According to a report published yesterday by the London-based European Leadership Network think tank (ELN), there have been at least 40 “near misses” in which the Russian military and NATO forces, sent to Eastern Europe following last February’s far-right, NATO-backed putsch in Kiev, came close to military conflict.

The ELN writes that NATO-Russian relations since March 2014, have been in “a situation in which mistrust, fear, and shortened leadership decision times characterize a volatile stand-off between a nuclear-armed state and a nuclear-armed alliance.” The report continues: “To perpetuate that reality in the circumstances described in this report is risky at best. At worst, it could prove catastrophic.”

The ELN is comprised of top-level security officials from a number of European imperialist countries. Its board includes Munich Security Conference Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, former Defense Secretaries Des Browne and Malcolm Rifkind (UK), Volker Ruehe (Germany), and Alain Richard (France), and former UN Special Commissioner on Iraq Rolf Ekeus. In its report, it carefully selects the incidents it describes to falsely cast Russia as the aggressor.

Nonetheless, the reported incidents clearly illustrate the immense dangers posed to the survival of humanity by NATO’s reckless escalation in Eastern Europe in the aftermath of the US-led NATO regime-change operation in Ukraine.

Armies worldwide are on a hair trigger, with NATO jets patrolling the skies of the Baltic republics and other Eastern European states as little as a quarter hour’s flight time from Russian cities. Minor miscommunications between Russian forces and the NATO troops, fighter jets and warships flooding into Eastern Europe—or deployed in North America and the Pacific, where other “near misses” occurred—could rapidly escalate into a global nuclear conflagration.

One so-called “high-risk” incident occurred on September 5, two days after US President Barack Obama visited Estonia to assure it of Washington’s “eternal support” against Russia. “On 5 September 2014, an Estonian security service operative, Eston Kohver, was abducted by Russian agents from an Estonian border post. He was later taken to Moscow and accused of espionage,” the ELN writes. “Had the incident resulted in loss of life, there could have been a dangerous and uncontrolled escalation.”

As with most of the incidents the ELN reports, this event shows that the main war danger comes from NATO’s aggressive policies. Estonia is a tiny, non-nuclear Baltic country of 1.3 million people near the Russian city of St. Petersburg. It would use diplomatic channels to resolve the matter and not risk military escalation against Russia, if it were not receiving encouragement and strong assurances of support against Russia, including direct military support, from NATO and the United States.

Another “high-risk” incident was Sweden’s bellicose but fruitless hunt for a Russian submarine it believed to be in its territorial waters between October 17 and October 27. “Supreme Commander General Sverker Goranson underlined that Sweden was ready to use ‘armed force’ to bring the vessel to the surface if necessary,” the ELN writes. “Had the submarine been found and force used by Swedish authorities, this may have resulted in casualties and a further Russian military response.”

The last “high-risk” incident was the near-collision on March 3 of an SAS passenger plane and a Russian reconnaissance aircraft that was not transmitting its position to civilian air authorities. According to the ELN, a collision leading to passenger deaths would have led NATO to classify “further un-logged or blind air activity over Europe as a possible threat to life requiring forceful pre-emptive interdiction.”

That is, NATO would adopt the incendiary policy of tracking and destroying all unidentified flying objects in European air space—rapidly risking war with Russia.

The conflicts and the danger of nuclear war raised in this report underscore the catastrophic implications of the crisis of world capitalism. A quarter century after the fall of the Berlin Wall, followed by the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union and the restoration of capitalism, a new world war is being prepared as the imperialist powers manipulate ethnic divisions within the former USSR to encircle and divide Russia.

The central danger to the working class is the aggressive policy of the NATO powers, led by the United States and Germany. They backed a putsch in Kiev spearheaded by forces of the Ukrainian fascist Right Sector militia. They then seized upon the resulting civil war that broke out between the far-right Kiev regime and ethnic Russian areas in eastern Ukraine to denounce Russia and dispatch military forces to Poland, the Baltic republics, the Black Sea region and Ukraine itself.

This offensive was justified in the NATO countries with lying claims that the US-led military alliance was intervening to support freedom. The risk of nuclear war resulting from the offensive against Russia was concealed from working people in America and Europe.

Recognizing the central role of NATO aggression in the Ukraine crisis does not imply support for reckless policies the Kremlin might employ as it tries to work out a new modus vivendi with Western imperialism. Representing a layer of super-rich oligarchs that emerged from the looting of public property in the Soviet Union, the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin can make no appeal to opposition to war in the global working class.

Its Russian nationalist appeals are reactionary. They aid the imperialists in their efforts to stir up divisions between Russian and Ukrainian workers and within the international working class more generally.

Significantly, the ELN avoids mentioning nuclear weapons in the incidents it describes. However, both NATO and Russia are preparing their nuclear forces.

Washington has never issued a so-called “no-first-use” pledge, i.e., a guarantee that it will not be the first power to use nuclear weapons in a conflict. Top Russian officers are pushing for the Kremlin to explicitly define scenarios in which they would launch nuclear strikes against NATO countries.

In May, Russian and US strategic nuclear forces carried out dueling exercises. According to Kremlin outlet Russia Today, the Russian drills “demonstrated how the missile corps, artillery, aviation, and anti-aircraft defenses can be used—for instance, to destroy troops on the ground or to counter massive missile, aviation, or nuclear strikes by an enemy. Plus, it was shown how to inflict a launch-through-attack strike with nuclear missiles”—that is, a retaliatory Russian nuclear strike carried out as a NATO nuclear attack on Russia took place.

In September, as Russia carried out a further round of nuclear exercises, Russian General Yury Yakubov told Interfax: “In my view, our primary enemy is the US and the North Atlantic bloc … it is necessary to hash out the conditions under which Russia could carry out a preemptive strike with the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces.”

The ELN does report the following incident:

“In early September 2014, Russian strategic bombers in the Labrador Sea near Canada practiced cruise missile strikes on the United States. The Russian aircraft stayed outside of Canada’s ADIZ, but this was still a provocative move in light of the NATO summit ongoing at the time. Cruise missiles launched from the Labrador Sea would have Ottawa, New York, Washington, Chicago, and the Norfolk Naval Base in range.”

The cruise missiles the Russian bombers could fire at these cities could be armed with nuclear warheads.

Prior to the ELN report, this event was reported only in a Washington Free Beacon article by journalist Bill Gertz. Otherwise, this event—which illustrates all too clearly the risks posed by US policy in Ukraine—was totally blacked out by the US media.

Let me authoritatively clarify the concerns raised by the Catholic Bishops on the just concluded tetanus vaccination by sharing extracts from the official position of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association as below; feel free to share the article:

Tetanus is an incurable disease that infects the body through broken skin or wounds. The umbilical cord stamp of newborn babies is a possible entry point and makes them especially susceptible. It is best prevented through immunization with the tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccine.

We would like to assure the public that the normal vaccines available in both public and faith based organization in this country are clean. Generally speaking, the faith based medical facilities give the same if not more vaccinations than public institutions.

Our concern and the subject of this discussion is the WHO/UNICEF sponsored tetanus immunization campaign launched last year in October ostensibly to eradicate neonatal tetanus. It is targeted at girls and women between the ages of 14 – 49 (child bearing age) and in 60 specific districts spread all around the country. The tetanus vaccine being used in this campaign has been imported into the country specifically for this purpose and bears a different batch number from the regular TT. So far, 3 doses have been given – the first in October 2013, the second in March 2014 and the third in October 2014. It is highly possible that there are two more doses to go.

Giving five doses of tetanus vaccination every 6 months is not usual or the recommended regime for tetanus vaccination. The only time tetanus vaccine has been given in five doses is when it is used as a carrier in fertility regulating vaccines laced with the pregnancy hormone – Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) developed by WHO in 1992.

When tetanus is laced with HCG and administered in five doses every 6 months, the woman develops antibodies against both the tetanus and the HCG in 2 – 3 years after the last injection. Once a mother develops antibodies against HCG, she rejects any pregnancy as soon as it starts growing in her womb thus causing repeated abortions and subsequent sterility.

WHO conducted massive vaccinations campaigns using the tetanus vaccine laced with HCG in Mexico in 1993 and Nicaragua and Philippines in 1994 ostensibly to eradicate neonatal tetanus. The campaign targeted women aged 14 – 49 years and each received a total of 5 injections.

What is downright immoral and evil is that the tetanus laced with HCG was given as a fertility regulating vaccine without disclosing its ‘contraceptive effect’ to the girls and the mothers. As far as they were concerned, they had gone for an innocent injection to prevent neonatal tetanus!

Considering the similarity of the WHO tetanus vaccination exercise in South American with the Kenyan camping and with the background knowledge of WHO’s underhand population control initiatives, the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association brought the matter to the attention of the Bishops and together sort audience with the Ministry of Health with only one request; that the tetanus vaccine being used in this campaign be tested to ensure it was not laced with HCG before the 2nd round of immunizations in March. The Ministry of Health declined to have the vaccine tested.

With great difficulty, the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association managed to access the tetanus vaccine used during the WHO immunization campaign in March 2014 and subjected them to testing. The unfortunate truth is that the vaccine was laced with HCG. This proved right our worst fears; that this WHO campaign is not about eradicating neonatal tetanus but a well-coordinated forceful population control mass sterilization exercise using a proven fertility regulating vaccine. This evidence was presented to the Ministry of Health before the third round of immunization but was ignored.

When challenged in South America in the early 1990’s about the tetanus vaccine used in their camping being laced with HCG, WHO brushed off the claims as unfounded and asked for proof. When proof was provided by the Catholic based bodies in those countries, WHO claimed that the other components of the vaccine production process may have caused false positive results. When pushed further, they accepted that a few vaccines may have been contaminated with HCG during the production process. However, HCG is not a component nor is it used in the production of any vaccine let alone tetanus! It was only after antibodies against HCG were demonstrated in the women who were immunized with the laced tetanus vaccine that the matter was sealed. The immunized women have suffered multiple abortions and some have remained sterile. Do we have to wait until this point before action is taken?

Though the Bishops are medically lay people, they have technical advisory teams of competent specialists from every discipline, including medicine. These teams are both local and international as the Catholic Church is global. The Catholic based and run health institutions form the largest private health network in the country and have been rendering medical services to Kenyans for over 100 years! Thus, when the Bishops speak on topical issue like the tetanus vaccination, they are talking from a point of knowledge and authority. It would be foolhardy to disregard their advice.

We have performed our moral and civic duty of speaking the truth and alerting the government and the people of Kenya. It is now up to each individual Kenyan to make an informed choice.

Kindly google “Fertility regulating vaccines”and “Are New Vaccines Laced With Birth-Control Drugs?” for further insight.”

-Dr Wahome Ngare, Gynaecologist and Obstetrician

For and on behalf of the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association.

Shared by Dr. Robert Walley, Executive Director of MaterCare InternationalContact: Dr. Robert Walley will be in Kenya until Nov 11 and is available for interview at ph: (254) 0727373690.

Israel’s economy minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-wing party “The Jewish Home”, published an article in the New York Times in which he buried the concept of a “two-state solution” as a way out of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Bennett does not belong to the radical Zionist fringe. Although he is an advocate of extremist colonial Zionist ideas, he is considered to be the successor of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. In his Op-ED, Bennett has made a mockery of the policy of the last 20 years, which was connected to the Oslo Accords and the two-state solution. His words won’t bear fruit right now, but they might be in the future.

The threat scenario, which Bennett forecasts for Israel, seems to be the consequence of the behavior of Israel as an occupying power: the strangulation of the Palestinian people for the last 47 years, the 18 year-long occupation of Southern Lebanon, the arbitrary bombardments of its neighboring countries, and the killing of thousands of Palestinian people. If Israel would pull out of the occupied West Bank, not only Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport and its Stock Exchange but also the old-City of Jerusalem could come under rocket attacks, writes Bennett.

In support of his reasoning he adduces three examples: The Oslo Agreement and the pull-out from some West bank cities under Yitzhak Rabin, the head-over-head-withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000 by the Barak government, and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 under Ariel Sharon. According to Bennett, all ended up in more terror attacks against Israel.

As a favor for the Palestinians, he proposes the annexation of over 61 per cent of the West Bank (Area C in which only 6 percent of the Palestinians live), and on the top of it, he proposes to grant to them citizenship rights in Israel. However, this “gift” does not mean a thing, as Israeli Palestinians know. After 66 years, they are still treated as second class citizens in Israel. Observing how the Zionist majority treated Azmi Bishara and treats Hanin Zoabi, a former and a current member of the Israeli Knesset, should be a warning signal for the proposed “new” Palestinian “citizens” in Israel.

In the last couple of years, Palestinian and anti-Zionist Israeli and Jewish activists all over the world have been calling for a “one-State solution” in order to solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict. They picked up old bi-national ideas discussed during the British Mandate period that lasted until 1948. At the 12th Zionist Congress of 1921, the representative of a “spiritual” version of Zionism, the German philosopher Martin Buber, proposed a resolution that urged Jews to reject “the methods of nationalistic domination, under which they themselves have long suffered”, and to reject any desire “to suppress another people or to dominate them”, since in Palestine “there is room both for us and its present inhabitants”. The resolution further asked for “a just alliance with the Arab peoples” in order to turn the future “dwelling-place into a community that will flourish economically and culturally, and whose progress would bring each of these peoples unhampered independent development”. The difference between Buber’s proposed resolution and the finally accepted one by the Zionist Congress seemed, at first sighed, minor, but Buber did not condition agreement with Arabs on acceptance of the Balfour Declaration. That official Zionist position was a non-starter. No Arab official could have accepted the Declaration because it privileged the Jewish minority in Palestine over the Arab majority. With the establishment of the State of Israel these reasonable voices fell silent. At the end, political Zionism prevailed and became Israel’s dominant ideology.

Predominantly, radical Zionists dominate public opinion not only in Israel but also in the USA and increasingly in Germany. The strength of the forces behind Bennett and the Netanyahu government is demonstrated by the casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and media mogul Haim Saban. Both belong to the so-called Zionist mainstream. And their political ideas are chilling. If the “Two -State Solution” fails, it would make Israel an “Apartheid-State.” For Adelson this would not represent a problem: “So Israel won’t be a democratic state, so what?” At least, Haim Saban wants to secure “the future of a democratic Israel”. For Adelson, these ideas would be “committing demographic suicide”. Saban offered a charming alternative to President Obama’s negotiation efforts to reach a fair agreement with Iran. He “would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches”. And Netanyahu would perhaps left “screwed”.

For the Palestinian leadership, time appears to run out. President Mahmoud Abbas has to spend all his skills to push for the recognition of Palestine within the EU. He must finally make a motion to the United Nations to admit the State of Palestine as a member, despite the warning of the US that it would hurt the peace process that has been moribund for the last 20 years. The political haggling had been intended to lull the West and to deceive the public about Israel’s expansionist goals.

Bennett’s article and the reprehensible views of leading Zionist billionaires in the US, not to forget Netanyahu’s political obsession with Iran, should be a wake-up call for Western politicians and diplomats. To save their two-state solution, they have to recognize the State of Palestine right now. If they fail again, as they have been doing during the last 20 years, the one-state solution will be the only alternative. The one-state solution in the offing has nothing to do with a bi-national state or a state for all its citizens. It would be a one-state solution based on discrimination, an Israeli version of apartheid.

Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual blog, “Between The Lines.” http://between-the-lines-ludwig-watzal.blogspot.de/

Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.—Simone Weil, French philosopher and political activist

It’s no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years’ jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public.

Both cases fall under the umbrella of overcriminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal and everyone becomes a lawbreaker. As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this is what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.

John Yates, a commercial fisherman, was written up in 2007 by a state fish and wildlife officer who noticed that among Yates’ haul of red grouper, 72 were apparently under the 20-inch legal minimum. Yates, ordered to bring the fish to shore as evidence of his violation of the federal statute on undersized catches, returned to shore with only 69 grouper in the crate designated for evidence. A crew member later confessed that, on orders from Yates, the crew had thrown the undersized grouper overboard and replaced them with larger fish. Unfortunately, they were three fish short. Sensing a bait-and-switch, prosecutors refused to let Yates off the hook quite so easily. Unfortunately, in prosecuting him for the undersized fish under a law aimed at financial crimes, government officials opened up a can of worms.

Arnold Abbott, 90 years old and the founder of a nonprofit that feeds the homeless, is facing a fine of $1000 and up to four months in jail for violating a city ordinance that makes it a crime to feed the homeless in public. Under the city’s ordinance, clearly aimed at discouraging the feeding of the homeless in public, organizations seeking to do so must provide portable toilets, be 500 feet away from each other, 500 feet from residential properties, and are limited to having only one group carry out such a function per city block.  Abbott has been feeding the homeless on a public beach in Ft. Lauderdale every Wednesday evening for the past 23 years. On November 2, 2014, moments after handing out his third meal of the day, police reportedly approached the nonagenarian and ordered him to “‘drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” recalls Abbott. Abbott was arrested and fined. Three days later, Abbott was at it again, and arrested again.

That both of these incidents occurred in Florida is no coincidence. Remember, this is the state that arrested Nicole Gainey for letting her 7-year-old son walk to the park alone, even though it was just a few blocks from their house. If convicted, Gainey could have been made to serve up to five years in jail.

This is also the state that a few years back authorized police raids on barber shops in minority communities, resulting in barbers being handcuffed in front of customers, and their shops searched without warrants. All of this was purportedly done in an effort to make sure that the barbers’ licensing paperwork was up to snuff.

As if criminalizing fishing, charity, parenting decisions, and haircuts wasn’t bad enough, you could also find yourself passing time in a Florida slammer for such inane activities as singing in a public place while wearing a swimsuit, breaking more than three dishes per day, farting in a public place after 6 pm on a Thursday, and skateboarding without a license.

Despite its pristine beaches and balmy temperatures, Florida is no less immune to the problems plaguing the rest of the nation in terms of overcriminalization, incarceration rates, bureaucracy, corruption, and police misconduct. In fact, the Sunshine State has become a poster child for how a seemingly idyllic place can be transformed into a police state with very little effort. As such, it is representative of what is happening in every state across the nation, where a steady diet of bread and circuses has given rise to an oblivious, inactive citizenry content to be ruled over by an inflexible and highly bureaucratic regime.

This transformation of the United States from being a beacon of freedom to a locked down nation illustrates perfectly what songwriter Joni Mitchell was referring to when she wrote:

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Only in our case, sold on the idea that safety, security and material comforts are preferable to freedom, we’ve allowed the government to pave over the Constitution in order to erect a concentration camp. The problem with these devil’s bargains, however, is that there is always a catch, always a price to pay for whatever it is we valued so highly as to barter away our most precious possessions.

We’ve bartered away our right to self-governance, self-defense, privacy, autonomy and that most important right of all—the right to tell the government to “leave me the hell alone.” In exchange for the promise of safe streets, safe schools, blight-free neighborhoods, lower taxes, lower crime rates, and readily accessible technology, health care, water, food and power, we’ve opened the door to militarized police, government surveillance, asset forfeiture, school zero tolerance policies, license plate readers, red light cameras, SWAT team raids, health care mandates, overcriminalization and government corruption.

In the end, such bargains always turn sour.

We asked our lawmakers to be tough on crime, and we’ve been saddled with an abundance of laws that criminalize almost every aspect of our lives. So far, we’re up to 4500 criminal laws and 300,000 criminal regulations that result in average Americans unknowingly engaging in criminal acts at least three times a day. For instance, the family of an 11-year-old girl was issued a $535 fine for violating the Federal Migratory Bird Act after the young girl rescued a baby woodpecker from predatory cats.

We wanted criminals taken off the streets, and we didn’t want to have to pay for their incarceration. What we’ve gotten is a nation that boasts the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 2.3 million people locked up, many of them doing time for relatively minor, nonviolent crimes, and a private prison industry fueling the drive for more inmates, who are forced to provide corporations with cheap labor. A special report by CNBC breaks down the national numbers:

One out of 100 American adults is behind bars — while a stunning one out of 32 is on probation, parole or in prison. This reliance on mass incarceration has created a thriving prison economy. The states and the federal government spend about $74 billion a year on corrections, and nearly 800,000 people work in the industry.

We wanted law enforcement agencies to have the necessary resources to fight the nation’s wars on terror, crime and drugs. What we got instead were militarized police decked out with M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers, battle tanks and hollow point bullets—gear designed for the battlefield, more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year (many for routine police tasks, resulting in losses of life and property), and profit-driven schemes that add to the government’s largesse such as asset forfeiture, where police seize property from “suspected criminals.”

Justice Department figures indicate that as much as $4.3 billion was seized in asset forfeiture cases in 2012, with the profits split between federal agencies and local police. According to the Washington Post, these funds have been used to buy guns, armored cars, electronic surveillance gear, “luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.” Police seminars advise officers to use their “department wish list when deciding which assets to seize” and, in particular, go after flat screen TVs, cash and nice cars. In Florida, where police are no strangers to asset forfeiture, Florida police have been carrying out “reverse” sting operations, where they pose as drug dealers to lure buyers with promises of cheap cocaine, then bust them, and seize their cash and cars. Over the course of a year, police in one small Florida town seized close to $6 million using these entrapment schemes.

We fell for the government’s promise of safer roads, only to find ourselves caught in a tangle of profit-driven red light cameras, which ticket unsuspecting drivers in the so-called name of road safety while ostensibly fattening the coffers of local and state governments. Despite widespread public opposition, corruption and systemic malfunctions, these cameras—used in 24 states and Washington, DC—are particularly popular with municipalities, which look to them as an easy means of extra cash. One small Florida town, population 8,000, generates a million dollars a year in fines from these cameras. Building on the profit-incentive schemes, the cameras’ manufacturers are also pushing speed cameras and school bus cameras, both of which result in heft fines for violators who speed or try to go around school buses.

This is just a small sampling of the many ways in which the American people continue to get duped, deceived, double-crossed, cheated, lied to, swindled and conned into believing that the government and its army of bureaucrats—the people we appointed to safeguard our freedoms—actually have our best interests at heart.

Yet when all is said and done, who is really to blame when the wool gets pulled over your eyes: you, for believing the con man, or the con man for being true to his nature?

It’s time for a bracing dose of reality, America. Wake up and take a good, hard look around you, and ask yourself if the gussied-up version of America being sold to you—crime free, worry free and devoid of responsibility—is really worth the ticket price: nothing less than your freedoms.

This is the headline of the internet site “dprogram.net”, reflecting on RT reporting on 31 October,

“The Swiss Army is preparing contingency plans for violent unrest across Europe. A nation mostly famous for its banks, watches and chocolate fears it may face a massive influx of European refugees in the near future.” 

It doesn’t come as a surprise. Switzerland has a history of xenophobia, even though it has one of the most generous policies for political refugees in the world. About 22% of its 8.1 million legally registered population consists of foreigners, not including the thousands of UN functionaries living in and around Geneva.

So – why this rather negative reputation about ‘fear of immigrants’?  - The right wing of this center-right governed country makes a lot of anti-foreigner noise. They have the majority in Parliament and they have a lot of money – the financial sector and big industry. Largely thanks to their propaganda, but as an apparent surprise to the Federal Government, the Swiss have voted in a referendum in February 2014 to limit the number of foreigners that are allowed to enter Switzerland. This completely contradicts the rules of the EU – of which Switzerland is not a member, but it has a large number of bilateral agreements with EU member countries, almost equaling EU membership. As a consequence, Helvetia has to adhere to most of the EU rules. And the free (unlimited) movement of people across EU borders is one of them.

Especially the financial sectors and big industry need to import foreigners. Of course, not hamburger flippers – those they want to keep out – but highly qualified professionals and researchers, for which they would like having an open door.

The Swiss Government is now struggling to find ways on how to accommodate their EU interests – huge business interests to be associated with the EU – and at the same time to follow the decision of the people. It will not be easy. Brussels is not ready for compromises.

Add to this the just exploded scandal of the Luxembourg tax haven – the brain child of Jean-Claude Juncker, the current EU Commissioner and former PM of Luxembourg, who is now supposed to fight tax havens in Europe. The Luxembourg corporate average tax rate is 29%. Yet many international corporations have negotiated – under Juncker – a tax rate below 1%.

Swiss corporations, mostly but not exclusively from the financial sectors, i.e. large banks and transnational insurers, are among the big Swiss tax evaders who establish profit centers in Luxembourg.

On the other hand, Switzerland offers international corporations and rich foreign individuals quite similar incentives as does Luxembourg. For once, with a large fiscal autonomy, many Swiss cantons literally compete with each other with low-low tax rates to attract foreign corporations. On the other hand, most Swiss cantons offer rich to dirty-rich foreign individuals Swiss residency against a negotiated flat tax rate, way below what they would have to pay in their home country. One of Russia’s oligarchs, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos Oil, who was behind bars for tax evasion and corruption, was pardoned by Vladimir Putin in December 2013. Soon after his release from Russian prison, he settled in Switzerland under a negotiated flat tax agreement.

There are hundreds if not thousands of super-rich foreigners living in Switzerland under negotiated tax rates, while ordinary, especially middle class Swiss citizens are imposed rather hefty tax rates, when compared to the extremely low fiscal dues for corporations and rich foreigners.

How does that enter into the contingency plans of Switzerland against violent unrest across Europe? – Simple.

Until recently most Swiss were oblivious to these double standards. Silence on the subject by the MSM obliges. Lately, however, there is a gradual awakening. Uneasiness among the Swiss citizenry is rising. – Discontent about unequal treatment, continuous banking scandals, tax evasion of the big shots, huge, disproportionate boni paid to corporate top managers is gradually getting under the skin of the Swiss. A public referendum to abolish countrywide the negotiated flat tax on super-rich foreigners will come to a vote by end November 2014.

Indeed, unrest within Switzerland is in the wings, if the government keeps ignoring the concerns of the average citizen. Unemployment in Helvetia is still low with 3.1% (October 2014) – which is a general pacifier. Yet, there is a sense of uncertainty about the future among Swiss citizens. They look around themselves in Europe and the rest of the world and see crisis after crisis and rightly suspect that their paradise may not be a safe haven forever.

The so-called financial or Euro crisis, especially in the southern European states is not getting better. Instead, it takes on an air of ‘permanence’. It’s just that the MSM (mainstream media) doesn’t talk about it anymore. But street protests – not always non-violent – in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, are becoming common place.

The continuity of this crisis – of course, constantly fueled by the likes of the troika – FED, ECB and IMF – may indeed lead to a disintegration of Europe, and disintegration within individual Eurozone nations themselves – which in turn could mean a deluge of refugees into ‘safe haven’ Switzerland.

Perhaps that’s what the Swiss Defense Minister, Ueli Maurer, meant when he said - “I will not rule out that we will need the army in the coming years.”

However, maybe Mr. Maurer’s foresight went beyond what meets the eye. He could well have seen the deliberate effort of the western powers, Washington and its European minions,  to destabilize Europe financially and politically to the point where US and NATO interference will become a must, from the Washington perspective that is – and Europe as such is no longer a potentially interesting partner for the East, Russia and China – but instead, will be ready to be salvaged Washington style.

Just look at the latest financial manipulation by the European Central Bank (ECB), inspired, of course, by Wall Street and the FED – ECB’s setting up of the new watchdog, the Single Supervisory Mechanism – SSM, designed to control the Eurozone banking system, beyond the sovereignty of the banks and the nations they primarily serve. SSM, i.e. ECB, will make the future rules for the European banking system.

The SSM went into effect on 4 November 2014 – and if the Euro nations go along with it – which looks likely – then there will be no return, meaning, the ECB will have economic and financial control of the Eurozone’s banking activities – imposing ‘sanctions’ if necessary. For example, if Eurozone banks sway towards trading with the forbidden eastern alliance, Russia and China. ECB / SSM can make or break a bank at will, if it does not behave.

At the same time we are witnessing a stocking up of NATO armament and personnel all through Europe at the request of the northern European NATO alliance, echoed as a necessity in the face of Russia’s aggressions in Ukraine… by the new Chief of NATO, the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg, the new Washington Cold Warrior mouthpiece. As a parallel gesture, he asks the European NATO members to increase their financial contribution to NATO.

All of this will not bode well with the people of Europe. They are never asked how much they want to spend on defense, for example, vs. health or education, nor are they asked how the European financial system should be organized, how the banks should be monitored, so as to protect their savings and investments. They are just assumed to go along – as they have done so far. But there is an end of patience in sight.

Mr. Maurer, Swiss Defense Minister, not a great friend of Washington’s hegemonic games, sitting on top of the Swiss power pyramid, may have just foreseen coming turmoil in Europe – or may have access to intelligence which most of us are not privy to.

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

Russia has called on Ukraine to stick to the Minsk peace process and disproved claims that Russia is deploying additional troops on the border. Kiev has again accused Russia of invading Ukraine, but has not produced any proof.

The calls from Russia come as tension is rising in eastern Ukraine, and rebels say Kiev is preparing to break the ceasefire and resume hostilities.

Amid the threat of escalation, Russia is calling for a new round of talks in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

“We call for the Minsk process to continue and for a new gathering of the contact group,” Russian presidential adviser Yury Ushakov said Friday.

Negotiations in Minsk managed to produce a shaky ceasefire in early September, which has mostly held until now. They didn’t stop the violence altogether, as some flare-ups occurred on the border between areas controlled by Kiev loyalists and rebel forces, such as the fighting over the ruins of Donetsk international airport. But the violence was reduced.

The calls come after Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called this week to abandon the Minsk talks altogether and go back to the Geneva negotiations format from April. Unlike the Kiev talks, the talks in Geneva did not include representatives of the rebel forces.

“Sitting [down] with them for bilateral negotiations is useless,” Yatsenyuk said. “One of the most efficient and real formats is the Geneva format, which included the participation of the US, the EU, Ukraine and our geographically northern neighbor.” 

 

(L-R) Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko pose for a family photo during their meeting in Minsk, August 26, 2014 (Reuters / Grigory Dukor)

(L-R) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko and Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko pose for a family photo during their meeting in Minsk, August 26, 2014 (Reuters / Grigory Dukor)

The “northern neighbor,” as the Ukrainian PM referred to Russia, argued that the agreement that the Geneva format produced in April failed to stop the violence, because Ukraine never even started to implement the accord and instead of the political reform the agreement called for, sent its troops to shell rebel cities.

The exchange comes as amid expectations of a possible resumption of hostilities in Eastern Ukraine. Rebels reported a large build-up of Ukrainian troops near the separation line and said they expected a massive attack at any time. Kiev said the allegations were lies.

The rebels have good reasons to suspect foul play from Kiev, considering that a number of high-ranking Ukrainian officials have stated that use of force in the east was needed. The latest statement came Thursday from Markiyan Lubkivskiy, an aide to the head of Ukraine’s Security Service.

“I believe that sooner or later we will have to start very active actions,” he said on Shuster Live, Ukraine’s main TV talk show on politics.

Earlier, Yury Lutsenko, an aide to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, said Kiev’s interest in the ceasefire was to win time to regroup its troops.

“We need to maintain the ceasefire as long as we can to get our precise instruments, to get military and financial aid from the West,” he said last month. “We are the ones benefiting from the ceasefire and peace.”

 

Ukrainian servicemen ride on armoured vehicles near Slaviansk (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

Ukrainian servicemen ride on armoured vehicles near Slaviansk (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

Accusations of an escalation of tensions have also come this week from Kiev. On Friday a spokesman for the anti-rebel campaign, Andrey Lysenko, claimed that Russia has sent 32 tanks, 16 howitzers, 30 trucks of ammunition and three trucks with radar equipment to rebel-held areas. He offered no evidence of his claim, however.

Kiev has also accused Russia of deploying additional troops along its border with Ukraine this week. The reports even prompted Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird to condemn Russia on Wednesday.

“We strongly condemn these provocative actions by Russia, and we believe this is further proof that the Kremlin only seeks to hamper the peace process in Ukraine,” Baird said in a statement.

This provoked a sarcastic response from the Russia Defense Ministry, which said the reports were not true and that Canada should address its concerns to those producing the rumors, rather than to Russia.

“All such provocative ‘reports’ aimed at further escalating the tension over the civil conflict in southeast Ukraine have a single source. The source is not Ukrainian, although it currently operates from one of the governmental buildings in Kiev,” the statement said, apparently alleging to the heavy presence of American personnel in the Ukrainian Security Service.

Tensions in Eastern Ukraine are also on the rise after the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics held elections last week.

Ukraine and its sponsors branded the ballot an irrelevant mockery and a violation of the Minsk agreement. Russia said it respected the choice of the people living in the breakaway regions, but stopped short of formally recognizing them, a move that Washington said would lead to further economic sanctions against Russia.

Image Credits: Army.mil

In an article for popular law enforcement website PoliceOne.com, Officer Steve Rabinovich writes that the controversial use of militarized vehicles in domestic law enforcement situations is necessary to deal with the threat posed by “anti-government groups.”

Rabinovich boasts an impressive list of credentials, with his assignments including Emergency Response Team, Crisis Intervention, ERU, Mounted and dignitary details. Rabinovich also teaches other police and emergency medical responders at his state’s technical college system.

Acknowledging that law enforcement bodies have received “criticisms from their communities” for utilizing the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program to acquire militarized vehicles previously used to hunt insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rabinovich cites domestic terrorism and “a steady increase in deadly and violent assaults on cops” as good reasons for police departments acquiring MRAPs and other military gear.

Rabinovich also points to “violent anti-government groups and individuals” who are “targeting cops as scapegoats” as another factor that justifies the use of militarized vehicles.

At no point does Rabinovich cite any actual studies showing violence against cops is on the increase, nor does he provide an example of any “anti-government group” that has launched a violent attack on police officers.

“The American law enforcement officer is expected to be able to work problems ranging from a traffic stop, noise complaint, or a domestic, to a terrorist act, mass murderer, or natural disaster. While your local town may or may not respond to terrorists planting explosives during a mass gathering event, a barricaded gunman or hostage situation is quite plausible scenario, and tools such as an MRAP will prove indispensable when that time comes,” writes Rabinovich.

“Police work isn’t becoming increasingly dangerous, even with the supposed corresponding uptick in “domestic and international terrorism,” points out the MassPrivateI blog. “Rabinovich must know this assertion won’t hold up because he adds the ridiculous claim that attacks on cops are ignored by much of the media or never reported at all. The exact opposite is the truth. In addition, the number of officers killed or wounded by civilians is a stat tracked by nearly every law enforcement agency. Civilians killed or wounded by police officers are stats tracked by amateurs, despite the fact that the DoJ has ordered these numbers to be reported annually — an order that has been mostly ignored for the last thirteen years.”

As we have exhaustively documented, many see the growing militarization of domestic police departments as a clear signal that law enforcement increasingly views the American people as a threat, with Indiana Police Sergeant Dan Downing admitting earlier this year that the increasing militarization of domestic police departments is partly to deal with returning veterans who are now seen as a homegrown terror threat.

During the height of the Ferguson unrest earlier this summer, MSNBC host Ed Schultz opined that such militarized equipment and vehicles was needed to deal with “anti-government” groups, while former Marine Paul Szoldra offered a different view, warning that scenes in Ferguson illustrated the “terrifying” result of the militarization of police, with the American people now being treated like insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Former Marine Corps Colonel Peter Martino, who was stationed in Fallujah and trained Iraqi soldiers,warned last year that the Department of Homeland Security is working with law enforcement to build a “domestic army,” because the federal government is afraid of its own citizens.

Martino was speaking at a council meeting concerning a decision to purchase a BearCat armored vehicle. The purchase of the vehicle was mired in controversy after the city’s Police Chief wrote in an application filing to the DHS that the vehicle was needed to deal with the “threat” posed by libertarians, sovereign citizen adherents, and Occupy activists in the region.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

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The Resumption of All Out War in Eastern Ukraine

November 11th, 2014 by Federico Pieraccini

The truce in Ukraine is at risk.

Last night Donetsk was subjected to hours-long artillery bombardment, the most intense in weeks.

Looking at the Ukrainian side, there are other signals their forces may launch a full-scale offensive.

The recent elections in Ukraine have created a very difficult political situation.

Political representation in the Rada is everything that foreign actors have been dreaming of since the onset of destabilization of Ukraine in Febuary.

The goal of filling the parliament with politicians who harbor radical ideas, and above all a strong anti-Russian sentiment has been achieved.

Essentially, these political groups are, directly or indirectly, related to the most extreme factions of nationalist Ukrainians such as the National Guard.

The information that has filtered out in recent months has made it possible to certify that these private battalions are financed by oligarchs close to foreign actors, especially in the US.

For these reasons, the fragile cease fire is holding less and less with each passing day. There have even been reports of Ukraine military vehicles operating in areas under rebel control.

In recent weeks it could be observed the Ukrainian forces in theater have increased their firepower, the number of vehicles at their disposal and strengthened the positions they occupy.

In the mean time, the National Guard, which draws the most of the worst war criminals and neo-Nazi fighters, has completed a training process for the men of its punitive battalions. The training took weeks, said the deputy head of the National Security Council Vladimir Polevoy: “The soldiers were trained according to the standards established and perfected the techniques of war,” - at a press conference in Kiev. He insisted the National Guard units, including those fighting in the south-east of Ukraine, would be composed of qualified men only.

In the current situation the main drivers toward renewed fighting are:

  • Political motivation
  • A diversion from the catastrophic economic situation
  • Foreign pressure toward the resumption of active conflict

Kiev’s strategy is unclear and it is difficult to predict future developments for the next few weeks. What is clear is that the most violent factions continue to push for a resumption of the conflict. More likely than not, the current situation will not hold for much longer.The so called winter-factor seems to be less relevant than originally thought. We will see if that is indeed the case, or if the period of “frozen conflict” will be a prelude to full-scale fighting in spring.

The G20 Leaders’ Summit will take place on 15 and 16 November in Brisbane, Australia. The Summit is expected to discuss a wide range of global policy issues and challenges from corruption to taxation to employment to financial regulation to growth strategies. It is expected that the Brisbane Action Plan, which would be discussed at the Summit, will outline an action plan which would be implemented by member-countries in the coming months.

Given the lackluster approach of member-countries towards implementing action plans adopted at previous summits, it remains to be seen how much of Brisbane agenda will be accomplished by them (individually and collectively) before the G20 Leaders meet for the next Summit in Turkey in 2015.

The Brisbane Summit offers an opportunity to civil society groups to renew the demand for a financial transaction tax (FTT). Not long ago, this issue was put on the table at Cannes Summit (2011) due to persistent campaigning by a range of international civil society groups. The Interim Report of the G-20 on Fair and Substantial Contribution by the Financial Sector (2010) had proposed a flat rate levy on all financial institutions and “financial activities tax” on profits and remuneration in order to pay for future financial clean-ups and reduce systemic risk. But the proposal got diluted at the G-20 meeting held at Busan (Korea) in June 2010, which called for implementation of the levy taking into account individual country’s circumstances and options.

Despite the strong resistance by many G20 member-countries against a FTT, civil society groups should not retreat from this key demand. Rather renewed efforts and mass campaigns should be launched in each member-country of G20 to influence political leaders to accept this demand.

Transaction Taxes Are Not New

Contrary to the popular perception, financial transaction taxes are not new. Many G20 countries had experimented with a wide range of transaction taxes in the past and some countries continue to levy such taxes today.

India, for instance, introduced a Securities Transaction Tax (STT) on the trading in the equity markets some 10 years ago with the twin objectives of raising additional tax revenue and maintaining market integrity. The STT has undergone modifications in tune with the market developments over the years but it is still being levied on listed securities on stock exchanges and in units of mutual funds. In 2013, India also introduced a Commodity Transaction Tax (CTT) of 0.01 percent on commodity futures contracts (e.g., gold, copper and oil) traded in the Indian markets.

The Policy Objectives

As I have argued elsewhere, the policy objectives for a FTT are essentially two-fold: to raise revenue; and to restore stability and integrity in the financial markets. According to estimates made by Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) in a report to the G20 on new sources of finance for development, a tax on financial transactions could generate about $50 billion from G20 member-countries. Some other estimates claim that a global financial transaction tax could generate as much as $250 billion if a wide range of transactions are included. The resources raised through FTT could be better utilized to support programs to fight hunger and poverty, and pay for climate mitigation and adaptation costs.

The Rationale

Apart from revenue potential, there are several other justifications for the adoption of a global transaction tax. Such a tax could facilitate the monitoring of international financial flows by providing a centralized database on such flows, which is the need of the hour. This could be particularly valuable to the poor and developing countries where large information gaps exist.

Unlike many other services, no value added tax (VAT) is imposed on financial transactions in many jurisdictions. By taxing diverse financial transactions, a strong message would be conveyed that private banks and financiers must share the costs of the global financial crisis.

Given the fact that majority of transactions carried out by speculators and high frequency traders are short-term and speculative, this tax can curb speculative tendencies that induce excessive volatility and fragility in the financial markets. While a small tax is unlikely to discourage long-term investors such as pension funds. The argument that the FTT would trigger a liquidity squeeze in financial markets lacks evidence. As argued by Avinash Persaud, “During calm times, when markets are already liquid, high-frequency traders are contrarian and support liquidity, but during times of crisis, they try to run ahead of the trend, draining liquidity just when it is needed most, as we saw with the Flash Crash on 6 May 2010. If a transaction tax limits high-frequency trading it may even provide a bonus in improving systemic resilience.”

Is a FTT Feasible?

Much of the criticism of the FTT is centered on the question of its practicability and technical feasibility. It is often argued that the imposition of such a tax is a difficult proposition since the volumes traded are too high. If the modern electronic system can enable large-scale financial transactions within and across borders, why can’t the same technology be used to collect taxes?

Critics also argue it is almost impossible to get all the countries to agree on a common global tax. Nevertheless, a beginning can be made with a few countries coming together on this issue even if a strong consensus across territories is not possible immediately. Europe can take the lead and introduce the FTT at the European level. The G20 member-countries could also impose such a tax unilaterally or collectively. An agreement among the leading financial centers could also contain the threat of relocation of financial activities to other places.

The Political Will

The issues raised by FTT are more political than technical. Its adoption requires strong political will, particularly among the G20 member-countries. The recent experience (for instance, money laundering related to drug trafficking) shows that international cooperation among countries is possible if there is a political will. A similar cooperative initiative is required to address myriad implementation issues related to FTT.

Another common criticism of FTT is related to evasion. All taxes (e.g., income tax and property tax), for that matter, are open to evasion but this is not sound enough reason for not having them. Concerted efforts should be made to check loopholes, as no policy measure can be foolproof.

While supporting the case for a global financial transaction tax, no one argues that all problems related to global financial markets would be resolved. In the present times, no single policy instrument alone can fix global finance. Nevertheless, such a tax could serve as a first step towards building international cooperation on global financial reforms. If it is used in conjunction with other policy instruments (for instance, capital controls), FTT does offer an attractive mechanism to reform the inherently unstable global financial markets.

Eight Charts Showing the Real State of the American Economy

November 11th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

Jim Rickards was interviewed recently by Money Morning, and he presented 8 must-see charts …

1. Bang for the Buck

The bang for buck has plunged in terms of how much stimulus federal spending has on the economy … going from $2.41 per dollar spent in the 1950s and 60s to 3 cents per dollar now:

Of course, the government has been spending money on the wrong things … which don’t really stimulate the economy.

2. Money Velocity

The velocity of money is collapsing as fast as during the late 1920s … right before the start of the Great Depression (due to bad Federal Reserve policy):

3. Misery Index

The “Misery Index” – unemployment plus inflation – is worse than it was in the late 1970s:

4. Misery Index – Part 2

And worse than it was during the Great Depression:

5. Balance Sheet Leverage

The Fed’s balance sheet has exploded … and the Fed’s debt-to-capital leverage ratio has grown from 22-2 to 77-1:

6. Bank Debt Versus GDP

Bank debt is skyrocketing also, and is now growing 30 times faster than the economy (which is important since excessive private debt causes depressions):

7. Stocks Versus GDP

Stocks are now more than twice as overvalued – in terms of stock market capitalization versus GDP – as they were right before the Great Depression:

8. Dollar As Percent of Global Currency Reserves

And the dollar is declining rapidly as a share of global currency reserves:

A war is being fought for control over Western Kurdistan and the northern areas of Syria, including three de facto Kurdish enclaves there. The fighting in Western Kurdistan is a means to an end and not a goal in itself. The objectives of gaining control over Syrian Kurdistan and northern Syria are critical to gaining control over the rest of the Syrian Arab Republic and entail US-supported regime change in Damascus.

Western Kurdistan is alternatively called Rojava in Kurmanji, the dialect of the Kurdish language that is used locally there and spoken by the majority of the Kurds living in Turkey. The word Rojava comes from the Kurdish root word roj, which means both sun and day, and literally means «sunset» («the sun’s end») or the «end of the day» («the day’s end») in Kurmanji and not the word «west». The confusion over its meaning arises for two main reasons. The first is that in the Sorani or Central dialect of the Kurdish language the word roj is only used to refer to the day. The second is that Rojava connotes or suggests the direction of the west, where the sun is seen to set when the day ends.

The Siege on Ayn Al-Arab or Kobani

Despite the fact that neither the Syrian military nor the Syrian government controls most of Syrian Kurdistan and that a significant amount of the locals there have declared themselves neutral, the forces of the Free Syrian Army, Al-Nusra, and the ISIL (DAISH) have launched a multiparty war on Rojava’s mosaic of inhabitants. It has only been in late-2014 that this war on Western Kurdistan has gained international attention as the Syrian Kurds in Aleppo Governorate’s northeastern district (mintaqah) of Ayn Al-Arab (Ain Al-Arab) became surrounded by the ISIL in late-September and early-October. As this happened, the behaviour of the US and its allies, specifically the neo-Ottomanist Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, exposed their true objectives in Rojava and Syria. By the time that the Syrian Kurds in northeastern Aleppo Governorate were being encircled by the ISIL, it was clear that Washington and its counterfeit anti-ISIL coalition were actually using the ISIL outbreak to redraw the strategic and ethno-confessional maps of Syria and Iraq. Many of the Syrian Kurds think that the goal is to force them eastward into Iraqi Kurdistan and to surrender to Turkish domination.

Fears of another exodus in Syria—similar to the one that was felt when Turkey assisted Jubhat Al-Nusra’s violent takeover of the mostly ethnic Armenian town of Kasab (Kessab) in Latakia Governorate in March 2014—began to materialize. Nearly 200,000 Syrians—Kurds, Turkoman, Assyrians, Armenians, and Arabs—fled across the Syrian-Turkish border. By October 9, one-third of Ayn Al-Arab had fallen to the pseudo-caliphate.

The Stances of the US over Kobani Exposes Washington’s Objectives

Washington’s stance on Ayn Al-Arab or Kobani was very revealing of where it really stood in regards to the battle over control of the Syrian border city. Instead of preventing the fall of Kobani and supporting the local defenders which were doing the heavy fighting on the ground against the ISIL and containing its pseudo-caliphate, Washington did not move.  The US position on Kobani is an important indicator that the US war initiated against the ISIL has been mere bravado and a fictitious public relations stunt aimed at hiding the real objective of getting a strategic foothold inside Syrian territory.

When the ISIL attacked the forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi Kurdistan in August 2014, the US acted quickly to help the KRG’s forces. In July, a month after the June capture of the Iraqi city of Mosul by the ISIL, which coincided with the military takeover of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk by the KRG, the ISIL began its siege of Kobani in Rojava. Up until October, the US just watched.

Even more revealing, the Pentagon announced on October 8 that the US-led bombing campaign in Syria, which it formally named Operation Inherent Resolve on October 15, could not stop the ISIL offensive and advances against Kobani and its local defenders. Instead the US began arguing and insisting for more illegal steps to be taken by NATO member Turkey. Washington began to call for Turkish soldiers and tanks to enter Kobani and northern Syria. In turn, President Erdogan and the Turkish government said that Ankara would only send in the Turkish military if a no-fly zone was established over Syria by the US and the other members of Washington’s bogus coalition.

Repackaging Plans for a Northern Buffer Zone in Syria 

Using Kobani to make a case, the US and Turkish governments took the opportunity to repackage their plans for an invasion of Syria from 2011, which called for the establishment of a Turkish-controlled northern buffer zone and a no-fly zone over Syrian airspace. This time the plans were presented under the humanitarian pretext of peacekeeping. This is why the parliamentarians in the Turkish Grand National Assembly had passed legislation authorizing an invasion of the Syrian Arab Republic and Syrian Kurdistan on October 2, 2014.

Although Turkey passed legislature to invade Syria on October 2, Ankara remained cautious. In reality, Turkey was doing everything in its power to ensure that Kobani would fall into the control of the ISIL and that Kobani’s local defenders would be defeated.

Due to a lack of coordination between the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and Turkish law enforcement officials, a domestic scandal even emerged in Turkey when undercover MIT trucks were detained in Adana by the Turkish gendarmerie after they were caught secretly transporting arms and ammunition into Syria for Al-Nusra and other anti-government insurgents.

In the context of Kobani, numerous reports were made revealing that large weapon shipments were delivered to the heavily armed battalions of the ISIL by Turkey for the offensive on Kobani. One journalist, Serena Shim, would pay with her life for trying to document this. Shim, a Lebanese-American working for Iran’s English-language Press TV news network, would reveal that weapons were secretly being delivered to the insurgents in Syria through Turkey in trucks carrying the logo of the UN World Food Organization. Shim would be killed shortly after in a mysterious car accident on October 19 after being threatened by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization for spying for the «Turkish opposition».

To hide its dirty hands as a facilitator, the Turkish government began claiming that it could not control its borders or prevent foreign fighters from entering Iraq and Syria. This, however, changed with the battle for Kobani. Ankara began to exercise what appeared to be faultless control of its border with Syria and it even reinforced border security. Turkey, which is widely recognized for allowing Jabhat Al-Nusra and the other foreign-backed insurgent forces to freely cross its borders to fight the Syrian military, began prevented any Kurdish volunteers from crossing the Syrian-Turkish border over to Kobani to help the besieged Syrian city and its outnumbered defenders. Only under intense domestic and international pressure did the Turkish government finally let one hundred and fifty token KRG peshmerga troops from Iraqi Kurdistan enter Kobani on November 1, 2014.

Turkey Takes Note of Syria’s Friends

The Syrian government rejected the suggestions coming from Ankara and Washington for foreign ground troops on its territory and for the establishment of a northern buffer zone. Damascus said these were intentions for blatant aggression against Syria. It released a statement on October 15 saying that it would consult its «friends».

In context of the US-Turkish invasion plans, the Turkish government was monitoring the reactions and attitudes of Russia, Iran, China, and the independent segments of the international community not beholden to Washington’s foreign policy objective. Both the Kremlin and Tehran reacted by warning the Turkish government to forget any thoughts about sending ground troops into Syrian Kurdistan and on Syrian soil.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Lukashevych, the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, announced that Moscow opposed the calls for a northern buffer zone on October 9. Lukashevych said that neither Turkey nor the US had the authority or legitimacy to establish a buffer zone against the will of another sovereign state. He also pointed out how the US bombardment of Syria had complicated the problem and influenced the ISIL to concentrate itself among civilian populations. His words echoed the warnings of Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the permanent representative of Russia to the UN, that the US-led bombings of Syria will further degenerate the crisis in Syria.

On the part of Tehran, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian publicly announced that Iran had warned the Turkish government against any adventurism in Syria.

Why has Operation Inherent Resolve made the ISIL Stronger in Syria?

Is it a coincidence that the ISIL or DAISH gained ground in Syria as soon as the US declared war on it? Or is it a coincidence that Rojava contains most the oil wells inside Syria?

The inhabitants and resistance in Kobani fighting the ISIL offensive have repeatedly asked for outside help, but have defined the US-led airstrikes in Syria in no uncertain terms as utterly useless. This has been the general observation from the actual ground about the illegal US-led bombing campaign of Syria by local paramilitary and civilian leaders. Locally-selected officials in Syrian Kurdistan have repeatedly said, in one form or another, that the US-led airstrikes are a failure.

The People’s Protection Units (Yekineyen Parastina Gel, YPG; the all-female units are abbreviated as YPJ) of Kobani made multiple statements that pointed out that the US bombing campaign did nothing to stop the ISIL advance on Kobani or throughout Syria. While calling for Kurdish unity and a united front between Syria, Iraq, and Iran against the pseudo-caliphate of the ISIL, Jawan Ibrahim, an YPG officer, has said that the US and its anti-ISIL coalition are a failure as far as the YPG and Syrian Kurds are concerned, according to Fars News Agency (FNA).

Before the US officially inaugurated its campaign in Syria by lunching airstrikes on Ar-Raqqa, the ISIL’s fighters had left the positions that the US and its petro-sheikhdom Arab allies bombed. Instead of bombing the ISIL, the US has been bombing Syrian industrial and civilian infrastructure. While saying that some of these bombings, which include civilian homes and a wheat silo, were mistakes, it is clear that the Pentagon strategy of eroding an enemy state’s strength by destroying its infrastructure is being applied against Syria.

After heavy criticism and international pressure, the US began to drop token medical supplies and arms shipments for the locals and Kobani’s local defenders. Some of these US arms got into the hands of the ISIL. The Pentagon says this was the result of miscalculations and that the ISIL were not the intended recipients. Skeptics, however, believe that the Pentagon deliberately parachuted the US weapons near places that the ISIL’s battalions could easily see and obtain them. The arms caches included hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and ammunition, which were all displayed in at least one video produced by the ISIL during the battle for Kobani.

In parallel to the reluctant help of the US, the Turkish government was pressured into allowing a token number of KRG peshmerga fighters from Iraq cross its border into Kobani on November 1. These pershmerga, however, are part of the security forces of the corrupt, Turkish-aligned KRG. In other words, «Turkey’s Kurds» (as in their allies; not to be mistaken for Turkish Kurds) were allowed to enter Kobani (instead of the YPG, YPJ, or volunteers). Since Turkey’s detrimental role in Kobani became widely known, Ankara was also fearful that the fall of Kobani would effectively end the peace talks between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish government and result in a massive revolt in Turkish Kurdistan.

Useless US Bombing War Against the ISIL or Stealth US War Against Syria?

The US-led bombing campaign is not intended to defeat the ISIL, which is also doing everything it can to destroy the fabrics of Syrian society. The US-led bombing campaign in Syria is intended to weaken and destroy Syria as a functioning state. This is why the US has been bombing Syrian energy facilities and infrastructure, including transport pipes, under the excuse of preventing the ISIL from using it to sell oil and gather revenues.

The US rationale for justifying this is bogus too, because the ISIL has been transporting stolen Syrian oil shipments through transport vehicles into Turkey and, unlike the case of Iraq, not using the transport pipes. Moreover, most the oil stolen by the ISIL has been coming from Iraq and not from Syria, but the US has not taken the same steps to destroy the energy infrastructure in Iraq. Additionally, the purchases of stolen oil from both Syria and Iraq have taken place at the level of state actors. Even the European Union’s own representative to Iraq, Jana Hybaskova, has admitted that European Union members are buying stolen Iraqi oil from the ISIL.

The Pentagon’s two different approaches, one for Iraq and one for Syria, say a lot about what Washington is doing in the Syrian Arab Republic. Washington is still going after Syria and in the process it and Turkey wants to either co-opt the Syrian Kurds or to neutralize them. This is why the battle for Kobani was launched with Turkish involvement and why there was inaction by the US government. Also, when it comes down to it, the ISIL or DAISH is a US weapon.

The Syrian government knows that Washington’s anti-ISIL coalition is a façade and that the masquerade could end with a US-led offensive against Damascus if the US government and Pentagon believe that the conditions are right. On November 6, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem told the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar that Syria had asked the Russian Federation to accelerate the delivery of the S-300 anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile system to prepare for a possible Pentagon offensive.

A low voter turnout among key Democratic constituencies can be largely attributed to the loss of the United States Senate to the Republican right and their gains within the Congress during the midterm 2014 elections.

African Americans, who have traditionally voted democratic since the FDR era of the 1930s and 1940s, failed to be motivated by the last-minute appeals for them to vote in large numbers.

In a New York Times (NYT) Sunday edition first page headline article published on Oct. 19, entitled “In Black Vote, Democrats See Lifeline for Midterms”, the report reveals an internal memorandum addressing what the party would not say publically that their fate was largely dependent upon the turnout of African American voters. This memo predicting crushing Democratic Party losses if there was not a rekindling of enthusiasm for voting-in candidates representing the organization which was holding on narrowly to a slight majority in the Senate.

The NYT article said that “African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014,’ Cornell Belcher, the pollster, wrote in the memo, dated Oct. 1. ‘In fact, over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.’” (Oct. 18, NYT)

This same report continues quoting a notable politician saying “Anybody who looks at the data realizes that if the black vote, and the brown vote, doesn’t turn out, we can’t win. It’s just that simple,” predicted Representative Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio, who is the current chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), in reference to African-American and Latina/os voters. “If we don’t turn out, we cannot hold the Senate.”

African Americans Feel Brunt of the Contemporary Crisis

The Obama administration has failed to address the concerns of African Americans and Latina/os in relationship to jobs, income, political brutality, imperialist war drives, the decline of the cities, the attacks on democratic rights, immigration relief and other issues. Nonetheless, the onus of the failure to point out the declining living standards and democratic rights of African Americans cannot be solely placed on the administration but the lack of a program that encompasses these issues by the Democratic Party.

Since the 2010 midterms, which also saw a low turnout among African Americans, there have been several developments that represented clearly the current character of national oppression in the United States. What can only be described as a hostile or tepid at best response from the Obama administration and the Democratic leaders in Congress easily translates into a lack of participation in a process that does not speak directly to the concerns of the most exploited and repressed.

In Feb. 2012, people witnessed the murder and subsequent acquittal the following year of the killer of African American youth Trayvon Martin, sparking outrage throughout the country. It was the mass demonstrations that attracted thousands which prompted the authorities in Sanford, Florida to both arrest George Zimmerman and to put him on trial.

When Zimmerman was acquitted demonstrations broke out across the U.S. from New York to California. Some of these protests turned into rebellions reflecting the degree of anger among African American youth.

On Aug. 9 in Ferguson when 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down by a local white police officer and the youth rose up in rebellion for days, people within the African American communities and others were in solidarity with the people of St. Louis County. Many traveled to Ferguson to demonstrate alongside the people who expressed the best in the traditions of African resistance within U.S. history.

The fundamental question is: what do African Americans really have to vote for? There are depression-era conditions prevailing in cities such as Detroit, Memphis, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Jackson and Ferguson where the people have given political voice on the degree of the oppressive conditions. African Americans are being systematically denied economic opportunities, basic civil and human rights as well as being channeled into the prison-industrial-complex utilizing racist police forces, unjust courts and dysfunctional educational systems.

African American, Oppressed Nations Need Alternative Party

These developments demonstrate that another party is needed to rally oppressed nations to an alternative socialist program to fight capitalism and imperialism. The decline of African American electoral participation in midterm elections since 2010 is a clear reflection of the failure of both the Democratic and Republican parties to appeal to these voters. (See The Black Turnout and the 2014 Midterms by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies–http://jointcenter.org/sites/default/files/Joint%20Center%202014%20Black%20Turnout%2010-29-14_0.pdf)

Such a set of political dynamics provides opportunities for initiatives that rely on massive outreach to African American, Latina/os, Middle Eastern, Asian, Native American, Women, LGBTQ Communities, People Living With Disabilities, Seniors, Youth and other oppressed and exploited populations within the overall working class. This party would declare openly that it was in favor of meeting the aspirations of the most oppressed within the working class which is becoming the majority of the people residing within the U.S.

An electoral strategy which begins from the premise that the capitalist and imperialist systems no longer have anything to offer the working class and oppressed, would be in a position to openly advocate for full-employment, universal healthcare, the raising of the minimum wage to living-wage levels, a guaranteed annual income, the abolition of the Pentagon budget and the total dismantling of the prison-industrial-complex, racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry and inequality– guaranteeing the right to self-determination and full equality for all.

Through successive democratic and republican administrations the wars of regime-change have continued. The rebellion in Ferguson in 2014, and the mass response to the lack of justice for Trayvon Martin in 2013, can only re-emphasize the need to fight institutional racism as a systematic pillar of national oppression.

The party would rely on the mass mobilization and organization of the people. This organization would of course reach out to form alliances with other progressive and revolutionary parties rooted in the working class and oppressed throughout the world.

In every capitalist state internationally, the ideologues of the ruling class have no alternative to the austerity, super-exploitation and imperialist militarism now in operation. The party of the working class and the oppressed would provide a platform to reverse the economic decline in its efforts aimed at building a socialist future.

From Libya to Iraq, the West has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to stabilise nations following a war that ousted an entrenched ruler, leading the countries to drop into an abyss of chaos and fragment into smaller regions. By removing entrenched dictators at the helm of a country, a power vacuum emerges which is often filled by rival tribal militias or vying political factions who fight for control over the nation. Libya is the perfect illustration of this phenomenon. Prior to the overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya was seen as a stable and prosperous nation by many people around the world, which had the highest standard of living on the African continent. As William Engdahl wrote in his 2012 book ‘Myths, Lies and Oil Wars’:

“Libyans enjoyed the highest living standard on the Continent. Gaddafi did not stay on top for 42 years without ensuring that his population has little room to complain. Most health services, education and fuel was state-subsidized. Gaddafi’s Libya had the lowest infant mortality rate and life expectancy of all Africa. When he seized power from the ailing King Idris four decades ago, literacy was below 10% of the population. Today it is above 90%, hardly the footprint of your typical tyrant. Less than 5% of the population is undernourished, a figure lower than the United States. In response to the rising food prices of recent months, Gaddafi took care to abolish all taxes on food. And a lower percentage of the population was living below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.”(Engdahl, 2012, p. 220)

Today, Libya is a balkanised nation that has been “split into three parts” following NATO’s intervention in 2011, with Cyrenaica comprising the East of the country, and the West split into Tripolitania in the Northwest and Fezzan in the Southwest. The nation is now a failed state which is devoid of central government and is stricken by tribal warfare, where rival militias who were once fighting alongside each other are now battling against one another. Many of the rebels who fought – with the assistance of the CIA and MI6 – to overthrow Gaddafi, have also made their way across the Middle East to fight alongside the Syrian rebels in the proxy war against Bashar al-Assad.

The country has been in such a state of turmoil since 2011 that oil production has been low and inconsistent, with rival militias vying for control over the nation’s natural resources. This may lead to the CIA propping up General Khalifa Hifter as a new puppet leader to ensure enough stability for Big Oil to rape the resources of a country which is home to Africa’s largest oil reserves. But unlike Iraq, oil wasn’t as prominent a reason for the Western intervention in Libya. Gaddafi was singled out for regime change largely due to Libya operating as an independent nation outside the control of the Western banking cartel, through its 100% state owned central bank. Gaddafi also resisted the idea of U.S. military expansion in Africa through the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), and planned to sell oil in Gold Dinars as opposed to the US dollar, challenging the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

Iraq again demonstrates this phenomenon of a power vacuum leading to a failed state and balkanisation. Since Saddam Hussein was removed from power in 2003, Iraq has been a fractured and divided nation that has increasingly been torn apart by warfare and a lack of strong central leadership. The agenda in Iraq has always been to split the nation into three regions and exploit the country’s vast oil reserves, in addition to war always equalling immense profits for the military industrial complex.

Of course both Hussein and Gaddafi were dictators who should not be glorified, and neither tyrants nor Western puppet regimes are the solutions to the problems in both countries. Yet both Iraq and Libya were far more stable nations prior to Western intervention, and both leaders were removed from power through illegal acts of war – see here and here.

An Iraq Free from Sectarian Conflict

We can often forget in today’s world where newsstands are packed with stories of violence and sectarian conflict in Iraq, that the nation has not been plagued with warring religious sects for hundreds of years. Despite Saddam Hussein’s marginalisation and persecution of certain groups, Iraqi society was largely free from sectarian tensions and Hussein’s policies were very unpopular amongst the people. The U.S. was also complicit in propping up Hussein’s regime as they supported and armed the dictator during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980’s. In a Guardian article by Iraqi-born sociology lecturer Sami Ramadani titled: The sectarian myth of Iraq, Ramadani argues that prior to 2003 the nation was comprised of a combination of religious and ethnic groups who coexisted peacefully, before the Western policy of divide and conquer balkanised the nation.

Iraq and Libya are both warnings to the people of Syria should the regime in Damascus be ousted. Whatever one might think of al-Assad, he is a secular ruler who has allowed various religious and ethnic sects to live in the country freely. Even though the Western orchestrated proxy war has been waging for three years and has claimed the lives of nearly 200,000 people, post-Assad Syria will be a living hell compared to today considering the volume of arms and Western mercenaries in the region. A power vacuum will emerge if al-Assad is removed from power and support from Hezbollah, Iran and Russia is withdrawn, leaving a beautiful country to be added to the list of failed states.

If the government in Damascus is replaced by a client regime of the West, it will probably result in Qatar constructing a natural gas pipeline from the South Pars/North Dome gas field located in the Persian Gulf to Turkey, which al-Assad has repeatedly blocked. One proposed route for the pipeline is from the Qatari controlled portion of the gas field in the Gulf, through Saudi Arabia, Jordon, Syria and into Turkey. The pipeline could then potentially be extended to supply Europe with natural gas, in a bid to decrease Europe’s dependency on Russian gas and cut a major export income of the government in Moscow.

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

This work, Party of One, should be the political work of the year, and perhaps should stand as the best for this century.  It is one of the most powerful books I have read and  it  should be read by everyone.  Anyone entertaining the idea of argument with Harris’ solid base of research  (through documents and personal interviews) will need to stifle all independent thought and critical analysis abilities.  Such however are the very abilities of the Conservative caucus in face of their dear one and only leader, Stephen Harper. 

The first two chapters, “Sign of the Times” and “The Genesis of Steve”, provide a concise outline of Harper’s political routes (For more depth on this see also: Harperland – The Politics of Control.  Lawrence Martin.  Penguin, Toronto, 2011. – itself nominated as Finalist for Best Political Book of the Last 25 Years).

There are two main takeaways from these chapters.  The first is the obvious, his absolute desire to control all aspects about himself and his goals, to demand full obedience from all his minions and appointees.  The second aspect concerns his relationship with the Republican party and Republican elements of the U.S. political and business landscape.  These ties were used to help boost Harper into power and to help maintain his control over the centre of power in Ottawa.  It is perhaps treasonous in the dictionary sense of “breach of faith, disloyalty” or “to make war in order to change a policy rule” but unfortunately it does not fit within Canada’s criminal code definition of treason being generally harm against the Queen.

The most powerful personage presented here is the Republican Arthur Finkelstein, the “most sought after neoconservative political strategist in the world.”  He has worked to unseat opponents with the “strategic use of attack ads”  in which “issues don’t matter…perception is reality” and “fear is a political super weapon.”    These attributes are supported by the perception that people today are “not wired in, but wired out…knowing more and more about less and less.”  Harper has adopted these methods and the truth of the latter statement is unfortunately true for the rather general apathy and ignorance of Canadians.

Finkelstein helped elect Netanyahu and Lieberman in Israel, has worked with the big names of the Moral Majority in the U.S., alongside Dick Cheney, the Koch brothers, and Mitt Romney among others.  The work of the neocons is supported by the National Citizens Coalition, a group that Harper has historically strong ties with, a group that  is “anti public health insurance, anti-union, anti Wheat Board, and pro-corporate governance and control.”

In sum, Harper is a dictatorial ruler of Canada operating a Republican neocon style of government.

This “incremental” coup d’etat is described over the events of the subsequent chapters.  Harris discusses the robo-call scandal, the in-out money laundering affair, the Unfair Election Act, Kevin Page and the F-335 debacle, the elimination of scientific discussion and dissent within the federal bureaucracy.  He continues with “Farewell Diplomacy” a critique of the change from friendly global citizen to one in which the economy rules all, creating a “nasty new world of Canadian foreign policy,” another area in which “Evidence never had much weight with the Prime Minister.”  The chapter “Bad Boys” discusses four personnel assignments that created problems: Nathan Jacobson, Dr. Arthur Porter, Chuck Strahl, and Bruce Carson.  All demonstrated that  “Harper talks tough on  crime everywhere but in his own office.”

The chapter “Forked Tongue” spoke about the racist colonial mindset that still pervades government, and this one in particular, concerning First Nations.  While “The Harper government has bent over backwards to accommodate Big Oil” the First Nations have always known that “standing between a white man and his money has always been a dangerous place to be.”  Being “stewards” of the land is “integral to their identity” and many court decisions, mostly generated in B.C. (as land title is unextinguished and exists in most of the province without any treaties signed) have placed road-blocks in the way of Big Oil and Harper’s dictatorial commands.

The Tribal Council (Carrier Sekani) reminded everyone,  “The original practice of colonization was to isolate us on reserves n order for the Crown to extract resources.  The new version of colonization is to change laws without consulting us in order to extract our resources.”

The next four chapters concern the Senate-Duffy-Wallen-Brazeau-Wright affair.  The chapter “Wrecking Ball” provides a revealing back story on Nigel Wright who does not come out to be nearly as “ethical” as some say he is.  His financial and corporate connections lead to great concerns about highly probable conflicts of interest as he moved “from the largest private corporation in Canada to the most influential position in the country next to the prime minister.”

Preston Manning was interviewed for the book, and I almost began to like the guy as much as I disagree with his right wing policies.    He seems to sincerely believe in the openness, accountability, and transparency that Stephen talks about but blocks as much as possible, saying “Stephen doesn’t think words mean much,” and “I think Canada’s influence internationally has been diminished with Stephen’s approach.”

One of the final chapters, “On the Brink”, discusses the manipulations and muzzling that Harper applied to several well respected senior bureaucrats in Ottawa, Sheila Fraser, Peter Milliken, and Robert Marleau.  They provide some very powerful comments on their views of the government.

Sheila Fraser:

…the authoritarian reflex of the Harper government was as unmistakable as the deliberate suppression of public information.  “Parliament has become so undermined it is almost unable to do the what people expect of it.”

Peter Milliken:

Parliament can hardly be weakened any more than it already is.  Harper can’t go much farther without making the institution dysfunctional.  He is trying to control every aspect of House business.  In fact, it will have to be returned to its former state by someone if we are to have a democracy.

Robert Marleau:

Canadians are sleepwalking through dramatic, social, economic, and political changes surreptitiously being implemented by a government abusing omnibus bills and stifling public and parliamentary debate….Having attained absolute power, he has absolutely abused that power to the maximum.

The second to last chapter is very interesting, coming as this reading occurs after the military hype following the murder of two Canadian servicemen in Canada.  Harper has done his utmost to play up the military aspect, appearing to support and glorify Canada’s new combatative role around the world.  In “Delay, Deny, and Die” Harris examines the manner in which the federal government, after looking for all the glory, essentially casts aside the veterans to fend for themselves.  I do not support Canada’s military roles, but I do support the idea that if someone volunteers to fight for Canada, misguided as that is, they deserve to receive the pensions they are due and lifetime support if disabled physically and/or through PTSD.

It comes down to the Harper neoConservatives and their intense mismanagement of budgetary matters.  More soldiers have died from suicide recently than died in the years that other lives were wasted in Afghanistan (now 70 per cent controlled by the Taliban).  Canada led the attack on Libya, with a subsequent military celebration in the now derided Senate, while Libya is wracked with violence between various militant groups.  Canada spends more money on celebrating different wars than they  do on assisting the veterans who have fought in them.  “The party that had courted, lionized, and used the military now turned its back on them when priorities changed.”

The last chapter highlights a Canadian icon, a war veteran from the Second World War who fought through some of the bloodiest campaigns in Italy.  Farley Mowat, a prolific Canadian writer, generally known through his works on Canadian history and for his writings and advocacy for environmental protections, said,

“Stalin had small balls compared to this guy.  Harper is probably the most dangerous human being ever elevated to power in Canada.  How the population has acquiesced in following this son of a bitch, and to let him take over their lives, I’ll never know.  You have to create warrior nations, they are not born.  They have to be made.  It is the preliminary step of  a tyrant.  And this son of a bitch incited Canada into becoming a warrior nation.”

It is unfortunate that the majority of Canadians are apathetic, they want democracy but not necessarily if they have to get out and think and act within it.  As Arthur Finkelstein indicated, the Canadian public, through this apathy and ignorance are readily manipulated, “perception is reality…issues don’t matter,” and “fear is a political super weapon.”  It works in Canada.  And Stephen Harper is taking advantage of it to create a right wing neocon dictatorial militarized state with “one point” control – himself.

Party of One is a necessary read for all interested in political affairs in Canada and its relationship with the world around it.  It is powerfully written and gives much information and supporting detail to support the idea that Canada has already suffered a radical makeover under his regime.

After over a week of intense discussion between opposition parties, mass organizations and religious leaders of Burkina Faso, there was an announcement made on Nov. 10 that a roadmap had been agreed upon for a transition to civilian rule.

This consensus among the political parties and mass organizations must now be negotiated with the military to set the terms of the transition.

Popular organizations had rejected the military’s attempt to lead a transition team. Three leaders from Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal representing the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) visited the capital of Ouagadougou on Nov. 7 calling for a rapid process that would lead to national elections. The plan put forward from discussions among the opposition parties and mass organizations is calling for elections by Nov. 2015 after the appointment of an interim civilian president to guide the entire process.

Earlier on Oct. 30, demonstrations attended by hundreds of thousands demanded the resignation of the 27-year dictator President Blaise Compaore. When members of parliament were set to approve a bill that would have provided legal cover for Compaore to run for another term of office, thousands gathered outside the Place de la Nation while many stormed the parliament, the ruling party headquarters and other symbols of authority, setting them on fire.

To prevent further unrest, Gen. Honore Traore was selected by the military to head a new government, terminating the parliament and declaring a nighttime curfew. Eventually, Compoare resigned on Oct. 31 and fled to neighboring Ivory Coast.

Nonetheless, by Nov. 1, Gen. Traore had been removed by the military and replaced by Lt. Col. Zida. By the following day thousands re-entered the streets telling Zida that he must also go and pave the way for civilian control.

Burkina Faso and United States “Counter-terrorism” in West Africa

The ousted leader Compaore had come to power in Oct. 1987 after leading a coup against Capt. Thomas Sankara, a Marxist revolutionary leader and theoretician who had also taken charge through a seizure of power four years earlier. Sankara attempted to break with the legacy of French neo-colonialism advancing a program of self-reliance, women’s liberation and international debt cancellation for Africa.

France and its allies in the region were suspected of being behind the overthrow and assassination of Sankara. In recent years the U.S. has escalated its military and intelligence presence in West Africa as well, even among those states previously considered within the strategic interests of Paris.

Compaore was a participant in the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) counter-terrorism operations in West Africa. These programs include a presence for Pentagon personnel within the country and the training of military officers in the U.S. so that they can be more effective in carrying out Washington’s aims on the continent.

The Washington Post wrote on Nov. 3 that

“In 2012, when he was a major, Zida attended a 12-day counterterrorism training course at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida that was sponsored by the Defense Department’s Joint Special Operations University, said Army Lt. Col. Mark R. Cheadle, a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command. That same year, Zida attended a five-day military intelligence course in Botswana that was financed by the U.S. government, Cheadle said.”

This same article continues saying

“The U.S. military has developed a close relationship in recent years with Burkina Faso, which has allowed the Pentagon to operate a secretive Special Operations base that it uses to conduct reconnaissance flights across West Africa.”

Interestingly enough, the U.S. government, which officially says that it cannot conduct normal relations with states where the military has seized power, has not labeled the current situation in Burkina Faso as a coup.

Pattern of U.S. Intervention Using Military Leaders

In recent African history, the leader of a military coup in Mali during March 2012, Capt. Amadou Sanogo, was also trained in several Pentagon bases in the U.S. Also the military seizure of power in Egypt during early July 2013 was carried out by Field Marshal Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, a former student in Pentagon training programs.

The Egyptian military has longtime ties with the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Similar to the current situation in Burkina Faso, the July 3, 2013 seizure of power by El-Sisi, who is now president of Egypt, was not described as a coup by Washington.

Over a billion dollars in assistance is provided by Washington to the Egyptian military every year. This state of affairs has prevailed for over three decades.

With respect to the Pentagon counter-terrorism program in West Africa, the Washington Post noted in 2012 that “A key hub of the U.S. spying network can be found in Ouagadougou, the flat, sunbaked capital of Burkina Faso, one of the most impoverished countries in Africa. Under a classified surveillance program code-named Creek Sand, dozens of U.S. personnel and contractors have come to Ouagadougou in recent years to establish a small air base on the military side of the international airport.” (June 13, 2012)

Burkina Faso is now an emerging mineral producer attracting foreign investment from firms in the leading capitalist states. The country is the fourth largest producer of gold on the continent and mining activities in other areas are underway.

These factors will largely determine the Pentagon and CIA role in keeping this West African state under U.S. and French influence. In order for the country to embark upon a genuine path towards development and sovereignty, the anti-imperialist forces among the opposition and mass organizations must end the state’s collaboration with AFRICOM.

The events since Oct. 30 in Burkina Faso have sparked hope upon among the African workers, farmers and youth throughout the region and beyond. A political program of independence and anti-capitalist development must emerge in order for the gains of the popular struggle to win concrete results that benefit the majority of the poor and exploited population inside the country.

Controversies Surrounding Facebook

November 10th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Facebook is a problem. It is undoubtedly being used by special interests to manipulate and monitor entire populations both within the United States and well beyond. It represents a tool that in no way serves the people actually using it, and instead allows special interests to use the users. It is a dream global panopticon for the abusive dictators that run Western society and presume dominion over what they call an “international order.”

But in order to counter this threat, Facebook cannot simply be “replaced.” It specifically, and what it represents, must be disrupted entirely.

Facebook is a Skinner Box for Humans 

Facebook has been at the center of several recent controversies that are increasingly leaving users disillusioned and in search of alternatives. At the center of these controversies is Facebook’s “news feed” feature. Ideally, news feed would work by showing on your timeline updates from those individuals and organizations you follow. There are two options for news feed – “most recent” and “top stories.” Facebook has decided to upend this feature by insidiously controlling what appears on your news feed regardless of which option you select.

Now, you will no longer receive regular updates from accounts you follow, and instead will see a “filtered” version determined by Facebook’s algorithms. Many Facebook users are unaware of this fact and are perplexed as to why they are no longer receiving regular updates from accounts they follow.

Facebook’s own explanation as to why they’ve implemented this policy is as follows:

Rather than showing people all possible content, News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them. Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story (from more to less important) by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.

Facebook’s real motivation is more likely a combination of implementing soft-censorship and an effort to monetize news feeds by forcing content makers to pay in order to access people already following them. What’s left is wealthy content makers like large corporate media outfits monopolizing the public’s attention whether the public wants it or not.

News feed has also been used in at least two involuntary social engineering experiments where the news feeds of users were manipulated without their knowledge to influence them psychologically. In the most recently exposed experiment, Facebook manipulated the news feed of some 2 million Americans in 2012 in order to increase public participation during that year’s US presidential election.-

In 2013, Facebook would again manipulate news feeds of unwitting users to influence them psychologically. A report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) titled, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” stated in its abstract that:

We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.Not only are the findings troubling – illustrating that Facebook possesses the ability to influence the emotions of its users unwittingly through careful manipulation of their news feeds – but the invasive, unethical methods by which Facebook conducted the experiment are troubling as well.

Those involved in the experiment were neither notified before nor after the experiment was conducted, and along with news feed manipulation during the 2012 election, it appears Facebook sees the news feed feature in terms of influencing people as Facebook and its clients see fit rather than the feature being used to inform users as they themselves see fit.

What Facebook is essentially is a massive, global, digital “Skinner box.” Also known as a operant conditioning chamber, a Skinner box conditions a subject – usually an animal –  to perform certain behaviors by controlling positive and negative stimuli regulated within the box. Pressing the correct lever would provide, for example, food pellets, while pressing the wrong lever would provide a painful electric shock.

Facebook, in this way, admits it regulated positive and negative stimuli in its 2013 experiment and in 2012 manipulated the behavior of subjects also through the use of specifically formulated stimuli. There is no telling what other experiments or ongoing manipulations Facebook users might be subjected to, and whether or not other IT monopolies like Google are using similar means to influence, manipulate, and condition the behavior of users.

Disrupting Facebook

The first thing many Facebook users look for upon learning of this are alternatives. One in particular, Ello, grabbed headlines recently as a “Facebook killer.” Should Facebook’s 1 billion plus user base migrate over to Ello, would there be anything to stop special interests from simply co-opting and corrupting its basic premise of not manipulating users or invading their privacy? Most likely not.

Instead, efforts to disrupt Facebook and the centralized social networking premise it represents should be made. In other words, decentralizing social networking so that no single network controls the information, rules, and regulations that define social networking in general.

On a global scale this is already being done. Nations like Russia, China, Iran, and others have produced their own indigenous versions of Facebook - separate from not only Facebook’s monopoly, but the intrusive, abusive exploitation of that monopoly by corporate-financier interests on Wall Street and in the City of London. Russia’s VK.com for example, boasts 120 million users around the world and within Russia itself, is the most popular social networking site, by far eclipsing Facebook’s market share. While the Western media criticizes VK as a tool of the Kremlin, in light of recent scandals exposed in the West, the same could be said of Wall Street and London’s use of Facebook.

But decentralizing Facebook’s grip on social networking to a national scale isn’t enough. While many may find affinity toward the current political order in Russia, some day that may no longer be the case. Further decentralization – in fact – infinite decentralization should be the ultimate goal.

Forums, Websites, and RSS Analogies 

Web forums are numerous and in many ways micro social networks in and of themselves. They are built around interests in entertainment, skills and hobbies, commerce, political ideology, religion, and many other personal interests. While one must become a member of these forums to participate, anyone can search the Internet and find threads containing useful information. It would be difficult to find the “Facebook” of Internet forums – because while there are very large and well-known forums – there is no monopoly.

Creating a new social networking paradigm based along a similar notion of infinite decentralization is not only possible, it is inevitable – just as soon as programmers and developers stop trying to create the next “Facebook” and begin contemplating instead the next paradigm shift in social networking altogether – one that satisfies the growing desire to escape monopolized networks with proclivities toward invading the privacy of its users as well as manipulating and influencing them through insidious social engineering.

Imagine open source tools like Wiki or WordPress that allows anyone to create their own social network based around any specific interest or series of interests. Imagine tools like RSS feed that allows users from one social network to follow user updates on another social network without actually joining that network. Imagine being able to take your information and import it into a new social network if for whatever reason you decided you no longer like the rules, regulations, and practices of the network you were currently in – tools like WordPress’ import options that allow Blogger users to migrate over along with all their previous Blogger content.

Image: What will come next? Another Facebook or something that will shift the paradigm of social networking entirely? Centralized networks are prone to abuse. Even networks like Ello that initially show promise hold the same weakness of over-centralization which will undoubtedly be targeted by special interests. A decentralized social networking paradigm with tools used to mesh networks together as users desire could represent just such a shift.

Facebook and undoubtedly VK and other large social networks have various groups of disenfranchised users who are unable to use these networks as they truly desire. Facebook has faced criticism for demanding users to use their real names to create profiles. Minority groups that prefer anonymity could create their own social network to cater specifically to their interests and agenda. They could follow popular feeds from other social networks, but preserve their own community created by, for, and of themselves.

In this way, instead of simply trying to replace Facebook with the next soon-to-be co-opted, corrupted, and overbearing social networking monopoly, the entire paradigm will be shifted in favor of what users actually want – privacy, the ability to control what content they receive, and to associate with whom they want, how they want. With hundreds if not thousands of these interconnected but ultimately independent networks cropping up, it will be impossible for monopolistic interests to co-opt, control, or censor them all, or even a majority of them.

The Ambush of History: The Fall of the Berlin Wall

November 10th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

For those gazing across from the Western portion of graffiti crowded murals towards the lines of dogs, men, and steel, the Berlin Wall was a matter of habitual terror. It was also defiance – be it the system operating in the German Democratic Republic (DDR) intent on projecting this “bulwark against fascism” or the Federal Republic of West Germany, keen to remind the other Berliners that there was another political system across the barbed wire.  Across the murderous partition, these systems gazed.

Then came November 9, 1989, and the words of the popular anchorman Hanns Friedrichs in West Germany: “This is a historic day.  East Germany has announced that, starting immediately, its borders are open to everyone.”[1]  It may well be that nothing is quite so formidable than an idea whose time has come.  But there is also something to be said about an idea whose time has left.  The exit signal is given, and then, walls crumble, ground gives in. The entire eastern bloc crumbled over a matter of months, a matter of sheer exhaustion.  The baffled Western powers could barely believe their dumb luck.

The Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev’s refusal to cede to any wishes to use tanks to bring the protestors to order was fundamental.  The Soviets stayed in their barracks even as the first parts of the wall started being removed.  A shadow of this was already being cast in October 1985, when Gorbachev explained to his East European colleagues that the principle of responsibility had to be shouldered by states individually.  1956 and 1968 would not be repeated.

For a moment in time in 1989, even if it was the briefest of moments, the DDR suddenly seemed democratic.  If nothing else, it was more representative even as the awnings were falling down. But the momentum of history was simply too powerful for the hope that a reformed German socialist republic might survive.  Agents were corroding the edifice of the state.

The DDR was being readied for the funeral pyre, a social and political experiment that had been cruel in the name of justice; savage in the name of working freedoms. There was free healthcare, guaranteed employment, free education.  But this came with limited mobility in travel (paradise was not to be exited), a muzzled press and a distinct lack of free speech.  The planned economy was also a magical, ultimately mystical effort of control, needing barbed wire and a police apparatus so sophisticated, the webs of betrayal are still being patched together.

The end of the DDR, and indeed the fall of the Communist bloc, saw followers of the capitalist creed chortle in unmitigated joy.  It saw, in Saskia Sassen’s words, “one of the most brutal economic phases of the modern era”, one of expansionist, bankster-fuelled capitalism that did, in its wisdom, gives us the collapse of 2008.  No better view reflected this better than the observation by Clyde Prestowitz that three billion new capitalists – be there producers and consumers – found themselves in a new global economy.[2]

Little wonder, then, that Ostalgie came into vogue, the reminiscing sentimentality of people casting their minds back to a time not so much where the Stasi ruled by terrifying intrusions, but where state care afforded women the means to continue work.  That reflection tends to ignore the 136 who died in attempting to cross the wall into West Berlin.  Political desperation and social submission rarely see eye to eye.

Such nostalgic harking also takes on peculiar, consumer forms, itself an ironic appropriation of communist symbols in the good name of profit.  There are “Trabi Safaris” one can take from the wall’s Checkpoint Charlie – the Trabant having been the East German equivalent of the people’s car.  Beware, warns the Berlin mayor, of turning the East German state into a cult like retreat of the mind. “We don’t have any tolerance for those who nostalgically distort the history of the Berlin Wall and Germany’s division,” an indignant Klaus Wowereit stated in 2011.

The greatest mocking irony of the fall of the wall lies in the message about those fanged forces marshalled against each other along the border.  There was not a shot fired in anger even as the most sinister symbol of the Cold War began coming down.  As Lucy Komisar would note in January 1990 in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “The first irony about the collapse of communism is that the Western military power has had nothing to do with it.”  The participants in the unfolding drama had found themselves, in the words of the Washington Post, in “an ambush of history.”

The entire espionage apparatus that had targeted the DDR was found wanting – officials were getting their updates from twenty-hour news updates on CNN. All those weapons, and all those recruits, left behind by the motor of history.

And what of Germany after the fall of the wall?  Twenty five years later, it is one “comfortable with the degree to which re-nationalisation and intergovernmentalism has taken over the EU,” argues Josef Janning.[3]  Janning is critical – this is a different country, one “reluctant” in projecting its singular power at the centre of Europe, “shying away from both the risks and the costs of greater responsibility.”  The Federal Republic, in 1989, had been a model citizen, one keen on the “community method” of European integration.  Much of this was based on trundling out the cash reserves, placating smaller states, and engaging the good offices of the United Kingdom.

But Janning misses a fundamental point about this approach of Germany “leading from behind”: those who see German power do not see responsibility so much as danger.  Historical shackles centred on the wielding of power, fictitious or otherwise, remain powerful. As do walls, which restrict movement, but also suggest the firming up of visions. What they are keeping out, and who they are keeping in, remain enduring questions.

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

In 2010, Rina Bovrisse, then a 36-year old senior retail manager of Prada Japan, lost her job at the Italian fashion company after she accused the company of harassment and discrimination based on age and physical appearance. After a two-year trial in the Tokyo District Court which ended in October 2012, she also lost her claim to financial compensation of 58 million yen on the grounds of sexual harassment (Asien Spiegel, 2013). Bovrisse, who was in charge of approximately 500 employees working in Prada stores in Japan, Guam, and Saipan at that time, was told by Prada Japan Senior Human Resources Manager Takahashi Hiroyuki that she needed to lose weight in order to represent the fashion company. Furthermore, Takahashi had transferred thirteen managers and shop assistants, who were considered “old, fat, ugly” or simply did not have “the Prada look”, to remote locations (Matsutani, 2010). In court, Judge Morioka Reiko ruled that – given Bovrisse’s visible position in the fashion company – her employer had every right to tell her to improve her physical appearance, and that this was not a sufficient reason for claiming financial compensation.

Bovrisse’s outspokenness about her experience of harassment reinitiated a discussion about discriminatory employment practices and the effectiveness of gender equality policies in Japan. Despite decades of efforts and the existence of the legal framework of an Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEOL), implementing gender equality in the workplace has not succeeded in Japan. I argue that two particular forces are undermining the effectiveness of the EEOL. On one hand there are structural reasons, such as a gendered higher-education system, a gendered job-entrance system, and gendered wage discrepancies rooted in male dominance in management positions, both of which impede the successful implementation of gender equality. On the other hand there are cultural reasons, such as Japan’s corporate culture coupled with the fact that mothers remain solely responsible for raising children under the age of three, which contributes to many women deciding to withdraw from the work force after starting a family.

Gender Equality in Japan in International Context

While the Bovrisse case was before the courts, in 2011 Japan marked the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEOL). After Japan ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1980 (Mae, 2008: 219), this law became Japan’s major legal framework for implementing gender equality in private companies. However, gender equality in the workplace has yet to be fully implemented.

A strong emphasis on gender equality has recently become a key plank of “Abenomics”, with Prime Minister Abe touting support for women in the workplace as one part of his multidimensional growth strategy (Taguchi 2013: 37). In his recent General Assembly Address to the United Nations in September 2013, Abe advocated “building a society in which women can shine” (josei ga kagayaku shakai o tsukuru). In this context, Abe pledged to appoint women to a third of all senior management positions in governmental agencies and promised to encourage private corporations to recruit and promote more women. Abe also intends to increase the number of women in the workforce by 530,000 women within one year (Kurtenbach 2014). Furthermore, Abe has promised to improve the precarious day care shortage through creating 200,000 new day care spots for children by 2015 and 200,000 more by March 2018 (Otake 2014).

This strategy of empowering women has been dubbed “womenomics”. Abe himself started to implement “womenomics” by appointing five female ministers in his recent cabinet reshuffle on 3rd September 2014.

While political scandals do not specifically concern women but also men, the environment in politics is still dominated by conservatism, as the recent example of lawmaker Shiomura Ayaka shows. Shiomura had been publicly harassed for not being married and having children. She faced aggressive criticism from a fellow member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly while she was giving a speech on the implementation of gender equality and maternity support to the Assembly on 18th June 2014. Despite the fact that the LDP lawmaker responsible, Suzuki Akihiro, later publicly apologized to Shiomura for his sexist remarks, the incident clearly shows that women in Japan have a long way to go before they will be acknowledged as equal members in society (Kameda and Nagata, 2014).   However, his effort backfired as within a month two of the women were caught up in scandals and had to resign. On 20th October 2014, justice minister Matsushima Midori had to step down after being accused of distributing handheld fans with her image to potential voters, which is considered an act of bribery. On the same day, Obuchi Yuko, minister of economy, trade and industry resigned over an alleged misuse of political funds (Aoki and Yoshida, 2014). The promotion of women to more powerful political positions is only slowly progressing.

Against that background, this article assesses the effectiveness of the EEOL as a tool for implementing gender equality in Japan. I also reflect on the meaning of gender equality in contemporary Japan in light of demographic changes that will ultimately alter Japanese society. Despite the enactment of various legal frameworks, gender equality in the workplace is lagging behind in Japan. However, the degree of gender equality in Japan is assessed differently by various indexes that measure gender equality worldwide. I therefore begin by discussing three indexes of global gender equality that yield different results concerning the progress of gender equality in Japan.

UNDPs Gender Inequality Index (GII) 

The Gender Inequality Index (GII) examines gender inequality in the three broad areas: reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity. Specific categories are: 1) maternal mortality ratio, 2) adolescent fertility rate, 3) seats in national parliament, 4) population with at least secondary education (female and male), 5) labor force participation rate (female and male). The GII provides data on altogether 187 countries worldwide and differentiates between four categories: 1) countries that have a very high human development, 2) countries that exhibit a high human development, followed by 3) countries that show medium human development, and finally 4) countries whose human development is low. According to the Gender Inequality Index (GII) published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Japan ranks seventeenth among the 49 countries that have a very high level of human development and of gender equality.1 The higher the values of the Gender Inequality Index (GII), the greater the disparities between men and women. An index of 0 indicates complete gender equality in all three areas investigated, whereas an index of 1 signifies complete gender inequality.2

Table 1 – Gender Inequality Indexes 2013 by International Comparison

 

Source: Adapted from data provided by the United Nations Development Programme, Gender Inequality Index, accessed on 18th October  201

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gender Inequality Index reveals that Japan ranks high with respect to reproductive health and secondary education, but low in terms of participation in the National Parliament and medium in terms of the labor force participation rate. Countries that exhibit a lower labor force participation rate among the 49 countries with a very high human development are for example Croatia (44.8), Bahrain (39.4), United Arab Emirates (46.6), Italy (39.4), and Belgium (46.9). The data for Japan contrast with the Philippines, where a higher maternal mortality ratio and a higher adolescent fertility rate prevail, but more women are active in politics and on the labor market.

The World Economic Forums Gender Gap Index

The Gender Gap Index, which was introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006 as “a framework for capturing the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress” yields very different results. According to the Gender Gap Index, gender equality in Japan is low. Japan ranks 105 out of 136 countries; Japan’s gender gap index dropped from rank 101 in 2012 to rank 105 in 2013 (The Global Gender Gap Report 2013: 236-237). In contrast, India moved from rank 105 in 2012 to rank 101 in 2013. The Gender Gap Index examines the gap between men and women in four categories or sub-indexes: 1) economic participation and opportunity, 2) educational attainment, 3) health and survival, and 4) political empowerment. The Gender Gap Index ranges from 0 (signifying complete gender inequality) to 1 (signifying complete equality). For the year 2013, Japan’s Gender Gap Index received a 0.650 rating. Japan scored a 1.00, or complete equality, in the areas of literacy and enrollment in primary and secondary education. In terms of labor force participation, Japan had a gender gap index of 0.74, and in terms of wage equality the index was 0.62. The lowest rated sub-indexes were those related to political empowerment: in terms of women in parliament, the country was rated 0.09; and the women in ministerial positions sub-index received a rating of 0.13 (The Global Gender Gap Report 2013: 236-237). Countries such as Iceland and Finland, which rated highly in terms of gender equality, had greater economic participation of women, in particular greater labor force participation. They also demonstrated higher political empowerment of women, especially with regard to women in ministerial positions. Higher economic participation and higher political empowerment are also characteristic of a number of Asian countries such as the Philippines, the nation leading the Asian gender equality table as measured by the Gender Gap Index.

 

Table 2 – The Gender Gap Index 2013 by International ComparisonSource: Table adapted from data provided by the World Economic Forum:The Global Gender Report 2013, accessed on October 19, 2014.pol

The Social Watch

Organizations Gender Equity Index (GEI)

Social Watch, a network of civil organizations that aims to eliminate poverty and attain an equal distribution of wealth, publishes the third gender-related index discussed in this article, the Gender Equity Index (GEI). This measures the gap between men and women along the three dimensions of education, economic activity and political empowerment. Like the Gender Gap Index, the GEI is the average of the various dimensions and ranges on a scale from 0 (meaning the greatest possible inequality) to 1 (signifying complete gender equality).

In the area of education, the GEI measures the gender gap in literacy and in enrolment at all educational levels; in the field of economic activity, it measures the gaps in income and employment; and in the field of political empowerment, the GEI measures the gaps in highly qualified jobs, parliament and senior executive positions. The GEI is evaluated on a yearly basis and provides information about gender gaps by region and by country. For the year 2012, Social Watch computed a GEI of 0.57 for Japan. While the GEI for education is very high at 0.93, Japan’s GEI for political empowerment only stands at 0.14. The GEI for economic activity stands at 0.65 for Japan, which ranks 105 out of 147 countries. By international comparison, the data collected for the Gender Equity Index confirm the data of the Gender Gap Index: Norway and Finland show the highest Gender Equity Index in Europe with high levels of education, empowerment and economic activity of women. New Zealand displays the highest gender equality in the Pacific Rim, and the Philippines is the leading country in Asia with regard to empowerment and economic activity of women.

In summary, the various gender indexes (despite their differences) all show that Japan has a high degree of gender equality with respect to education, and the Gender Inequality Index (GII) also shows good results in the area of reproductive health, but it is clear from all three indexes that gender equality in economic participation and political empowerment is less advanced.

Table 3 – The Gender Equity Index (GEI) 2013 by International ComparisonAdapted from: Social Watch. Power Eradication and Gender Justice (2013),Measuring Gender Inequity: The 2012 Gender Equity Index, accessed on 8th April 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Policy Responses to Persisting Gender Inequality: An Overview of Legal Measures

Feminist theory defines gender as culturally and socially constructed sex (shakaiteki bunkateki seibetsu) and assesses the gender-specific allocation of tasks (Mae, 2008). As well as drawing a distinction between biological sex and socially constructed gender, feminist theory has paid particular attention to social inequalities that derive from the division of labor and include intersections with race, ethnicity, and social status. Feminist theorists identify social inequalities that produce disadvantages in health, education, professional opportunities, and women’s self-realization in particular. It is only when these social inequalities are reduced and eventually eliminated that women may be able to realize their potential. Feminist theory seeks to establish gender equality.

Recent governmental efforts to implement gender equality in Japan, on the other hand, are driven less by feminist ideals than by a more utilitarian approach which derives from the economic need to make greater use of women’s potential given the demographic changes.i Political scientist Leonard J. Schoppa remarks that no nation in modern history has ever aged as rapidly as Japan (Schoppa, 2001: 80). Low birthrates and high life expectancies have led to the graying of society. This could be offset by welcoming migrants to Japan. Against the background of an ageing society, the Japanese government has recognized the need to welcome migrants but so far has limited these efforts to highly skilled foreign professionals. In 2012, Japan reformed its immigration policy and introduced a points system for highly skilled foreign professionals on the basis of age, work experience, academic qualifications, annual wages and Japanese language skills (Nakatani, 2013). A significant solution would also be to make better use of women’s potential. As Schoppa observes:

To combat the imminent contraction of its working-age population, Japan should do everything it can to make it easier for the one group that has been underrepresented in its paid labor force (women with children) to continue working. Only half of working-age Japanese women currently hold paying jobs, and the proportion is even lower for mothers. Many of these women look at Japan’s employment system, which offers limited childcare, inadequate parental leave, inflexible schedules, and long hours, and choose work or children, not both. … If Japan is to cope with the aging of its population, it needs many more women to choose both work and children.” (Schoppa, 2001: 80/81)

The Japanese government has reacted to demographic changes through several initiatives that aim for an equal contribution to society by both men and women. The EEOL, the Basic Act for a Gender-Equal Society, and the Third Basic Plan for Gender Equality and together form a comprehensive governmental policy framework towards the implementation of gender equality. These three intertwined policies will be discussed in more detail.

The 1986 Equal Employment Opportunity Law and its Subsequent

In her book Refugees, Women, Weapons: International Norm Adoption and Compliance in Japan  (2009), political scientist Petrice Flowers considers gender equality and women’s employment as one example of the conflict between international and domestic norms in the Japanese context. She argues that Japan’s rapid industrialization coupled with the country’s need to globalize has resulted in a strict division of gender roles within the ie system (the family system introduced in the Meiji period 1868-1912) as well as a distinct understanding of gender. However, despite domestic norms that foster the gender division of labor in which men work outside the home and women work inside the home, the influence of international gender-equality norms did result in the adoption and ratification of CEDAW. The ratification of CEDAW was also due to the efforts of domestic advocates, one of which was an NGO network created by the prominent feminist Ichikawa Fusae, consisting of two million women who strongly supported the CEDAW’s ratification (Flowers, 2009: 78).2

Since the enactment of the EEOL in 1986, it has gone through two major revisions in 1997 and 2006/2007.  The first revision of the EEOL in 1997 targeted discrimination in all stages of employment such as recruiting, hiring, job placement, and promotion. The second revision of the EEOL in 2006/07 required employers to take measures against sexual harassment. Finally, positive action policies also came into effect (Weathers, 2005: 77-8).

Positive action is the Japanese equivalent of affirmative action. In Japanese, the term is either expressed as “pojitibu akushon”, or is addressed as “career advancement of women employees” (josei shain no katsuyaku suishin). One of the aims of positive action policies is to achieve numerical targets regarding the recruitment and promotion of women. The Cabinet Office is aiming to attain the target of “30% by 2020”. This means that in accordance with the Third Plan for Gender Equality (discussed below), the Cabinet Office seeks to implement a range of measures in order to raise the number of recruitments and promotions of women in all areas of professional life such as in parliament, in private corporations, in academia, and in agriculture.3

The following two examples – one example of academia and another one of a private corporation – illustrate the implementation of positive action policies. In 2009, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), initiated a five-year program entitled “Supporting Positive Activities for Female Researchers” with the aim to increase the number of female researchers in science, engineering and agriculture. Altogether twelve national universities adopted this program, among them Kyushu University, which has practiced a female-only recruitment strategy in order to raise the share of female researchers to 13 percent within ten years. Kyushu University is one of the seven imperial national universities. The university is located in Fukuoka and consists of 16 faculties and more than 2,300 faculty members.

The recruitment of female researchers is often tied to benefits such as the provision of additional research funds or funds for hiring or promoting personnel (Jotaki, 2014), but in the case of Kyushu University, a lack of newly recruited female academics led to disadvantages such as the reduction of research funds. The neglect of positive action measures was followed by sanctions. This female-only recruitment strategy was augmented by additional supportive measures such as the provision of childcare facilities at Kyushu University, financial incentives for career advancement and skill-building seminars to strengthen language skills, leadership and the application for research grants. Jotaki (2014) concludes that the implementation of positive action measures did yield positive results. Between 2009 and 2013, altogether 34 female faculty members were appointed in the fields of science, engineering, agriculture, social science and humanities and medicine (Jotaki 2014). However, despite this improvement, the share of female faculty members remains at 11 percent, which is still considered low and requires further implementation of positive action measures.

Another example of the implementation of positive action is the case of IBM Japan. As a leading international IT corporation IBM has been making every effort to show a commitment to diversity management. The implementation of positive action measures is part of diversity management. Positive action measures were implemented at IBM Japan in 1998 and yielded positive results. The share of female employees increased from 13 percent in 1998 to 15.7 percent in 2003. In the same time period, the promotion of women also made progress. Between 1998 and 2003, 290 assistant managers, 67 deputy managers, 85 division managers and 3 female executive members were appointed. Finally, IBM Japan made efforts to improve the retention rate of female employees, which was successful. In 2003, 90 percent of women who had been working for IBM for five years, were still in employment. The share of women who continued working for IBM for more than ten years, stood at 50.9 percent (MHLW 2004a).

However, the EEOL has always been a guideline for private companies rather than a policy enforced by law. Companies that are actively encouraging hiring and promoting women are praised publicly by such organizations as the Women’s Data Yearbook, which lists corporations that have implemented positive action (Women’s Yearbook 2007, p. 30-4). But no penalties are imposed when the guideline is not obeyed. This poses a major problem for effective implementation. Japanese companies have regularly evaded the EEOL by establishing a dual career track which divides all job applicants into two categories: a clerical track (ippan-shoku), for which mostly women apply, and a management track (sogo-shoku), for career-oriented predominantly male employees who are willing to accept a mobility clause and rotational training on the job upon entry a company. This dual career-track system continues to be practiced in order to maintain gender-specific employment conditions, without openly declaring a gender bias.

The revised version of the EEOL in 2006/07, which forbids indirect discrimination, challenges the dual track system. Job advertisements must not contain hiring conditions such as height, weight or the need to possess physical strength. Furthermore, mobility clauses that were part of the “career track” (sogo shoku) can no longer be a condition for hiring. The same is true for national transfer experience, which cannot now be a condition for further career advancement (MHLW, 2007: 20-22; see also Imano, 2006: 43 and 45). Indirect discrimination is defined as follows:  “1) An employer seemingly adopts gender-neutral conditions or criteria and applies these equally to both men and women, but 2) these conditions or criteria result in being disadvantageous for one gender (predominantly for women), and 3) these conditions lack reason or justification, are not based on rational grounds, and are not related to the specific needs of a company” (Shibata, 2007: 179). Another major change introduced by the second revision is the fact that the EEOL now applies to both genders, whereas the EEOL was originally designed to protect the rights of women. Sexual harassment of both genders is now illegal. Layoff of female employees during pregnancy or within one year after the child is born is also illegal. It is the responsibility of the company to prove that pregnancy or childbirth was not the reason for discontinuing employment (Imano, 2006: 46).

The second revision of the EEOL indicates a shift from the EEOL as a tool to protect women from arbitrary dismissals and biased treatment, towards a law which features true gender equality. However, the revisions of the EEOL also need to be seen in the context of a deregulation of the labor market. Since the 1990s, the Japanese labor market has witnessed profound changes. Firstly, payment schemes that are based on individual performance (seikashugi) as opposed to seniority and length of service have gained greater significance. Secondly, neoliberal employment policies such as the reforms of the Labor Dispatch Law (Rodosha haken-ho) have led to an increase of temporary workers who are employed on limited contracts and paid on an hourly basis. Part-time employment is also rising in Japan. In 2010, the overall rate of part-time employees in Japan amounted to 34.3 percent, compared to 16.4 percent in 1985 and 32.6 percent in 2005 (MHLW, 2013: 2).4

The Basic Act for a Gender-Equal Society

The 1999 Basic Act for a Gender-Equal Society (Danjo Kyodo Sankaku Shakai Kihon-Ho), emphasizes the significance of gender equality and sharing of responsibilities, and is designed as a guideline for creating a society in which both men and women participate on an equal basis (Gender Equality in Japan Report, 2007). A gender-equal society under the Basic Act for a Gender-equal Society is very broadly defined as follows:

a ‘society in which both men and women, as equal members, have the opportunity to participate in all kinds of social activities at will, equally enjoy political, economical and cultural benefits, and share responsibilities.’ In such a society, the human rights of men and women are equally respected. Women who desire an active role in society may participate in activities of their own choosing, while men could enjoy a fulfilling home and community life. A gender-equal society is a society built by men and women as equal partners.5

Whereas concrete legal measures such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Law target the recruitment and promotion of both genders in the workplace, the Basic Act for a Gender-equal Society broadly encourages the equally shared participation of both genders in all areas of life, including family and professional life.

The Third Basic Plan for Gender Equality

In contrast to the Basic Act for a Gender-Equal Society, the 2010 Third Basic Plan for Gender Equality concretely responds to women’s low participation rates in faculty and leadership positions, and in other professional roles that require decision making. The Democratic Party government initiated this plan with the aim of raising the participation of women in leadership positions to 30 percent by 2020 through the implementation of positive action programs. The Third Basic Plan – which follows the 1996 Vision of Gender Equality and the 2000 Plan for Gender Equality – pursues three objectives. Firstly, the Third Basic Plan seeks to establish specific numerical targets and deadlines and will monitor the progress towards these targets. Secondly, it aims to eradicate social structures that perpetuate stereotypical assumptions about gender roles and encourages government-wide agencies to work on policies such as work-life balance, child-rearing support, and child and youth support. The third objective of the plan is to implement gender equality measures in accordance with international expectations.6

In accordance with this plan, from 2000 to 2010, national universities throughout Japan started to operate offices for gender equality. The Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office (Naikaku-fu danjo kyodo sankaku-kyoku) provides statistical data on the implementation of gender equality, the promotion of positive action (the Japanese equivalent of affirmative action), and the prevention of domestic violence. Their website also offers an overview of policies related to gender equality and work-life balance, in addition to general statistics on the population, data on employment of men and women in Japan.7 In 2009, the University of Tokyo announced the “Declaration of Gender Equality Acceleration” following the “U7 Joint Declaration on Gender Equality”. The U7 Declaration was endorsed by Japan’s seven imperial universities. The Tokyo University declaration had the objective of ensuring that 25% of all newly hired academic employees were women by 2010. To this end, the University of Tokyo implemented the Todai Model Support Plan “10 Years to Establish a Career”.8 However, a look at the data that the University of Tokyo shows that, as of May 1, 2011, only 62 full professors were women compared with 1,258 male full professors. Overall, out of 3,920 academic staff (which includes professors, associate professors, lecturers, researchers and teachers at affiliated schools) only 10.76 percent (422 persons) were women.9 These data emphasize the dominance of the male academic workforce.

Gender Specific Characteristics of the Japanese Labor Market

Employment and Career Paths of Men and Women 

As of August 2014, 63.34 million Japanese men and women were active in the labor market. 36.35 million men compared to 27.28 million women between 15 and 65 were in employment. As of August 2014, the employment rate of men stood at 72.8 percent, whereas the employment rate of women stood at 63.3 percent (Statistics Bureau, August 2014).

Table 4 – Employment Rates of Men and Women By Age Group [Nenrei kaikyu-betsu rodoryoku jinko], Data of June 2014Source: Somusho Tokei-kyoku[Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications],Rodoryoku chosa (Kihon shukeiHeisei 26nen (2014 nen) 6 gatsu bun [Labour Force Survey (Basic Data), June 2014], accessed on August 6, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kuba Yoshiko (2011) summarizes current concerns regarding CEDAW and the implementation of gender equality, and points out that the employment rate of women has indeed risen from 37 percent in 1985 to 43.5 percent in 2008, and currently stands at 63.3 percent. At first sight, this appears to be a step forward. But according to statistical data compiled by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, employment rates in all age groups remain lower for women than for men.  Furthermore, Kuba (2011) emphasizes that wage discrepancies between men and women prevail despite the legal abolition of indirect discrimination. She also discusses the rise of precarious low-wage part-time employment of women as a consequence of deregulation measures since the beginning of the 1990s that include more flexible working hours and a diversification of employment patterns (discussed below). Her argument is that the abolition of protectionist measures in the second revision of the EEOL resulted in the fact that women and men alike are forced to adjust to the neoliberal mechanisms of the labor market (Kuba, 2011: 11).

Despite the diverse legal measures, the various gender-related indexes discussed earlier make it clear that women’s participation in leadership positions, particularly, is still far below international averages. A special feature by the magazine Toyo Keizai Online entitled “Naze josei ha shussei shinai no ka?” [Why are women not advancing in their careers?], which was published in October 2011, presents the findings of a survey conducted by the Japan Productivity Center among 3,000 companies. Seventy percent of the companies that participated in the survey replied that women’s own attitudes contributed to their lack of career advancement. Even though chances for professional advancement exist, many women do not consider career advancement and/or remaining in employment an attractive or viable option. Many women do not apply for qualified management track positions (sogo-shoku) and instead continue applying for clerical positions (ippan shoku). These positions make it difficult to acquire the necessary knowledge and qualifications for advancing into management positions.

The example of one of the nation’s ten regional power companies in Northern Japan’s Tohoku area, which I investigated in 2007 and 2012, confirms the connection between gender divisions in the education system and gender divisions upon job entry. My research suggests that indirect discrimination in the workforce is not the only issue to consider. Another factor affecting women’s employment opportunities is the lack of technical education for women, which perpetuates a highly gendered workforce and the dominance of male students in subjects like engineering. This company is one of the main employers in the Tohoku region, with 11,167 employees (as of January 2012). The workforce is extremely homogeneous. There are no non-Japanese employees and approximately 90 percent of all employees are recruited from the Tohoku area. Employment at this company remains highly gendered. Only 6.7 percent (813 employees) are women, nearly all of whom work in clerical positions. According to a 2007 interview with the personnel manager, the fact that women in technical positions are a small minority was linked to the low number of women graduates with degrees in engineering. The personnel manager pointed out that the company receives approximately 70 or 80 applications for technical positions every year, but it is only possible to hire one or two persons. Hardly any women apply for technical positions.13

In short, to understand gender divisions in companies, it is essential to consider (among other things) the choices that young men and women make prior to entering the labor market, at the entry into higher education. The Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office (Naikaku-fu danjo kyodo sankaku-kyoku) conducts yearly surveys on women’s participation in society and in the labor market. A closer look at the choice of major subjects upon entry to university depending on gender for the years from 1985 to 2011 reveals that the percentage of male students who decide to study engineering as their major consistently lies between 23 percent and 27 percent, whereas female students prefer subjects like education (17.9 percent in 2011), liberal arts (23.3 percent in 2011) and social sciences (26.2 percent in 2011).14

Women in Academia, Law and Politics 

The international indexes cited earlier confirm that Japanese women are well represented in secondary education, but figures published by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Technology (MEXT) show that gender differences become more profound in professional life. Women in Japan are not only underrepresented in areas like engineering but also in academia, as well as in law and politics.

These data are confirmed by an analysis conducted by Thomson Reuters in collaboration with Times Higher Education. Based on data for 2010, female researchers account for merely 12.7 percent at research-intensive universities in Japan, which is very low by international comparison.15 Japan is one step behind Taiwan where only 21.3 percent of the faculty of universities, are women. According to the various gender indexes, Finland, Australia and New Zealand show a lower gender gap: between 40 percent and 45 percent of faculty members at universities in these countries are women. In the United States, Canada, Spain, France and Sweden, this number is between 35 percent and 40 percent. By comparison, Turkey shows a surprisingly low gender gap; more than 45 percent of the university faculty are women.16

Data provided by MEXT show that the low representation of women in academia in Japan is part of a wider trend in the number of female teachers, which declines as education proceeds to higher levels. While 62 percent of elementary school teachers are female, and almost 50 percent of all teachers at junior colleges are women (MEXT 2012), only 30.3 percent of teachers at high schools and 19.5 percent of university faculties consist of female lecturers, associate or full professors (Gender Information Site, Men and Women in Japan 2011 and MEXT 2012).

Furthermore, only 16.5 percent of all judges and 16.3 percent of lawyers in Japan are women. Women occupy eleven percent of management positions in companies with more than 100 employees. By international comparison with economically strong countries in Europe, Asia and the United States, 38.7 percent of administrative and management positions are occupied by women in France, 43 percent in the United States, while in the Philippines 52.7 percent of managers are women, and in Australia 36.7 percent of all managers are women.17

These findings reinforce those of sociologist Mary Brinton who pointed out that the “rate of high school graduates are virtually identical for the sexes”, but that gender divisions become more prevalent in the higher education system (Brinton, 1993: 200). Brinton made these observations in 1993, but they are still accurate as of 2014. According to data compiled by MEXT, 98.1 percent of all female students advance to high school versus 97.8 percent of all male students. (MEXT, 2012).

But the story is very different when students move from secondary to tertiary education (MEXT, 2012). The higher education system in Japan is divided into four-year universities and two-year universities. 50.3 percent of all male students, as compared to only 44.8 percent of female students, advance to four-year universities (MEXT, 2012). The percentage of female students who enroll in two-year colleges is reported as 88 percent. However, the percentage of both men and women who advance to graduate school has risen, with 7.5 percent women of women graduates advancing to graduate school in 2008 versus 15.5 percent of men (MEXT, 2008). It is important to distinguish between challenges that are embedded in a highly gendered education system and an equally gendered job entrance system, and challenges of combining family life and work that occur at a later stage.

Rise of Part-Time Employment 

As of August 2014, the percentage of women in employment stood at 63.6 percent (Statistics Bureau, August 2014). More than half of all women are active on the labor market. But efforts to promote women’s employment coincided with an expansion of deregulatory measures in the labor market, which is one of the most significant changes on the Japanese labor market that affects both genders and all age groups since the 1990s. Non-regular employment includes part-time work up to 35 hours per week (Broadbent, 2005: 6), temporary work, dispatched work, contract work and work that is done from the home.  In 2010, the overall rate of non-regular employees (hi-seiki shain) in Japan was 34.3 percent, compared to 16.4 percent in 1985, 32.6 percent in 2005, and 35.5 percent in 2007 (MHLW, 2013a: 2).18  The Employment Status Survey of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications revealed that the share of non-regular employees (out of 53,537,000 employed persons) had further risen to 38 percent in 2012. The share of women, who find themselves in part-time employment, increased from 51.1 percent in 2004 to 55.1 percent in 2007, and further to 54.4 percent in 2012 (Somusho tokei-kyoku [Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications], 2013: 3). In contrast, 22.2 percent were male part-timers in 2012 compared to 19.8 percent in 2007  (Somusho tokei-kyoku [Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications], 2012).

Non-regular employment has many disadvantages and often results in salaries that are as low as two million yen or even less for 60 to 70 percent of women who work part-time (Kuba, 2011: 9).19 Kuba (2011) emphasizes the fact that wage discrepancies between men and women prevail despite the legal abolition of indirect discrimination. She interprets the rise of precarious low-wage part-time employment of women as a consequence of deregulation measures since the beginning of the 1990s that include more flexible working hours and a diversification of employment patterns. Her argument is that the abolition of protectionist measures in the second revision of the EEOL resulted in the fact that women and men alike are forced to adjust to the neoliberal mechanisms of the labor market (Kuba, 2011: 11).

There are companies that choose to limit the number of part-time employees and temporary employees. A European-Japanese mail-order house in Tokyo, which I investigated in 2007 and 2012, in 2007 reduced the number of part-time employees significantly and abolished the independent contract employee system in accord with the demands of the European headquarters. 22 percent of all mangers are women, and the company applies a family friendly policy that encourages the long-term participation of women workers. However, this reduction of part-time employees could only be achieved due to the fact that an in-house call center was relocated to Thailand, which is yet another form of neoliberal employment policy. In 2007, the Tokyo branch of the company had 400 mostly part-time operators (90 percent of whom were women) who worked at the call center for a limited number of hours. Ten temporary employees were also employed, in addition to 30 independent contract workers who were directly hired for specific projects such as designing a new catalogue. As of January 2012, the main workforce consisted of 185 employees with less than 100 part-time employees.

Gender Specific Wage Discrepancies 

Deregulation has led not only to unstable work conditions but also to low salaries. As stated earlier, in 2012 Japan had a Gender Gap Index 0.60 in terms of wage equality. Data for full-time employees during the year 2007 compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) show that men and women have fairly equal incomes at the beginning of their work lives while they are in their early twenties, but that income discrepancies between men and women increase from their mid-twenties and reach a peak around age fifty as shown by the graph below.

Table 5 - Income Discrepancies between Men and Women for Full-time Employees (Unit 1000 yen)

Source: MHLW 2007b.

The Labor Standards Law (LSL) prohibits gender discrimination in wages: “An employer shall not practice discrimination with respect to wages solely based upon the worker’s sex” (Fukui Prefectural Government, 2004). Yet, according to the report about gender specific wage differences released by the MHLW, female-male wage differentials continue to exist in Japan. Wage discrepancies have gradually decreased in Japan since 1986 from 59.7 percent in 1986 and to 69.8 percent in 2009 (MHLW, 2010), but remain high by international comparison. According to the MHLW, women earned 80.2 percent of the wages of their male counterparts in the United States in 2007, as compared with 76.8 per cent in England in 2004, and 74.1 percent in France in 2002 (MHLW, 2008: 5). Another reason for gender-specific wage differences is the fact that fewer women than men get promoted to higher levels of management regardless of the number of years in service to a company, whereas for men there is a stronger correlation between the number of years they have worked for a company and the position they acquire in higher management (MHLW, 2008: 3).

Combining Work and Childcare 

Childcare poses a particular challenge to women in the workforce. Kuba (2011) has argued that while childcare used to be a private matter it is increasingly being addressed by public institutions. Considering the challenges to modern Japanese society, private matters such as reproduction, childcare, and shared household responsibilities between married couples have become part of the public discourse.

A survey conducted by the National Institute of Population and Security Research in 2009 underscored the difficulty of women continuing to work after the birth of a child. During the years from 2005 to 2009, only 26.8 percent of the respondents returned to the workplace after the birth of the first child; 17.1 percent did so after taking advantage of parental leave, while 9.7 percent did not use parental leave. 43.9 percent discontinued working upon the birth of the first child, whereas 24.1 percent were not in employment before their pregnancies began.20 According to a survey conducted by Mitsubishi Research and Consulting in 2008, reasons for quitting work upon the birth of the first child included the wish to dedicate time to household and children (39 percent), while 26.1 percent of respondents found it difficult to combine work and family life due to unsuitable working hours, an unfavorable atmosphere in the workplace which did not encourage working mothers or the lack of parental leave options. Nine percent of the respondents replied that they had been encouraged by their employers to leave their jobs upon the birth of a child.21

Pressures about returning to the workplace pose a particular challenge since childcare facilities have fixed enrolment times each year in April, with application periods ending in December of the previous year. Due to these time restrictions, returning to the workplace has to be carefully planned. An interview which I conducted in March 2012 with an employee in her mid-thirties who works at a mail-order company in Tokyo illustrates the point. This informant chose to quit working for her former employer, an international high-end fashion company, who pressured employees to return to the workplace after only two months of childcare leave. Before starting motherhood she decided to move to her current employer, a mail-order company in Tokyo, which was founded in 1986 as a German-Japanese joint venture. The company’s emphasis is on women’s fashion; customers mainly consist of women and so does the workforce. Approximately, 60 percent of all employees are women. In contrast to her previous employer, this employer offers more support for working mothers by allowing for one-year childcare leave with the option to extend it for an additional six months. This employer also enables mothers to enjoy shorter working hours from 9:30 to 16:30 until the child is 3 years old. After a period of three years, employees are expected to return to the standard working hours from 9:30 until 18:00.

Fathers also struggle with balancing work and family life. Data compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) reveal that more than a third of all men would like to use childcare leave (ikuji gyugyo), but the actual numbers of fathers who actually do take childcare leave remains low although numbers have slightly increased from 0.42 percent of men who took childcare leave in 1999 to 1.56 percent in 2007 and to 2.63 percent in 2011.22Furthermore, the involvement of men in daily household duties and childcare remains low. Data provided by the OECD and MHLW indicate that there are various ways of defining the content of housework and childcare. According to data on time spent in unpaid work and leisure, figures for 2011 for Japan indicate that men spent 31 minutes per day on routine housework and care for household members whereas women spend 225 minutes per day on housework and family care (OECD, 2011). In contrast, data provided by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) for 2011 suggest that fathers of children below the age of 6 years spent 67 minutes per day on childcare and household work.23 Hiring a babysitter is not common in Japan, and due to immigration hurdles, foreign-born nannies are rare (Tabuchi, New York Times 2013).

Some employers pledge to uphold a work-life balance along with the implementation of gender equality, as the University of Tokyo has done by pledging to “welcome applications from women for teaching and research positions, proactively recruit female researchers on the basis of fair assessment, and encourage work-life balance by holding no official meetings after 5 pm” (University of Tokyo, 2009). Moreover, mothers can take breaks for nursing their babies, finish work early or work flextime.

Institutionalized Childcare 

Childcare in Japan is multidimensional and divided into four main categories: 1) parental care, 2) private networks, 3) institutionalized childcare, and 4) alternative forms of childcare (Holthus, 2011: 209).

Institutionalized childcare in Japan can be categorized into a) licensed day care centers (ninka), b) non-licensed day care centers (mu-ninka) and c) kindergartens (Abe, 2010: 30). Abe (2010) points out the differences between licensed and non-licensed daycare centers. These are divided between public and private institutions, but all of them need to fulfill the minimum requirements by the MHLW with respect to child-staff ratio and the number of children enrolled. Only if these requirements are met, can licensed daycare centers receive subsidies from local governments, which is the major difference between licensed and non-licensed childcare facilities. There are significant differences with regards to cost; a progressive structure of fees enable less well-off households to pay less for licensed daycare centers, whereas non-licensed day care centers are not subsidized, more expensive and do not take parental income into account  (Abe, 2010: 31). Apart from cost, another major difficulty with regards to licensed daycare centers is the scarcity of available places. This problem is accurately captured with the term hokatsu – parents’ hunt for an appropriate childcare facility. Abe (2010) observes that many parents use non-licensed day care facilities as a temporary solution while waiting to enroll their child in a licensed day care center (Abe, 2010: 31).

A major difference between day care centers and kindergartens is cost. Whereas licensed day care centers offer full-day care for working mothers, and range from 20,000 yen to 40,000 yen per month, kindergartens are available to homemakers’ children, mainly provide part-time care, and cost up to 30,000 yen per month. Daycare centers offer full-day care from 8:30 am to 6 pm with a late night pick-up time at 8:15 pm (some hoikuen take care of children until as late as 10 pm.). In contrast, kindergartens mainly offer part-time care, usually from 9 am to 2:30 pm. Yochien care remains under the authority of the MEXT and offers care for children between the ages of three and six, whereas hoikuen care (under the authority of MHLW), offers enrollment to children between the ages of less than one year old and six years (Abe 2010: 31-31, see also Holthus, 2011: 211).

Table 6 – Overview of Institutionalized Child Care in JapanAdapted from Abe (2010), Holthus (2011), Tokyo daigaku de kosodate[Childcare at Tokyo University], accessed on August 6, 2014, and personal interviews conducted in March 2012 and September 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A personal interview I conducted in September 2012 with an academic who is employed at a private university in Tokyo revealed the significance of a combination of favorable and flexible employment conditions and private networks. After completing a PhD and commencing an academic career, this interviewee was able to secure tenure at age 35 and became the mother of a baby boy at 41 years of age. After the birth of her son, she took eight weeks of parental leave, but with the support of her employer was able to combine parental leave and research through a sabbatical, which followed the initial period of parental leave. In addition to support from her employer, she was able to balance childcare and academic research with the help of a family network, including her sister and her parents-in-law living an hour away. Yet, despite a close-knit support system, this interviewee mentioned the difficulties she and her husband had in finding a suitable childcare facility for their son. Earlier, mention was made of the ambitious plans of Prime Minister Abe to improve the precarious day care shortage. In September 2013, the MHLW released the “Acceleration plan to resolve the situation of waiting children” (Taiki jido kaisho kasokuka puran) with the goal of creating 200,000 new day care places for children by 2015 and 200,000 more by March 2018 (MHLW, 2013c; see also Otake 2014).

Apart from day-care centers, alternative forms of childcare include support organizations such as a babysitter-service for working parents whose children are sick. One particular support organization is run by an NGO called Florence, which dedicates their services to childcare for sick children and to single parent households.24 This organization offers services until 9 pm at night (byoji hoiku) and employs qualified childcare professionals (hoikushi). Parents pay a one-time fee of 6,000 yen or 7,000 yen. After paying this basic fee, one day a month of babysitter service is free. Starting from the second day, parents can pay anywhere from 10,000 yen or more per day, and can order a registered childcare professional online the night prior to the day that they desire service. In urgent cases, service is made immediately available for requests as sudden as 8 am the same day.

In conclusion, Japan offers a high-quality institutionalized childcare system, but there are many pitfalls that make hokatsu - the hunt for an adequate childcare facility – difficult and time-consuming. Licensed day care centers – the most affordable and flexible facilities – are rare, which forces parents to resort to family networks or to consider alternative options that are more costly and offer only half-day care. The lack of appropriate childcare facilities, in particular in metropolitan areas such as Tokyo, remains a particular problem for young mothers who wish to combine childcare and work.

The Ongoing Quest for Gender Equality

On paper, the EEOL remains a powerful tool for implementing gender equality, in particular after the two revisions of the law in 1997 and 2006/2007 that signify a recognizable shift from a focus on women to a focus on gender. However, there are significant problems with the EEOL. One is its lack of effective implementation. To this day, corporations that do not comply with the law do not have to fear sanctions. The EEOL retains the character of a guideline. So, as we have seen, structural factors such as gendered role divisions, a gendered education system, a two-track career system, and gender specific wage discrepancies all remain in place. Childcare places are in short supply, and maternal care, which dominates the first years of childcare, leads to the temporary withdrawal of women from the labor market.

Against the background of widespread concern about the falling birthrate, the rhetoric surrounding gender equality has shifted from a need to conform to international expectations to a long-term integration of both genders into the workplace and to managing family responsibilities (Huen, 2007). The positive effect of this utilitarian approach is the fact that a discussion of work-life balance and shared responsibilities between men and women in the workplace and in the family is finally taking place. Matters that used to be private affairs have now become the center of public attention.

But the negative side of this approach is the visible lack of genuine effort to create a gender-equal society. The sexism and conservatism women like Rina Bovrisse and Shiomura Ayaka have had to endure show that Japanese society remains deeply gender biased. This cannot be overcome by improving gender equality policies alone; the attitude towards women who take active roles in all levels of society needs to change. So far, Abe’s effort to promote women has fallen short and is not motivated by a long-term commitment to gender equality, regardless of demographic developments. A shift towards a sincere acknowledgement of gender equality is essential to bring about change. As long as gender equality is not perceived as a universal right but as a response to economic or demographic pressures, gender equality will not proceed successfully despite the progress of legal measures.

However, it is also essential to investigate the motivation and desire of women who work and women who combine work and family life. For instance, would women opt for a career in management – if they had the choice – or are administrative jobs more attractive since they leave more time for childcare? Further research of women’s desires to combine paid work and family responsibilities might reveal a different understanding of gender equality which may counter the ideal of fully equally shared participation of both genders in the workplace and the family.

Recommended citation: Stephanie Assmann, “Gender Equality in Japan: The Equal Employment Opportunity Law Revisited,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 44, No. 2, November 10,2014.

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to all my interview partners for the time and information made available to me. I also wish to thank Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Sebastian Maslow and Barbara Holthus for very helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article. I also thank Professor Mark Selden for insightful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript.

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Toyo Keizai Online (2011), Naze josei ha shussei shinai no ka [Why are women not advancing in their careers?], accessed on 12th October 2011.

Tsujimura, Miyoko (2011), Pojitebu Akushon. Hni yoru byodo” no giho [Positive Action. “Equality through Law”], Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.

University of Tokyo (ed.) (2009), Declaration of Gender Equality Acceleration. Retrieved on 4th December 2011.

University of Tokyo, Licensed childcare facilities and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Certified Daycare Facilities, accessed on 9th April, 2013.

Weathers, C. (2005), In Search of Strategic Partners: Japan’s Campaign for Equal Opportunity, Social Science Japan Journal, 8(1), pp. 66-89.

Worsley, K., ‘Uniqlo to Switch up to 5,000 Part-time Workers to Full-Time Status’, Japan Economy News & Blog, 6 March, 2007, accessed on 28th April 2009.

Notes

1 For a critical discussion of the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index, see Inaki Permanyer (2013), “A critical assessment of UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index” in: Feminist Economics 19 (2): 1-32.

2 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Gender Inequality Index (GII), accessed on 13th August 2014.

3 Social Watch. Power Eradication and Gender Justice (2013), Measuring Gender Inequity: The 2012 Gender Equity Index, accessed on 8th April 2013.

4 For an overview of feminist theories in politics, see Judith Lorber (2010).

5 In her “Promotion of Positive Action: aiming to attain the target of 30% by 2020,” Tsujimura Miyoko (2011) investigates the reason for the lack of gender equality and the need for positive action through international comparisons. Also Kuba Yoshiko (2011) on the EEOL’s 25-year anniversary, reflects on the advancement of gender equality in Japan, pointing out that the pertinent issue has moved beyond the basic need for self-actualization to become a necessity in light of pressing demographic changes. Michiko Mae (2008) reflects on gender equality in relation to the development and advancement of a participatory civil society. Not Mae Michiko, right? Accessed on 20th October 2014.

7 According to data compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, non-regular employment includes part-time work, jobs (arubaito), dispatch work and contract-based work and other non-defined forms of part-time employment. (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, 2013).

Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet Office (Ed.), Gender Information Site, accessed on 9th January 2009.

9 See the summary of the Third Basic Pan for Gender Equality, accessed on July 14, 2014.

10 Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office (Naikaku-fu danjkyodsankaku-kyoku), accessed on 15th April 2013.

11 The University of Tokyo. (2009) Declaration of Gender Equality Acceleration. Accessed on 18th October 2014.

12 University of Tokyo. (2011) University of Toyko staff statistics. Accessed on 18th October 2014.

13 Personal Interview with Recruitment Manager on 31st October 2007.

14 Figures for male students for these subjects are as follows: Between 40 percent and 46 percent of all male students chose social sciences as their major subject. Between 10 percent and 12 percent of all male students chose natural sciences and agricultural science.

15 Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet Office (Ed.) (2011), Women and Men in Japan 2011, page 23, last accessed on 4th December 4, 2011.

16 The analysis of the global gender index is based on data collected for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Only countries with four or more universities in the top 400 universities were included. For details, see Grove, Jack (2013), Global Gender Index 2013, Times Higher Education, accessed on August 6, 2014.

17 Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. “Toward Active Participation of Women as the Core of Growth Strategies.” White Paper, 2013. Accessed August 15, 2014.

18 According to data compiled by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, non-regular employment includes part-time work, jobs (arubaito), dispatch work and contract-based work and other non-defined forms of part-time employment. (Somushtokei-kyoku [Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications] 2013).

19 The reform of the EEOL coincides with the revision of the part-time law (tan-jikan rodosha no koykanri no kaizen-nado ni kansuru horitsu) in June 2006. The part-time law, enacted in 1993, defines part-time work as 35 working hours per week (Broadbent, 2005, p. 6). The reformed part-time law stipulates that part-time workers who do the same work as full-time employees must earn the same wages and prohibits discriminatory treatment of part-time employees (sabetsuteki taigno kinshi). The reformed law also requires the promotion of temporary employees to regular employees (sei shain-ka sokushin). There are corporations in Japan that have adopted this principle such as the casual wear retailer Fast Retailing that promoted 5,000 salespeople who had been employed under temporary or fixed-term contracts to permanent positions (Worsley 2007, The Nikkei Weekly, 23rd April 2007).

20 Kokuritsu shakai hoshjinko mondai kenkyujo [National Institute of Population and Security Research], Dai 14 kai shusse dokkihon chosa (fufu chosa) [14th Basic Survey on Career Motivations (Survey on Married Couples)], accessed on 13th August 2014.

21 For detailed results of this survey, see: Mitsubishi UF Research and Consulting (ed.) (2009), Heisei 20 nendo ryoritsu shien ni kakawaru shomondai ni kansuru sogoteki chosa kenky(kosodate-ki no danjo he no anketo chosa oyobi tanjikan kinmu seido nado ni kansuru kigyintabychosa) [Comprehensive Research Survey on various problems concerning the support for combining work and childcare for the year 2008 (Questionnaire survey targeting men and women on parental leave and interview survey on corporations concerning a reduced working hour system), March 2009, p. 55.

22 Kosei Rodosho (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) (MHLW) (2011), Shigoto to katei no ryoritsu no genjo [Present Situation of Combining Work and Household], accessed on 12th August 2014.

23 Kosei Rodosho (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) (MHLW) (2011), Shigoto to katei no ryoritsu no genjo [Present Situation of Combining Work and Household], accessed on 12th August 2014.

24 For details of the organization Florence, see their website, accessed on 8th April 2013.

A friend who lives in Ukraine sent me this message a few hours ago:

“I got a call from Donestsk the other day asking me if I knew anything about a bomb that sucks the air out of a room or building and tears people up in the process. Granted it was only part of what happened. A fireball followed.

The survivors had left the room and had two structural walls between them and the detonation site. It was probably a small bomb/missile, but the only type I know of as a possible explanation is a thermobaric or vacuum bomb. Have you heard of any other weapon that can do this?

Also, there is a rumor about SCUD missiles, which Ukraine was supposed to have demolished 20 years ago. People say that they are being deployed to Donbass. Do you know anything about this?”

A genocide is going on, but it’s supported by the West, and so Americans and Europeans aren’t learning much about it from the standpoint of its victims (the residents of Ukraine’s southeast). Perhaps that’s why there aren’t calls for war-crimes trials about the genocide.

Here’s the background (for those who don’t already know it):

Southeastern Ukraine had voted overwhelmingly in 2010 for the President who was overthrown by a violent coup on 22 February 2014, and so the coup-imposed Government is trying to kill them, to clear the land from them but keep their territory; it calls those people “terrorists” for their rejecting this coup-imposed Government, but the reason they reject it isn’t only because it was imposed in a violent coup against the man for whom they had overwhelmingly voted, but also because this new Government is trying to get rid of the people who live there, to clear the land from them, to get them off of Ukraine’s voter-rolls. This new coup-imposed Government wants to remain in power, through future ‘democratic’ ‘elections,’ without needing to worry about these voters, enough of whom will then be gone so that this Government can stay, no matter whom its personnel are.

Ukraine, even before the February 2014 coup, was the most far-right country in all of Europe and the former Soviet Union, but now, with so many of the voters in its least-conservative region (the southeastern) gone, this extremist rightwing Government will probably last. However, they want to get rid of yet more of them, just to play it safe.

So, the civil war between the Government and those residents is continuing. That Government has already held elections within the areas it’s not bombing, elections in order to claim that they’re not the same government as the violently coup-imposed one — that they’re a democratically elected government instead. However, it has the same people, who are the politicians that received their electoral support in the northwestern half of Ukraine. There was little or no voting held in much of the southeast. So, this is actually a sectional war, an ongoing civil war, with the northwest bombing the southeast. The oligarchs in the northwest want their land, but want to get rid of the people who live on it. And this is being called “pro-Western.”

Ukraine’s civil war started on May 2nd. That was when the newly installed post-22-February-2014-coup-imposed Ukrainian Government made unequivocally clear, via a shocking massacre, that the people who live in the regions which had voted overwhelmingly for the former Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, needed to be either dead, or otherwise gone — but, in either case, absent from Ukraine, and gone from Ukraine’s voter-rolls. The pro-Western, anti-Russian, Ukrainians who carried out this massacre inside the Trade Unions Building in Odessa on May 2nd, by burning alive the people who had been encamped there circulating literature against the new Ukrainian regime that Obama in his February 2014 coup in Kiev had imposed upon Ukraine, called themselves the “Right Sector.” And here is their preferred way of killing people, which they had practiced at and even before their coup, but now yet more systematically during this May 2nd massacre (and, this time, you can see it in the context it’s viewed at youtube):

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 3.46.26 PM

disturbing image: click to enlarge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whqQCx6RXkY

The people who did what’s shown in that picture are called “Right Sector,” because they belong to the far-right Ukrainian political party of that name, who constitute one of two racist-fascist, or nazi, parties that Obama installed into control over Ukraine in February of this year.

Ukraine’s other nazi party is called “Svoboda” or “Freedom,” a name that the CIA had given to them them in 2004 (based on the appeal in the West of the concept of “Libertarianism” or “Freedom”) in order to avoid PR problems with their original name, which was overtly fascist, the “Nationalist Social” Party, inverted from Hitler’s “National Socialist,” or the original German, “Nazi,” Party. Another reason for the name-change was that the U.S. had waged war during the 1940s against Germany’s nazis and other fascists, and so the U.S. as of 2004 didn’t want to be publicly known as pro-nazi (pro racist-fascist) (though that’s what it evidently has become). The Bush-Obama Administrations wanted to hide the fact that they had hired nazis for the years, building up to both the February coup and this May massacre. At least in the U.S. and Europe, they hid it (though a few scholars noticed it).

The person who largely funded the massacre was a Ukrainian oligarch, Ihor Kolomoysky, who hired in Washington Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and a few other bright young people associated with high U.S. officials. (Joe Biden is a big supporter of Ukraine’s coup-regime.) For all these people it was a potentially very lucrative business deal, having to do with gas-deposits in southeastern Ukraine, and possibly also with stock-investments in ‘defense’ firms. But for the lower-level nazis who carried out the dirty-work, this was done as much for the fun of it as it was for the pay of it ($5,000 per corpse, paid by Kolomoysky).

Indeed, the crowd outside the burning Trade Unions Building cheered just moments after a pregnant woman in one of the upper floors was raped and screamed and was then promptly strangled to death with an electrical cord. Immediately after this rape-murder, someone (perhaps the rapist’s buddy) stuck a big Ukrainian flag out the adjoining window, and that’s when the crowd cheered. And when people jumped from upper floors to the hard ground below to escape the flames and the choking smoke, they were immediately batted to death by eager nazis waiting below with bats, so that medics would be able to save as few of them as possible.

The Right Sector’s leader is Dmitry Yarosh, who is a rabid hater of all ethnic Russians (which is why Obama and congressional Republicans support him — he gets the job done for them [and for their campaign donors] in Ukraine). In fact, Yarosh is on the wanted-list by Interpol for his having incited fundamentalist Islamic Chechens to wage a war to separate the Chechen region of Russia from the rest of Russia. (Yarosh loves separatists in Russia, but hates separatists in his own Ukraine.) TIME  Magazine said, in its 4 February 2014 interview with Yarosh, that “His ideology, it seems, is just too toxic to let him in the room,” and that the U.S. State Department thus told him to keep quiet, though he was undoubtedly crucial to the ultimate success of their coup on February 22ndTIME’s interviewer wrote, “He has clearly grown tired of being the movement’s anonymous enforcer.” Immediately after February 22nd, Yarosh was the enforcer whose troops terrorized members of Ukraine’s parliament or “Rada” to approve the new government, which had been secretly selected early in February by Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Asia, Victoria Nuland, telling America’s Ambassador in Kiev whom to appoint. The person at the new Government’s top was to be Arseniy Yatsenyuk, or “Yats” as she called him; and “Yats” promptly set about to assemble a government of mainly nazis but also some fascists (or non-racist right-wing extremists). Yarosh’s Right Sector continued to be the main enforcers in the new Government, because they really love to torture and kill people. (Most of the merely conscripted soldiers don’t; many go AWOL once the see what they are doing.)

Months later, here is what Yarosh’s people did to ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s southeastern region, who were trying to protect themselves and their families by serving in the newly formed separatist army against Yarosh’s and Obama’s new nazi Ukrainian regime:

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 2.15.33 PM

disturbing image: click to enlarge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n38VbhRHmPE#t=161

Different videographer, different part of Ukraine, different event, different time, same modus-operandi — torture, then burning to death — and same basic reason: these people wanted to save themselves and their families from being treated this way by nazis whose passion is hatred of ethnic Russians. However, the people who were destroyed in the first picture were civilians, but the people who were destroyed in the second one were volunteer fighters against nazis, and were presumably armed when caught.

Here is how the great American war reporter George Eliason, who now lives in that region, describes that particular scene:

“When these groups, or some of the Ukrainian National Guard forces, take prisoners, torture and murder has generally followed. … When murdered prisoners are found, their pants as shown in this photo are at their ankles. It has been confirmed that the Ukrainians are sodomizing war prisoners with spray foam. This causes their lower intestine to burst and the abdominal cavity to be filled with hardening foam. The pain is extreme.” Eliason adds that they use other tortures, too: “War prisoners are still being dragged behind vehicles until there is little left to recognize [whom or even what] they were.”

The intense hatred that Ukraine’s nazis have toward ethnic Russians is clear; it’s also the reason why many ethnic Russians are escaping en-masse into Russia, for refuge. (That serves Obama’s needs just as well as killing them does; he simply wants those voters not to remain inside Ukraine, because otherwise his regime won’t be able to win Ukrainian national elections; he wouldn’t achieve nazi, anti-Russian, stability there; so, the U.S. would lose control over Ukraine. Obama and the Republicans want to place nuclear missiles there, right next door to Russia, much like the Soviet leader wanted to do to the U.S. during the Cuban Missile Crisis.) Eliason’s report includes video taken on November 5th of a team of nazi troops laughing and making merry as they prepare to release their rapid-fire rocket-launchers randomly onto Donetsk, to maim and kill as many people, and destroy as many buildings, as possible. Then, too, Eliason links to the news report by the independent journalist Graham Phillips in Donetsk, who managed to video at the morgue one of the nazis’ kills, a Donetsk child.

In the first still here, from Graham Phillips’s video, is seen a huge gash on the corpse’s right arm and another on the right side of what had been the right side of the former-child’s chest; the second picture shows a huge gash in its left side, as well as two shrapnel holes into what had been the child’s chest:

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 6.53.11 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUp0bj77Nj0#t=22

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 6.54.33 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUp0bj77Nj0#t=22

It seems that a big piece of shrapnel ripped straight through from one side of this child’s chest to the other.

On June 1st, the press secretary to Yarosh, Borislav Bereza, posted to Facebook the new Government’s plans for the southeast. An English translation was posted of it on November 6th. Here are excerpts from that translation:

“What I am going to say is brutal, but honest. … There is only one solution to the problem [in the southeast] — a full-scale military operation.

Phase one — a locality is surrounded, through loudspeakers population is notified to leave the territory in 1-3 days, after which all remaining will be declared accessory to the enemy. …

Phase 2 — the city will be subject to massive attack with heavy weaponry.

Phase 3 — … the final phase of the operation [like Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’]. Targeted strikes against the city. …

You will say it’s harsh? It’s absolutely necessary.

Otherwise in a couple of months it [opposition to Obama’s February coup in Ukraine] will metastasize in other regions [where Yanukovysh received, say, only 70% to 80% of the vote]. Therefore an urgent surgical operation is needed [to remove the malignancy, the spots where he received more than 80%]. Those who want to be human shields for the occupants [in the regions that in 2010 had voted over 80% for the man whom Obama’s coup in 2014 overthrew] are not brainwashed citizens of Ukraine, but are traitors helping a foreign invader [Russia]. These people have always been eliminated. … There are no other solutions to the problem in Eastern Ukraine. … If [the newly elected but only in Ukraine's northwest, President, Petro] Poroshenko wants to go down in history as a person who brought peace [like Hitler’s Thousand-Year Reich was to be a reign of peace] to the country and preserved its territorial integrity, then he will give that order.”

Poroshenko gave that order.

On June 4th, NATO headlined, “Press conference, by the acting Minister of Defence of Ukraine Mykhailo Koval following the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Defence Ministers session.”

Minister Koval met privately with NATO chiefs, and held a public press conference afterward. He opened by noting that, “The Defence ministers of the allied countries who spoke at the meeting unanimously supported Ukrainian authorities, Ukrainian Armed Forces and security forces engaged into antiterrorist operation in the east of Ukraine.” In other words: NATO endorses the ethnic cleansing.

He said that he had, “informed colleagues about practical steps taken by the antiterrorist operation command aimed at extermination of criminal groups in the east of Ukraine.”

He said that though “Ukrainian authorities ordered the participants of the antiterrorist operation that no civilian person should suffer as a result of that operation, it is extremely difficult to conduct all these operations, and I should tell you the commanders of the antiterrorist operation give commands to liquidate some groups.” He didn’t specify what “groups,” but at least one of them was obvious: ethnic Russians.

Ukraine was not yet (and still is not) a NATO member-nation; nonetheless, he said: “We today received the most important, the total support of the whole Alliance. As I told you 21 ministers spoke and all supported us. It is very important for us.” So, he was reaffirming that NATO gave them a go on the ethnic-cleansing operation.

On June 11th, an “Anti-Maidan” or anti-ethnic-cleansing, site posted to youtube excerpts from previously unpublished press-conference Q&A-session statements by Koval, made perhaps at that NATO event. This was titled “Secretary of Defense [Mikhailo Koval] About Concentration Camp for Eastern Ukraine People.”

He was shown saying:

“There will be a thorough filtration of people. There will be special filtration measures put in place. We will filter out people, including women, who are linked to separatism, who were committing crimes on Ukrainian territory, crimes related to terrorist activities. We have a lot of information regarding this, and we have a formidable framework to combat this, and respective power structures will carry out this operation. Besides, this is a serious issue, related to the fact that people will be resettled to other regions.”

On June 16th, the pro-Government Kyiv Post reported that the property of the people in Ukraine’s Donbass, the southeast, will be confiscated, and

“Land parcels will be given out for free to the servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military formations, as well as to the employees of Interior Ministry and the Security Service of Ukraine that are defending territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country in eastern and southeastern regions of Ukraine.”

That’s their euphemism for the ethnic cleansing, and mass-theft. In other words, Obama’s rulers of Ukraine are offering their soldiers the opportunity to grab legally the property of their victims. Ukraine doesn’t have the money to pay for all the soldiers that are needed to do this ethnic cleansing; so, those soldiers are being promised war-booty, instead. Sort of like paying them by tips: but with the bigger tips going to the killers with the most (or biggest) scalps.

When people in the area of the ethnic cleansing managed to shoot down one of the regime’s planes and its 49 soldiers who were in the process of perpetrating it, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk himself vowed revenge, by using clear nazi language: ”They lost their lives …  in a situation facing a threat to be killed by invaders [i.e., by the residents, not by those troops from the northwest that they shot down] and sponsored by subhumans [presumably meaning Russians],” he said. “First, we will commemorate the heroes [the exterminators] by wiping out those who killed them and then by cleaning our land from the evil.” However, of course, that’s what he was already doing (“cleaning” the land), which is the reason why that plane was shot down in the first place: those troops were invaders and killers, instead of heroes.

TV commercial was running on Ukrainian TVs this summer, in which the chief local agricultural pest (the Colorado beetle), which Ukraine’s far-right frequently uses in order to symbolize the country’s Russian-speakers, is portrayed destroying crops and then being exterminated as the solution to the problem in Ukraine. The symbolism used there is immediately understandable to Ukrainians, though (and this is one reason it’s used, since they are advised by our CIA) not so easily understandable to people outside that country. Propaganda like this helps to rouse the racist nationalist sentiment to make them “exterminators,” heroes to their fellow-racist-nationalist haters of people whose native language is Russian. (At first, the nazis tried to outlaw the speaking of Russian, but that didn’t work out because Russian is the predominant language in Ukraine.)

The United States Government is united behind this ethnic-cleansing campaign. America’s news media refer to it in the same way that the client-nation, Ukraine, does: as an “Anti-Terrorist Operation,” or “ATO” for short. Our people are killing only “terrorists,” like we are doing inside Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, and other Islamic-majority countries. (But there, at least, we have been trying to target actual terrorists, not the general population of the area. So, while that might have been wrong to do, or perhaps even counter-productive, it isn’t blatantly a war-crime.) The dominant myth says that we have somehow been attacked by non-Islamic, even Christian, “terrorists.” They want to live; too bad for them, then. And there is no UN, no EU,, no one actually but the Russian Government, that cares — and even Russia can’t fight the whole world, to stop what used to proudly call itself “the Free World,” when Russia wasn’t part of that — and now nothing in the West seems any longer even to be that. Everything in the West seems to be now only a charade of that.

But it is Russia, and not the United States, that is being condemned and sanctioned. Furthermore, U.S. President Obama and the European leaders who participated in this genocide or “ethnic cleansing,” have slammed Russia with even steeper economic sanctions, to punish Russia for the downing of a civilian airliner that one or two Ukrainian Air Force warplanes actually shot down, targeting directly into the pilot’s stomach and leaving a huge hole from the approximately one thousand bullets fired directly into his belly.

All of this — from the “false flag” coup, to the “false flag” airliner-shoot-down — were like Hitler’s burning of the Reichstag building and blaming of it upon “the communists.” Except, this time, it’s being blamed on “the Russians.” And, this time, it’s the U.S. that’s leading the nazi and the lesser fascist forces, rather than warring against them. This time, Washington created the nazi and fascist attacks. And Europe, the IMF, and NATO, have been following along and adding muscle to Obama’s crimes.

But, after all, Obama is a ‘liberal,’ and he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Hitler wasn’t so successful. But Hitler created the ideology, which Obama only applies in Ukraine. This is Hitler’s posthumous victory, in what seems to be (at least from the ideological standpoint) an ongoing World War II, which we can only hope won’t morph into World War III (inasmuch as Obama and NATO are actually targeting Russia here).

On November 7th, the website “Ukraine Crisis Updates: Unfiltered news from ordinary people in Ukraine,” bannered “USA to train Ukrainians to fight people of Donetsk in cold weather,” and reported, from Lviv, which is a particularly far-rightwing Ukrainian city:

“United States government is getting ready to train Ukrainian military and punitive battalions in winter combat techniques before the end of the year. The goal is to make Ukrainians more efficient in killing people of Donetsk and Lugansk in cold weather.

Training will take place in Starichi educational center in western Ukraine – sources say. Starichi is localted in Yavrov military polygon in Lviv region.

American government will train a group of Ukrainians who will serve as instructors within Ukrainian military. They will spread knowledge on how American government thinks is the best way to kill people of Donetsk. Candidates to become Ukrainian instructors should be selected by November 10.

It is not yet known who will finance the training.”

Three days earlier was posted there “Video of Ukrainian army shooting up school and police station in Donetsk.. ..for fun,” and the viewer sees them laughing while they fire their rifles into buildings hoping to kill occupants. This action was videoed on the same day, November 4th.

An article posted there August 31st, “Ukrainian Kids Being Taught to Hate,” shows numerous photos of classrooms and of crowds marching under nazi and often even under German Nazi banners, sometimes even displaying photos of Adolf Hitler, and an accompanying link shows a classroom in which children with Russian names are told to change their names. A Svoboda member of parliament says of ethnic Russians, “These creatures who go here, they deserve one thing: death.” in another link, she says: “Ukrainian kids must be called Ukrainian names. In the whole world, kids are named according to a sovereign nation’s rules. They don’t name children in a Jewish way in America! If parents don’t teach children Ukrainian identity, I as a politician have to do it for them.”

That site is operated by some residents of northwestern Ukraine who are appalled at what their Government is doing, and who want to get word out to the world about what is being done. None of the articles are signed. But these people are very courageous to be doing what they are doing. Considering the portions of Ukraine in which they live, they probably live in fear of their neighbors finding out. People in the West are supposed to be kept ignorant of such realities — war-crimes that are sponsored by their own governments.

Here is more on Ukraine’s training of children to hate Russians. The stiff-arm salutes by those children shown in that video should not be to Adolf Hitler or to Ukraine’s local one Stepan Bandera, but instead to Barack Obama; but, considering that these kids also want all Blacks out of Europe, they’re no likelier to “Heil” to him than America’s Republicans are — no matter how much Obama’s policies might be pushing their agenda. And some of Ukraine’s leading nazis are even Jews. Rationality about ethical matters is not to be expected from conservatives, any more than the sanitary purity of untreated sewage would be. However, the vast majority of America’s Democrats still support and admire President Obama; so, they’re conservatives, too. That’s how conservative America has become.

NATO has no reason for existence anymore except to stir World War III against Russia. It is a war-criminal operation, straight-out. It needs to end, now; and only Europe can do it, but Europeans must first demand it. Russia doesn’t threaten Europe. America does. There are other things that also do, such as Islamic extremism that’s sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States — when they’re not bombing it so as to boost U.S. and European arms-makers. The U.S. is a much bigger threat to Europe than either Iran or Russia are. But the truth is being kept from European publics, just as it is being kept from Americans.

On Friday, the Ukrainian military’s PR machine spun-up its latest episode of the illusive “Russian Invasion”, this time accusing Moscow of dispatching a column of 32 tanks and “truckloads of Russian troops” into the country’s eastern region.

The West are being very choosy with their language – in case they have to deny they ever said it later. Presently, the West and Kiev are stopping short of labeling the non-event as an invasion, instead calling it “Russian aggression”, and a “cross-border incursion” to aid separatists, with the all-important caveat of “unconfirmed report”, a PR system standardized by CIA media handlers currently in residence inside the US-backed Kiev regime.

Another ‘Russian Invasion’?

The timing, and the sheer desperation of this latest PR move is designed for one thing: deflecting public attention away from the fact that Ukrainian military have already broken the fragile ceasefire with rebels, as Kiev resumes its shelling of civilian areas around Donetsk and Lugansk. The indiscriminant shelling, mass graves, and torture by Kiev’s government forces – has already been roundly condemned by international groups and human rights organizations, but this has unfortunately attracted no interest from the US State Department who are avoiding addressing Kiev’s military deployment against its own unarmed civilians, including women, children and the elderly.

Eastern regions also held long-overdue elections last Sunday, but were (predictably) condemned as “illegitimate” by the West, even as major political parties and representatives in Eastern Ukraine have been banned and disallowed from participating in Kiev’s new junta government.

Still the western media is spinning this latest Kiev lie as yet another reason to, “call into question Russia’s commitment to a two-month-old ceasefire deal”.

WAG THE DOG: Washington’s plans to maintain a fictional PR narrative of how ‘Russia is invading its neighbors’.

This latest fake Kiev/CIA attempted report is not the first. Here are some previous attempts to create a ‘Russian Invasion’:

July 28, 2014: After their total failure to blame eastern Ukrainian Rebels and Moscow for shooting down Fight MH17 on July 17th, Washington and its NATO allies have shifted their propaganda strategy in a new attempt to implicate Russia for “international war crimes”.

Washington used its US ambassador to the UkraineGeoffrey Pyatt, to launch the fabricated social media campaign designed to blame Russia for “firing artillery over its border into the Ukraine”. Pyatt had simply grabbed a series of images off of the Google World-style satellite mapping website Digital Globe, claiming it was “evidence” of Russia artillery fired into eastern Ukraine. Here’s his Tweet that started the lie:

August 30th, 2014: US media was set ablaze with imaginative reports of 5,000 Russian troops and columns tanks rolling through rebel-held Eastern Ukraine. Moscow response was blunt and to the point. Russia all but laughed off Kiev’s claim, as CNN reported, “The comments came the same day that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused NATO of using “images from computer games” to — in his view — falsely make the case that Russian troops are in Ukraine. Lavrov said, “hiding the evidence is an outstanding characteristic of the U.S. and many EU countries” – with regard to Ukraine.

Unfortunately, Washington, its State Department, as well as British officials – did not hesitate to run with the fake story. White House spokesman Josh Earnest got a taste of what Mark Carney had been doing in previously years – propping up another State Department lie, insisting no matter what the Kremlin says, Russian troops were inside the Ukraine and had fired on Ukrainian military positions. “Those denials are completely without credibility,” Earnest said.

See bogus the NATO satellite images here

And Russia’s military may be digging in deeper in Ukraine. The British government also joined in on the gag, with a “inside source” (no clue who that might be) telling CNN on Friday that Russia moved 4,000 to 5,000 military personnel. Meanwhile, NATO’s Anders Rasmussen chimes in saying how Russia is trying to, “destabilize Ukraine as a sovereign nation” (when in fact it is NATO allies who destabilized Ukraine). The timing of the late summer lies came as Washington and Brussels were finalizing a round of sanctions against Russia for – wait for it… “aggression in the Ukraine”.

CNN’s ‘panel of experts’, including globalist General Wesley Clark, back in August on worldwide TV, were pushing their own fiction as fact – to create their wag the dog-style, “Russian invasion of Ukraine”. Watch:

 
October 19, 2014:
 As 21WIRE reported recently, Sweden’s farcical Russian submarine hoax, was engineered as part of a NATO PR push designed to push Sweden closer to joining the NATO Military Union, as western media worked overtime pumping up a new ‘Hunt for Red October’. After deploying it’s entire naval and tracking resources – nothing was found and many admit that the whole campaign was based on a grainy photo and a rumor, and the story disappeared into the shadows.

NATO bosses in Mons, Belgium have their sights set on the crucial northern Baltic front. Not wasting any time, NATO’s press office worked-up a quick follow-up to the Sweden hoax, claiming that a Russian Ilyushin-20 surveillance plane had been intercepted by Two Canadian CF-18 Hornet jets scrambled from Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania. NATO claims the Canadian fighters shadowed the Russian craft for 15 minutes before disengaging.

Ten days later, October 29th, NATO ran a follow-up story to the Canadian Jet PR bumper, this time claiming that NATO intercepted at least 19 Russian aircraft – in 1 day, all “flying far outside Russian airspace”. The reports turned out to be exaggerated, but were timed perfectly for a broader directive happening that week which called for more NATO troops to be deployed in Baltic region.

The following day, on October 30th, in Britain, two Royal Air Force jets threatened to shoot down a slow-flying, twin propeller, Latvian cargo plane, over fears that it constituted some kind of “Russian threat”.

Many are now seeing that NATO is merely an extension of Washington DC and the Pentagon, the facade of NATO as a “security alliance” is beginning to disintegrate rapidly. Watch as journalists grill one panicking US Pentagon official as Chuck Hagel’s recent claims that, “Russia is on the doorstep of NATO” (when in fact it is the other way around) during the daily State Department briefing:

More of the latest here

United States government is getting ready to train Ukrainian military and punitive battalions in winter combat techniques before the end of the year. The goal is to make Ukrainians more efficient in killing people in Donetsk and Lugansk in cold weather.

Training will take place in Starichi educational center in western Ukraine – sources say. Starichi is localted in Yavrov military polygon in Lviv region.

The US military will train a group of Ukrainians who will serve as instructors within the Ukrainian military. They will spread knowledge on how American government thinks is the best way to kill people of Donetsk. Candidates to become Ukrainian instructors should be selected by November 10.

It is not yet known who will finance the training.

Just as the German media has destroyed its credibility with lies, the US government is consistently destroying Washington’s credibility both with its own citizens and the rest of the world. 

Russia and China, the other two significant nuclear powers, no longer believe anything Washington says or any agreement that the US government signs. The Russian and Chinese governments have observed that Washington does not obey its own statutory law, much less international law and treaties that Washington has signed.  Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized Washington for acting as if its will was the only law.

Europeans know that they and their governments are Washington’s vassals and that  Europeans are impotent to do anything about it.

Some percentage of the 99 percent understand that Washington is aligned with the one percent against them and that their incomes and economic prospects will continue to decline.

Economists, or rather the few who haven’t sold their souls, know that the government’s economic data are pulled out of a magician’s hat and massaged to produce numbers contradicted by reality.  Unemployment is measured according to methodologies designed to prevent its discovery.  Inflation is measured according to methodologies designed to deny its existence. Jobs are reported that don’t exist, and GDP growth rates are announced that declines in real median family incomes and consumer credit make impossible.The poverty level income is set artificially low in order to minimize welfare spending.

The lies that Washington and the powerful private interest groups that control the US government tell us go unchallenged by the print and TV media and by NPR.  The propaganda that Americans are fed is more extreme than the propaganda of Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984.

In last Friday’s report the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tells us that the unemployment rate has declined to 5.8% and that 214,000 new jobs were created in October.  Once again let me explain these lies to you.  The unemployment rate is low because the one that the government and financial media emphasize does not count those millions of Americans who have become so discouraged from looking for jobs that do not exist, that they have quit looking.  If you give up and stop searching for a job, the US government does not count you as a member of the work force.  You are unemployed but not counted as unemployed.

The uncounted unemployed can be measured in the sharp 21st century decline in the labor force participation rate.  The labor force participation rate has declined because there are no jobs to participate in.  But Washington, the financial media, and the bought and paid for economists lie.  They say the participation rate is down because the baby boomers are retiring.  However, as John Titus, Dave Kranzler, and I documented with the government’s own data in a recent column, the participation rate of baby boomers is the highest of all and the only one that is rising.  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/09/04/lie-serves-rich-roberts-titus-kranzler/

The reason is that with the Federal Reserves sole concern with the welfare of a small handful of mega-banks–the ones that sit on the board of the New York Federal Reserve Bank–real interest rates are negative.  Therefore, retirees have no income from their retirement savings.  (Generally speaking, retirees avoid stock investments, because they can lose a great deal from a major correction, and it can take more years than they have left for stocks to recover.)  To supplement their Social Security pensions (a rigged CPI prevents or minimizes cost-of-living increases), retirees take the temporary, lowly paid jobs that are all that the US economy can produce.  These jobs do not provide sufficient income with which to form a household.

As I have pointed out for a decade, or longer, the US economy no longer creates First World jobs.  The US economy creates jobs for waitresses and bartenders, hospital orderlies, and retail clerks.  The fact that the complexion of the US work force is becoming Third World  is not considered a notable problem by the media or financial press, and economists seem immune to the  facts.

Let’s look, once again, at the BLS payroll jobs report for October 2014:  http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t17.htm

There are 209 thousand private jobs created and 5 thousand government jobs created.

Where are the private jobs?

Almost all of them–181,000–are in lowly paid private services.

Retail trade with 27,100 jobs, wholesale trade with 8,500 jobs, and transportation and warehousing with 13,300 jobs provide 48,900 jobs.  With middle class retail stores closing and even dollar stores failing and with consumer income (except for the rich) and credit (except for student loans) shrinking, do you really believe that consumer spending supported almost 50,000 new jobs in October?

Where is the money coming from?

The vast amount of money that the Fed has created has gone into the handful of mega-banks to support the banks.  The banks are not buying consumer goods.

The BLS reports that 37,000 new jobs were created in October in professional and business services.  Employment services, such as temporary help services,  account for 24,000 or 65% of these jobs.

Another old standby is education and health care services, which provided 41,000 new jobs. Health care and social assistance provided 27,200 of these jobs and home health care services provided 7,400 of these jobs. Together lowly paid services provided 84% of the jobs in health care services.

Now we come to the major jobs sector in America:  waitresses and bartenders. Waitresses and bartenders are classified under “leisure and hospitality,” which claims 52,000 new jobs in October of which 41,800  or 80 percent are waitresses and bartenders.

If you look at the jobs that the BLS reports the US is creating, they are third world jobs.

How is the US “the world’s only superpower” when it cannot create a middle class job.

Amidst the media hype of 214,000 new October jobs, here are some very disturbing facts: In October job cuts rose 68% from the previous month and 12 percent from the previous year.  So far there have been 414,591 job eliminations in 2014 with 51,183 of these coming in October.

Where are the job cuts? Retail store closings have produced 38,948 retail job reductions in 2014 with 6,874 of those coming in October.  Yet, the BLS reports consistent job growth in retail jobs.

Hewlett Packard cut 5,000 jobs in October, bring its year’s total to 21,000 lost jobs.

Microsoft eliminated 6,509 jobs in October for a year to date layoff of 55,511, a rise of 92 % from 2013.

In October the electronics industry cut 1,648 jobs, bringing the year to date loss to 18,153.

The telecommunications industry cut 5,217 jobs, bringing the year to date loss to 20,038, an increase of 81% from 2013.

According to Wolf Richter, US job losses in the tech sector have risen 97 % from the previous year. http://wolfstreet.com/2014/11/07/layoffs-explode-in-big-old-american-tech/

My point is:  how does consumer demand grow in order to propel the economy when good jobs are replaced by low-paying jobs?

Perhaps one day economists will notice the problem.

The Silver Market in Crisis

November 10th, 2014 by Bill Holter

Here we go again, silver has been trashed to $15!  But don’t fear as this “trashing” in my opinion is going to be like Custer’s last stand, let me explain.  Just as in past episodes, the artificially suppressed prices have brought out 1,000′s of “Indians” all over the world as buyers of physical metal.  I use this analogy of “Indians” because prior to this last 5 years, it was in fact consumers from India (whom are so very price sensitive) who would step up in the physical market to eat up supply if the price dropped.

There were stories out of Germany regarding the public’s consumption of silver this past week which were astounding.  There were reports of coin dealers selling out of all silver inventory and even one dealer claiming they did more business Thursday and Friday (a week ago) than they had for average months so far this year.  For quite some time now, there have been rumors that the big demand for Silver Eagles has come from Europe.  This cannot be confirmed because the U.S. mint does not disclose its customers but the frenzy in Germany this week does add some credence to the rumors.

Domestically, this past week saw exactly what we have seen no less than four previous times going back to the fall of 2008.  Premiums started to rise after the FOMC meeting Wednesday a week and a half ago and rose nearly each and every day since.  In fact, even though paper (COMEX) silver was down over $1 between Thurs. and Friday, premiums rose by close to an equal amount …so real silver was still priced about the same as it was 2 days earlier.  Fast forward to this past week and premiums rose again on Monday and Tuesday and stories of “sell outs” started to swirl.  By Wednesday morning, we found out that premiums jumped again and many products were going “wait list” of 2-3 weeks.

This was confirmed by the U.S. mint when they announced a suspension of sales.  The mint had a record “non January” month of close to 6 million Silver Eagles followed by nearly 3 million in just the first 3 days of November.  Reportedly they sold over 2 million Eagles in less than 2 hours Wednesday morning, they experienced a “run” and suspended sales indefinitely!

Before going any further on the silver topic I want to stop anyone in their tracks who refuse to see that the price of gold and silver are suppressed.  Wednesday in the wee hours of the morning at 12:30 AM, someone sold 13,000 COMEX gold contracts which pummeled the price of gold by over $20.  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-05/because-nothing-says-best-execution-dumping-15-billion-gold-futures-0030et   In perspective, the size and timing of this is hilarious!  12:30 in the morning?  India was on holiday while Japan and China were on lunch breaks …not to mention the outright size. 

This 1.3 million ounces (40 tons) works out to $1.5 billion dollars or nearly seven days of global production!  Who has this amount of gold to sell?  Or to even hedge?  It is not as if gold is just sloshing around because GOFO lease rates are now more negative than any time in the last 10 years!  The gold market was very tight PRIOR to this sale, the sale only made the market tighter and served to clear the shelves.  No real seller looking for the “best available price” would sell huge volume like this at THE most illiquid moment in global markets, apologists like Martin Armstrong and Doug Casey might take a stab at explaining this one away?  Selling in this manner can have only one result and one purpose alone, affect the price downward …end of story.  (The previous was written on Saturday, news out Sunday that UBS will be fined for manipulating gold and silver prices)! http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-09/another-conspiracy-theory-bites-dust-ubs-settles-over-gold-rigging-many-more-banks-f !!!  It is now a fact folks!

So, the financial Rembrandts got what they wanted, they broke silver and gold through their support levels and broke the charts …but did they really?  NO!  $15 silver you say?  Too bad, you can’t have any!  You can’t have any because there is none to be had!  Please don’t tell me “yes you can” and that you could simply purchase a COMEX contract and demand delivery because they are on the hook for nearly 600 million silver ounces in December while holding an inventory of just over 60 million ounces, close to a 10-1 ratio of “obligation versus ability to perform”!

By the end of the week, there was nearly no “live” silver available.  In fact, this was the case by close of businessWednesday.  Most all products saw their premiums rise and wait times go out to 3-4 weeks, “indefinitely” in the case of the U.S. mint.  The situation now is like the butcher who has a sign in his window selling filet mignon for $2 per pound …he doesn’t have any and if he did it would be gone in a NY minute.  Expanding on this, if it were really true, he was selling prime beef for $2 per pound and ranchers were paid even less, herds would be slaughtered all over the place because a dead cow is better than one that needs feed and water.  Think about this in the mining industry, these current prices being offered to mines are not enough for them to sustain business so they will either cut back or go broke which will even further diminish the supply to an already supply starved market!

What I tried to explain to you in the above paragraph is that “low prices will be the cure to low prices”.  Low prices have created a literal tsunami of demand and over time will restrict supply, this is why there are now very high premiums, very little product available and if you want any you must pay close to $20 per ounce.  This is almost an exact replay of 2008 when the silver price was an artificial $9 and getting real silver at $15 was almost impossible while waiting 4-8 weeks!

Let me add by saying this, “it has to start somewhere”, an explanation is needed.  I believe the entire “fiat” episode (which Greenspan has now admitted is inferior to gold) will end with both silver and gold going “no offer”.  The physical markets will be swept clean by a systemic “run”, probably sometime soon.  We may even see the paper markets go down further and physical pricing get even stronger, we are already seeing sub $16 paper and nearly $20 physical.  Paper is only 80% in price of the real metal, this can and I believe will widen much much further. The average person will marvel at the prices of gold and silver but that will not be the real story.  I believe the gold and silver markets will be defined by “availability” …or lack of.  Ask yourself what will be your mindset when gold and silver prices are breaking out to the upside and there is no availability of product?  THIS will define the market.

What if COMEX silver was moving to $20 but you couldn’t get any for $30?  Or COMEX at $50 and your $100 bill could not entice someone to part with an ounce of silver?  When the fiat system does finally collapse which it mathematically will, real metal will go “no offer” for any amount of fiat money.  Say I’m crazy if you will but keep in mind that this is exactly what has happened every single time in the past to every single fiat currency throughout all of history.  All I am saying is that it has to start from somewhere and lack of availability will be present when it does.  Lack of availability is now happening again and I do want to point out a most very basic human nature.  When man wants something and is told he cannot have it …he wants it even more!

Let me finish with this, the current episode in my opinion is the start of a global systemic “run”.  It is quite curious that the G-20 summit starts this coming week and concludes on the 16th.  I believe there are 150 or more countries now that would like to see the end of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency (I plan to write about this tomorrow).  Is it a coincidence that we now see the end of QE, a ”stronger” dollar versus (other paper) fiats, an obvious paint job on metals, a COMEX delivery period where far more metal is contracted for than exists, a real (Shanghai) exchange which has seen 90% of their vault inventory swept clean …followed by a global meeting of all world leaders?  Not to mention a meeting where the president of The United States will arrive in a virtually “castrated” condition after the elections?  Has the ”paint job” been done in order to “show” dollar strength?  I believe yes, I also believe that if I can see it then so can the upper echelons of the rest of the world!

If you have waited to this point to purchase silver or gold, the market told you something this past week.  The market has spoken and told you “if you want $15 silver, you can’t have any”!  The danger as I wrote above is what will happen when prices are higher and “you can’t have any”?  Don’t let this happen to you!

US Backing New Offensive by Junta in Kiev

November 10th, 2014 by Prof. James Petras

The United States is backing a new offensive by the junta in Kiev as it is supporting its “puppet regime” in Ukraine and trying to push pro-Russian forces out of the struggle, says a political analyst.

“I think Washington wants to strengthen the position of the Kiev junta without calling into question the fact that its origins was in a military civilian coup which overthrew the elected government and which then subsequently organized a very fraudulent kind of one-sided elections,”

said James Petras, Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of sociology at Binghamton University, New York, in a phone interview with Press TV on Monday.

He made the comments one day after the White House called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw troops from Ukraine and stop sending weapons to pro-Russian forces in the country.

US National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement that in order to enable “the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty along the Ukrainian side of the international border,” pro-Russian forces should be disarmed.

Petras said the US is only trying to support the Kiev junta that is “propped up by NATO, IMF, and EU funding.”

“The Russians are not stupid,” continued Petras.

“They are not going to allow the US to engage with that junta to destroy the Russian-speaking majority in the eastern part of the country.”

“If the US is really serious about demilitarization of the struggle, they first should begin restraining their puppet regime in Kiev because you can’t ask Russia to disarm the partisans in the east while encouraging the western leaders to engage in full-scale warfare on the civilian population in the east,”

he said.

The United States accuses Russia of sending troops into eastern Ukraine in support of the pro-Russian forces, an allegation denied by the Kremlin.

The Obama administration has imposed several rounds of sanctions against Moscow over the crisis.

Watch video here

For those who are not familiar, Bunraku is an old form of Japanese puppet theater, its distinctive characteristic being that the puppeteers are on the stage with their puppets, dressed in black so that the audience can pretend not to see them.

While many old art forms have conventions that are unrealistic by modern standards, there is something particularly unsatisfying about bunraku: you can pretend not to see the puppeteers but you cannot fail to see them.

Bunraku, as it happens, offers a remarkable metaphor for some contemporary operations of American foreign policy. So many times – in Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Venezuela, Egypt – we see dimly the actors on stage, yet we are supposed to pretend they are not there. We can’t identify them with precision, but we know they are there. Most oddly, the press in the United States, and to a lesser extent that of its various allies and dependents, pretends to report what is happening without ever mentioning the actors. They report only the movements of the puppets.

One of the consequences of this kind of activity is that many people, including many of your own, come simply not to believe you, no matter what newspapers and government spokespersons keep saying. Another consequence is that because many knowledgeable people no longer believe you, when it comes time to enlist the support of other nations for your activities, you must use behind-the-scenes pressure and threats, stretching the boundaries of alliance and friendship. After all, your major government friends and allies have sophisticated intelligence services themselves and are often aware of what you are trying to do.

Still another consequence is that many people start doubting what you are saying concerning other topics. In the United States, a fairly large segment of the population does not believe the official version of a great deal of comparatively-recent American history, including explanations of John Kennedy’s assassination, of events around 9/11, of the downing of TWA Flight 800, of what Israel was doing when it attacked an American spy ship in 1967, and of the CIA’s past heavy connections with cocaine trafficking – just to name a few outstanding examples.

Government in America feels the need only to go so far in its efforts to explain such matters because the doubters and skeptics, though many, are not a big enough segment of the population to matter greatly in political terms, and it is simply brutally true that the great passive mass of people are never well informed about anything outside their own lives. America is a place, as relatively few people abroad understand, where people must work very hard. Its industrial working class went through a great depression since, say, 1960, many of them now holding low-paid service jobs. Its middle-class workers have seen real incomes decline for decades, something providing part of the incentive for both parents in a family to work and for them to move into America’s great suburban sprawl of lower land costs as well as to embrace stores such as Wal-Mart with their bare-bones costs. Many Americans work so hard, they have little time to be concerned or informed about government, satisfying themselves that a few minutes with corporate television news is adequate, a phenomenon favoring the government’s interests since on any important and controversial subject the television networks (and the major newspapers) do the government’s bidding, mostly without being asked. American corporate news, especially in matters of foreign affairs, resembles nothing so much as nightly coverage of a banraku performance.

Selling stuff, whether it’s widgets or religion or political ideas, is at the core of American life, and America’s one unquestionably original creation in the modern world involves the disciplines of marketing, advertising, and public relations – all highly artful aspects of selling stuff. The success of these methods has long been proved in American commerce, but they are no less effective when applied to other areas. So, it should hardly surprise that the same “arts” are heavily employed by, and on behalf of, government in propaganda and opinion-manipulation around its acts and policies. Indeed, we see America’s entire election system today having been reduced to little more than a costly, massive application of these crafty skills, and no department or agency of government is ever without its professional, full-time spokespeople and creative back-up staff, making sure that whatever words or numbers are spoken or printed never slip beyond what those arts have conjured up. Unacceptable photos, say those of women and children smashed by bombs or missiles hurled into the Mideast, are made simply to disappear much as they were in 1984.

Government knows, too, that the American political system is heavily stacked against people with doubts ever gaining serious influence. Ninety-five percent of Senate elections go to incumbents, and because only one-third of the Senate faces re-election at any given election, a majority on some new matter is virtually impossible to build. The presidential candidates of the only two parties with a hope of being elected are almost as carefully groomed and selected as the party chairman of a former communist-bloc country, and generally about as surprising in their views.

And always, time makes people forget, even with the most terrible issues. After a generation or two, there are relatively few people who are even aware there was an issue. In the case of the most overwhelming and terrifying event of my life, the Vietnam War, polls show a huge number of young Americans today don’t know what it was or when it occurred.

These are the key factors permitting an American government to commission horrific acts abroad resembling those of the bloodiest tyrant, all while it smilingly prances across the international stage as democracy’s self-designated chief representative and advocate. As for the great mass of people, the 95% of humanity living outside the United States, no one in America’s government ever gives them a moment’s thought, unless they step out of line.

John Chuckman lives in Canada and is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company. Read other articles by John, or visit John’s website.

Though president once railed against so-called “free trade” agreements, he has now become outspoken champion of secretive deals that critics call attack on democracy, workers, and the planet.

Despite consistent and vocal opposition from organized labor, environmentalists, progressive economy experts and others warning against the damaging impacts of a trans-Pacific trade agreement that remains under negotiations by the U.S. and twelve other nations, President Obama on Monday once again voiced his support for what he said would be a “historic” agreement.

Japanese farmers and their supporters hold placards and chant slogans against an anti-Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal at a rally in front of the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo on April 22, 2014, the day before US President Barack Obama visits. Japan seeks to retain tariffs on five farm product categories, rice, wheat, beef and pork, sugar, and dairy products, amid strong concern from the domestic agricultural industry. (Photo: AFP)

In Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart and to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Obama championed the so-called “free trade” deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even though critics have described the agreement as a “horrific” corporate giveaway that would further codify the undemocratic mechanisms of global trade, breaking down protections for workers, consumers, and the planet’s natural systems.

Though Obama ran for president in 2008 as a staunch opponent of similarly designed trade deals, including NAFTA, since taking in office, he has forcefully pushed for the TPP and a similar deal with European nations, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

“This has the potential for being an historic agreement,” Obama said of the TPP to heads-of-state and trade commissioners at the APEC summit’s opening session on Monday.

If approved, the TPP would be the world’s largest economic trade agreement, encompassing more than 40 percent of the world’s GDP. Though China would not be party to the agreement, the TPP would cover the U.S., Canada and Mexico in North America; Chile and Peru in South America; and Japan, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam in the Pacific-Asia region.

Though U.S. officials said no breathroughs or announcements were expected on the deal during this trip, the president used the occasion to champion the aims of the TPP.

“What we are seeing,” Obama told those in attendance, “is momentum building around a Trans-Pacific Partnership that can spur greater economic growth, spur greater jobs growth, set high standards for trade and investment throughout the Asia-Pacific.”

Following last weeks mid-term elections in the U.S., some analysts argued that a Republican-controlled Congress—which is generally friendlier to the corporate trade framework of such deals—is more likely to help Obama push through the agreement. However, as Lori Wallach, director of the Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, pointed out, that calculation may be misplaced.

According to Public Citizen, the TPP would be a grab-bag of policies designed to empower corporate entities while stripping the people of these twelve nations of self-determination and democratic process. According to the group:

Although it is called a “free trade” agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP’s 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues. One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.

The TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations, empowering them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations.

USA: Is Arlington County, Virginia, Racist?

November 10th, 2014 by Robert Parry

Image: The seal of Arlington County, Virginia, highlighting the colonnade of Robert E. Lee’s mansion.

Surely, the upwardly mobile white professionals who live in the stylish neighborhoods of North Arlington, a close Metro commute to Washington DC, don’t consider themselves racist. Nor does Arlington County in general, believing that it left behind the bad old days of racial segregation in the 1960s.

But Arlington, Virginia, is like many communities in the South, unwilling to confront both the vestiges of slavery/segregation and always susceptible to new packaging for racial divisions. This reality was apparent in a hard-fought contest for the County Board in which the central issue was whether to build a light-rail commuter line to service the poorer and more racially diverse part of the county.

The Republican/Tea Party candidate John Vihstadt, running as an “independent,” made opposition to the Columbia Pike Streetcar the centerpiece of his campaign and he received strong support from wealthier, whiter North Arlington, where there is much resistance to investing in infrastructure for the historically black part of the county, south of Arlington Boulevard (also known as U.S. Route 50).Vihstadt had the backing of the local newspaper, the Sun-Gazette, which doesn’t even bother to distribute in much of South Arlington because its residents aren’t the newspaper’s desired demographic. Vihstadt also won the support of the neoconservative Washington Post.

So, it wasn’t entirely a surprise when Vihstadt soundly defeated the Democratic nominee, Alan Howze, who supported the Streetcar as a necessary step toward balanced development in Arlington County and toward strengthening the community’s tax base.

But this local race said a lot about the issue of race that still percolates just below the surface in the Old Confederacy. It is a topic that I have witnessed up close since moving to Arlington in the 1970s, what might be called the post-segregation period.

‘The Schools’

In 1977, after being transferred to Washington by the Associated Press, I rented a house in North Arlington and – as I looked around for where to buy – I was warned by neighbors that I should avoid South Arlington because of “the schools.” It soon became clear to me that “the schools” was code for South Arlington’s racial diversity.

So, I decided to buy a house in South Arlington and all four of my children attended “the schools.” But what I hadn’t expected was that Arlington County, which had long neglected the black and brown neighborhoods of South Arlington, would not only continue that segregation-era behavior, but escalate it.

While one might have hoped that Arlington County would want to respond to the end of segregation by pouring more public monies into South Arlington to equalize the infrastructure of the county’s two halves, the local governments (county, state and regional) did the opposite. They poured billions upon billions of dollars into the whiter, wealthier North Arlington, particularly around the Metro’s Orange Line.

Meanwhile, the neglect continued for South Arlington. One of the few major county projects for South Arlington was to expand the sewer treatment plant to handle the increased sewage flow from North Arlington. Other spending on South Arlington always seemed to get slow-rolled or killed outright.

The original Metro plan had called for a subway line going down Columbia Pike, the shabby commercial corridor through South Arlington. But that was eliminated for cost reasons. So, a decade ago, the Columbia Pike neighborhoods accepted a much cheaper light-rail commuter line as a consolation prize, but it was delayed for years before finally getting green-lighted by Democrats on the County Board.

Tea Party Opposition

However, once the Columbia Pike Streetcar became a real possibility, well-funded opposition – much of it from North Arlington and from Northern Virginia’s Republican/Tea Party elements – took aim at the project as too expensive and at members of the County Board who okayed it.

The issue played perfectly into the Tea Party formula: hostility to government projects in general mixed with a slight odor of racism. The Streetcar was a project that would primarily make it easier for racial minorities living near Columbia Pike to go shopping or get to work. There was an attitude among some North Arlingtonians that those people should be satisfied with buses.

Pitching himself as an “independent” – even with support from Arlington’s small anti-development Green Party – Vihstadt cleverly exploited North Arlington’s resentment toward spending money on South Arlington. Indeed, his first County Board campaign only highlighted attacks on capital improvements in South Arlington, particularly the Streetcar which he parodied with a photo of a Rice-a-Roni-style trolley.

The irony, however, is that Arlington County has continued lavishing spending on North Arlington, especially on the glittering neighborhoods along the Orange Line. Some $55 million was spent to install three new elevators at the Metro entrance at Rosslyn and nearly $2 million went to renovate a dog park at Clarendon. Billions of dollars more have gone into the Silver Line, which – when completed – will connect North Arlington to Dulles Airport.

But there was this fierce opposition to the Columbia Pike Streetcar, whose costs have escalated – due to the years of delays – to around $300 million with about one-third of the money coming from the state and much of the rest picked up by special taxes on businesses that would benefit from the improved transit.

Though the state money would presumably be lost if the Streetcar is killed, North Arlington residents may well be eying other parts of the funding for more improvements to the Orange and Silver lines. So, some of the opposition can be explained as simply the richer, more powerful part of Arlington County grabbing money away from the poorer, weaker part of the county. But there is the troubling back story of Arlington’s history of slavery and segregation.

Understanding Arlington

Arlington County, which was originally the southwest corner of Washington D.C. that spilled across the Potomac into Virginia, was ceded back to the Commonwealth in 1846. Then, the land was home to slaveholding plantations, particularly in South Arlington, the less hilly and less forested part of the county. One of those plantations belonged to Gen. Robert E. Lee.

After Virginia joined the Confederacy in 1861 and Lee deserted the U.S. Army to command Confederate forces, his plantation was seized, with part of it becoming a cemetery for Union troops killed in the Civil War, what is now known as Arlington Cemetery.

After President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, the former Lee plantation also became home to freed slaves, both his and others who flocked northward arriving via Columbia Pike.

Thousands of ex-slaves were settled in a large refugee camp known as Freedman’s Village along Columbia Pike (near the current site of the Air Force Memorial and the Pentagon). Freedman’s Village remained there for decades after the Civil War, finally closed in 1900. But many of the African-Americans stayed in the area, some settling in South Arlington’s historic black neighborhoods.

However, after Reconstruction ended, Arlington County like the rest of Virginia and the Old Confederacy continued to persecute African-Americans while honoring the legacy of the pro-slavery secessionists. In the 1920s, at the height of the Jim Crow era when blacks were being lynched and terrorized, a stretch of Route One through South Arlington was named in honor of Confederate President Jefferson Davis who wanted to keep African-Americans in slavery for perpetuity. The highway skirted several black neighborhoods.

Around the two world wars as the number of U.S. government bureaucrats increased, many settled in newly developed neighborhoods in North Arlington, which were largely off limits to blacks. So, when the era of segregation ended in the 1960s, Arlington – like many Southern communities – was divided largely along racial lines. That was the time frame when I first arrived, having grown up in New England and moving from Providence, Rhode Island.

More Imbalance

In the 1970s, despite Arlington’s racial divisions and wealth disparities, the truth was that the main commercial thoroughfares through the two parts of the county — Wilson Boulevard in North Arlington and Columbia Pike in South Arlington – were both dumpy and depressing.

But that was about to change. The massive public investments in the Orange Line transformed Wilson Boulevard into a glittering showplace, a hotspot for young, mostly white professionals. Yet, Columbia Pike remained pretty much the same, an eyesore of strip malls, car congestion and slow-moving buses servicing a racially diverse population, now with many Latinos and Asians as well as blacks and whites.

Indeed, the shameful reality of Arlington County was that the gap between predominantly white North Arlington and racially diverse South Arlington actually grew wider after segregation ended in the 1960s, rather than narrowing.

To add injury to this insult, the people of South Arlington ended up subsidizing wealthier North Arlington because much of the money for the Metro system comes from a gas surtax that falls most heavily on people who rely on their cars for transportation, i.e., people with inferior public transit. There’s also the financial benefit for North Arlington families who can get by with one or no car and thus save more money.

Yet, Tea Party-style politicians have learned that — whatever the reality — they can exploit the Old Confederacy’s subterranean racial divisions for political gain. As we’ve seen in Arlington County, the strategy works not only in the rural Deep South but in relatively sophisticated communities in Northern Virginia.

And, as for Jefferson Davis Highway – honoring a dyed-in-the-wool white supremacist – I did urge the County Board to appeal to the Republican-controlled Virginia legislature to end this vestige of racial bigotry. My proposal drew mostly derisive attention from the local media and hate mail from one resident of North Arlington who wrote: “I am very proud of my Commonwealth’s history, but not of the current times, as I’m sure many others are.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Shameful History of Jeff Davis Highway.”]

That minor public furor caused a senior elected Democrat to approach me at a public meeting and urge me to back off the Jefferson Davis proposal for fear of complicating Arlington County’s relations with the politicians in the state capital of Richmond. The county official told me that the notion of removing Jefferson Davis’s name would be viewed as crazy by many state legislators.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, 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.

Message To U.S. Active Military – Are You Truly A Hero?

November 10th, 2014 by Bernie Suarez

In America there is no greater recruiting ground for the U.S. military than professional and college sports. Pro sports and the NCAA promote U.S. military men and women as “heroes” of honor to be admired and practically worshiped for their supposed valor, bravery, and courage. Sporting arenas throughout America this week will remind their audiences of millions of viewers that our “courageous” military men and women deserve to be honored for their service to America, but is all of this just a mass propaganda campaign to set the stage for recruiters throughout America to convince teenagers to join the military? I believe it absolutely is and here’s why.

As I mentioned, in America we have an ongoing political advertising campaign that portrays the U.S. military as an opportunity, a proving ground that builds character, an entity that only selects the best men and women who supposedly believe in America and are willing to defend America and the values it stands for (notice the word ‘freedom’ is hardly ever used any more). The U.S. military is portrayed as a stage for those with honor, integrity, initiative, leadership and (as I mentioned before) courage. A close look at this list of virtues however proves that nothing could be further from the truth.

To make my argument let’s examine some basic definitions.

Courage: “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery”

Character: “moral or ethical quality; qualities of honesty, courage, or the like, integrity; Reputation”

Hero: “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities; a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal”

Honor: “a source of credit or distinction; high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank”

Honorable: “in accordance with or characterized by principles of honor; upright; worthy of honor and high respect; estimable; creditable”

Thus, by definition, men and women who join the U.S. military for whatever perceived reason can be said (arguably) to be “courageous” simply because they realize they are going into danger but they are willing to face that danger. Is this brand of courage to be honored? I argue not at all based on its isolated value because it’s the same brand of courage that Al Qaeda or ISIS is showing as well. They, too, face danger and are willing to face it courageously. So what other terms will help define our U.S. military?

By definition, in order to be a hero you must exhibit “distinguishable courage” and “noble qualities,” but many young U.S. military men and women today fail to prove or demonstrate this quality.

First, in order to show “distinguishable courage” you must be sure of what you are fighting for. Unfortunately, today most U.S. military fail to demonstrate the comprehensive knowledge about the U.S. foreign policy before heading out to war. It is thus very difficult to demonstrate “noble qualities” when you walk in ignorance, believe mainstream media propaganda, are lied to every day and when you lack wisdom and understanding of the greater picture. Here is where the U.S. government’s deliberate dumbing down of America’s youth comes into play.

By the time you try to apply the definition of “character”, “hero” and “honor” the wheels have fallen off. Our U.S. military youth as a whole demonstrate no traces of character, which is based on a “moral and ethical quality” as well as “honesty” “integrity” and “reputation”. They fail to demonstrate true heroism which, again, is based on “distinguished courage” and “noble qualities”. And they fail to live up to the true definition of honor which is characterized by a “distinction” and “high respect” which is “worthy of honor”. These meanings clearly separate our eager to fight yet courageous macho youth from the pure definitions of what it is to be a true honorable hero of courage, integrity and distinguishable reputation. Let’s face it, America doesn’t make soldiers of this quality anymore. If they did, they wouldn’t join the U.S. military whose mission is anything but honorable, moral or ethical.

If our young military men had these deep virtuous qualities there would be no drone strikes anywhere around the world, the war agenda would be in serious jeopardy and AWOLS would be at an all-time high. Instead, many of our young military soldiers play videos games their whole life, watch years of TV shows and sports which glorify the military and are so sucked into the control system’s propaganda that they have not considered the morality, ethics and consequences of their own actions.

Unlike decades ago when U.S. military tended to be somewhat more informed and well read amongst the ranks, today most of the youth joining the U.S. military have no idea of the bigger picture and they don’t truly understand why they are being sent to fight in U.S. wars of aggression all over the world including the Middle East. In the ’60s many Americans protested the war in Vietnam, today protests have been squashed by the police state and controlled by the opposition. Back in the ’60s many military men dared question their role in the wars they were sent to fight; today we see a core of obedient sheep eager to enlist and shoot at our enemies because they think its cool. In the ’60s traces of consciousness were observed as often soldiers went AWOL or dodged the draft out of disagreement with the war; today you don’t hear too much about conscientious objection, and instead we hear a lot more about soldiers who can’t wait to get out there to fightterrorists.

You can’t be a hero if you don’t understand the battlefield and you don’t understand the greater picture. Mainstream media and Hollywood will not paint the bigger picture for our military, instead they keep them in the dark, piling on the lies, sending the blind sheep into battles which they don’t understand the true reasons for.

Abraham Lincoln once said: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power.” Sadly, we see all the time what happens when our U.S. military soldiers are given power over the innocent people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Syria Pakistan and other places in the world. No one associates the actions of the U.S. empire with “character”. Instead we see a corrupting power, a dangerous mindset of evil, criminality, desire to kill, destroy, and damage anything that doesn’t say U.S.A.

This dangerous U.S. military mentality unfortunately seems to be the norm. The U.S. empire and its foreign criminal partners (Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UK and others) are acting together to advance the new world order plans of domination. There is nothing honorable, courageous, moral or distinguishable about any of this.

The same U.S. military that was implicated in the cold blooded murder of Pat Tillman - someone who DID show all of these qualities of a true hero – was the same military willing to give Tillman ceremonies and use his image to raise money to further promote their own wars while ignoring the truth about how he was deliberately murdered by “friendly fire”.

The NFL, a major partner with the U.S. military committed to helping recruit more soldiers, proudly declares:

Supporting the military is part of the fabric of the NFL. This support takes place both at home and abroad, with NFL players and coaches traveling overseas to salute the troops, as well as with team recognition of our servicemen and women through the Salute to Service campaign.

Through its long standing partnerships and support from our 32 teams, the NFL takes pride in supporting military personnel and remains committed to raising awareness for the sacrifices they make on our behalf.

The NFL admits they work with (that is, promote) the military; and you can see here how they are doing it. They know that the NFL is the most popular sport in America. They appeal to the fans, falsely portray the military as heroes of honor, morality and integrity and use this to keep the suckers coming. That’s right, America’s youth is suckered into joining the globalist wars every single day and they are doing it in broad daylight. Once they are wounded or killed they then step in to help patch the problem instead of addressing the underlying root cause of the problem (i.e. U.S. illegal wars of imperialism).

Our youth is never properly informed about what is really happening. They are never told how the suicide rate amongst soldiers is at an all-time high. We see our American youth sacrificed for immoral wars, and when they die or get injured no one ever tells them they fought in vain.

So the question must be asked to those in the U.S. military – look inside you, think of your own humanity and the lives of others and ask yourself on this Veterans Day, are you truly a hero? Can you truly answer this question with a yes with a clear conscience? Or are you caught up in a fast-paced high-tech world where everyone is bogeymonter who deserves to be killed?

Do you think killing Iraqi civilians is okay? Do you think the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and sky-rocketing their opium trade is honorable? Do you think waterboarding and illegal prisons like Guantanamo is Constitutional? Do you believe in ISIS and feel it’s fair game to go back to Iraq and enter Syria to shoot up more people despite the highly questionable creation of ISIS? Do you not care that all the war propaganda is staged to keep feeding the Military Industrial Complex?

If you don’t see or understand the bigger picture then you should never have joined the military. Killing is not a game. Life is precious and every time ONE life is taken it is murder. So on this Veterans Day let’s take a moment of silence to remember not only those Veterans who have fallen fighting the global bankers’ wars, but let’s remember ALL the people who have been murdered, displaced, and injured in U.S. wars of aggression.

Once we commit to true honor, integrity and morality then we can discuss big issues that further disprove the notion that U.S. military are “heroes” and “distinguishable”, like the little talked about record Army suicide rate and how the numbers are kept quiet so as not to alarm the general public. The control system doesn’t want to talk about this suicide problem because it sharply contradicts all of their false advertising campaigns and exposes the military recruitment fraud. Furthermore, amongst Veterans the suicide is now a shocking 22 per day! Let us give attention to this growing problem today and help spread the word that the U.S. wars of aggression are also killing its own soldiers at an alarming rate and no one is doing anything about it.

On this Veterans Day let us commit to a mindset of true heroism, honor and strong character and ask ourselves: where have all the Pat Tillmans gone? Where are the truly brave men and women of the United States of America who believe in freedom and the Constitution? Are you in the U.S. military? Are you prepared to show true courage and character? Are you prepared to be a true hero?

Bernie Suarez is an activist, critical thinker, radio host, musician, M.D, Veteran, lover of freedom and the Constitution, and creator of the Truth and Art TV project. He also has a background in psychology and highly recommends that everyone watch a documentary titled The Century of the Self. Bernie has concluded that the way to defeat the New World Order is to truly be the change that you want to see. Manifesting the solution and putting truth into action is the very thing that will defeat the globalists. 

US Steps Up Military Operations in Iraq, Syria

November 10th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

US warplanes struck across a wide area of northern Syria and northern and western Iraq over the last four days, in the most extensive bombing since President Obama ordered US military intervention in the region three months ago.

The Syrian targets included several positions in the northwest province of Idlib held by Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist group fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad and aligned with Al Qaeda.

The Iraqi targets included a meeting of leaders of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) held outside Mosul, a city of two million, which destroyed a dozen vehicles and killed as many as 50 people.

An Iraqi military spokesman claimed that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been wounded in the strike, but the US military command said it could not confirm this. There were other air strikes at Qaim, on the Syria-Iraq border in western Anbar province, and at other targets in Anbar, the main stronghold of ISIS in Iraq.

The intensified airstrikes began as the Pentagon announced that Obama had approved the doubling of US ground forces deployed in Iraq, with another 1,500 military trainers, including special forces, to be sent to join the 1,400 troops already stationed in Baghdad and in Irbil, capital of the Kurdish region.

In an appearance Sunday morning on the CBS interview program “Face the Nation,” Obama was questioned whether he would send additional troops to Iraq, beyond the 3,000 already deployed. Interview Bob Schieffer asked, “Should we expect that more troops may be needed before this is over?” Obama replied, “You know, as commander-in-chief, I’m never going to say never.”

This wording is vague enough to drive a truck through, and it contrasts sharply with previous declarations by the White House that there would be no deployment of ground troops in Iraq, and that US troops would not engage in combat.

Given that at least 630 of the new US troops are to deploy to Anbar province, the bloodiest battlefield in both the 2003-2011 US war in Iraq and its current sequel, the claim that US troops will not be in combat is a barefaced lie.

Obama said that the deployment of additional troops marked a new stage in the mobilization of US and Iraqi forces against the Sunni fundamentalist group ISIS. The group presently controls the eastern third of Syria and western third of Iraq, including the city of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest.

The initial phase of the operation was to push out Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and install a new government in Baghdad, while using airstrikes to halt the momentum of the ISIS offensive that overran Mosul and brought the Sunni fundamentalists to the outskirts of Baghdad, Obama said.

With the additional US military advisers, he claimed, “We’re now in a position to start going on some offense. The airstrikes have been very effective in degrading ISIL’s capabilities and slowing the advance that they were making. Now what we need is ground troops, Iraqi ground troops that can start pushing them back.”

The first stage of this offensive began with two military operations Saturday. In both cases, the advances by Iraqi pro-government forces were preceded with heavy bombing by US warplanes.

In the first attack, Iraqi Army troops began an effort to relieve the siege of the Baiji refinery, Iraq’s largest, which has been surrounded by ISIS for two months. Baiji is in Salahuddin Province, northwest of Baghdad, about halfway between Baghdad and Mosul.

In the second attack, a Shiite militia joined forces with Sunni tribesmen in Anbar province in an effort to recapture the city of Hit, which ISIS took control of last month. It was the first large-scale use of Shiite militia troops in the Sunni-populated western region of the country. Shiite militias were notorious for slaughtering Sunnis in mixed areas of the country, and particularly for practicing a form of ethnic cleansing that drove much of the Sunni population out of the capital, Baghdad.

McClatchy News Service commented, “The need to call in some 3,000 Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen underscored the shambolic state of the Iraqi army, which all but imploded when the Islamic State swept out of its sanctuary in Syria in mid-June, conquered Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, and charged to the doorstep of Baghdad.”

ISIS forces and their allies among the Sunni population were said to be putting up ferocious resistance in both Baiji and Hit, although there was little independent reporting of the battles in either city. The weakness of the pro-government forces has led to stepped-up demands from the Pentagon for a direct commitment of US ground troops in Iraq.

The airstrikes in Syria marked a significant escalation of US attacks on non-ISIS Sunni fundamentalist groups, particularly the al-Nusra front, which has been waging a complex, multi-sided battle against groups of US-backed “rebels,” against the Assad regime and against ISIS itself.

A Wall Street Journal article on the fighting in Syria admitted that the group had been increasingly successful, reporting,

“Nusra’s continuing advance appeared to be the result not only of the demoralization of rebel forces, which have been receiving ever-diminishing assistance through a US-backed covert program, but of growing support among local residents. Unlike the Islamic State, whose fighters are mostly from abroad, the vast majority of Nusra fighters are Syrians.”

General Lloyd Austin, commander of CENTCOM, which directs all US military operations in Syria and Iraq, denied that al-Nusra was the target of US airstrikes, maintaining the official fiction that US warplanes are only targeting the previously unknown Khorasan group, the name applied by US officials and the US media to a sub-section of al-Nusra.

Local observers in Idlib Province, however, said that several children had been killed in the airstrikes.

In relation to Syria, Obama reiterated the US commitment to removing the Assad regime, even while it targets some of the groups fighting Assad for airstrikes. In his interview Sunday on CBS, he said, “It is still our policy” that Assad should go, even though “our priority is to go after” the ISIS group, to prevent it from using its positions in Syria as a rear area to support its offensive in Iraq.

Seventy-five years after the beginning of World War II, which led to Germany’s war of annihilation against the Soviet Union, the German general staff is once again preparing for war with Russia. This was made clear by an article published in last Friday’s edition of Die Welt in which German NATO leader Hans Lothar Domröse expressed his views.

The comments by the four-star general, who is supreme commander of the Allied Joint Force Command, one of Europe’s three NATO units in the operations leadership, amounted to an open threat of war against Russia.

In the article, Domröse said the Western alliance was for the first time preparing large-scale maneuvers in Russian border regions. “So far, we have conducted major maneuvers of 25,000 to 40,000 men only in Western NATO states,” he said. He then added, “I am quite sure that in future we will do this in Eastern Europe and the Baltics.”

Approaching 25 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO intends to mass tens of thousands of troops near Russia’s borders.

Washington and Berlin orchestrated a fascist-led coup in Kiev last February to install a pro-Western, rabidly anti-Russian regime. Now the NATO powers are pursuing the military encirclement of Russia, a policy that carries with it the very real danger of military conflict with a nuclear-armed power. Even sections of the bourgeois press that have been propagandising against Russia for months describe the plan as a “provocative move against Moscow” ( Spiegel Online ).

“We will establish a NATO rapid response force of between 5,000 and 7,000 men that can be deployed in two-to-five days to a region,” General Domröse said. “According to our plans, the rapid response force will participate in the major maneuver ‘Trident Juncture’ in September 2015 in Italy, Spain and Portugal. If everything goes according to plan, the rapid response force could be ready for deployment at the end of 2015.”

Only NATO states with the necessary high-tech military equipment and trained soldiers can participate in the NATO spearhead force, according to Domröse. Germany will assume a leading role.

“We are planning,” he said, “that each of the six-to-ten nations will form the spearhead for a year and then be changed. According to the current plans, each cycle will have a lead nation, which will certainly include Germany at some point. But this highly mobile force must have access to a large-scale air force in order to reach operational zones quickly.” Making available the required means of transportation was the greatest challenge for the NATO states, the general noted.

Domröse and the NATO leadership are planning a new form of Blitzkrieg. The NATO conference in Wales earlier this year approved a plan to increase readiness to deploy military forces.

“NATO recognised that we have to be quicker and more flexible, but also better equipped,” Domröse said. The previous rapid reaction force was too slow.

“We simply take far too long to reach a deployment zone within NATO’s borders,” the general said. “It depends on quickly bringing together a well-trained force from several countries at a particular time that is ready for deployment.”

The general spoke bluntly. The war plans required increased military budgets and would cost a lot of money.

“The force has to be well armed and trained,” he said. “It must always be ready to deploy, including on weekends. This won’t be cheap. Higher investment in NATO’s defence preparedness will be required.”

He added that NATO had urgently to modernize. “NATO has to be ready for a potential war in the 21st century. This includes defence against conventional attacks, but also the capability to repel cyber attacks and the ability to control local destabilisations by enemy subversive forces that are difficult to identify.”

Domröse cited Russia’s response to the Western-provoked coup in Ukraine as the justification for new preparations for war. “The annexation of Crimea and the break with all international norms came as a surprise to us,” he said. “We didn’t expect it. We have seen how President Putin has made Russia’s army more combative and that Russian troops are incredibly quick.”

These statements by one of Germany’s highest-ranking generals underscores that the German army stands in the tradition of the general staff and the Wehrmacht in World War II. Under the code name “Operation Barbarossa,” the Third Reich attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, launching a terrifying war of destruction that cost the lives of 27 million Soviet citizens. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, German imperialism was compelled to adopt a more pacifist stance for several decades. Now, German politicians, journalists, academics and military figures are issuing bellicose tirades against Russia.

Domröse’s family history makes his statements all the more sinister. His father, Lothar Domröse, fought in the Second World War as commander of a Wehrmacht company on the Eastern Front. As part of the rearming of the German military, he was accepted back into the army in 1956 and pursued a successful military career.

In 1973, he became major general and commander of the Northern Army Group. In 1975, he took over the post of head officer of the commanding officers of the armed forces. His son has now set himself the task of accomplishing what his father could not accomplish in the Second World War and Cold War—the military subordination of Russia.

The German government is conscious of the historical significance of Domröse’s statements. Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer attempted to deescalate the situation, claiming that maneuvers on this scale in Eastern Europe were not planned for the foreseeable future. He stated, “Maintaining good and constructive relations with Russia–we take that very seriously.”

What hypocrisy! The fact is that Domröse’s statements correspond to the new, aggressive foreign policy of the German government and have been discussed at the highest levels.

Domröse enjoys close ties to German President Joachim Gauck, who played a leading role in the revival of German militarism. At last year’s official New Year’s celebration, the general demonstrably appeared for the media beside Gauck and his partner Daniella Schadt at the president’s official residence in Berlin.

Only a few weeks later, Gauck, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen announced the end of German military restraint at the Munich Security Conference. Since then, events have moved rapidly. The coup in Ukraine was followed by German participation in the military intervention in the Middle East, and now ever more open preparations for war against Russia.

If the German elites have their way, militarism, dictatorship and war will become the norm, as in the period of the First and Second World Wars. In a recent interview with the weekly magazine Die Zeit entitled “Staying Out Is Not an Option,” Foreign Minister Steinmeier warned, “We have to prepare for the fact that crises will become normal in the coming years.”

When Die Zeit challenged him and said that “unlike the political elite, German citizens were not interested in hearing about more international engagements, let alone military interventions,” the foreign minister provocatively declared: “Despite that, abstention is not an option. The belief that we can live on an island of tranquility in Europe and that we will be left in peace by the world will not work.”

The corporate-financier funded and directed policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, has served as one of several prominent forums documenting and disseminating US foreign policy. It would host in part the architects of the so-called “surge” during the nearly decade-spanning US occupation of Iraq, as well as battle plans for waging a covert war against Iran now well under way.

Part of this covert war against Iran involved the arming and backing of listed terrorist groups, and in particular, the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) which has killed US servicemen, American civilians, as well as countless innocent Iranians over the decades. Among those signing their name to this plan found within Brookings’ “Which Path to Persia?” report, was Kenneth Pollack. Now, in efforts to overthrow the government of Syria, also a stated and integral part of undermining, isolating, and destroying Iran, Pollack has revealed another element of the plan – to create a full-scale proxy military force outside of Syria, then subsequently invading and occupying Syria with it.

In the report titled, “Building a Better Syrian Opposition Army: How and Why,” Pollack cites the so-called “Islamic State” or “ISIS” as the ultimate impetus for expanded US intervention. However, upon looking at Pollack’s proposal, it merely looks as if the US is using ISIS as a pretext to more overtly intervene in order to overthrow the government of Syria – not in fact neutralize ISIS.

After a considerable preamble assuring readers that the aim of creating a “better Syrian opposition army” would exclude sectarian extremists and result in the same “success” the US had in training the Iraqi army, the document explains:

…building a new Syrian army is best not done in Syria itself. At least not at first. The program would need the time and sanctuary to perform the necessary training, reorganization, sorting  and  socialization  into  a  new  Syrian  army  without the distractions and pressures of Syria itself.  The  Saudi  offer  to  provide  facilities  to  train 10,000 Syrian opposition fighters is one of reasonable possibility, although one of Syria’s neighbors would probably be preferable. Jordan already serves as  training  ground  for  America’s  current  training program and it would be an ideal locale to build a real Syrian army. However, Turkey could also conceivably serve that purpose if the Turks were willing.

Clearly, not only is this already being done as admitted by Pollack himself, it is being done on a scale already eclipsing Pollack’s alleged plan – the only difference is it is being done through the use of sectarian extremists - not the imaginary, nonexistent secular professionals Pollack uses as a marketing gimmick to sell this scheme.

More tellingly, Pollack’s plan continues by stating (emphasis added):

In addition to being armed, trained and officered like a conventional military, a new Syrian army would also have to be equipped like one. That would mean not just small arms and crew-served weapons, such as the United States and its allies are already providing, but heavy weapons and logistical support. Like the Croats and Bosniaks, a new Syrian army will need the wherewithal to defeat both the regime and the Islamist extremists. That will require tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, surface-to-air missiles and the like to match the regime’s own heavy weapons—and so eliminate the firepower imbalance that the regime’s forces have employed to such advantage so far. 

Surely, Pollack’s plan will never materialize in any practical dimension – however it may be possible to use such a marketing ploy to pour more resources into both the ongoing proxy war against Syria and Iran in general, and more specifically into the terrorist battalions already being armed, funded, trained, equipped, and sent off from Jordan and Turkey into Syrian territory. Handing advanced weapon systems into the hands of front groups consisting of intentionally ineffectual, immensely corrupt, incompetent US proxies is as good as handing the weapons directly to ISIS – and of course – this is precisely how the US is building its actual “new opposition army” – namely, in the form of ISIS itself.

ISIS Has Tanks, Missiles, and Aircraft – Everything America’s Dream “Opposition Army” Needs

Removing Pollack’s rhetoric about secular professionals, and inserting “ISIS” reveals Pollack’s paper as the actual already ongoing plan to overrun not only Syria, but pro-Iranian factions in Iraq, and perhaps even Iran itself. ISIS is a massive mercenary army trained and funded abroad by the US with its support laundered via Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey, staged along Syria’s borders in both Jordan and Turkey, and acquiring an impressive arsenal just as what is required in Pollack’s plan to enter into and overthrow the government of Syria – minus eradicating extremists of course.

Even a cursory look at ISIS’ holdings across the region reveal ratlines leading into NATO-member Turkey’s territory and all along the Turkish-Syrian border where news outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post have reported for years the CIA had been operating – unloading billions in aid, gear, weapons, and even vehicles to militants fighting within Syria.

Headlines over the past 3-4 years including, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” “First Syria rebels armed and trained by CIA ‘on way to battlefield’,” “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” and “Official says CIA-funded weapons have begun to reach Syrian rebels; rebels deny receipt,” reveal precisely how ISIS acquired its vast resources.

ISIS is organized on a professional level precisely as described by Pollack, most likely the result of US military advisers and their counterparts in Saudi and Qatari special operations. ISIS is also heavily armed precisely as was required by Pollack’s plan. They now possess an impressive and ever growing arsenal of weapons including tanks, missiles of all kinds, artillery, and even a small collection of aircraft including Russian warplanes and American helicopters.

The New York Times, after years of reporting on the CIA’s delivery of weapon systems to “moderate” militants, now laments of ISIS’ possession of advanced anti-air missiles. In its article, “Missiles of ISIS May Pose Peril for Aircrews in Iraq,” it reports:

Syrian rebels have amassed multiple Manpad models since 2012, and the Islamic State has generally had little trouble acquiring any weapon used by Syrian rebels either through purchase or capture, military analysts say.

 Iraqi troops – the result of what Pollack claims as an American “success” – have also augmented ISIS with precisely the weapons needed for Pollack’s dream “opposition army.” No less than 30 M1 Abrams main battle tanks have fallen into ISIS’ hands.

Prolific Neo-Conservative propagandist Michael Weiss in the Wall Street Journal attempts to downplay the implications of such weapons falling into ISIS’ hands by stating in his op-ed titled, “Exploiting the ISIS Vulnerabilities in Iraq – The terrorists’ heavy military equipment is hard to maintain, easy to target from the air,” that:

Today, we estimate that ISIS has less than a total of 30 working M1 Abrams tanks and howitzers that are either self-propelled or towed behind trucks (based on our knowledge of how the Iraqi army is equipped and what divisions were in the north). These are the weapons that gave the Islamic State the advantage over the Peshmerga in recent firefights. Yet ISIS does not have the highly trained maintenance crews that are necessary to keep these weapons in good working order. The same problem exists for its armored Humvees and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected personnel carriers. Without maintenance, these captured U.S. vehicles and weapons will break down.

Only, ISIS’ Saudi, Qatari, and Jordanian sponsors most definitely do possess the highly trained maintenance crews necessary to keep these weapons in good working order – since these despotic regimes each in turn possess a large number of exactly these weapon systems purchased from the United States itself. If the Saudis in particular, can fund, train, and arm ISIS with small arms and missiles, how difficult would it be to supply them with spare parts and properly trained maintenance crews? Turkey also maintains a number of US weapon systems, and possesses the ability to maintain modern battle tanks if not the M1 specifically – and is already harboring, supplying, and backing ISIS – another inconvenient truth challenging Weiss’ attempts to mislead readers.

In fact, Pollack’s “proposal” appears more like an after-action report. ISIS is the “better Syrian opposition army” the West has sought all along. That is probably why attempts by the US to “fight” ISIS appear half-hearted and why those the US is supposedly “saving” from ISIS see Western intervention as more of a threat than ISIS itself believing it is designed simply to prolong ISIS’ existence in the face of growing and increasingly more formidable indigenous opposition.

Any provisions to build Pollack’s “army” will undoubtedly end up only bolstering ISIS and its affiliates – just as military aid policymakers like Pollack at Brookings advocated for the arming of “moderates” resulted in the creation of ISIS in the first place. While the US desperately attempts to disown responsibility for ISIS’ creation and perpetuation through an unconvincing propaganda campaign, false flag terror strikes against the “homeland,” and a series of increasingly ludicrous, orchestrated strawman victories in Iraq and Syria – Damascus, Baghdad, and Tehran are leading the real fight against ISIS.

The US apparently plans on protecting ISIS for as long as possible under the guise of being the sole force “fighting it,” while ISIS consolidates and moves on Western designated targets. In the process of “fighting” ISIS, the US is managing to destroy Syrian infrastructure and defenses. The US, however, has failed in attempts to exclude Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian forces from countering the ISIS threat and now the region is witnessing a race between ISIS’ inevitable destruction and America’s attempts to topple Damascus before ISIS vanishes from its geopolitical toolbox.

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

The biggest threat to Canada’s national security is internal. It is the offshoot of an extraordinarily successful — because it remains largely undetected — coup that imposed itself on the country with the federal election of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) in 2006, and solidified its impacts with the election of a Conservative majority in 2011.

Author, poet, academic, and former Canadian diplomat Prof. Peter Dale Scott recently disclosed a wikileaks cable indicating that the International Republican Institute (IRI), an off-shoot of the CIA, and a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) helped install Stephen Harper as Canada’s Prime Minister. This was the coup.

Point 12 of the cable explains that

“In addition to the campaign schools, IRI will be bringing in consultants who specialize in party renovation to discuss case studies of political parties in Germany, Spain, and Canada which successfully carried out the process”

The “party renovation” referenced in the cable is the “renovation” of Canada’s indigenous Progressive Conservative Party into a Republican-inspired Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) that is largely subservient to the U.S Empire south of the border.

A similar, but more violent, “renovation” process occurred in 2009 when the democratically-elected government of Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a U.S-orchestrated coup. It is also the same illegal “renovation” that is destabilizing Venezuela today, as the US interferes in the internal politics of that country, in what is often described as a “soft coup”.

Dr. Anthony James Hall, Professor of Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta Canada, explains the genesis of the Harper Conservative assault on the “Red Tory” traditions of Canada’s indigenous conservative party in Flanagan’s Last Stand? :

” The assault by the Harper-Flanagan juggernaut on the generally friendly orientation of Canadian conservatism towards the state, towards Indigenous peoples, and towards the institutions of Crown sovereignty helped clear aside obstacles to the importation from the United States of the Republican Party’s jihad on managed capitalism. Flanagan and Harper took charge of the Canadian version of the Reagan Revolution aimed at transforming the social welfare state into the stock market state.”

The implications of this conservative “jihad” are a threat to our national security on many levels. Stephen Harper’s attacks on Canada’s knowledge base are foundational to what can only be described as an endorsement of man-made climate change, which is likely the foremost threat to both humanity and to Canada. The Fifth Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stresses the urgency to act now to mitigate catastrophic climate change, and yet the Harper government is moving Canada in the opposite direction. Most recently, the Harper government ratified a bilateral agreement with China, the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA), which all but guarantees further expansion of Canada’s Tar Sands, and an expansion of its carbon economy.

Canada’s warmongering also bodes poorly for our collective security. The Conservative government has exploited the collective shock of the murder of Corporal Cirillo at Ottawa’s National War Monument, and the subsequent shoot-out at the House of Commons, by falsely conflating the tragedy with “Islamic terrorism” and by using it as a pretext to wage illegal warfare against ISIS. Many Canadians, including Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s girlfriend, argue that we should be addressing the tragedy by improving Canada’s capacity to provide mental health care for all of its citizens, yet that is not part of the Harper government’s longstanding agenda.

Instead of working to stop the flow of money and arms to proxy mercenary armies – that are for the most part allied with the West to illegally topple the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad — Canada has instead chosen to use military options, all but guaranteeing prolonged and deadly warfare which will exact a horrendous toll on innocent civilians.

This militarism will likely be a threat to Canada’s security as well, since Canada will increasingly be associated with war crimes and imperial hegemony abroad, rather than peace-keeping.

The largely undetected coup, as revealed by the wikileaks cable, goes a long way towards explaining Canada’s current predicament. This secret intervention in Canada’s political landscape will continue to undermine our country’s prosperity and security, unless we become more conscious of its insidious impacts and choose instead trajectories towards peace and national security. The foundational (though suppressed) evidence is shouting that we’re on the wrong course, and that we need to make changes fast.

Someone is attempting to harass and intimidate media personalities that are very critical of Barack Obama and his administration.  Whoever is doing this has extremely advanced technical capabilities.  As you will see below, there is very strong anecdotal evidence that federal agents are involved.  But these agents would never commit such actions on their own.  It seems clear that they are getting orders from someone above them.  Of course Barack Obama (or any of his top lieutenants) would never come out and publicly admit that Gestapo tactics are being used against media personalities on Obama’s rumored “enemies list”, but that appears to be precisely what is happening.  Hopefully by shining a light on these activities it will cause those that are doing these things to cease and desist.  And it is very important to point out that what is being done to these media personalities is illegal.  Anyone that is involved in harassing media personalities because of what they are saying is violating federal law and is in danger of going to prison for a very, very long time.

Later in this article, I want to share with you the shocking harassment and intimidation that Rick Wiles of TruNews has been enduring lately.  But first, let’s review what has happened to former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson.  She was an award-winning journalist for more than thirty years, but that didn’t stop the Obama administration from systematically harassing her.  In her new book entitled Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington, she makes some extremely startling claims.  She believes that the harassment and intimidation that she experienced were the direct result of her determination to get to the truth about Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the green energy scandals and Obamacare.  The following are some of the main points that she has been sharing with the media in recent weeks…

-While she was working at CBS News her computers were hacked by the government, her keystrokes were monitored and potentially incriminating classified material was planted on her hard drive.

-She says that her computers would “turn themselves on in the night, make strange noises, then shut themselves down”.

-An exhaustive examination of one of her computers found that it had been hacked by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

-The expert that examined her system told her that three classified documents were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”

-She claims that the feds even had the ability to remotely activate Skype on her computer and listen to any private conversations that she was having: “It’s pretty chilling when you consider the extent of the abilities they had, according to the forensics reports, to monitor my every keystroke, to activate Skype by getting the password to my account, and listen through Skype on to audio if I was talking in the room or talking on the phone. Being able to exfiltrate files using Skype, downloading and refreshing these surveillance methods periodically using something called a BGAN satellite terminal, using WiFi when I was at a Ritz Carlton at one point.”

-She has been told that  Barack Obama has an “enemies list” similar to what Richard Nixon once had.

-She claims that important stories about Obama administration scandals such as Benghazi and Fast and Furious were routinely blocked by gatekeepers while she was at CBS News.

-She says that reporters have essentially been turned into “casting agents” and are told to find people that will express a particular point of view.

-In a moment of frustration, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz blurted out the following at her: “The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable. You’re the only one who’s not reasonable!”

So who ultimately ordered federal agents to go after Sharyl Attkisson?

If it was Barack Obama, that is grounds for immediate impeachment.

If it was someone else in his administration, that individual is in danger of going to prison for a very, very long time.

Sadly, Attkisson is far from alone.  A whole host of other media personalities that have also been very critical of Barack Obama have been targeted.  As we have seen, sometimes the IRS is the vehicle used to go after them.  Other times, more direct action is taken.

For example, there have been very few media personalities that have been more critical of Barack Obama than Rick Wiles of TruNews.  And what he has been going through in recent months is more than just a little bit alarming.

How would you feel if strange vehicles sat outside your home and the men sitting inside the vehicles stared at you for hours?  Well, that is exactly what is happening at TruNews headquarters.  The following is an excerpt from what Rick shared with his listeners just the other day…

Friday was an unusually busy day.  A total of four vehicles parked in the same spot throughout the day.  The moment one vehicle departed it was immediately replaced by another vehicle.  If I were a paranoid conspiracy theorist, I’d think we were under surveillance!  What a crazy idea.  This is America.  That kind of stuff doesn’t happen here, right?

Friday morning started out with the first car.  Soon after, another vehicle joined.  Both vehicles sat next to each other for several hours.  I can turn around in my office and look out the window and see them.  I walked outside and took photos of the vehicles.  I wanted them to see me watching them.

Shortly after taking the photographs, both vehicles drove away.  Immediately, they were replaced by a third vehicle.

I walked outside and took a photo of the third vehicle too.  He started his engine and very slowly drove toward me.  He had his window down and stared at me as he slowly drove by the office.  I waved at him to let him know I was aware of his presence and wasn’t intimidated.

But even more troubling have been the repeated break-ins at night.  Nothing has ever been stolen during these break-ins, and whoever was conducting them had the ability to turn off the security cameras

The good news is that the mysterious breaking and entering intrusions into our offices appear to have stopped.  For months there were clear signs that somebody was entering the building.  We found ceiling tiles moved, ceiling attic doors hanging open, and some doors unlocked.  Nothing was ever stolen or moved.

I changed the locks and security access codes multiple times throughout the summer.  They continued to enter as though they walked through the walls.  Furthermore, our security cameras stopped recording at certain hours during the night.  Obviously, the intruders were people with advanced skills and technologies to enable them to evade detection.

Most disturbing of all is what has been going on at Rick’s private residence.

Someone has been breaking into his home every day and turning on music with the volume dialed up to the highest level.  Clearly, someone is trying to mess with his head

An unusual thing has happened every night this week.  When I arrive home and get out of my vehicle, I can hear loud music in my house.  Each night I have discovered that our in-house stereo system was turned on with the volume at the maximum level.  The music was so loud each night I could hear it when I got out of my vehicle in the driveway.  My neighbors must think I’m losing my hearing….or my mind!

And that’s the point.  Somebody is messing with my head.  Somebody is intimidating me.

I have gone to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office twice to tell deputies that I’m under surveillance.

Next week I will request a private meeting with Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar.  I will tell him that I am being stalked.  I am under surveillance.  I believe that my life is in danger.

This is one of the most chilling things that I have read in a very long time.

To do this kind of thing, you have to be very twisted.

And to order that this kind of thing be done, you have to be even more twisted.

This is the kind of thing that the Nazis did.

Sadly, the truth is that we are becoming more like Nazi Germany with each passing day.

What in the world is happening to this country?

Officials in the federal government cannot harass and intimidate media personalities just because they do not like what they are saying.

By doing so, they are breaking the law.  And if the full truth about this ever came out, it could prove to be one of the greatest scandals in American political history.

So do you know of any other media personalities that are being subjected to this kind of harassment?

Obama on Iraq: “Now What we Need Is Ground Troops”

November 10th, 2014 by Steve Watson

In an interview with CBS on Face the Nation, the President refused to rule out sending greater numbers of troops to Iraq, and even admitted the need for boots on the ground.

Obama called the decision, announced Friday, to double the number of “US military advisers” in Iraq “a new phase” in the campaign, denying that the original strategy to combat the IS terror group had been inadequate.

“The air strikes have been very effective in degrading ISIL’s capabilities and slowing the advance that they were making,” Obama said. “Now what we need is ground troops, Iraqi ground troops, that can start pushing them back.”

Obama added that the new phase signifies a shift from a defensive strategy to an offensive one. He also left open the possibility of sending more combat troops back into the country.

“You know, as commander in chief I’m never going to say never,” he told CBS.

The additional troops already slated for Iraq will operate under a noncombat restriction, the same as those already there, but they will be deployed closer to the front lines, according to officials.

“We needed to get a better handle on the Iraqi security forces and we needed to get a better intelligence picture,” a senior administration official told reporters Friday, adding that “The numbers are borne out of that analysis.”

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic Senator Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) criticized the President’s plan to deploy 1,500 more troops, saying that he does not have the power to do so and that it would only be a “temporary band-aid.”

“I do not think president has the ability under current authority to authorize 1,500 troops without Congress acting.” Murphy said.

Murphy noted that it has been over 60 days since Obama announced a strategy for sending an initial 1,400 troops to Iraq to help quell the rise of ISIS. The initial deployment cap had been set at 1,600. Murphy stated that under the War Powers Act, a separate vote in Congress is needed to authorise further deployments.

“I think a lot of us are going to be very reluctant to support this kind of infusion of group troops absent some suggestions,” Murphy said, pointing to concerns over failed attempts to bolster the Iraqi government in the past.

“We had hundreds of thousands of troops inside Iraq over the course of a decade trying to train Iraqi armed forces. They got overrun in a period of weeks by a relatively unorganized force,” he said.

In an appearance on the same program, Republican Senator John Thune reiterated the same sentiments, noting “I think at some point we are going to be debating an authorization on the use of military force.”

In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) argued that more troops are urgently needed in Iraq because the government there is “quite delusional” over its capability to retain power.

More ABC US news | ABC Health News

“If we’re to protect the gains we made against Islamic extremism, my Marines from Camp Pendleton and others are going to have to go back again,” Issa, a former Army captain, said.

“The fact is we’re already there. We’ve had to be there,” Issa added.

Given that Republicans now control the Senate, and are seemingly eager to back Obama’s plans to send more troops to Iraq, the foreboding warnings of former Congressman Ron Paul seem all the more prescient.

Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

For five days in a row this week a federal agency was blockaded by protesters, delaying workers, sending a strong message of demands and resulting in scores of arrests.

Did you hear about the blockades in the corporate, mass media? The blockades were just a driveway’s distance from CNN, just around the corner from NPR and in a mass media center, Washington, DC. Do you wonder why they did not report that there were blockades outside of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)? The protests were because FERC has been rubber stamping fracked gas infrastructure permits without considering the environmental and health impacts, especially ignoring climate change, and ignoring the views of the communities. Gas companies are very big advertisers in the mass media.

The blockades were organized by the Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) coalition of which Popular Resistance was a member and each day the four entrances to FERC were blocked. The people impacted by FERC decisions and fracking were always front and center. The protests included massive photos of families impacted by fracking, a model of a town and the voices of frack-impacted people. People from fracked gas communities described getting notices that they could no longer drink their water or use it to wash dishes, clothes or take showers. They described farm animals with large tumors and hunters being unable to eat deer killed because of their tumors. They described illnesses and deaths from cancers.

There were daily conflicts with the police at each entrance to FERC as this video from the fourth day of protests shows, when we were joined by students from Hampshire College.

On the final day of protests, when people locked down in the driveways and more than a hundred FERC employees waited outside, the employees heard the people’s stories on a loudspeaker as they waited to get in the building. The protesters chanted: “FERC destroys families, FERC destroys towns, Shut FERC down. shut FERC down.”

It was an excellent week of blockades with lots of great people coming to DC. Some came as part of the Great Climate March, walking from California to DC with many staying for the week of actions. Each day BXE began by blockading the four entrances into FERC to stop employees from entering. It took about three hours each day for the police to remove blockaders, resulting in 70 arrests at FERC, as well as more arrests at FERC-approved projects around the country.

In the afternoons there were additional protests in different parts of Washington, DC or at Cove Point Maryland where an export terminal for fracked gas was approved by FERC and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. Eleven BXE protesters were arrested in an inspiring action, completed in the midst of heavy police presence. The third day focused on the racially unfair impact of environmental exploitation and included a protest at the Department of Justice about police brutality. And, there were fracking protests in other key areas like Seneca Lake, NY.

The first afternoon, the day before Election Day, a protest was held at the Democratic National Committee where Democrats were told they should not count on voters concerned with climate change. The protested highlighted likely Democratic Party presidential candidates and governors, e.g. Hillary Clinton, O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo, Jerry Brown, Peter Shumlin and John Hickenlooper. In addition to delivering a letter, laying out the case against the Democrats on climate change, protesters presented them with pillows covered in oil and gas company logos so they could be comfortable in bed with the industry.

One Day, Four Actions On the fourth day of protests BXErs participated in four actions that exemplified how all our issues are connected and how we need solidarity across issues if we are going to succeed. The day began with blockades of FERC, with the climate justice protesters focused on the connections between militarism and energy. It was the UN International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. Ellen Barfield of Veterans for Peace took the lead in organizing the day. The police seemed unnerved by the silence of the blockaders who remained silent in memory of those killed in wars. A die-in highlighted the human casualties of war. Signs urged an end to the war on Mother Earth and pointed out how the Pentagon was the institution that emitted the largest amount of climate gases, how the US fights wars to dominate the planet and control the oil and gas supply, as well as how President Obama is using fracked gas as a weapon to weaken Russia, the source for Europe’s gas supply.

 

The BXE blockaders than moved on to a protest on Capitol Hill against rigged corporate trade agreements, with a special focus on stopping fast track trade authority, which would prevent Congress from fully exercising its constitutional responsibility on foreign trade and give expansive power to the president over trade. The protesters were led by a 32 foot long “Fast Track Train” around the capitol with a massive 30 foot tall sign at the rear of the march which called for defeat of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Earlier that day a broad coalition of labor, environmental, consumer and other “stakeholder” groups delivered a petition to Congress signed by more than 500,000 people opposing “fast-track.” This week a week of action is being held to increase awareness of the dangers of Fast Track, the trans-Atlantic agreement and TPP. TPP is part of the Asian Pivot surrounding China both militarily and economically. And we are asking people to visit StopFastTrack.com this week to use the tools for contacting Congress.

Then, the BXE protesters went to National Public Radio (NPR) where they protested the biased reporting of NPR on fracked gas as well as their accepting of donations from the trade association for gas companies. The gas industry spends lots of money in advertising on all television networks. But, it is especially disturbing that NPR, which claims “we are unbought and unbossed. The listeners own us.” accepts money from the industry and falsely reports on gas issues. Listeners of NPR have come to realize the station cannot be trusted when it comes to news reporting – which is often pro-corporate (their donors) and pro-government, including pro-war (their other major source of income). Activists are calling NPR: National Propaganda Radio.

Finally, the fourth action of the day was held at the White House, part of a nationwide “Internet Emergency” to protect the future of the Internet. Washington, DC was one of 30 cities where protests were held calling for reclassifying the Internet as a common carrier so there can be no discrimination and equal access for all. The call for Net Neutrality is being made because Tom Wheeler, the chair of the FCC, is once again floating the idea of a tiered Internet based on fees. Despite nearly 4 million

people submitting public comments – by far the record number of comments ever submitted – 99% (literally, 99%) calling for reclassification and Net Neutrality, Wheeler, the former top lobbyist for the industry, is still pushing his flawed proposal. This emergency action, organized in a few days, is the beginning of escalating actions that will force Wheeler and the FCC to listen to the people and not a handful of corporations. Sign the action pledge here for updates.

 

Each of the issues raised that day impact all of us and all of the issues we work on: climate change, war and militarism, media corruption, Internet access and global trade. Other days brought in the issues of the corrupt corporate duopoly and a government bought and paid for by big corporations and the wealthy; and the racially unfair impact of environmental toxicity and other issues.

There is power in recognizing how our issues are connected. Working together we are stronger. Challenging the system and seeking transformative change is the only way we will create the change that is needed.

Here’s some inspiration from the week . . .

Follow Popular Resistance on twitter.

This is the weekly newsletter of popular resistance. You can sign up for it here.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are organizers with Popular Resistance.

Russian natural gas supplies to China via the “western route” pipeline could exceed deliveries to Europe in the mid-term perspective, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Sunday in Beijing.

Miller, who heads Russia’s state-run energy giant, told reporters that “taking into account the increase in deliveries via ‘western route,’ the volume of supplied [natural gas] to China could exceed European exports in the mid-term perspective.”

This came after Russian and Chinese energy executives signed on Sunday a package of 17 documents, including a framework deal between Gazprom and China’s energy giant CNPC to deliver gas to China via the western route pipeline.

Miller said Gazprom and CNPC were in talks on a memorandum of understanding that would see Russia bring gas to China through the western route pipeline, as well as a framework agreement between the two state-owned companies to carry out the deliveries.

The Gazprom chief added that, under the agreements, Russian natural gas exports to China would reach 30 billion of cubic meters over a span of 30 years.

On Sunday, executives of Russian and Chinese energy companies met in Beijing to discuss the signing of bilateral agreements in the sphere of oil and gas trade. The meeting was held in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

As we previewed on Friday, when we reported that “Russia Nears Completion Of Second “Holy Grail” Gas Deal With China“, moments ago during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum taking place this weekend in Beijing, Russia and China signed 17 documents Sunday, greenlighting a second “mega” Russian natural gas to China via the so-called “western” or “Altay” route, which as previously reported, would supply 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year to China.

Among the documents signed between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping were the memorandum on the delivery of Russian natural gas to China via the western route, the framework agreement on gas supplies between Russia’s Gazprom and China’s CNPC and the memorandum of understanding between the Russian energy giant and the Chinese state-owned oil and gas corporation.

“We have reached an understanding in principle concerning the opening of the western route,” Putin said. “We have already agreed on many technical and commercial aspects of this project, laying a good basis for reaching final arrangements.”

RIA adds, citing Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, that the documents signed by Russia and China on Sunday define the western route as a priority project for the gas cooperation between the two countries.

“First of all these documents stipulate that the “western route” is becoming a priority project for our gas cooperation,” Miller said, adding that the documents provide for the export of 30 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to China annually for a 30-year period.

Miller noted that with the increase of deliveries via the western route, the total volume of Russian gas deliveries to China may exceed the current levels of export to Europe in the medium-term perspective. In other words, China has now eclipsed Europe as Russia’s biggest, and most strategic natural gas clientMore:

Miller, who heads Russia’s state-run energy giant, told reporters that “taking into account the increase in deliveries via ‘western route,’ the volume of supplied [natural gas] to China could exceed European exports in the mid-term perspective.”

This came after Russian and Chinese energy executives signed on Sunday a package of 17 documents, including a framework deal between Gazprom and China’s energy giant CNPC to deliver gas to China via the western route pipeline.

Miller said Gazprom and CNPC were in talks on a memorandum of understanding that would see Russia bring gas to China through the western route pipeline, as well as a framework agreement between the two state-owned companies to carry out the deliveries.

The western route will connect fields in western Siberia with northwest China through the Altai Republic. Second and third sections may be added to the pipeline at a later date, bringing its capacity up to 100 billion cubic meters a year.

The facts and figures of the Altay deal are broken down in the following map courtesy of RT:

Also of note, among the business issues discussed by Putin and Xi at their fifth meeting this year was the possibility of payment in Chinese yuan, including for defense deals military, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying by RIA Novosti. More from RIA:

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping have discussed the possibility of using the yuan in mutual transactions in different fields of cooperation, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday.

“Much attention has been paid to the topic of mutual payments in diverse fields … in yuans which will help to strengthen the yuan as the region’s reserve currency,” Peskov said commenting on the meeting held between Putin and Xi on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing.

On October 13, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev announced that Russia was considering Chinese market to partially substitute access to the financial resources of the European Union and the United States.

The European Union and the United States have imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, a claim Moscow has repeatedly denied. The restrictions prohibit major Russian companies from seeking financing on western capital markets.

Meanwhile, as China and Russia keep forging ahead in a world in which the two becomes tied ever closer in a symtiotic, dollar-free relationship, this is how the US is faring at the same meeting: “China, U.S. Parry Over Preferred Trade Pacts at APEC: Little Progress Made on Separate Trade Deals at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.”

The U.S. blocked China’s initiatives because it worried that launching FTAAP talks would impede progress on a separate trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The ministers’ statement said that any FTAAP deal would build on “ongoing regional undertakings”—a reference to TPP and other regional trade deals.

The Chinese got all they could expect—a reaffirmation that we all share in the vision of having a regional integrated model” for trade, said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Myron Brilliant.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that negotiating the TPP “is a battle that we absolutely must win.” Ministers from the 12 TPP nations met Saturday afternoon to try to narrow differences, including disputes between the U.S. and Japan over agriculture and auto trade. On Monday, the leaders of the TPP nations are again scheduled to discuss the trade deal, although no breakthrough is expected.

The U.S. is trying to tie an ITA deal to progress on other trade deals with China, as a way to increase its leverage with Beijing. “How the ITA negotiations proceed is an important and useful data point” on China’s ability to negotiate an investment treaty with the U.S., Mr. Froman said.

Trade analysts say the U.S. also hopes to use China’s desire to have the Beijing conference produce concrete results as leverage. This is the first major international summit held in China since Xi Jinping took over as Communist Party chief in 2012, and the government wants to use the session to affirm China’s greater role in the world.

Good luck trying to “increase US leverage with Beijing” using a trade conference being held in Beijing as the venue.

In other words instead of actual trade agreements, the US merely jawboned and “shared visions.”

Rossiya Segodnya sat down recently with Dennis Kucinich, Former US Representative from Ohio and two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. He spoke about the recent elections, the situation in Ukraine, and the need for America to shift its foreign policy away from the notion of perpetual war, to perpetual peace. 

Hello Dennis, Thank You for speaking with us, one of your most recent political drives has been “Redefining National Security From Terror to Peace”. What does the Republicans’ victory in midterm elections mean for US national security?

Dennis Kucinich: American people define national security as human security, as the security of a job, decent wages, healthcare that is not determined by insurance companies. They determine national security in terms of human security with respect to education of the children, safe neighborhoods, clean air, clean water. They talk of national security in terms of the protection of their civil liberties, the right to be free from government spying, intrusion into private communications. And they speak of national security in very personal terms that again can be described as human security. When Washington speaks of national security, Washington means perpetual war and the rise of a national security state with the military industrial complex determining the priorities of the country, and the intelligence agencies getting more and more money to reach more deeply into the personal lives of American people. So, there is a great divide here.

Because the Democratic party voted most recently to support giving arms to the so-called Syrian rebels, the democrats once again voted for war. And the party has consistently voted for war. It has not distinguished itself from the Republican Party on matters of perpetual war which means that there is a vacuum in American politics. There is a vacuum with respect to addressing the need of the people for jobs, the need of the country for rebuilding its infrastructure which is in need of trillions of dollars worth of repairs, and the need for redefining America’s role in the world as a means of recognizing that this is not a unipolar world. This is a world of multiple interests and multiple countries. It is folly for any nation including America to try to sell itself up there as the only nation that matters. Indeed we have to be ready to recognize the concerns of all people.

Will the President allow the expected Congressional increase of  sanctions against Russia and Iran?

Dennis Kucinich:The United States is going to have to move into a position of economic leadership for the people here at home. We have to start taking care of things here at home. And we have to stand for human rights here at home. So again, there is a vacuum. Neither party has addressed this.

We have not honored an international system of checks and balances. We need to realize that the cohesive force in the world is human unity, that we are interdependent, and interconnected. And for that reason the use of force undermines America’s position in the world community. The arbitrary use of force, the illegal interventions that have occurred undermines America’s moral authority and undermines our own national security.  We have to be very careful that we do that squander the resources of our country in perpetual war. And yet both political parties have failed to come up with a means of taking a new direction. Certainly, this 2014 election isn’t going to bring any dramatic change in the direction America has already taken. We have to understand that continued unilateralism and interventionism abandons the world order and makes the world a more dangerous place for everyone including Americans and helps to fuel the ambitions of extremists. We have to envision a new world and act upon a vision of the world as one. The world is interconnected and is interdependent, and our policies should be aligned with that.

Do you consider American elections to be transparent? Some experts believe that money has is the defining feature of elections, where costly ad campaigns can be decisive. For instance, this election cycle has been the most expensive yet. What can be done?

Dennis Kucinich: There will be a minimum of 4 billion dollars spent in this election. That ton of money makes a mockery of elections. It makes of government an auction, where policies go to the highest bidder. It means that America has entered a political gilded age which is not worthy of our higher aspirations. The Supreme Court decisions on money in politics have been some of the worst decisions that have ever been made in American history with respect to protecting our democracy from rapaciousness of certain economic interests. The country is very vulnerable right now to rule by  money interests with very little opportunity for people to be able to have their practical needs addressed. And those money interests include those who are profiting from war.

The 2014 elections did not address the economic issues of the American people, did not address the human security issues of the American people, did not address the cost of America’s overreach into perpetual war, did not address sufficiently the role of government in setting up a national security state that’s inimical to the high principles on which America was established. Though the Republicans won a major victory, it is more a commentary on the fact that the Democrats have not offered an effective alternative. When the Democrats held power when President Obama was elected in 2008, at that very moment a dramatic plan for economic reform needed to be brought forward. But what happened instead was that it was all about service to Wall Street at the expense of Main Street. And more money was transferred to top. And the economic system at that point needed dramatic reform, in terms of making sure that resources of the country got to Main Street. That was ignored in favor of, basically, keeping the present system in place.

America is so much better than this. It’s so much better than the situation right now which is the corruption of elections by big money, and the failure of the Supreme Court to protect the interest of the people, the failure of the Congress to address the economic problems.

Do you believe that these issues will be addressed in 2016?

Dennis Kucinich: The election in 2016 is going to offer a new opportunity to refocus on economic issues in terms of job creation, and new jobs, and trade.

The question is can the United States move towards a full-employment economy? Can we rebuild our infrastructure? Can we have monetary policies which are consistent with full-employment and with a rebuilt America? Can we fashion for the US a new role in the world as a nation among nations and not a nation above nations which brings with it a heavy price tag for endless war? That’s what 2016 is going to be about. It is also going to be about whether this vacuum which the two parties have created by their lack of responsiveness to the practical aspirations of the American people, whether the two party system will receive a significant challenge in 2016.

But certainly, at this point, it is worth mentioning that economic problems are likely continue to be ignored as they have been in last few years, that the American people who expressed their dissatisfaction (in midterm election) with the status quo will continue to express their dissatisfaction in one election after another, until at last the yoke of economic hardship that has been put on the backs of so many American people is lifted.
We have to do something about the political system where corporations have captured both parties. That massive $4 billion that went into the campaign facilitates a massive wealth transfer upwards, facilitates more war, facilitates more trade deficits. And it’s really the responsibility of both parties.

There is great celebration of Republicans today, and there is a great deal of apprehension among Democrats. But that pales in comparison to the conditions which are affecting the people of this country which are not being addressed by either party.

How do you think the outcome of these elections is going to affect Ukraine? Do you think the US will supply arms to Kiev now? Or will they try and handle this as a political matter instead of a militaristic one?

Dennis Kucinich: I think that the world community needs to give the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia an opportunity to work out their difficulties for good without outside interaction.

It’s quite regrettable that the events in Ukraine were triggered by my country’s involvement in a coup proving once again that America really needs to pay attention to things closer to home that respond to practical needs of the people. Our founders warned about being involved in foreign intrigues. That seems to be a lesson that has yet to be learned.

The other thing I want to say, the West gave Ukraine a non-negotiable demand that did not benefit the people of Ukraine. And what that non-negotiable demand included was putting NATO at the Russian border. And that was not a defensible position. The proposed agreement did not provide for the people of Ukraine to have the kind of movement throughout the European Union which would provide for the kind economic freedom and the economic opportunities which the people of Ukraine have been looking for. The bottom line is as we like to say in the US the people of Ukraine were not given a very good deal. And when the government of Ukraine didn’t accept it, the government was overthrown. We have to find a more logical, coherent and sane way of conducting our international relations.

Do you expect serious changes in US foreign policy over the next two years?

Dennis Kucinich: The next two years I would not expect to see too much changing internationally, because America can not afford to plunge deeper into these wars. The US involvement in Syria has been characterized as one blunder after another. We switch sides so quickly that we are chasing our shadow now. This is a very dangerous position to be in, now to the extent that we have created and unleashed forces that are not easily contained. And the solution is not going to be more violence.

The US truly must work to reestablish friendly relations with the government and the people of Russia. There is absolutely no reason why we should permit the reemergence of cold war psychology, because we remember from the last cold war that the only people who benefited were the arms manufacturers. Our people have much in common and we need to focus on that again.

I intend to continue to travel the country to talk about the importance of America taking a new direction and in making sure that our national security includes a discussion about the imperative of jobs, and wages, and healthcare, and education, and housing, and our constitutional freedoms. That is part of our national security as well. And I’m not the only one saying that, I am getting that directly from thousands of people who I met in the last months while travelling the country.

La Cina si prepara a spezzare il blocco

November 10th, 2014 by Valentin Vasilescu

La Cina, entro quest’anno, sarà la prima economia del mondo minacciando lo status di leader militare degli Stati Uniti nel Pacifico occidentale. Gli Stati Uniti per mantenere il loro status attuale, faranno ogni sforzo per contenere il potere economico della Cina dispiegando notevoli forze militari negli oceani Indiano e Pacifico. Le rotte marittime della flotta militare della Cina arrivano all’Oceano Indiano attraverso gli stretti di Malacca e della Sonda, e al Pacifico attraverso le isole Babuyan (tra le Filippine e Taiwan) o passando tra l’arcipelago giapponese di Okinawa (Ryukyu) e Taiwan, e al Mar del Giappone passando tra il Giappone e la Corea del sud. La strategia statunitense nel Pacifico è stata spiegata ampiamente in questi due articoli: qui e qui.
Uno studio scientifico del Centro Arroyo, della prestigiosa istituzione RAND Corporation, è stato recentemente commissionato dal Pentagono, intitolato “Installazione di batterie antinave nel Pacifico occidentale“. Lo staff di scienziati e capi dei gruppi di lavoro della RAND Corporation è composto da decine di generali e ammiragli della riserva statunitensi la cui professionalità è dimostrata nelle guerre negli ultimi decenni dell’esercito statunitense. L’opera presuppone che solo la creazione di un completo sistema di sorveglianza e reazione immediata può intimidire la Cina tenendola prigioniera in una piccola scatola. Solo che le varie missioni in questo teatro vanno ben oltre le capacità del sistema navale attualmente schierato nel Pacifico occidentale da Stati Uniti ed alleati. Definendo le caratteristiche principali della nuova strategia, essa si basa su un sistema difensivo formato da centinaia di batterie antinave terrestri, creando una linea di blocco per evitare che la flotta cinese acceda ai punti di transito obbligatori quali sono gli stretti navigabili. Dato che ad oggi l’esercito statunitense ha già schierato batterie antinave a terra nella regione, il rapporto chiede la creazione di un tale sistema difensivo sugli arcipelaghi, permettendo il controllo della linea di blocco nella regione Asia-Pacifico.
La pubblicazione del rapporto è coincisa con lo schieramento da parte del Giappone di un nuovo sistema difensivo, costituito da cinque batterie di missili antinave Type-88 sull’isola di Miyako e su altre isole dell’arcipelago di Okinawa (Ryukyu). In particolare, nello stretto tra Okinawa e Miyako lungo 300 km, una delle rotte principali della marina cinese per accedere al Pacifico e agli Stati Uniti. Il missile Type-88 ha una portata di 150 km ed è simile all’Harpoon statunitense. Inoltre, il Giappone ha annunciato l’intenzione di nazionalizzare 280 isole impiantandovi i missili antinave. Con tutto il rispetto per la natura scientifica della relazione, appare incompleta. Analizzando l’efficacia della nuova concezione, dovrebbe modellarsi matematicamente cercando di vedere come le batterie antinave influenzino la neutralizzazione di alcuni fattori casuali. Basandosi sulla realtà del terreno, cioè per garantirsi la continuità della linea difensiva, il 50% delle batterie sarà posto su isolette rocciose di 2-4 chilometri quadrati, senza alcuna possibilità di dispiegarvi forze antiaeree o marines che possano respingere potenziali incursioni cinesi. Un esempio concreto dell’inefficacia della nuova strategia degli Stati Uniti sono le isole Senkaku, arcipelago tra l’isola Miyako e Taiwan, composto da otto isole appartenenti al Giappone e negli ultimi tempi reclamato in modo sempre più aggressivo dalla Cina. I cinesi hanno ampliato le loro attività nella zona del Mar Cinese Orientale tra Taiwan e Giappone, sulle isole Senkaku, creando uno spazio di sorveglianza aeromarittima per 78 droni. I velivoli automatici cinesi compiono regolarmente fino a 60 voli di ricognizione al giorno dalla durata media di quattro ore, molestando gli equipaggi dei velivoli da combattimento delle aviazioni avversarie, bloccando ed intercettando le comunicazioni dell’aeronautica giapponese e dell’aviazione statunitense basata in Giappone.
La Cina ha sviluppato negli ultimi quattro anni il più grande e complesso programma di progettazione e costruzione di velivoli senza equipaggio (UAV), che muta quotidianamente. Perciò la Cina può creare, dal 2014, altre due aree di sorveglianza aeromarittima. La prima è contigua a quella istituita nel 2013, tra Taiwan e le Filippine. La seconda è contigua alla precedente, ma a nord del Mar Giallo e sul Mar del Giappone, tra Giappone e Corea del sud. Poi, nel 2015, la Cina creerà l’ultimo anello della catena di zone di sorveglianza, questa volta verso l’Oceano Indiano, sugli stretti di Malacca e della Sonda. Così, la Cina sorveglierà dall’aria le posizioni di ogni batteria di missili antinave del sistema statunitense, potendo, se necessario, distruggerne una parte, creando un corridoio per la sua marina.
Il secondo fattore che può contrastare, almeno in parte, la linea delle batterie antinave, è rappresentato dalle forze aeree della Cina, sempre più potenti, e in cui aumenta esponenzialmente il numero di aeromobili di 4.ta generazione avanzata e di nuovi aerei cargo pesanti cinesi, come il Xian Y-20, il cui raggio d’azione di 4500 km va ben oltre la linea del blocco. Con un carico utile massimo di 66 tonnellate, il Xian Y-20 è stato progettato per le operazioni sotto copertura dei paracadutisti del 15.mo Corpo aeroportato della Cina. Il Xian Y-20 può trasportare il carro armato cinese (da 54 tonnellate) ZTZ-99A2, simile al Leopard 2 tedesco. Il potenziale finanziario e tecnologico della Cina gli permette già di portare il tasso di produzione di questo aereo a 5-7 velivoli al mese. A una condizione: che la Russia fornisca i motori PS-90A21 con cui la Cina equipaggia il velivolo. Riassumendo, la Cina ha interessi comuni con la Russia nel sud-est asiatico, cioè che gli Stati Uniti si ritirino da un mercato rappresentato dal 60% della popolazione mondiale. Senza la tecnologia militare e i rifornimenti di petrolio e gas dalla Russia, l’economia cinese ristagnerebbe. Il recente piano di investimenti della Cina in Europa orientale rientra nella politica congiunta russo-cinese per spezzare l’egemonia statunitense.

 

Y-20.1

 

http://romanian.ruvr.ru/2014_02_15/China-se-pregateSte-sa-sparga-blocada-1108/

Russie_Chine

La Chine se prépare à briser le blocus russe

 

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio – SitoAurora

A pesar de las múltiples presiones de Estados Unidos, América Latina se niega a organizar la próxima Cumbre de las Américas sin la presencia de Cuba.

Por primera vez en su historia, la próxima Cumbre de las Américas que tendrá lugar en mayo de 2015 en Panamá podrá contar con la presencia de Cuba, víctima de ostracismo desde el triunfo de la Revolución en 1959 por parte de Estados Unidos con su expulsión de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) en 1962. La Habana no pudo participar en las ediciones anteriores de 1994, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2009 y 2012. Este séptimo encuentro, que agrupa a los 34 países miembros de la OEA cada tres o cuatro años, sucede a la Cumbre de Cartagena, Colombia, de abril de 2012, donde virulentos debates enfrentaron a Estados Unidos (apoyado por Canadá) a los demás Estados, que no aceptaban la ausencia de Cuba. Las naciones del continente decidieron por unanimidad que no podían tener lugar más reuniones sin la presencia del Gobierno de La Habana, aislando así a Washington.

Durante décadas Cuba se encontró aislada por las presiones de la Casa Blanca. Así en 1962 todas las naciones, de Canadá a Argentina, rompieron las relaciones con La Habana, con la notable excepción de México. Hoy todos los países de América tienen relaciones diplomáticas y comerciales normales con Cuba, con la excepción de Estados Unidos.

Washington multiplicó las presiones sobre Panamá para que no se invitase a Cuba en 2015. Además de intensas negociaciones diplomáticas directas, Estados Unidos emitió varias declaraciones públicas oponiéndose a la participación de la Habana en la próxima Cumbre de las Américas. El Departamento de Estado, mediante su secretaria de Estado para los Asuntos del Hemisferio Occidental, Roberta Jacobson, reiteró su oposición a la presencia de la isla.[1]

Agencia Efe

Presidentes que asistieron a la 6ª Cúpula de las Américas, realizada en Cartagena en 2012

 

Juan Carlos Varela, el presidente de Panamá, no cedió a las presiones estadounidenses y reafirmó su voluntad de acoger a Cuba: “América es un solo continente, incluye a Cuba y hay que ser respetuoso con eso. La canciller Isabel de Saint Malo se lo dijo al secretario de Estado de EE.UU. John Kerry en su visita a Washington […]. Deben estar todos los países […].Tenemos que buscar lo que nos une y dejar por unos días cualquier división política para afrontar retos coordinados. La participación de Cuba es importante, porque podría llevar mucho al debate de situaciones políticas. Por ejemplo las negociaciones de pacificación de Colombia son en La Habana”.[2]

Panamá incluso mandó simbólicamente a Isabel de Saint Malo, vicepresidenta de la República y también canciller, a Cuba para extender la invitación al presidente Raúl Castro.[3] “La familia americana estaría incompleta sin Cuba. Panamá ha manifestado como anfitrión que queremos contar con todos los países. Si la Cumbre es de las Américas y Cuba es un país miembro de las Américas, para que esté completa la participación es necesaria la presencia de Cuba. Si tú invitas a tu familia a comer y dejas un miembro por fuera, la familia no está completa”, declaró Isabel de Saint Malo. Por su parte Martín Torrijos, presidente de Panamá entre 2004 y 2009, celebró el “triunfo colectivo” de América Latina que supo resistir a las presiones procedentes del Norte.[4]

Agencia Efe

Manifestación de Primero de Mayo en Havana, 2011

Incluso Miguel Insulza, secretario general de la muy dócil Organización de Estados Americanos, declaró su deseo de ver a Cuba en la Cumbre: “No hay ningún motivo legal” que impida la participación de La Habana. Insulza recordó que era tiempo para Estados Unidos “probar otra cosa” tras más de medio siglo de política hostil hacia la isla del Caribe, y optar por el “diálogo”.[5]

Durante la última Cumbre de 2012 varios países como Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia y Nicaragua, condicionaron su participación en la edición de 2015 a la presencia de Cuba. En mayo de 2014, los miembros de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (UNASUR), que agrupa a 12 naciones, publicaron una declaración que expresaba “su voluntad de que la hermana República de Cuba esté presente en la próxima Cumbre de las Américas de forma incondicional y en plano de igualdad”.[6] Haití y Nicaragua expresaron el mismo punto de vista. Según Managua, “una Cumbre de las Américas sin la presencia de Cuba, no es Cumbre de las Américas”.[7]

Ecuador ya boicoteó la Cumbre de Cartagena de 2012. Su Presidente Rafael Correa explicó las razones: “Es inadmisible una Cumbre de las Américas sin Cuba, como era inadmisible una Organización de Estados Americanos sin Cuba”. En 2009, la OEA decidió abrogar la resolución relativa a la exclusión de la isla. “Eso no puede tolerarlo América Latina. He decidido que, mientras sea Presidente de la República del Ecuador, no volveré a asistir a ninguna Cumbre de las “Américas”, agregó.[8]

La solidaridad que expresa América Latina con Cuba es emblemática de la nueva era que atraviesa el continente desde hace unos quince años, marcada por una voluntad de emancipación, independencia e integración y rechazo de la hegemonía estadounidense. Ilustra también el aislamiento total en el cual se encuentra Washington y el repudio que suscita su política obsoleta y cruel de sanciones contra La Habana, las cuales afectan a las categorías más vulnerables de la sociedad, empezando por las mujeres, los niños y los ancianos.

Salim Lamrani

 

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula The Economic War Against Cuba. A Historical and Legal Perspective on the U.S. Blockade, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2013, con un prólogo de Wayne S. Smith y un prefacio de Paul Estrade.

Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected]

Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel


[1] EFE, « U.S. Reaffirms Opposition to Cuba Attending Americas Summit », 26 de septiembre de 2014.

[2] EFE, « Juan Carlos Varela quiere a Cuba en la Cumbre de las Américas », 8 de septiembre de 2014.

[3] Granma, “Recibió Raúl a la Vicepresidenta de Panamá”, 19 de septiembre de 2014.

[4] EFE, « Canciller panameña: familia americana estaría incompleta sin Cuba », 19 de septiembre de 2014.

[5] EFE, « ‘No hay motivo legal’ que impida a Cuba ir a la Cumbre de las Américas, dice Insulza », 5 de septiembre de 2014.

[6] UNASUR, “Declaración de los cancilleres de UNASUR”, 23 de mayo de 2014.

[7] Cubadebate, “Países de la región exigen presencia de Cuba en próxima Cumbre de las Américas”, 6 de junio de 2013.

[8] Cubadebate, « Exige Correa presencia de Cuba en Cumbre de las Américas 2015 », 5 de junio de 2014.

 An alleged  plot to kill Her Majesty the Queen was uncovered barely 2 days before the Remembrance Day celebrations.

Four suspected Islamic terrorists were arrested by police for having put together a carefully designed plot to kill Queen Elizabeth II.

A scanty yet authoritative police report was made public in a timely fashion on Friday, two days before the Remembrance Day celebrations.

The British media is rife with fabrications and innuendoes. The contents of the police reports were distorted by the media. This carefully designed plot to stab Her Majesty with a knife hit the headlines of  the weekend editions of London’s major tabloids, coinciding with the Remembrance Day Event.

No substantive details regarding the terror plot were released. The stabbing of Queen Elizabeth was slated to take place at  the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, according to the Sun.

How was the alleged killer equipped with a knife going to break through the security and police barriers and approach Her Majesty?  The British media did not take the trouble to investigate the circumstances of this alleged plot against the Queen.

The terror plot had apparently been foiled by London’s police force. According to the London Sun,  ”An alleged plot to kill the Queen of England was foiled by British police, it was reported Friday. Four Islamic terror suspects had hatched a murderous plan to stab the 88-year-old monarch”.
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MI5 had provided relevant information. “The cops got wind of the alleged plot”  
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While the plot consisted in killing Queen Elizabeth with a knife, police authorities also confirmed that the suspects had access to firearms. No evidence of “weapons of mass destruction” was  provided. 
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According to the Daily Mail, the four suspects had been under observation for several months and were known to police investigators.  Yet they chose to undertake the arrests ahead of the Sunday commemorations.
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According to Scotland Yard, the arrests were related  to “Islamist related terrorism”. Confirmed by the police reports, the alleged terrorists were supporters of the Islamic State (ISIL)  and had been called upon to extend the holy jihad to Western Europe.
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 Lest we forget the Islamic State (ISIS) is a creation of US intelligence, supported and financed out of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Since the outset of the war in Syria in March 2011, US-NATO and their allies have been supporting the terror brigades. 
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The Sun was the first paper to report that the Queen was the target, “claiming four jihadists hatched a plot to stab her to death at a ceremony marking Remembrance Day.”
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Was the plot to kill the Queen fabricated by The Sun?  It was not contained in the police reports. Was the Prime Minister’s office contacted by The Sun?  
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Did the Cameron government give the “green light” to The Sun’s media spin? Was the Queen advised?  
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No quotations or statement by police authorities were mentioned to substantiate The Sun’s claims.  The lies of MI5 and Scotland Yard were amplified by the British media. And once The Sun had pointed to an alleged plot to kill the Queen, the other British tabloids did not want to be left out;  with the exception of the BBC  they joined the bandwagon.
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“The story of the alleged plot against her is growing despite no police mention of her as an intended victim. In fact, the Daily Mail reported that she was a target but in the same story wrote that “police would not discuss whether the suspects had a specific target.”  (Digital Journal, November 9, 2014)

On Sunday November 9, the London tabloids went into overdrive. It was not only the Queen who was the target, allegedly the lives of several members of the royal family including Kate Middleton were threatened by the Islamists:

Four men have been arrested in Britain, as they planned a knife attack on the United Kindom’s monarch. The police have admitted that four men were preparing for terrorist acts. The men were targeting any members of the royal family, in particular Queen Elizabeth II, with the thugs hoping to make a stand on UK’s ‘Remembrance Sunday’. Luckily they were stopped, and the Queen, and Prince WilliamPrince GeorgePrince Harry and Princess Kate Middleton are safe, and luckily, now the UK are likely to up their terror-threat level, too, protecting their beloved royal family. (emphasis in the original, Mstarz. November 9, 2014)

The media presented the suspects as followers of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). According to an unnamed “source”, they were

“plotting to kill Queen Elizabeth II as an act of support for the Islamic militants and to terrorize the nation. The threat remains imminent as some Europeans are reportedly joining the terrorist groups and some British citizens are not an exception.” (emphasis added, Crossmap.com, November 10, 214)

“Coming for the British”

Everybody in Great Britain is threatened: first they come for the Queen, then the Royal Family and then they “come for the British”.

The objective of Her Majesty’s government with the support of Britain’s tabloids is to demonize British Muslims and justify a Middle East military agenda. It also purports to creating an atmosphere of generalized fear and intimidation throughout the United Kingdom.

And that Islamist threat, according to the British media, is not only real,  it is “evident”:

” For now the British have stopped one threat, but will they be able to eliminate the evident threat as quickly as possible, with tons of others touted as “coming for the British” in the near future?” (Ibid, emphasis added)

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Image: Palestinian youths clash with Israeli police at the entrance to the town of Kfar Kanna, northern Israel, on November 8, 2014.

Fresh clashes have erupted between Israeli troops and angry Palestinian protesters in the Galilee region of northern Israel, one day after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian youth

A protest was staged in the village of Kafr Kanna on Sunday to censure the fatal shooting of the 22-year-old Palestinian man, identified as Khair al-Din Hamdan, for allegedly attacking an Israeli police car with a knife.

Residents of the village set tires on fire, and scattered rocks on the roads. An unknown person also threw a Molotov cocktail, causing a fire in the area.

Scuffles broke out between Palestinian stone throwers and the police force stationed nearby. Israeli military forces then fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.

At least 17 Palestinian protesters, almost half of them minors, were arrested during the clashes.

Palestinian protesters argue that they will keep holding demonstrations against Hamdan’s killing until the Israeli soldiers, who shot him dead are brought to justice.

Israeli forces claim that the young Palestinian was shot during an arrest raid. They say they first fired into the air to warn the young man and shot him in the chest later, when they felt threatened.

However, footage, which surfaced after the incident, shows an Israeli serviceman stepping out of his car and directly shooting at Hamdan, who is seen retreating. The Palestinian succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.

The incident comes as tensions have been running high at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) over the past few weeks.

Palestinians are extremely angry at Tel Aviv’s raids as well as its new restrictions on the access of Palestinians to the mosque, considering the move as part of the Israeli regime’s plan to Judaize and desecrate the holy Islamic site.

Obama Doubles US Troop Strength in Iraq

November 9th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

The Pentagon announced Friday that President Obama has approved sending another 1,500 troops to Iraq, effectively doubling the size of the US deployment there. The move is part of a rapid escalation of the war in Iraq and Syria, and comes only days after the US midterm elections.

While the Obama administration maintains the pretense that this sizeable troop increase does not mean a return to combat, the distinction has become all but meaningless.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the additional US troops would serve “in a noncombat role to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces, including Kurdish forces,” adding “US troops will not be in combat, but they will be better positioned to support Iraqi security forces as they take the fight to” the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the nominal target of the US intervention.

In practice, this means that US “advisers” will be serving as de facto commanders of Iraqi troops engaged in ground combat with ISIS, while US warplanes operate as the tactical air support. Both the advisers and the airmen will be in combat, and the inevitable casualties will be added to the 4,500 US soldiers killed since the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq—along with as many as one million Iraqi men, women and children.

According to the Pentagon statement, the additional forces will establish “two expeditionary advise and assist operations centers, in locations outside of Baghdad and Erbil.” These are the two cities (the capitals of Iraq and of the Kurdish Regional Authority, respectively) where most of the 1,400 US troops already in Iraq are deployed.

At least 630 of the troops will be working with Iraqi Army troops in the western Anbar Province, most of which is controlled by ISIS. Since the entire province is a battlefield, these American forces are going into combat.

The remaining 870 troops will be spread out in multiple locations across the country, including such hotly contested areas as Salahuddin and Diyala provinces, northwest and northeast of the Iraqi capital, where there has been heavy fighting in the past three months.

The goal is to train 12 brigades of troops, nine in the Iraqi Army and three in the Kurdish militia, the Peshmerga, for a ground offensive against ISIS that would begin early in 2015. Several other countries will send “trainers” as well, said Rear Admiral John Kirby, the chief Pentagon spokesman.

Denmark is the latest to enlist in the new US-backed campaign, which is being waged in flagrant violation of international law. The country is committing 120 trainers for the purpose. Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands have all agreed to send warplanes, ground support personnel for the air war or military trainers, or some combination of all three.

Admiral Kirby said that the request for additional troops was proposed by the government of Iraq and the US military command. It was submitted to Obama by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel earlier this week, with a recommendation that he approve the deployment, “in concert with the development of a coalition campaign plan to defend key areas and go on the offensive against the Islamic State…”

On Thursday, speaking at the Atlantic Council in Washington, Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of CENTCOM, whose region includes the entire Middle East, said, “If I think we need to do more things, or if we need better capability, I won’t hesitate to make that recommendation to my boss. It’s what military leadership should do.”

The Iraq troop announcement completely overshadowed the previously announced White House meeting Friday afternoon, where President Obama sat down with a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen, including the leadership of the Republican and Democratic parties, for their first postelection discussions. That meeting included an extensive briefing on the war in Syria and Iraq by CENTCOM Commander Austin, Defense Secretary Hagel and other officials.

The meeting’s official purpose was to begin discussions on areas of possible agreement between the White House and Republican congressional leaders, who will control the Senate as well as the House as a result of the November 4 election.

Advance press reports have suggested possible deals on tax cuts for large corporations, pro-corporate trade deals in Asia and Europe, and the adoption of a budget for the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year that holds down spending to the levels imposed in the wake of the so-called sequester cuts of 2012 and 2013.

The timing of the Iraq troop announcement demonstrates the most important area of bipartisan collaboration: imperialist aggression overseas. Both big-business parties prostrate themselves before the military-intelligence apparatus, regardless of how seats and offices are divided among the Democrats and Republicans.

Discussions on Washington have included the possibility of a new and more expansive Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), aimed at giving a post facto bipartisan stamp of approval to war in both Iraq and Syria.

To pay for the troop deployment, the White House will also seek a supplemental appropriation of $5.6 billion from Congress. Budget Director Shaun Donovan said the request was “an opportunity for Congress and this administration to work together to provide the additional resources needed to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL[ISIS].”

There is little doubt that Congress will jump at the chance to fuel the bloodbath in the Middle East. Republican congressional leaders have been demanding a more aggressive military policy in Iraq and Syria, including the commitment of ground troops, and an open declaration that the goal of the intervention is not just to destroy ISIS, but to overthrow the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

This is the real purpose of the US military intervention, although Obama sought to conceal it during the election campaign, given the overwhelming opposition among the American people to the prospect of a major new war in the Middle East.

 The US-EU sponsored coup in the Ukraine and its conversion from a  stable Russian trading partner, to a devastated EU economic client and NATO launch pad, as well as the subsequent economic sanctions against Russia for supporting the Russian ethnic majority in the Donbas region and Crimea, illustrate the dangerous vulnerability of the Russian economy and state.  The current effort to increase Russia’s national security and economic viability in the face of these challenges requires a critical analysis of the policies and structures emerging in the post-Soviet era.

Pillage as Privatization

Over the past quarter century, several trillion dollars worth of public property in every sector of the Russian economy was illegally transferred or violently seized by gangster-oligarchs acting through armed gangs, especially during its ‘transition to capitalism’.

 From 1990 to 1999, over 6 million Russian citizens died prematurely as a result of the catastrophic collapse of the economy; life expectancy for males declined from 67 years during the Soviet era to 55 year during the Yeltsin period.  Russia’s GNP declined sixty percent – a historic first for a country not at war.  Following  Yeltsin’s violent seizure of power and his bombing of the Russian parliament, the regime proceeded to ‘prioritize’ the privatization of the economy, selling off the energy, natural resources, banking, transport and communication sectors at one-tenth or less of their real value to well-connected cronies and foreign entities.  Armed thugs, organized by emerging oligarchs “completed” the program of privatization by assaulting, murdering and threatening rivals.  Hundreds of thousands of elderly pensioners were tossed out of their homes and apartments in a vicious land-grab by violent property speculators.

US and European academic financial consultants “advised” rival oligarchs and government ministers on the most “efficient” market techniques for pillaging the economy, while skimming off lucrative fees and commissions –fortunes were made for the well-connected.  Meanwhile, living standards collapsed, impoverishing two thirds of Russian households, suicides quadrupled and deaths from alcoholism, drug addiction, HIV and venereal diseases became rampant.  Syphilis and tuberculosis reached epidemic proportions – diseases fully controlled during the Soviet era remerged with the closure of clinics and hospitals.

Of course, the respectable western media celebrated the pillage of Russia as the transition to “free elections and a free market economy”.  They wrote glowing articles describing the political power and dominance of gangster oligarchs as the reflection of a rising “liberal democracy”.  The Russian state was thus converted from a global superpower into an abject client regime penetrated by western intelligence agencies and unable to govern and enforce its treaties and agreements with Western powers.  The US and EU rapidly displaced Russian influence in Eastern Europe and quickly snapped up former state-owned industries, the  mass media and financial institutions.  Communist and leftist and even nationalist officials were ousted and replaced by pliant and subservient ‘free market’ pro-NATO politicians.

The US and EU violated every single agreement signed by Gorbachev and the West:  Eastern European regimes became NATO members; West Germany annexed the East and military bases were expanded right up to Russia’s borders.  Pro-NATO “think tanks” were established and supplied intelligence and anti-Russian propaganda. Hundreds of NGOs, funded by the US, operated within Russia as propaganda and organizing instruments for “subservient” neo-liberal politicians.  In the former Soviet Caucuses and Far East, the West fomented separatist sectarian movements and armed uprisings, especially in Chechnya; the US sponsored dictators in the Caucuses and corrupt neo-liberal puppets in Georgia.  The Russian state was colonized and its putative ruler, Boris Yeltsin, often in a drunken stupor, was propped up and manipulated to scratch out executive fiats . . . further disintegrating the state and society.

The Yeltsin decade is observed and remembered by the Russian people as a disaster and by the US-EU, the Russian oligarchs and their followers as a ‘Golden Age’… of pillage.  For the immense majority of Russians it was the Dark Ages when Russian science and culture were ravaged; world-class scientists, artists and engineers were starved of incomes and driven to despair, flight and poverty.  For the US, the EU and the oligarchs it was the era of ‘easy pickings’: economic, cultural and intellectual pillage, billion dollar fortunes, political impunity, unbridled criminality and subservience to Western dictates.  Agreements with the Russian state were violated even before the ink was dry.  It was the era of the unipolar US-centered world, the ‘New World Order’ where Washington could influence and invade nationalist adversaries and Russian allies with impunity.

The Golden Era of unchallenged world domination became the Western ‘standard’ for judging Russia after Yeltsin.  Every domestic and foreign policy, adopted during the Putin years 2000 – 2014, has been judged by Washington according to whether it conformed or deviated from the Yeltsin decade of unchallenged pillage and manipulation.

The Putin Era:  State and Economic Reconstruction and EU-US Belligerence

President Putin’s first and foremost task was to end Russia’s collapse into nothingness.  Over time, the state and economy recovered some semblance of order and legality.  The economy began to recover and grow; employment, wages and living standards, and mortality rates improved.  Trade, investment and financial transactions with the West were normalized – unadulterated pillage was prosecuted.  Russia’s recovery was viewed by the West with ambiguity:  Many legitimate business people and MNCs welcomed the re-establishment of law and order and the end of gangsterism; in contrast,  policymakers in Washington and Brussels as well as the vulture capitalists of Wall Street and the City of London quickly condemned what they termed Putin’s ‘rising authoritarianism’ and ‘statism’, as Russian authorities began to investigate the oligarchs for tax evasion, large-scale money laundering, the corruption of public officials and even murder.

Putin’s rise to power coincided with the world-wide commodity boom.  The spectacular rise in the price of Russian oil and gas and metals (2003-2013) allowed the Russian economy to grow at a rapid rate while the Russian state increased its regulation of the economy and began to restore its military.  Putin’s success in ending the most egregious forms of pillage of the Russian economy and re-establishing Russian sovereignty made him popular with the electorate: he was repeatedly re-elected by a robust majority.

As Russia distanced itself from the quasi-satellite policies, personnel and practices of the Yeltsin years, the US and EU launched a multi-prong hostile political strategy designed to undermine President Putin and restore pliant Yeltsin-like neo-liberal clones to power.  Russian NGOs funded by US foundations and acting as CIA fronts, organized mass protests targeting the elected officials.  Western-backed ultra-liberal political parties competed unsuccessfully for national and local offices.  The US-funded Carnegie Center, a notorious propaganda mill, churned out virulent tracts purporting to describe Putin’s demonic ‘authoritarian’ policies, his ‘persecution’ of dissident oligarchs and his ‘return’ to a ‘Soviet style command economy’.

While the West sought to restore the ‘Golden Age of Pillage’ via internal political surrogates, it pursued an aggressive foreign policy designed to eliminate Russian allies and trading partners, especially in the Middle East.  The US invaded Iraq, murdered Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party leadership, and established a sectarian puppet regime, eliminating Moscow’s key secular-nationalist ally in the region.  The US decreed sanctions on Iran, a major lucrative trading partner with Russia.  The US and the EU backed a large-scale armed insurgency to overthrow President Bashaar Assad in Syria, another Russian ally, and to deprive the Russian Navy of a friendly port on the Mediterranean.  The US and the EU bombed Libya, a major oil and trade partner of Russia (and China) hoping to install a pro-Western client regime.

Goading Russia in the Caucasus and on the Black Sea, the US backed-Georgian regime invaded a Russian protectorate, South Ossetia, in 2008, killing scores of Russian peace keepers and hundreds of civilians, but was repelled by a furious Russian counter-attack.

In 2014, the Western offensive to isolate, encircle and eventually undermine any possibility of an independent Russian state went into high gear.  The US financed a civil-military coup ousting the elected regime of President Viktor Yanukovytch, who had opposed EU annexation and NATO affiliation.  Washington imposed a puppet regime deeply hostile to Russia and ethnic Russian-Ukrainian citizens in the southeast and Crimea.  Russian opposition to the coup and support for  pro-democracy federalists in the south-east and Crimea served as a pretext for Western sanctions in an effort to undermine Russia’s oil, banking and manufacturing sectors and to cripple its economy.

Imperial strategists in Washington and Brussels broke all previous agreements with the Putin Administration and tried to turn Putin’s oligarch allies against the Russian president by threatening their holdings in the West (especially laundered bank accounts and properties).  Russian state oil companies, engaged in joint ventures with Chevron, Exxon, and Total, were suddenly cut off from Western capital markets.

The cumulative impact of this decade-long Western offensive culminating in the current wave of severe sanctions was to provoke a recession in Russia, to undermine the currency (the ruble declined 23% in 2014), drive up the cost of imports and hurt local consumers.  Russian industries, dependent on foreign equipment and parts, as well as oil companies dependent on imported technology for exploiting the Arctic reserves were made to feel the pain of ‘Putin’s intransigence’.

Despite the short-term successes of the US-EU war against the Russian economy, the Putin Administration has remained extremely popular among the Russian electorate, with approval ratings exceeding 80%.  This has relegated Putin’s pro-Western opposition to the dust bin of history.  Nevertheless the Western sanctions policy and the aggressive political – NATO military encirclement of Russia, has exposed the vulnerabilities of Moscow.

Russian Vulnerabilities:  The Limits of Putin’s Restoration of Russian Sovereignty

In the aftermath of the Western and Russian oligarch’s pillage of the Russian economy and the savage degradation of Russian society, President Putin pursued a complex strategy.

First, he sought to differentiate between ‘political’ and ‘economic’ oligarchs:  the latter included oligarchs willing to co-operate with the government in rebuilding the economy and willing to confine their activity to the generous guidelines set forth by President Putin.  They retained enormous economic power and profits, but not political power. In exchange, Putin allowed the ‘economic’ oligarchs to maintain their dubiously-acquired business empires.  In contrast, those oligarchs who sought political power and financed Yeltsin-era politicians were targeted – some were stripped of their fortunes and others were prosecuted for crimes, ranging from money laundering, tax evasion, swindles and illegal transfer of funds overseas up to financing the murder of their rivals.

The second focus of President Putin’s early political strategy was to deepen Russian cooperation with Western states and economies but on the basis of reciprocal market exchanges rather than one-sided, Western appropriation of Russian resources prevalent under Yeltsin.  Putin sought to secure greater political-military integration with the US and EU to ensure Russian borders and spheres of influence.  To that end, President Putin opened Russian military bases and supply lines for the US-EU military forces engaged in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and he did not oppose the EU-US sanctions against Iran.  Putin acquiesced to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, despite Russia’s long standing economic ties with Baghdad.   He joined the five powers ‘overseeing” the Palestine – Israeli ‘peace’ talks and went along with Washington’s one-sided support of Israel.  He even gave the ‘green light’ to the NATO bombing of Libya, naively assuming it would be a limited affair – a ‘humanitarian’ intervention.

As a result of Putin’s political and diplomatic collusion with the Washington-NATO military expansion, Russian trade, investment and finance with the West prospered.  Russian firms raised loans in Western capital markets; foreign investors flocked to the Russian stock market and multi-nationals formed joint ventures.  Major oil and gas ventures flourished.  The Russian economy recovered the living standards of the Soviet era; consumer spending boomed; unemployment fell from double to single digit; salaries and back wages were paid and research centers, universities, schools and cultural institutions began to recover.

The third component of Putin’s strategy was the state recovery (re-nationalization) of the strategic oil and gas sector.  By outright purchase and buy-outs, through financial audits and the confiscation of the assets of gangster oligarchs, the Russian state takeover of oil and gas was successful.  These re-nationalized sectors formed joint ventures with Western oil giants and led Russian exports during a period of peak energy demand.  With the rise in oil prices over the Putin decade, Russia experienced a consumer-driven import boom – from agricultural commodities to luxury jewelry and autos… Putin consolidated his electoral support and deepened Russia’s ‘integration’ in Western markets.

Putin’s expansion and growth strategy looked exclusively westward to the EU and US, and not east to Asia/China or south to Latin America.

With this focus on the West, Putin’s initial tactical success began to expose Russia’s strategic vulnerabilities.  The first signs were evident in the Western support for the corrupt  oligarchs’ anti-Putin campaign and the media’s demonization of the Russian judicial system which prosecuted and convicted gangster oligarchs, like Mikhail Khodorkovsky .  The second sign was the West’s financial and political support of the Yeltsin-era neo-liberals competing against Putin’s United Russia Party and candidates…It became clear that Putin’s effort to restore Russian sovereignty conflicted with the West’s plans to maintain Russia as a vassal state.  The West favorably counterpoised the Golden Years of unrestrained pillage and domination of the Yeltsin period to the Putin era of an independent and dynamic Russia – by constantly tying the Russian president to the defunct Soviet Union and the KGB.

In 2010, the US encouraged its client, President Saakashvili of Georgia to invade Russia’s protectorate in South Ossetia.  This was the first major indication that Putin’s accommodation with the West was counter-productive.  Russian territorial borders, its allies and spheres of influence became Western targets.  The US and EU condemned Russia’s defensive response even as Moscow withdrew its troops from Georgia after applying a sound beating.

Georgia was a militarist dress rehearsal; one of several western planned and financed coups – some dubbed ‘color revolutions’ other’s NATO ‘humanitarian interventions’.  Yugoslavia in the Balkans was fragmented by NATO bombing and Ukraine had several ‘color’ uprisings up to the present bloody ‘civil war’.  Washington and Brussels interpreted Putin’s series of conciliatory measures as weakness and felt free to encroach further on Russia’s frontier and to knock off regimes friendly to Russia.

By the middle of the second decade of the new century, the US and EU made a major strategic decision to weaken Russia’s security and its economy sovereignty:  to seize control over Ukraine, expel Russia from its Black Sea military base in Crimea, convert the Ukraine into an advanced NATO outpost and cut Eastern Ukraine’s economic ties with Russia – especially the Russian market for the strategic Ukrainian military weaponry.  The coup was financed by the West, while far-right and neo-Nazi Ukraine gangs provided the shock troops .The Kiev junta organized  a war of conquest  directed at purging the anti-coup, pro-democracy forces in the southeast Donbas region with its Russian ethnic majority and heavy industrial ties to Russia.

When Putin finally recognized the clear danger to Russia’s national security, his government responded by annexing Crimea after a popular referendum and started to provide sanctuary and supply lines for the embattled anti-Kiev federalists in eastern Ukraine.  The West exploited the vulnerabilities in the Russian economy, which had resulted from Putin’s development model, and imposed wide-reaching economic sanctions designed to cripple Russia’s economy.

Western Sanctions, Russian Weakness: Rethinking Putin’s Strategic Approach

Western aggressive militarism and the sanctions against Russia exposed several critical vulnerabilities of Putin’s economic and political strategy.  These include (1) his dependence on Western-oriented ‘economic oligarchs’ to promote his strategy for Russian economic growth; (2) his acceptance of most of the privatizations of the Yeltsin era; (3) his decision to focus on trade with the West, ignoring the China market, (4) his embrace of a gas and oil export strategy instead of developing a diversified economy; (5) his dependence on his allied robber-baron oligarchs – with no real experience in developing industry, no true financial skills, scant technological expertise and no concept of marketing – to restore and run the peak manufacturing sector.  In contrast to the Chinese, the Russian oligarchs have been totally dependent on Western markets, finance and technology and have done little to develop domestic markets, implement self-financing by re-investing their profits or upgrade productivity via Russian technology and research.

In the face of Western sanctions Putin’s leading oligarch-allies are his weakest link in formulating an effective response.  They press Putin to give in to Washington as they plead with Western banks to have their properties and accounts exempt from the sanctions. They are desperate to protect their assets in London and New York.  In a word, they are desperate for President Putin to abandon the freedom fighters in southeast Ukraine and cut a deal with the Kiev junta.

This highlights the contradiction within Putin’s strategy of working with the ‘economic’ oligarchs, who have agreed not to oppose Putin within Russia, while transferring their massive wealth to Western banks, investing in luxury real estate in London, Paris and Manhattan and forming loyalties outside of Russia.  In effect, they are closely tied to Russia’s current political enemies.  Putin’s tactical success in harnessing oligarchs to his project of growth via stability has turned into a strategic weakness in defending the country from crippling economic reprisals.

Putin’s acceptance of the Yeltsin-era privatizations provided a certain stability in the short-run but it led to the massive flight of private  capital overseas rather than remaining to be invested in projects to insure greater self-sufficiency.  Today the capacity of the Russian government to mobilize and convert its economy into an engine of growth and to withstand imperial pressure is much weaker than the economy would have been if it was under greater state control. Putin will have a difficult time convincing private owners of major Russian industries to make sacrifices – they are too accustomed to receiving favors, subsidies and government contracts.  Moreover, as their financial counterparts in the West press for payments on debts and deny new credits, the private elites are threatening to declare bankruptcy or to cut back production and discharge workers.

The rising tide of Western military encroachments on Russia’s borders, the string of broken promises regarding the incorporation of Eastern Europe into NATO and the bombing and destruction of Yugoslavia in the 1990’s, should have shown Putin that no amount of unilateral concessions was likely to win Western acceptance as a bona fide “partner”.  Washington and Brussels were unwavering in their strategy to encircle and maintain Russia as a client.

Instead of turning west and offering support for US-NATO wars, Russia would have been in a far better position to resist sanctions and current military threats if it had diversified and oriented its economy and markets toward Asia, in particular China, with its dynamic economic growth and expanding domestic market, investment capacity and growing technical expertise.  Clearly, China’s foreign policy has not been accompanied by wars and invasion of Russian allies and encroachment on Russia’s borders.  While Russia has now turned to increase economic ties with Asia in the face of growing NATO threats, a great deal of time and space has been lost over the past 15 years.    It will take another decade to reorient the Russian economy, with its major industries still controlled by the mediocre oligarchs and kleptocrats, holdovers from the Yeltsin period.

With the closure of Western markets, Putin has had to ‘pivot’ to China, other Asian nations and Latin America to find new markets and economic partners.  But his growth strategy still depends on oil and gas exports and most of Russia’s private ‘business leaders’ are not real entrepreneurs capable of developing new competitive products, substituting Russian technology and inputs and identifying profitable markets.  This generation of Russian ‘business leaders’ did not build their economic empires or conglomerates from the ‘bottom up’ – they seized and pillaged their assets from the public sector and they grew their wealth through state contracts and protection.  Moscow now asks them to find alternative overseas markets, to innovate, compete and replace their dependence on German machinery.

The bulk of what passes for the Russian industrial capitalist class are not entrepreneurs, they are more like rent collectors and cronies – oriented to the West.  Their origins are more often as gangsters and warlords who early on strong- armed their rivals out of the public giveaways of the 1990’s.  While these oligarchs have sought to gain respectability after consolidating their economic empires and hired public relations agencies to polish their images and economic consultants to advise them on investments, they have never demonstrated any capacity to grow their firms into competitive enterprises.  Instead they remained wholly dependent on capital, technology and intermediary imports from the West and subsidies from the Putin Administration.

The so-called Russian “capitalist” rentiers stand in sharp contrast to the dynamic Chinese public and private entrepreneurs – who borrowed overseas technology from the US, Japan, Taiwan and Germany, adapted and improved on the technology and are producing advanced highly competitive products.  When the US-EU sanctions came into force, Russian industry found itself unprepared to substitute local production and President Putin had to arrange trade and import agreements with China and other sources for inputs.

The biggest strategic flaw in Putin’s economic strategy was his decision to concentrate on gas and oil exports to the West as his ‘engine of growth’.  This resulted in Russia’s dependency on high prices for commodity exports and Western markets.  With this in mind the US and EU exploited Russia’s vulnerability to any drop in the world price for energy and its dependence on Western oil extraction technology, equipment and joint ventures.

Putin’s policy has relied on a vision of economic integration with the West alongside greater co-operation and political connections with the NATO powers.  These assumptions have been proven wrong by the march of events:  US and EU cooperation was tactical and contingent on asymmetrical, indeed unilateral, concessions from Russia – especially its continued willingness to sacrifice its traditional allies in the Balkans, Middle East, North Africa and especially the Caucuses.  Once Russia began to assert its own interests, the West turned hostile and confrontational.  Ever since Russia opposed the coup regime in Kiev, the West’s goal has been the overthrow of Putin’s Russia.  The ongoing Western offensive against Russia is not a passing phase: it is the beginning of a prolonged, intensified economic and political confrontation.

Though Russia is vulnerable, it is not without resources and capacity to resist, defend its national security and advance its economy.

Conclusion:  What is to be Done?

First and foremost Russia must diversify its economy; it must industrialize its raw materials and invest heavily in substituting local production for Western imports.  While shifting its trade to China is a positive step, it must not replicate the previous commodities (oil and gas) for manufactured goods trading pattern of the past.

Secondly, Russia must re-nationalize its banking, foreign trade and strategic industries, ending the dubious political and economic loyalties and rentier behavior of the current dysfunctional private ‘capitalist’ class.  The Putin Administration must shift from oligarchs to technocrats, from rentiers to entrepreneurs, from speculators who earn in Russia and invest in the West to workers co-participation– in a word it must deepen the nationalpublic, and productive character of the economy.  It is not enough to claim that oligarchs who remain in Russia and declare loyalty to the Putin Administration are legitimate economic agents. They have generally disinvested from Russia, transferred their wealth abroad and have questioned legitimate state authority under pressure from Western sanctions.

Russia needs a new economic and political revolution - in which the government recognizes the West as an imperial threat and in which it counts on the organized Russian working class and not on dubious oligarchs. The Putin Administration has pulled Russia from the abyss and has instilled dignity and self-respect among Russians at home and abroad by standing up to Western aggression in the Ukraine.  From this point on, President Putin needs to move forward and dismantle the entire Yeltsin klepto-state and economy and re-industrialize, diversify and develop its own high technology for a diversified economy.

And above all Russia needs to create new democratic, popular forms of democracy to sustain the transition to a secure, anti-imperialist and sovereign state.  President Putin has the backing of the vast majority of Russian people; he has the scientific and professional cadre; he has allies in China and among the BRICs; and he has the will and the power to “do the right thing”.

The question remains whether Putin will succeed in this historical mission or whether, out of fear and indecision, he will capitulate before the threats of a dangerous and decaying West.

On Thursday, Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was launching criminal proceedings over school shelling in Donetsk, interpreting it as an international crime.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirms the shelling of school in Donetsk was made from the side of Ukraine’s military, and the Ukrainian side is trying to fabricate proofs of non-involvement, Russia’s ambassador to OSCE Andrey Kelin told TASS on Saturday.

© Alexey Slavny/TASS

“The report contains facts. The facts prove that the shelling was made from artillery from the direction and distance, which no doubt are at location of the Ukrainian military near the airport and the settlement of Peski,” he said.

“On Thursday, at the meeting of OSCE permanent council, Ukrainian diplomats presented pictures with television footage, where, they claimed, the drawn dots traced the shelling had been made from quite the opposite direction, from the eastern one, where the militia are,” he said. “That was a very prompt fabrication made within hours of the tragedy – a useless attempt to make others responsible.”

On Friday, OSCE said in a spot report the shelling of a Donetsk school on November 5, which left two children dead, was carried out from the northwestern direction.

“In the SMM’s [Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine] assessment,” shells “were fired from a location north-west of the football pitch and were the result of high-angle fire,” the OSCE said.

“On 6 November 2014, at 8:25 hrs, the SMM arrived at School No. 63 on Stepanenko Street, Donetsk, about three kilometres north-west of the city centre. The SMM saw a football pitch on the east side of the school, enclosed by steel mesh fencing; shrapnel damage to the pitch, fencing and goal posts; and, on the northern edge of the pitch, one metre from the fence, a shell crater, which was one metre in diameter,” the report said.

“The SMM saw human remains scattered around the pitch, including bone fragments, blood and internal organs. Blood-stained clothing was also visible, which appeared to have been torn by shrapnel,” it said.

The monitors also discovered about 10 craters from shells nearby.

“All craters seen by the SMM were about one metre in diameter and the depths varied. The SMM’s analysis indicates that at least four of the craters were caused by 120mm mortar shells and two others were the result of 122mm artillery rounds,” the report said.

“The SMM also noted a crater in the playground, near the eastern wall. The SMM spoke to a number of people present in the area who said that on the previous day two children had been killed by an artillery shell; and four children and an adult had been seriously wounded,” it said.

“People living nearby told the SMM that there were a number of other casualties in the area. The SMM saw one woman who was leaving Stepanenko Street 14a with shrapnel wounds to her legs, who said she was being taken to hospital. The SMM observed that there was extensive damage to the apartment building and its windows,” the report said.

“Residents indicated that a number of local people had also been injured but they were unwilling to give names so it was not possible to identify or locate any casualties,” it said, adding that there were also other casualties.

On Thursday, Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was launching criminal proceedings over school shelling in Donetsk, interpreting it as an international crime. Investigators said servicemen of Ukraine’s armed forces and national guard, on an order from their commanders and Defense Ministry, army and national guard officials, carried out an aimed artillery shelling of high school No. 63 on Stepanenko Street in Donetsk.

According to the UN, more than 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics.

The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at OSCE-mediated talks on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.

The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly occasionally been violated.

On September 19 in Minsk, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.

The document contains nine points, including in particular a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibres of over 100 millimetres to a distance of 15 kilometres from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.

The GM Contamination Register database has been run by Genewatch and Greenpeace for about ten years and contains cases dating from 1997 to the end of 2013 [1]. The authors of a new paper, published in the International Journal of Food Contamination, analysed the 400 or so cases in the database by crop and country [2].

GM rice accounts for about a third of contamination cases, despite the fact there is officially no GM rice grown anywhere in the world. The authors suggest this high level might be related to the routine testing of imports of GM rice at national borders. The highest rates of contamination are in imported foodstuffs to Germany, but this is probably because that country does a lot of testing.

They also focused on cases of contamination arising from unauthorised GM crops: those without any authorisation for commercial growing anywhere in the world. Nine cases were discovered of GM contamination of these unauthorised (non-commercialised) GM crops that haven’t undergone any environmental or food safety analysis.

The authors argue that once GM contamination has happened, it can be difficult to contain.

It is not only the GM contamination itself (cross-pollination, mix-ups, etc.) that contributes to the number of cases but also the testing regime (both routine and targeted). The paper concludes that for perhaps all experimental GMOs, there is no overall protocol for testing available, making detection of any GM contamination difficult, if not impossible.

Don Westfall, biotech industry consultant and vice-president of Promar International some 13 years ago, was quoted by the Toronto Star on 9 January 2001 as saying that the hope of the GM industry is that over time the market is so flooded with GM organisms that there’s nothing you can do about it; you just sort of surrender.

It is not just a vague hope, however. It’s an intentional, criminal strategy by the industry.

Genetically engineered wheat is not approved to be grown for commercial use in the US or anywhere else in the world. Yet last year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that unapproved GE wheat had been found growing in an Oregon wheat field. Since 1994, Monsanto has conducted 279 field trials of RoundUp Ready wheat over more than 4,000 acres of land in 16 US states [3]. The USDA has admitted that Monsanto’s GMO experiments from 1998 to 2005 were held in open wheat fields. The genetically engineered wheat escaped and found its way into commercial wheat fields in Oregon (and possibly 15 other states), causing self-replicating genetic pollution that now taints the entire US wheat industry.

Prior to this, in 2006, the USDA granted marketing approval of genetically-engineered Liberty Link 601 of Bayer CropScience. (GE) rice variety following its illegal contamination of the food supply and rice exports [4]. The USDA effectively sanctioned an ‘approval-by-contamination’ policy.

In 2005, biologist Pushpa Bhargava alleged that there were reports that unapproved varieties of several genetically modified crops were being sold to farmers in India. And Arun Shrivasatava wrote in 2008 that illegal genetically modified okra had been planted in India and poor farmers had been offered lucrative deals to plant ‘special seed’ of all sorts of vegetables [5]. He asks: who knows at how many places illegal genetically engineered rice have been planted?

The story of open air trials of GM crops in India is a story of blatant violations of biosafety norms, hasty approvals, a lack of monitoring abilities, general apathy towards the hazards of contamination and a lack of institutional oversight mechanisms [6].

Concerns have also been expressed in Europe over the contamination of basmati rice exported by India [7].

Just this week, the West Bengal government says it had received information regarding “infiltration” of commercial seeds of GM Bt brinjal from Bangladesh [8]. Bangladesh has gone ahead with the commercial release of the GM vegetable Bt-Brinjal – a variant engineered by inserting a gene from soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis that produces an insecticidal toxin.

Pradeep Majumdar, agriculture advisor to State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, stated:

“Commercial seeds may have infiltrated… they might have been smuggled in. We have to ascertain the various effects of Bt-Brinjal on local indigenous species before taking any step else farmers will suffer.”

According to the GMWatch website, if this has occurred, it will follow the time-honoured GMO industry tactic of “contaminate first and push for regulatory authorisation afterwards”.

Bt brinjal has never undergone independent safety testing but the industry’s own tests show it is toxic [9,10].

West Bengal State Agricultural Minister Purnendu Bose stated:

“We have heard that in Bengal districts bordering Bangladesh, seeds of Bt-Brinjal have been found. We will not introduce GMs now and definitely not without proper study.”

In India, the previous government had ordered a freeze on field trials of GM food crops but the current government recently gave the go-ahead to field trials of two varieties of GM brinjal and mustard.

Last year, a group of scientists and NGOs protested in Kolkata and elsewhere against the introduction of transgenic brinjal in Bangladesh – a centre for origin and diversity of the vegetable – as it would give rise to contamination of the crop in India.

There concerns are now being validated.

As has been shown elsewhere, once the GM genie is out of the bottle, there may well be no going back.

Notes

1] http://www.gmcontaminationregister.org/

2] Price B, Cotter J (2014). The GM Contamination Register: a review of recorded contamination incidents associated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), 1997–2013. International Journal of Food Contamination 2014, 1:5. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40550-014-0005-8

3] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-monsanto-engame-genetically-engineered-wheat-on-oregon-farm-contamination-across-north-america/5337514

4] http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/680/ge-animals/press-releases/886/usda-to-rubber-stamp-contamination-of-food-with-illegal-genetically-engineered-rice-banned-in-japan-and-europe#

5] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-death-of-rice-in-india/9562

6] http://indiagminfo.org/?page_id=175

7] http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/india-denies-gmo-contamination-basmati 

8] http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/commercial-bt-brinjal-seeds-infiltrating-bengal-from-bangladesh-114110501181_1.html

9] http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/12803

10] http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bt-brinjal-can-damage-liver-&-hit-immunity-of-a-human-being./1/126821.html

Why America Needs War

November 9th, 2014 by Jacques R. Pauwels

This incisive article was written on April 30, 2003, by historian and political scientist Jacques Pauwels. 

Wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. The American President, on the other hand, seems to love war. Why? Many commentators have sought the answer in psychological factors. Some opined that George W. Bush considered it his duty to finish the job started, but for some obscure reason not completed, by his father at the time of the Gulf War; others believe that Bush Junior expected a short and triumphant war which would guarantee him a second term in the White House.

I believe that we must look elsewhere for an explanation for the attitude of the American President.

The fact that Bush is keen on war has little or nothing to do with his psyche, but a great deal with the American economic system. This system – America’s brand of capitalism – functions first and foremost to make extremely rich Americans like the Bush “money dynasty” even richer. Without warm or cold wars, however, this system can no longer produce the expected result in the form of the ever-higher profits the moneyed and powerful of America consider as their birthright.

The great strength of American capitalism is also its great weakness, namely, its extremely high productivity. In the historical development of the international economic system that we call capitalism, a number of factors have produced enormous increases in productivity, for example, the mechanization of the production process that got under way in England as early as the 18th century. In the early 20th century, then, American industrialists made a crucial contribution in the form of the automatization of work by means of new techniques such as the assembly line. The latter was an innovation introduced by Henry Ford, and those techniques have therefore become collectively known as “Fordism.” The productivity of the great American enterprises rose spectacularly.

For example, already in the 1920s, countless vehicles rolled off the assembly lines of the automobile factories of Michigan every single day. But who was supposed to buy all those cars? Most Americans at the time did not have sufficiently robust pocket books for such a purchase. Other industrial products similarly flooded the market, and the result was the emergence of a chronic disharmony between the ever-increasing economic supply and the lagging demand. Thus arose the economic crisis generally known as the Great Depression. It was essentially a crisis of overproduction. Warehouses were bursting with unsold commodities, factories laid off workers, unemployment exploded, and so the purchasing power of the American people shrunk even more, making the crisis even worse.

It cannot be denied that in America the Great Depression only ended during, and because of, the Second World War. (Even the greatest admirers of President Roosevelt admit that his much-publicized New Deal policies brought little or no relief.) Economic demand rose spectacularly when the war which had started in Europe, and in which the USA itself was not an active participant before 1942, allowed American industry to produce unlimited amounts of war equipment. Between 1940 and 1945, the American state would spend no less than 185 billion dollar on such equipment, and the military expenditures’ share of the GNP thus rose between 1939 and 1945 from an insignificant 1,5 per cent to approximately 40 per cent. In addition, American industry also supplied gargantuan amounts of equipment to the British and even the Soviets via Lend-Lease. (In Germany, meanwhile, the subsidiaries of American corporations such as Ford, GM, and ITT produced all sorts of planes and tanks and other martial toys for the Nazi’s, also after Pearl Harbor, but that is a different story.) The key problem of the Great Depression – the disequilibrium between supply and demand – was thus resolved because the state “primed the pump” of economic demand by means of huge orders of a military nature.

As far as ordinary Americans were concerned, Washington’s military spending orgy brought not only virtually full employment but also much higher wages than ever before; it was during the Second World War that the widespread misery associated with the Great Depression came to an end and that a majority of the American people achieved an unprecedented degree of prosperity. However, the greatest beneficiaries by far of the wartime economic boom were the country’s businesspeople and corporations, who realized extraordinary profits. Between 1942 and 1945, writes the historian Stuart D. Brandes, the net profits of America’s 2,000 biggest firms were more than 40 per cent higher than during the period 1936-1939. Such a “profit boom” was possible, he explains, because the state ordered billions of dollars of military equipment, failed to institute price controls, and taxed profits little if at all. This largesse benefited the American business world in general, but in particular that relatively restricted elite of big corporations known as “big business” or “corporate America.” During the war, a total of less than 60 firms obtained 75 per cent of all lucrative military and other state orders. The big corporations – Ford, IBM, etc. – revealed themselves to be the “war hogs,” writes Brandes, that gormandized at the plentiful trough of the state’s military expenditures. IBM, for example, increased its annual sales between 1940 and 1945 from 46 to 140 million dollar thanks to war-related orders, and its profits skyrocketed accordingly.

America’s big corporations exploited their Fordist expertise to the fullest in order to boost production, but even that was not sufficient to meet the wartime needs of the American state. Much more equipment was needed, and in order to produce it, America needed new factories and even more efficient technology. These new assets were duly stamped out of the ground, and on account of this the total value of all productive facilities of the nation increased between 1939 and 1945 from 40 to 66 billion dollar. However, it was not the private sector that undertook all these new investments; on account of its disagreeable experiences with overproduction during the thirties, America’s businesspeople found this task too risky. So the state did the job by investing 17 billion dollar in more than 2,000 defense-related projects. In return for a nominal fee, privately owned corporations were permitted to rent these brand-new factories in order to produce…and to make money by selling the output back to the state. Moreover, when the war was over and Washington decided to divest itself of these investments, the nation’s big corporations purchased them for half, and in many cases only one third, of the real value.

How did America finance the war, how did Washington pay the lofty bills presented by GM, ITT, and the other corporate suppliers of war equipment? The answer is: partly by means of taxation – about 45 per cent -, but much more through loans – approximately 55 per cent. On account of this, the public debt increased dramatically, namely, from 3 billion dollar in 1939 to no less than 45 billion dollar in 1945. In theory, this debt should have been reduced, or wiped out altogether, by levying taxes on the huge profits pocketed during the war by America’s big corporations, but the reality was different. As already noted, the American state failed to meaningfully tax corporate America’s windfall profits, allowed the public debt to mushroom, and paid its bills, and the interest on its loans, with its general revenues, that is, by means of the income generated by direct and indirect taxes. Particularly on account of the regressive Revenue Act introduced in October 1942, these taxes were paid increasingly by workers and other low-income Americans, rather than by the super-rich and the corporations of which the latter were the owners, major shareholders, and/or top managers. “The burden of financing the war,” observes the American historian Sean Dennis Cashman, “[was] sloughed firmly upon the shoulders of the poorer members of society.”

However, the American public, preoccupied by the war and blinded by the bright sun of full employment and high wages, failed to notice this. Affluent Americans, on the other hand, were keenly aware of the wonderful way in which the war generated money for themselves and for their corporations. Incidentally, it was also from the rich businesspeople, bankers, insurers and other big investors that Washington borrowed the money needed to finance the war; corporate America thus also profited from the war by pocketing the lion’s share of the interests generated by the purchase of the famous war bonds. In theory, at least, the rich and powerful of America are the great champions of so-called free enterprise, and they oppose any form of state intervention in the economy. During the war, however, they never raised any objections to the way in which the American state managed and financed the economy, because without this large-scale dirigist violation of the rules of free enterprise, their collective wealth could never have proliferated as it did during those years.

During the Second World War, the wealthy owners and top managers of the big corporations learned a very important lesson: during a war there is money to be made, lots of money. In other words, the arduous task of maximizing profits – the key activity within the capitalist American economy – can be absolved much more efficiently through war than through peace; however, the benevolent cooperation of the state is required. Ever since the Second World War, the rich and powerful of America have remained keenly conscious of this. So is their man in the White House today [2003, i.e. George W. Bush], the scion of a “money dynasty” who was parachuted into the White House in order to promote the interests of his wealthy family members, friends, and associates in corporate America, the interests of money, privilege, and power.

In the spring of 1945 it was obvious that the war, fountainhead of fabulous profits, would soon be over. What would happen then? Among the economists, many Cassandras conjured up scenarios that loomed extremely unpleasant for America’s political and industrial leaders. During the war, Washington’s purchases of military equipment, and nothing else, had restored the economic demand and thus made possible not only full employment but also unprecedented profits. With the return of peace, the ghost of disharmony between supply and demand threatened to return to haunt America again, and the resulting crisis might well be even more acute than the Great Depression of the “dirty thirties,” because during the war years the productive capacity of the nation had increased considerably, as we have seen. Workers would have to be laid off precisely at the moment when millions of war veterans would come home looking for a civilian job, and the resulting unemployment and decline in purchasing power would aggravate the demand deficit. Seen from the perspective of America’s rich and powerful, the coming unemployment was not a problem; what did matter was that the golden age of gargantuan profits would come to an end. Such a catastrophe had to be prevented, but how?

Military state expenditures were the source of high profits. In order to keep the profits gushing forth generously, new enemies and new war threats were urgently needed now that Germany and Japan were defeated. How fortunate that the Soviet Union existed, a country which during the war had been a particularly useful partner who had pulled the chestnuts out of the fire for the Allies in Stalingrad and elsewhere, but also a partner whose communist ideas and practices allowed it to be easily transformed into the new bogeyman of the United States. Most American historians now admit that in 1945 the Soviet Union, a country that had suffered enormously during the war, did not constitute a threat at all to the economically and militarily far superior USA, and that Washington itself did not perceive the Soviets as a threat. These historians also acknowledge that Moscow was very keen to work closely together with Washington in the postwar era.

Indeed, Moscow had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, from a conflict with superpower America, which was brimming with confidence thanks to its monopoly of the atom bomb. However, America – corporate America, the America of the super-rich – urgently needed a new enemy in order to justify the titanic expenditures for “defense” which were needed to keep the wheels of the nation’s economy spinning at full speed also after the end of the war, thus keeping profit margins at the required – or rather, desired – high levels, or even to increase them. It is for this reason that the Cold War was unleashed in 1945, not by the Soviets but by the American “military-industrial” complex, as President Eisenhower would call that elite of wealthy individuals and corporations that knew how to profit from the “warfare economy.”

In this respect, the Cold War exceeded their fondest expectations. More and more martial equipment had to be cranked out, because the allies within the so-called “free world”, which actually included plenty of nasty dictatorships, had to be armed to the teeth with US equipment. In addition, America’s own armed forces never ceased demanding bigger, better, and more sophisticated tanks, planes, rockets, and, yes, chemical and bacteriological weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. For these goods, the Pentagon was always ready to pay huge sums without asking difficult questions. As had been the case during the Second World War, it was again primarily the large corporations who were allowed to fill the orders. The Cold War generated unprecedented profits, and they flowed into the coffers of those extremely wealthy individuals who happened to be the owners, top managers, and/or major shareholders of these corporations. (Does it come as a surprise that in the United States newly retired Pentagon generals are routinely offered jobs as consultants by large corporations involved in military production, and that businessmen linked with those corporations are regularly appointed as high-ranking officials of the Department of Defense, as advisors of the President, etc.?)

During the Cold War too, the American state financed its skyrocketing military expenditures by means of loans, and this caused the public debt to rise to dizzying heights. In 1945 the public debt stood at “only” 258 billion dollar, but in 1990 – when the Cold War ground to an end – it amounted to no less than 3.2 trillion dollar! This was a stupendous increase, also when one takes the inflation rate into account, and it caused the American state to become the world’s greatest debtor. (Incidentally, in July 2002 the American public debt had reached 6.1 trillion dollar.) Washington could and should have covered the cost of the Cold War by taxing the huge profits achieved by the corporations involved in the armament orgy, but there was never any question of such a thing. In 1945, when the Second World War come to an end and the Cold War picked up the slack, corporations still paid 50 per cent of all taxes, but during the course of the Cold War this share shrunk consistently, and today it only amounts to approximately 1 per cent.

This was possible because the nation’s big corporations largely determine what the government in Washington may or may not do, also in the field of fiscal policy. In addition, lowering the tax burden of corporations was made easier because after the Second World War these corporations transformed themselves into multinationals, “at home everywhere and nowhere,” as an American author has written in connection with ITT, and therefore find it easy to avoid paying meaningful taxes anywhere. Stateside, where they pocket the biggest profits, 37 per cent of all American multinationals – and more than 70 per cent of all foreign multinationals – paid not a single dollar of taxes in 1991, while the remaining multinationals remitted less than 1 per cent of their profits in taxes.

The sky-high costs of the Cold War were thus not borne by those who profited from it and who, incidentally, also continued to pocket the lion’s share of the dividends paid on government bonds, but by the American workers and the American middle class. These low- and middle-income Americans did not receive a penny from the profits yielded so profusely by the Cold War, but they did receive their share of the enormous public debt for which that conflict was largely responsible. It is they, therefore, who were really saddled with the costs of the Cold War, and it is they who continue to pay with their taxes for a disproportionate share of the burden of the public debt.

In other words, while the profits generated by the Cold War were privatized to the advantage of an extremely wealthy elite, its costs were ruthlessly socialized to the great detriment of all other Americans. During the Cold War, the American economy degenerated into a gigantic swindle, into a perverse redistribution of the nation’s wealth to the advantage of the rich and to the disadvantage not only of the poor and of the working class but also of the middle class, whose members tend to subscribe to the myth that the American capitalist system serves their interests. Indeed, while the wealthy and powerful of America accumulated ever-greater riches, the prosperity achieved by many other Americans during the Second World War was gradually eroded, and the general standard of living declined slowly but steadily.

During the Second World War America had witnessed a modest redistribution of the collective wealth of the nation to the advantage of the less privileged members of society. During the Cold War, however, the rich Americans became richer while the non-wealthy – and certainly not only the poor – became poorer. In 1989, the year the Cold War petered out, more than 13 per cent of all Americans – approximately 31 million individuals – were poor according to the official criteria of poverty, which definitely understate the problem. Conversely, today 1 per cent of all Americans own no less than 34 per cent of the nation’s aggregate wealth. In no major “Western” country is the wealth distributed more unevenly.

The minuscule percentage of super-rich Americans found this development extremely satisfactory. They loved the idea of accumulating more and more wealth, of aggrandizing their already huge assets, at the expense of the less privileged. They wanted to keep things that way or, if at all possible, make this sublime scheme even more efficient. However, all good things must come to an end, and in 1989/90 the bountiful Cold War elapsed. That presented a serious problem. Ordinary Americans, who knew that they had borne the costs of this war, expected a “peace dividend.”

They thought that the money the state had spent on military expenditures might now be used to produce benefits for themselves, for example in the form of a national health insurance and other social benefits which Americans in contrast to most Europeans have never enjoyed. In 1992, Bill Clinton would actually win the presidential election by dangling out the prospect of a national health plan, which of course never materialized. A “peace dividend” was of no interest whatsoever to the nation’s wealthy elite, because the provision of social services by the state does not yield profits for entrepreneurs and corporations, and certainly not the lofty kind of profits generated by military state expenditures. Something had to be done, and had to be done fast, to prevent the threatening implosion of the state’s military spending.

America, or rather, corporate America, was orphaned of its useful Soviet enemy, and urgently needed to conjure up new enemies and new threats in order to justify a high level of military spending. It is in this context that in 1990 Saddam Hussein appeared on the scene like a kind of deus ex machina. This tin-pot dictator had previously been perceived and treated by the Americans as a good friend, and he had been armed to the teeth so that he could wage a nasty war against Iran; it was the USA – and allies such as Germany – who originally supplied him with all sorts of weapons. However, Washington was desperately in need of a new enemy, and suddenly fingered him as a terribly dangerous “new Hitler,” against whom war needed to be waged urgently, even though it was clear that a negotiated settlement of the issue of Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait was not out of the question.

George Bush Senior was the casting agent who discovered this useful new nemesis of America, and who unleashed the Gulf War, during which Baghdad was showered with bombs and Saddam’s hapless recruits were slaughtered in the desert. The road to the Iraqi capital lay wide-open, but the Marines’ triumphant entry into Baghdad was suddenly scrapped. Saddam Hussein was left in power so that the threat he was supposed to form might be invoked again in order to justify keeping America in arms. After all, the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union had shown how inconvenient it can be when one loses a useful foe.

And so Mars could remain the patron saint of the American economy or, more accurately, the godfather of the corporate Mafia that manipulates this war-driven economy and reaps its huge profits without bearing its costs. The despised project of a peace dividend could be unceremoniously buried, and military expenditures could remain the dynamo of the economy and the wellspring of sufficiently high profits. Those expenditures increased relentlessly during the 1990s. In 1996, for example, they amounted to no less than 265 billion dollars, but when one adds the unofficial and/or indirect military expenditures, such as the interests paid on loans used to finance past wars, the 1996 total came to approximately 494 billion dollar, amounting to an outlay of 1.3 billion dollar per day! However, with only a considerably chastened Saddam as bogeyman, Washington found it expedient also to look elsewhere for new enemies and threats. Somalia temporarily looked promising, but in due course another “new Hitler” was identified in the Balkan Peninsula in the person of the Serbian leader, Milosevic. During much of the nineties, then, conflicts in the former Yugoslavia provided the required pretexts for military interventions, large-scale bombing operations, and the purchase of more and newer weapons.

The “warfare economy” could thus continue to run on all cylinders also after the Gulf War. However, in view of occasional public pressure such as the demand for a peace dividend, it is not easy to keep this system going. (The media present no problem, as newspapers, magazines, TV stations, etc. are either owned by big corporations or rely on them for advertising revenue.) As mentioned earlier, the state has to cooperate, so in Washington one needs men and women one can count upon, preferably individuals from the very own corporate ranks, individuals totally committed to use the instrument of military expenditures in order to provide the high profits that are needed to make the very rich of America even richer. In this respect, Bill Clinton had fallen short of expectations, and corporate America could never forgive his original sin, namely, that he had managed to have himself elected by promising the American people a “peace dividend” in the form of a system of health insurance.

On account of this, in 2000 it was arranged that not the Clinton-clone Al Gore moved into the White House but a team of militarist hardliners, virtually without exception representatives of wealthy, corporate America, such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, and of course George W. Bush himself, son of the man who had shown with his Gulf War how it could be done; the Pentagon, too, was directly represented in the Bush Cabinet in the person of the allegedly peace-loving Powell, in reality yet another angel of death. Rambo moved into the White House, and it did not take long for the results to show.

After Bush Junior had been catapulted into the presidency, it looked for some time as if he was going to proclaim China as the new nemesis of America. However, a conflict with that giant loomed somewhat risky; furthermore, all too many big corporations make good money by trading with the People’s Republic. Another threat, preferably less dangerous and more credible, was required to keep the military expenditures at a sufficiently high level. For this purpose, Bush and Rumsfeld and company could have wished for nothing more convenient than the events of September 11, 2001; it is extremely likely that they were aware of the preparations for these monstrous attacks, but that they did nothing to prevent them because they knew that they would be able to benefit from them. In any event, they did take full advantage of this opportunity in order to militarize America more than ever before, to shower bombs on people who had nothing to do with 9/11, to wage war to their hearts’ content, and thus for corporations that do business with the Pentagon to ring up unprecedented sales. Bush declared war not on a country but on terrorism, an abstract concept against which one cannot really wage war and against which a definitive victory can never be achieved. However, in practice the slogan “war against terrorism” meant that Washington now reserves the right to wage war worldwide and permanently against whomever the White House defines as a terrorist.

And so the problem of the end of the Cold War was definitively resolved, as there was henceforth a justification for ever-increasing military expenditures. The statistics speak for themselves. The 1996 total of 265 billion dollar in military expenditures had already been astronomical, but thanks to Bush Junior the Pentagon was allowed to spend 350 billion in 2002, and for 2003 the President has promised approximately 390 billion; however, it is now virtually certain that the cape of 400 billion dollar will be rounded this year. (In order to finance this military spending orgy, money has to be saved elsewhere, for example by cancelling free lunches for poor children; every little bit helps.) No wonder that George W. struts around beaming with happiness and pride, for he – essentially a spoiled rich kid of very limited talent and intellect – has surpassed the boldest expectations not only of his wealthy family and friends but of corporate America as a whole, to which he owes his job.

9/11 provided Bush with carte blanche to wage war wherever and against whomever he chose, and as this essay has purported to make clear, it does not matter all that much who happens to be fingered as enemy du jour. Last year, Bush showered bombs on Afghanistan, presumably because the leaders of that country sheltered Bin Laden, but recently the latter went out of fashion and it was once again Saddam Hussein who allegedly threatened America. We cannot deal here in detail with the specific reasons why Bush’s America absolutely wanted war with the Iraq of Saddam Hussein and not with, say, North Korea. A major reason for fighting this particular war was that Iraq’s large reserves of oil are lusted after by the US oil trusts with whom the Bushes themselves – and Bushites such as Cheney and Rice, after whom an oil tanker happens to be named – are so intimately linked. The war in Iraq is also useful as a lesson to other Third World countries who fail to dance to Washington’s tune, and as an instrument for emasculating domestic opposition and ramming the extreme right-wing program of an unelected president down the throats of Americans themselves.

The America of wealth and privilege is hooked on war, without regular and ever-stronger doses of war it can no longer function properly, that is, yield the desired profits. Right now, this addiction, this craving is being satisfied by means of a conflict against Iraq, which also happens to be dear to the hearts of the oil barons. However, does anybody believe that the warmongering will stop once Saddam’ scalp will join the Taliban turbans in the trophy display case of George W. Bush? The President has already pointed his finger at those whose turn will soon come, namely, the “axis of evil” countries: Iran, Syria, Lybia, Somalia, North Korea, and of course that old thorn in the side of America, Cuba. Welcome to the 21st century, welcome to George W. Bush’s brave new era of permanent war!

Jacques R. Pauwels is historian and political scientist, author of ‘The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War’ (James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002). His book is published in different languages: in English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian and French. Together with personalities like Ramsey Clark, Michael Parenti, William Blum, Robert Weil, Michel Collon, Peter Franssen and many others… he signed “The International Appeal against US-War”.


From the International Press on Saturday, March 22, 2003:

The cost to the United States of the war in Iraq and its aftermath could easily exceed $100 billion…Peace-keeping in Iraq and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure could add much more…The Bush administration has stayed tightlipped about the cost of the war and reconstruction…Both the White House and the Pentagon refused to offer any definite figures.
(The International Herald Tribune, 22/03/03)

It is estimated that the war against Iraq will cost approximately 100 billion dollar. In contrast to the Gulf War of 1991, whose cost of 80 million was shared by the Allies, the United States is expected to pay the entire cost of the present war…For the American private sector, i.e. the big corporations, the coming reconstruction of Iraq’s infrastructure will represent a business of 900 million dollar; the first contracts were awarded yesterday (March 21) by the American government to two corporations. (Guido Leboni, “Un coste de 100.000 millones de dolares,” El Mundo, Madrid, 22/03/03)

The  “Terrorist” Events of Wednesday October 22nd in Ottawa and two days earlier in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu bear all the hallmarks of a coordinated cross-border one-two punch false flag operation.

The first, the left jab hit-and-run killing of a Canadian soldier, would be the psychological softening up for the follow-up right cross, the killing of another Canadian soldier in Ottawa. Together they dazed the public to an extent that even the ostentatiously-iconic murder at the National War Memorial alone might not have achieved.

The context was within the intensification of the so-called “global war on terror” and in concert with the pro-military Stephen Harper government’s deployment of warplanes supposedly fighting “the terrorists” of the suddenly-emerging “Islamic State.” The first bombing sorties of Canadian F-18s took place hours after the violent acts of supposed “homegrown” and “self-radicalized” supporters of “Islamic jihad.”


Domestically the second outrage occurred on the very day the government was to introduce legislation giving the RCMP, CSIS and CSEC [CSEC is changing its name (to CSE) so that it can continue to spy – and indeed do more spying abroad – but not have the word “Canada” associated with this spying. “Spy agency CSEC says goodbye to Canada” is the headline over an October 31st  Toronto Star story by Tonda MacCharles. ]

These coincidences of timing, I submit, are not coincidences at all but quite deliberately planned to maximize the intended impacts: greater public support for a new war in the Middle East, better chances for faster and less-questioned support in Parliament for the increased police and spy powers, and enhanced public approval ratings for the Harper government in the run-up to next year’s general election.

This article delves deeper into the timing including that the events happened, to the day, as military-intelligence “exercises” were taking place that precisely mirrored the “surprise” events. Other hallmarks include the prior involvement of government agents with both of the supposed jihadists, the fact that both were easy-to-manipulate “human wreckage” and the early “terrorism” branding led by the Prime Minister. Other hallmarks include the unfolding parade of memorable iconic elements and images, the “lone wolf” narratives, the dual role of the media in general to both to reinforce the official narrative and to fail to ask fundamental questions about it.

Ottawa shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, especially, is tied to the “war on terror.” At the highest level of visibility, he’s a pawn marketed for public consumption to reinforce “global jihad” rhetoric.

On a subterranean level are two sets of fingerprints. One set shows the involvement of both Canadian and U.S. spy agencies and possibly other of the so-called “Five Eyes” (the others being the UK, Australia and New Zealand), not to mention the grotesquely corrupt FBI, with its record of mounting scores of false flag ops, that will be referred to later.

The second set of prints shows the work of the agencies’ gatekeeper “assets” in the media, in this instance in the USA as well as in Canada. They manipulate “the news.”

Telltale hallmarks of false flag ops

1 The timing. The exquisite timing of the National War Memorial outrage on the very day new laws were to be introduced by the Harper regime giving expanded powers to spook agencies – as well as additional cover for their “informants” so deep as to be impenetrable – is one hallmark of a world-class false flag op.

Added police powers at all times in any country, when an atmosphere of hysteria has been generated, are railroaded into laws in a flash, historically speaking. The new or expanded laws take decades to undo or ratchet down, if they ever are.

As Prof. Graeme MacQueen, author of an insightful and detailed new book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy, (Clarity Press, Inc.,www.claritypress.com, writes, the timing of the 2001 “anthrax letter attacks” or the “anthrax attacks” was just as the USA Patriot Act “was being hurried through Congress.” The notorious bill, propagandistically entitled “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” Act, was signed into law October 26th, 2001, about three weeks after the first news of an “anthrax attack” broke. Bush followed up by giving his approval “to the first bulk domestic spying by the National Security Agency (NSA).” Such are the sea changes set into motion by perfectly-timed false flag ops. (Watch for an upcoming review of MacQueen’s book in Truth and Shadows.)

Interestingly MacQueen notes that

“gradually the hypothesis became widespread that the [anthrax] attacks were the second blow in a ‘one-two punch’ delivered by terrorists, the first blow having been the attacks of 9/11.”

Ottawa has gone the U.S. government one better by compressing the time between introduction of “anti-terror” legislation and a false flag “terror attack” to hours. Ottawa also subjected MPs and others on Parliament Hill to the sounds of gunfire amidst fearful uncertainty, in a fast-moving operation, again outdoing the Americans.

These events have also taken place during the lead-up to Remembrance Day.  Government TV ads are in heavy rotation featuring World War I and World War II footage in black and white and colour, as well as video clips of Canadian peacekeepers. They send us to http://www.veterans.gc.ca/iremember. Stirring and nostalgic, these ads cannot be divorced from consideration of the impact of the Ottawa events. The ads (and much else) knit together in the public consciousness.

My wife and I almost always attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies at Toronto’s Old City Hall.

(I posted a piece for this blog about the ceremonies in 2012 (http://truthandshadows.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/peacenik-reflects-on-remembrance-day/).

I tend to agree with predictions that turnout this year may exceed previous years. Remembrance Day speeches, as well as the whole setup of Remembrance Day ceremonies, tend to ennoble if not glorify war. This year the homilies are certain to make reference to the events in St-Jean-sur-Richeleau and Ottawa.

More than ever, this year the understandable sentiments of many will be channeled into reinforcing belief in the “reality” of the “war on terror.” Emotions will be manipulated into support for a militarized monopoly capitalist anti-life system of perpetual war and ever-increasing inequality.

Metrics are being reported that bear this out.  A front-page story in The Globe and Mailon November 7th reports “a steady stream of support for the military in the days leading up to Remembrance Day.”

Under the headline “Poppy sales a sign support for military surging after attacks,” Tristan Simpson reports. “Legion officials say those events have become emblematic of a renewed patriotism – and have sparked an increase in military support.”

2 Prior “involvement” of agents of the state

“Prior contact” with alleged terrorists is a virtually guaranteed hallmark of false flag ops.

Both Zehaf-Bibeau and hit-and-run killer Martin Couture-Rouleau were “known to authorities.” As the main front page headline of the Toronto Star had it of Couture-Rouleau on October 22nd: “RCMP had suspect on their radar for months.”

On page A4 on the next day in the same paper, an edition dominated by 17 pages of coverage out of Ottawa, is a half-page devoted to how much “a Canadian security source” knew about Zehaf-Bibeau’s past.

The usual phraseology is that agents of CSIS or the RCMP “had been in contact with” the criminals or “had (these individuals) under surveillance” or “had been monitoring their activities.”

Is it entirely coincidental that both “terrorists” – as Harper labeled both early and often – were Quebeckers? Quebeckers as a generality are cool to Harper and his “war on terror” rhetoric. But they might be expected to warm up to his “national security” agenda on the basis of fear — insofar as they buy the official narratives.

Canadian authorities, it was reported, asked the FBI to assist in the investigation of the “terrorist” events in Canada. The FBI’s record shows that the assistance would most likely be in sharing with their buddies north of the border in the finer points of how to mount a false flag op. Investigative reporter Trevor Aaronson’s book The Terror Factoryexposes the FBI’s inside role in creating “false flag terror.” He writes that as of 2011 the FBI was involved in more than 500 cases of “manufactured” terror.

References here can be found at : http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/0…ainst-america/

In a 2011 article in Mother Jones, Aaronson wrote:

Since 9/11, there have been hundreds of arrests of “terrorist suspects” and 158 prosecutions. Of all the reported “major terror plots,” only three can’t be directly tied to terror suspects who were directly recruited, trained and supplied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Truth is, we also have questions about the other three.

In the case of the “anthrax attacks” the spider web of government agents and suspicious civilian players interacting with those initially put forward as anthrax terrorists and/or 9/11 “hijackers” was almost monolithic. Most were in Florida, within close geographic proximity. As MacQueen writes:

Academic researchers have largely tended to dismiss the Florida connections by accepting the FBI’s coincidence theory. … The question, however, is not whether actual hijackers were involved in sending out letters laden with anthrax spores: the question is whether fictions, verbal or enacted, were intentionally created to make this narrative seem credible. The [alleged hijackers] did not have anthrax, but the script portrayed them as likely to have it. [page 138]

The U.S. government repeatedly attempted to link the “anthrax attacks,” the “9/11 hijackers” and Iraq (remember Colin Powell’s now totally discredited dog-and-pony show at the UN?). But when those attempts fell apart, the domestic terror purveyors turned to Plan B, as MacQueen persuasively shows. Plan B was to finger a domestic “lone wolf,” scientist Bruce Ivins, who then became conveniently dead.

“The evidence suggests a grand plan, not an opportunistic foray,” writes MacQueen.

3 The chosen miscreants are “human wreckage”

It was Webster Tarpley, author of 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA who described the typical patsy recruited for manipulation by spy agencies as “human wreckage.”

It’s easy to understand how such individuals can easily be manipulated through bribes, other inducements, threats or psychological pressure up to and including sophisticated brain-washing techniques. These are known to have been developed by “spy” agencies over decades and in this country go back at least to the CIA’s self-admitted funding of “psychic driving” experiments under the Project MK-Ultra mind control program on unknowing civilians at McGill University from 1957 to 1964 under the direction of Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron:

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Ewen_Cameron).

Frequently mentally-disturbed people have been in trouble with the law. This was true of Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau. Zehaf-Bibeau was desperate, on the edge, unpredictable, wanted to die. Spy agencies find such people easily. The “chosen ones” will have Arabic names and be converts to Islam. Or have Middle East connections. Many combinations fill the bill to help the label “suspected terrorist” stick.

Run-ins with the law render disturbed individuals additionally vulnerable. Police or “intelligence” agents can promise to use their influence to gain shorter sentences if they’ve been convicted, more leniency if they’ve already been sentenced. Or get them off altogether. Conversely agents can threaten to use their influence to make things much worse for these individuals. Those promising or threatening often are in a position to deliver.

In this connection, the lead article  in the Focus section of The Globe and Mail on October 25th by Doug Saunders actually describes, without his using the term, false flag ops by U.S. “authorities.”

It’s worth excerpting that section of his piece:

Authorities in the U.S. adopted the practice of catching lone-wolf figures in sting operations, in which they’d find disturbed young men online, provide them with prefabricated terror plots and (fake) weapons, and arrest them a moment before they were about to carry out their planned attack. This approach has been numerically successful – that is, it has intercepted a lot of putative terrorists – but many wonder if it’s simply making the problem worse, and turning police agencies into terrorism enablers.

“Often these are down-and-out losers in society who wouldn’t be able to pull off a decent attack on their own,” Dr. [Ramon] Spaaij, an Australian scholar with Victoria University and author ofUnderstanding Lone Wolf Terrorism, says, “but the undercover police provide the weapons and suggest the targets … what that does is it has sown a lot of bad blood in Muslim communities – we’re out there preying on vulnerable young people and turning them into terrorists.”

What Saunders, whose body of work I happen to greatly admire, fails to note is that these “sting” (e.g., false flag) operations generate thousands of fear-inducing headlines; this may be their main purpose. Readers, listeners and viewers are led to believe that police have caught “real terrorists.” These false flag ops contribute the bulk of the “proof” for the so-called “war on terror.” It’s a continuous psychological assault and distortion of reality through manufacture of “reality.” The impact goes ‘way beyond “sowing bad blood in Muslim communities.” It’s a main driver of the fictional “war on terror.”

Besides, “bad blood” in Muslim communities would be one of the goals of the authors of this continuous fakery. This “bad blood” would fulfill at least two functions. One is to keep many Muslims in docile fear mode in which they can be more easily controlled. Second is that less docile Muslims, especially young unstable men, will react with anger and possibly go off the deep end. Perfect.

This is the same entrapment technique used to create the “Toronto 18.” And this is the same modus operandi the police use when they enable or program or bribe or threaten their patsies to cause violence.

As University of Guelph professor Michael Keefer wrote:

The theatrical arrests of 18 (mostly young) Muslims in Toronto in the Summer of 2006 reinforced media-driven paranoia that homegrown terrorists were everywhere. The unraveling of the case two years later exposes to view yet again the sinister and disgraceful behavior of Canada’s security intelligence apparatus, which has formed a habit of confecting false accusations of terrorism against Canadian citizens. The threat to Canadian society is not a bunch of Muslim boys playing paintball, it’s an ideologically driven government willing to curtail our civil liberties.

4 The “lone wolf” or “lone gunman” narrative

Without doubt there are instances of demented individuals who perform outrages single handedly. The USA provides the most examples by far, with a plethora of berserk gunmen mowing down innocent citizens in malls, on college campuses and elsewhere.

In politically-charged false flag ops, by definition in virtually all cases agents in the shadows pull the levers to bring about the outrages. In the three highest profile assassinations of the last century and arguably most impactful historically, those of JFK, RFK and MLK, the establishment narrative has been that lone gunmen were responsible, in each case in the face of much evidence to the contrary. Lee Harvey Oswald was known to have worked for U.S. intelligence. He’s a classic “lone gunman” who wasn’t. Others include James Earl Ray, allegedly the killer of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who wasn’t, as proven in a civil trial in Memphis in 1999. The half white half black jury returned a verdict that civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was the victim of an assassination conspiracy involving the CIA and the U.S. Army and did not die at the hands of an unaided lone gunman.

In the case of Zehaf-Bibeau the likelihood of enablers is rendered very high because of many unanswered questions. Among them, how did a deranged misfit living in shelters obtain both a gun and a car needed for him to go on his rampage?

5 “Lone wolves” tend to become quickly deceased

From Lee Harvey (“I am just a patsy”) Oswald to Rolando Galman (who gunned down Benigno Aquino, Jr., former Philippine Senator, as he stepped off his plane, and then himself was gunned down) to the “Boston bomber” Tamerlan Tsarnaev, patsies or hired assassins tend to become deceased – quickly. Dead men tell no tales. Typically, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau are no more.

In 2002 U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft named scientist Steven Hatfill a “person of interest” in connection with the “anthrax attacks” of a year before. As Graeme MacQueen writes: “The FBI concentrated on investigating him, publicly and aggressively. A year later Hatfill sued the Justice Department for libel and eventually he received $5.82 million in compensation…”

The FBI – presumably after a massive search for patsy material – decided in 2008 that the “anthrax killer” was Dr. Bruce Ivins, who had been working on an anthrax vaccine at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“This time,” MacQueen writes, “the FBI faced no serious challenge from its chosen perpetrator because Ivins died shortly before he was to be charged with the crime. He was said to have committed suicide.” Tellingly, no autopsy was performed.

The death of an actual bona fide terrorist or, much more often the case, a recruited patsy (the classic being Oswald) obviates the possibility of a trial in a court of law (as distinguished from trial in the “court of public opinion”). Trial in a court of law carries with it the possibility of evidence emerging that could be damning to the state and the Crown’s case.

The bodies of killers, alleged killers or dead “terrorists” frequently are not dealt with appropriately. As Prof. John McMurtry of Guelph, author of The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure, wrote in an October 29th Global Research essay: Zehaf-Bibeau

“…went on a killing spree, with no known blood testing afterwards for the drugs he was evidently driven by, in the video record of his frenzied and super-charged behaviour, just as there was no known test of the body of crazed drive-over killer, Martin Couture-Rouleau. How extraordinary. How unspoken in the lavish profusion of other details… All such strange coincidences are part of the now familiar covert-state MO.”

The de facto executions of the killers or alleged killers are, however, less a necessity than a convenience to the national security state. This is because in those cases where the patsies, killers or alleged killers survive, their trials uniformly are fixed, as was the case with the “Toronto 18,” who rapidly became the Toronto nine, as charges were dropped against many of the teenaged “terror suspects.”

6 The branding

The St-Jean-sur-Richelieu events were instantly defined as “terrorism” by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons and thereafter were widely so defined by the military, by “intelligence experts,” RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and by many media players. (There are honourable exceptions to the general rush to judgment within the media. We identify some later.)

The “anthrax attacks,” MacQueen writes, “were the result of a [domestic] conspiracy meant to help redefine the enemy of the West, revising the global conflict framework from the Cold War to the Global War on Terror.”

The events in Ottawa were not meant to replace the global-conflict framework but rather to reinforce the new 2001 model: “Islam” as the permanent mortal enemy of “the West.”

The rhetoric, like ad copy, is part and parcel of the branding.

Buzzwords (“war on terror,”), code words (“national security”), snarl words (“terrorists,” “radical Islam,” “threats”) and purr words (“our allies,” “security”) as semanticist S. I. Hayakawa dubbed them, displace rational thought.

Equal in impact to that of language repetition, if not greater, were the iconic elements. The National War Memorial and Parliament are about as iconic as one can arrange in Canada. So to have the shooter start at one, then skedaddle over to the other on the same crazed mission is to do so on iconosteroids.

Add to that: two worthy soldiers representing Everyman, all Members of Parliament, the Prime Minister, a car-jacked driver, a hero in the person of the gun-toting Sergeant-at-Arms, the heart-wrenching footage of Corporal Cirillo’s five-year-old son wearing his father’s regimental hat, the corporal’s pet dogs, the grieving spouses and relatives and more.

It would be a mistake to overlook that the flesh and blood victims, Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Office Patrice Vincent, also were symbolic. They represent “Canada’s military,” “our men and women in uniform” who “serve our country” who “made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Many of the iconic themes of October 22nd were pre-echoed in the Toronto 18 trials, one of them being the alleged planning by the teen-aged patsies and dupes of “blowing up Parliament” and “beheading the prime minister.”

7 “Security exercises” and the false flag curiously overlap

A hallmark of false flag ops is that military, security, police or “intelligence” exercises precede or run simultaneously with a false flag operation. Run-throughs are necessary for all complex maneuvers. A drill also justifies assembling the human and other resources required.

Perhaps the most egregious exercise was the one admitted to be taking place at the time of the “London 7/7” tube “terror bombings” of July 7th, 2007. Peter Power, managing director of crisis management for the firm Visor Consultants, in a live interview on ITV News that was aired at 8:20 p.m. on the evening of the bombings, tells the host “…today we were running an exercise …. 1,000 people involved in the whole organization … and the most peculiar thing was that we based our scenario on simultaneous attacks on the underground and mainland station and so we had to suddenly switch an exercise from fictional to real.” Elsewhere he said the exercise specified the same stations that the “surprise bombers” targeted, which would qualify as one of the most far-fetched coincidences of all time.

On the day of 9/11 a minimum of five military drills were underway. One of them, Vigilant Guardian, involved the insertion of false radar blips onto radar screens in the Northeast Air Defense Sector, a fact that even made it into the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report (although the others did not, which made the appearance of Vigilant Guardian a limited hangout).

All of which is relevant to what Mark Taliano wrote about the events in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa on the Global Research website on October 31st:

“The theory that U.S agencies were somehow implicated in the [Ottawa] tragedy is further reinforced by … Operation Determined Dragon, a joint Canada/U.S counter-terrorism drill…”

The first Canadian event, the fatal hit-and-run carried out by Couture-Rouleau, occurred on the first day of that drill, October 20th. From that day to 29th was the “execution phase” of a joint Canada-U.S.-NATO military-intelligence “linked exercise” named Determined Dragon 14 (in internal documents called “Ex DD 14”).

For details of Determined Dragon 14 one need look no further than the National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces website

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-exercises/ddragon.page:

“Ex DD 14 will primarily focus on the lateral interface between NORAD, United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) specifically in cyber and space domains,” visitors to the site are informed.

Among the strategic objectives specified on the are to “enhance interagency partnerships” and to “institutionalize battle procedures with partners such as regional and component commanders, the Strategic Joint Staff, the Associate Deputy Minister (Policy), and the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command.” Another is to enhance “bilateral planning with USNORTHCOM and USSTRATCOM; and CJOC coordination with NORAD.

Under the heading “Linked Exercises” the Canadian site says that Ex DD 14 “is bound to other allied exercises by a common scenario and linked through multiple events:

  • Ex VIGILANT SHIELD, a NORAD-USNORTHCOM exercise focused on homeland defence and homeland security missions; and
  • Ex GLOBAL THUNDER, a USSTRATCOM-led exercise with the primary emphasis on exercising nuclear command and control capabilities.

It concludes that Ex DD 14 “offers an opportunity for regional joint task forces (RJTF) to leverage their own exercises.

For someone paying close attention to CBC-TV’s The National on October 25th, CBCsenior correspondent Adrienne Arsenault came close to giving away the game. Anchor Peter Mansbridge begins by saying there are “lots of questions” about the day’s events. After he hears the usual line from regularly seen Ray Boisvert, “ex-CSIS,” Mansbridge turns to Arsenault, “who’s been looking at this whole issue of radicalization for the past year or so” and asks her what she can say. Arsenault replies:

(http://www.globalresearch.ca/canadian-authorities-ran-war-game-drills-depicting-isis-attack-scenarios/5409707)

They [Canadian authorities] may have been surprised by the actual incidents but not by the concepts of them. Within the last month we know that the CSIS, the RCMP and the National Security Task Force engaged in, I suppose they, ran a scenario that’s akin to a war games exercise if you will where they actually imagined literally an attack in Quebec, followed by an attack in another city, followed by a tip that that “hey some guys, some foreign fighters are coming back from Syria.” So they were imagining a worst case scenario. We’re seeing elements of that happening right now. … [Canadian authorities] may talk today in terms of being surprised but we know that this precise scenario has been keeping them up at night for awhile.” [my emphasis]

Mansbridge shows no interest in this remarkable statement by his senior correspondent.

But truth activist Josh Blakeney of the University of Lehbridge  who also was one of the first out of the block in nailing these events as false flags, comments:

What an amazing coincidence that Canadian intelligence ran a drill envisioning an attack first in Quebec, then another city. What are the chances that these mock terror drills are just a coincidence? In nearly every instance of a major terrorist occurrence in the West, it has been revealed that intelligence services were conducting war games exercises mimicking the very events that later come to pass. And now we have confirmation that Canada’s intelligence services were doing the same thing.

All of which would seem to reflect adequate “information exchanges” with “our U.S. partner” and other “allies.” Yet Harper’s new “anti-terror” legislation will merge Canadian spooks and military even more into the global apparatus that can manufacture terror incidents pretty well anywhere any time.

8 Media manipulation on both sides of the border

On the crucial propaganda front the evidence is that “U.S. officials” initiated journalistic input, and government agents planted within the media on both sides of the border meddled with journalistic output.

Key mainstream media stories as well as tweets “disappeared.” Stories disappeared from Google. Both U.S. and Canadian mainstream reports were altered significantly. This could only be carried out by internal gatekeeper agents. Inputs and outputs left permanent fingerprints of the overt as well as behind-the-scenes manipulation.

Students of false flag operations have learned – just as regular detectives have learned in regard to standard non-political crimes – the first 24 or 48 hours provide critical evidence, before the criminals can begin covering their tracks.

Amy MacPherson of Free The Press Canada (https://www.facebook.com/FreeThePressCanada) hit the ground running in those first hours and days. On Tuesday, October 23rd she posted a lengthy piece, carried the next day on GlobalResearch containing damning evidence of rolling censorship on social media including Twitter and in mainstream media including the Toronto Star and the CBC.

Equally if not more damning are her frame grabs showing that U.S. news outlets were fed information by “U.S. officials” identifying Zehaf-Bibeau as the Ottawa shooter prematurely, before Canadian media were able to identify him.

With accompanying grabs, MacPherson writes: “While Canadian news personalities were at police gunpoint, American outlets like CBS News and the [always suspect]Associated Press had a full story to sell, complete with the dead shooter’s name.”

At 10:54 a.m. Eastern, when the National War Memorial crime scene was not yet secured, CBS News stated: “The gunmen [sic] has been identified by U.S. officials to CBS News as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian national born in 1982.” MP Charlie Angus described gunshots around 10 a.m. American media had solved the murder 54 minutes later.

“By 4:58 p.m.” MacPherson notes, “the [CBS] story was edited to remove the shooter’s name, or any mention of the U.S. government’s knowledge.” She continues: “The only problem is no one could update the Google database quick enough with these changes, so the original information still appeared with general search results.

“The story was altered again in the evening, when the Canadian government allowed [her emphasis] the name of a shooter to be released and American media added law enforcement to their list of official sources.  They also added a middle name, Abdul, to emphasize the suspect’s Islamic ties with an accusation of terrorism.”

She asks:

“…how American intelligence knew the name of a ‘possible terrorist’ as the mayhem was still unfolding. How did Americans know when Canadians didn’t, and how was this information so widespread that American media and Google had access to distribute, but domestic reporters on the scene did not?

“Canadian parliamentary bureau chiefs didn’t possess the same information as their U.S. counterparts and faced the barrel of police guns as a press narrative was provided on their behalf by another country. If this is dubbed an act of terrorism that American sources had knowledge about to pre-report, then why weren’t steps taken to prevent the violence?”

Then there are the all-Canadian media anomalies. “The Toronto Star reported [that] multiple witnesses saw [Couture-Rouleau] with his hands in the air,” writes MacPherson, “when at least one police officer opened fire. They also say a knife was ‘lodged into the ground near where the incident occurred.’

“Well,” MacPherson continues, “that’s what the original story by Allan Woods, Bruce Campion-Smith, Joanna Smith, Tonda MacCharles and Les Whittington stated. A syndicated copy had to be located at the Cambridge Times, because a newer, edited version at the Toronto Star appeared dramatically altered by Tuesday.”

That article (changed without disclosure) claims Couture-Rouleau was an Islamic radical who emerged from the vehicle with a knife in his hands. No mention of eyewitnesses who saw his hands in the air and the knife lodged in the ground (an image seen later on CBC-TV news).

As MacPherson writes: “The article was more than edited and qualifies as being replaced entirely, having lost its tone, facts and spirit from the original published version.

If it weren’t for smaller papers carrying The Star’s original syndicated content, there would be little or no proof of the first comprehensive version, she adds.

9 Failure of media to ask fundamental questions

These include, first and foremost: “Is it possible that agents of the state had a hand in this outrage?” This question might not be as difficult to raise as one might imagine. Suppose it were handled this way:

“There’s a long and well-documented history of authorities staging iconic events aimed at stampeding their publics into supporting government initiatives, especially initiatives supporting existing or proposed wars. Examples include Colin Powell’s introduction at the United Nations of alleged compelling proof – subsequently proven false – that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. [pause] Can it be ruled out definitively that behind-the-scenes actors in government circles in Canada had no hand whatsoever in the events of October 22nd?”

Of course, for any media person to ask such a question would pre-suppose that those who reach the level of Parliamentary correspondent or, higher still, anchor of a national news program would have developed deep skepticism based on hard-won knowledge of the history of such operations.

It would further pre-suppose that, had they developed such a grasp of history, they would be promoted to those levels.

What can we say? We can say: “These things ain’t going to happen.”

Tihe “failure” to ask fundamentally important fully justified questions based on documented history known to many readers, listeners and viewers deserves extensive treatment in itself. The “failure” represents, from the point of view of a cover-up, success for the real perpetrators.

Such unasked questions are masked by the repetitive posing of essentially superficial questions and questions that beg answers. Press conferences are rife with the acceptance of the official line along with questions about minutiae within the line. One also hears a lot of really dumb and repetitive questions.

The graphically impressive front page of The Globe and Mail had it on October 23rd: “The murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, the storming of Parliament and the tough questions[my emphasis] arising from the chaos.”

The phrase “tough questions” in this context suggests – and their subsequent rollout reinforces – a central theme that buttresses the official line: that there have been “security lapses,” that these lapses are serious, that therefore “security agencies” need “more resources” to do their jobs “protecting our security” and “making us safe,” and so on and on.

Included among the questions most frequently trotted out by the media: “How can we strike a balance between “the need for greater security” on the one hand, and “the protection of privacy,” on the other.

This endlessly posed question has embedded within it several unexamined major premises, concealed significant historical facts and trends, as well as an ambiguity serving both concealments and that drives conclusions among readers, listeners and viewers that are ill-based, self-defeating and that inoculate those who are so manipulated against gaining greater understanding.

The premises include that privacy is ever and always a stand-alone good; that every person’s privacy is at risk equally with every other person’s; that privacy for each person or group means the same as for every other person or group; that in fact the two sides of the equation are security vs. privacy (as opposed, for instance, to security vs. freedom, although that equation – much more relevant – is raised fairly frequently) and that it is the good-faith activities of “security forces” that endanger “privacy.” Left out of the equation are the proven bad faith activities of “security forces.”

The concealments include that the threat to citizens can come from the good-faith actions of “security forces,” yes, but that in fact by a large preponderance come from rogue actions of “security forces” and “intelligence agencies,” both of which are virtually out-of-control now.

On protecting the identity of “intelligence sources

The historical record – not in the slightest acknowledged by the “security vs privacy” equation – shows conclusively that those most spied upon, whose personal security is threatened repeatedly, are those who question authority, those who are peaceful dissidents, those who seek and act for improvements to the status quo, specifically for more equality and justice, those who are left-of-centre up to and including revolutionaries. The danger posed to loss of privacy among those on the left is much greater than it is for those on the right or for those not politically involved at all, which is to say the vast majority of citizens. This historical record goes unaddressed in 99% or more of the discourse about the dangers of “loss of privacy.”

The large majority of people have little reason to fear the state, because they pose no perceived threat to the state. Accordingly, their need or wish to protect their privacy – for instance about their personal sex or financial lives – is of less interest to, is far less important to, the national security state than are the personal facts and political beliefs or acts of those on the left who pose a perceived threat to the status quo, however lawful or justified their words or actions may be.

Providing deeper, almost impenetrable, cover for informants, otherwise known colloquially as rats or ratfinks, is far from a pressing need for national security.

Rather, the history of informants shows that the majority, and in particular those who are chosen or come forward to “intelligence” agencies (or are assigned by these agencies), are owed much less protection from identity than they even now enjoy.

The case of RCMP informant Richard Young is just one that should give pause.

Young was recruited by the RCMP in British Columbia (he approached them) prior to 2007. He convinced them he had information on drug operations. An accomplished con man, he suckered the Mounties big time.

While they, through failure to carry out due diligence among other things, came under his spell he was taken under their witness protection program. Doing so is labour intensive and expensive. Under it, Young committed a murder, which is uncontested. The Mounties then did all in their considerable power to shield him from the consequences of that. This and more was documented by two CanWest reporters and then a Globe and Mail investigative team in 2007.

At the heart of the stupidity, naivete and wrong-doing by the RCMP was the continued insistence on protecting Young’s identity. Ultimately the Mounties’ failure and the harm done (wasted public money, a man getting away with murder under the protection of the RCMP, and the RCMP not properly held to account) were exposed by less than a handful of dedicated reporters.

A compelling but illegitimate reason for these agencies to seek total anonymity for their “informants” is that so many of these do not even qualify as such, but rather are individuals planted to manufacture false “intelligence” or carry out dirty tricks on targets chosen by these agencies. Documented history shows that typically the targets are law-abiding, well-informed, politically active (on the left) and even courageous citizens who nevertheless are considered “enemies of the state” by the security apparatus and its overlords.

Remember that the RCMP spied on Tommy Douglas to the extent that his dossier numbered 1,100 pages, only a few of which CSIS, which inherited the RCMP dossier, has released. The grounds for CSIS’s refusal are that it must protect the informants. This is the very group of unsavoury snitches that the Harper government wants to give deeper cover.

The otherwise much-touted need for transparency and accountability is not only forgotten within “terrorist threat” hysteria. It is turned on its head. It is claimed that transparency and accountability are threats to the public! And that anyone who suggests otherwise also is a threat. In a world of fear the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good.

The so-called “war on terror,” fed by the national security state to the public like slops to pigs, paves the way through regression to a world of “military tribunals” (an oxymoron), of Star Chambers, to a new Dark Ages.

Outcomes of this particular false flag op

√ It makes the task much harder for those warning the public of the dangers of the government’s legislation endowing intelligence agencies with greater powers, more resources, fewer restrictions and less transparency.

√ Providing the RCMP and other spy agencies with even more anonymity for informants is a particular danger, as noted at length above.

If the laws being pushed by Harper today go through, the RCMP, CSIS or CSEC in a similar case in the future would be even more enabled to waste the time of personnel and of other resources, and of taxpayer public money, for little or no gain in public safety or security.

√ Reduction of civil liberties:  easier detentions, extraditions

√ Increased invasion of privacy

√ Intimidation of legislative branch, as happened in spades in the USA in response to the “anthrax attacks.”

√ More pressure on the judiciary to bow to omnipresent low-level “terrorism” hysteria

√ Marginalizing of both the legislative and judicial branches

√ Increased integration of Canadian spy agencies with those

of “our” allies, so that the globalist integrated deception apparatus can operate even more freely and in ever more sophisticated ways.

√ Buttressing of the grand made-in-Washington pax Americana imperial design.

Honourable exceptions in the media

In fairness, quite a number of voices of reason, caution, skepticism and outright objection to the Harper government’s obvious exploitation of the events of the week of October 20th to forward its militaristic pro-American pro-Israeli agenda could be found. Unfortunately, as usual with false flags, these voices accepted the government’s version of what happened.

With this fundamental caveat in place, however, here are just a few individuals within the Canadian mainstream who made cogent arguments of dissent.

In the Toronto’s Star’s 17 pages of coverage on October 23rd Martin Regg Cohn cautioned:

“The risk is that we will overreact with security clampdowns and lockdowns that are difficult to roll back when the threat subsides. The greater risk is that we will hunker down with over-the-top security precautions that pose a more insidious menace to our open society.”

Tom Walkom pointed out the events were not unprecedented. In 1984 a disgruntled Canadian Forces corporal killed three and wounded 13 in Quebec’s national assembly. “We know,” Walkom continued, “that in a situation like this, facts are secondary,” and “at times like this, it is easy to lose all sense of proportion.” Haroon Siddiqui asked why, “if Martin Rouleau, a.k.a. Ahmad the Convert,” was in the crosshairs of CSIS and the RCMP for months, he was not being tailed.

“Smoking out such suspects and throwing the book at them requires good policing, not wars abroad or the whipping up of fears at home for partisan political purposes.”

On October 27th in The Globe and Mail Elizabeth Renzetti quoted extensively from James Risen’s new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War. “The war in question is the war on terror, which Mr. Risen, a Pulitzer-Prize winning security reporter for The New York Times, says has been used as an excuse to conduct a largely secret campaign to undermine Americans’ civil rights, spy on their communications and line the pockets of security consultants. As one reviewer said, it reads like a thriller – except, unfortunately, it’s not fiction.”

She quotes Risen:

“Of all the abuses America has suffered at the hands of the government in its endless war on terror,” Mr. Risen writes, “possibly the worst has been the war on truth.”

On the same day in the Toronto Star Tim Harper wrote:

“Here’s a vote for the power of time and perspective.” “And here’s a vote of confidence in a Parliament that will not jump to conclusions in the heat of the moment and a government that will resist the temptation to use October’s events as an impetus to move into new, unneeded realms.”

“Before we move too far, time and perspective should force us to ask whether we were dealing with mental health issues last week rather than terrorism, even as the RCMP said Sunday it had ‘persuasive evidence’ that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack was driven by ideological and political motives.” “We must twin increased powers with increased oversight.”

On November 2nd, the Toronto Star published a long lead editorial headed “’Terrorism’ Debate: Get beyond the word.”

The second paragraph:

“Down one path is a U.S.-like response to the perceived, though unsubstantiated, threat of terror: increased police powers and indiscriminate state snooping, the chipping away of civil liberties. This the way of the government.”

Down the other “is a more considered, deliberate approach that takes the rule of law as primary…” The choice, the editorial continues “ought to be fertile ground for a pivotal public debate but so far that conversation has been eclipsed by a lexicographical matter: whether we can rightly call the attack on Ottawa ‘terrorism.’”

It concludes:

“As long as our leaders insist on reducing these complex issues to a binary debate over a slippery word, we cannot have the conversation we need nor choose the country we’ll become.”

Many writers of letters to the editors of these papers are in no mood to be panicked by inflated “terror” talk. “Denying [Zihaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau] their passports had the equivalent effect of putting them in cages and poking at them with a sharp stick. They broke out and two soldiers are dead.” This was from a retired RCMP officer, in The Globe and Mail.

False flag events benefit the Canadian right

Some commentators to their credit have observed that these events as played are calculated to pay off domestically to increase the Harper government’s chances of re-election next year.

Harper now holds a couple of aces for a winning electoral hand. One is his rightwing anti-taxes stance tied to producing a federal money surplus whatever the cost to the environment, science, social services (including more help for the mentally ill) and more. Some of that surplus is already being earmarked in the highest-profile ways as bribes (with their own money) to Canadians with children.

Last week’s events now constitute another ace. “Family-friendly” leaders seen as standing tall against an external enemy almost always benefit electorally. But this second ace is a fixed card. In this game there are five aces: clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds and false flags.

Only when a politically relevant portion of Canada’s and the world’s people understand the dominant agenda-setting function of false flag operations can decent people the world over begin a successful effort to replace the vast global inequality-and-death structure with a life-sustaining and fair socio-economic structure.

As Prof. John McMurtry of Guelph put it on October 29th in an essay entitled “Canada: Decoding Harper’s Terror Game. Beneath the Masks and Diversions” published by Global Research:

“If the stratagem is not seen through, the second big boost to Harper will be to justify the despotic rule and quasi-police state he has built with ever more prisons amidst declining crime, ever more anti-terrorist rhetoric and legislation, ever more cuts to life support systems and protections (the very ones which would have prevented these murderous rampages), and ever more war-mongering and war-criminal behaviours abroad.

Adds McMurtry:

“Harper rule can only go further by such trances of normalized stupefaction now reinforced with Canadian blood.”

Barrie  Zwicker is a renowned Canadian journalist, best selling author and documentary producer.

World War I: Lessons from the Christmas Truce of 1914

November 9th, 2014 by Dr. Gary G. Kohls

First published in December 2013

99 years ago this month [December 2013] one of the most unusual aberrations in the bloody history of warfare – never allowed to be repeated again – occurred. Europe was in the fifth month of the 52 month-long World War (the one that was supposed “to end all wars”) that was to end with the armistice four years later on November 11, 1918.

 British, Scottish, French, Belgian, Australian, Canadian, German, Austrian, Hungarian, Serbian and Russian pulpits in those overwhelmingly Christian nations back home (far from the satanic carnage in the trenches) were doing their part in contributing to the un-Christ-like patriotic fervor that was destined to result in a holocaust that destroyed four empires, killed upwards of 20 million soldiers and resulted in the psychological and physical decimation of an entire generation of young men in France, Germany and England.

Tragically, Christianity, which began as a pacifist religion because of the pacifist teachings and actions of the nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth (and his nonviolent apostles), has, for the past 1700 years, been anything but a peacemaking church that follows Jesus by actively resisting its nation’s imperial aspirations, its nation’s wars, its nation’s war-makers and its nation’s war profiteers.

  So, it wasn’t any surprise to note that the religious leaders on every side of that war were convinced that God was on their particular side – and, therefore not on the side of the Christians that they were trying to kill. The obvious contradiction – that both sides were praying to the same god – escaped most of them.

Pulpits and pews all over Europe – with few exceptions – reverberated with flag-waving fervor, sending clear messages to their doomed and baptized warrior-sons that it was their Christian duty to march off to kill, maim and even torture – if necessary – the equally doomed Christian soldiers on the other side.

 Five months into the mass destruction of the perpetually stale-mated war (featuring the indiscriminate slaughter via artillery, machine gun and, eventually, poison gas), the first Christmas of the war on the Western Front was upon the exhausted and demoralized troops.

Christmas was the holiest of Christian holidays for all sides, and in this time of hunger, thirst, sleep deprivation, shell shock, TBIs, mortal wounds and homesickness, Christmas 1914 had special meaning. Christmas reminded the soldiers of the good food, safety, warm homes and beloved families that they had left behind and which they now suspected they might never see again. The physically exhausted, spiritually deadened and combat-traumatized soldiers on both sides of the battle lines desperately sought some respite from the misery of the water-logged, putrid, rat-infested, louse-infested, corpse-infested and increasingly frozen trenches.

The cold reality of trench warfare in 1914

By this time, the frontline soldiers on both sides were probably wondering how they could possibly have believed the ridiculous propaganda from their leaders that had convinced them that their side was pre-destined to be victorious and “home before Christmas” – where they would be celebrated as conquering heroes.

Instead every soldier was at the end of their emotional ropes because of the unrelenting artillery barrages against which they were defenseless. If they weren’t killed or physically maimed by the artillery shells and bombs, they would eventually be emotionally destroyed by “shell-shock” (now known as posttraumatic stress disorder – PTSD), suffering horrifying nightmares, sleep deprivation, suicidality, depression, hyper-alertness and any number of other mental and neurological abnormalities. Other common “killers of the soul” included perpetual hunger, malnutrition, infections such as typhus and dysentery, louse infestations, trench foot, frostbite and gangrenous toes and fingers.

Poison gas attacks wouldn’t appear until 1915, but both British and Germans scientists were working hard to perfect that new technology. Tank warfare – which proved to be a humiliating disaster for the British – wouldn’t be operational until the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

One of the most stressful realities for the frontline soldiers was the suicidal “over the top” infantry assaults against German machine gun nests and the rows of coiled barbed wire that stopped them in their tracks and made them sitting ducks. Artillery barrages commonly resulted in tens of thousands of casualties in a single day.

Over the top infantry assaults were stupidly and repeatedly ordered by senior officers like Sir John French and his replacement as British Commander-in-Chief Sir Douglas Haig (apparently preparing for the classical but hopelessly out-dated horse and sabre cavalry charges across the muck of No-Man’s Land). The general staff planners of those uniformly disastrous attempts to end the war quickly or at least end the stalemate were safely out of the range of enemy artillery barrages. As they made their plans they were comfortably back at headquarters, eating well, being dressed by their orderlies, drinking their tea, none of them at any risk of experiencing the lethality of war themselves.

The frequent shoveling to improve the comfort of the trenches was frequently interrupted by preparations for attack. Screams of pain would often came from the trapped soldiers out in No-Man’s Land who had been wounded by machine gun fire but who were helplessly hanging on the barbed wire or bleeding to death in the bomb craters – their deaths often lingering for days. The effect on the troops in the trenches who had to listen to the desperate, unanswerable pleas for help was psychologically devastating for the troops back in the trenches. By Christmas, the morale of the troops on both sides of No Man’s Land had hit rock bottom.

Christmas in the Trenches

So on December 24, 1914, the exhausted troops settled down to Christmas with gifts from home, special food, special liquor and special rest. A magnanimous (and deluded) Kaiser Wilhelm had ordered 100,000 Christmas trees with millions of ornamental candles to be sent up to the front, expecting that such an act would boost troop morale.  Using the supply lines for such militarily unnecessary items was ridiculed by the most hardened military officers, but nobody suspected that the Kaiser’s Christmas tree idea would backfire and instead be a catalyst for an unplanned-for cease-fire, a singular event previously unheard of in the history of warfare and one that was ultimately censored out of mainstream histories, especially military histories, for most of the last century.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 was a spontaneous event that happened at a multitude of locations all along the 600 miles of trenches that stretched across Belgium and France, and it was an event that would never again be duplicated although an attempt at a Christmas Truce in 1915 was quickly put down by the authorities. Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton have written an important book about the 1914 event entitled “Christmas Truce: The Western Front, December 1914”.

The movie Joyeux Noel” (French for Merry Christmas) received an Academy Award nomination in 2005 for best foreign film. It tells the moving tale that has been adapted from the many surviving stories revealed in letters from soldiers who had been there.

One of the stories that emerged from the event was that, in the quiet of Christmas Eve night, some young German started singing “Stille Nacht”. Soon the British, French and Scots on the other side of No Man’s Land (oftentimes measuring only a hundred yards wide) joined in in their own tongues. Before long, the spirit of peace and “goodwill towards men” prevailed over the demonic spirit of war, and the troops on both sides sensed their common humanity. The natural human aversion to killing broke through to consciousness and overcame the patriotic fervor and brain-washing to which they had been subjected.

Once the spirit of peace was felt, soldiers on both sides dropped their weapons and came out of their trenches to meet their former foes face-to-face. To get through to the other side they had to step around shell holes and over frozen corpses (which were soon given respectful burials, soldiers from both sides helping one another with the gruesome task).

The spirit of retaliation had dissipated and the desire for peace on earth emerged. New friends shared chocolate bars, cigarettes, beer, wine, schnapps, soccer games and pictures from home. Addresses were exchanged, photos were taken and every soldier who genuinely experienced the emotional drama was forever changed – and the generals and the gung-ho politicians were appalled.

Fostering Peace on Earth in times of war is treason

Fraternization with the enemy (as in refusing to obey orders in time of war) has historically been regarded by military commanders and politicians as an act of treason, severely punishable, even with death by summary execution. In the case of the Christmas Truce of 1914, most officers tried hard not to draw public attention to the rather wide-spread and therefore potentially contagious incident. Some commanding officers even threatened courts martial if fraternization persisted (it was considered bad for the killing spirit) but relatively few executions took place.

There were still punishments however, including the re-assignment of many of the German “traitors” to the Eastern Front to kill and die on the Eastern Front in the equally suicidal battles against their Orthodox Christian co-religionists from Russia.

This unique story of war resistance needs to be retold over and over again if our modern-era false flag-generated wars of empire are to be effectively de-railed. These futile, unaffordable wars are being fought by thoroughly indoctrinated, macho, pro-war, World of Warcraft expert gamers who, unbeknownst to them, are at high risk of having their lives permanently altered by the physical, mental and spiritual damage from participating in war and violence, after which they might be doomed to a life overwhelmed by the realities of PTSD, sociopathic personality disorder, suicidality, homicidality, loss of religious faith, traumatic brain injury (shell shock), neurotoxic, addictive drug use (from either legal or illegal drugs) and a host of other nearly impossible-to-cure problems that were preventable.

Society’s ethical duty to warn

It seems to me that it would be helpful if moral leadership in America, especially Christian leaders, would discharge their duty to warn the adolescents that are in their spheres of influence about all of the serious consequences that participation in the killing professions can have on their souls and psyches.

War planners do whatever it takes to keep soldiers from experiencing the humanity of their enemies, whether they are Iranians, Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Vietnamese, Chinese or North Koreans. I have been told by many military veterans that military chaplains, who are supposed to be nurturers of the souls of the soldiers who are in their “care”, never seem to bring up, in their counseling sessions, Jesus’ Golden Rule, his clear “love your enemies” commands or his ethical teachings in the Sermon on the Mount.

Military chaplains seem to just be another cog in the apparatus of making war maximally effective. Christian chaplains seem to not pay much attention to the Ten Commandments either, especially the ones that say “thou shalt not kill” or “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s oil”. In their defense, military chaplains, in their seminary training and perhaps even in their Sunday School upbringings, may have never been schooled adequately in the profoundly important gospel truths about humility, mercy, non-violence, non-domination, non-retaliation, unconditional love and the rejection of enmity.

Theological blind spots of war

These theological blind spots are illustrated near the end of the “Joyeux Noel” movie in a powerful scene depicting a confrontation between the Christ-like, antiwar Scottish chaplain and his pro-war bishop, just as the chaplain was mercifully administering the “last rites” to a dying soldier. The bishop had come to chastise the chaplain for having been merciful to a wounded soldier in No Man’s Land and for fraternizing with the enemy. The bishop was relieving the chaplain of his duties because of such “treasonous and shameful” behavior on the battlefield.

The authoritarian, German-hating bishop refused to listen to the chaplain’s story about his having performed “the most important mass of my life” (with German troops scandalously participating in the celebration) and that he wished to stay with the troops that needed him because they were losing their faith. The bishop angrily denied the chaplain’s request to remain with his men.

The bishop then delivered a rousing pro-war sermon, taken word-for-word from a homily that had actually been delivered by an Anglican bishop from England later in the war. The sermon was addressed to the fresh troops that had to be brought in to replace the veterans who, because of their consciences having been awakened, had suddenly become averse to killing, and were refusing to shoot their weapons.

The image of the dramatic but subtle response of the chaplain to his sacking should be a clarion call to the Christian church leadership of our militarized, so-called “Christian” America – both clergy and lay. This good man of God hung up his cross and walked out of the field hospital.

“Joyeux Noel” is an important film that deserves to be annual holiday fare. It has ethical lessons far more powerful than “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Carol”.

One of the lessons of the Christmas Truce story is summarized in the concluding verse of John McCutcheon’s famous song about the event, “Christmas in the Trenches”:

“My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell.

Each Christmas come since World War I – I’ve learned its lessons well:
That the ones who call the shots won’t be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we’re the same.”

Check out the video of McCutcheon singing his song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJi41RWaTCs and, for a good pictorial history of the reality of WWI’s  trench warfare, check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTXhZ4uR6rs

The official trailer of “Joyeux Noel” is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXcseNVZGRM

And I can’t help but wonder no Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you ‘The Cause?’
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
The suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain.
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

- from Eric Bogle’s song The Green Fields of France. This verse was deleted in Joss Stone’s rendition for the Royal British Legion’s 2014 Poppy Appeal.

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 One of the most devastating conflicts in history the First World War drew in all the major powers at the time. Eight and a half million soldiers and Six and a half million civilians are estimated to have perished in the war that was supposed to end war. [1][2]

Set off by a diplomatic crisis, triggered by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June of 1914, The Great War as it was known at the time lasted four bloody years. On November 11, 1918, Germany became the last of the Central Powers to capitulate and sign an armistice with the victorious Allied Powers, signalling the end of the war.

To this day, the 11th hour of the eleventh month is set aside to reflect and honour those military men and women who paid the ultimate cost to secure a more peaceful and just world. The occasion is referred to as Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth.

The spirit of Remembrance Day has shifted in recent years, especially in Canada.

Following the centenary of the start of World War I, the Canadian Prime Minister credited the war as a critical ingredient in establishing the country as an independent nation. [3]Harper stokes national pride over Allied victories in Ypres, Vimy and Passchendaele rather than lament a tragic loss of life over a mostly pointless war. [4]

Cautionary warnings about the terrible toll of war with slogans like “Never Again” and “Lest We Forget” seem to have been eclipsed by imperatives to paint the sacrifices of military men and women serving the State (for whatever reason) as heroic and necessary.

Today, Remembrance Day may as well be called “Thank a Soldier for your Freedoms Day.”

Without disrespecting those who have died serving in past conflicts, it is worth reflecting during Remembrance Week on exactly why World War I and other twentieth century conflicts were waged in the first place. Were these wars truly for democracy, peace and democracy? Or were there more cynical motives being pursued by Canada and the other major powers?

To this end, this week’s Global Research News Hour interviews two prominent authors and dissident thinkers on the century old conflict known as World War I and Canada’s role in this and other military forays.

Yves Engler is an activist and author of numerous books on Canadian foreign policy including The Black Book on Canadian Foreign PolicyCanada and Israel: Building Apartheid and his latest The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy.

Dr. Jacques Pauwels, Canadian historian and author of the 2000 book The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War . He has a French language book on World War 1 available now. An English version will be available in 2015.

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. 

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.

Notes:

1) Urlanis, Boris (1971). Wars and Population. Moscow. p. 85

2) Clodfelter, Michael (2002). Warfare and Armed Conflicts- A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500–2000 2nd Ed.  Page 479

3) Lee-Anne Goodman (August 4, 2014). Canadian Press; ‘Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls First World War essential to country’s development’; http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/08/04/prime_minister_stephen_harper_calls_first_world_war_essential_to_countrys_development.html

4) (August 5, 2014), The Toronto Star; ‘Stephen Harper fails to see that World War I was a mistake’; http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/08/05/stephen_harper_fails_to_see_that_world_war_i_was_a_mistake_walkom.html

Text of Open letter from Jack Etkin to Murray Rankin, MP

TO:  Murray Rankin
Member of Parliament
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario

-

RE:  A PARLIAMENTARY INVESTIGATION INTO THE ATTACK ON OUR PARLIAMENT AND THE MURDER OF TWO SOLDIERS

Dear Mr. Rankin, 

What do you think of the idea of a Parliamentary Investigation into the attack on our Parliament?  

Right now Canadians are being told a story by Harper, CSIS, The RCMP, and the Corporate Media.  A lot of Canadians do not believe this story.  I think it important that our Parliamentarians, whose building was attacked, immediately begin your own investigation, on behalf of the people you represent, into what really happened with the attack that killed two soldiers and shut down our Parliament.

The official Government / Media story may be correct in all areas.  But maybe not.  We have been misled by these people before.  Certainly this attack is so important that we must find out the truth, and not rely on people who we have no reason to trust or believe, such as CBC, CTV, the RCMP, the Government, and etc.  

I think a lot of Canadians would like to see an Independent Investigation of all events surrounding this attack.  I think that perhaps Parliament can do it.  I hope that Parliament is both interested and capable of  taking on this very important job.  

I’m going to try to publicize this idea.  I’m going to suggest others also contact their Members of Parliament.  I will show this letter as a possible template, and mention that I am awaiting a response from my own MP.

I know we have some GREAT members of parliament.  This is a time for heroes.  The British Parliament stood up a year ago and stopped their Prime Minister from joining the Americans in an attack on Syria.  It’s time OUR Parliament stood up as well.  This is a very dangerous time for Canada and we desperately need our Parliament to do something.  I hope our Parliamentarians are able.  

Thank you Murray.

Your constituent,

Jack Etkin

It pays to assume that what is said about a historical situation will be different from a political one.  The historical case demands consideration and contemplation. There is argument about causes, but not necessarily resolutions. The political animal demands something else.  Making decisions is important, even if they are bad ones.   Expediency is everything.  And even if there is the sense of a sword slashing the water, or the vain attempt to step on the same part of a riverbed, it would not matter.  The decision, for all its folly, is to be made.

The catastrophe of Iraq, even as it is being worn down by ISIS, is being treated with reverse logic.  US soldiers are being sent in to back up forces precisely because they have shown mettle in the face of remarkable odds.  President Barack Obama has already authorised 1,500 troops to join the current total of 1,400.  They will be there to provide something rather asinine: “training missions” with Kurdish and Iraqi soldiers around the Erbil and Baghdad area. Several sites will be established to train nine Iraqi army and three Kurdish Peshmerga brigades. Some form of a trained national guard is contemplated.

In the words of Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, they will serve in a “noncombat role, to expand our advise and assist missions, and initiate a comprehensive training effort for Iraqi forces.”

Such training missions smell like writing workshops for academics – you assume that by the time they get to their post, they know how to put pen to paper, if not find the pen.  The Iraqi state had, after all, been addicted to war during the Saddam Hussein years even if the Rumsfeld plan in 2003 was to totally disarm the country.  But no matter – there will be, at least conditionally, $5.6 billion in the “Iraq train and equip” kitty to hold the troops over, since the Iraqi forces, it seems, need to be permanently tutored by foreign personnel to fight the enemy.  The request is being slated for the House Appropriations Committee for Monday, and is additional to the already bloated $58.6 billion request for overseas contingency operations (OCO) for the 2015 fiscal year

The strategy there is important.  First, inflate the enemy, beef up prospects and emphasise what can be done. (Kirby suggested the Iraqi forces had “stiffened their spines.”)  Second, emphasise the sheer bravery of those you sponsor.  After all, you don’t want to be seen backing a sinking, and fast devaluating asset. All that blood can’t be expended for nothing, even if futility is an important rule of engagement in the Middle East.

To that end, the US is already knee-deep, sinking further in a part of the world it never really left. The boots that were meant to have exited from the theatre were only ever doing the rounds, showing that the Iraqi-US pantomime was always just that.  A retired Pentagon official who wasn’t good enough to give his name suggested that, “No one really believes the president and his advisers – and they’re some smart people – aren’t already inserting Special Operators who are armed for combat, probably both in Iraq and Syria.”[1]

When it comes to Obama’s dealings with Congress, his own party are giving their warnings from behind pillars after their resounding beating in the mid-term elections. The US public, they suggest, are not exactly thrilled to receive another round of blood donations for Middle Eastern causes.  The emboldened GOP, in contrast, want to bang the liberty tom-toms a bit more aggressively, and as history is not foremost in the minds of the party’s chief planners, redeploying US troops is very much on the planning books.

Many GOP members wished that Obama had stayed the course and not withdrawn to begin with. Back in June, Senator John McCain suggested that the entire security team advising the president ought to have been sacked even as the stuffing was coming out of the Iraqi state.  “It’s a colossal failure of American security policy.”[2]  Such are the tribulations of empire.

 Former Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta is also finding time to do the Fox News rounds and have a snipe at the Obama, arguing that Washington’s credibility was suffering due to the sending of a “mixed message as to whether the United States will stand by its word.”[3]  Such former officials do get very busy when they need their cumbersomely worded books to sell, and Panetta is obviously fearing the publisher’s whip over his Worthy Fights, which does its unworthy best to dump on the president.

 His recipe for Iraq, it is worth noting, was not to have withdrawn troops in 2011.  As for ISIS, the Obama administration should have seen it.  Not doing so was “more than just an intelligence failure, it’s a policy failure.”  Given that he was a former CIA director, he should know.

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

Notes

 

I russi testano la debole difesa aerea della NATO

November 8th, 2014 by Valentin Vasilescu

Dopo che l’Unione europea ha imposto sanzioni economiche alla Russia nella speranza di piegarla e ridurne la forza militare, la Russia ha dimostrato che i Paesi europei non hanno raggiunto i loro obiettivi. La Russia, che non ha perso lucidità con le sanzioni, gioca al gatto con il topo.

Una nuova isteria si è diffusa tra i media europei con l’esatto copia/incolla dai media statunitensi su qualcosa del genere: le forze aeree della NATO sono state mobilitate; la NATO era in allerta. Le star dell’informazione si chiedevano cosa fare per risolvere il problema. Ma qual era il problema? Avendo tutti nozioni di geografia, vi consiglio di osservare bene la mappa d’Europa.

Cos’è realmente accaduto? Quattro caccia-bombardieri Su-34 e Su-24, scortati da un Su-27 e da un MiG-31, sono decollati dall’enclave di Kaliningrad e, volando sulle acque internazionali del Mar Baltico, nel pomeriggio del 28 ottobre 2014, sono stati intercettati nel Golfo di Finlandia da aerei tedeschi Eurofighter schierati in Estonia. Il gruppo aereo russo cambiava rotta di 180 gradi rientrando sul Mar Baltico, dove fu seguito da caccia F-18 finlandesi, Gripen svedesi ed F-16 danesi. E questo sebbene i russi avessero inviato i piani di volo alle autorità del traffico aereo dei Paesi confinanti, e con il codice d’identificazione del giorno, secondo le norme ICAO. Poche ore dopo, il 29 ottobre 2014, alle 03:00 UTC, i radar norvegesi rilevarono un altro gruppo di quattro bombardieri Tu-95 russi, accompagnato da quattro aerocisterne Il-78, che volava nello spazio aereo internazionale sul Mare di Norvegia. Dopo essere stati identificati, sei velivoli rientravano verso il Mare Barents. Gli altri due Tu-95 continuavano a costeggiare la Norvegia, volando sul Mare del Nord verso la Scozia. I bombardieri russi furono intercettati sulle acque internazionali e costretti a cambiare rotta accompagnati da jet inglesi Eurofighter Typhoon sull’Oceano Atlantico. Altri due velivoli Eurofighter decollavano, nello stesso tempo, dal sud dell’Inghilterra per intercettare un aereo-cargo lituano diretto a Londra e senza collegamenti radio con il traffico aereo. Dopo aver circumnavigando l’Irlanda, i due bombardieri Tu-95 cambiavano rotta di nuovo, per raggiungere le coste del Portogallo, dove furono intercettati da F-16 portoghesi. Poi i due Tu-95 si allontanavano dallo spazio aereo europeo seguendo una rotta sull’Atlantico per le coste della Groenlandia dove, intorno alle 16:00 UTC, cambiavano rotta per rientrare alla base in Russia. Anche nel pomeriggio del 29 ottobre 2014, due bombardieri Tu-95 scortati da due caccia Su-27M evoluivano nello spazio aereo del Mar Nero, venendo intercettati da aerei turchi sulle acque internazionali al largo dell’Anatolia. La NATO non ha mai detto che gli aerei russi avevano sorvolato lo spazio aereo di uno Stato estero. Allora qual era il problema? Se si sa che nel marzo 2014 aerei AWACS, scortati da caccia della NATO, fecero esattamente la stessa cosa compiuta dagli aerei russi il 28 e 29 ottobre 2014, pattugliando ogni giorno il confine occidentale della Russia e del Mar Nero dallo spazio aereo dei Paesi della NATO confinanti con la Russia. I russi mobilitarono per questo motivo i loro aerei da combattimento quando gli AWACS si avvicinarono pericolosamente allo spazio aereo russo? La Russia non lanciò una campagna mediatica e non emise alcun comunicato stampa al riguardo. Temo che tale isteria non sia che guerra psicologica della NATO, tramite i media, contro i cittadini degli Stati membri della NATO. Tanto più che gli stessi media avevano avuto cura d’istillare nel subconscio delle persone le possibili conseguenze.

WP-rusia-NATO
In un precedente articolo, informavo i lettori che nel 2014 l’esercito russo ha completato la nuova struttura da ricognizione C4I basata sul complesso da ricognizione-attacco volto a consentire una rapida ed accurata proiezione di potenza a centinaia o a migliaia di chilometri di distanza. Abbiamo anche visto che il terzo livello nella raccolta e analisi dei dati è la ricognizione strategica tramite gli aerei da ricognizione a lungo raggio con a bordo equipaggi specializzati nelle missioni ELINT. Tra essi vi sono i velivoli Tu-95/Tu-142 e MiG-25RB/MiG-31B che partecipavano a questa esercitazione. Quest’anno si sono anche visti due nuovi aerei Su-34 con a bordo un pod M400 per sensori a infrarossi Raduga, telecamere panoramiche AP-403 e 404, fotocamera AP AK-108FM, e un contenitore M402 Pikatipo SLAR (radar aeroportato di ricerca laterale) in grado di visualizzare su una mappa digitale il terreno sorvolato fino a una distanza di 300 km. Questa mappa viene continuamente confrontata con quelle memorizzata nel processore per rilevare eventuali modifiche o nuovi schieramenti del nemico.
I russi non hanno fatto altro che testare la scarsa capacità di risposta dell’aviazione dei Paesi della NATO nel nord-ovest e sud-est d’Europa, dopo la loro subordinazione agli Stati Uniti. Ricordiamo che il Regno Unito ha schierato uno squadrone di 12 Tornado GR4 e dei droni MQ-9 Reaper nella base aerea di Akrotiri, Cipro, per partecipare con gli Stati Uniti ai bombardamenti di obiettivi dello Stato islamico in Siria e Iraq. Belgio e Paesi Bassi hanno inviato sei F-16 (più 2 di risserva) negli Emirati Arabi Uniti, per lo stesso motivo. La Danimarca ha inviato nel Golfo 7 dei 30 F-16 della sua aeronautica militare. La Norvegia aveva inviato sei F-16 nel 2011 in Libia, e si prepara ad inviare sei aerei in Iraq e Siria. Gli Stati Uniti si oppongono alla partecipazione della Russia alla coalizione anti-SI. A peggiorare le cose, la Germania ha schierato 4-6 Eurofighter in Estonia (su circa 42). In Lituania, oltre a sei CF-18 canadesi, il Portogallo ha schierato sei F-16 (di 30 di cui dispone). I Paesi Bassi hanno inviato sei aerei da combattimento F-16 in Polonia, lasciando i propri Paesi senza difesa in caso d’invasione aeroterrestre.

1957988

 

Rușii i-au surprins pe europenii din NATO fără avioane în celula de alarmă

Avions test

État d’alerte ? Les Russes ont testé la faiblesse aérienne des états membres de l’OTAN

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio – SitoAurora

Tre cruciali decisioni di Bill Clinton

November 8th, 2014 by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

“Ho detto, nel 1936, che il problema non era il patto della Società delle Nazioni, ma prima di tutto le questione della moralità internazionale… La Carta delle Nazioni Unite esprime benissimo le aspirazioni più nobili dell’uomo: il rifiuto di ricorrere alla forza per regolare i conflitti fra Stati; la difesa dei diritti dell’uomo e delle libertà fondamentali per tutti, senza distinzione di razza. sesso, lingua o religione; salvaguardia della pace e della sicurezza nel mondo“.
Hailé Sélassié (1892-1975): discorso all’ ONU, 6/10/1963.

“La bellezza della legge Glass-Steagall, dopotutto, è semplice: le banche non dovrebbero speculare con i depositi bancari garantiti dallo Stato. Anche un bambino di sei anni lo capirebbe…“.
Luigi Zingales, A capitalism for the people, 2014.

“Oggi il Congresso americano ha votato una legge che ringiovanirà le regole che hanno retto i servizi finanziari dalla Grande Depressione, rimpiazzandole con un sistema degno del XXI secolo… Questa storica legge permetterà alle imprese americane di partecipare pienamente alla nuova economia“. Lawrence Summer, Segretario del Tesoro americano, 12/11/1999.

“Siamo coscienti che l’adesione alla NATO di una Germania unificata solleva complesse questioni. Per noi, tuttavia, una cosa è certa: la nato non dovrebbe estendersi all’Est“.
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Ministro degli esteri tedesco, il 10/2/1990, a conferma di una promessa fatta alla Russia che la NATO non si sarebbe estesa all’Est.

“Penso che sia l’inizio di una nuova Guerra Fredda. Penso che i russi poco a poco reagiranno molto negativamente e ciò si ripercuoterà sulle loro politiche. Penso che sia un grave errore. Non c’era ragione perché ciò accadesse… Denota una flagrante mancanza di comprensione della storia russa e della storia sovietica. Certamente ci sarà una reazione negativa da parte della Russia e [i fautori dell'espansione NATO] diranno che vi avevano avvisato che i russi sono fatti così. – ma è semplicemente falso“.
George F. Kennan, diplomatico americano, esperto della Russia (1998, dopo il voto del senato americano per l’espansione della Nato alla Polonia, l’Ungheria e la Repubblica Ceca.

Un nuovo libro americano sostiene che gli uffici del presidente Clinton furono messi sotto ascolto a vantaggio del governo israeliano e del suo primo ministro Netanyahu. Il libro spiega anche come Netanyahu ha potuto servirsi delle registrazioni legate allo scandalo sessuale del presidente americano per persuaderlo a liberare la spia israeliana Jonthan Pollard, arrestato nel 1985 con l’accusa di spionaggio. In realtà, tutto indica che le attività israeliane di spionaggio siano una prassi abituale negli Stati Uniti e non solo.

E’ comprensibile che l’americano medio non apprezzi l’idea di un Presidente americano e altri ministri del suo governo siano messi sotto ascolto e ricattati da parte di un paese straniero. A questo si aggiunge la recente scoperta che la CIA, che opera in stretto coordinamente con il Mossad israeliano, ha spiato i senatori americani, in violazione delle leggi e della costituzione americane.
Tutto questo porta a considerare più attentamente certe decisioni prese dall’amministrazione Clinton, quindici anni fa, le cui conseguenze sono tutt’ora operanti.

Ci sono tre grandi crisi in corso oggi le cui origini possono essere ricondotte ai suoi mandati (1992-2000), in particolare alle decisioni prese durante il secondo. La gente ha la tendenza a dimenticare questioni del genere, e preferisce concentrarsi sull’attualità. Spesso tuttavia ciò che succede sotto i nostri occhi si è preparato nel corso di diversi anni, per svilupparsi molto tempo dopo che gli iniziatori hanno abbandonato la scena politica. Quello che l’amministrazione Bush ha fatto e quello che fa oggi l’amministrazione Obama non sono che il seguito delle politiche implementate da Clinton.

1) La guerra del Kosovo e la marginalizzazione dell’ONU – 1999

Il caos che deriva dalle numerose guerre in corso oggi nel mondo, in violazione diretta della Carta delle Nazioni Unite, è dovuto in gran parte al precedente del Kosovo, invocato da Clinton per lanciare gli USA in una guerra “umanitaria” contro la Serbia.
L’obiettivo delle Nazioni Unite è proclamato solennemente dal preambolo della Carta: “Noi, popoli della Nazioni Unite, decisi [...] a salvare le future generazioni dal flagello della guerra [...] e per tali fini [...] assicurare, mediante l’accettazione di principi e l’istituzione di sistemi, che la forza delle armi non sarà usata, salvo che nell’interesse comune[...]“.

Come Ban Ki-Moon ha ricordato, la Carta delle Nazioni Unite, sottoscritta da tutti i paesi membri, stabilisce che “l’utilizzo della forza è legale solo in caso di legittima difesa [contro un attacco armato] o con l’autorizzazione [ufficiale] del Consiglio di Sicurezza dell’ONU“. Si tratta di Diritto internazionale, e la Carta dell’ONU è la base stessa di questo diritto.

Il capitolo VII della Carta vieta espressamente ogni guerra che non sia condotta per mantenere o ristabilire la pace internazionale (art 42) o per legittima difesa, sia individuale che collettiva (art 51). Non esistono eccezioni per guerre “preventive” e/o “umanitarie” o per qualunque altro tipo di guerra d’aggressione.

Tuttavia, nel 1998 e 1999, il governo democratico di Clinton decise unilateralmente di intervenire nella guerra del Kosovo, senza un mandato esplicito del Consiglio di sicurezza, sostituendo per la prima volta la stretta legalità con l’argomento arbitrario ed extra-giudiziario della legittimazione politica per ragioni “umanitarie” e per la salvaguardia dei “diritti umani”. Ciò, senza nemmeno l’autorizzazione da parte del Congresso americano, dal momento che l’amministrazione Clinton ritenne che un ricorso alla NATO era sufficiente per giustificare l’intervento militare (in questo caso costituito da soli interventi aerei [con utilizzo di base e spazio aereo italiani, autorizzato dal governo d'Alema]).

Quella del Kosovo è stata definita come “la prima guerra fondata su valori”, ed ha aperto il vaso di Pandora delle guerre facoltative, in opposizione al quadro giuridico internazionale della Carta.

Da quell’intervento, che avallava l’intervento militare unilaterale per motivi umanitari, questo genere di guerra d’aggressione è diventata più una questione politica che legale, perché i grandi paesi [o meglio: l'unica grande potenza insieme ai suoi satelliti] possono decidere una guerra a seconda della loro specifica visione di “interesse nazionale”. In altre parole, il mondo è tornato a un’epoca antecedente al 1945, cioè prima della creazione dell’ONU, quando i paesi imperialisti potevano decidere di scatenare una guerra se stimavano loro interesse nazionale farlo.

La decisione dell’amministrazione clintoniana di privilegiare la NATO a svantaggio della Carta, segna l’inizio della marginalizzazione dell’ONU come quadro di riferimento giuridico per impedire le guerre. Questa marginalizzazione ha reso il mondo, di fatto, meno sicuro.

2) L’abrogazione del Glass-Stegal Act, 1999

Negli anni ’90 le più grandi banche americane lanciarono una costosa campagna pubblica (300 milioni di dollari) per l’abrogazione della legge bancaria in vigore dalla Grande Depressione degli anni ’30, conosciuta come Glass-Stegal Act. Questa importante legge del 1933 era il baluardo contro la speculazione finanziaria, perché impediva alle grandi banche di speculare con i depositi bancari assicurati dallo Stato. Più precisamente, rendeva illegale ogni collegamento tra banche d’affari – specializzate nella sottoscrizione speculativa di valori mobiliari – e banche commerciali autorizzate alla raccolta del risparmio.

L’influente lobby dei banchieri americani, alcuni dei quali occupavano posti strategici nell’amministrazione Clinton (come Robert Rubin, già vice-presidente della Goldman Sachs e all’epoca Ministro delle finanze), sosteneva tuttavia che dai tempi della Grande Depressione le cose erano cambiate, e che i vincoli imposti dalla legge sulle loro attività impedivano la creazione e la vendita di nuovi prodotti finanziari, non solo negli Stati uniti ma in tutto il mondo, pregiudicando la loro competitività internazionale.

All’inizio Clinton si mostrò riluttante all’idea di abolire una legge che per tanto tempo aveva efficacemente impedito il ripetersi di abusi bancari come quelli che si erano verificati prima della Grande depressione. Tuttavia enormi pressioni politiche, interne ed esterne, lo costrinsero alla fine a firmare l’atto che modificava quelle regole, il 12 novembre 1999, il Gramm-Leach Bliley Act. La nuova legge permetteva la fusione fra banche commerciali, banche d’affari, società mobiliari e compagnia d’assicurazione senza che la SEC (Security and Exchange Commission) o qualunque altro organismo di controllo avesse il potere di regolamentare i nuovi soggetti.

Le super-banche e le grandi compagnie assicurative non persero tempo ad approfittare della nuova de-regolamentazione. Nuove strutture finanziare alla “Ponzi” apparvero come in passato, quale era logico attendersi.

I nuovi giganti finanziari si presentarono con innovativi prodotti – i “derivati” – che alla lunga si sono rivelati altamente tossici e hanno scatenato la crisi finanziaria dei subprimes  del 2007-2008.
Oggi sappiamo che quella crisi ha comportato perdite di reddito e patrimonio di svariati miliardi di dollari per le famiglie americane, e forzato il governo americano a sovvenzionare con centinaia di miliardi le super-banche per evitarne il fallimento.

Il risultato è stato un enorme trasferimento di ricchezza dalla popolazione in generale al settore bancario, nonché l’indebolimento dell’economia americani per diversi anni a venire.

3)        La violazione dell’impegno NATO

Come la dichiarazione del ministro tedesco Genscher conferma, è comunemente ammesso che dopo la dissoluzione del Patto di Varsavia, all’inizio degli anni ’90, e dopo la riunificazione tedesca, era inteso – se non altro in termini di impegno implicito – che la nato non avrebbe approfittato della nuova situazione per circondare militarmente la Russia allargandosi verso l’Est.  Per esempio, nel corso di un incontro tra il Segretario di stato James Baker e il Ministro degli esteri tedesco Genscher, il 10 febbraio 1990, i due convennero che non ci sarebbe stato alcun allargamento a Est della NATO.

Era questo il convincimento di Mikhail Gorbatchev, ancora presidente dell’URSS, quando affermava di avere ricevuto l’assicurazione che la NATO non si sarebbe allargata verso l’Est “di un solo pollice”. L’ambasciatore americano a Mosca dell’epoca, Jack Matlock, ha confermato pubblicamente che  Mosca aveva ricevuto un “impegno chiaro” su questo punto. L’errore di Gorbatchev fu quello di prendere per buone le assicurazioni verbali dei politici occidentali anziché esigere un accordo più formale [o forse non era più politicamente in grado di esigerlo].

Rimane il fatto che gli impegni tennero qualche anno, fino a quando Clinton, in piena campagna elettorale, il 22 ottobre 1996 espresse l’auspicio di un allargamento della NATO alla Polonia, all’Ungheria e alla Cecoslovacchia.  E’ stato Clinton, quindi, che in cerca di un vantaggio elettorale pensò bene di disattendere gli impegni del suo predecessore. Il seguito è noto. L’alleanza militare NATO, da essenzialmente difensiva, è stata trasformata in offensiva, sotto ancor più stretto controllo americano. L’espansione all’Est non si è fermata con la Polonia, l’Ungheria e la Cecoslovacchia, ma incorpora ora paesi come l’Albania, la Croazia, la Lettonia e la Slovenia, spingendo la propria struttura militare sino ai confini con la Russia.

I recenti tentativi di includere anche l’Ucraina non sono che il prosieguo di una politica aggressiva di espansione della Nato che mira a isolare la Russia.

E’ stato dunque Clinton, senza dubbio sotto l’influenza dei neo-conservatori americani, a soffocare la speranza che molti avevano di vedere i paesi occidentali approfittare di un “dividendo di pace” quale si prospettava con la fine della Guerra fredda e della minaccia sovietica.

Conclusione
Il disordine planetario di questo primo scorcio di secolo, la crisi finanziaria 2007/2008 che ha devastato migliaia di persona [e quella economica conseguente, che sta tuttora devastando intere popolazioni e di cui ancora non si vede la fine], il ritorno inatteso della Guerra fredda: tre fenomeni del nostro tempo la cui origine risale alle miopi decisioni di breve periodo prese dal governo Clinton negli anni ’90.

I mediocri governi americani di Bush e Obama non hanno fatto altro che spingere più avanti, peggiorandole, le politiche disastrose implementate all’inizio da quella amministrazione. Una realtà di cui gli storici dovranno tenere conto per capire la logica degli eventi che hanno portato al caos attuale.

Rodrigue Tremblay

12 agosto 2014

Bill_Clinton_KOSOVO

Trois décisions cruciales de Bill Clinton d’inspiration néoconservatrice qui ont conduit aujourd’hui à trois crises majeures

Traduzione di Mauro Poggi

Rodrigue Tremblay è una apersonalità eclettica del panorama culturale canadese. Economista, umanista, politico, è professore emerito di economia all’Università di Montréal, autore di diversi saggi e articoli e titolare del blog The New American Empire [http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/italiano.htm].
[http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/tremblay=1161.htm]

The CIA and Drugs, Inc.: a Covert History

November 8th, 2014 by Douglas Valentine

Gary Webb was a good investigator. He linked a drug dealer in Los Angeles, through Contra suppliers, to CIA officers and Republican politicians. His editor let the story rip, and the “Dark Alliance” series made a mighty impact on Black Americans, who saw it as evidence that the ruling class was as racist as ever.

Webb stuck a stake in the evil heart of the national security state and embarrassed the CIA’s contacts in the mainstream media. All of which was unforgiveable. Pressure was applied, history re-written, and Webb, in despair, apparently committed suicide.

The irony, of course, is that Webb had exposed only a small part of the story. The fact of the matter is that the US government has always managed large portions of the illicit, international drug business, and was doing so long before the CIA came into existence.

Documented cases abound, like the Opium Scandal of 1927, in which a “former” US Attorney in Shanghai provided a Chinese warlord with 6500 Mausers in exchange for $500,000 worth of opium.

Two years later, US Customs inspectors found a huge quantity of opium, heroin, and morphine in the luggage of Mrs. Kao, the wife of a Nationalist Chinese official in San Francisco. At which point Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson hustled Chiang Kai-shek’s ring of drug dealing diplomats out of the country.

The State Department likewise protected a ring of drug smugglers in 1934, and thus allowed heroin to pour into New Orleans. Two historians said about the Honduran Drugs-For-Guns case: “the defense of the Western hemisphere against the Axis powers…reduced to insignificance clandestine attempts to link the managerial personnel of a major cargo airline to smuggling.”[i]

As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be: the ruling class’s power resides in its control of the criminal underworld; and since 1947, it has been the CIA’s job to advance and protect the conspiracy.

Consider the Federal Narcotic Bureau’s drug conspiracy case on Bugsy Siegel, which included Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, both of whom had provided services to the US government during the war. The conspiracy had its inception in 1939 when, at Lansky’s request, sexy Virginia Hill moved to Mexico and seduced a number of Mexico’s “top politicians, army officers, diplomats, and police officials.”[ii]

Hill came to own a nightclub in Nuevo Laredo and made frequent trips to Mexico City with Dr. Margaret Chung, an alleged prostitute and abortionist, honorary member of the Hip Sing T’ong, and the attending physician to the Flying Tigers – the private airline the US government formed to fly supplies to Chiang Kai-shek’s forces in Kunming, a city described as infused with spies and opium. As the FBN was well aware, Dr. Chung was “in the narcotic traffic in San Francisco.”[iii]

Chung took large cash payments from Siegel and delivered heroin to Hill in New Orleans, Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago. And yet, despite the fact that West Coast FBN agents kept her under surveillance for years, they could never make a case against her, because she was protected by the American military establishment. Indeed, Siegel’s murder in 1947 may have been a government hit designed to protect its sanctioned KMT-Mafia drug operation out of Mexico. As Peter Dale Scott strengthobserved, right after Bugsy was squashed, Mexico’s intelligence service, the DFS, formed relations with the top Mexican drug lord, at which point the CIA “became enmeshed in the drug intrigues and protection of the DFS.” By 1950, Mexican drug lords were receiving narcotics from the Lansky-Luciano connection, which stretched to the Far East.

The CIA’s involvement in the Far East drug trade began with its predecessor organization, the Office of Strategic Services, which supplied Iranian opium to Burmese guerrillas fighting the Japanese. This is no secret: General William Peers, commander of OSS Detachment 101 in Burma, confessed in his autobiography: “If opium could be useful in achieving victory, the pattern was clear. We would use opium.” [iv]

OSS chief William Donovan and Chiang’s intelligence chief, General Tai Li, tried hard to control drug trafficking in China during the war. To ensure security for KMT smuggling operations, the Americans sent a team to Chungking to train Chiang’s secret political police force. The head of the team, Charles Johnston, was described as previously having spent fifteen years “in the narcotics game.” [v]

Johnston’s team and Tai Li’s agents worked closely with Chiang’s designated drug smuggler Du Yue-sheng. Tai Li’s agents escorted Du’s opium caravans from Yunnan to Saigon, where the Kuomintang used Red Cross operations as a front for selling opium to the Japanese. In so far as national security always trumps drug law enforcement, this operation was afforded the same immunity as OSS Detachment 101.

After the war, the Americans did nothing to stop the French from importing tons of opium from Laos, and selling it on the black market to finance their colonial war against the Vietnamese. During a visit to Saigon in 1948, an FBN agent reported that opium was “the greatest single source of revenue” for the French.[vi]

CIA drug ops took a great leap forward in 1949, when Mao chased Chiang to Taiwan, where KMT gangsters slaughtered thousands of people and set up a worldwide drug ring. To facilitate this particular criminal conspiracy in the name of freedom and democracy, US officials exempted a subsidiary of William Donovan’s World Commerce Corporation from the Foreign Agents Registration Act, so it could supply the KMT with everything from gas masks to airplanes. This subsidiary was accused of smuggling “contraband” to America.

Some of the “contraband” no doubt emanated from the KMT’s 93rdDivision, which had fled from Yunnan into Burma in 1949. In exchange for launching covert raids into China, these enterprising KMT forces were allowed to grow and export opium onto the black-market in Bangkok and Hong Kong. In the same way the Israeli Lobby blackmails and bribes Congress to achieve its criminal ends, the US China Lobby attacked KMT critics and launched a massive propaganda campaign citing the People’s Republic as the source of all the illicit dope that reached San Francisco.

To facilitate the drug trade emanating from its KMT army in Burma, the China Lobby raised five million dollars of private money, which the CIA used to create its drug smuggling airline Civil Air Transport (CAT). The aforementioned General William Peers, as CIA station chief in Taipai, arranged for CAT to support KMT incursions from Burma into Yunnan – and thus enabled the KMT to bring to market “a third of the world’s illicit opium supply.”[vii]

When Burma charged the KMT with opium smuggling in 1953, the CIA requested “a rapid evacuation in order to prevent the leakage of information about the KMT’s opium business.” The State Department announced that KMT troops were being airlifted by the CAT to Taiwan, but most remained in Burma or were relocated to northern Thailand with the consent of Thailand’s top policeman and drug lord. US Ambassador William J. Sebald wasn’t fooled by this chicanery, and rhetorically asked if the CIA had deliberately left the KMT troops behind in Burma to continue “the opium smuggling racket.”[viii]

Suborning the Police

The story of the CIA’s drug empire is the biggest cover-up in American history – even though the basic facts are available in books like Al McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia and Richard M. Gibson’s The Secret Army.

Organizing the cover-up initially depended on the CIA’s ability to suborn the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which, as the conflict in Vietnam heated up, was forced to investigate the flow drugs from the Far East to America. Thus, in 1963, FBN headquarters sent Agent Sal Vizzini to Thailand to open an office in Bangkok. As Vizzini told me, “Customs was already in Vietnam, but only under the aegis of helping the soldiers. Apart from that, no one’s making cases in Vietnam, because the CIA is escorting dope to its warlords.”

Vizzini’s assertion was validated on 30 August 1964, when Major Stanley C. Hobbs was caught smuggling 57 pounds of opium from Bangkok to a clique of South Vietnamese officers in Saigon. Hobbs had flown into Saigon on the CIA’s new drug smuggling airline, Air America. Hobbs’s court martial was conducted in secret and the defense witnesses were all US army and South Vietnamese intelligence officers. The records of the trial were dutifully lost and Hobbs was fined a mere three thousand dollars and suspended from promotion for five years. As a protected CIA drug courier, he served no time.

The FBN Commissioner wrote a letter to Senator Thomas J. Dodd asking for help obtaining information about Hobbs. But Dodd was stonewalled too, proving that the CIA is able to subvert drug law enforcement at the highest legislative level in the nation.

Later in 1963, FBN Agent Bowman Taylor replaced Sal Vizzini in Bangkok. Taylor was famous for slipping into Laos and making a case on General Vang Pao, commander of the CIA’s private army of indigenous, opium-growing tribesmen. Taylor didn’t know the identity of the person he was buying from: he simply set up an undercover buy, got a flash roll together, and went to “the meet” covered by the Vientiane police. But when the seller stepped out of his car and opened the trunk, and the police saw who it was, they ran away, leaving Taylor to bust the felonious general alone.

“Yep, I made a case on Vang Pao and was thrown out of the country as a result,” Taylor acknowledged. “The prime minister gave him back his Mercedes Benz and morphine base, and the CIA sent him to Miami for six months to cool his heels. I wrote a report to the Commissioner, but when he confronted the CIA, they said the incident never happened.

“The station chiefs ran things in Southeast Asia,” Taylor stressed, adding that the first secretary at the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok had a private airline for smuggling drugs to Saigon, as the CIA was well aware. “I tried to catch him, but there was no assistance. In fact, the CIA actively supported the Thai Border Police, who were involved in trafficking.”

Taylor shrugged. “The CIA would do anything to achieve its goals.”

The 118A Strategic Intelligence Network

Not only was the CIA protecting Vietnamese warlords, their Corsican accomplices, and its private armies of opium growers in Laos, Burma and Thailand, it was managing the caravan that moved opium to the world’s biggest market in Houei Sai, Laos.

In 1991, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I interviewed William Young, the CIA officer who set the operation up.

The son of an American missionary in Burma, Young had learned the local dialects before he mastered English. During World War II, his family was forced to move to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, where Young’s father taught William Donovan the intricacies of the region’s opium business.

Following a tour of duty with the US Army in Germany, Young was recruited into the CIA and in 1958, posted to Bangkok then Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai, Young led a succession of CIA officers to the strategically placed Laotian and Burmese villages that would eventually serve as Agency bases.

It was Young who introduced General Vang Pao to his first official CIA case officer.

From his headquarters at the CIA airbase at Long Tieng, on the south side of the opium-rich Plain Of Jars, Vang Pao conscripted 30,000 tribesmen, many as young as 13, into a secret army to fight the Pathet Lao and its Vietnamese allies. In exchange for selling his people as cannon fodder, he was allowed to make a fortune selling opium. Much of the brokering was done at the village of Houei Sai in western Laos. Pao’s front man was the chieftain of the local Yao tribe, but behind the scenes Young set up deals between Pao, the top Laotian generals and politicians, and the KMT generals inside Burma. The Burmese generals operated clandestine CIA radio listening posts inside Burma, and in return were allowed to move 90% of the opium that reached Houei Sai.

It was a happy arrangement until October 1964, when the Chinese detonated an atomic bomb at Lop Nor. That seminal event signaled a need for better intelligence inside China, and resulted in the CIA directing Young to set up a strategic intelligence network at Nam Yu (aka Base 118), a few miles north of Houei Sai. The purpose of the 118A Strategic Intelligence Network was to use a KMT opium caravan to insert agents inside China. The agents placed by Young in the caravan were his childhood friends, Lahu tribesmen Moody Taw and Isaac Lee. Young equipped them with cameras, and while in China they photographed Chinese engineers building a road toward the Thai border, as well as Chinese soldiers massing along it. Knowing the number and location of these Chinese troops helped the CIA plot a strategy for fighting the Vietnam War.

Once the 118A network was up and running, Young turned it over to CIA officer Lou Ojibwe, and after Ojibwe was killed in the summer of 1965, Anthony Poshepny took charge. A Marine veteran who served with the CIA in the Indonesia and Tibet, “Tony Poe” was the balding, robust model for Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now! Poe also served as a father figure to the junior CIA officers (including Terry Burke, a future acting chief of the DEA) he commanded in the jungles of Laos.

When I interviewed Poe in Udorn, Thailand in 1991, he said he “hated” Vang Pao because he was selling guns to the Communists. But Poe was a company man, and he made sure the CIA’s share of opium was delivered from Nam Yu to the airfield at Houei Sai. The opium was packed in oil drums, loaded on C-47s, and flown by KMT mercenaries to the Gulf of Siam. The oil drums were dropped into the sea and picked up by accomplices in sampans waiting at specified coordinates. The opium was ferried to Hong Kong, where it was cooked into heroin by KMT chemists and sold to the Mafia and Corsicans.

FBN Agent Albert Habib, in a Memorandum Report dated 27 January 1966, cited CIA officer Don Wittaker as confirming that opium drums were dropped from planes, originating in Laos, to boats in the Gulf of Siam. Wittaker identified the chemist in Houei Sai, and fingered the local Yao leaders as the opium suppliers.

By 1966, when FBN Agent Douglas Chandler arrived in Bangkok, the existence of the CIA’s 118A opium caravan was a known fact. As Chandler recalled, “An interpreter took me to meet a Burmese warlord in Chiang Mai. Speaking perfect English, the warlord said he was a Michigan State graduate and the grandson of the king of Burma. Then he invited me to travel with the caravan that brought opium back from Burma.” Chandler paused for effect.

“When I sent the information to the CIA, they looked away, and when I told the embassy, they flipped out. We had agents in the caravan who knew where the Kuomintang heroin labs were located, but the Kuomintang was a uniformed army equipped with modern weapons, so the Thai government left them alone.”

As described by Young and Poe, the 118A Strategic Intelligence Network was the CIA’s private drug channel to its Mafia partners in Hong Kong – people like Santo Trafficante, the Mafia boss the CIA hired to kill Fidel Castro, and protected ever thereafter. The same thing is happening today in Afghanistan, with the DEA providing cover for the CIA and military, just as the FBN did in the 1960s.

Which brings me back to Gary Webb. The CIA wasn’t happy that Poe and Young were talking. Poe was told to shut up after his chat with me, and he did. But Young sold his story to a major Hollywood studio for $100,000. And that was unforgivable.

On April Fool’s Day, 2011, Thai police found Bill Young’s corpse. It had been perfectly arranged with a pistol in his one hand and a crucifix in the other.

Maybe he was depressed too?

And it is seriously depressing, the fact our utterly corrupt government, aided by its criminal co-conspirators in the mainstream media, pretends as if the CIA doesn’t deal drugs.

Doug Valentine is the author of The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs, and The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics, and Espionage Intrigues that Shaped the DEA.

Notes:

[i] Douglas Clark Kinder and William O. Walker III, “Stable Force In a Storm: Harry J. Anslinger and United States Narcotic Policy, 1930-1962,” The Journal of American History, Volume 72, No 4, March 1986, p. 919, note.

[ii] Ed Reid, The Mistress and the Mafia, p. 42.

[iii] Reid, Mistress, p. 90.

[iv] William Peers and Dean Brellis, Behind The Burma Road, Boston: Little Brown, 1963 p. 64.

[v] Milton Miles, A Different Kind of War, New York: Doubleday, 1967.

[vi] William O. Walker, Opium and Foreign Policy, University of North Carolina Press, 1991, p. 177.

[vii] Burton Hersh, The Old BoysThe American Elite And The Origins Of The CIA, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1992 p. 300

[viii] Walker, Opium, p. 210.

The FBI successfully provided protection for violent drug cartels today by seizing the peaceful e-commerce website Silk Road 2.0.

This feat was accomplished because “at least one undercover law enforcement agent” helped start the shop and run it for a year.

Andy Greenberg of Wired reports:

A year after the Silk Road 2 came online promising to revive the Dark Web drug trade following its predecessor’s seizure by the FBI, the sequel has suffered the same fate.

On Thursday international law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and Europol took down the Silk Road 2 and arrested its alleged operator 26-year-old Blake Benthall in San Francisco. Benthall, who is accused of running the new Silk Road under the handle “Defcon,” has been charged with narcotics trafficking, as well as conspiracy charges related to money laundering, computer hacking, and trafficking in fraudulent identification documents….

…The criminal complaint against Benthall outlines how the Silk Road 2′s staff was infiltrated by at least one undercover law enforcement agent even before the site went online in November of last year. In May of this year, the FBI somehow pinpointed the foreign server that ran the Silk Road 2 despite its use of the anonymity software Tor to protect its location, and obtained records from the server’s hosting provider identifying Benthall.

Hosted on the dark web Silk Road 2, like its predecessor, provided a safe platform for anonymous strangers to buy and sell drugs that are prohibited by governments.

Instead of meeting on dark street corners or in some filthy drug den, people now had the opportunity to buy drugs (and learn about drug safety) from the comfort and security of their living rooms.

Drugs will always exist in society, so by banning them lawmakers are making the active decision to distribute them through violent gangs. Anonymous dark web commerce like Silk Road solved the problem of violence in the drug trade.

Unfortunately, prohibition is the justification for much of the FBI’s budget and its reason to exist.

By having at least one agent as a founding contributor to Silk Road 2.0, they engaged in the exact crime they are now charging this 26-year-old techie with. That makes them worse than accomplices.

The FBI admits:

During the Government’s investigation, which was conducted jointly by the FBI and HSI, an HSI agent acting in an undercover capacity (the “HSI-UC”) successfully infiltrated the support staff involved in the administration of the Silk Road 2.0 website, and was given access to private, restricted areas of the site reserved for BENTHALL and his administrative staff. By doing so, the HSI-UC was able to interact directly with BENTHALL throughout his operation of the website.

And when they’re not helping form honeypot drug markets, they’re incubating fake terror plots to justify that part of their budget.

Their actions in the drug war and war on terror have created far more victims than they could ever possibly “save” with these tactics.

It’s time we recognize that the FBI is a violent mafia gang who’s mostly out to protect its own interests.

Read the FBI announcement here:
http://www.fbi.gov/newyork/press-releases/2014/operator-of-silk-road-2.0-website-charged-in-manhattan-federal-court

Also check out this article just published by The Washington Post:
How the FBI just made the world a more dangerous place by shutting down Silkroad 2.0

Judge Approves Detroit Bankruptcy Plan

November 8th, 2014 by Jerry White

The more than yearlong bankruptcy case in Detroit concluded Friday with US judge Steven Rhodes sanctioning a savage restructuring plan for the city, which creates a new precedent for an assault on public workers throughout the country.

Rhodes’ 90-minute ruling was the culmination of a duplicitous attempt to put a legal veneer on an illegitimate and illegal process. This has included the state government’s use of an antidemocratic law to install an unelected emergency manager, essentially a financial dictator, to throw the city into bankruptcy and slash pensions in violation of state constitutional protections.

The so-called Plan of Adjustment approved by the judge will rob the pensions and health benefits of 32,000 current and retired city workers. At the same time it will pay hundreds of millions to the Wall Street banks, hedge funds and bond insurers involved in interest rate swaps and other financial schemes, which Judge Rhodes acknowledged were likely illegal. In other words, the same financial forces responsible for the impoverishment of Detroit—after decades of plant closings, corporate tax cuts and financial swindles—are being paid off at the expense of workers and retirees.

The plan includes the transfer of the Detroit Institute of Arts to the control of private foundations. It also paves the way for the privatization of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. In preparation for this move, the city has been carrying out a systematic and brutal policy of water shutoffs.

With the ending of the bankruptcy process, Rhodes said, “It is now time to restore democracy to the people of the City of Detroit.” At a press conference called to celebrate Rhode’s decision, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr repeated this statement, saying that he “looked forward to returning the city to elected officials and its residents.”

At the press conference, a WSWS reporter asked Orr and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to elaborate on their “novel conception of democracy, which could be granted or taken away by the beneficence of judges and governors,” and how they compared that with the Founding Fathers’ conception of democracy as an inalienable right and expression of the sovereignty of the people.

Barely concealing his indifference to such concerns, Snyder, a billionaire technology mogul, declared that he took a “less philosophical and more pragmatic approach” to democracy. “[I]t was not a normal situation,” he said, but a “financial emergency… The city was on the path of continuing decline. Bankruptcy is always a last resort, not to be taken likely. But now we are emerging from it and I’m pleased we’re going back to traditional governance.”

In other words, “emergency” situations create the necessity for abolishing “traditional government,” in order to force through the dictates of the corporate and financial elite over mass opposition. As for “restoring democracy,” in fact the powers of Orr will now be transferred to a new financial review commission, with the power to veto labor contracts and city expenditures for the next 20 years.

This political conspiracy against the social and democratic rights of the working class in Detroit has had the full backing of every institution of the capitalist state. This included the Obama administration, which supported the bankruptcy from the beginning, Democrats and Republicans on the state and local level, the courts, the media and the trade unions. All of these forces signed on to the “grand bargain” approved by Rhodes.

As he announced his decision on Friday, Rhodes strained credulity in trying to explain how the restructuring plan was “fair and equitable” and had been reached in “good faith,” two of the requirements necessary to confirm it.

In reality, the vast majority of $7 billion in debt being wiped out comes from slashing benefits owed to active and retired city workers. Most brutal is the elimination of health care and death benefits to 23,500 retirees and dependents, which Rhodes said were the “city’s largest single liability,” estimated to be between 3.8 and 5 billion dollars.

Also included in the restructuring plan are a 4.5 percent pension cut and the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments for general retirees who live on $19,000 a year. Active workers will be dumped into what Judge Rhodes called “hybrid pension plans,” whose benefits are “less generous than those in current plans.”

Even further pension cuts are all but inevitable since the city’s suspended payments to the general retiree and fire and police pension funds will not resume until 2023 and will not be fully restored until 2053.

Rhodes said the deal “borders on miraculous,” insisting that pensioners faced little more than “minor reductions.” If some suffered “severe hardship,” the judge said, that was only part of the “shared sacrifice” needed to revive the city.

Rhodes reiterated Friday that the “court stands by” the decision that the federal court could impair pension obligations like any other contract despite explicit prohibitions in the Michigan state constitution. This ruling has opened the floodgates for municipalities throughout the United States to gut pensions.

In making his ruling, Rhodes specifically praised the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the United Auto Workers, the firefighters and police unions and retiree associations for backing the deal.

As part of the settlement, the unions agreed to drop lawsuits against the emergency manager law and the violation of the constitution’s pension clause in exchange for a $195 million payment to the pension funds. In addition, the unions were given two Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association (VEBA) funds worth $524 million.

Along with their Wall Street advisors, the union executives will have a financial incentive to dispense inferior health care with impossibly high premiums and copays to maintain the solvency of their investment vehicles.

The role of the unions in suppressing mass opposition to the bankruptcy was highlighted in remarks by Kevyn Orr to local news media on Friday. Orr said that he had been concerned about “civil unrest” after his installation in March 2013. Aware of deep popular anger to both the bankruptcy and the city’s plan to shut tens of thousands off from running water, Rhodes made a conscious decision over the summer to bring the unions on board.

At the post-ruling press conference, the judges and politicians exuded a sense of relief that they had actually gotten away with the bankruptcy. They celebrated and thanked each other for pushing through the bankruptcy in record time.

The political and judicial representatives of the ruling class are well aware that they are setting a national precedent with the Detroit bankruptcy. Rhodes himself warned that the biggest risk of future default in other cities came from “pension funding.” What happened in Detroit, he continued, “must never happen again and not be repeated anywhere in the state.”

Making clear that pension funding was no longer protected by state constitutions in Michigan or anywhere else, Rhodes said, “the goal of protecting municipal pensions in Detroit and in this country, requires municipal labor to enhance its vigilance of municipal pension funding.” This goal required that “labor should take a much longer and broader view of the best interests of its members and retirees.”

In other words, unions in California and throughout the US needed to collaborate, as they had done in Detroit, in slashing health care benefits and other rights. Only in this way could the budding capitalists in the union bureaucracy maintain their pension investment funds.

As a final thought, Rhodes pontificated,

“We have used the phrase, the grand bargain, to describe the group of agreements that will fix the City’s pension problem. That description is entirely fitting. In our nation, we join together in the promise and in the ideal of a much grander bargain. It is the bargain by which we interact with each other and with our government, all for the common good. That grander bargain, enshrined in our constitution, is democracy.”

In fact, this entire process has been a travesty of democracy, in which the working class has faced a gang-up of forces all determined to make workers pay for a crisis that they did not create.

Sometimes it’s the little things that say a lot. And when PBS NewsHour anchor Gwen Ifill and correspondent Margaret Warner (11/5/14) were discussing  various consequences of the midterm elections, this part caught my ear:

IFILL: OK, second area, hot spot, Iran, where there’s been long ongoing discussion about sanctions and that coming to a head as well.

WARNER: Absolutely, November 24. Secretary Kerry and his Iranian counterpart have been working for nearly a year now. November 24 is the deadline to come up with a deal that would restrict Iran’s nuclear program, persuade the world it wasn’t going to get weapons, in return for lifting sanctions.

There is not a disagreement between Iran and “the world.” A small number of countries–the United States being the most powerful one–have made a variety of claims for the past several years about Iran possibly concealing a weapons program. There is no public evidence to support the most extreme accusation, but it doesn’t seem to matter; Iran is under stiff sanctions, and US lawmakers want to hit them even harder.

The actual “world”–if you think the word means most of the people living on the planet, or at least the governments that represent them–has a very different view of the nuclear negotiations. They support Iran’s right to enrich uranium.

This is reminiscent of the time NBC‘s David Gregory declared (FAIR Blog,7/14/14) that Iran’s enrichment program was an issue that unites the world:

The international community is divided about a lot of things. They’re actually not divided about one thing. They think Iran is up to no good and wants to build a nuclear weapon.

His guest, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, tried to clarify:  ”It’s not the international community. It’s a few countries that have concerns.”

Or last year, when PBS reporter Ray Suarez remarked (FAIR Blog10/18/13) remarked that the “rest of the world” was sending a message to Iran that we “don’t want you to enrich” uranium.

As FAIR noted then:

The Non-Aligned Movement–an organization representing 120 countries and more than half the world’s population–has consistently backed Iran’s right to enrich uranium for a civilian nuclear program (Antiwar.com8/31/12).

It’s a small but revealing glimpse at elite media’s worldview when it comes to US foreign policy: The “world” is what we make it.

Economist Martin Armstrong is predicting that rising resentment against the status quo as a result of economic inequality is likely to cause a serious political uprising before 2016.

“It looks more and more like a serious political uprising will erupt by 2016 once the economy turns down. That is the magic ingredient. Turn the economy down and you get civil unrest and revolution,” writes Armstrong.

In making the forecast, the economist cites the case of 90-year-old World War 2 veteran Arnold Abbott, who is being targeted by authorities in Fort Lauderdale for defying a newly passed city ordinance that criminalizes feeding the homeless, an example says Armstrong of how “laws in the USA have simply gone nuts.”

Armstrong, who correctly predicted the 1987 Black Monday crash as well as the 1998 Russian financial collapse, asserts that the downfall of the system will be its inability to gauge the anger that Americans currently feel towards their government.

“You just cannot make up this stuff. And the Democrats cannot figure out that the people are getting pissed-off at who is ever in office? And what about the police?” asks Armstrong. “Is this just turning into thugs with badges who just enforce whatever law some nut-job politician writes? What if they passed a Herod type law to curb population and decree that everyone must kill their first-born. When does reason ever return to the police force these days? They no longer protect the people – they protect the politicians against the people.”

As we reported back in August, the U.S. Army is preparing for civil unrest in the United States. A 132-page document entitled U.S. Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances outlines how troops may be required to deal with “unruly and violent crowds” where it is “necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”

Riots which rocked Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year and threaten to reignite should Officer Darren Wilson be acquitted illustrate how single events can spark sustained social unrest.

However, more widespread dislocation is only likely to occur in the aftermath of an economic collapse which impacts a huge number of Americans. As we have seen in numerous countries across Europe, including in Belgium just today, crippling austerity measures combined with anemic economic growth have set the stage for violent unrest.

In a February 2013 article entitled Why the Banking Elite Want Riots in America, we outlined why the political class is perfectly content to engineer and exploit social unrest as a means of paving the way for the IMF to engage in its tried and tested method of asset stripping and looting a nation.

With polls showing some 74% of Americans are already angry or dissatisfied with the government, further economic hardship could prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

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Engineered Economic Crisis: Simultaneous Inflation and Deflation

November 8th, 2014 by Prof. Ismael Hossein-Zadeh

While the financial sector of the core capitalist economies is enjoying escalating asset price inflation, the real sector of these economies, especially those of Europe and Japan, is suffering from deflation, that is, stagnation and high unemployment.

And while the simultaneous occurrence of inflation and deflation sounds paradoxical, it is only superficially so. In reality it is simply the logical outcome of neoliberal monetary policies pursued in these countries: as these policies of austerity economics have since the 2008 financial collapse systematically drained the overwhelming majority of citizens of material resources and funneled those resources to the financial sector, the result has been the understandable contraction of the real sector concurrent with the expansion of the financial sector.

In the face of these apparently contradictory developments, economic pundits and financial “experts” at the helm of monetary policy-making apparatus feign bewilderment at how market developments have become increasingly more “complicated,” and how economic fine-tuning has accordingly become more challenging. Such pompous utterances are, however, hollow pretensions designed to obfuscate issues, to mystify economics and to confuse the people. In reality, there is absolutely nothing “complicated” or mysterious about the simultaneous expansion of the financial sector and contraction of the real sector. It is, indeed, altogether axiomatic that if you systematically rob Peter to pay Paul, you are going to impoverish Peter (the 99%) while enriching Paul (the 1%).

The concurrent enrichment of the financial plutocracy and impoverishment of the masses of the people is akin to the growth of a parasite in the body of a living organism at the expense of life-sustaining blood or nourishment of that organism. What is unbeknown to the public is that the parasitic transfer of economic blood from the bottom up is not simply the spontaneous outcome of the operations of the invisible hand of market mechanism, or the blind forces of competition. More importantly, the transfer is the logical outcome of deliberate monetary policies that are crafted by the financial elites and their proxies at the helm of economic policy making of most capitalist countries. As political economist Mike Whitney recently put it:

“As most people now realize, stocks haven’t tripled in the last 5 years because the economy is expanding. Heck, no. The economy is still on all-fours and everyone knows it. The reason stocks have been flying-high is because the Fed added a hefty $4 trillion in red ink to its balance sheet. Naturally, when someone buys $4 trillion in financial assets, the price of financial assets go up” (source).

The purported rationale behind the unremitting bestowing of the nearly interest-free money upon the financial institutions is that as these institutions receive cheap money from the printing presses of the government they would, in turn, extend low-cost credit to manufacturers, thereby prompting investment and job creation in the real sector of the economy.

This traditional/New Deal monetary policy worked fairly well as long as regulatory constraints—especially the Glass-Steagall Act that was in force from 1933 to 1998—strictly stipulated the types and quantities of investments that banks and other financial intermediaries could undertake. As those regulatory requirements prohibited banks from engaging in speculative or risky investments, they had very little choice but to behave or do business mainly as banks, or financial intermediaries, that is, funneling depositors’ savings and/or government-generated money to the real sector of the economy.

With the systematic removal of regulatory constraints, however, banks have been increasingly abandoning or marginalizing their traditional role as financial intermediaries. Instead, they now invest mostly in buying and selling of assets and other speculative activities, as such financial/speculative investments are much more lucrative than simply accepting deposits at certain rates of interest and then lending them at slightly higher rates.

Not only has this change in the behavior or function of the banking system drastically curtailed the flow of capital from the financial to the real sector, it has in fact reversed the flow of capital between these two sectors: there is now an alarming capital flight from the real to the financial sector in pursuit of higher, speculative rates of profit. Evidence shows that (in recent years) real sector corporate managers/CEOs are increasingly diverting their profits, as well the cheap money they borrow from governments (usually through the privately-owned central banks), to speculation instead of production. As I noted in an earlier article on this subject, “they seem to have come to think: why bother with the messy business of production when higher returns can be garnered by simply buying and selling titles.”

This steady transfer of money from the real to the financial sector is the exact opposite of what monetary policy-makers—and indeed the entire neoclassical/mainstream economic theory—claim or portray to happen: flow of money from the financial to the real sector.

One would imagine that these drastic changes in real world markets, which show how gravely mainstream economists have gone awry in holding tight to their abstract and largely obsolete theories, would have somewhat shaken the faith of these economists in their economic orthodoxy and prompted them to revise or adjust their traditional theories of money supply, of credit creation, of finance, and of investment.

Alas, the faith in market mechanism and economic orthodoxy seems to be as strong as the faith in any otherworldly religion. Whether as university professors or as advisors to policy makers, mainstream economists continue to teach the same materials and retell the same theories in the face of heavily financialized economies as they did in times long past, that is, in the era of relatively competitive markets and industrial/manufacturing economic structures of yore.

Under the sway of finance capital, monetary policy has increasingly turned into an instrument of asset price inflation, that is, of accumulation of ever more fictitious capital in the deep pockets of the financial oligarchy. While not openly acknowledged, the rationale behind the endless injection of cheap money into the financial sector—in the manner of pumping hot air into a balloon—is a desperate attempt or a vain hope on the part of economic policy makers that the so-called trickle-down effects of asset price bubbles may lead to economic recovery.

Admittedly, the presumed trickle-down effects on aggregate demand may have had some validity in the earlier (industrial or manufacturing) stages of capitalism where the rise in the wealth of nations also meant expanded (real) production and increased employment. However, in the era of heavily financialized economies, where the dominant form of capitalist wealth comes not so much from real production of goods and services as it does from asset price bubbles, trickle-down theory has lost whatever minimal validity it may have had at earlier phases of capitalism.

Sadly, monetary policy makers, who are often proxies of financial elites at the helm of privately-owned central banks (contrary to the widespread perceptions, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank is also privately owned, its share-holders are commercial banks) are not deterred by real world economic developments that tend to contradict their religious-like theories. Their loyalty is first and foremost to the interests and agendas of their behind-the-scene bosses and benefactors―those who nurture, promote and place them at the seat of monetary/economic decision-making. Having abandoned the traditional/New Deal fiscal and monetary policies of demand management, asset-price inflation has now become the policy of choice of economic recovery—if not recovery, then of preventing an economic collapse.

Hostage to the Banksters

This helps explain why the economies of most of the core capitalist countries have become hostage to banksters, to their insatiable appetite for ever more cheap money. This practice of continued injections of cash into the financial sector is obviously tantamount to ransom payments to the “too big to fail” banksters, out of an exaggerated fear that their failure would lead to “cataclysmic economic collapse.” It also helps explain the multiple renewals or endless extensions of the policy of quantitative easing (QE), as termination of this policy is bound to lead to another financial implosion.

As an indication of this destructive addiction of the financial markets to Uncle Sam’s generous cash injections, let us remember how these markets went into a tail spin in mid-October by the prospect that QE may not be extended beyond October; and how they immediately rebounded on the news that the Fed would indeed continue cash injections beyond October―that is, QE3 would be continued as QE4. This is how Mike Whitney described those turbulent days of the financial markets:

“By mid-day [of October 15, 2014], the Dow was down 460 points before clawing its way back to minus 173 points. It looked like the market was set for another triple-digit flogging on Thursday [October 16] when the Fed stepped in and started talking-up an extension to QE3. That’s all it took to ease investors jitters, stop the meltdown and send equities rocketing back into space. By the end of Friday’s session, all the markets were back in the green with the Dow logging an impressive 263 points on the day” (source).

While the policy of indefinite extension of QE (along with near-zero interest rates) may temporarily keep the financial markets from imploding, the policy simply delays the day of reckoning—more or less like keeping a terminally-ill patient alive on artificial life support. And therein lies the futile, indeed tragic, aspect of this policy: monetary policy-makers’ obligation to constantly inject cash into the financial system in order to keep the system from collapsing is akin to the logic of the proverbial bicyclist who has to keep riding forward or else he would fall over.

Monetary policy-makers at the head of central banks and treasury departments, representing the powerful interests of big finance, would do everything they can to avoid going off the cliff, or delaying the approach to the cliff. In so doing, however, they drain the overwhelming majority of citizens of economic/financial resources—by transferring those resources (through austerity measures) to the financial oligarchy. Andre Damon (of the World Socialist Web Site) succinctly captures the redistributive effects of this neoliberal monetary policy:

“The richest one percent of the world’s population now controls 48.2 percent of global wealth, up from 46 percent last year, according to the most recent global wealth report issued by Credit Suisse, the Swiss-based financial services company.

“Hypothetically, if the growth of inequality were to proceed at last year’s rate, the richest one percent for all intents and purposes would control all the wealth on the planet within 23 years.

“The report found that the growth of global inequality has accelerated sharply since the 2008 financial crisis, as the values of financial assets have soared while wages have stagnated and declined. . . . Emma Seery, head of Inequality at Oxfam, the British anti-poverty charity, commented, ‘This report shows that those least able to afford it have paid the price of the financial crisis whilst more wealth has flooded into the coffers of the very richest.’

“The study revealed that the richest 8.6 percent of the world’s population—those with a net worth of more than $100,000—control 85 percent of the world’s wealth. Meanwhile, the bottom 70 percent of the world’s population—those with less than $10,000 in net worth—hold a mere 2.9 percent of global wealth.

“The growth in inequality is bound up with a worldwide surge in paper wealth, fueled by the trillions of dollars pumped into the financial system by central banks via zero interest rate and ‘quantitative easing’ policies. . . .

“As the report noted, ‘The overall global economy may remain sluggish, but this has not prevented personal wealth from surging ahead during the past year. Driven by … robust equity prices, total wealth grew by 8.3% worldwide … the first time household wealth has passed the $250 trillion threshold’.” (Source).

What is To be Done?

The solution to the runaway financial sector, according to most liberal–Keynesian critics of financialization, is regulation, or re-regulation. While this would be a welcome improvement over the destabilizing behavior of the unbridled finance capital, it would represent only a tentative short- to medium-term solution, not a definitive long-term one. For, as long as there is no democratic control, regulations would be undermined by the influential financial interests that elect and control both policy-makers and, therefore, policy. The dramatic reversal of the extensive regulations of the 1930s and 1940s, which were put in place in response to the Great Depression, to today’s equally dramatic deregulations serves as a robust validation of this judgment.

Other critics of the out-of-control finance capital call for public banking. These critics argue that, due to their economic and political influence, powerful financial interests easily subvert government regulations, thereby periodically reproducing financial instability and economic turbulence. By contrast, they further argue, public-sector banks can better reassure depositors of the security of their savings, as well as help direct those savings toward productive credit allocation and investment opportunities. Ending the recurring crises of financial markets thus requires placing the destabilizing financial intermediaries under public ownership and democratic control.

While nationalization of commercial banks could mitigate or do away with market turbulences that are due to financial bubbles and bursts, it will not preclude other systemic crises of capitalism. These include profitability crises that result from very high levels of capitalization (or high levels of the “organic composition of capital” a la Marx), from insufficient demand and/or under-consumption, from overcapacity and/or overproduction, or from disproportionality between various sectors of a market economy.

Furthermore, as long as capitalism and, along with it, the lopsided distribution of economic surplus prevails, financial instability cannot be uprooted by bank nationalization. For, while nationalization of traditional/commercial banks may temper financial fragility, other types of financial intermediaries and institutions are bound to arise in order to circumvent regulation and/or nationalization, thereby precipitating financial instability. These include all kinds of shadow banks and speculative enterprises such as private equity firms, derivative markets, hedge funds, and more.

To do away with the systemic crises of capitalism, therefore, requires more than nationalizing and/or regulating the banks; it requires changing the capitalist system itself.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics (Drake University). He is the author of Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis (Routledge 2014), The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave–Macmillan 2007), and the Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). He is also a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press 2012).