dell’Ucraina nell’Alleanza. Iniziata nel 1991 quando, appena divenuta Stato indipendente in seguito alla disgregazione dell’Urss, l’Ucraina entra nel «Consiglio di cooperazione nordatlantica» e, nel 1994, nella «Partnership per la pace». Nel 1999, mentre la Nato demolisce con la guerra la Jugoslavia e ingloba i primi paesi dell’ex Patto di Varsavia  (Polonia, Repubblica Ceca e Ungheria), viene aperto a Kiev l’«Ufficio di collegamento Nato» e formato un battaglione polacco-ucraino per l’operazione Nato di «peacekeeping» in Kosovo. Nel 2002, il presidente Kuchma dichiara la disponibilità a entrare nella Nato. Nel 2005, sulla scia della «rivoluzione arancione» (organizzata e finanziata da Washington attraverso «Ong» specializzate e sostenuta dall’oligarca Poroshenko), il presidente Yushchenko viene invitato al summit Nato a Bruxelles.

Ma, nel 2010, il neoeletto presidente Yanukovych annuncia che l’adesione alla Nato non è nella sua agenda. Nel frattempo la Nato tesse una rete all’interno delle forze armate ucraine e addestra gruppi neonazisti (come prova una documentazione fotografica di militanti di Uno-Unso addestrati nel 2006 in Estonia da istruttori Nato). I neonazisti vengono usati come forza d’assalto nel putsch di Piazza Maidan che rovescia Yanukovych nel febbraio 2014, mentre il segretario generale della Nato intima alle forze armate ucraine di «restare neutrali». Subito dopo va alla presidenza Poroshenko, sotto la cui guida – dichiara la Nato – l’Ucraina sta divenendo «uno Stato sovrano e indipendente, fermamente impegnato per la democrazia e il diritto».

Quanto sovrana e indipendente sia l’Ucraina lo dimostra l’assegnazione di incarichi ministeriali a cittadini stranieri scelti da Washington e Bruxelles: il ministero delle finanze è affidato a Natalie Jaresko, cittadina statunitense che ha lavorato al Dipartimento di Stato; quello del commercio e dello sviluppo economico al lituano Abromavicius, che ha lavorato per gruppi bancari europei; quello della sanità all’ex ministro georgiano Kvitashvili. L’ex presidente  georgiano Saakashvili, uomo di fiducia di Washington, viene nominato governatore della regione ucraina di Odessa. E, per completare il quadro, Kiev affida le proprie dogane a una compagnia privata britannica.

Quanto l’Ucraina sia impegnata per la democrazia e il diritto, lo dimostra il fatto che i battaglioni neonazisti, rei di atrocità contro i civili di nazionalità russa nell’Ucraina orientale, sono stati inquadrati nella Guardia nazionale, addestrata da istruttori statunitensi e britannici. Lo dimostra la messa al bando del Partito comunista ucraino e della stessa ideologia comunista, in un clima persecutorio simile a quello dell’avvento del fascismo in Italia negli anni Venti.

Per evitare testimoni scomodi, Kiev ha deciso il 17 settembre di impedire l’ingresso nel paese a decine di giornalisti stranieri, tra cui tre della Bbc, definiti «una minaccia alla sicurezza nazionale».

L’Ucraina di Poroshenko – l’oligarca arricchitosi col saccheggio delle proprietà statali, del quale il premier Renzi loda la «saggia leadership» – contribuirà anche alla nostra «sicurezza nazionale» partecipando come partner all’esercitazione Nato Trident Juncture 2015 che si svolge in Italia.

Manlio Dinucci


How Dangerous is Nuclear Israel: A Short Independent Film Report

September 22nd, 2015 by Alltime Conspiracies

‘The dangers posed by Israel are far too great for the international community to continue to ignore!’

An EU poll named Israel as the country that possess the biggest threat to world peace. With an arsenal of undeclared nuclear weapons, a reputation for assassinating political enemies and rising tension with Iran, how dangerous is Israel?

Despite a federal court order to end the 43-year confinement of Albert Woodfox, the last remaining prisoner of the “Angola 3″ will have to stand trial for a third time after a District judge on Monday denied a motion to dismiss the case.

Woodfox, who has maintained his innocence in the 1972 killing of Angola prison guard Brent Miller, spent 43 years in solitary confinement in a case that has garnered international condemnation.

Though the charges against him were dropped twice—once in 1992 and again last year—and despite U.S. District Judge James Brady granting him “unconditional release” last June, the state of Louisiana has doggedly pursued Woodfox’s prosecution.

Jasmine Heiss, senior campaigner for Amnesty International USA’s Individuals at Risk program, attended the hearing and issued the following statement on the court decision:

Albert Woodfox has endured over four decades in a cell the size of a parking space. His conviction has been thrown out three occasions. But each time his freedom has seemed within reach, the state of Louisiana has done everything in its power to keep him incarcerated.

Woodfox was moved to solitary confinement before ever being convicted of murder. He has stayed there for four decades, through three overturned convictions, fighting to prove his innocence. Albert Woodfox’s case serves as a harsh condemnation of the U.S. justice system; he remains trapped in both a cell the size of a parking space and in a legal process tainted by racial discrimination, among other glaring flaws. Through all of this, the warden of Angola prison has continued to justify his ongoing isolation based on Woodfox’s association with the Black Panther Party.

Judge Brady’s writ of unconditional release should have ended Albert’s ordeal, yet Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell continues to pursue a campaign of vengeance against him. It’s time for Albert Woodfox to walk free.

Now, pending federal intervention, Woodfox will again be forced to stand trial in West Feliciana Parish where he was twice convicted, despite the defense’s request to change the venue. State District Judge William Carmichael on Monday also denied the defense’s motion to exclude testimony from deceased witnesses on the basis that they could not be cross examined.

Carmichael did rule, however, that Woodfox’s attorneys would for the first time be able to perform DNA testing and compare Woodfox’s fingerprints to those found at the crime scene.

Meanwhile, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is still weighing the state’s appeal of Brady’s ruling.

Supporters maintain that Woodfox, along with fellow inmates, Herman Wallace and Robert King, were wrongfully implicated and punished. King, who was held solitary confinement for 29 years until his release in 2001, continues to advocate for Woodfox’s release. After 40 years of solitary confinement, Wallace was released from prison on October 1, 2013, at age 71. He died the next day.

Russia Completely Bans GMOs in Food Production

September 22nd, 2015 by Anthony Gucciardi

Russia has just announced a game-changing move in the fight against Monsanto’s GMOs, completely banning the use of genetically modified ingredients in any and all food production.

In other words, Russia just blazed way past the issue of GMO labeling and shut down the use of any and all GMOs that would have otherwise entered the food supply through the creation of packaged foods (and the cultivation of GMO crops).

“As far as genetically-modified organisms are concerned, we have made decision not to use any GMO in food productions,” Deputy PM Arkady Dvorkovich revealed during an international conference on biotechnology.

This is a bold move by the Russian government, and it sits in unison with the newly-ignited global debate on GMOs and the presence of Monsanto in the food supply. It also follows the highly-debated ruling by the World Health Organization that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup is a ‘probable carcinogen.’

But I also want to put it into perspective for you. If this announcement were to be made in the United States, for example, it would mean a total transformation of the food manufacturing industry. But in Russia, the integration of GMOs is not close to the same level as in the U.S.

We know that, in the United States, 90 plus percent of staple crops like corn are genetically modified, along with 94 percent of soybeans and 94 percent of cotton. A ban on GMOs in food production would radically change the entire food supply. In Russia, however, the country is much more poised for a GMO food revolution. [1]

As RT reports:

“According to official statistics the share of GMO in the Russian food industry has declined from 12 percent to just 0.01 percent over the past 10 years, and currently there are just 57 registered food products containing GMO in the country. The law ordering obligatory state registration of GMO products that might contact with the environment will come into force in mid-2017.”

President Vladimir Putin believes that he can keep GMOs out of the country, even while staying in compliance with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) commandments. In a past meeting addressing the members of the Board of the Russian Federation Council he stated:

“We need to properly construct our work so that it is not contrary to our obligations under the WTO. But even with this in mind, we nevertheless have legitimate methods and instruments to protect our own market, and above all citizens.”