The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) achieved its greatest victory in the four year-long war on Tuesday when it recaptured the strategic Kuweires military airbase in North Syria. Hundreds of ISIS terrorists were killed in intense fighting while hundreds more were sent fleeing eastward towards Raqqa. The victory was announced just hours after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in an interview with CNN’s  Christiane Amanpour that Turkey would be willing  to invade Syria as long as Washington agreed to provide air support, create a safe zone along the Syrian-Turkish border, and remove Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

Now that Kuweires has been liberated, Davutoğlu will have to reconsider his offer taking into consideration the fact that  Russian warplanes will now be within striking distance of the border while troops and artillery will be positioned in a way that makes crossing into Syria as difficult as possible. The window for Turkish troops to enter Syria unopposed has closed. Any attempt to invade the country now will result in stiff resistance and heavy casualties.

To fully understand the significance of Kuweires, we need take a look at Amanpour’s interview with Davutoglu and see what was being planned. Here’s an excerpt:

Christiane Amanpour:  Would Turkey, under the right conditions, agree to be a ground force?

PM Ahmet Davutoğlu:   “A ground force is something which we have to talk [about] together.  There’s a need of an integrated strategy including air campaign and ground troops. But Turkey alone cannot take all this burden. If there is a coalition and a very well designed integrated strategy, Turkey is ready to take part in all senses.”

C.A.:  Including on the ground?

Davutoğlu:  Yes, of course….We have to solve the Syrian crisis in a comprehensive manner.

C.A.:  So I understand what you’re saying is that the condition for Turkey to be more involved would be an agreement by a coalition to also go after Assad?

Davutoğlu:   Yes, and against all groups and regimes that are creating this vacuum and this problem. On many days we are assisting the coalition in (the fight) against ISIS, but it is not enough. Now we are suggesting to our allies for many months–and now we are suggesting again–to create a safe haven and to push ISIS far away from our borders.

C.A.: So what do you make of the US, Europe and especially Russia saying Assad must and can stay for a period of time?

Davutoğlu:  …..The question is not how long can Assad stay, the question is when and how Assad will go. …What is the solution. The solution is very clear. It is when millions of Syrian refugees are able to return home, assuming there is peace in Syria, then this is the solution. And if Assad stays in power in Damascus,  I don’t think any refugee will go back. There is a need of a step by step strategy, but what is the endgame? What is the light at the end of the tunnel, that is what is important to the refugees.

C.A.:  Why is the Turkish government making it hard for the US government to arm and train and use Kurdish fighters as their ground troops?

Davutoğlu:   (we are not making it hard for the US government to use the) “Kurds”, but the PYD as a wing of the PKK…

There is another Kurdish group, the Peshmerga. We allowed the Peshmerga to go through Turkey to go to Kobani in order to help Kobani to be free. If the US wants to arm Kurdish fighters on the ground against ISIS, we are ready. But not Kurdish terrorists like PKK. If they want to arm and help Barzani, or Peshmerga and help them go to Syria, we are ready to help. But everybody must understand, that today PKK is attacking our cities, our soldiers and our civilians. We will not tolerate any help to any PKK-related groups inside Syria or Iraq. If that happens, Turkey will take all measures to stop it.” (“For refugees to return, Assad must go, says Turkish PM“, CNN)

Let’s recap: Even though the Russian-led coalition is conducting major military operations in Syria, Turkey is willing to invade provided that Washington meet its demands, demands that have never changed and which (we have said in earlier columns) were part of a secret deal for the use of the Incirlik airbase so the USAF could conduct sorties over Syria.

What are Turkey’s demands:

1 A safe zone on the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border

2 A no-fly zone over areas where Turkish troops are conducting operations

3 A commitment to remove Assad.

For a while it looked like the Obama administration might abandon their alliance with Turkey and join with the PYD (The Kurds) in their effort to create a buffer zone where they could harbor, arm and train Sunni militants to continue hostilities in Syria. In fact, Obama went so far as to air-drop pallet-loads of weapons and ammo to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) militia just 10 days ago. (Note:  The US has already stopped  all weapons shipments to the PYD) Whether Obama did this to force Turkey into playing a more active role in Syria, we don’t know. But what we do know is that a Turkish-US alliance is more formidable than a PYD-US alliance, which is why Washington is planning to sell out the Kurds to join-forces with Turkey.

Another sign that US-Turkish relations have begun to thaw, is the fact that Obama phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on his party’s victory eight days after the election. The delay suggests that they were working out their differences before expressions of support.   Erdogan needed the landslide victory to consolidate his power in Parliament and to persuade the military brass that he has a mandate to carry out his foreign policy.  Obama’s phone call was intended to pave the way for backroom negotiations which would take place during next week’s G-20 meetings in Ankara.  But now that the Russian-led coalition has retaken Kuweires, it is impossible to know how the US and Turkey will proceed. If Putin’s warplanes and artillery are able to seal the border, then Washington will have to scrap its plan for seizing the 60-miles stretch of northern Syria that’s needed to keep vital supplylines to US-backed jihadis open or to provide sanctuary for mercenaries returning from the frontlines.  The changing battlescape will make a safe zone impossible to defend.

The fact is, Kuweires changes everything. ISIS is on the run, the myriad other terrorist organizations are progressively losing ground, Assad is safe in Damascus, the borders will soon be protected, and the US-Turkey plan to invade has effectively been derailed. Barring some extraordinary, unforeseeable catastrophe that could reverse the course of events; it looks like the Russian-led coalition will eventually achieve its objectives and win the war. Washington will have no choice but to return to the bargaining table and make the concessions necessary to end the hostilities.

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First Published by GR on Remembrance Day November 11, 2010

“You fasten all the triggers for the others to fire,
Then you sit back and watch when the death count gets higher,
You hide in your mansion’s as young people’s blood flows,
Out of their bodies and in to the mud.”
Bob Dylan.

Today, is Remembrance Day, on both sides of the Atlantic. At the eleventh minute, of the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns of the First World War fell silent, leaving the estimated nine million who had died in battle, to the graves’ muteness across continents, and to France’s poppy fields. It remains the day when the deaths of subsequent tragedies and imperial follies are remembered. A day when even the cynical pause to read heartfelt notes on poppy wreaths, laid at the base of memorials, flowers refreshed on graves, stories of the lost, passed down and revisited, as more recent shared laughter, now also silenced.

Given the still mounting death toll of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and America, British and “coalition” youth, lives condemned by former President Bush and former Prime Minister Blair, on spurious claims at best and outright untruths at worst, it might be expected they would be spending some time on their knees in a place of sanctity and offering condolences to the bereaved.

Mr Bush’s plans are unknown, but Mr Blair’s are tastelessly bizarre. The man with streets and children named after him in Kosova, recipient of the Congressional Medal, Liberty Medal and other glittering honors, is to address a conference of manufacturers of toilets, toilet paper and cleaners, tampons, and vacuums, at the International Sanitary Suppliers Association (ISSA) in Orlando, Florida. He will rake in an estimated £50,000 for a forty five minute address.

Blair, of course, famously, reportedly, cleaned out No 10 Downing Street, when he left, of the gifts given him as Prime Minister. Anything over £140, is supposed to be property of the nation, but seemingly fine carpets, jewellery and all manner of collectables, moved with the Blairs.

The speaker has been flown in, courtesy Diversey Inc.who, in 2010 began: ” .. a new chapter in a long legacy of environmental sustainability … committed to a cleaner, healthier future… for everyone.” Perhaps their guest’s involvement in reducing a number of countries to largely futureless rubble, peopled with the sick, limbless and with rising cancers and deformities, in an environment poisoned by western weaponry, so far from these admirable aims, had inexplicably escaped them. Ironically, the organizers credit him with his tenure resulting in: “More people receiving faster access to health care, with improved survival rates for cancer and coronary heart disease.” Tell that to the people of the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Being a bit of a busted flush, so to speak, in the U.K., few media outlets seem to have noticed this latest engagement. One India News referred to his: “Toilet Roll Talk”, in their heading on a piece displaying advertisements including one for “Feminine Hygiene Disposal Sanitary Bins”, and another for their rental. Exhibition News revealed: “Blair takes Soapbox at U.S., Cleaning Show.”

The Daily Mail, never reticent in giving Blair a kicking, referred to his: ” … career plumbing new depths (in addressing) a conference of toilet roll and disinfectant manufacturers.” The ISSA: “… website’s glowing profile … has cleaned up his record as thoroughly as any of the stain removers on show”, chortles the paper, pointing out that: “Nowhere is there a mention of the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the dirty tricks (the) sleaze ..”, or the strange death of: “Ministry of Defence weapons expert, Dr David Kelly”, a death of which, it has been ordered, all documentation relating to, will remain sealed for seventy years.

Mail readers have also been less than kind. An apt venue: “… for a man who took his country to the cleaners in more ways than one can imagine”, wrote one; another ventured pettily that his speeches were worth less than toilet paper, anyway; another that: “Mud sticks, what better place for him to clean himself up.”

He could also: “Take the opportunity to win one of five Flex hand driers”, to be given away during the gathering.

Later in the day, he could join the Show Floor Happy Hour and: “… star in a band during Karaoke Live. Step into the spotlight – center stage” (no better man) “to jam with a live band complete with backup singers who make even a novice look like a rock star.” Should be in his element, it has been a good while since he fronted a group called “Ugly Rumours”, inspite of having created a good few in recent years.

If he is at a loose end waiting for his freebie flight out, he could pop over to Orlando’s Disneyland and take in the “Small World”, originally designed by a Mary Blair, where an animation of children of the world, frolick: “In a spirit of international unity, in a theme of global peace.”

He could then take in:”Great Moments with Mr Lincoln”, a celebration of the great man’s sayings which includes:

“Let reverence for the [law] be breathed by every … mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in primers, [in] spelling-books, and almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay of all sexes and tongues and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly [at] its altars.”

On his way out, he could suggest a new Magic Mystery Tour: “The quest for Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

Then back on the plane, with his ISSA goodie bag. With seven mansions to keep up, those cleaning products should come in useful.

And did he, the “Peace Envoy”, and new broom Catholic, at the eleventh minute, of the eleventh hour, take just those sixty seconds, in a quiet place, and reflect?

On Monday evening, an American Airlines flight from Miami, Florida to Barbados was boarded by a paramilitary police unit wielding assault rifles, who demanded that passengers put their hands on their heads as they were forced off the flight.

Large sectors of the airport were effectively placed under lockdown during the operation. The gates of terminal cafes and restaurants were closed, leaving patrons locked inside by iron bars as police SWAT teams decked out in body armor and toting assault rifles swept through the terminal.

Photos and videos posted to social media documented the egregious violation of passengers’ constitutional right to be free of unwarranted searches and seizures. “There were very large machine guns, body armor, all of that,” one passenger told a local CNN affiliate. “Very, very frightening.”

Some 70 flights were delayed and nine were diverted as a result of the lockdown, which shut down two concourses for almost three hours.

Officials claimed the cause of the lockdown was a breach in procedure by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which allowed a passenger who had been flagged as having a suspicious carry-on bag to board the plane. A TSA spokesman added that “in the process of transitioning other passengers to an adjacent screening lane, standard procedures were not adhered to and the passenger was allowed to depart the checkpoint and proceed into the terminal.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation later admitted that the passenger was a dentist, and that the “suspicious” bag he had been carrying contained nothing more than fillings and other dental supplies.

TSA spokesman Mike England said that the lockdown was conducted “out of an abundance of caution” as federal officials “worked with airport operators to direct gate operations to cease while the passenger was located.”

He added that once the dentist was apprehended, “a manual inspection was conducted and law enforcement officers determined conclusively that neither the passenger nor his carry-on bag posed a threat.”

The incident took place amid the conspicuously growing incursion of militarized police, and even the military, into daily life in American cities. Even as the lockdown in Miami was occurring, flights at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) were being diverted over populated sections of Los Angeles to accommodate secret military exercises taking place near the city.

Residents of the second-largest US city were startled Saturday to see a bright light in the sky over the Pacific Ocean, which military sources later said was a test of a Trident II intercontinental ballistic missile. Such missiles are used exclusively to deliver nuclear weapons; the Trident II deploys 14 separate warheads, each 30 times more powerful than the one that destroyed Hiroshima, although officials said the missile used in the test was unarmed.

In June, residents in Flint, Michigan were shocked to hear military helicopter landings, live-fire rounds and explosives being used in an office building in the city’s downtown, as military and police trained in the dead of night for snatch-and-grab and targeted assassination missions traditionally associated with paramilitary death squads. “We come in doing the hit, and extracting,” one military officer put it.

In December, 2,000 Marines staged urban warfare drills in Los Angeles, including the insertion of teams of heavily armed soldiers directly into the downtown area.

Such activities are accompanied by the increasing use of any pretense to impose paramilitary lockdowns on populated areas. Following the citywide lockdown after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, in which residents were told to “shelter in place” as armored vehicles patrolled the streets and police carried out house-to-house raids, any event, whether it be a prison escape, a minor security incident or even a weather event, has become a pretext to impose virtual martial law.

In June, at least 800 police and federal forces carried out a lockdown in upstate New York following the escape of two prisoners from Clinton Correctional Facility in the town of Dannemora in the Adirondacks. Militarized police wearing combat fatigues and body armor, and bearing assault rifles, forced businesses to close and prevented residents from traveling. After weeks of searching, officers shot and killed one of the escapees and wounded the other before taking a photo displaying the bleeding escapee as though he were a hunting trophy.

These events accompany the increasingly direct use of the military to crack down on popular opposition. Within the last 15 months, militarized police, accompanied by the National Guard, were repeatedly mobilized in the St. Louis and Baltimore areas to carry out mass arrests and shoot tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators against police violence.

While many of these incidents are presented by officials and the media as merely accidents or overreactions, they are in fact part of a systematic campaign to condition the US population to accept paramilitary tactics and violations of constitutional rights. Under conditions of growing poverty and social inequality, the ruling class can offer no response to opposition to its policies outside of turning to police-state methods traditionally associated with military dictatorships.

Originally published in May 2015

We already know that the Great War did not “break out” suddenly and unexpectedly but had been wanted for quite some time by the elite of the European countries, that it was considered inevitable, that it was carefully prepared, and finally, that it was unleashed cold-bloodedly – with as pretext an assassination in Sarajevo that was not a real casus belli. The elite wanted and prepared the war in order to resolve once and for all the huge social problem to their satisfaction, that is, to chase away the spectre of revolution and to arrest the process of democratisation.

At the same time, it was the intention to achieve objectives of an economic nature, that is, imperialist objectives, namely to conquer territories that could yield raw materials and labour cheaply, provided ample investment opportunities, and whose markets could be monopolized; and in these mostly distant lands one could also get rid of many restless and potentially dangerous elements of the lower classes. It was precisely this kind of factors which, in the spring of 1915, caused Italy’s elite to lead their country, in cold blood and with open eyes, into the war, even though the overwhelming majority of the population wanted nothing to do with the bloody conflict raging to the north of the Alps.

In 1914, the Italian elite still found itself firmly in the saddle, but it had had two major reasons for concern. First, imperialist motives played an important role. The Italian elite realized that one of the two European sets of allies, either the Entente or the Central powers, would lose the war. Their colonies, and even some of their own territory, were likely to become available, and these spoils would only be pocketed by countries that were victors, not by those who had been mere spectators. Moreover, the gentlemen at the top of Italy`s social pyramid, apparently  infected by a case of megalomania, believed rather naively that their country`s support would cause one of the two sides to win the war. If Italy stayed on the sidelines, it would surely gain nothing, but an investment in war seemed to guarantee major dividends – at least, that is what a growing number of decision-makers within the transalpine elite started to believe. It only remained to decide which set of allies would be the lucky beneficiary of Italy`s favours.

From the Central Powers, the club of which Italy had been a member before the war, one could expect territorial presents at the expense of France and of Britain, such as Nice (Nizza), originally an Italian city, the birthplace of Garibaldi no less, that had been part of France only since the 1860s. Conversely, an alliance with the French and the British opened up prospects for the “liberation” of Italian-speaking regions of Austria-Hungary, such as Trentino and Trieste – morsels, just like Nice, of what was called Italia irredenta, “unliberated Italy” – and the Dalmatian Coast, where places like Spalato (Split) were inhabited by considerable numbers of Italians. From the Entente, one could also expect to receive as gifts bits and pieces of the huge Ottoman Empire. It was only shortly before, in 1912, that Italy had grabbed a piece of hat empire, namely Libya. This time Italian thoughts focused on the Aegean coast of Anatolia, especially the area around Izmir, and even on the Anatolian interior, for example Cappadocia.

Clamouring loudly for territorial conquest via war were the Italian nationalists, who presumably longed to “liberate” fellow Italians languishing on the wrong side of supposedly artificial borders and to fulfill Italy’s destiny, namely to become a great empire like the Roman Empire of old. But behind this jingoist façade there lurked industrialists such as Alberto Pirelli of the tire factory bearing his name and the automobile tycoon Giovanni Agnelli of FIAT. They expected to derive the familiar advantages from imperialist territorial extensions, raw materials etc. It was not a coincidence that their list of desiderata included regions such as Anatolia, not an “unliberated Italy” by any stretch of the imagination – but rich in minerals. War also promised the industrialists an instant maximization of profits through the sale of uniforms, ammunition, weapons, and other martial equipment. Similarly, like their counterparts elsewhere, the aristocratic and other large landowners saw bread in territorial expansion in regions far and near. It might become possible, for example, to get rid of Sicily’s and Calabria’s surplus rural proletariat by shipping them to Anatolia to colonize that land at the expense of the “natives.”

It was for those reasons that the country’s elite, on whose behalf the government functioned as a kind of executive committee, decided to go to war. But against whom, and on whose side? Negotiations were started with both sides, and finally it was decided to opt for an alliance with the Entente, because London and Paris promised more than Berlin and Vienne were able and willing to do. On April 26, 1915, a secret treaty was concluded in London, and on May 24 Italy declared war on the Central Powers. In the case of Italy, just as in the case of Japan, the entry into the war was thus obviously “motivated by imperialist ambitions,” as Max Hastings has observed. This is not one hundred percent correct, however, because the elite also had aspirations of a social-political nature, namely the ardent desire to halt and to roll back democratisation.

The war the Italian elite wanted was not only a war of imperialist expansion, but also a war against democracy, against socialism, against revolution. The Italian elite was extremely worried about the fact that, thanks to the universal suffrage (for men only) introduced in 1912, the socialists had achieved much progress during the elections of 1913. These socialists continued to talk about revolution, and the revolution had seemed to be close to breaking out in June 1914, during the so-called “red week,” characterized by a wave of strikes and riots. And it seemed likely that very soon a major electoral victory might allow Italy’s revolutionary socialists to come to power and overthrow the established order.

Such a scenario had to be prevented at any price, and war, believed to be a potent antidote to revolution, loomed like a small price to pay. Italy’s “bloc of industrialists and landlords,” writes Michael Parenti, believed that “war [would] bring [not only] bigger markets abroad [but also] civic discipline at home”; these gentlemen, he continues, “saw war as a way of promoting compliance and obedience on the labor front and…[were convinced that] war ‘would permit the hierarchal reorganization of class relations’.”

From the viewpoint of the country’s elite, the situation in Italy resembled that in France, Germany, etc., in 1914: it seemed that one had a choice between war and revolution, and that by opting for war one could prevent revolution. It was “war or revolution,” declared the Italian interventionists, “war on the frontiers [against an exterior enemy] or war in our own country [against an interior enemy].” It is therefore only logical that the decision to go to war reflected the lack of democracy and the elite’s hostility vis-à-vis democracy.

Everything happened in the greatest secrecy, without any information being dispensed to the members of Parliament; and war was declared in spite of the opposition expressed clearly by a parliamentary majority. Public opinion was likewise overwhelmingly opposed to the war. Most Italians wanted nothing to do with war, and certainly not with a seemingly absurd conflict against countries that had only recently been allies, and on the side of countries that had been considered enemies. “Public opinion was definitely against the war,” writes the French historian Marc Ferro, but “the leaders had no intention to keep the country out of the war.”

In fact, the Italian declaration of war amounted to a kind of coup d’état carried out by the elite and orchestrated by the king of Italy in person, Victor Emmanuel III, the prime minister, Antonio Salandra, and the minister of foreign affairs, Sidney Sonnino. In other countries, for example in France and in Germany, the elite went to war in order to be able to put a stop to democratisation. In Italy, one can say that the elite had already arrested the democratisation process before war was declared – or that it arrested democratisation, that it eliminated democracy, in order to be able to go to war. But these are details of minor importance, because the consequences were essentially the same.

Essential was that in Italy too, as in all belligerent countries, parliamentary life, reflecting a (modest) measure of democracy, was suspended for the duration of the war to the advantage of an elite that continued to monopolize all other power centres of the state. And, just as in all other belligerent countries, the transalpine elite also profited from the occasion to drastically limit the (modest) rights won by the trade unions before the war. Longer work hours were introduced, the right to strike was cancelled, workers could no longer change employers without permission, etc. In order to prevent social conflicts, committees of employers and union leaders were established, but if the union leaders were allowed some input de iure, they had no de facto influence whatsoever.

However, in Italy too all sorts of unexpected problems arose. A “Truce of God” did not descend on the country, because in contrast to their comrades in Germany, France, Belgium, and elsewhere, the Italian socialists spoke out courageously against the war. Italy’s socialist party was the only socialist party to refuse to approve the war credits, and it maintained its opposition to the war from the beginning until the end. The Italian socialists, or at least the majority of them, remained loyal to the principle of international solidarity, they declared the war to be a crime, and they appealed to the proletarians not to go to war against the proletarians of other countries. In other words, they found themselves on the same wave length as Lenin. Benito Mussolini, editor of the socialist newspaper Avanti, but in reality not a socialist at all, at first also spoke out against the war.

But a few months later he broke with the socialists in order to found his own newspaper in which he zealously proceeded to make pro-war and jingoist propaganda. He also founded a nationalist, extreme right-wing party of his own, the “Fasci of Revolutionary Action” (Fasci d’Azione Rivoluzionario), which would receive financial support from armaments firms and other corporations; its members, known as fascisti, “fascists,” would become mortal enemies of socialists, pacifists, and such. (The phenomenon of fascism is clearly not to be explained as a reaction to the Russian Revolution, as was done by Ernst Nolte and other historians, but originated earlier, namely in the context of the Great World War.)

One of the major reasons why the proletarians of France, Britain, Germany, etc. had gone to war so willingly in 1914, was that the socialist leaders had encouraged them to do so. In 1915, the Italian proletarians did not go to war meekly, but reluctantly and grudgingly, not only but certainly also on account of the fact that their socialist leaders condemned the war. On the other hand, Italy’s peasants and workers, who would have to provide the bulk of the cannon fodder, did not need socialist leaders to understand that they had nothing to gain, but everything to lose, from this war. Italy was only born as a modern nation state in the 1860s, and countless citizens did not yet identify fully with this state. Between 1860 and 1914, it still proved necessary for the state to “make Italians” (fare Italiani), as they used to say sarcastically at the time, in the entire country. The people’s loyalty went out first and foremost to their home, village, and region, their  paese (“village” or “land”), and the people there were their paesani, their “compatriots.”

With the inhabitants of Lombardy, for example, the Sicilians had little or nothing in common. The  majority of Italians were not (yet) Italians, they cared little where exactly the borders of their country were situated somewhere in the damp and foggy regions to the north, and they did not feel the slightest desire to leave their sunny paese in order to fight and die for the glory of the so-called fatherland. And they knew what was happening on the front in France and elsewhere and therefore did not believe what their “superiors” tried to tell them, namely that this war would be short, glorious, and triumphant. Among the recruits, consequently, no enthusiasm whatsoever was to be noticed. An Italo-American volunteer, who had just disembarked in Italy and traveled by train to the front, eagerly looking forward to martial adventure, was called a fool and a donkey by soldiers who accompanied  him; it was the fault of imbeciles like him, he was told, that the war might last a long time.

From the very start, the morale of the Italian soldiers was particularly low. The officers sought to remedy the situation by imposing an incredibly harsh, even draconian discipline. Severe punishment was meted out, even for the slightest peccadillo, and in the course of the war six percent of the men would be punished for some transgression. But that did not resolve the problem. Desertion wa a common phenomenon, even though it carried the death penalty. Officially, no less than 4,028 death sentences would be pronounced, a large part in absentia, as the perpetrators had managed to flee. In total, 750 Italian soldiers would be executed during the war: 66 in 1915, 167 in 1916, and 359, that is, more than half, in the catastrophic year 1917; but it is acknowledged that numerous executions also took place without the benefit of a formal trial. In addition, more than 15,000 men were condemned to prison sentences on account of violations of military discipline. Some of the convicted were still in jail in 1945, at the end of the Second World War! In order to discourage their soldiers from surrendering too easily, Italy’s political and military authorities made use of a particularly barbarous stratagem. They announced that they would not contribute financially, via the international Red Cross, to the care of their prisoners of war, as other countries did. To be taken prisoner, voluntarily or not, was considered to be a “sin against the fatherland.” The result was that tens of thousands of Italian POWs would die of starvation and cold in camps in Austria.

Among the Italians too, a wide gulf separated the ordinary soldiers from their officers. The Italian officers were privileged with respect to accommodation and food. And the Italian generals likewise wasted thousands of lives in attacks against strong enemy positions. In October 1915, the aforementioned Italo-American volunteer witnessed on the front how officers emerged from their solid bunker after a breakfast including hot chocolate, toast, and even wine. They went to the observation post to watch an attack from a safe distance and remained unperturbed as wave after wave of their men were mowed down by Austrian-Hungarian machine guns. The volunteer was sickened by the indifference displayed by the officers.

In the spring of 1915 the Italian elite hoped what the French and British elites had hoped in the summer of 1914, namely, that the war would be short and victorious. And, again like their French and British colleagues on the western front, the Italian generals expected that success would be yielded by an offensive strategy. However, on the front in Italy, just as on the western front, the defenders, in this case the troops of the Danube Monarchy, enjoyed all the advantages, including the high ground, barriers of barbed wire, and weapons such as machine guns and artillery, against which the attackers proved to be extremely vulnerable. However, the Italian commander in chief, field-marshal Luigi Cadorna, scion of a prestigious aristocratic family from Piedmont, believed that, after the troubles experienced in 1914, the Austrian-Hungarian soldiers would be weak and demoralised.

And so, starting in June 1915, he ordered attack after attack against enemy positions along the River Isonzo. He dreamed of a quick breakthrough, followed by the capture of Trieste and a march towards Vienna. But the Italian attackers suffered terrible losses and did not advance an inch. By the end of 1915 they were still as far away from Vienna as in the spring. Cadorna did not seem to care about his army’s huge losses. It is therefore not surprising that the Italian soldiers despised and hated him profoundly. “Our real enemy was not the Austrian, but Cadorna,” an Italian war veteran would later tell his son. (Cadorna was certainly not the only member of the Italian elite who, exactly like Haig in Britain, viewed things through Malthusian glasses and therefore found it advantageous that the plebeian “masses” were culled by the means of war; the journalist and poet Giovanni Papini, for example, who would later associate himself with Mussolini, declared that “there were too many people in this world, the pot of the [human] masses is threatening to boil over, and the morons multiply too fast.” He drew the conclusion “there are simply too many among us who are absolutely useless and redundant.”)

The fighting along the Isonzo Front, especially in the vicinity of the small town of Gorizia, are conjured up in the song O Gorizia tu sei maledetta (“O Gorizia, you cursed town”). This song is still popular in Italy, and is considered a musical symbol of the country’s anti-militarist tradition. It seems that it was already very popular among the Italian infantrymen of the Great War itself, but singing it then could cause a man to be accused of defeatism and executed. This is easy enough to understand, because the lyrics constitute an accusing finger pointed not only at generals such as Cadorna, who sent their men to a certain death, but also at the other “gentlemen officers” (signori ufficiali) who are denounced as “cowards,” “murderers,” and “traitors.” Here a few verses of this powerful song:

La mattina del cinque di agosto                On August fifth, in the morning
si muovevano le truppe italiane                The Italian soldiers set off
per Gorizia, le terre lontane                       For Gorizia, a town far away
e dolente ognun si partì.                             And they were all sad to leave.

Sotto l’acqua che cadeva a rovescio         While the rain came pouring down
grandinavano le palle nemiche                 They faced a hail of enemy bullets
su quei monti, colline e gran valli             In those mountains, hills, and valleys
si moriva dicendo così:                               They died with these words on their lips:

O Gorizia, tu sei maledetta                         O Gorizia, town cursed by
per ogni cuore che sente coscienza;          Everyone with a heart and a conscience;
dolorosa ci fu la partenza                            Leaving was painful enough
e il ritorno per molti non fu.                       And most of them never returned.

O vigliacchi, che voi ve ne state                  You cowards, who stayed safely
con le mogli sui letti di lana,                       In bed with your wives,
schernitori di noi carne umana,                 Laughing at us, meat for the slaughter,
questa guerra ci insegna a punir.               For this war you have to be punished.

Voi chiamate il campo d’onore                    You call ‘field of honor’
questa terra di là dai confini,                       That land over there on the border,
qui si muore gridando: assassini,               Those who die cry out : murderers,
maledetti sarete un dì.                                  The day of reckoning will come.

Traditori, signori ufficiali                            Gentlemen officers, you are traitors,
voi the guerra l’avete voluta                        You have wanted this war
scannatori di carne venduta                       You are butchers selling human meat
e rovina della gioventù.                               You are the ruin of Italy’s youth.

This is an excerpt from Jacques Pauwels forthcoming book: The Great Class War 1914-1918, to be published by James Lorimer in Toronto later in  2015.

Selected Articles: “The War Drums are Beating”

November 11th, 2015 by Global Research News

Carter,AshtonU.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter Implies Russia and China Are “Enemies” of America. What Next?

By Eric Zuesse, November 11 2015

On Saturday November 7th, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter delivered a speech saying, “We are in the middle of a strategic transition to respond to the security challenges that will define our future. … We’re responding to Russia, one source of today’s turbulence, and China’s rise, which is driving a transition in the Asia-Pacific.”

veterans for peaceThe Glorification of War: “Veterans Day” Is Not for Veterans

By David Swanson, November 11 2015

When the U.S. changed Armistice Day into Veterans Day, the holiday morphed from a day to encourage the end of war into a day to glorify war participation.

A B61-12 nuclear weapon ©the Center for Investigative ReportingThe War Drums are Beating: Two Trident Missiles Launched over Los Angeles. Act of Provocation Directed against Russia and China?

By Joachim Hagopian, November 11 2015

Without warning just after sunset last Saturday night the US Navy purposely picked a time to launch an unarmed Trident II missile from the submarine the USS Kentucky from waters off the Southern California coast so hundreds of thousands of witnesses would be sure to observe the brightly lit up sky and headlines would certainly spread around the world.

IRAQI GIRL WALKS THROUGH RUBBLE OF DESTROYED BUILDING IN BAGHDADTen years on, Iraq Lies in Ruins as New Evidence confirms U.S. used Death Squads to Manufacture ‘Civil War’

By Joe Quinn, November 11 2015

As if to mock those who are against this illegal invasion and the lies and deceit that have been used to justify it, Ari Fleishcer today stated that, even if Saddam went into exile now, the US would still invade. It’s not about WMD, it’s about domination and the destructive principle.

syrian rebels ciaAmerica’s War Economy: Senate Defense Bill Halts Guantanamo Closure, Grants Military Aid to Kiev and Syrian Rebels

By RT, November 11 2015

The Senate has passed a defense spending bill that bans moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States. This throws a wrench in President Obama’s 2008 campaign promise of closing the camp.

The Senate has passed a defense spending bill that bans moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States. This throws a wrench in President Obama’s 2008 campaign promise of closing the camp.

The $607-billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the Senate with a veto-proof 91-3, with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) notably casting a “no” vote.

The same defense funding package passed in a similarly overwhelming manner in the House last week, with a vote of 370-58. The legislation will now be sent to President Obama’s desk for signature.

The president had vetoed the original version of the NDAA in October largely due to concerns about an extra $38 billion in war funding.

Congress has also repeatedly thwarted Obama’s effort to fulfill a promise from his first presidential campaign to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which is located in US-occupied territory in Cuba.

“Why in the world you would bring these enemy combatants to domestic soil is mind-boggling. This is absolutely nothing short of gambling national security to keep a campaign promise?” Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) said on Monday.

However, White House officials have hinted that the president may use executive action to close the prison.

“I’m not aware of any ongoing effort to devise a strategy using only the president’s executive authority to accomplish this goal,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday. “But I certainly wouldn’t, as I mentioned last week, take that option off the table.”

Issues that both parties agreed on include the efficient maintenance and upgrade of the Pentagon’s capabilities in the wake of perceived aggression around the world.

“We must champion the cause of defense reform, rigorously root out pentagon waste, and invest to maintain our military technological advantage, and that is what this bill is about,” Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said on Tuesday.

Among other things, the bill authorizes $300 million in lethal military aid to the US-backed government in Ukraine and extends a ban on torture to the CIA. It also grants the president’s request for $715 million to help fight Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq.

The passage of the budget bill will avert a disastrous default by the United States and puts the next round of struggle over spending and debt until after next year’s presidential and congressional elections.

Tony Blair’s Criminality is Plain for all to See

November 11th, 2015 by Felicity Arbuthnot

Recent revelations about Blair’s war plot serve to bolster an already strong case, writes Felicity Arbuthnot

Given the ongoing revelations on the extent of Tony Blair’s duplicitous collusion in the illegal bombing and invasion of Iraq, it seems the “bunker busters” and cruise missiles are finally coming home with a bang.

In what has been dubbed “an apology,” Blair recently took to CNN in an interview with his pal Fareed Zakaria to (sort of) explain himself.

It was no apology but a weasel-worded damage-limitation exercise as more and more revelations of his disregard for law and “to hell with public opinion” attitude surface.

The fault was that “the intelligence we received was wrong,” there were “mistakes in planning” and a failure to understand “what would happen once you removed the regime,” said Blair.

Statements entirely untrue. It is now known he plotted with George W Bush in April 2002, a year before the onslaught, to invade, come what may.

He also found it “hard to apologise for removing Saddam.”

Blair brushed off the mention of a war crimes trial and made it clear that he would have trashed Syria as he did Iraq, had he the chance. Despite being a barrister by training, legality is clearly inconsequential to Blair.

Now no less than Britain’s former director of public prosecutions (2003-8) Sir Ken Macdonald has weighed in against Blair. That he held the post for five years during the Blair regime — Blair resigned in 2007 — makes his onslaught interesting. Ironically Macdonald has his legal practice at London’s Matrix Chambers, which he founded with Blair’s barrister wife Cherie, who continues to practice from there.

In a scathing attack in the Times, Sir Ken stated: “The degree of deceit involved in our decision to go to war on Iraq becomes steadily clearer. This was a foreign policy disgrace of epic proportions.”

Of Blair’s CNN interview, he witheringly said: “Playing footsie on Sunday morning television does nothing to repair the damage.

“It is now very difficult to avoid the conclusion that Tony Blair engaged in an alarming subterfuge with his partner, George Bush, and went on to mislead and cajole the British people into a deadly war they had made perfectly clear they didn’t want, and on a basis that it’s increasingly hard to believe even he found truly credible.”

Macdonald cuttingly cited Blair’s “sycophancy towards power,” being unable to resist the “glamour” he attracted in Washington.

“In this sense he was weak and, as we can see, he remains so.” Ouch.

“Since those sorry days we have frequently heard him repeating the self-regarding mantra that, ‘hand on heart, I only did what I thought was right.’

“But this is a narcissist’s defence, and self-belief is no answer to misjudgement: it is certainly no answer to death.” No wonder Sir Ken was the top prosecutor in England and Wales.

His broadside coincides with a further “bombshell revelation” in the Mail on Sunday recently that “on the eve of war” Downing Street “descended into panic” after being told by attorney general Lord Gold

smith that “the conflict could be challenged under international law.”

There was “pandemonium.” Blair was “horrified” and the limited number of ministers and officials who had a copy of the written opinion “were told ‘burn it, destroy it’,” alleges the Mail.

The “burning” hysteria centred on Lord Goldsmith’s 13-page legal opinion of March 7 2003, just two weeks before the attack on Iraq.

The “pandemonium” occurred as, with “the date the war was supposed to start already in the diary,” Goldsmith was still “saying it could be challenged under international law.”

It is not known who ordered the briefing destroyed, but the Mail cites its source as a senior figure in Blair’s government.

No 10 then “got to work on” Lord Goldsmith. Ten days later his lordship produced advice stating the war was legal. It started three days later, leading eminent international law professor Philippe Sands QC to comment: “We went to war on a sheet of A4.”

A Blair spokesman dismissed the alleged order to destroy Lord Goldsmith’s original advice as “nonsense”, claiming that it was “quite absurd to think that anyone could destroy such a document.”

With what is now known about the lies, dodging and diving related to all to do with Iraq under Blair, the realist would surely respond: “Oh no it wouldn’t.”

The US of course stole and destroyed or redacted most of the around 12,000 pages of Iraq’s accounting for its near non-existent weapons, delivered to the UN on December 7 2002, and Blair seemingly faithfully followed his master.

Given the enormous lies and subterfuge on both sides of the Atlantic at the time, it is worth remembering Bush gave an address to students that same December, on the eve of a Nato summit, in which he compared the challenge posed by Saddam with the nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

“We face … perils we’ve never seen before. They’re just as dangerous as those perils that your fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers faced.”

On November 1 this year, in an interview on BBC1, Blair was asked: “If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?”

He replied: “I would still have thought it right to remove [Saddam].

“I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat.”

Thus he would, seemingly, have concocted a different set of lies to justify regime change in a sovereign state.

Perhaps he had forgotten the last line of Lord Goldsmith’s original legal advice: “Regime change cannot be the objective of military action.”

So is Anthony Charles Lynton Blair finally headed for handcuffs and a trial at The Hague?

Ian Williams, senior analyst with US think tank Foreign Policy in Focus, believes that “it’s increasingly serious enough to be worrying to him. And I think Tony Blair is rapidly joining Henry Kissinger and Chilean dictator [Augusto Pinochet] and other people around the world.

“Now, he’s got to consult international lawyers as well as travel agents, before he travels anywhere, because there’s … maybe, a prima facie case for his prosecution either in British courts or foreign courts under universal jurisdiction or with the International Criminal Court, because there is clear evidence now that he is somebody who waged an illegal war of aggression, violating the United Nations charter and was responsible for all of those deaths.”

Justice, inadequate as it might be given the enormity of the crime, may be finally edging closer for the people of Iraq as international law slowly catches up to Tony Blair.

Japan’s Abe Shinzo government is commonly held to be in thrall to nuclear power, not least because it came into office in December 2012 committed to nuclear restarts and other policies promoted by the nuclear village. Yet clearly much has changed over the past three years. The Abe government’s repositioning on energy is evident in an accelerating shift away from support for the nuclear village, in spite of a few restarts, and towards an increasingly impressive commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy. The evidence is striking: On top of proposing massive increases in its fiscal 2016 expenditures on energy efficiency and renewables, which we reviewed in October,1 the cabinet is about to undertake an administrative review targeting billions of yen in controversial nuclear-related expenditures.

Specifically, from November 11 to 13, 2015 Japan will undergo an administrative review of YEN 13.6 trillion worth of expenditure requests in the over YEN 102 trillion proposed budget for fiscal 2016. This “Fall Review” (Aki no rebyuu) will be open to the public and broadcast online, as was the case with previous administrative review processes.2 But among the many unusual aspects of this year’s initiative is that the review will be overseen by the resolutely antinuclear Liberal Democratic Party cabinet minister (since October 7, 2015) Kono Taro.

Kono’s team of outside advisors will also include such explicitly antinuclear experts as the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation’s (JREF) Director Ohbayashi Mika3 and JREF Senior Research Fellow, Fujitsu Research Institute Research Fellow and Tsuru University Professor Takahashi Hiroshi.4 Kono and his colleagues in the LDP have been working hard in advance of the review to draw attention to its focus on nuclear-related expenditures, resulting in significant and steadily increasing press coverage. In addition, Kono has taken the apparently unprecedented step of producing a 1-hour video, released on November 9, to explain the process and its focus on nuclear-related expenditures. He prefaces his detailed arguments about the content of the review with (at the 5:50 mark) an unambiguous declaration that he not only cleared the substance of the review with Prime Minister Abe, but also received the latter’s encouragement.5

Kono Taro explains his review Ohbayashi Mika Takahashi Hiroshi

The Administrative Review

These “Fall Review” procedures were initiated by the Democratic Party of Japan Government, in 2010. They also matter, as is evident from the fact that the Fall Review of 2014 (for the FY 2015 budget) resulted in over YEN 360 billion in cuts and repayments to public funds.6 The previous year had seen even deeper cuts, amounting to roughly YEN 500 billion in expenditure reductions.7

Of the Japanese central government’s over 5000 spending programs, 55 have been chosen for this year’s review. While that number may seem small, as noted earlier these programs total over YEN 13.6 trillion and thus represent over 10% of the proposed YEN 102 trillion fiscal appropriations for the 2016 budget. Given that Japan’s public debt load of 226% of GDP is unprecedented in the history of the OECD,8 the pressure for cuts is likely to be stronger than in previous years. Particularly significant is the fact that the items slated for review are heavily oriented towards energy. Indeed, fully 24 of the 55 items are energy- and environment-related, and the vast majority of those are devoted to nuclear facilities as well as to measures related to achieving the recycling of nuclear waste in breeder reactors.9

The Nuclear Fuel Carrier Kaieimaru

One target that is ripe for scrutiny is the Kaieimaru, a nuclear fuel ship built in 2006 and used four times to transport a total of 16 tonnes of spent fuel to the Tokai Mura facility10 in Ibaragi Prefecture. Since the vessel has not been used to transport fuel since its most recent trip in 2009, Kono has included it in the review. Between 2010 and 2014, the cost of its upkeep totalled just under YEN 5.8 billion, and its projected costs to 2031 would see an additional YEN 18.1 billion spent on it. The ship has been featured in recent television broadcasts, including a TBS broadcast on November 9, and has featured in the Japanese Wall Street Journal,11 the Tokyo Shimbun,12 and other national and local press. Kono has skillfully chosen a striking symbol of extravagance for review.

An additional nuclear-related facility targeted by Kono’s review is the “Recycle Equipment Test Facility (RETF).” This is yet another costly and risky element of Japan’s very controversial accumulation of infrastructures and programs to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. The RETF’s construction began in January 1995, and has received tens of billions of yen worth of investment even though it has not been used. Precisely 20 years ago, Shaun Burnie, Senior nuclear campaigner with Greenpeace Germany, warned that the true importance of the RETF, and the great risk that it poses: “is that it and the facilities that will follow will give Japan access to plutonium that is even purer than weapons-grade. The reason for this is that the plutonium produced in the uranium blanket of FBRs (ed. “fast breeder reactors”) and reprocessed by the operators is what is called supergrade. With a large-scale deployment of FBRs in Japan, and the reprocessing facilities to support the reactors, large quantities of weapons grade material will be available for non-peaceful use.”13

Japan’s “Recycle Equipment Test Facility

In their 2010 book In Defence of Japan: From the Market to the Military and Space Policy, Saadia M. Pekkanen (Professor, University of Washington) and Paul Kallender-Umezu (PhD Candidate, Keio University) cite Burnie, showing that his concern remains quite relevant. Indeed, they add to the warning by emphasizing that “the point about supergrade plutonium is that very little is required to produce nuclear warheads (possibly 800 to 900 grams); it is thus especially suitable for miniaturized nuclear warheads like MRIV-type ICBMs.14

The above examples are especially noteworthy, but are only two of the nuclear–related items up for consideration in this administrative review. Others include subsidies for securing uranium from overseas projects, storing the uranium, locating and constructing nuclear facilities, as well as funds for PR supporting nuclear power in the Japanese public debate.15

What is almost as impressive as the focus on nuclear is the complete absence of any targeting of expenditure programs for efficiency and renewables. Japan’s FY 2016 budget allocations for these items show dramatic increases over the current fiscal year. So one would hardly be surprised to see at least a couple of renewable-related programs put on the table, if only to placate the presumably outraged nuclear interests. But the only clearly non-nuclear energy programs included in the review relate to carbon-capture and storage (CCS). And if putting CCS on the block indicates that Japan is backing away from coal, that is another reason for applause.

Let us conclude with a note on Kono Tarohimself. He is a major figure in the Liberal Democratic Party, first elected in 1996. Like many LDP members, he comes from a family of politicians. But unlike most LDP politicians, he is resolutely antinuclear and is a strong internationalist. His website comes with Korean and Chinese versions as well as an English version.

In the wake of March 11, 2011 (3-11) natural and nuclear disasters, centred on the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Kono became well-known among international observers as a strong opponent of the domestic nuclear village and its plans to increase Japan’s dependence on nuclear to over 50% of power by 2030 as well as recycle waste in breeder reactors.

In addition to numerous public appearances, books, and interviews in which he was critical of the nuclear village and its dominance of the Japanese power industry, he maintained a blog with regular contributions critical of the Fukushima incident and its aftermath. He also criticized the Abe government’s efforts to restart nuclear reactors.

Kono Taro enters Abe Cabinet, Oct 7, 2015

But when Abe undertook his October 7, 2015 cabinet revision, Kono surprised many by entering the cabinet as Minister in charge of Administrative Reform as well as Civil Service Reform, Consumer Affairs and Food Safety, Regulatory Reform and Disaster Management (the latter three portfolios being Minister of State positions).16

Upon entering the cabinet, Kono’s blog posts became inaccessible. Not a few observers interpreted Kono’s simultaneous entry into the cabinet and suspension of his heavily antinuclear blog as an indication that he had been effectively silenced as an exponent of abandoning nuclear and ending Japan’s dangerous and expensive effort to create a plutonium-based nuclear economy.

However, this interpretation ignored Kono’s argument that he could be more effective in achieving his objectives from within the cabinet than from without.

The proof of the pudding is, as they say, in the eating. It would appear that Kono is setting up a feast this week. And it certainly merits attention from those interested in Japan’s fiscal sustainability, its energy policy on the eve of climate talks in Paris, its plutonium problem, and the ongoing transformation of the LDP.

Andrew DeWit is Professor in Rikkyo University’s School of Policy Studies and an editor of The Asia-Pacific Journal. His recent publications include “Climate Change and the Military Role in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response,” in Paul Bacon and Christopher Hobson (eds) Human Security and Japan’s Triple Disaster (Routledge, 2014), “Japan’s renewable power prospects,” in Jeff Kingston (ed) Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan (Routledge 2013), and (with Kaneko Masaru and Iida Tetsunari) “Fukushima and the Political Economy of Power Policy in Japan” in Jeff Kingston (ed) Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Response and Recovery after Japan’s 3/11 (Routledge, 2012). He is lead researcher for a five-year (2010-2015) Japanese-Government funded project on the political economy of the Feed-in Tariff.


1 On the budget increases and other green measures, see Andrew DeWit, “Japan’s Bid to Become a World Leader in Renewable Energy”, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 39, No. 2, October 5, 2015.

2 An introduction (in Japanese) to this and previous years’ administrative review processes is available at the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat’s website.

3 Ohbayashi’s JREF profile is here.

4 On the participation of Ohbayashi and Takahashi, see (in Japanese) “List of 30 Participants in Administrative Review Released,” Nikkei Shimbun, November 11, 2015.

5 The broadcasts (in Japanese) are available at: (part 1), (part 2)

6 See (in Japanese) “Reflection of the Fall Review in the FY 2015 Budget (Outline),” MOF Budget Bureau, January, 2015.

7 Kansai University Professor (Public Finance) Uemura Toshiyuki explains the 2013 process and its outcome in detail (in Japanese) in “Towards a half-trillion yen in cuts to the 2014 budget,” January 30, 2014.

8 See p. 4 OECD Economic Surveys, Japan, April 2015. OECD.

9 On this, see (in Japanese) “Power Facility Location Disbursements and others are the focus of Administrative Review,” Denki Shimbun, November 9, 2015.

10 On the facility, see Japan Atomic Energy Agency, “Nuclear Fuel Cycle Engineering Laboratories,” (no date).

11 See (in Japanese) “Nuclear-related budgets slated for review: Monju, Nuclear Fuel Ship,” October 30, 2015.

12 See (in Japanese) “Maintenance for Spent-Fuel Ship Costs YEN 5.9 Billion,” Tokyo Shimbun, October 29, 2015.

13 See p. 38 in Shaun Burnie, “50 Years after Nagasaki: Japan as Plutonium Superpower,” in (ed by Douglas Holdstock and Frank Barnaby) Hiroshima and Nagasaki: retrospect and prospect. Frank Cass: London, 1995.

14 See their footnote 27 on p. 357. Saadia M. Pekkanen and Paul Kallender-Umezu, In Defence of Japan: From the Market to the Military and Space Policy. Stanford University Press: 2010.

15 The full list of items is available [in Japanese] in the “Projects for Consideration in the Annual Fall Public Review,” Cabinet Office, Japan, October 30, 2015.

16 See the list of posts at the English-language site “Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet”.

It has been over one month since the Russians launched their military and political operation in Syria and the time for hyperbole and flag waving has clearly passed.  Gone are the “most anticipated showdown in recent history” along with rumors of MiG-31s, Russian paratroopers, “thousands” of military personnel, ballistic submarines and other such nonsense.  

And, contrary to what some wrote, none of what happened was “coordinated with the White House”.  What I propose to do today is to evaluate what has really happened and to look at the Russian options for the future.  But first, a short restatement of what really took place.

A very daring operation by a small military force

I will never repeat this enough: the Russian military forces is a small one.  Yes, they are flying an impressive amount of sorties every day (anywhere between 50 to 80).

But let’s compare that to the Israeli air force effort during the war against Hezbollah in 2006 when the Israelis flew 400 (four hundred) sorties every day.  Add to this the massive Israeli artillery barrage and even attacks from the Israeli Navy.  Finally, let’s remember that Israel was not fighting all of Hezbollah at all, but only 2nd tier Hezbollah forces south of the Litani River totaling less than 1000 fighters (Hezbollah kept all the best trained forces north of the Litani River).

So let’s compare the two operations:

  Israel in 2006 (33 days) Russia in 2015 (40 days as of today)
Daily air sorties (average) 400 70
Size of enemy forces 1’000 (estimate) 200’000 (estimate)
Artillery support massive none
Naval support continuous very limited
Infantry and armor up to 30’000 small protection force
Distance from homeland zero over 1000km
Combat Losses 121 dead, 1,244 wounded,
5 tanks, 4 helicopters, 1 aircraft,
1 navy ship


Keep in mind that the AngloZionist propaganda always presents the Israeli military in general and the Israeli Air Force in particular as some kind of quasi-invincible super-force of uber-trained heroes who are the best of the best.  One quick look at the chart above tells you who the real super heroes are in reality.

But my main point is not to ridicule the Israelis but to point out the huge difference in size between the two forces and to ask a simple question: if a huge Israeli force could not defeat about 1’000 2nd tierHezbollah fighters, what could the small Russian force realistically achieve?

This, really, is THE key question.  And, the answer, is quite obvious: the Russian force was never sent to Syria to defeat Daesh or even change the course of the civil war.  The real goal of the Russian interventions were very limited in purely military terms.

First and foremost, the Russian tried to break the US and Turkish momentum for an overt military intervention.  In that they undoubtedly succeeded.  The second goal was to provide limited but nonetheless crucial support for the Syrian military (including moral support).  Again, in that they also undoubtedly succeeded and on most sectors the Syrians are on the offensive, however slowly.  Third, it now appears that one of the goals of the Russian intervention was to basically provide the Syrians with a modern air-defense capability and, in that, the Russians have also succeeded, even if partially.  Why do I say partially? Because while the current air-defense capabilities of the Russian forces in Syria are adequate to defend the Syrian airspace against a limited attack, they are far from being sufficient to prevent the US from a determined large scale attack.  All the Russian did is raise the costs of intervention for the USA, but they did not make it impossible.  Interestingly, the Iranians have declared today that they have (finally!) finalized the sale of Russian S-300s to Iran.  In doing so Russia not only helps protect Iran, but the Russian military also helps a friendly country secure an airspace which might be vital for Russian efforts in the future.

The real “action” however was never military but political: Russia literally forced the US to negotiate with Iran and, eventually, Syria by making it politically impossible not to.  The mantra “Assad must go” is now gone and the AngloZionists have to at least give the appearance of being willing to negotiate.  Again, this is undoubtedly a major victory for Russia.

Now let’s look at the (predictable) bad news

Of course, this is “bad news” only for those who from day 1 bought into the “game changing” narrative about the Russian military intervention.  For those who, like myself, prefer facts to slogans, none of the following came as a big surprise.  In fact, all this was predictable and predicted.

First, Daesh did rapidly adapt to the Russian air campaign.  The first thing Daesh realized is that regardless of how intensive the Russian bombing campaign was, it would have a very limited impact on the actual line of contact, on the front line.  As far as I know, the only location where the Russians did provide some limited close air support was in the Latakia province and along the main highway to the north.  This is now slowly changing as the Russian are now gradually shifting from operational targets to tactical ones, i.e. instead of hitting command or training centers or ammo dumps, they are now gradually increasing their support for the Syrian military engaged in direct combat.  Until last week or so, all the Syrians had to support them on the ground were 30 year old MiG-21s and MiG-23s.  This is now reportedly changing in some key sectors of the front.

Second, instead of just hunkering down, Daesh went on the offensive in several sectors of the front, thereby forcing the Syrians to send troops to these sectors and that, in turn, prevented the Syrians from concentrating enough firepower and manpower along their chosen axes of attack to achieve an operational breakthrough.  The lack of manpower (the 4 year long civil war took a terrible toll on the Syrians) is a crucial Syrian vulnerability which Daesh has very skillfully exploited.

Время Мужества

A Time for Courage and Real Men (Syrian post

[Sidebar: for those confused by the above, let me explain this: the general rule of thumb – not an absolute rule for sure – in the military is that the defending side has a big advantage over the attacker and that therefore the attacking side needs roughly a 3:1 advantage over the defender.  Again, this is a very rough approximation and in certain situations such as urban or mountain warfare this ratio might go much higher up, to 6:1 and even higher.  Now, the attacked does not need to achieve this 3:1 ratio in the full length of the front, only in the primary and, possibly, secondary sector of attack, which is typically very narrow.  Hence the importance of making deliberately detectable false attacks – to have the defender concentrate his forces in the wrong place.  By constantly going on the offensive along various parts of the front Daesh is forcing the Syrians to send in reinforcements which they would otherwise use in the offensive.  This is why the Syrians did not achieve any operational breakthrough, at least so far]

The (truly) unpredictable bad news: Flight 9268

More and more signs are pointing to the very high probability that Kogalymavia Flight 9268 was destroyed in mid-air by a bomb.  Interestingly, even Egyptian experts which everybody suspected of wanting to cover this up are now saying that they are 90% sure that a bomb caused the crash.  The Russians ain’t saying much, but all their actions are consistent with the same hypothesis.  While we will have to wait for the official report to get the facts (yes, I trust this report simply because there are too many countries involved and the Russians have no reasons to lie) I personally have come to the conclusion that by now the destruction of Flight 9268 by a bomb is a reasonable working hypothesis.  I believe that this bomb was placed inside the aircraft by one or several individuals either sympathetic to Daesh and the Muslim Brotherhood or simply for money.  I am aware that there are already plenty of goofballs out there offering much more exotic explanations (from a fly-by-wire backdoor to an Israeli missile to an energy weapon) but, being a great believer in Occam’s razor, I will stick to the simplest explanation until I am provided with fact-based logical reasons to think otherwise.

As I have written in the past, I don’t believe that this tragedy will have a significant impact on the Russian operation in Syria or on Russian policies, if only because there is really nothing much the Russians can do.

In this case again, there is a lot of hyperbole around what the Russians might do if it is proven that Daesh or Daesh sympathizers placed this bomb on the aircraft.   Furthermore, since Daesh is really a creation of the AngloZionist Empire, then the latter would have to be held accountable, at least under the Command Responsibility doctrine.  The Washington Post has already decided to preempt any such suggestions by ridiculing any possible Russian or Egyptian statements that the CIA might be involved.  And considering the “special relationship” the USA has the Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE or Qatar, any suggestions that these countries are involved would also put Russia on a collision course with CENTCOM.  Personally, I think that it is perfectly fair and reasonable to place the responsibility for all the atrocities committed by al-Qaeda/ISIS/Daesh & Co on the AngloZionist Empire, including the wars in Bosnia, Chechnia and 9/11.  Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE, Qatar or Israel are all just parts of the “Empire of Kindness” created by the US deep state and while they might have disputes with each other they are basically all serving the same interests.  And there is no doubt in my mind that Putin fully understands that.  The problem is that Russia is too weak a country to be able to declare that or even to acquiesce to any such statements.  Not only does the Kremlin want to avoid a direct war with the USA, but even an open-ended political and economic confrontation with the so-called “West” is something which Russia is trying hard to avoid due to her comparative weakness.  I therefore don’t believe that Russia will take any direct actions against the countries sponsoring and controlling Daesh.

There is another interesting hypothesis made by some observers.  According to them, the real purpose of the bombing of Flight 9268 would  be to draw Russian into a ground operation against Daesh.  Here again, if that was the goal behind this atrocity, I don’t believe that it will work.  Just like Russia did everything in her power to avoid openly intervening militarily in the Donbass, Russia will do everything possible to avoid any ground operation in Syria (for a detailed discussion of the Russian reasons please see here and here).  If 60% of Russians are opposed to an direct intervention in the Donbass, then there will be even much more opposition to any Russian ground operation in Syria.  Finally, as I have written many times, the Russian military (as a whole) was never designed to operate at beyond 1000km from the Russian borders and Russia therefore simply lack that kind of power-projection capability.

Frustrating as this might be, the right thing do to for Russia is to do nothing or, more accurately, to do nothing different from what she has been doing so far.

Russia does have the capabilities to increase her military involvement in Syria and I have already mentioned these options in the past.  They include using long-range aviation from Russia or, better, using an Iranian air base.  Alternatively, Russia could decide to build a “Khmeimim 2″ airbase near Latakia and commit more aircraft.  Maybe I am wrong here, but I don’t see that as a solution.  In my opinion, there is a limited timeframe for the Syrian military to achieve an operational victory against Daesh, after that I see no other option left but an Iranian ground intervention (which, by itself, would be a very complex matter and which would trigger a massive anti-Iranian hysteria in the US-controlled part of our planet).

So all I am left with is the hope that the Russian General Staff’s modeling capabilities are as good as they are supposed to be and that the very limited but highly effective Russian intervention will be sufficient to go from having a quantitative effect to a qualitative one.  I hope that the sum of small tactical victories will eventually bring Daesh to a breaking point significant enough to allow for a Syrian operational success.  I will gladly admit that at the end of the day I trust Putin and the superb team of generals he has placed at the head of the Russian armed forces.

In conclusion I want to say that I am very proud of what the Russians are doing in Syria, both militarily and politically.  They have shown an immense amount of courage and skills, at all levels of the game.  But I also think that it is crucial for all of us, who are sympathetic to Russia and the anti-imperial Resistance worldwide, to stop presenting this intervention like some kind of “game changing” “done deal” in which the Russian Bear will crush all the terrorists and restore peace to Syria.  Alas, we are still very very far from that.

What the Russians have provided is an absolutely vital and very daring last minute temporary solution to a very dangerous situation about to get much worse.

They did that knowing full well that they were at a huge political, geographic and military disadvantage and that their move was extremely risky.  I would not say that Putin is risk averse, but he is certainly very cautious and for him to have authorized such an operation must have been very difficult.  My guess is that what made him decide in favor of this intervention is the (correct) belief that the Russian forces in Syria are not only fighting for Syria, but that they are first and foremost fighting for Russia.

Every Wahabi/Takfiri organization on the planet has already declared a jihad against Russia and Russia has been fighting these crazies ever since the USA and the Saudis literally federated them in Afghanistan (the “brilliant” plan of Brzezinski and, later, Reagan).  The Russian people know and understand that, and Putin has repeated that often enough to have this message fully sink in.  This is why the Russians will hold the course even if a major setback occurs and this is also why they will not have an events like the bombing of Flight 9268 by US-run puppet distract them from their real objective: help the Syrians, Iraqis and Iranians defeat Daesh.


Without warning just after sunset last Saturday night the US Navy purposely picked a time to launch an unarmed Trident II missile from the submarine the USS Kentucky from waters off the Southern California coast so hundreds of thousands of witnesses would be sure to observe the brightly lit up sky and headlines would certainly spread around the world.

The unusual event was seen as far away as northern California, Arizona and Nevada. It triggered a firestorm of conjecture that included possible UFO’s to World War III. Beginning last Friday evening the FAA suddenly declared that the US Navy created a no fly zone shutting down LA airport flights from flying west over the ocean from America’s second busiest airport until Thursday this week due to unspecified military activity. The Navy then fired a second unarmed Trident missile on Monday during daytime hours claiming it would have also been launched on Saturday night along with the first one but there “too many private boats in the area” prohibited it. Strange that too many boats didn’t stop the first launch, the one “seen” around the world. Chalk it up to military logic.

With these latest unsettling events, the writing on the wall keeps looming larger as war drums keep beating louder. From every direction we’re being bombarded these days by doom and gloom news that World War III could break out at any time.

Just two weeks ago the US Navy destroyer the USS Lassen brushed within 12 nautical miles of a couple of freshly built Chinese islands just to piss off China. Beijing immediately accused the US of violating its territorial rights staking its regional claim over the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands. While China threatened military retaliation the next time the US patrols too close, unnamed US government officials defiantly vowed they will do it again claiming free navigational maritime rights since the US refuses to accept the manmade islands as China’s legitimate territory.

Over recent months the navies and air forces of all three superpowers have been patrolling ever so closer to waters and airspaces near each other’s borders. In September five Chinese warships were observed near Alaska’s Bering Strait. Little more than a week ago two Russian reconnaissance planes had to be escorted away from a US aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan. This dodgy game of chicken continues with each nation seemingly bent on ratcheting up tensions in an undeclared war that’s been building for more than a year.

Meanwhile during this last month the most dangerous, ready-to-explode hotspot has been Syria where for the first time the US has sent military boots on the ground after Russia launched its anti-ISIS offensive. The mounting number of ground forces may be joined by US puppet Gulf state Qatar sending troops to the Syrian battlefront. Both US and Russian superpowers are precariously sharing the same airspace with warplanes supporting opposing forces. In retaliation for Putin taking charge and upending the US fake war against ISIS, in recent weeks Obama sent Special Forces into Syria to help rescue its terrorist ally on the run (3000 jihadists fled to Jordan and Turkey in the first week alone) and defiantly oppose the Russian led coalition aiding Syria. Unfortunately the United States seems committed to winding up on the wrong side of history after creating and to this day continuing its not-so-secret support of its terrorist mercenary ally the Islamic State militants. Syria remains a powder keg ready to explode on a moment’s notice into world war.

While Putin actually fulfills what treasonous Obama falsely promised he would do over a year ago, hunt down and wipe out the terrorists, the elite’s puppet Obama muddles on obediently carrying out the suicidal globalist agenda to ignite a global war stretching to every corner of the earth. The US continues supplying air support and high powered weapons such as surface-to-air missiles for the anti-Assad terrorists while Russia offers the same committed support to the Assad forces. It’s only a matter of time before this superpower proxy war turns into a head-on collision when by accident or not American military forces kill Russians and/or Russian military forces kill Americans. This is all that’s needed to spark the start of World War III.

And now the US missile launches are the latest events in this highly disturbing series of incidents intentionally provoking rising global tensions. The BBC headline read “Mysterious Light in the Sky Spooks California.” Posted YouTube videos, Twitter and Facebook went into overdrive with the West all abuzz over the strange unannounced occurrence. The US Navy’s decision to fire off a thermonuclear missile (unarmed or not) into the western skies overlooking Los Angeles was sending a clear indisputable message to the entire world. By making it such a public spectacle witnessed by hundreds of thousands in America’s second largest metropolis, Washington’s clear intention was launching another recklessly alarming shot across the bow aimed directly at warning Russia and China to “back off or else.”

The range of the Trident II missiles launched is 4000 nautical miles, within full reach of Beijing. What is most evident is that the US government is reacting to Russia and China’s challenge to US global dominance as the world’s most powerful nation on earth. The message is clear – continue challenging America’s previously uncontested belligerent rule over the planet and the US will instigate a global war.

These unprecedented reckless events also culminate last week’s three Congressional subcommittee hearings with top warmongering brass that didn’t even bother to question if a world war can be avoided but already presumed it can’t and won’t. The topic of “America’s world war readiness” against cold war turned hotter-than-ever foes Russia and China. Meanwhile, as part of its global war prepping, a massive six week NATO exercise begun last month entered its final week involving 36,000 troops, 200 aircraft and 60 ships spanning air, land and sea in three countries in the largest NATO war games in thirteen years.

Strategically timed just hours prior to Saturday’s missile launch from the nearby neocon holy grounds of the Ronald Reagan Library, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter reiterated the US position that it will not tolerate Russia and China “challenging the world order.” The United States is determined to reign supreme in keeping its sole world superpower status at all cost amidst the rising power of the East vowing to stand up both economically and militarily to America’s ruthless unipolar dominance. Unlike the first cold war when the US was reluctantly at least willing to share a balance of power of deterrence, the arrogant policymakers today are rigidly opposed to sharing global power with Russia and China.

While Carter accused Russia of “nuclear saber-rattling” and “violating sovereignty,” the US continues placing over 200 nuclear warheads in non-nuclear NATO countries along Russia’s doorstep, forcing Putin to defensively bolster his nuclear arsenal. The sheer hypocrisy spewing out of Carter only demonstrates the blatant hypocritical guilt the US regularly commits in everything he accuses of Russia. But then that’s simply the nature of America’s exceptionalism. The bombastic neocon went on to tell more lies:

We do not seek a cold, let alone a hot, war with Russia. We do not seek to make Russia an enemy. But make no mistake; the United States will defend our interests, our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us all.

Carter also outlined a plan to augment the US troop level in Europe with a 50% increase, adding another brigade to the 7000 American soldiers already stationed in nations likely to become the European warfront in a global war against Russia. Carter hardly mentioned terrorism as a threat to national security (no surprise there when ISIS is the neocons’ Frankenstein-created ally), instead choosing to exclusively focus his “back off or else” wrath on rising cold war giants Russia and China. His verbal threat within hours and just a few miles away was then purposely capped off by the grand stage spectacle of the nuclear missile lighting up the Western sky as his saber-rattling finale.

Meanwhile, NATO Commander General Philip Breedlove’s lust for war as illustrated by last year’s boldface lie that the Russian military had invaded Ukraine is reaching near fever pitch orgasm. His latest war rant is claiming that any diplomacy efforts to resolve conflict with Russia is nothing short of appeased acceptance of Moscow’s Ukraine agenda. A regressive gene throwback to cold war one’s Dr. Strangelove, Breedlove falsely warns that Russia poses such eminent danger that the United States may “have to fight our way across the Atlantic.” Carter and Breedlove represent the latest round of certifiable nutcases in total charge of America’s war propaganda machine laying the groundwork for launching not just thermonuclear Trident missiles but their bullseye target of World War III.

This pattern of nonstop bombardment of lies designed to justify the next war is the old brainwash formula Washington historically wages leading up to every single war in order to condition and soften American public’s resistance. Be it Bush, Cheney and their neocons’ flat-out “WMD” lies or the East’s agenda to expand its power globally by allegedly destroying America, the neocons are busily at it again spreading more lies to justify yet more war. But this time it’s against world nuclear powers with an unthinkable endgame scenario that no sane, rational person on this entire planet wants.

Look at the systematic progression of hostilities in recent months and years all orchestrated by the US against Russia and China. An ongoing cyber-war with China has involved charges and countercharges of spying and hacking into each other’s technological and military secrets. It only accelerated into what it’s become today because in 2010 China busted Washington for employing Google as its NSA stooge actively spying on Chinese secrets. The blowback cost Google and America’s major IT corporations billions of dollars. And ever since, the hyped US propaganda culminating with Obama’s most recent display of aggressive provocation timed during the Chinese president’s September US visit failed to stop Xi Jinping’s cordial meeting with Seattle and Silicon Valley IT giants chomping at the bit to tap back into China’s infinite profit generating market.

 There is also a fiercely violent covert war being waged by saboteurs causing deadly explosions at each other’s industrial sites. The massive fiery Tianjin explosion in August followed shortly by several more since including the US munitions depot blown up in Tokyo are part of the undeclared war against China. The speculated cause of the Tianjin “accident” gouging a crater-sized lake was an orbiting scalar weapon likely launched from the earth’s upper atmosphere aimed at taking out China’s super cyber-system.

 Yet another front in America’s anything-but-secret war with China and Russia is the ongoing currency war. Since the Russo-Sino alliance joined economic forces with Brazil, India and South Africa vis-à-vis the BRICS alliance, they have spearheaded the global move to abandon the US dollar as the standard international currency. China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is also challenging America’s faltering leadership in a stagnant global economy where a major West to East power shift is currently afoot. Even America’s most “stalwart” allies rushed to be founding AIIB members.

 With the failed US-NATO policy in recent decades to isolate adversarial rivals Russia and China by covertly turning their bordering neighbors against them while lining up warhead missiles in their backyard, by necessity Russia and China have forged a strong alliance to ensure their very survival. The covert US aggression in overthrowing the Ukraine government in 2014 and the subsequent demonization of Putin pushed Russia to make a lucrative pipeline deal and strengthen its ties with China. Through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Russia and China have successfully partnered with four resource-rich Central Asian nation neighbors while in 2016 extending membership to India and Pakistan and recently courting Iran as their inclusionary wall of defense against overt infringing Western imperialism. Having for decades now tolerated global transgressions from the most arrogant, brutal world superpower bully in history, together Russia and China appear ready to call America’s hegemonic bluff by openly challenging US Empire in decline in a global conflict fought on multiple fronts – militarily, economically and geopolitically.

 If its megalomaniacal obsession for grandiose US exceptionalism has Washington desperately seeking to retain its global hegemony on its fast track to world war, then Russia and China appear more than ready to deliver. In August Russia and China embarked on their largest joint naval war exercise in history preparing for maritime conflict with America in the Pacific. Not only does the most populous country on earth possess the largest military at 2.4 million soldiers, China also has amassed more naval warships and warplanes attached to its Pacific fleet than the US, Japan, Philippines and Vietnam combined. Its maritime prowess in the East and South China Seas and the western Pacific presents a stiff challenge to the global master overly-stretched throughout the seven seas. Clearly in recent years both Russia and China have made significant strides in modernized upgrades strengthening their military power.

 Because the US-NATO forces have already prepared a plan for preemptive first strike nuclear options against Russia and China, in self-defense the powers of the East have similar contingency plans in place. If even less than half the US-Russian nuclear arsenal was ever deployed, life on earth would cease to exist. Sadly, the devastating impact of a world war between superpowers in this day and age cannot possibly produce a single winner as every human on earth stands to lose his or her life…that is except the delusional elite believing it can survive a nuclear holocaust from luxurious underground bunkers.

Ever since the breakup of the Soviet Empire near a quarter century ago, the US Empire has abused its military might as the sole global superpower on the geopolitics chessboard by aggressively transforming our planet into a unipolar dominated world. The US Empire has overextended its military killing machine to every continent on earth. With more than 1.4 million US military occupiers in uniform at over 1000 active military installations worldwide and its elite Special Forces covertly operating in more than three quarters of the world’s nations, the US Empire as the sole world bully has become the ruling elite’s private army unleashed to intimidate, threaten, occupy, and destroy any nation or people that fails to bend over and be violated by Empire’s corporatized pillaging and plundering. By the ruling elite’s choice to send US military henchmen and/or economic hitmen on its nation victims, the IMF-World Bank apparatus through the central banking cabal sticks every Third World nation with unpayable interest debt loans in order for predatory transnationals to privatize and rape the earth’s most valuable resources – be it human slave labor, oil, precious metals or water.

The catastrophic potential for America’s death and destruction caused by these treasonous architects of national suicide this time is even more egregiously far-reaching than their neocon-Israeli slaughtered sacrifice of 3000 Americans on 9/11 used to launch their manufactured forever war on terror. The United States is extremely vulnerable to an attack on our electric power grid that any enemy’s EMP pulse weapon can easily take out, instantly and literally putting us back into the dark age where 90% of Americans are expected to die within twelve months. If nukes don’t get us in a war against Russia and China, an EMP strike will.

Clearly the warmongers in Washington are fully aware of this. Last year the Congressional Homeland Security Committee heard testimony from experts stating this exact same deadly outcome. Yet the federal government has not lifted a finger to adequately address much less invest in rectifying the power grid problem. But instead they calculatingly resurrected Cold War II embarking on a relentless propaganda campaign as a familiar brainwash that precedes every US imperialistic war. But this time our government’s coldblooded decision to willfully provoke world war against Russia and China in one fell swoop is committing high crimes of treason, national suicide and human genocide.

By diabolical design the global elite under both the Bushes and Clintons and their Manchurian President Obama has misused the US Empire to willfully take down America as the world’s most powerful nation from within, destroying its once vibrant middle class and aging, crumbling infrastructure, leaving it without a manufacturing base, near 19 trillion dollars in national debt, and a house of cards economy just a false flag away from total collapse. With the globalist agenda to turn the United States into another Third World debtor nation virtually complete now, all that stands in the way of full implementation of NWO’s one world government and UN Agenda 21 is World War III. With the DC maniacs still fully in control, we citizens of the world must rise up and stop this madness from killing us all. Time is running out.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.”  It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at

Ten years ago, more or less to the day, I wrote the following on the then Signs of the Times page:

“As I sit here, a motion in the UK House of commons has been defeated by some 415 votes to 149. Not that any other result would have stopped the US, yet it signifies a full green light for the attack on Iraq. Bush’s ‘ultimatum’ to Saddam expires at midnight (GMT) Thursday (7pm EST). “Shock and Awe” (read “death and destruction”) may come at any time between now and then. We have at most one day, one day left to ponder at the edge of the abyss before the coming darkness engulfs us all.

As if to mock those who are against this illegal invasion and the lies and deceit that have been used to justify it, Ari Fleishcer today stated that, even if Saddam went into exile now, the US would still invade. It’s not about WMD, it’s about domination and the destructive principle. Perhaps Ari feels he can be more truthful now that it is a ‘done deal’, now that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Blair have told the peace-loving people of the world to go f**k themselves. It must have been hard for Fleischer to stand up in front of the world’s media every day and lie so profusely. (Then again, maybe not).

It’s hard for me to describe the feelings I have right now; there is an enormous sense of impending doom, mixed with anger at being made to feel so helpless in the face of such rampant psychopathy. Who are these men that they can simply decide to throw the world and its inhabitants into “war without end”, and who are we that they could, for so long, fool us with such pathetic and barely-disguised lies and know that we would just roll over and let them get away with it?”

Ten years ago today, the US and British military (with a posse of cowed ‘allies’ in tow) launched ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ aka ‘Shock and Awe’ aka, ‘Operation Destroy the Critical Infrastructure of Iraq and Initiate an Overt Decade-long Attack on – and Occupation of – the Iraqi People.’ To date, at least 1.5 million Iraqi civilians have been murdered, and at least 5 million displaced from their homes as a direct result of ‘liberation’. This on top of millions killed and impoverished by US-led economic sanctions in the preceding decade. Deadly car bombings continue to this day. Suffice to say, Iraq was not liberated: it was destroyed, and destroyed deliberately.

Last week, the UK Guardian newspaper published the results of a 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic. Euphemistically titled ‘James Steele: America’s mystery man in Iraq‘, the video report presents fairly damning evidence that, in the immediate aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq, the US Government and military began to assemble a 10,000 strong ‘Shia militia’ that, under US command, would be used to do three things:

  1. Kidnap, torture, murder and maim members of the Iraq resistance and those members of the Iraqi population that supported them.
  2. Plants bombs that targeted predominantly Sunni and Shia areas in an effort to divide the population and thereby any unified resistance to the US occupation.
  3. Create the impression of a ‘civil war’ in Iraq that could be used by the US and European governments and militaries to justify the continued occupation of Iraq for ‘peace-keeping’ purposes.

While the 50 minute documentary is proof enough that Rumsfeld, Cheney, General Petraeus, and all the other NeoCon warhawks and CIA monsters consciously employed the services of former US Army Colonel James Steele in the organisation of death squads against the Iraqi grass-roots resistance (a tactic that he, Steele, had used against resistance movements in South America in the 1970s and 90′s), it panders to the official narrative that ‘sectarianism’ in Iraq was the root cause of the carnage that unfolded.

The so-called ‘Shia militia’ used by the American government (with the help and advice of British and Israeli counter-insurgency ‘experts’) were recruited directly by the CIA and people like James Steele to carry out extra-judicial murders of anyone they could loosely identify as ‘resistance’. In order to cloak this strategy, indiscriminate attacks on Iraqi civilians, Shia and Sunni alike, were carried out on a massive scale. Some of these individuals, in another setting, would be called ‘al-Qaeda’. Their usefulness in the employ of US warhawks in the Pentagon was doubly valuable because they both justified continued US occupation and provided ‘proof’ for the American War on Terror mythology, ex post facto, that the US was at war with the perpetrators of 9/11.

Whereas before the invasion in 2003 there was absolutely nothing to link 9/11 to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the creation of death squads (real) labelled ‘al Qaeda in Iraq’ (fictitious) ‘made real’ the lie that America and all Western civilization was at war against hordes of irrational and violent Muslims, and became the template for instigating terrorism to suppress popular uprisings in Yemen, Mali and elsewhere. Once they have people violent, they can wear down and manage the national popular resistance, ensuring no opposition to the real strategic objectives (namely the control of Middle Eastern oil). The US forces of occupation, along with their British counterparts, had long experience in what actually happens when you militarily invade and occupy a sovereign nation: the people resist, and not just one ethnic or religious group, but more or less the whole population. There is nothing quite like a foreign occupation for uniting a country.

The British pursued this policy in Northern Ireland. First they sought the ‘Criminalisation’ of the conflict (presenting all resistance as ‘terrorists’) and then the ‘Ulsterisation’ of the conflict, which sought to create the impression among the wider British and world public that the struggle in Northern Ireland was an internal ‘sectarian conflict’, with the British playing the role of the frustrated ‘peace-keepers’. Both strategies were outlined in an unpublished 1975 British strategy paper titled ‘The Way Ahead‘. As part of the effort to create the reality of a ‘civil war’, death squads were used to attack civilians from both communities (Catholic and Protestant).

In Iraq, these US-controlled ‘Shia’ death squads have been operating in much the same way, and while the media is content to portray them as ordinary Shias motivated by religious bias, they are in fact hired thugs who value only the money they are paid by their US masters and the promise of positions of power in a future Iraqi government. Like the rank and file of the ‘Libyan rebels’ and the ‘Free Syrian Army’, these people form the dregs of Arab and Middle Eastern societies. Led by spellbinders who veil their barbaric actions with religious prose, secular leaders in the region, like Ghaddafi and Assad, and Nasser and Arafat before them, struggled in vain to keep them at bay. The reason for this is because the US, Britain, France and Israel have consistently supported – in the form of weapons, money, training and blatant lies – the extremists against the rational voices.

Throughout the US occupation of Iraq, the main representative of Shias in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr, has repeatedly called for unity among Shia and Sunni Iraqis in the face of foreign occupation and deception in the form of efforts to divide the resistance. These efforts included the bombing of bridges in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities in an effort to prevent communication between Iraqis, the use of widespread terror tactics to force Sunni and Shia Iraqis to flee their homes, and the bombing of religious shrines, either Shia or Sunni, in an effort to create the reality of ‘sectarian strife’.

Iraq today is in ruins. The country has been ripped apart socially, mainly by way of the literal ripping apart of tens of thousands of civilians, with many being first brutally and systematically tortured by US-sponsored death squads. Hundreds of thousands more have been summarily murdered, either by the bombs of US aircraft, the bullets of US soldiers, or those ubiquitous and very effective ‘car bombs‘ planted by US and British operatives and their hired thugs.

‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ brought death and destruction to an entire country of 26 million people. It is among the world’s worst crimes against humanity and it was deliberately and meticulously planned that way.

Joe Quinn is the co-author of 9/11: The Ultimate Truth (with Laura Knight-Jadczyk, 2006) and Manufactured Terror: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Sandy Hook, Aurora Shooting and Other False Flag Terror Attacks (with Niall Bradley, 2014), and the host of’s The Sott Report Videos and co-host of the ‘Behind the Headlines’ radio show on the Sott Talk Radio network.

When the U.S. changed Armistice Day into Veterans Day, the holiday morphed from a day to encourage the end of war into a day to glorify war participation.  John Ketwig was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1966 and sent to Vietnam for a year. I sat down with him this week to talk about it.

“My read on the whole thing,” he said,

“if you talk to guys who’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan and look at what really happened in Vietnam, you run into what I call the American way of waging war. A young guy goes into the service with the idea you’re going to help the Vietnamese or Afghan or Iraqi people. You get off the plane and the bus, and the first thing you notice is wire mesh in the windows so grenades can’t come in. You immediately run into the MGR (mere gook rule). The people don’t count. Kill em all, let the dogs sort em out. You’re not there to help the poor people in any way. You’re not sure what you are there for, but it’s not for that.”

Ketwig talked about veterans returning from Iraq having run children over with a truck, following orders not to stop for fear of IEDs (improvised explosive devices). “Sooner or later,” he said, “you’re going to have down time, and you’re going to begin to question what you’re doing there.”

Ketwig didn’t focus on speaking out or protesting when he returned from Vietnam. He kept fairly quiet for about a decade. Then the time came, and among other things, he published a powerful account of his experience called And a Hard Rain Fell: A GI’s True Story of the War in Vietnam.


“I had seen body bags and coffins stacked like cordwood,” he wrote, “had seen American boys hanging lifeless on barbed wire, spilling over the sides of dump trucks, dragging behind an APC like tin cans behind a wedding party bumper. I had seen a legless man’s blood drip off a stretcher to the hospital floor and a napalmed child’s haunting eyes.”

Ketwig’s fellow soldiers, living in rat-infested tents surrounded by mud and explosions, almost universally saw no possible excuse for what they were doing and wanted to return home as soon as possible. “FTA” (Fuck the Army) was scrawled on equipment everywhere, and fragging (troops killing officers) was spreading.

Air-conditioned policy makers back in Washington, D.C., found the war less traumatic or objectionable, yet in a way far more exciting. According to Pentagon historians, by June 26, 1966, “the strategy was finished,” for Vietnam, “and the debate from then on centered on how much force and to what end.” To what end? An excellent question.

This was an internal debate that assumed the war would go forward and that sought to settle on a reason why. Picking a reason to tell the public was a separate step beyond that one. In March 1965, a memo by Assistant Secretary of “Defense” John McNaughton had already concluded that 70 percent of the U.S. motivation behind the war was “to avoid a humiliating U.S. defeat.”

It’s hard to say which is more irrational: the world of those actually fighting a war, or the thinking of those creating and prolonging the war. President Bush Senior says he was so bored after ending the Gulf War that he considered quitting. President Franklin Roosevelt was described by the prime minister of Australia as jealous of Winston Churchill until Pearl Harbor.

President Kennedy told Gore Vidal that without the U.S. Civil War, President Lincoln would have been just another railroad lawyer. George W. Bush’s biographer, and Bush’s own public comments in a primary debate, make clear that he wanted a war, not just before 9/11, but before he was selected for the White House by the Supreme Court. Teddy Roosevelt summed up the presidential spirit, the spirit of those whom Veterans Day truly serves, when he remarked, “I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one.”

Following the Korean War, the U.S. government changed Armistice Day, still known as Remembrance Day in some countries, into Veterans Day, and it morphed from a day to encourage the end of war into a day to glorify war participation. “It was originally a day to celebrate peace,” said Ketwig. “That doesn’t exist anymore. The militarization of America is why I’m angry and bitter.”

Ketwig added that his anger is growing, not diminishing.

In his book, Ketwig rehearsed how a job interview might go once he was out of the Army: “Yes, sir, we can win the war. The people of Vietnam are not fighting for ideologies or political ideas; they are fighting for food, for survival. If we load all those bombers with rice, and bread, and seed, and planting tools, and paint ‘From your friends in the United States’ on each one, they will turn to us. The Viet Cong cannot match that.”

Neither can the Islamic State group.

But President Barack Obama has other priorities. He has bragged that he, from his well-appointed office, is “really good at killing people.” He’s also just sent 50 “advisors” to Syria, exactly as President Eisenhower did to Vietnam.

Assistant Secretary of State Anne Patterson was asked this week by Congresswoman Karen Bass: “What is the mission of the 50 special forces members being deployed to Syria? And will this mission lead to greater U.S. engagement?”

Patterson replied: “The exact answer is classified.”

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

The tropical paradise and world-famous tourist destination of the Maldives has been put under a month-long state of emergency over fears that a violent regime change scenario is about to commence. The tiny but geographically disperse Indian Ocean archipelago sits along a key maritime transit route linking the expanding East African economies with their counterparts in South, Southeast, and East Asia, thus making military-political events in this otherwise relatively obscure country of heightened global significance. Although it’s still too early to conclusively say, circumstantial evidence points to the islands’ instability being part of the broad Chinese-Indian rivalry playing out all throughout the Indian Ocean rimland, and that the Maldives are just the latest in a chain of competitions this year that have also included Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Part I begins by describing the current situation and explaining how it’s really just the latest act of a decades-long drama that’s been unfolding in the island nation. Following that, Part II sheds light on the heated struggle for influence that China and India are partaking in over the strategic orientations of the Indian Ocean island states, strongly suggesting that the current turmoil has something to do with their rivalry. Wrapping everything up, Part III concludes the series by arguing that the situation in the Maldives should be seen in the larger picture of the Cold War between China and India that’s been actively unfolding since the beginning of this year, and offers some closing thoughts about what this means for the future cohesiveness of BRICS.

The Seesaw Of Stability

The post-independence history of the Maldives has been marked by bitter personal rivalries that periodically upset its tranquil stability. The present predicament is actually no different, and it perfectly correlates to the political trends that the country has experienced throughout the course of the past half century.

General Information

mald-MMAP-mdThe Maldives have traditionally been stable and largely unaffected by global events owing to their oceanic isolation. Fishing had been the dominant industry for generations until the advent of tourism in the early 1970s, after which the latter eventually came to occupy the top spot and bring in loads of much-needed foreign currency. With time, this helped the Maldives become an upper middle income country, although the reliance on fishing to provide jobs and exports still remains, with the country’s expansive 859,000 square kilometer exclusive economic zone guaranteeing that this isn’t likely to ever change. The country’s nearly 400,000 people live on only 200 of the total 1,190 islands that make up the Republic, with more than a quarter of the population residing in the capital of Malé. Just about all of the citizens are Muslim and Islamic law has a special place in the country’s system, but society is relatively moderate and extremism hasn’t historically been a problem.

Nasir vs Gayoom

Ibrahim Nasir was the second President after independence (1965) and served from 1968-1978, during which the Maldives began to develop its tourism industry and establish consistent contact with the outside world. The 1975 closing of a British airbase in the southern reaches of the archipelago hit the country’s economy hard at the time, and his government was blamed for the difficulties that ensued. In 1978, instead of seeking a third term in power, Nasir fled the Maldives for Singapore amid rising public resentment over his rule, and from then on out, he became the arch-rival of his successor, Maumoon Gayoom.

Just as parliament had done with Nasir and per the constitutional configuration at the time, it selected Gayoom to be the only candidate to stand in the upcoming election, and he won heartily. His victory marked the beginning of 30 years of non-interrupted over the Maldives, during which the economy soared and the political situation largely stabilized. However, it wasn’t without any ‘hiccups’, as there were three coup attempts during the 1980s that were widely suspected to be attempts by Nasir and his loyalists to return to power.

The most dramatic of these occurred in 1988 when the People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam, a Sri Lanka-based ethno-separatist group along the lines of the Tamil Tigers, invaded the capital island of Malé and nearly succeeded in overthrowing the government. Gayoom was forced to rely on a rapid military intervention by India (Operation Cactus) to restore order and remain in power, and the successful conclusion of the mission deeply strengthened bilateral relations between the two. Interestingly enough, this was also the last conventional coup attempt in the Maldives, and Nasir was later pardoned for his in absentia convention in an earlier 1981 incident and somewhat rehabilitated as an independence-era hero (although he never returned back to the Maldives).

Nasheed vs Gayoom

Mohamed 'Anni' Nasheed

Mohamed ‘Anni’ Nasheed

The neutralization of Gayoom’s primary rival, Nasir, only led to the emergence of another one, albeit in a completely different manner. Mohamed Nasheed was born in the Maldives in 1967 but spent a large portion of his life abroad in Sri Lanka and later the UK from 1981-1990 (8 years of which were in the latter). He was arrested the year after he returned when he wrote an article about how the 1989 presidential election was supposedly falsified, and his imprisonment (the first in a chain of 12 others on various charges) catapulted him to international fame in 1997 when Amnesty International bestowed him with the pro-Western ‘honor’ of being a “prisoner of conscience”.

The so-called “human rights activist” behaved in the style of 1989-era revolutionaries, in that his goal wasn’t to lead a military coup like his Cold War predecessors, but rather a social one that would be broadcast all across the world as a “pro-democratic” victory. His first step in getting there was when he entered parliament in 2000 and founded the unofficial Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), but he suffered a temporary setback when he was accused of corruption and fled the country for the UK in 2003, where he was granted “political asylum” the year after. The Telegraph notes that “he forged close ties to Britain’s Conservative party” during the 18 months he was in self-imposed exile, and he returned to the Maldives a few months before political parties were legalized there in June 2005.

In August he was arrested after a failed Color Revolution attempt that he staged under the ‘plausibly justifiable’ grounds of commemorating an earlier “pro-democracy” destabilization the year prior. As would have be expected, this earned him global fanfare from the West and endeared him as a ‘daredevil of democracy’ in their eyes, and the increasing international pressure that this put on the Gayoom government pushed it into acceding to political reforms. The 2008 presidential elections that followed saw Nasheed beating Gayoom in a run-off vote by an 8% margin (53.65% vs 45.32%), which came off as somewhat surprising considering that Gayoom was ahead in the previous round with 40.3% to 24.9%. No matter how it happened, though, the result was still the same, and it’s that the “Maldivian Suu Kyi” had usurped power in a “democratic coup” and was now in charge of the geostrategic state.

The People vs Nasheed

While hailed by the West as a posterchild for “democracy” and buoyed abroad by the cult-like following he gained for being a “green” president obsessed with combating climate change, Nasheed could barely govern his own country owing to the multiple defections from his powerbase, which eventually came to include all of his coalition partners and his entire cabinet. The politicians resigned from Nasheed’s government in protest for him overstepping the new constitutional limits on the presidency and trying to impose himself on parliament. The irony wasn’t lost on anyone, it seemed, since it became patently obvious that the pro-Western “democratic reformer” harbored authoritarian ambitions that were bolder than his predecessor’s, but because he received the ‘stamp of approval’ from Western leaders and “democratic” NGOs like Amnesty International, he behaved as though he has a blank check to do as he pleased. Being a globally recognized “climate change crusader” also helped, since it filled him with reservoirs of international goodwill no matter what actions he decided to take at home.

Nasheed wasn’t shrewd enough to heed the glaring signs of skyrocketing opposition to his rule, and his politically fatal moment happened when he blatantly overstepped his constitutional authority by ordering the arrest of perceived pro-Gayoom judge Abdulla Mohamed on corruption charges. This outraged the entire country and would prove to be the catalyst needed to galvanize the people’s will and initiate a popular movement against him. After protesting against him for weeks, the demonstrators gained a major victory when the police forces that were ordered to violently disperse them abruptly switched sides and turned against the government. That same day on 7 February, 2012, Nasheed resigned from his post as president and was replaced by his second-in-command Mohammed Waheed Hassan, in a stunning reversal of political fortunes that left many in the West scratching their heads at what happened. They seemed unable to understand how their “pro-democratic” and “green” “prisoner of conscience” could produce such popular outrage against his presidency that he would be overthrown by the masses before he could even finish his first term, but lo and behold it happened, and the changes it brought would lead to significant international repercussions (which will be explored at length in Part II).

Nasheed vs Yameen (Gayoom’s Half-Brother)

The 2013 Presidential Election that followed Hassan’s year-long caretaker government led to the narrow victory of Abdulla Yameen (former President Gayoom’s half-brother) over Nasheed by a 51.39% to 48.61% margin in what was essentially the second round. As it would be, the earlier round where Nasheed won 46.93% to 29.72% (still not a clear majority to have clinched the presidency) wasannulled after the country’s highest court found that extensive fraud had been practiced. It was this second round (legally a re-do of the first round) that Yameen, the current president, won. Despite what many would have suspected to have been a controversial victory at least in the eyes of the West, the results were recognized the world over and a brief period of stability returned to the island nation, although it wasn’t to last for long.

 The former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed, centre, is driven away after attending a hearing on the terrorism charges filed against him in Malé on 5 March, 2015

The former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed, centre, is driven away after attending a hearing on the terrorism charges filed against him in Malé on 5 March, 2015

In February of this year, Nasheed was jailed on the grounds that he illegally arrested judge Abdulla Mohamed back during the time of his presidency, and he was sentenced to 13 years in prison one month later after having been found guilty for violating the country’s anti-terror laws through his action. A brief controversy occurred in the summer when he objected to returning to prison after having been temporarily released on house arrest for medical reasons. He says the government promised to commute the rest of his sentence to house arrest and alleges that he had a document to prove it, but the state said that it was a forgery and swiftly returned him to jail where he’s remained ever since. It misleadingly appeared as though Nasheed and the external backers behind him had thrown in the towel and recognized the futility of their efforts in staging a comeback, but then all of a sudden three assassination plots emerged against President Yameen in the course of only a little more than one month.

The Three Assassination Plots And The State Of Emergency

The first plot was an actual attempt on the President’s life, and it dealt with a bomb exploding in his speedboat on 28 September. Yameen was uninjured but his wife and two associates were hospitalized in the aftermath. 33-year-old Vice-President Ahmed Adheeb was arrested on 24 October over his involvement in the plot, and President Yameen said that the decision to do so to his recently appointed protégé was “not easy”. Then on 31 October, the security forces retrieved a cache of weapons and explosives that were hidden 42 meters underwater off an island resort, concluding that they were to be used in a forthcoming violent seizure of power. Even more disturbing, they discovered that the munitions were actually stolen from the state armory, raising the uncomfortable prospects that they could have been used to implicate the government in a false-flag attack. Just a few days later on 2 November, a remote-controlled bomb was found and defused near the presidential palace, clearly confirming that the President is indeed the target of very powerful forces that are desperately intent on killing him.

Amidst all of this, Nasheed’s MDP announced that they’d be holding an anti-government rally on 6 November to pressure the authorities into releasing their leader. Considering that the government had already realized by this time that an unspecified number of weapons had been stolen from the armory and might be used against the protesters by the regime change elements conspiring against Yameen, the authorities enacted a month-long state of emergency on 4 November in order to ensure both the citizens’ safety and overall national security. The last thing that the Maldives needs at this moment is for a Kiev-like false-flag sniper attack to target the protesters as they march against the President, as this would surely be interpreted by the Western media (without any shred of proof whatsoever) as Yameen “killing his own people”, just as Yanukovich was wrongfully accused of, with all of the resultant international (Western) hostility and potential sanctions that this could bring to his administration. Depending on the intensity of the false-flag violence that breaks out, it might even lead to a lightning-fast pre-planned Indian “humanitarian intervention” to depose of his government, a reverse-Operation Cactus, if one will, for reasons that will be explored in Part III.

In hindsight, Yameen wasn’t being paranoid but actually quite pragmatic in having declared the state of emergency, since the day after the MDP protesters were supposed to rally, the authorities arrested a Sri Lankan sniper that had been tasked with assassinating the President. Keeping in mind the lessons from Kiev, it’s very probable that this individual and any of his fellow contractors (whether he was even aware of them or not owing to what looks to be the ultra-clandestine nature of this operation) could have also turned their sniper fire or even possible small arms and explosives on the opposition protesters and committed a massacre of shattering proportions.

The reader would do well to realize that Malé is a tiny island of 5.8 square kilometers and 153,379 people, giving it a record-setting population density of 26,000 people per square kilometer. To put that into relative perspective, it’s about five times as dense as the Gaza Strip, which is conventionally recognized as one of most densely populated places on earth. Combined sniper fire, small arms fire, and strategically placed and timed explosions by a small team of Unconventional Warfare experts (urban terrorists, in this specific context) could turn the tropical paradise into a chilling cemetery in no time, and coordinated expertise in this lethal manner inevitably has to have some degree of state sponsorship behind it.

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentaror currently working for the Sputnik agency, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Note: This article was originally published on our website in September 2001.

When a Glamor correspondent asked Governor Bush what he thought about the Taliban, he just shrugged his shoulders, bemused. It took a bit of prompting from the journalist (“discrimination against women in Afghanistan”) for Bush to rouse himself: Taliban in Afghanistan! Absolutely. Reprisals. I thought you were talking about some rock group.

That’s how well-informed about the outside world the prospective U.S. president is. Even about very important present-day developments that are on everyone’s lips – that is, everyone with the slightest pretensions to culture; developments that he, if elected, will have to deal with.

The person partly responsible for this is Prof. Condoleezza Rice, his chief foreign policy adviser widely tipped as the national security adviser in the Bush administration. The fact is that she herself – how shall I put it – is a little out of her depth in anything that does not concern nuclear weapons and Russia.

Ms. Rice is a professional Soviet-watcher; she worked in the Bush Sr. administration for two years; she was an expert on the Cold War – just as, incidentally, all her colleagues in Bush’s future foreign policy department. Whatever her failings, false modesty is certainly not one of them: There was a time, she says, when I knew more about the Soviet General Staff than the General Staff itself did.

However, because the Soviet General Staff – for all its sins – cannot be blamed for discrimination against Afghan women, Ms. Rice is rather hazy about the Taliban. At least talking about Iran as a rogue state that supplied arms to Islamic fundamentalists, she included the Taliban among its clients. Mercifully, she did not mistake it for a rock group but she seemed to be unaware that there was no love lost between Iran and the Taliban.

Condoleezza Rice, a petite, fragile-looking, and relatively young (45) Afro-American, grew up in a well-to-do family of college teachers in Birmingham, Alabama. Her parents wanted their daughter to become a pianist. She first went on stage at four, but ultimately opted for an academic career. At Denver University, Condoleezza’s tutor was Prof. Josef Korbel (the father of Madeleine Albright). By her own admission, it was he who (unfortunately for us) got her interested in Russia. She is even fluent in Russian.

Ms. Rice’s colleagues, however, maintain that her apparent fragility is deceptive. Richard Armitage, her former boss in the Bush administration, says that if you look at her past, you will see a field strewn with the bodies of those who underestimated her.

Be that as it may, her influence on Governor Bush is enormous. Whenever something happens in the world, the presidential hopeful turns to her for explanation. She forced him to memorize his recent policy speech on the national missile defense program, and especially rehearse answers to questions that could be asked.

At the last moment, however, Ms. Rice did not entrust him with responding to them. She took them herself. The audience was treated to a fascinating show. Standing on the stage were two former state secretaries, including Henry Kissinger; two former national security advisers, including Gen. Powell (who is widely seen as state secretary in the Bush administration); a former defense secretary, and the presidential hopeful himself. Yet, questions were fielded by a diminutive black woman who had been all but invisible among those massive figures.

It was of course great fun to watch. What really matters, however, is Ms. Rice’s foreign policy views. As far as can be judged from her recent article in Foreign Affairs, they are as traditional as can be: balance of power, geopolitics, etc. – all of it couched in terms of the Cold War that provided the backdrop for her entire professional career. Globalization, the building of a “new Europe,” which discarded geopolitics, and the dramatic changes that have occurred over the past decade in Russia somehow went unnoticed by her. The only difference is that she now attributes the role of the former USSR to China.

On the whole, her views can be summed up by one phrase: What is good for America, is good for the world. This, you will agree, is strongly reminiscent of the long-derided formula: What is good for General Motors, is good for America. The problem is that the world could disagree. And what would then happen to America?

A dangerous lady, this Condoleezza Rice. What a shame that she did not listen to her parents and devote herself to music…

The SAA in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) captured the village of Jinaan in southeast Hama after a series of intense firefights against the ISIS militants groups along the Salamiyah-Raqqa Highway. According to the field reports, the Syrian forces destroyed ISIS defenses at Jinaan after killing several ISIS militants and destroying their headquarters inside the village.

Then, the SAA and the NDF reportedly captured 6km of terrain along the Salamiyah-Raqqa highway. If it’s true, it’s their largest gains on this front in over eight months. The Salamiyah-Raqqa highway is used by ISIS to launch attacks on the SAA positions in the southeastern Hama. The SAA have been carrying out operations to clear the area of the Khanasser-Ithriya highway from the ISIS presence. This latest attack was part of the SAA eforts at this front.

The Russian Air Force has recently intensified their airstrikes in the eastern Hama in to protect the Syrian forces’ main supply route to the Aleppo province. Another goal of these air raids is to deter the terrorist group from pushing west towards the city of Al-Salamiyah.

On Monday, the Syrian forces broke the ISIS frontline defenses at the town of Sheikh Ahmad in the Deir Hafer Plains and imposed full control over this area after a series of intense firefights. On Tuesday, the SAA broke-through ISIS’ final line of defense at the east Kuweires village and military housing and liberate the remaining area lifting the three year long siege.

The recent developments are showing that, despite the counter-attacks and even tactical success at a number at fronts, the terrorists have lost a strategic initiative in Syria and passed to defensive actions. Due to the start of the Russian military operations, the pro-government forces have gained a substantial advantage in the intelligence, coordination and fire power. Russian warplanes play a crucial role for successful offensive actions at the battlespace.

Iraqi security forces liberated the western part of the city of Ramadi from the ISIS control. Col. Walid al-Dulaimi said that security forces had full control over western Ramadi and were waiting on reinforcements to advance toward the city center. The Iraqi security forces’ operations aimed to liberate the city from ISIS have been continuing since July. In the coming weeks, the U.S.-led coalition plans to increase airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against ISIS. Nonetheless, it’s hard to forecast a real result of these operations because the previous US efforts against ISIS de-facto failed among other things because of a weak coordination between the US Air Force and the local ground forces.

When the International Olympic Committee gets judgmental about a country, we know the moral ride ahead is going to be an odd one.  Strange sight, indeed, to have such remarks that Russia deserves special sanction in allegations of mass doping violations in their athletics.  Why the conspicuous absentees?

The anti-doping agency got cracking after the beavering efforts of a German documentary alleging mass instances of doping in Russian sport.  The point of Hajo Seppelt’s work, however, was not to saddle exclusive blame on any one country, even if the Russian case study proved ominous.  It showed, among other things, that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had failed to chase up suspicious tests.  Target the doping phenomenon, Seppelt seemed to be saying.  Excluding the athletics of a particular state?  Distinctly not.

Instead, the IAAF’s president, Sebastian Coe, responded with volcanic fury when the documentary aired in 2014, suggesting that the allegations were nothing short of a declaration of war on his sport.  After 11 months, the tune had changed.

The 325-page report by former Wada (World Anti-Doping Agency) president Dick Pound did anything but admit to a universal problem, limiting itself to Russian athletics which supposedly “sabotaged” the London 2012 Olympics.  Two years later, at the Sochi Winter Olympics, there were suggestions of FSB involvement working undercover with lab technicians. In Pound’s own words, it was “hard to imagine what the Russian state interest in athlete’s urine would be.”

Published on Monday, the report “identified systemic failures within the IAAF and Russia” in fulfilling effective anti-doping programs.  Specific athletes were also pointed out as being violators, including the 800m Olympic champion Mariya Savinova.  Life-bans were also suggested for four other athletes.  It further recommended a ban on all Russian athletes taking part in IAAF-backed events, including the European and World championships, and the Olympics themselves.

Pound did admit at the press conference to there being a broader problem, while heaping praise upon Seppelt’s efforts and those of Russian whistleblowers behind the unearthing of extortion, bribery and cover-ups.For all of that, a good deal of hand washing was also taking place.  For one, it betrayed deep structural problems in the administration of world athletics.  Pointing hefty fingers at Russia did not get away from the fact that Wada itself has proven to be a miserable policing agent in this regard. National governments and the IOC must also be drawn in.

Coe certainly does not come out well in this. He had been Lamine Diack’s deputy, a person he expressed “great admiration” for.  Could Coe have been truly ignorant about various payments to Diack for purportedly coving up doping violations?  The scandals right at the heart of the IAAF establishment certainly suggest a cover-up of enormous proportions.

The Russian case is certainly not pretty.  The celebrated Wada-accredited Moscow laboratory supposedly behind combating doping measures seemed to have done its best to frustrate them.  The head of the lab, Grigory Rodchenko, admitted to destroying 1,417 samples in December last year prior to the visit of Wada officials.  This destruction was accompanied by cash payments for concealment.

The Russian Sports Ministry late on November 9 did issue a statement in response to the report, admitting to a lack of surprise at “most of the points”.  “We are fully aware of the problems in the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF) and we have undertaken measures to remedy the situation: there is a new president in ARAF, a new head coach, and they are currently rejuvenating the coaching staff.”

The white as snow indignation has been nothing short of righteous, and the specifics of naming Russia over any other country smacks of a particularly pungent political flavour.  One need only go through a slew of statements to that effect.  Ever at the forefront are Australian sporting bodies, which still see the betrayals of the Cold War of the Eastern bloc countries in limiting their medal tallies.

The theme of being robbed of medals is certainly exemplified by such figures as Australian Olympic walker Jared Tallent.  “It has been hard to go to training every day knowing that you have been robbed of an Olympic medal.”

Athletics Australia chief executive, Phil Jones, is fairly typical of this sentiment.  “I think given the time between now and the Rio Olympics, it’s very difficult to see that their house is going to be demonstrably in order by the middle of next year” (ABC, Nov 10).  To Jones’ credit, however, he did concede that, “It would be very surprising if Russia was an island in this regard [of doping incidents].”

Getting stroppy over one state in this regard is not only missing the point but invalidating the premise of control altogether. The athletics sporting establishment has been crudely revealed to be sponsor, colluder and bumbler on the subject of corruption and drugs in the sport.  The lure of victory and prestige in the sporting arena remains so powerful it is bound to degrade the very premise of clean competition.  Success, at all costs.

Wada’s own statistics from 2013 show extensive doping cases in Turkey (188), France (108), India (95) and Belgium (94).  They are certainly not set for the chop.  Much of this remains a dirty rotten business, but settling old scores with what Pound sees as a residual “Soviet” mentality hardly deals with the issue of global mass doping, the greatest symptom of professional sports.

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


A bluish-green light was observed over the skies of California on the evening of Saturday November 7, 2015 at approximately 6pm (PST). The strange light was seen by numerous people throughout Southern California with speculation on the social media that the object may be a UFO. An astronomer from the Griffith Observatory hypothesized the strange light as possibly being a comet or meteorite. [1]

The light was reported as far away as Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and Mexico. [2] Following the mass sighting, the Malibu-Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station and Orange County Sheriff’s Department both stated that the unidentified light was due to a military exercise by the Navy off the coast of Catalina Island. [3] According to the Coast Guard, the missile test was launched by Point Mugu Naval Base in Ventura County. [4]

A report from the Kern County Fire Department stated that the rocket was launched from Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert. [5] However, later that night, the Pentagon issued an official statement which said, “Navy Strategic Systems Programs conducted scheduled Trident II (D5) missile test flight at sea from USS Kentucky, an Ohio Class SSBN, in the Pacific Test range off the coast of Southern California”. [6]

Aside from the conflicting reports in regards to where the rocket was launched from, training exercises are a normal function of the military. However, why test a  submarine-launched ballistic missile early in the evening over one of the most populated cities in the United States? The Navy has stated that a public warning for this test was not given due to its’ classified status. The only public forewarning of this test was a report of airplanes surrounding LAX being diverted due to secret military exercises.  [7] The rerouting of commercial aircraft near LAX is in effect from 12am to 6am until November 12, 2015. Why have that particular time frame when the SLBM was tested on Saturday evening around 6pm?

The fact is the missile test was meant to be highly visible. The mass sighting was not unanticipated nor a matter of Navy incompetence. The test-fire was executed outside of the specified timeframe, which means the U.S. government wanted this test to be witnessed by as many people as possible. An SLBM’s sole purpose is to strike targets with thermonuclear weapons. This exercise is a public display of the U.S.’ military capability. Furthermore, it is a warning to Russia and China which is why this test-fire was done over the Pacific Ocean.

It is a reaffirmation that U.S. foreign policy is based on warfare. The U.S. government is aware of its waning superpower status and exercises like this display its’ desperation in maintaining that image, even though a multi-polar world has developed. It should be noted that un-named officials have stated that the military exercise was “to prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployment”. [8] Another aspect to wanting this mass sighting is to measure the public’s perception and reaction over the mysterious light.

The social media flood via Twitter and Instagram displayed the public’s immediate panic which allowed for posts to be extracted for  analysis and subject to data mining. A second Trident missile was tested off the California coast on Monday November 9, 2015. [9] This second test-fire was in the  afternoon, which is outside of the specified time frame as well. Lastly, I conjecture that the military is testing stealth technology following these mass sightings. The public does not generally look up at the sky, but this will not be the case for the current period. It is reasonable to think that many people will be looking at the sky, especially since the military has stated that testing will not end until November 12, 2015. I deduce that aerial stealth technology is currently being tested in the Southern California sky for the remaining duration. If the public does not spot anything unusual in the sky, then this stealth technological testing will pass the military’s specifications.

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


[1] Desiree Salas, “Mysterious Blue Light Baffles LA Residents [Photos]” November 9, 2015

[2] Samantha Tatro and Bridget Naso, “Witnesses Report Seeing Bright Light Across Southern California Sky” November 7, 2015

[3] Melissa MacBride, “Naval missile test flight causes bright light to streak across sky” November 7,2015

[4] Yama Hazheer, “Gallery: Bright flying object seen in the sky; confirmed Naval test fired off the coast” November 7, 2015

[5] Jan Mabry, “Strange, Mysterious Lights In Skies Over California Was Missile Test” November 7, 2015

[6] Tracy Bloom, Erin Myers, Ellina Abovian, and Mark Mester, “Mystery Light Seen in SoCal Sky Sparks Speculation; Pentagon Confirms It Was Missile Test” November 8, 2015

[7] Jory Rand, “ Secret Military Operations To Divert LAX Planes For A Week” November 7, 2015

[8] Ibid

[9] Meg Wagner, “Navy launches second test missile over California”
November 10, 2015

On Saturday November 7th, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who had started his career at the Defense Department during the Reagan Administration as an aide to then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, Cold-Warring against the communist nations U.S.S.R. and China, delivered a speech saying, “We are in the middle of a strategic transition to respond to the security challenges that will define our future. … We’re responding to Russia, one source of today’s turbulence, and China’s rise, which is driving a transition in the Asia-Pacific.”

So: what has changed for him in all of that time? The weapons are more advanced; he expressed pride in that. And the former Warsaw Pact nations that were allied with the U.S.S.R. surrounding Russia, have increasingly joined NATO and become Russia’s enemies. (The U.S.S.R. terminated the Warsaw Pact, but the U.S. didn’t terminate NATO; instead, NATO with its former Warsaw Pact members increased from the 16 nations it had when the Soviet Union broke up, to the 28 nations today. And U.S. President Barack Obama and SecDef Carter want to increase that number to 29 by including Ukraine, which is on Russia’s border.)

Carter’s speech presented Russia repeatedly as constituting the “aggressor.” He actually used this term three times, two of which concerned Russia explicitly:

“We’re taking a strong and balanced approach to deter Russia’s aggression.”

“We are adapting our operational posture and contingency plans as we – on our own and with allies – work to deter Russia’s aggression.”

“We are also changing fundamentally our operational plans and approaches to deter aggression.”

None of his usages of “aggression” referred to jihadists, nor to the top funders of jihadists, the Saudi and Qatari royal families, respectively the Sauds and the Thanis. Instead, we arm those people, and they then send some of those arms to jihadists in Syria so as to remove from power Syria’s secular pro-Russian President, Bashar al-Assad.

Secretary Carter, like his boss President Obama, want Assad to be replaced by the fighters that the Sauds and Qataris are arming. Carter and Obama call these fighters “moderate Syrians,” though the secular Shiite Assad runs a non-religious government, and all of the fighters against him want a Sunni Islamic state, no secular state at all.

The U.S. government says that it supports democracy in Syria, so long as Bashar al-Assad (whom polls show would win any honest election there) isn’t on the ballot. But when America’s ally the Qatari regime, which funds al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria), hired a polling firm in 2012 to survey Syrians, the finding was that 55% of Syrians wanted Assad to remain as President.

Then, as I reported on 18 September 2015, “Polls Show Syrians Overwhelmingly Blame U.S. for ISIS,” and those recent polls were from a British firm that has ties to Gallup. So, it’s clear that any sort of democracy in Syria will be ruled by Assad, not by anyone acceptable to the U.S. Establishment, and that blocking him from the ballot would therefore make a mockery of any such ‘democratic’ election.

However, democracy in any Islamic state — as the U.S. and its allies claim to be pressing for there — is impossible, just as democracy in any religious state is impossible. (An example of this is America’s ‘ally’ and $3B-per-year recipient of our foreign aid, apartheid ‘democratic’ Israel, which still doesn’t even have a constitution, because religious Jews there insist that any constitution must confirm all biblical laws.) It’s impossible because sovereignty in any religious state rests with the given religion’s ‘god’ as set forth in its Scripture, and not, not even possibly, with “We, the People …” Democracy is therefore impossible without a strict separation between church and state. But none of the “jihadist” paramilitary forces that are fighting against Assad will tolerate such an outcome: they’re all Sunni Islamists.

So, there exists an underlying hypocrisy behind the position that SecDef Carter is championing: victory for supposedly some faction of the forces against Assad, and also democracy in Syria.

Perhaps after the Soviet Union ended, America got dumbed down so that it’s now the American dumbocracy. Or should that instead be spelled “dumocracy”? Well, whatever …

Ashton Carter’s Speech

Near the opening of the SecDef’s speech, Carter triumphantly referred to America’s victory over the Soviet Union and the breaking down of the wall between East and West Berlin, and he said: “for those of us who worked in government during those dangerous days, as I did beginning in 1981, for Caspar Weinberger – we know how tough that wall was to crack, let alone tear down.”

He mentioned the connection between Russia and 9/11:

That strength, which Reagan and others helped realize – people like Jim Schlesinger, Brent Scowcroft, Bill Perry, and Harold Brown, who were all mentors of mine – put the United States in position to respond to the day’s crises, and take advantage of Soviet missteps. It gave post-Cold War leaders the power to bring East and West together and deepen the principled international order. And when we were attacked on September 11th, it gave America the power to respond.

That strength and the principled international order were part of the inheritance I received when I was sworn in as Secretary of Defense earlier this year.

In other words, he suggested that by boosting America’s strategic nuclear forces in response to Russia’s ‘aggression,’ the U.S. will become better prepared to deal with and overcome jihadist suicide-bombers and Saudi-Qatari-financed jihadist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.

He intimated that, somehow, there is a sort of dual-use advantage of strategic weapons: their application also against non-state enemies. For example, America’s nuclear deterrent forces were useful in our killing bin Laden? Oh, maybe not that one. However, if those jihadist organizations are financed by Arabic royal families (such as bin Laden’s Al Qaeda was), then those Arabic countries (Saudi Arabia and Qatar especially) are state enemies of the United States; and so, their being hostile toward Russia, as they have been and are, would mean that Russia is, actually, our ally, which then raises the question of why we need to arm against an ally (Russia) in order to be more effective against jihadists (the countries that are owned or controlled by those royals — ‘our’ allies).

So, SecDef Carter’s reasoning seems a bit shady here. But the United States would not have a crooked man occupy such a straight office as he does. So, one must give him the benefit of every doubt — like the press and the American public gave George W. Bush and his ‘Defense’ Secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the press reported that they had been liars. (Come to think of it: did the press report that? Is the press reporting it? Will the press report it? Those people clearly and incontrovertibly were liars. The press refuses to provide the documentation that it was lies and not ‘merely’ manipulated intelligence. And the press is repeating that performance with Obama’s lie that it was Assad’s forces and not the forces that Obama supports who were behind the August 2013 sarin gas attack which Obama is claiming to be the reason he’s helping the anti-Assad forces — who actually perpetrated it.)

He went on to assert that America, by virtue of its exemplary troops and command-structure, has maintained the “international order” and attracted foreign “partners” in such a way as to lead the world in the fight against jihadists, and he then implied that Russia is trying to impede America’s war against jihadists, and that China, is also doing that, in some way (which he declined to identify). He said:

At the most elemental, human level, our troops are attractive partners, they perform and conduct themselves admirably. I see this, and hear this from foreign leaders, around the world. They make us proud.

Despite that widespread appeal, some actors appear intent on eroding these principles and undercutting the international order that helps enforce them. Terror elements like ISIL, of course, stand entirely opposed to our values. But other challenges are more complicated, and given their size and capabilities, potentially more damaging.

Russia appears intent to play spoiler by flouting these principles and the international community. Meanwhile, China is a rising power, and growing more ambitious in its objectives and capabilities. Of course, neither Russia nor China can overturn that order, given its resilience and staying power. But both present different challenges for it.

The United States, and the men and women of the Defense Department, know that the good that a principled international order has done, and will do. But in the face of Russia’s provocations and China’s rise, we must embrace innovative approaches to protect the United States and strengthen that international order.

In Europe, Russia has been violating sovereignty in Ukraine and Georgia and actively trying to intimidate the Baltic states. Meanwhile, in Syria, Russia is throwing gasoline on an already dangerous fire, prolonging a civil war that fuels the very extremism Russia claims to oppose. … Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling raises questions about Russia’s leaders’ commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons, and whether they respect the profound caution nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to the brandishing of nuclear weapons.

He asserted that Russia’s actions are totally unacceptable, and he made clear that the U.S. has done nothing to provoke them:

We do not seek a cold, let alone a hot war with Russia. We do not seek to make Russia an enemy.

He makes clear that, in this country’s differences with Russia, Russia alone is to blame. They are the aggressors, he asserts. (President Barack Obama’s National Security Strategy 2015 applies the term “aggression” 18 times, and 17 of them are referring to Russia; so, in retrospect, it is clear why Ashton Carter won Obama’s support to become the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The U.S., of course, has no Secretary of War, and especially no Secretary of Offense; the U.S. never invades a foreign country, nor even perpetrates a coup there, unless the action is purely defensive on America’s part. Only Russia and China do things like that.) So: although Russia and China are America’s enemies; SecDef Carter is too gentlemanly to call them ‘enemies’: the United States merely responds to their ‘provocations,’ like a gentle parent would respond to a child who “brandishes nuclear weapons.”

SecDef Carter makes clear that, despite America’s lily-white intent:

The United States will defend our interests, and our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us all.

We’re taking a strong and balanced approach to deter Russia’s aggression, and to help reduce the vulnerability of allies and partners.

We are adapting our operational posture and contingency plans as we – on our own and with allies – work to deter Russia’s aggression, and to help reduce the vulnerability of allies and partners. The United States is accordingly making a number of moves in response, many but not all of which I can describe in this forum. We’re modernizing our nuclear arsenal, so America’s nuclear deterrent continues to be effective, safe, and secure, to deter nuclear attacks and reassure our allies.

We’re investing in the technologies that are most relevant to Russia’s provocations, such as new unmanned systems, a new long-range bomber, and innovation in technologies like the electromagnetic railgun, lasers, and new systems for electronic warfare, space and cyberspace, including a few surprising ones that I really can’t describe here. We’re updating and advancing our operational plans for deterrence and defense given Russia’s changed behavior.

He is especially concerned about Russia’s provocative actions to expand itself right up to the very borders of NATO, threatening to invade NATO allies and thus invade the U.S. itself; and he describes how the U.S. is dealing with Russia’s expansionist threat:

For example in Eastern NATO states [the nations that border Russia], we’re prepositioning tanks, infantry-fighting vehicles, artillery, and the associated equipment needed to participate in exercises and also to respond to crises and provocation.

We’re providing enabling capabilities – a distinctively American characteristic – to strengthen NATO’s new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force so it can respond flexibly to contingencies in Europe’s East and South. This innovative capability has already become real: in June, I visited the VJTF – its land component, that is – in Germany.

We’re taking part in more and different kinds [of] exercises with our allies to improve training and interoperability. NATO performed admirably in Afghanistan and the exercises today focusing on transitioning to newer threats that also require networked partnership, but very different operational approaches. In fact, TRIDENT JUNCTURE, the largest NATO exercise in 13 years, just ended…yesterday. General Breedlove, who is here, reports a very successful integration of combined U.S. and partner Marines, Navy, ground forces and air forces exercising against a high-end denied environment. Over 4,000 American troops participated in this exercise.

We’re helping strengthen NATO’s Cyber Defense Center of Excellence so it can help those nations develop cyber strategies, critical infrastructure protection plans, and cyber defense posture assessments.

And we’re providing equipment and training to aid Ukraine’s military as it confronts Russian-supported insurgents in Eastern Ukraine. This summer I spent time with one of our rotational brigade combat teams at Graf in Germany. They represent a new approach: they’ll fall-in on prepositioned equipment, conduct live-fire and simulated maneuver with partner nations, and improve their own readiness and cultural awareness through immersion during this rotation.

So we’re doing all this; but, just as Reagan did, we are also taking a balanced approach to Russia. … The United States will continue to hold out the possibility that Russia will assume the role of responsible power in the international order, a direction they seemed headed for much of the post-Cold War era.

He refers there to the time before Vladimir Putin replaced Boris Yeltsin in 2000 as Russia’s leader. That was the time when the United States was saying favorable things about Russia because Russia under Yeltsin was taking its guidance from the United States, people such as Lawrence Summers of the World Bank, and such as his Harvard Economics Department, and George Soros, and other champions of clean and honest, non-corrupt government, like we also are now seeing in Ukraine, after Obama’s coup there in February 2014 cleaned up that country, and established peace there.

So: the reason why Russia and China are now enemies of America is that they’re not doing what they are being told to do, by the people who are the experts in democracy, and in honest government, and in everything else that’s of benefit to the whole world, except to nations like or allied with Russia or China, which nations, perhaps, can only be amazed at the extent of America’s hypocrisy, or at the extent to which the American government can bamboozle the American people, and even people in certain other countries, to believe anything the U.S. government says.

For example: not once in his speech does Carter use the term “communism” nor any sort of reference to it — the idea that NATO had been established to exist as the democratic alternative to the Soviet Union’s communism and to their Warsaw Pact (which ended in 1991 when the Soviet Union itself did) goes entirely unmentioned and not even hinted at, because he doesn’t want to draw attention to the fact, now being made incontrovertible by Barack Obama and Ashton Carter, etc., that the real goal of the American aristocracy wasn’t actually to end communism and bring democracy there; it was to defeat them and to take control of their oil and other resources. That’s what they’re trying to do in all this, while constantly accusing Russia and China of aggression against NATO — which lost its supposed reason-for-existence, in 1991, when the Warsaw Pact ended, but still hangs on, in order to extend the American Empire. Why aren’t there boycotts of Western ‘news’ media, the ones which fail to point out or publish such truths? (Is it because their suckers aren’t reading sites like you now are reading, the few honest sites that exist in the West?)

Russia and China use such crude propaganda-techniques (sometimes even extending so far as truth, which perhaps they think actually sells things), so that it is clear that Ashton Carter has a lot to teach them. He’s hoping to teach them these lessons to Russia and China with better bombers, and “new systems for electronic warfare, space and cyberspace, including a few surprising ones that I really can’t describe here.”

That will educate Russian and China not to continue with their “brandishing of nuclear weapons.”

Carter’s Basic Message

Ashton Carter’s message is Peace Through Strength: the only way to establish peace is by building and deploying more and better weapons, and by insulting ‘enemy’ nations without calling them “enemies.” Our enemies are the nations that are ‘provoking’ ‘peaceful’ nations: provoking the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, all of our allies. After all, Saudi Arabia, right now, is using our marvelous weapons in Yemen, to establish peace there. By using our weapons, those kindly Saudi rulers are providing jobs for American workers. It’s the only way to keep the world as peaceful as it is: it’s the American way.

He said in his speech, “We all remember President Reagan’s calls for Moscow to tear down the Berlin wall and for ‘peace through strength.’ His foreign policy, and approach to the Soviet Union, was both strong and balanced.” (Perhaps Carter was there paying homage to the “Fair and Balanced” ‘news’ reporting at Fox ‘News’ Channel, where the type of thinking, such as he expressed, is routinely being pumped to its viewers.)

This is how to prevent Russia from engaging in ‘provocations,’ such as their defending themselves and preparing for an ultimate existential attack: WW III. Russia refuses to accept America’s magnanimous help. Russians are so uncouth that they need to be terrorized into submission to the civilized United States. For example, on October 19th, Bloomberg News bannered, “U.S. Approves $11 Billion Saudi Buy of Lockheed Littoral Ships”, and reported that, “The Pentagon has notified Congress of a planned sale to Saudi Arabia of as many as four Littoral Combat Ships made by Lockheed Martin Corp. for $11.25 billion, as the U.S. works to bolster defenses of its Gulf allies.”

The Saud family wants these ships so as to be able to kill Russians in Syria and to assist the jihadists whom the Sauds want to grab that country. This is ‘Peace Through Strength.’ So are the American bombs that the Saudi Air Force are dumping on Yemen to kill the evildoers there. Unfortunately, George Orwell’s 1984 somehow missed that one, ‘Peace Through Strength,’ but America’s war-marketers don’t. After all, they’re paid to produce for their clients, and this is very much a ‘free market’ operation the U.S. runs.

The American elite’s strategic motivation, ‘Peace Through Strength,’ is so admirable — to the idiots who trust liars such as the American elite. And to U.S. ‘defense’ contractors, it’s nothing short of inspirational (not to mention profitable; after all, ‘Greed Is Good’). These people are real professionals, and no one can top their marketing expertise. That’s the reason why there are all of those proposals in Congress to cut the government to the bone, with that remaining bone being the ‘defense’ establishment. The rest of the government is the portion of it with the ‘waste, fraud and abuse.’ It’s dispensable in ‘the one indispensable nation’ as President Obama calls it (implying that every other nation is dispensable); and he states this repeatedly, sometimes even to the military, so that they’ll know that every nation they’ll attack will be ‘dispensable.’ This Commander-in-Chief has their back. He knows that they’re the muscle that gets the job done for America.

They’re the muscle that’s attached to the bone. And, of course, the bone is the equipment: it’s the weapons. That’s firms such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, etc.

All we really need is the bone. It’s so clean and honest. It’s not ‘waste, fraud and abuse.’ That’s why it’s the foundation of The American Empire. Aristocrats everywhere know how important that is. It produces the bullets and bombs to kill the bad guys, and get the job done, for America, and for the world.

It’s so patriotic! It’s so noble; it’s the ultimate Pax Americana. And it’s so realistic: it recognizes that the only way to sustain the peace is by means of constant war, to establish a stable world order, with the one indispensable nation firmly in control of it — everywhere, and not only in Syria.

Thank you, Ashton Carter, for your inspiring speech.

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


© AP Photo/ Evgeny KrawsMilitary Buildup on Russia’s Doorstep, US Increasing Troop Strength in Europe, Pentagon and NATO Threaten Russia

By Stephen Lendman, November 10 2015

On November 8, the Wall Street Journal headlined “US Military Officials Aim to Bolster Troop Presence in Europe” – to deter a nonexistent Russian threat.

a Abayomi Azikiwe speaks at the Workers World Conference in Harlem on Nov. 7, 2015Neo-Colonialism in Africa: The Struggle to Reverse Neoliberalism and U.S. Militarization

By Abayomi Azikiwe, November 10 2015

Africa has been severely setback with the imperialist destruction of Libya along with the interference in the democratic processes in Egypt and Tunisia.

usa_israelDuplicitous Love Hate Relationship: Obama and Netanyahu Plot Next Moves. Multibillion Dollar Military Aid Package

By Stephen Lendman, November 10 2015

Longstanding US/Israeli imperial partnership overrides how both leaders feel about each other – undisguised loathing no matter how they tried hiding it Monday in a media photo op.  Business as usual alone matters.

honduras_transitNeoliberal Water under the Bridge: How Politics and Business Unite in the U.S., Honduras and Israel

By Charity Crouse, November 10 2015

Behind the authoritarian regimes is the government, corporate and banking milieus of the U.S. government, also currently experiencing its own version of popular uprising. By focusing on the relationship between Honduras and Israel, one can locate the role of U.S. foreign and trade policy in repressing democracy abroad and at home and the impact it has on the Earth and her peoples.

Republic-of-NovorossiyaWorsening Situation in the Donesk People’s Republic (DPR). Ukrainian Armed Forces Violate Ceasefire

By South Front, November 10 2015

The situation in the DPR has been slowly getting worse. The settlements of Zhabunki, Ozeryanovka and Panteleymonovka and the area of “Volvo Center” in Donetsk were fired with mortars of 82 mm calibre from the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the sector of the Troitskoe settlement.

There is no historical controversy as contentious or long-lasting as the North Korean and Chinese charges of U.S. use of biological weapons during the Korean War. For those who believe the charges to be false — and that includes much of American academia, but not all — they must assume the burden of explaining why the North Koreans or Chinese made up any bogus claims to attack the credibility of U.S. forces. Because they had no reason to do that.

It is a historical fact that the United States carpet-bombed and napalmed North Korea, killing nearly 3 million civilians thereby.

In other words, massive war crimes are already self-evident, and if there is any mystery, it is how historical amnesia and/or callous disregard for crimes such as those committed by the U.S. and its allies in Korea, or the millions killed by the U.S. in Southeast Asia, can go ignored today.

But the U.S. media and academia largely ignore evidence of U.S. use of weapons of mass destruction in its wars against independence struggles and for imperial dominance, or hock their wares to support propaganda that claims such crimes never took place. Evidence to the contrary, such as the 1950s International Scientific Commission investigation into U.S. use of bacteriological weapons in the Korean War, or the many confessions under interrogation by U.S. Air Force personnel, were generally suppressed. (I published myself the ISC’s summary report earlier this year.)

The suppression of the ISC investigation was, as Chaddock points out, at least in part because ISC chair, Sir Joseph Needham, was not shy in mentioning the connections between the US use of BW in Korea and China and Japanese use of biological experimentation and warfare against China during World War II. This was of high sensitivity to the U.S. as they publicly denied that, having made a deal with Shiro Ishii and the Japanese war criminals of Unit 731 to not prosecute them if US scientists from Fort Detrick and the CIA could get Japanese data and samples — of human tissues gathered via vivisection! — and use them for the US’s own secretive BW program in the early years of the Cold War.

One man with evident integrity and unwilling to let the truth be buried is Dave Chaddock. His book, This Must Be the Place: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since, is a superb exercise in historical rebuttal. The falsifications and lies and secrets propounded by the U.S. on the issue of its crimes has been going on for decades now. For instance, the U.S. populace did not learn of its government’s post-war deal with Nazis, or its amnesty of the Japanese Imperial Army’s Unit 731, until nearly 40 years had passed from the time of these events. If the book seems partisan at times, it is understandably the passion of someone outraged at what he has discovered — just as many who have served in America’s imperial wars returned home outraged, and too often broken, by what they had seen and endured.

Chaddock builds on the seminal work of Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, whose 1998 book, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea, laid out the best case we have thus far for proving the U.S. BW campaign really did take place. Chaddock takes on Endicott and Hagerman’s critics, and has a particularly trenchant critique of the discovery of Soviet documents that indicate the BW evidence was “faked.” The documents were oddly serendipitously discovered at the time Endicott and Hagerman were publishing their book. (The actual documents have not been publicly released, if they in fact exist.) Chaddock shows that the Soviet “fake”, as presented, could not possibly have covered all the sites and evidence of biological weapons used in as short a time as given to create such a fantastic fraud.

Chaddock also takes on the controversy that surrounded the testimonies (“confessions”) of downed flyers interrogated by North Korean and Chinese captors. The flyers’ testimony was considered very convincing at the time, and the U.S. scrambled to find a way to discredit it. (The U.S. separated the flyers’ upon repatriation, with one group claiming they were tortured, and the other insisting they told the truth. All were threatened with court-martial if they did not recant.)

This Must Be the Place is unique in delving into the actual matter of the U.S. flyers’ confessions themselves. Chaddock makes a number of convincing observations. He notices that many of the flyers spoke to their shock at being told the U.S. was involved in germ warfare. One said he was shocked “beyond words,” while Air Force Colonel Walker “Bud” Mahurin described how pilots in his command reacted to his revelations surrounding the U.S. “campaign of germ warfare” with looks of “great shock.”

There is certainly more that could be unearthed about these confessions, and their aftermath, revelations that would add to Chaddock’s heavily documented analysis. For one thing, it is of high interest that Boris Pash, then chief of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and formerly a member of the secretive Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), not to mention the head of security on the Manhattan Project and the leader of the mysterious Alsos Mission, AND also a CIA assassin, was involved in the interrogations of the returned flyers, and the threats to prosecute some of them. Also of high importance is the fact the record of those interrogations have been “lost” by the military.

The CIA and military created a cover-story that the men that confessed to use of BW had been “brainwashed.” This so-called brainwashing was then used as an excuse to increase funding in their own mind-control programs, the most famous of which was MKULTRA. The CIA pushed the “brainwashing” story even though, as a memo by then CIA chief Allen Dulles showed the Agency knew there was “little scientific evidence to support brainwashing.”

Nevertheless, CIA efforts to push the “brainwashing” charges included recruiting the leading members of a generation (or two) of social science and psychological/psychiatric academics and practitioners, whose experiments on use of drugs like LSD, and on sensory deprivation, and mock torture at government “survival” camps, led ultimately to an institutional use of torture by the U.S. government itself after 9/11. Chaddock details much of this history, and as with other topics he covers, refers readers to ample numbers of sources and references. His bibliography is an important assemblage of modern literature on the entire controversy.

Given the scare campaigns that are still used by the West about use of chemical or biological weapons by any country dubbed “evil” by the U.S., Chaddock’s book takes on added relevance, if not urgency.

Chaddock’s book is a real treasure. It presents in an entertaining and convincing fashion what Chaddock himself calls the “overwhelming evidence” of BW use by the Americans during the Korean War.

This is a time when independent thinking is in short supply. Curiosity and a zest for fact and truth are not traits highly valued today, particularly not when it comes to politics or historical controversies. But if you are someone who really wants to know the truth, who wants to see what someone who has spent a good deal of time researching this subject has to say, then Chaddock’s book is just the thing for you.

Jeffrey Kaye is a psychologist in private practice in San Francisco, where he works with adults and couples in psychotherapy. He worked over 10 years professionally with torture victims and asylum applicants. Active in the anti-torture movement since 2006, he has his own blog, Invictus. He has published previously at Truthout, Alternet, and The Public Record.

David Swanson interviews Chaddock in the this audio clip from Talk Nation Radio:


El entrenador argentino del Olympique de Marseille renunció a su cargo tras la primera jornada del campeonato al considerarse traicionado por la presidencia del club.

El 8 de agosto de 2015, tras el partido Marsella/Caen, Marcelo Bielsa anunció que acababa de entregar su renuncia al presidente del OM Vincent Labrune. En efecto, mientras que ambas partes habían llegado a un acuerdo sobre el nuevo contrato propuesto al carismático entrenador argentino, el club decidió a última hora modificarlo. Hombre de principios, Bielsa no soportó la falta de respeto de la palabra empeñada.[1]

¿Quién es Marcelo Bielsa?

Personaje atípico en el mundo del fútbol, Marcelo Bielsa es ante todo un intelectual y un apasionado que se compromete cabalmente en su vocación, que consiste en preconizar un hermoso juego ofensivo que llena de alegría a los aficionados. Nacido en 1955 en Rosario, abraza rápidamente la carrera de entrenador tras su carrera de futbolista profesional. Fue sucesivamente entrenador del club argentino de Newell’s, con el cual consiguió el título nacional, de la selección argentina con la que ganó los Juegos Olímpicos en 2004, del equipo nacional chileno de 2007 a 2010, cuyo juego revolucionó, lo que le permitió ganar la Copa América en 2014 bajo la dirección de su hijo espiritual Jorge Sampaoli, del Athletic Bilbao en España entre 2011 y 2013, donde alcanzó la final de la Copa nacional y de la Liga Europa.

En todos los países donde ejerció consiguió la unanimidad a su favor, tanto entre sus colegas como entre los hinchas. Así, fue nombrado mejor entrenador de Argentina, de Chile, de América del Sur, de España y de Francia. Pep Guardiola, mítico entrenador del FC Barcelona con el cual ganó todos los títulos posibles y actual entrenador del Bayern de Múnich, se muestra elogioso con él: “Estamos delante del mejor entrenador que hay actualmente en el planeta”.[2]

Las razones de su renuncia

Vincent Labrune ya había faltado a su palabra el año pasado cuando hizo promesas de reclutamiento que no mantuvo, lo que suscitó la ira de Marcelo Bielsa. De los doce jugadores que deseaba entonces el entrenador ninguno vino. En vez de ello, la presidencia del club decidió contratar a otros profesionales sin concertación alguna con el técnico argentino. En una memorable conferencia de prensa el 4 de septiembre de 2014, Bielsa criticó las mentiras de Labrune y no renunció por milagro: “El Presidente tomó compromisos conmigo que sabía que no podría cumplir. Si me hubiera dicho la verdad desde el inicio, la hubiera aceptado. En caso contrario, me genera rebeldía”.[3]

Afectado por ese episodio que rompió el lazo de confianza entre Marcelo Bielsa y Vincent Labrune, las relaciones entre ambos hombres fueron distantes a lo largo de la temporada 2014-2015 y las negociaciones para renovar el contrato del entrenador argentino se anunciaban difíciles. Ante esos antecedentes, el presidente Labrune no tenía derecho a equivocarse otra vez.

Las discusiones entre ambas partes tuvieron lugar entre mayo y julio, directamente entre Bielsa y Labrune, sin intermediarios, y se consiguió finalmente un acuerdo de prórroga del contrato hasta 2017. Conviene recordar que aunque su contrato anterior venció el 1 de julio de 2015, Marcelo Bielsa prosiguió su misión y se comprometió plenamente en la preparación de la temporada 2015-2016 observando a no menos de 30 jugadores a razón de 15 partidos por elemento durante sus tres semanas de vacaciones en Argentina.[4]

“Todo estaba claro para que no se tocase ninguno de los puntos acordados” y “sólo faltaba la firma”, según el argentino. No obstante a última hora, el 5 de agosto de 2015 exactamente, o sea tres días antes del inicio de campeonato de Francia, Philippe Pérez, director general del OM, e Igor Levine, abogado representante de la propietaria del club Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, informaron repentinamente a Marcelo Bielsa de que deseaban modificar algunos puntos del contrato. Precisaron que actuaban en nombre de Vincent Labrune, extrañamente ausente de la última cita que debía formalizar el compromiso mutuo. Rompieron así un acuerdo que había necesitado tres meses de negociaciones, violando otra vez la palabra empeñada.[5] Semejante falta de consideración hacia la persona más importante del club es difícilmente explicable, a menos que el objetivo maquiavélico fuera librarse del rebelde y popular entrenador sin suscitar el enojo de los hinchas. Con razón, Bielsa recibió eso como una afrenta a su persona y no podía seguir trabajando en esas condiciones.

Dejar el Olympique de Marseille, donde lo adoraban los hinchas que apreciaban en él al revolucionario del fútbol, al anticonformista fiel a sus ideas de juego, al hombre que siempre ha respetado al pueblo, no fue fácil para Marcelo Bielsa. En apenas un año, suscitó la esperanza entre los amantes del único club francés que ganó la Champion’s League proponiendo un espectacular juego ofensivo y valorizando a un grupo en el cual varios jugadores fueron cedidos luego por más de 20 millones de euros.

El argentino rechazó propuestas astronómicas “que triplicaban [su] salario” para seguir en Marsella. El entrenador del OM amaba al club, la ciudad y sobre todo a los aficionados. Sólo los cínicos pueden pensar que un hombre de principios como Bielsa puede renunciar a su cargo sin estar profundamente afectado por la situación. “Continuidad en el OM, le puse toda mi dedicación y mi ilusión. Siempre estuve trabajando alrededor de mi continuidad porque lo quería hacer y me generaba placer”, recordó en su última conferencia de prensa.[6]

Su crítica de los medios de comunicación

Los medios de comunicación se ensañaron con él, usando los peores calificativos. En realidad la prensa nunca le ha perdonado su franqueza ni el hecho de que Bielsa señalase varias veces sus derivas. Así, a un periodista que se asombraba de que los entrenamientos tuvieran lugar a puerta cerrada, su respuesta fue incisiva y aprovechó la ocasión para denunciar el papel pernicioso de los medios en la sociedad:

“La verdad es que a ustedes lo que pasa en el entrenamiento no les interesa. Sí les interesa ver si pueden percibir algún conflicto para amplificarlo. El contenido del entrenamiento no les interesa. Voy a hacer lo necesario para que puedan ver un entrenamiento semanal. Cuando yo trabajaba en Chile, me hacían requerimientos similares a éstos. Entonces yo accedí. La explicación fue que querían informar sobre el contenido de los entrenamientos. Cosa que no es cierto. Porque a ustedes no les interesa evaluar lo que pasa en el entrenamiento y vincularlo con el juego. Es muy útil que el público sepa que ustedes quieren ver los entrenamientos para ver si pueden amplificar algún problema de relación que exista dentro del grupo. No estoy prejuzgando. Hace 30 años que contacto con los medios de comunicación y sé perfectamente cómo funcionan. Nunca hay un comentario de ningún medio de prensa sobre el contenido de los entrenamientos. El porcentaje nunca supera el 3% o el 5%. Nunca hay artículos para correlacionar la preparación y los efectos de la preparación en el juego. A mí lo único que me interesa es que el público sea más culto. […] Tengo una visión de los medios de comunicación. La calidad de la sociedad mundial indica claramente cuál es el efecto de los medios de comunicación: las personas somos cada vez peores y los valores que nos determinan son cada vez de menor estatura moral. Eso es transversal en todos los sectores de la sociedad. […] El público está adiestrado para el triunfalismo. Si nosotros preguntáramos a todos los presentes si es verdad o si es mentira si lo único que vale es ganar en esta sociedad todos diríamos que es cierto. […] Los seres humanos reciben las ideas con los medios de comunicación mucho más que cualquier estructura formal educativa”.[7]

Los amantes del Olympique de Marseille, el campeonato de Francia y el fútbol echarán de menos a Marcelo Bielsa. Forma parte de esos personajes que no dejan a nadie indiferente. “El Loco” no traicionó a los hinchas al renunciar a su cargo. Es sencillamente un hombre íntegro como existen pocos en el mundo del fútbol, que sólo se somete a lo que le dicta su ética y es fiel a sus principios y a cierta concepción del honor.

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 Cuba, the Media, and the Challenge of Impartiality, New York, Monthly Review Press, 2014, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected]

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[1] L’Equipe, « Marcelo Bielsa démissionne de l’OM », 9 de agosto de 2015.

[2] Clarín, « Para Guardiola, ‘Bielsa es el mejor entrenador del planeta”, 16 de marzo de 2012.

[3] Dailymotion, “Bielsa charge Labrune”, 4 de septiembre de 2014. (sitio consultado el 18 de agosto de 2015).

[4] L’Equipe, «Ce que Marcelo Bielsa a dit en conférence de presse», 9 de agosto de 2015. (sitio consultado el 12 de agosto de 2015).

[5] Marcelo Bielsa, «Lettre de démission», La Provence, 9 de agosto de 2015. (sitio consultado el 12 de agosto de 2015).

[6] L’Equipe, «Ce que Marcelo Bielsa a dit en conférence de presse», op. cit.

[7] Marcelo Bielsa, «Conférence de presse», Dailymotion, 29 de enero de 2015. (sitio consultado el 12 de agosto de 2015).

George W. Bush: May I Quote You, Mr. President?

November 10th, 2015 by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

Originally published by Global Research in November 2006 at the height of GWB’s second term in the White House.

Here is a selection of  quotes from President George W. Bush with accompanying dates and sources:

#1: “International law? I better call my lawyer; he didn’t bring that up to me.” George W. Bush, December 12, 2003.

#2: “We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace.“/George W.Bush’s Address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 21, 2004.

#3: “...for a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times. From that alliance has come an era of peace in the Pacific.“/Remark made by President George W. Bush to the Diet, Tokyo, Japan. February 18, 2002, even though the U.S. and Japan have been openly at war with each other.

#4: “One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief….My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it….If I have a chance to invade…, if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it.“/remarks made by  Bush to author and Houston Chronicle journalist Mickey Herskowitz, who met GWB many times in 1999, to write a biography.

#5: “These people are trying to shake the will of the Iraqi citizens, and they want us to leave…I think the world would be better off if we did leave…“/This was said by Bush during the presidential debate of September 20, 2004]

#6: “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.“/Bush’s remarks video clipped in Washington, D.C., as he signed the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005, on August 5, 2004.

#7: “Well, I think if you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness. [Bush's remark during a CNN Online Chat, August 30, 2000]

#8: “I believe God wants me to be presidentis a Bush’s statement that came during a meeting with Rev. Richard land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, in 1999.

#9: [I was] “chosen by the grace of God to lead at that moment”, is a Bush’s quotation reported by Michael Duffy in Time magazine immediately after 9/11.

#10: God told me to strike at al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them comes from a remark made by Bush to Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath, made to and reported by BBC News on Thursday, October 6 2005.

#11:“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my jobis a Bush’s remark to a group of Amish people he met with privately on July 9, 2004, and as published by the Lancaster New Era, July 16, 2004.

#12: “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur’” comes from a remark made by Bush during a discussion of the French economy during the 2002 G8 summit in Kananaskis, Alberta, as reported in The Times (London), July 9, 2002,

#13: ‘There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again. is taken from a video of Bush’s remarks in Nashville, Tennessee, September 17, 2002.

#14: “Ariel Sharon … is a man of courage and a man of peace” is a quote reported by Glenn Kessler, in the Washington Post of Tuesday, June 3, 2003.

#15: “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” comes from  remarks Bush made during a Social Security Conversation at the Athena Performing Arts Center in New York on May 24, 2005.

#16: “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace”  is taken from a Bush’s speech at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C., June 18, 2002.

#17: This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the tableis a widely known remark that Bush made during a press conference, after a meeting with EU leaders, on February 22, 2005.

#18: “Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction” is taken from Bush’s speech at the Midwest Airlines Center, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 3, 2003.

#19: “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find himwas recorded at a Bush’s White House press conference in Washington, D.C., on September 13, 2001.

#20: “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority” was recorded at George W. Bush’s White House press conference in the James S. Brady Briefing Room, Washington, D.C., on  March 13, 2002.

#21: “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories…for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them” is a statement Bush made in Washington, D.C., on May 29, 2003.

#22: “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties [in Iraq]” is a statement made by Bush during a discussion in early 2003 about the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson in Nashville, Tennessee, and as quoted by Robertson himself.

#23: “Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them: If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you” comes from the transcript of a Bush’s speech made on March 17, 2003, days before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

#24: “Brownie (Michael Brown of FEMA), you’re doing a heck of a job” is still fresh in everybody’s memory; it is a public  statement made by Bush about Michael D. Brown, head of Fema, following Hurricane Katrina, at Mobile Regional Airport in Mobile, Alabama. on September 2, 2005.

#25: I’m also not very analytical. You know I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do thingswas recorded by journalists aboard Air Force One, on June 4, 2003.

#26: “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator is taken from an audio clip of President-elect George W. Bush, at a photo-op with congressional leaders during his first trip to Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2000; it was also reported on Online NewsHour, Washington, DC, December 18, 2000.

#27:“I’m the commander — see, I don’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.” can be found in Bob Woodward’s book “Bush at War”.

#28: “I don’t have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy” can be found in Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial.”

#29: “It’s amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, and incumbency”  is a comment made by George W. Bush, on June 14, 2001, to Göran Persson, unaware he was still on live TV.

#30: “It’s very important for folks to understand that when there’s more trade, there’s more commerce”  is a Bush’s remark made during a meeting of leades of the Americas, in Quebec City, Canada, April 21, 2001.

#31: “I would still invade Iraq even if Iraq never existed”

George W. Bush’s remark made to the Press-Telegram, Monday, August 21, 2006.

#32: “Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom.”

George W. Bush’s acceptance speech at the Republic National Convention, on September 2, 2004.

#33: Americans will speak of the battles like Fallujah. with the same awe and reverence that we now give to Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.”

George W. Bush, November 10, 2006

#34: “We cannot rule this [an Israeli attack against Iran] out. And if it were to happen, I would understand it.”

George W. Bush, November 2, 2006  (in a conversation with French President Jacques Chirac]

#35: “You can’t distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam [Hussein] when you talk about the war on terror.”

George W. Bush, September 25, 2002

#36: “We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th attacks.”

George W. Bush, (remarks made after a meeting with members of the Congressional Conference Committee on Energy Legislation, September 17, 2003)

#37: When he [Saddam Hussein] chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him.”

George W. Bush, March 21, 2005, (N.B.:145 U.N. inspectors were in Iraq in December 2002 and in January 2003, just before the March 20, 2003 American –led invasion of Iraq)

#38: You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.”

George W. Bush, September 6, 2006 (in an interview with CBS News Anchor Katie Couric)

#39: “I would say the best moment of all [in office] was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake.

George W. Bush, May 7, 2006 (while being interview by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag)

#40: “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.”

George W. Bush,  February  4, 2005 (comment made to a divorced mother of three, in Omaha, Nebraska)

#41: “We will make sure our troops have all that is necessary to complete their missions. That’s why I went to the Congress last September and proposed fundamental — supplemental funding, which is money for armor and body parts and ammunition and fuel.”

George W. Bush, September 4, 2004, (during a speech in Erie, Pa.)

#42: “It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. — More and more of our imports come from overseas.”

George W. Bush, comment made on September 25, 2000

#43: I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years. … We should approach our nation’s budget as any prudent family would.”

George W. Bush, statement made on February 27, 2001 (N.B.: From 2002 to 2006, the cumulative federal budget deficit has exceeded one and a half trillion (1.5 trillion) dollars)

#44: “Therefore, I, George W. Bush, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim June 10, 2000, “Jesus Day” in Texas and urge the appropriate recognition whereof, in official recognition whereof, I hereby affix my signature this 17th day of April 2000.”

George W. Bush, April 17, 2001 (Governor Bush’s “Jesus Day” 2000 Proclamation day of prayer)

#45: We feel our reliance on the Creator who made us. We place our sorrows and cares before Him, seeking God’s mercy. We ask forgiveness for our failures, seeking the renewal He can bring”.

George W. Bush, March 30, 2002, (in a radio broadcast)

#46:…But what if God has been holding his peace, waiting for the right man and the right nation and the right moment to act for Him and cleanse history of Evil?

George W. Bush, January 28, 2003, State of the Union address

#47: “The Columbia is lost. —The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth but we can pray they are safely home.”

George W. Bush, on February 1, 2003, (comment made after disaster struck the space shuttle Columbia)

#48: “The best way to fight evil is to do some good. Let me qualify that—the best way to fight evil at home is to do some good. The best way to fight them abroad is to unleash the military.”

George W. Bush, April 8, 2002, (in a speech in Knoxville, Tennessee)

#49: “We are going to correct the imbalances of the previous administration on the MidEast conflict”…”We are going to tilt it back toward Israel.”

George W. Bush, (comment made on January 30, 2001)

#50: “As a leader, you can never admit to a mistake; that is one of the keys to being a leader.”

George W. Bush, (comment to biographer Mickey Herskowitz, in 1999)

Author’s note

Recent reports have finally acknowledged that the so-called “protest movement” in Syria was instigated by Washington.

This was known and documented from the very inception of the Syrian crisis in March 2011.

It was not a protest movement, it was an armed insurgency integrated by US-Israeli and allied supported “jihadist” death squads? 

From Day One, the Islamist “freedom fighters” were supported, trained and equipped by NATO and Turkey’s High Command. According to Israeli intelligence sources (Debka, August14, 2011): 

NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons for combating the tanks and helicopters spearheading the Assad regime’s crackdown on dissent. … NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the government armored forces. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011) 

This initiative, which was also supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, involved a process of organized recruitment of thousands of jihadist “freedom fighters”, reminiscent of  the enlistment of  Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war: 

Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Ibid, emphasis added)

These mercenaries were subsequently integrated into US and allied sponsored terrorist organizations including Al Nusrah and ISIS. 

The following article first published in May 2011 examines the inception of the jihadist terrorist insurgency.

It recounts the events of March 17-18, 2011 in Daraa, a small border town with Jordan.

The Daraa “protest movement” on March 17-18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence.

Government sources pointed to the role of radical Salafist groups (supported by Israel).

In chorus, the Western media described the events in Daraa as a protest movement against Bashar Al Assad.

In a bitter irony, the deaths of policemen were higher than those of “demonstrators”.

In Daraa, roof top snipers were targeting both police and demonstrators.

Reading between the lines of Israeli and Lebanese news reports (which acknowledge the police deaths) a clearer picture of what happened in Daraa on March 17-18 had emerged. The Israel National News Report (which can not be accused of being biased in favor of Bashar al Assad) confirmed that:

“Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed in continuing violent clashes that erupted in the southern town of Daraa last Thursday. … and the Baath Party Headquarters and courthouse were torched, in renewed violence on Sunday. (Gavriel Queenann, Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests, Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, March 21, 2011, emphasis added)

The Lebanese news report also acknowledged the killings of seven policemen in Daraa.

[They were killed] “during clashes between the security forces and protesters… They got killed trying to drive away protesters during demonstration in Dara’a”

The Lebanese Ya Libnan report quoting Al Jazeera also acknowledged that protesters had “burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Dara’a” (emphasis added)

These news reports of the events in Daraa confirmed that from the very outset this was not a “peaceful protest” as claimed by the Western media.

Moreover, from an assessment of the initial casualty figures (Israel News), there were more policemen than “demonstrators” who were killed.

This is significant because it suggests that the police force may have initially been outnumbered by a well organized armed gang of professional killers.

What was clear from these initial reports is that many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson.

The title of the Israeli news report summarized what happened: Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protest

The US-NATO-Israel agenda consisted in supporting an Al Qaeda affiliated insurgency integrated by death squads and professional snipers. President Bashar al Assad is then to be blamed for killing his own people. 

Does it Sound familiar? 

The same “false flag” strategy of killing innocent civilians was used during the Ukraine Maidan protest movement.  On February 20th, 2014, professional snipers were shooting at both demonstrators and policemen with a view to accusing president Viktor Yanukovych of “mass murder.”

It was subsequently revealed that these snipers were controlled by the opponents of president Yanukovych, who are now part of the coalition government. 

The “humanitarian mandate” of the US and its allies is sustained by diabolical “false flag” attacks which consist in killing civilians with a view to breaking the legitimacy of governments which refuse to abide by the diktats of Washington and its allies.

And now that Russia is targeting the US sponsored ISIS terrorists, who are under the command of Western mercenary special forces, Russia is casually blamed by the Western media of committing atrocities on behalf of the Syrian government.  

The next phase of this war could potentially lead to escalation involving direct military confrontation between Russian and the US. 

Michel Chossudovsky, November 10, 2015

SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, May 3, 2011

There is evidence of gross media manipulation and falsification from the outset of the protest movement in southern Syria on March 17th [2011].

The Western media has presented the events in Syria as part of the broader Arab pro-democracy protest movement, spreading spontaneously from Tunisia, to Egypt, and from Libya to Syria.

Media coverage has focussed on the Syrian police and armed forces, which are accused of indiscriminately shooting and killing unarmed “pro-democracy” demonstrators. While these police shootings did indeed occur, what the media failed to mention is that among the demonstrators there were armed gunmen as well as snipers who were shooting at both the security forces and the protesters.

The death figures presented in the reports are often unsubstantiated. Many of the reports are “according to witnesses”. The images and video footages aired on Al Jazeera and CNN do not always correspond to the events which are being covered by the news reports.

Alawite Map

There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest in Syria: unemployment has increased in recent year, social conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption in 2006 of sweeping economic reforms under IMF guidance. The IMF’s “economic medicine” includes austerity measures, a freeze on wages, the deregulation of the financial system, trade reform and privatization.

(See IMF  Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation Mission’s Concluding Statement,, 2006)

With a government dominated by the minority Alawite (an offshoot of Shia Islam), Syria is no “model society” with regard to civil rights and freedom of expression. It nonetheless constitutes the only (remaining) independent secular state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party, which integrates Muslims, Christians and Druze.

Moreover, in contrast to Egypt and Tunisia, in Syria there is considerable popular support for President Bashar Al Assad. The large rally in Damascus on March 29, “with tens of thousands of supporters” (Reuters) of President Al Assad is barely mentioned. Yet in an unusual twist, the images and video footage of several pro-government events were used by the Western media to convince international public opinion that the President was being confronted by mass anti-government rallies.

Tens of thousands of Syrians gather for a pro-government rally at the central
bank square in Damascus March 29, 2011. (Reuters Photo)

Syrians display a giant national flag with a picture of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during a
pro-government rally at the central bank square in Damascus March 29, 2011. (Reuters Photo)

The “Epicenter” of the Protest Movement. Daraa: A Small Border Town in southern Syria

What is the nature of the protest movement? From what sectors of Syrian society does it emanate? What triggered the violence?

What is the cause of the deaths?

The existence of an organized insurrection composed of armed gangs involved in acts of killing and arson has been dismissed by the Western media, despite evidence to the contrary.

The demonstrations  did not start in Damascus, the nation’s capital. At the outset, the protests were not integrated by a mass movement of citizens in Syria’s capital.

The demonstrations started in Daraa, a small border town of 75,000 inhabitants, on the Syrian Jordanian border, rather than in Damascus or Aleppo, where the mainstay of organized political opposition and social movements are located. (Daraa is a small border town comparable e.g. to Plattsburgh, NY on the US-Canadian border).

The Associated Press report (quoting unnamed “witnesses” and “activists”) describes the early protests in Daraa as follows:

The violence in Daraa, a city of about 300,000 near the border with Jordan, was fast becoming a major challenge for President Bashar Assad, …. Syrian police launched a relentless assault Wednesday on a neighborhood sheltering anti-government protesters [Daraa], fatally shooting at least 15 in an operation that began before dawn, witnesses said.

At least six were killed in the early morning attack on the al-Omari mosque in the southern agricultural city of Daraa, where protesters have taken to the streets in calls for reforms and political freedoms, witnesses said. An activist in contact with people in Daraa said police shot another three people protesting in its Roman-era city center after dusk. Six more bodies were found later in the day, the activist said.

As the casualties mounted, people from the nearby villages of Inkhil, Jasim, Khirbet Ghazaleh and al-Harrah tried to march on Daraa Wednesday night but security forces opened fire as they approached, the activist said. It was not immediately clear if there were more deaths or injuries. (AP, March 23, 2011, emphasis added)

The AP report inflates the numbers: Daraa is presented as a city of 300,000 when in fact its population is 75,000;  “protesters gathered by the thousands”, “casualties mounted”.

The report is silent on the death of policemen which in the West invariably makes the front page of the tabloids.

The deaths of the policemen are important in assessing what actually happened. When there are police casualties, this means that there is an exchange of gunfire between opposing sides, between policemen and “demonstrators”.

Who are these “demonstrators” including roof top snipers who were targeting the police.

Israeli and Lebanese news reports (which acknowledge the police deaths) provide a clearer picture of what happened in Daraa on March 17-18. The Israel National News Report (which cannot be accused of being biased in favor of Damascus) reviews these same events as follows:

Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed in continuing violent clashes that erupted in the southern town of Daraa last Thursday.

…. On Friday police opened fire on armed protesters killing four and injuring as many as 100 others. According to one witness, who spoke to the press on condition of anonymity, “They used live ammunition immediately — no tear gas or anything else.”

…. In an uncharacteristic gesture intended to ease tensions the government offered to release the detained students, but seven police officers were killed, and the Baath Party Headquarters and courthouse were torched, in renewed violence on Sunday. (Gavriel Queenann, Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests, Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, March 21, 2011, emphasis added)

The Lebanese news report, quoting various sources, also acknowledges the killings of seven policemen in Daraa: They were killed  “during clashes between the security forces and protesters… They got killed trying to drive away protesters during demonstration in Dara’a” 

The Lebanese Ya Libnan report quoting Al Jazeera also acknowledged that protesters had “burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Dara’a”  (emphasis added)

These news reports of the events in Daraa confirm the following:

1. This was not a “peaceful protest” as claimed by the Western media. Several of the “demonstrators” had fire arms and were using them against the police:  “The police opened fire on armed protesters killing four”.

2. From the initial casualty figures (Israel News), there were more policemen than demonstrators who were killed:  7 policemen killed versus 4 demonstrators. This is significant because it suggests that the police force might have been initially outnumbered by a well organized armed gang. According to Syrian media sources, there were also snipers on rooftops which were shooting at both the police and the protesters.

What is clear from these initial reports is that many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson. The title of the Israeli news report summarizes what happened:  Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests.  The title suggests that the “demonstrators” rather than the police had the upper hand.

The Daraa “protest movement” on March 18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving, in all likelihood, covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence. Government sources point to the role of radical Salafist groups (supported by Israel)

Other reports have pointed to the role of Saudi Arabia in financing the protest movement.

What has unfolded in Daraa in the weeks following the initial violent clashes on 17-18 March, is the confrontation between the police and the armed forces on the one hand and armed units of terrorists and snipers on the other which had infiltrated the protest movement.

Reports suggest that these terrorists are integrated by Islamists. There is no concrete evidence as to which Islamic organizations are behind the terrorists and the government has not released corroborating information as to who these groups are.

Both the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (whose leadership is in exile in the UK) and the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation), among others have paid lip service to the protest movement. Hizb ut Tahir (led in the 1980s by Syrian born Omar Bakri Muhammad) tends to “dominate the British Islamist scene” according to Foreign Affairs. Hizb ut Tahir is also considered to be of strategic importance to Britain’s Secret Service MI6. in the pursuit of Anglo-American interests in the Middle East and Central Asia. (Is Hizb-ut-Tahrir another project of British MI6? | State of Pakistan).

Supporters and members of Islamist party ''Hizb Ut-Tahrir'' wave their party's flags and chant slogans during a protest in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, to express solidarity with Syria's protesters, April 22, 2011. REUTERS/ Mohamed Azakir

Hizb ut-Tahrir anti-Assad rally in Tripoli, Lebanon (40 km from Syrian border), April 22, 2011. Hizb ut-Tahrir is banned in Syria

Syria is a secular Arab country, a society of religious tolerance, where Muslims and Christians have for several centuries lived in peace. Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation) is a radical political movement committed to the creation of an Islamic caliphate. In Syria, its avowed objective is to destabilize the secular state.

Since the Soviet-Afghan war, Western intelligence agencies as well as Israel’s Mossad have consistently used various Islamic terrorist organizations as “intelligence assets”. Both Washington and its indefectible British ally have provided covert support to “Islamic terrorists” in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya, etc. as a means to triggering ethnic strife, sectarian violence and political instability.

The staged protest movement in Syria is modelled on Libya. The insurrection in Eastern Libya is integrated by the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) which is supported by MI6 and the CIA. The ultimate objective of the Syria protest movement, through media lies and fabrications, is to create divisions within Syrian society as well as justify an eventual “humanitarian intervention”.

Armed Insurrection in Syria

An armed insurrection integrated by Islamists and supported covertly by Western intelligence is central to an understanding of what is occurring on the ground.

The existence of an armed insurrection is not mentioned by the Western media. If it were to be acknowledged and analysed, our understanding of unfolding events would be entirely different.

What is mentioned profusely is that the armed forces and the police are involved in the indiscriminate killing of protesters.

The deployment of the armed forces including tanks in Daraa is directed against an organized armed insurrection, which has been active in the border city since March 17-18.

Casualties are being reported which also include the death of policemen and soldiers.

In a bitter irony, the Western media acknowledges the police/soldier deaths while denying the existence of an armed insurrection.

The key question is how does the media explain these deaths of soldiers and police?

Without evidence, the reports suggest authoritatively that the police is shooting at the soldiers and vice versa the soldiers are shooting on the police. In a April 29 Al Jazeera report, Daraa is described as “a city under siege”.

“Tanks and troops control all roads in and out. Inside the city, shops are shuttered and nobody dare walk the once bustling market streets, today transformed into the kill zone of rooftop snipers.

Unable to crush the people who first dared rise up against him – neither with the secret police,  paid thugs or the special forces of his brother’s military division – President Bashar al-Assad has sent thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Deraa for an operation the regime wants nobody in the world to see.

Though almost all communication channels with Deraa have been cut, including the Jordanian mobile service that reaches into the city from just across the border, Al Jazeera has gathered firsthand accounts of life inside the city from residents who just left or from eyewitnesses inside who were able to get outside the blackout area.

The picture that emerges is of a dark and deadly security arena, one driven by the actions of the secret police and their rooftop snipers, in which soldiers and protestors alike are being killed or wounded, in which cracks are emerging in the military itself, and in which is created the very chaos which the regime uses to justify its escalating crackdown. (Daraa, a City under Siege, IPS / Al Jazeera, April 29, 2011)

The Al Jazeera report borders on the absurd. Read carefully.

“Tanks and troops control all roads in and out”,  “thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Daraa”

This situation has prevailed for several weeks. This means that bona fide protesters who are not already inside Daraa cannot enter Daraa.

People who live in the city are in their homes: “nobody dares walk … the streets”. If nobody dares walk the streets where are the protesters?

Who is in the streets? According to Al Jazeera, the protesters are in the streets together with the soldiers, and both the protesters and the soldiers are being shot at by “plain clothes secret police”, by “paid thugs” and government sponsored snipers.

The impression conveyed in the report is that these casualties are attributed to infighting between the police and the military.

But the report also says that the soldiers (in the “thousands”) control all roads in and out of the city, but they are being shot upon by the plain clothed secret police.

The purpose of this web of media deceit, namely outright fabrications  –where soldiers are being killed by police and  “government snipers”– is to deny the existence of armed terrorist groups. The later are integrated by snipers and “plain clothed terrorists” who are shooting at the police, the Syrian armed forces and local residents.

These are not spontaneous acts of terror; they are carefully planned and coordinated attacks. In recent developments, according to a Xinhua report (April 30, 2011), armed “terrorist groups” “attacked the housing areas for servicemen” in Daraa province, “killing a sergeant and wounding two”.

While the government bears heavy responsibility for its mishandling of the military-police operation, including the deaths of civilians, the reports confirm that the armed terrorist groups had also opened fire on protesters and local residents. The casualties are then blamed on the armed forces and the police and the Bashar Al Assad government is portrayed by “the international community” as having ordered countless atrocities.

The fact of the matter is that foreign journalists are banned from reporting inside Syria, to the extent that much of the information including the number of casualties is obtained from the unverified accounts of “witnesses”.

It is in the interest of the US-NATO alliance to portray the events in Syria as a peaceful protest movement which is being brutally repressed by a “dictatorial regime”.

The Syrian government may be autocratic. It is certainly not a model of democracy but neither is the US administration, which is characterized by rampant corruption, the derogation of civil liberties under the Patriot legislation, the legalisation of torture, not to mention its “bloodless” “humanitarian wars”:

“The U.S. and its NATO allies have, in addition to U.S. Sixth Fleet and NATO Active Endeavor military assets permanently deployed in the Mediterranean, warplanes, warships and submarines engaged in the assault against Libya that can be used against Syria at a moment’s notice.

On April 27 Russia and China evidently prevented the U.S. and its NATO allies from pushing through an equivalent of Resolution 1973 against Syria in the Security Council, with Russian deputy ambassador to the UN Alexander Pankin stating that the current situation in Syria “does not present a threat to international peace and security.” Syria is Russia’s last true partner in the Mediterranean and the Arab world and hosts one of only two Russian overseas naval bases, that at Tartus. (The other being in Ukraine’s Crimea.)” (Rick Rozoff,   Libyan Scenario For Syria: Towards A US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention” directed against Syria? Global Research, April 30, 2011)

The ultimate purpose is to trigger sectarian violence and political chaos within Syria by covertly supporting Islamic terrorist organizations.

What lies ahead?

The longer term US foreign policy perspective is “regime change” and the destabilization of Syria as an independent nation-state, through a covert process of “democratization” or through military means.

Syria is on the list of “rogue states”, which are targeted for a US military intervention. As confirmed by former NATO commander General Wesley Clark the “[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan” (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark).

The objective is to weaken the structures of the secular State while justifying an eventual  UN sponsored “humanitarian intervention”. The latter, in the first instance, could take the form of a reinforced embargo on the country (including sanctions) as well as the freezing of Syrian bank assets in overseas foreign financial institutions.

While a US-NATO military intervention in the immediate future seems highly unlikely, Syria is nonetheless on the Pentagon’s military roadmap, namely an eventual war on Syria has been contemplated both by Washington and Tel Aviv.

If it were to occur, at some future date, it would lead to escalation. Israel would inevitably be involved. The entire Middle East Central Asian region from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Chinese-Afghan border would flare up.

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and Editor of He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages.  He spent a month in Syria in early 2011.

Pentagon Pushes for Build-up in Europe against Russia

November 10th, 2015 by Patrick Martin

Top Pentagon generals are backing a plan for stepped-up rotation of American ground troops to Europe that would increase by 50 percent the US forces available to NATO in the event of a confrontation with Russia.

The plan was outlined at a defense forum at the Reagan Library in southern California that Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter addressed on Saturdayafternoon, putting Russia and China on notice regarding the build-up of US military forces in Eastern Europe and the South China Sea.

In comments reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday, both General Philip Breedlove, NATO commander, and General Mark Milley, the Army chief of staff, confirmed the planned troop increase. The US military has two brigades on permanent station in Europe, totaling 7,000 soldiers, and the rotation plan would add a third brigade.

According to the Journal, General Milley proposed an even bigger build-up, saying he would like to add even more brigades to those rotating to Europe as well as “attack helicopter units, engineering teams and artillery brigades.” This would mean the effective doubling or tripling of the size of the US force deployed to Europe and available for NATO.

Many details of the rotation plan remain to be worked out, but Breedlove said decisions would be made “in the next couple of months.” Milley told the Journalthat the Army was changing its training methods to deal with what the Pentagon terms “hybrid war,” the combination of regular troops and irregular forces, as in the Russian operation in Crimea.

The Obama administration and the European Union have raised the alarm of alleged “hybrid war,” supposedly a new technique for seizing territory, to distract attention from their own aggressive intervention to overthrow the elected Yanukovych government in Ukraine in 2014 and replace it with a pro-NATO puppet regime.

The coup in Kiev, spearheaded by neo-fascist groups backed by the US State Department and CIA, sparked both the Russian intervention in Crimea—whose population is majority Russian and voted overwhelmingly to break with Ukraine—and the rebellion by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Both General Breedlove and General Milley have spoken out in the last few weeks to warn that too much attention is being paid to the new Russian operation in Syria, in support of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, at the expense of the confrontation between NATO and Russia over Ukraine and more generally along the whole extent of Russia’s western border.

“I fear that as we are dealing with Russia in Syria, the eyes are off the Donbas,” Breedlove told the Journal. “Why would we want our first negotiations on how we cooperate to be in Syria and then possibly allow the eyes of the world to accept what happened in Crimea?” Milley chimed in, “Aggression left unanswered is likely to lead to more aggression.”

At a press briefing the week before at the Pentagon, General Breedlove hailed the results of a series of military exercises, involving ground troops, naval warship and fighter jets, conducted under NATO auspices this year. The latest was Operation Trident Juncture, the largest NATO war game in 13 years.

He also cited ongoing US involvement in training troops and national guardsmen in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member. He noted that the Ukrainian soldiers “have been on the front line, under fire by the Russians every day.” He continued, “And so, they have a great experience of what it is like to be hit by modern artillery,” which they would be able to share with their US trainers.

The two generals also disclosed that the Pentagon plans more training exercises to rehearse the transfer of much larger forces across the Atlantic Ocean against Russian efforts to interfere or disrupt. Such a scenario would follow the outbreak of open warfare on the border between Russia and the eastern European countries that are members of NATO, including Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Breedlove said the Pentagon anticipated obstacles both in airlifting troops from the continental United States to Europe and transporting equipment and supplies by sea. “The Russian navy is not going to stand by and watch us reinforce Europe,” he told the Journal. “For two decades we haven’t thought about the fact that we are going to have to fight our way across the Atlantic.”

Milley cited huge Cold War military exercises such as Reforger, which simulated the transport of tens of thousands of US troops across the Atlantic. “We don’t need exercises as big as Reforger anymore,” he told the Journal. “But the concept of Reforger, where you exercise contingency forces … that is exactly what we should be doing.”

The generals called attention to the supposed Russian expansion of what the Pentagon calls anti-access, area denial forces—essentially defensive weapons such as air defense systems and anti-ship missiles—at Russian bases in Belarus and Kaliningrad. The latter is actually Russian territory, an enclave bordered by Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea, likely the first target of any NATO military operation in the region.

While the Pentagon complains about Russia’s military moves on its own territory, or at one of the handful of bases outside Russia, most of them in the territory of the former Soviet Union, the United States maintains a gargantuan worldwide empire of between 700 and 800 military bases. All other countries in the world combined have less than 30 such bases, according to one recent study. That disparity gives a much better picture of which country is the global aggressor.

The Wall Street Journal report noted the disparity between the language used by the generals and Defense Secretary Carter and the less strident rhetoric from the White House and the European Union:

“While officials have said the White House in recent weeks has asked some military leaders to temper some comments, the administration is pursuing a strategy that allows Pentagon officials the latitude to talk about bolstering defenses, while State Department diplomats try to engage with Moscow.”

There is certainly precedent for such a cynical division of labor. However, it is likely that the Pentagon is driving the discussion rather than simply playing its assigned role. The turn by US imperialism towards war, particularly with major potential adversaries such as Russia and China, inevitably strengthens tendencies towards the centralization of power in the hands of the military-intelligence apparatus.

Reflecting on the Iraq War and the Death of Ahmed Chalabi

November 10th, 2015 by Karen Kwiatkowski

Reflecting on the life and recent death of Mr. Chalabi, as Americans, it is only natural that we see him as we saw him.  Most Americans have forgotten the hideous impact the Washington regime of Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama had on the people, government and economy of Iraq.  Most never cared anyway.

The name of the current Iraqi Prime Minister may not matter, but who he is might.  Apparently, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is unreasonable optimist, with an overbroad definition of his role vis a vis the people of Iraq.  And oh, those people!  Ungrateful for the trillions in American “help,” they’ve been rioting in the streets of Baghdad, over poor utility service and corrupt government, a lack of economic recovery, and continue terror inflicted by enemies within and nearby, including the American-created ISIS.

Who could have predicted thisWho can understand it?

Haider al-Abadi recently appointed the late Mr. Chalabi to head a corruption inquiry into Iraqi state finances, his new position described as “that of an auditor of Iraq’s finances.”  Iraq’s finances.  That concept takes a moment to get one’s head around, given that it has been a puppet state, filled with Washington-approved insiders and compromised Iraqis of all religious and secular persuasions, united in a common desire for access to oil revenue and desire for power, which is to say oil revenue.

War and economic destruction brings the right mix of desperation and creativity, institutional, moral and monetary breakdown within the guise of a new glorious state to replace the old glorious state, and the conditions where the meek huddle in a refugee camp.  These environments are playgrounds for criminals, state gangs, and people like Chalabi have roamed these circles for decades.  But that doesn’t mean Iraqis or their various would-be leaders are throwing in the towel, to use an American sports idiom.  It’s their country, their territory, their homeland, they love it even as they may curse it.

Most Americans can’t understand this.  We still love our government, adore the state, crave Washington’s approval, and when a citizen complains, he or she better be ready to “Get the hell out, if you don’t like it!”   The Iraqis may be far more sophisticated in this regard than we know.

But not their government, that cruel combination of US-approved and US-tolerated political whores and survivalists, with a healthy number of the kind of political opportunists that invariably rise to the occasion, when whole systems are destroyed, murderously and chaotically.

So Prime Minister al-Abadi appoints the infamous Chalabi – still the energizer bunny of global intrigue, still standing after all these years as a political figure in Iraq, and importantly, intimately familiar with both US and Iraq politics, and intimately knowledgeable about financial crime and banking fraud – to lead a corruption investigation.

Where or where might his investigation lead?  We certainly don’t know, because at age 71, this happy “hero in error,” this well-connected conversationalist, with his vivid mind and grasp of history, a health nut and physically fit man who above all was able to enjoy life in spite of himself, had a deadly heart attack last week.

Look, many die at 71, even rich, healthy, self-actualized people.  Bad hearts happen.  So do shocks to the system, as Chalabi may have had as he began looking into the US-supported repeat Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki, al-Abadi’s predecessor in office.  Al-Malaki, of course was CIA-vetted and State Department-approved, and it was he who signed the Saddam Hussein death warrant on December 30, 2006, and ensured his immediate execution, before the interested parties (clearly the United States was not one of those) could interview and debrief Saddam Hussein about where the financial and intelligence bodies were buried.  Recall, of course, that Saddam was our man in the region, until just before he wasn’t, in August 1990.  It was a fine display of Maliki’s loyalty to the US and British leadership of the time, and his own sense of political survival.

We know Malaki remained in government, in one post or another, and was known for little things, like avoiding investigations, and firing inspector generals, especially eliminating any close looks into the oil industry – which by the way was a key area of Malaki’s efforts during his first term as Prime Minister, and his efforts with the 2007 hydrocarbon framework law.

If you want to see how financial fraud and political paybacks happen, between politicians and their corporate backers around the world, closely watching how these documents and frameworks are put together is a good place to start.  In the case of Iraq, we already know that the Iraq “Constitution” was put together in Washington, including all of the first ten amendment “rights” except the right to bear armsFunny how that worked. 

In any case, Maliki was once our man, and perhaps wasn’t again. Mike Whitney has a great explanation for the U.S. Iraq policy last year– just last year – Washington still meddling in Iraqi political affairs!

Ahmed Chalabi had a final and very interesting job for his country, a job that might have brought the Dons to their knees, and raised his national popularity among tired Iraqis in a way that had never happened before.  A position that would make perfect use of his own history as a fraudster, his deep knowledge of all sides of the issues, all flavors of the alliances, the British, the Americans, the Iraqis and the Iranians, the Sunni and the Shia, and his belief in his own ability to make a difference, most likely, like we all do, for our children and grandchildren.  He was a crook among crooks, and manipulator among greater manipulators, and a researcher into the fraud of his political enemies, and perhaps his friends too.

I have to ask, who, or what, killed Ahmed Chalabi?   His American equivalent, in some ways, is Dick Cheney, a man who has suffered many heart attacks, a man who ran in many of the same circles as Chalabi over his life, oil, war, intrigues, king-making.  When Cheney was 71, never an icon of good health habits or a positive attitude, he received a heart transplant.  As his cardiologist said, “it would not be unreasonable for an otherwise healthy 71-year-old man to expect to live another 10 years.”   I have to agree!

LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel. She blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page. She ran for Congress in Virginia’s 6th district in 2012..

The election of Canada’s Liberal Party is likely to mean a shift away from the hyper-belligerent tone Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party used on issues pertaining to Middle East policy, but few concrete changes can be expected to take place. All signs point to the incoming government continuing to play a key supporting role in U.S.-led imperialism in the Middle East.

That the Liberals intend to approach international affairs in an aggressive manner is made clear in their platform, which accuses the Conservatives of “weakening Canada’s military,” criticises Harper’s government for providing the Canadian armed forces with supposedly inadequate funding, and promises to maintain the military’s budget at current levels. The platform vows to “build a more modern, efficient, and effective military… to strengthen frontline operations,” and to “strengthen Canada’s Armed Forces” so that it can “offer international deterrence and combat capability.” These statements indicate an intention not to spend money on the military for its own sake, but to do so in order to use force.

This can be expected, furthermore, on the basis of the Liberals’ track record. When the party was in power between 1993 and 2005, it participated in U.S.-led attacks on both Afghanistan and (contrary to popular mythology) Iraq as well as countries in other regions of the world such as Haiti.

Voting in Favour of Bloodspill

Moreover, every member of the Liberal Party present in the House of Commons voted in the affirmative when the motion was put forth on whether Canada should participate in NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya. Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau voted in favour of extending Canadian military action in Libya where the NATO mission was subsequently accused of committing war crimes. These policies demonstrate the Liberals’ long-term commitment to acting as auxiliary to the U.S. ruling class in spilling blood in the Middle East.

That Canada’s new government will act similarly is also clear from statements Trudeau has made on key conflicts. Earlier this month Trudeau indicated that he will not cancel a massive arms deal signed with Saudi Arabia during the Conservatives’ tenure. The Saudis have one of the worst human rights records on earth, have invaded Bahrain to crush an uprising, have a long history of backing violent sectarians in places such as Afghanistan and Syria, and have spearheaded a U.S.-backed war in Yemen that has unleashed what the UN calls a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

Trudeau’s willingness to sell weapons to the Saudis in this context constitutes active support for their policies and signals that his party will not disrupt the key role that the Saudi state plays in the domination of the Middle East by the U.S.-led ruling class.

Iran, Israel and U.S. Imperialism

The Liberals’ attitude toward the Middle East becomes even clearer when its approach to Saudi Arabia is contrasted with its positions on Iran. When Liberal foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau expressed his party’s support for the P5 + 1 nuclear deal with Iran, he said the Liberals believed that “Iran must be held to account for its support of terrorist organizations, its longstanding human rights violations, its aggression toward Israel, as well as its nuclear programme.”

Trudeau favours re-opening Canada’s mission in Iran but, according to his Director of Communications Kate Purchase, “doing so would be dependent on several factors” because the Iranian regime allegedly “represents a threat to Israel, the Middle East, and the world.” What is clear is that, for the Liberals, relations with Iran are contingent on the latter meeting criteria put forth by the U.S. and its allies while weapons can be sold to Saudi Arabia without conditions or even pro forma criticisms being offered.

Trudeau does say that he will end Canadian participation in the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Canadian special forces, however, will remain on the ground as part of a “training” mission. As Thomas Walkom of The Toronto Star writes, U.S. President Barak Obama likely didn’t object to the removal of Canada’s six fighter jets because “What’s more important politically to Washington is that the U.S. not be the only Western country with at least some troops on the ground.” Thus, while the removal of the Canadian jets is welcome, this move should not be mistaken for a sign that the Canadian state is backing away from its ancillary role in U.S.-led imperialism.

Crucially important in this context is that Trudeau has expressed virulent hostility to the BDS movement and support for Israel even when it was in the process of massacring upward of 2,200 Palestinians in the summer of 2014. Accordingly, there is every reason to expect the Canadian state to continue contributing to the brutal oppression of Palestinians.

Canadian Policy and the Corporate Power Bloc

While the outcomes of elections can be significant, it’s worth bearing in mind that the roots of the Canadian state’s orientation toward the Middle East go far beyond any one leader or party. Systemic factors shape Canadian policy in the region and these are not determined in elections.

As MIT research fellow Jerome Klassen demonstrates in his monumentally important book Joining Empire, contemporary Canadian foreign policy under both the Liberals and the Conservatives has been guided by a corporate power bloc with vested interests in neoliberal globalization and transnational warfare whose class-based project necessitates “disciplinary militarism toward the Third World.”

This dynamic is evident in, for example, the Canadian-Israeli relationship. The ties between elites in the two countries are deep and have an economic base that transcends the bluster of Harper or Trudeau. As James Cairns shows, the Canadian ruling class has lucrative relationships with its Israeli counterpart in realms such as pharmaceuticals, energy, and weaponry.

Overcoming such links will require massive, coordinated efforts aimed at re-organizing Canada’s political-economic system at home and abroad. Until international solidarity activists living in Canada and their allies around the world can build such a movement, the U.S.-led empire and partner states such as Canada will continue to unleash violence in the Middle East.

Gregory Shupak is an author and activist who teaches media studies at the University of Guelph in Canada. This article first published on the Middle East Eye website.

The Russian Air Force in Syria has made 137 sorties over last three days, hitting 448 infrastructure facilities belonging to Islamic State and other terrorists groups in the country, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

“Over the last three days, Russian jets made 137 sorties in the Syrian Arab Republic and destroyed 448 facilities of terrorist infrastructure in the provinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib, Latakia, Raqqa, Hama and Homs,” Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Defense Ministry, was cited as saying by Tass.

In Latakia province, the Russian warplanes struck a mortar position of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group.

A direct hit led to the destruction of four mortars and an ammunition depot,” Konashenkov said.

More Jabhat al-Nusra facilities were targeted in Hama province, where a terrorist repair shop with armored vehicles inside was destroyed.

An airstrike by a Su-24M bomber destroyed a hangar with four tanks and one APC inside,” the Defense Ministry spokesman said.

In Idlib, the Russian military jets leveled a major command center of Jabhat al-Nusra, which coordinated the terrorists’ actions in both Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

“In the suburbs of Zerba, in the Idlib Province, a large Jabhat al-Nusra command center was destroyed. The facility was established over the course of the last three weeks and it was well camouflaged,” Konashenkov said.

After the drones carried out reconnaissance, the Su-24 plane struck the facility with a guided KAb-500 bomb, he added.

Russian airstrikes have targeted an Islamic State munitions warehouse near the Syrian capital, Damascus, which hosted makeshift unguided missiles.

“In the area of Mont Mgar, Damascus Province, Islamic State’s warehouse of unguided missiles was destroyed. That warehouse had regularly supplied militants with unguided missiles that were used to systematically bombard the residential areas of Damascus,” Konashenkov said.

According to the spokesman, major arms caches belonging to Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists were also hit in the Raqqah and Homs provinces.

The intensity of Russian sorties was lower in the past few days, as some planes were assigned to reconnaissance tasks, Konashenkov said.

They gathered more information on terrorist targets, the locations which were provide to Russia by representatives of the Syrian opposition, the information center in Baghdad and the commanders of the Syrian army, he added.

“The intensity of our air group’s sorties has been below the normal level in Syria in the past few days. However, the number of targets per flight increased,” he said.

The massive Russian air campaign has led to “significant changes” in the tactics employed by the terrorists in all parts of Syria, the spokesman stressed.

“Armed groups aren’t acting as blatantly as they used to even a month ago,” Konashenkov said.

“They’re constantly changing routes for arms and ammunition supply, which are mainly carried out at night with all the necessary masking,” he added.

According to the spokesman, the terrorists are trying to implement so-called mobile defense tactics, regularly relocating their positions “in an attempt to hide from strikes, by both Syrian government troops and Russian air forces.”

Russia began carrying out daily airstrikes against Islamic State and other terror groups in Syria at the end of September after a request from the country’s president, Bashar Assad.

According to preliminary results, the party of the Nobel Laureate may win up to 70 percent of parliamentary seats. The maximum they can win constitutionally is 75 percent. As the results of Myanmar’s first free elections elections trickled in, the ruling party conceded defeat to Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, which has already won more than enough votes to form a government.

The country is voting for its government for the first time in over 50 years, though a quarter of parliamentary seats are reserved for the military. Suu Kyi, who spent years under house arrest, cannot become president because she has children with foreign passports, but she said that she would influence the president regardless.

Her party, the National League of Democracy, or NLD, told Reuters that it won over 80 percent of the vote in densely populated areas and over 65 percent in two of the seven states. Voter turnout is estimated at about 80 percent, with no reported violence. The NLD, though, filed a complaint on a few voting irregularities. Still, the most powerful politicians have a week showing in the preliminary results. Some have not yet acknowledged the numbers.

NLD supporters rallied at its headquarters in Yangon gathered to cheer on the victory of their party, which has won 16 of the 17 parliamentary seats announced so far. The remaining 481 seats will be announced throughout the day until all official results are released at 6 p.m. local time.

However, one segment of the population that would not be taking part in Sunday’s election are Rohingya Muslims. A primarily Buddhist country, Myanmar denies its Muslim minority—numbering over 1.1 million people—citizenship and basic rights. Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar in recent years as a result of government-sanctioned repression, living as stateless people abroad. More than 140,000 are also internally displaced within Myanmar itself, the victims of widespread discrimination and violent mob attacks. Suu Kyi, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize, has been criticized for her relative silence concerning what human rights organizations call a campaign of ethnic cleansing by Myanmar’s Buddhist majority. Unwilling to alienate the majority, she has blamed “both sides” for violence.

On the 19th May this year, David Cameron, triumphant from a largely unexpected general election win a week earlier promised to push on with the EU referendum. The Guardian headline of 19th May read “Cameron to publish EU referendum bill one day after Queen’s speech.” That was 27th May.

On the 10th October this year, The Daily Telegraph headlined “David Cameron’s four key demands to remain in the EU revealed  and wroteDavid Cameron and his Cabinet allies name their price for Britain to stay part of Europe”. The article covers exactly what David Cameron sees as a vision for Britain.

The Telegraph continued “Details of the Prime Minister’s negotiation plan remain secret. In a tactic that has infuriated EU politicians, Downing Street has refused to send a written list of Mr Cameron’s objectives to Brussels.” And, “Diplomats have been sent to win support from 27 European countries for a new deal between Britain and Brussels ahead of an “in-out” referendum. A new campaign will start on Monday (12th October) in an attempt to persuade voters to choose to stay in the EU.

The Key points that names the price for Britain to stay part of of Europe are:

  1. Forcing Brussels to make “an explicit statement” that Britain will be kept out of any move towards a European superstate. This will require an exemption for the UK from the EU’s founding principle of “ever closer union”.
  2. An “explicit statement” that the euro is not the official currency of the EU, making clear that Europe is a “multi-currency” union. Ministers want this declaration in order to protect the status of the pound sterling as a legitimate currency that will always exist.
  3. A new “red card” system to bring power back from Brussels to Britain. This would give groups of national parliaments the power to stop unwanted directives being handed down and to scrap existing EU laws.
  4. A new structure for the EU itself. The block of 28 nations must be reorganised to prevent the nine countries that are not in the eurozone being dominated by the 19 member states that are, with particular protections for the City of London.

On Saturday 7th November, The Independent ran with the headline “EU referendum: David Cameron to warn against accepting status quo as he issues wish list of demands“.

In their article, presumably approved by the prime Minister’s office, it said “This will include broad demands of greater sovereignty for national parliaments, increasing economic competitiveness, keeping Britain away from the notion of “ever closer union”, and reducing migrants’ rights to benefits.”

The Independent said  that the PM’s office also said – “This wish list of changes to the terms of Britain’s membership will be handed to the EU when he (Cameron) makes his speech.”

According to a No 10 source, the “temperature is increasing, things are stepping up” in negotiations with the EU over reform.” The source said the UK was entering a period of “intensive political contact with member states”. From that we should assume that negotiators on the British side were working towards the four key points outlined a month earlier.

Apart from the confusing element of what details may or may not be issued to A) the general public and B) Brussels –  there is, in the space of just about one month a huge shift in this policy.

All of a sudden there is no “forcing Brussels” to make an explicit statement about anything, let alone Britain’s exclusion from the EU superstate. There is no mention of the demand that the Euro is not the official currency of the EU or indeed explicitly confirming the status of the pound Sterling. There is no mention of bringing back powers to Britain and scrapping existing EU laws and no mention that the 19 member states within the eurozone cannot dominate over the nine that are not.

The only point in the “Price of Britain to stay in Europe” is the requirement of an exemption for the UK from the EU’s founding principle of “ever closer union.”

Some newspapers opined that David Cameron won the 2015 election based on a manifesto of lies and deception.

He stood accused of the denial that child tax credits would be cut. He denied child benefit cuts beyond a two-year freeze, he redefined the timing of tax-free child care, reversed a pledge for greater government transparency after launch of the review into freedom of information (a charter for government cover-ups), and the list of U-Turns in the previous parliament are legendary that includes; no frontline cuts to public services, protection of the NHS budget, more police officers, keeping VAT at 17.5%, keeping education maintenance allowances, etc.

It is surprising that elections take place at all with the total collapse in confidence of politicians. Politicians are not just the least trusted people and profession in society but the most likely to outright lie for self-serving interest according to an Ipsos Survey.

The Conservative party strategy to gain power in 2015 was based around a fear and smear campaign, the current campaign of aggression to discredit Jeremy Corbyn is both comical and ludicrous so far ahead of the 2020 election and the Scottish referendum was dubbed “hope over fear” after big business and even the Bank of England threatened isolation, unemployment and capital flight.

Now US president Barack Obama has weighed in, as if that means anything to the public. Obama has said that Britain must stay in the European Union to continue to have a strong influence on the world stage. He said that Britain was America’s “best and most important partner” because of its willingness to go beyond its “immediate self-interests to make this a more orderly, safer world.” In itself, this is a statement the British people should be very wary of and a veiled threat if ever there was one as it means, ‘toe the line or our deal is off.’

Inevitably, the campaign to accede to America’s demands and the corporatocracy will centre around fear. Expect more rhetoric, deception and propaganda particularly focused on national and economic security. In other words terrorism and corporations who stand to benefit from TTIP.

The general public would vote about 37% ‘OUT’ today but this vote has gained considerable ground by around 9% from June to September this year. The ‘IN’ camp currently stands at 45% and this is an all time high. There is much for both sides to play for.

Telegraph Poll Tracker 39% OUT / 52% IN

YouGov Poll Tracker 35% OUT / 45% IN

A terrific news report by Jonathan Marshall at Consortium News provides the first-ever presentation in the West of the event that sparked the demonstrations that sparked the Syrian civil war, and of the entire origin of that war.

Unlike so many online ‘news’ reports that are merely authoritarian trash because they don’t link to any of their sources (they rely instead upon dumb readers’ faith or trust in the ‘reporter’ or in the publisher, such as The New York Times or Fox News), this one from Marshall is top-notch: not only does it provide intelligently skeptical readers with instantaneous access to documentation for each one of its key points, but those sources are credible ones. Taken all together, the sources, and Marshall’s presentation of them, constitute a solid historical account of how the war to bring down Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, actually started. It didn’t start by Assad’s dumping (as U.S. President Barack Obama loves to claim) “barrel bombs,” upon merely peaceful protesters in Syria. It started actually in Washington, years before that.

The Obama Administration itself was taking advantage of not only the “Arab Spring” protests throughout much of the Arab world, but, specifically, of an ongoing economic catastrophe in Syria that had started five years before the anti-Assad demonstrations did: an extended drought. Here is how the source that Marshall linked to describes it, two years before the “Arab Spring” even began:

In the past three years, 160 Syrian farming villages have been abandoned near Aleppo as crop failures have forced over 200,000 rural Syrians to leave for the cities. This news is distressing enough, but when put into a long-term perspective, its implications are staggering: many of these villages have been continuously farmed for 8000 years.

That source had been published on 16 January 2010. The drought continued on; the situation only got even worse right into 2011 and up through the public demonstrations in Aleppo that started the war. There were no “barrel bombs” then. There was instead surging economic dislocation. Obama merely took advantage of it. He knew that it was coming, and he planned so as to exploit it.

In fact, a wikileaked confidential 26 November 2008 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to the CIA and other associated agencies referred to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization by saying:

UNFAO Syria Representative Abdullah bin Yehia briefed econoff and USDA Regional Minister-Counselor for Agriculture on what he terms the “perfect storm,” a confluence of drought conditions with other economic and social pressures that Yehia believes could undermine stability in Syria. Because he is working with such limited resources, Yehia plans to target FAO assistance to small-holding farmers in the hardest-hit province of northeast Syria, Al Hasakah. (Note: This province shares a northern border with Turkey and a southern border with Iraq. Mosul is approximately 100km from Al Hasakah province.) Because the UN appeal has, thus far, not been entirely successful, Yehia has had to prioritize aid recipients.

That was institutional U.S. federal government knowledge three months prior to Obama’s becoming President. Obama as the President-elect at the time was privy to such information. Once he got into the White House, he needed to understand what was going on in Syria. Was it dumb of Yehia to trust the U.S. government with this information? Was he naive about the type of people who sit in America’s Oval Office nowadays? Is a deer in the forest naive to move when a hunter is stalking it? Is the deer supposed to just stand still, instead? Barack Obama during his electoral campaign had provided the public with no reason to suspect that he might have been harboring aggressive designs against the Syrian government, nor even against the Russian government that has been supporting it. Yehia was just seeking help, like the deer in fear.

Obama knew what was going on. He knew that the Syrian situation wasn’t just “barrel bombs” showing up suddenly out of nowhere, from no cause, and for no reason. He knew more than was published to the public in the American press. His repeated references to “barrel bombs” after the situation in Syria blew up, suggests that he takes advantage of the fact that the American public isn’t aware of such facts. It suggests that he’s playing the American public as trusting gulls, rather than as citizens.

In fact, America’s own National Academy of Sciences recently published a study (17 March 2015), “Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought,” which opens (though propagandistically blaming Assad as having contributed to the drought):

“Before the Syrian uprising that began in 2011, the greater Fertile Crescent experienced the most severe drought in the instrumental record. For Syria, a country marked by poor governance and unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies, the drought had a catalytic effect, contributing to political unrest.”

(Of course, Obama doesn’t claim to be bombing Assad’s forces because Assad had ‘unsustainable agricultural and environmental policies.’) In the section of that report “Significance,” the investigators-propagandists close:

“We conclude that human influences on the climate system are implicated in the current Syrian conflict.”

So, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, in this recent study, is arguing, in effect, that Syria should have a different government. Perhaps the failed state that Obama insists upon producing there would be the ‘solution’? To what extent is the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (its PNAS) nowitself  politicized, nationalistic, propagandistic — that they are retrospectively publishing something like this, which fails to criticize the U.S. Government itself for having turned down the Syrian Government’s years-long pleadings for assistance on the matter? The PNAS study ignores this. Instead, it argues only that, “The rapidly growing urban peripheries of Syria, marked by illegal settlements, overcrowding, poor infrastructure, unemployment, and crime, were neglected by the Assad government and became the heart of the developing unrest.”

Wow, the NAS argues that Assad should have been more dictatorial! That would have helped prevent the effects of the drought? Does nothing that comes from the U.S. Establishment possess credibility anymore — publishing garbage like this inPNAS?  Is Assad more of a dictator than Obama? Does the U.S. National Academy of Sciences really think he should have been? How absurd does the propaganda need to be in order for the U.S. to become a laughingstock to the entire world for its ‘democratic’ pretensions? After all: it’s not a democracy. And the one scientific study that has been done of that has confirmed that it’s not. So: the U.S. now insists upon installing ‘democracy’ in Syria, where all polls show that Assad would win any free election (and the latest polled finding is that he’d win at least 55% of the votes) but Obama insists that he must be ousted, so that there can be ‘democracy’ there?

Marshall’s news report about the origin of the Syrian war was published at Consortium News on 20 July 2015, but was picked up and reported to a broader audience only at a very few news-sites, each no larger (or even smaller) in audience-size than is the publisher (Consortium News) itself. Only RINF, CommonDreams and Truthout republished it. Reddit posted that story’s headline, “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War,” linking to the Consortium News report, but no one up-marked it there, and still no reader-comments have been posted to it there. It was just another voice of real news unheard in the wilderness of propaganda that causes an individual tree to be ignored among the forest.

Thus: This blockbuster three-month-old news-report still remains news in the U.S., even today.

Marshall’s news report was one of the most important of all news reports on the Syrian war, and it certainly deserves larger public distribution than that. So:

Here is his historical account of the origin of the Syrian war.

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

Whether this tragedy was directly linked to the war in Syria or not, there is no doubt that the downing of Kogalymavia Flight 9268 was the main event of the past week. Since I have covered this issue elsewhere, I shall not return to it in detail again here. I will just repeat here my personal conclusion that this tragedy will not impact the Russian operation in Syria or affect the political situation inside Russia. As for the cause of the tragedy, there are increasing indications that both western and Russian security services have come to a tentative conclusion that it was, indeed, a bomb.

On Friday, the head of the Federal Security Service has recommended canceling all flights to Egypt and the evacuation of all Russian citizens in Egypt (roughly 70,000 people). Several EU countries have also taken similar measures.

There has, however, been another interesting but less noticed development this week in the Russian operation in Syria: the Russians are quietly but very effectively “digging in”.

For the first time, Russia has officially declared that air-defense units were also deployed with the Russian forces. Until now, the main burden for air defense had fallen upon the Russian Navy and, specifically, the ships equipped with the naval variant of the S-300 missile system. This was not an optimal solution not only because it put the burden of defending land based assets from the sea, tying down the Russian navy expeditionary force, but also because this solution only “covered” about half of Syria.

The use of the Moskva guided missile cruiser was a stop-gap measure designed to protect the Russian force in Latakia, but now it appears that dedicated air defense units have been deployed. These are most likely the land-based versions of the S-300 missile, possibly in combination with point defense systems such as the Pantsir-S1 and other, shorter range, MANPADs such as the 9K338 Igla-S and the advanced 9K33 Verba.

There are also reports indicating that the Russians have deployed very sophisticated electronic warfare units including top-of-the line Krasukhka-4 EW systems which are amongst the most sophisticated mobile EW systems ever built and they are reportedly capable of jamming AWACS and satellites in space. Add to this the presense of SU-30SMs in the skies, and you have a force capable of controlling the Syrian skies.

When asked about this Russian officials gave a cute reply: they said that these air-defense systems were deployed in case of a hijacked being used to attack the Russian airbase in Latakia. Right.

The real purpose of these efforts is becoming obvious: Russia is trying to deny the US the control of the skies over Syria and, so far, there is very little the USA can do about it (short of starting WWIII). Furthermore, the Russians are also sending a message to Turkey, France and Israel – all countries which have, at different times and in different ways, indicated that they wanted to use the Syrian airspace for their own purposes.

There are now also reports of Russian special forces being sent to Syria. The WSJ suggested that these forces could be given the tasks of liaising with Syrian intelligence and acting as forward air controllers (FACs). I also personally see another important task for these units: to pre-position hidden fuel caches for the Russian helicopters should there be a need to send them to rescue downed Russian pilots in eastern Syria (Russian Spetsnaz units did create such fuel cashes in southern Afghanistan during the war).

Take a look at the combat radius of Russian helicopters in Syria. Ideally, a search and rescue mission would employ both a dedicated attack helicopter such as the Mi-24 and a multi-role helicopter such as the Mi-17, the former provider cover and protection for the latter. It would also be possible to have SU-25s protecting Mi-17s, but the best possible version would be to have a covert refueling base somewhere deep inside nominally Daesh territory to extend the range of the rescue teams.

Some western sources believe that Russian special forces might also be given direct action missions. This is absolutely possible and such missions are well within the capabilities of the Spetsnaz GRU. Still, there primary mission is a special reconnaissance one and while they might be used to destroy a high value Daesh target (material or human), we will probably never hear about it.

What is certain is that the Russians are steadily increasing their capabilities in Syria and that their presence is rapidly growing from a small and vulnerable force to a much more balanced and capable one.

The Syrians, in the meanwhile, might be achieving their first real successes in their counter offensive. While the Syrian government forces have been slowly pushing back Daesh on many fronts, this progress had, until now, failed to yield an operational breakthrough. This might be happening right now with the much awaited reopening of the highway to Aleppo.

The main problem for the Russians remains the fact that the Syrian military has not been able to capitalize on the Russian intervention. This is due to a combination of factors including the fact that the Syrian military is over-streched and unable to concentrate enough forces in one location to achieve a significant breakthrough and the fact that Daesh fighters are well dug-in and are, by all accounts, resisting with determination and skill. Still, the Russian air campaign is degrading the Daesh capabilities and it is possible that, eventually, this will result in a sudden collapse of the Daesh lines in a critical part of the front. For example, the Syrian army is, reportedly, only a few miles from liberating the Kuweyres military airbase and even though its progress is very slow it is likely that the Syrians will eventually break the Daesh siege of this crucial objective. Likewise, in Djobar neighborhood of Damascus is gradually being clearly in, again, a slow moving but successful operation.

All in all, I am very cautiously optimistic and I keep hoping for an operational victory for the Syrians. If it does not happen, the Iranians and Hezbollah will have to move much larger forces in.

On November 8, the Wall Street Journal headlined “US Military Officials Aim to Bolster Troop Presence in Europe” – to deter a nonexistent Russian threat.

Pentagon commanders “proposed sending more forces into Europe on a rotating basis to build up the American presence and are stepping up training exercises to counter potential Russian interference with troop transfers in the event of a crisis with Moscow,” said the Journal.

NATO commander General Philip Breedlove said decisions on greater US troop deployments will be made “in the next couple of months.”

Army chief of staff General Mark Milley said training is focusing on countering (nonexistent) Russian threats. “Aggression left unanswered is likely to lead to more aggression,” he blustered.

“NATO countries are discussing increasing the number of troops stationed in members bordering Russia and putting them under formal alliance command,” said the Journal.

The next talks on that idea are likely to come in early December, when foreign ministers gather and begin discussing proposals to be formalized at a Warsaw summit in July.

DOD officials and Pentagon commanders are especially hawkish. Russia bashing continues unabated. Breedlove claims cooperating with Moscow diplomatically means accepting its agenda in Ukraine.

The Journal cited unnamed Navy officials, saying Russia’s increasing military modernization and strength aims “make US steps to reinforce European defenses more difficult. Russian submarine patrols and exercises have increased dramatically.”

Its “increasing what military leaders call anti-access, area denial forces – air defense systems, surface-to-surface missiles, antiship weaponry -that can be used to keep opposing military equipment at arm’s length.”

According to Breedlove,  America may “have to fight our way across the Atlantic.” to deter Russia.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.


Africa has been severely setback with the imperialist destruction of Libya along with the interference in the democratic processes in Egypt and Tunisia.

Nearly five years ago a rebellion erupted in southern Tunisia where a young vendor set himself on fire due to the horrendous economic challenges facing post-colonial states. This rebellion soon spread throughout the North African country resulting in the toppling of longtime dictator Zen Abidene Ben Ali by mid-January of 2011.

Two weeks after the installation of an interim government in Tunisia, the unrest spread to Egypt leading to the forced resignation of the-then President Hosni Mubarak. The following year in 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood allied Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) were declared victorious in national presidential elections.

Demonstrations spread to Algeria and later Yemen during 2011 bringing about different outcomes. The much championed rebellions in both Tunisia and Egypt did not lead to the consolidation of progressive forces which could seize power and establish a political order committed to genuine revolutionary transformation and socialism.

Of course when a rebellion erupted in Libya on February 17, a more ominous trend was soon revealed. The character of this unrest was decisively counter-revolutionary targeting the Jamahiriya system under Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

When the armed opposition groups were not able to sustain their rampage in the face of growing resistance to the western-backed counter-revolutionaries by the loyalist troops, the United States and its NATO allies engineered two United Nations Security Council resolutions which in essence provided a pseudo-legal rationale for the blanket bombing of Libya. This bombing operation continued from March 19 to October 31, laying waste to large sections of the country, destroying the infrastructure of the Libyan state, breaking down all of the advancements made since the September 1, 1969 Revolution.

Today Libya is a major source of instability throughout North and West Africa leading a trail of death and destruction into the Middle East all the way down to Southern Asia. These developments since 2011 involving imperialist militarism have compounded the already existing crises in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. Consequently, we are witnessing the worst international humanitarian disaster since the conclusion of World War II. Well over 50 million have been displaced both internally as well as outside of their national borders.

Contiguous states in Africa and the Middle East combined with European countries in the South and East of the continent are bearing the brunt of the migrant flows which are ongoing. The racism and xenophobia inherited from the collapse of socialism in the COMECON sector is illustrated through the hatred, brutality and marginalization of the hundreds of thousands flooding into Europe and the millions who are destined to come.

In Egypt, a military-turned-civilian regime has been in power since July 2013 continuing the decades-long subsidization of the neo-colonial state by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon. Neighboring Tunisia has been largely returned to the political collaborators of the Ben Ali regime taking its place as well in the so-called Washington-led “war on terrorism.”

The Current Crisis is Product of U.S. Imperialist Foreign Policy

At present the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is escalating its deployments across the continent through direct intervention and partnerships with individual states and regional organizations. Emboldened by its operations in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, imperialism is spreading its tentacles deeper into the continent.

An AFRICOM base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti at Camp Lemonier is being refurbished for the expanding mission involving thousands of Pentagon troops. Airstrips are being constructed in West, Central and Eastern Africa to ostensibly assist African Union member-states in the global fight against “terrorism.”

Efforts aimed at the creation of an African Standby Force (ASF), which was first advanced by Pan-Africanist and Socialist leader of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in the early 1960s, and later by Col. Muammar Gaddafi in the 2000s, have now been realized absent of its revolutionary orientation. Recent exercises for the ASF in South Africa has prompted articles even within the bourgeois press noting the dependent character of such operations which are relying upon funding from the Pentagon and their European Union (EU) allies in NATO.

Any continental military force aimed at fostering peace and stability in Africa must be independent of imperialism both politically and economically. Otherwise such efforts will serve as an appendage of the Pentagon-NATO forces and consequently serving the interests of neo-colonialism as opposed to anti-imperialism and the much needed socialist future.

The Unravelling of a False Recovery and the Imperatives for Socialist Solutions

This crisis of imperialist militarism is coupled with the emerging debt dilemma resulting from the ongoing economic decline which originated from the advanced capitalist states. Despite the plethora of articles and reports over the last few years hailing what is described as the phenomenal economic growth in Africa, these states at the conclusion of 2015 are witnessing a recrudescence of higher debt service ratios, joblessness, a rapid devaluation in currencies partly stemming from the decline in oil and other commodity prices due to capitalist over-production.

At the same time this resurfacing of a monumental debt burden is giving rise to militant working class struggles in the areas of industrial actions, student unrest and a re-examination of socialism. In Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, three of the states in Africa which have been designated at “emerging economies”, workers and youth are engaging in strikes and mass demonstrations demanding action to halt the rapid decline in living standards fueled by inflation and the diminishing rate of foreign direct investment.

Nonetheless, this developing crisis which is not limited to Africa but extends to all of the oil producing states from Russia and Iran to Venezuela and Brazil, to name only a few, requires an ideological and political response. The lessons of Egypt and Tunisia instruct us that any uprising must be informed by anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist politics otherwise the Libyan model will spread throughout the continent leaving the course of the struggle much more complex and burdensome.

Rising oil and mineral production without a transformation of the relations of production within the emerging economies will only benefit imperialism in the short and medium term. What is required is a resolution of the contradiction between the capitalist modes of production and the social relations of production.

The only solution is socialist revolution throughout the region where the workers, farmers and youth can determine their future without the domination of western financial institutions bolstered by the CIA, the Pentagon and NATO forces. A break with the world capitalist system will heighten the socio-economic crisis in the so-called western advanced industrialized states where workers and youth are also subjected to higher level of exploitation and political repression.

These ruling class interests based in the West depend upon the acquisition of natural resources and labor from the oppressed nations on the terms set by the capitalist corporations and financial institutions. Concurrently, the workers and oppressed inside the imperialist states are being required to sacrifice their standard living through the decline in wages, the evisceration of public education and social services along with the theft of pensions funds and the transferal of public assets to private firms and authorities.

Therefore, the basis for international revolution exists. We must link the struggles of the workers and the oppressed globally. U.S. imperialism, the center of all exploitation and degradation in the today’s world, must be brought under the control of the majority of the people. It is only through this revolutionary transformation that genuine peace, stability and mutual cooperation among the nations of the world can be achieved.

This address was delivered at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Educational Center in Harlem, New York City during the annual National Workers World Conference on November 7-8, 2015. Abayomi Azikiwe presented this report on the present situation in Africa and the Middle East at the panel on the anti-imperialist struggle. 

The situation in the DPR has been slowly getting worse. The settlements of Zhabunki, Ozeryanovka and Panteleymonovka and the area of “Volvo Center” in Donetsk were fired with mortars of 82 mm calibre from the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the sector of the Troitskoe settlement. The Zaitsevo, Shirokaya Balka settlements around Gorlovka also came under fire.

Over the past week the DPR military have recorded 93 violations of the ceasefire regime with mortars and MRLS use. More than 310 mortar shells of 82 mm and 61 MRLS BM-21 “Grad” projectiles of 120 mm calibre were fired on the settlements of the republic. The OSCE documented the reports about these facts.

Four Ukrainian units of D-30 were observed in the area of Luganskoe settlement and the positions of 2 units of MRLS BM-21 “Grad” were obsrved in the town of Dzerzhinsk.

Also, the DPR intelligence detected the location of 4 self-propelled artillery systems just near the settlement of Novgorodskoe and the arrival of battle tanks T-64 “Bulat” in the settlement of Krasnogorovka.

Separately, the LPR forces report that there haven’t been any violations of the ceasefire at the LPR contact line.

“My mother was murdered on this spot.” Words mentioned by the bar tender, Dave, tattooed, with very pleasant voice and anthropology major, to new patrons at San Fransisco’s Emperor Norton’s Booze Club between Larkin and Turk in the Tenderloin.

Not his mother; rather, the mother of a visiting patron who did own a previous incarnation of this bar in the early 1970s. Death comes to us all, but death in the Tenderloin is truly one of merciless chance.

The Tenderloin is a locality of gristle, tragedy and ruin.

The Tenderloin is also the prism of tenderness and character, moments where torn souls find a community.

It teams with life, as damaged as it might be; it is populated with broken matter and characters who are the greatest exposition of US individualism. This is not the pioneer spirit, so much as the pioneer dispirit. This is the Pilgrim’s Regression, the project of empire in disintegration, faith and the New World, degraded, if not shattered.

While sophisticated drone projects directed from American soil kill individuals who have no names for the Tenderloin locals, the residents here are also nameless to the rest of America. Their only identity cards are needles, used, lingering like lonely subjects on corners. Or cardboard mustered like fortifications around their gathered positions on the streets of their choice, a locality on Larkin, a spot on Eddy, a perch of determination on O’Farrell. Or shit heaped up on sidewalks; blankets infested with bacteria and purgatory’s whiff; broken bottles, an encyclopaedia of detritus.

Emperor Norton’s Booze Club is the successor to a range of bars stretching back to 1925. But we are not to know. Dave thinks so, but then again, he may not know. The deco element is still present, overlooking the bar like a Greek god of frivolous interference. The prior name was Deco, a place of stunning dinginess, drag acts, and casual fucking. The windows always seemed tinted, with the occasional betrayal of Stephan Elliot’s The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert peeking through. Flesh freed, blood run wild.

The new management prefers clean propriety. The quest to keep the gay spirit lives, albeit in seemingly more curtailed, less raunchy circumstances. In truth, the façade of propriety has decorated the entire bar. There are old photos of the city, a tribute to the intersections between Larkin and Turk. Buildings destroyed by fire and earthquake, and buildings which have been protected by regulations.

Dave cuts a fine figure of gay lucidity. He is Mr Conviviality in tight singlet, generous tattoos, and swift on the cocktail make. His Bloody Marys sport asparagus and a beautiful, lava colour. His mimosas seduce the regulars. And his education stacks up in the chatty stakes, an anthropology bachelors and masters, disillusioned with academic incest and echo chambers. He now prefers examining the various facets of sexuality.

He finds himself serving Weasel. That is not his name, but his description. His hair resembles an overgrown bush, an assemblage of untidiness. He hits the shots with thirst. Tequila. Rum. More tequila. Even another patron palms off his tequila to Weasel. He is driving. “That’s why I don’t drive,” squeaks Weasel.

Weasel is an aficionado of narcotics, claiming the importance of purity. Mind altering substances are fine as long as you are a perfectionist. Many in San Francisco tend to have professorial chairs in mind altering substances. “You can get good stuff from the Hell’s Angels,” he surmises. They do the best. They know the best. The rest are amateurish masturbators without a clue, and their product is bound to poison your veins and screw with your vitals.

A regular comes in, a lean, taut girl with a skateboard, working at Libby Jane café over the weekend. She asks for a California Lager. “Is it $3?,” she inquires of Dave. “No,” comes the response. “Happy hour only from Monday to Friday. $4.” Response: “Does the fact that I just got off work count?” Weasel chimes in. “You’ve got to give it to her.”

The “Happy Hour” concept is a stunningly long seven hours – 12 to 7 in the afternoon on weekdays. In other countries – Britain, Australia, New Zealand – happy hours are generally confined to the hour, a literal, biblical reading that combines neither profit nor pleasure in a fine cocktail. In San Francisco, and other parts of the US, happy hour has blown up, pluralising and multiplying with obese intensity. This city, in truth, is a long happy hour, the Pan complex of eternal youth as thoroughly developed as the Silicon Valley complex.

Then comes in Tony. Stocky, well fed, cranky, curmudgeonly Tony, of small business fame and advice, with his radio show which he claims is heard by over a hundred thousand listeners. Tony is hell bent on throwing bile on his aunt, a woman who knows how to set him on edge. At 78, she seems a formidable woman of crankiness and determination.

Tony has retreated in frustration to the Boozeland, having left his abode in the Nob Hill, Tenderloin area which he claims is an unimpeachable pigsty. He does not cook, and expects the women who have pampered him in life to cook. This bar is where he can do some writing, though he laments one vital change: “I knew this place had changed when someone punched me in the shoulder and called me ‘Dude’.” Dave, the bar tender, is interlocutor, confessor, priest. He listens, patiently, to Tony’s reactionary summations. He gets the Mimosas, filled with wisdom and courage.

The change of patrons was the outcome of a management change. Deco had been on the market for years. It was only gobbled up two years ago, when new brooms and clothes came to redo the entire structure. Tony’s concerns seem to be a general lamentation about fidelity gone wrong, to the tried and true principles of gay San Francisco, and old San Francisco; gentrification fed by Silicon Valley money is filling the city on an overly supplied drip. Rental prices are skyrocketing, and the SF bubble is being fed by vanity and technology dollars, the price of supreme and sometimes daft innovation.

Observations about this eventually come back to that contested term of community. That the Tenderloin has one is undeniable. Amidst the spittle, released bowel contents, and expunged matter, lies a community that is clinging on to dear life. Ashen faces, psychiatric disorders, and unhappy souls may not be the bricks and mortar for such a community, but they exist.

As a reminder to this, the bar features shirts and photos to Leroy, a shrine below the television screen. The late Leroy was born in June 1934, supposedly a Tenderloin character. One of his sayings finds itself on the back of the shirt. “We may not always win but we never lose.” Touching, slurred nonsense.

A dog swings by (yes, a canine friendly bar) and sniffs Tony’s bag with instinctive hunger. A Vietnamese sandwich holds out hope for the quadruped, and those sandwiches, we are told by the queues of people who seek them daily, are something to die for. “Don’t fuck with me, or I will fuck with your dog,” he snarls to the owner – and his dog. Tony gets another Mimosa, tripling his drinks inventory. “I was not going to,” he ruefully concedes. Dave knows and wonders if he is up to partying later.

He might have. It was time to go to Harry Harrington’s on the next block, leaving the gay readers, the Alaskan recluses, the Eurasian beauties, the singing poseurs. Then have a “disco nap,” the term used for the religious party goer before the long night into the valley of lingering pleasures and dancing hopes. The Tenderloin will always have its followers, its adherents, the stubbornly faithful. Shattered lives will always have their Jerusalem, and Damascus conversions will always be found on Larkin. And Leroy will be remembered.

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

In recent years, Britain seems to have positioned itself as a world leader in police state and mass surveillance technology. But at what cost to its residents’ freedom?

The control agenda is now a naked reality. It’s hitting us from so many different angles, and yet, aside from some topical reporting by UK publications like The Guardian and The Independent, themainstream conversation on this important issue continues to be woefully inadequate (especially by the BBC) in both characterizing the true extent of present situation, the scope of the agenda, and offering a remedy to it…

Alternative news outlet UK Column has led the way in this conversation so far, and this week they posed this important question for viewers:

The relationship between the individual and the state is being changed. Theresa May’s new investigatory powers bill is one aspect of that. It’s alright, though, because if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear. But how does that apply to government?

Watch this key report:

This week, U.S. President Barack Obama is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time since the U.S. signed a deal with Iran.

Two weeks ago, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez traveled to Israel to meet with Netanyahu. The timing of these meetings is no coincidence.

Both Hernandez and Netanyahu are in the throes of popular uprisings against the tyranny and corruption of their regimes. Indigenous peoples, working peoples and social and economic justice activists in Honduras and Palestine are taking to the streets and exercising their rights and duties to resist domination and dispossession.

Behind the authoritarian regimes is the government, corporate and banking milieus of the U.S. government, also currently experiencing its own version of popular uprising. By focusing on the relationship between Honduras and Israel, one can locate the role of U.S. foreign and trade policy in repressing democracy abroad and at home and the impact it has on the Earth and her peoples.

The proliferation of neo-liberal policies in Latin America has been coordinated through American emissaries of the U.S. and Israeli-backed military-industrial complexes. For decades, U.S. free trade agreements with Israel—including the very first Free Trade Area Agreement the U.S. ever signed with another country signed in 1985—have provided Israel with billions of dollars a year in “humanitarian” and “security” assistance while also guaranteeing Israeli “ownership” over any technologies it develops. These technologies have been tested and employed against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Indeed, Israel uses the “success” of its weaponry against the Palestinians in regularly timed operations to tout its effectiveness. The U.S. funds this technological development and then also permits Israel exclusive rights to this technology, which it then purchases from Israel, as it did with airport x-ray machines developed by Elbit for Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport and used at various checkpoints between Israel and Gaza. This technology also includes weaponry, tactics and even methods of detention and interrogation tested on Palestinians and then passed on to the U.S. through trainings and alliances between Israeli and U.S. police forces. No other country has been granted the sweeping entitlements to technology rights that Israel enjoys with the U.S.

In the highly concentrated and densely populated urban areas of Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, Israel has had ample opportunity to refine its methods thanks to U.S. financial and political support, and the U.S. reaps the rewards  of this “strategic relationship” by being able to adopt practices and techniques developed and tested in the field. By justifying Israel’s use of extreme methods and tactics abroad, the U.S. is able to set the tone for a cultural acceptance of ever-increasing levels of militarization under the auspices of race-based threats to security. This “strategy” creates ripe conditions for suppressing resistance movements at home while encouraging the complacency of populations under siege and those who might otherwise unite and resist with them.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Honduras are negotiating the terms of the Alliance for Prosperity for the Northern Triangle (which includes Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) as Honduran civil society increasingly joins the long-standing resistance movements in fighting the oppression of the government and oligarchical family networks that devastate communities and occupy indigenous lands.

The people’s dispossession of land and resources corresponds to the rise in industrial zones that provide subpar wages and destructive social values in Honduras, just as it does in so-called “industrial zones” in Gaza and the West Bank. These zones are supported by U.S. financial interests and “secured” with tactics and weaponry developed in coordination with the U.S. military industrial complex, including the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) and various private security companies responsible for the construction and maintenance of prisons and detention facilities in the U.S. like G4S.  WHINSEC is a clandestine training facility for military personnel in other countries, including Latin America, formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA); G4S is a U.S.-based international private security company that is responsible for administering prisons in Israel, the U.S and Honduras.

Access to natural resources is also a paramount aspect of the situations confronting both Honduras and Israel. In 1993, Honduras passed the Law of Modernization of Agriculture, which allowed the government to commandeer public lands to develop hydroelectric and mining industries by private interests. Today, more than 35 percent of all public lands in Honduras have been appropriated in this manner, including several water sources that once nourished the Honduran agricultural base administered by indigenous and campesino communities and are now under the ownership of foreign companies, including Chinese companies.

Israel’s construction of its “security barrier” in the West Bank did not follow the demarcations of the “Green Line” which supposedly designated Israeli/Palestinian borders. Instead, the wall was intentionally constructed to confiscate and claim fresh water sources within the West Bank to be used by Israeli settlements and Israeli society in general. In 2009, Israel experienced an intensification of its drought and implemented cutbacks; now, Israel touts one of the most comprehensive water recycling and desalination technologies in the world. It “offers” to sell this water to Palestinians in the West Bank and others, just as it continues to destroy any remaining water infrastructure in Gaza or allows settlers to destroy what remains of Palestinian agriculture.

With this record of “progress” in coordination with strategic partnerships, one cannot help but wonder at the correlation between these meetings and the Obama administration’s proposals for its Clean Power program. Statistics and projections promise savings and decreases in consumption, but what is the actual cost and who profits? What is lost in these stories of technological achievement are that they came at the cost of an entire society’s way of life and means of survival, alongside and in coordination with technologies that suppress dissent and freedom of expression and that profit from the criminalization of conscientious communities and individuals.

Despite these setbacks, the spirit and praxis of resistance has endured. In the course of confronting these schemes, movements have fortified their resolve and expanded their capacities to create and sustain networks and alternatives to the current systems that are ultimately unsustainable. The consciousness of the masses of people in all three countries are beginning to see through the illusory contrivance of “progress” as they recognize their own plights in the stories coming to light about the conditions of their neighbors and family members near and far. As the current political and economic elite attempt to salvage structures built upon foundations of corruption and deception, the integrity of those who have persisted in their struggles will provide the keystone to an emergent leadership that will redefine methods of local and global social and economic cooperation and respect for the Earth.

Charity Crouse is a long-time activist and journalist currently existing in California. She lived in Chicago for 13 years, during which she covered a number of political and economic issues as the editor of StreetWise newspaper. She has traveled to the Middle East several times and recently returned from six months in Honduras.

Jeremy Corbyn came under attack yesterday for his refusal to countenance the use of nuclear weapons, writes Commander Robert Green. But his stance is honourable and both legally and strategically correct – especially with his opposition to renewing the Trident nuclear missile system.

The current UK political leadership’s threat to use UK Trident requires the four submarine crews to be prepared to commit nuclear terrorism, risking them being branded as guilty of the Nazi defence against war crimes.

Dear Jeremy,

As a former operator of British nuclear weapons, I support your rejection of Trident replacement.

I write as a retired Royal Navy Commander. I have served my country in the crew of a Buccaneer nuclear strike aircraft with a target in Russia, and subsequently on Sea King anti-submarine helicopters equipped with nuclear depth-bombs.

Here are my reasons, in response to some of the erroneous pro-nuclear advocates’ arguments.

1. ‘Britain cannot afford to risk its national security, lose credibility amongst its allies, and leave France as the sole European nuclear power.’

The Government, Ministry of Defence, RN and public face a reality check regarding the defence budget.

Respected commentators are expressing growing concern about the mismatch between ambition and austerity; and Trident replacement is set to be the single-largest procurement programme of the next decade.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review should expose how vulnerable it is, especially when placed alongside the Government commitment to complete both super-carriers, and equip and keep operational one of them. As RUSI’s Malcolm Chalmers observed in his recent report Mind The Gap, the constraints “will make the exercise of a clear-headed strategic intellect vital to the management of defence.”

Yet the late Sir Michael Quinlan admitted to Lord Hennessy: “Every British government has needed to find intellectual clothing for what has always been a gut decision never to allow France to be the sole European nuclear power.”

When weighed against the gravity of the implications, how rational and responsible is this? Besides, was not this decision rendered hollow once the ‘independent British deterrent’ came to depend upon a US-leased missile system, US software in the fire control system, US targeting data and satellite communications? This trumps any purile ‘Little Englander’ political posturing about the French.

US officials have warned that if Britain asks the US to provide a replacement system for Trident, it will become “a nuclear power and nothing else.” So would it not be wiser to turn the current defence budget crisis to advantage, and exploit the opportunity cost to provide a far more tangible, useful and credible key defence diplomacy and conventional deterrence role?

The US and UK would not to have to sustain the fiction of UK nuclear independence; and the UK government would be seen to have truly enhanced its special relationship as closest US ally, rather than nuclear vassal.

2. ‘Britain’s ultimate security depends upon an aggressor being in no doubt that retaliation will be assured and catastrophic to their country in general and their leadership in particular.’

As for this macho ritual ‘nuclear test’ of British political leadership, the reality is that no Prime Minister would have to ‘press the button’. That dirty work is delegated to the Commanding Officer of the deployed Trident submarine. And back when I was in a nuclear crew of a Buccaneer strike jet or Sea King anti-submarine helicopter, we were given that dreadful, suicidal responsibility.

The current UK political leadership’s threat to use UK Trident therefore requires the four submarine crews to be prepared to commit nuclear terrorism, risking them being branded as guilty of the Nazi defence against war crimes.

Furthermore, nuclear deterrence is a disingenuous doctrine, because it is militarily irrational and not credible, for reasons set out in my book Security Without Nuclear Deterrence.

3. ‘Since 1945 nuclear deterrence has prevented war and provided stability between the major powers.’

The Soviet motive in occupying Eastern Europe was to create a defensive buffer zone and ensure that Germany could never threaten them again. Soviet archives show that NATO’s conventional capability and soft power were seen as far more significant than its nuclear posture.

Nuclear deterrence meant that nuclear war was avoided by luck. We have come perilously close to nuclear war on several occasions:

  • Cuban missile crisis 1962;
  • Exercise Able Archer miscalculation 1983;
  • Russian misidentification of a Norwegian meteorological research rocket 1995.

Also, it prolonged and intensified the Cold War.

As for stability, the reality is that nuclear deterrence stimulates arms racing – and some 1,500 US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons remain at dangerously high alert states, especially with the reckless nuclear posturing over Ukraine.

3. ‘The 1996 advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice did not conclude that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be unlawful, especially when a nation’s survival is at stake.’

The Court, under heavy pressure from the three NATO nuclear weapon states, did not specifically pronounce on the legal status of nuclear deterrence.

However, it determined unanimously that any threat or use of nuclear weapons must conform to international humanitarian law, and confirmed that the principles of the law of armed conflict apply to nuclear weapons.

The envisaged use of even a single 100 kiloton UK Trident warhead could never meet these requirements.

4. ‘The number of states acquiring nuclear weapons has continued to grow.’

This is a direct consequence of the P5′s use of nuclear weapons as a currency of power; and their modernisation plans flout their obligation under Article 6 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to get rid of their arsenals.

For the 184 states which have made a treaty commitment to renounce nuclear weapons, the UK’s moral authority is compromised by its nuclear posture.

5. ‘There was no international impact when South Africa and Ukraine abandoned nuclear weapons.’

Neither qualified as a recognised nuclear weapon state. The UK was the third state to detonate a nuclear weapon, and is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (known as the P5). British anti-nuclear breakout, therefore, would be a sensational game-changer.

6. ‘No benefit would flow from a UK decision not to replace Trident.’

Seizing this moment to take the initiative would enable the Government genuinely to claim this was in line with its commitment under NPT Article 6, and to be a ‘force for good in the world’, from which it would reap massive kudos and global respect – for example, Britain would retain its P5 status.

The opportunity cost for the RN would be immediately measurable; and the Army and RAF would no longer resent the RN’s preoccupation with a militarily useless irrelevance.


Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Retired).

Petition: ’Support Jeremy Corbyn: No to nuclear weapons! No to Trident!

Robert Green served in the Royal Navy from 1962-82. As a bombardier-navigator, he flew in Buccaneer nuclear strike aircraft with a target in Russia, and then anti-submarine helicopters equipped with nuclear depth-bombs. On promotion to Commander in 1978, he worked in the Ministry of Defence before his final appointment as Staff Officer (Intelligence) to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet during the 1982 Falklands War. He is now Co-Director of the Disarmament & Security Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand.

During the 1970s-1990s much attention was focused on the rising debt crisis in post-colonial Africa. Continental states after gaining national independence realized that there could be no genuine development while financial obligations to western-based lending institutions were rapidly escalating.

With the balkanization of the continent during colonialism, the national independence movements without political integration and economic unification faced formidable challenges in setting priorities related to social spending and sustainable planning.

Much of the instability led to a further fracturing of the political landscape which found its expression in military coups and other forms of anti-democratic practice. These seizures of power by the armed forces and the police were often prompted by economic crises engineered by the financial institutions and multi-national corporations whom were seeking to maximize their profits at the expense of the majority of workers, farmers and youth.

A Perfect Storm is Coming Soon

A recently-held Strategic Growth Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa examined these problems by presenting data on the increasing debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratios.  This year, Africa’s sovereign debt levels rose to 44 percent of GDP, a 10 percent rise from 2010 when Africa’s debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 34 percent.

The Director of Africa Research at Standard Charter Bank, Razia Khan, said of the expanding debt bubble during the Forum that on the continent “African countries have had notable access to capital markets, but the build-up of public debt in recent years is troubling. To give you an example, the benchmark GDP-to-debt ratio for African countries is generally 40 percent, but you have many countries like Ghana for example who far surpass these levels.”

Quartz Africa Weekly Brief covered the presentation made by Khan observing that “Until recently, Ghana was lauded as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. But the West African country has had to battle with the depreciation of the Cedi, its currency, increased power outages and low commodity prices.” (November 5)

Following the patterns of previous years the same article recalls that “In April this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $918 million loan to help Ghana to boost economic growth and job creation,” while ostensibly protecting social spending. “To help refinance some of its existing debt, the country also launched a $1.5 billion Eurobond last month. Khan predicts that the IMF will increasingly play an extended role in African economies, as many will battle with debt management strategies.”

Another article published by Independent Online in South Africa pointed to both Ghana and Zambia as states which have accepted the IMF and World Bank financial prescriptions for dealing with the crisis of post-colonial states, with results today which contradict the choruses of praise by western analysts as the volume of debt in relations to GDP is growing exponentially. Zambia, a large-scale producer of copper, has suffered from the fluctuation of commodity prices which the government relies upon for its foreign exchange earnings.

According to Independent Online

“the Zambian economy is under siege. The country is battling with a host of issues, both domestic and external. On the external front, the slow-down in the Chinese economy, emerging market risk aversion and a plunge in commodity prices have taken their toll, while internally the country is facing a power crisis, fiscal pressures and an election next year. The combination of these issues has seen the Zambian kwacha become the worst performing currency over the past year, losing more than 80 percent of its value. Zambia’s situation bears similarities to those exhibited in Ghana around its 2012 election, which has raised alarm that it could be heading down the same path.” (October 20)

The Crisis of Neo-Colonialism Continues From the 1960s to the Present

The IMF and the World Bank as early as the 1960s began to provide credit and consequent economic plans for the reduction of African sovereign debt. In Ghana, after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) backed military and police coup of February 1966, the IMF extended credit to the West African state setting the stage for the reversal of the socialist experiment enacted under the First Republic led by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the-then ruling Convention People’s Party (CPP), which governed the country during the transition period of 1951-56 and independence between 1957-1966.

Ghana Business and Finance newsletter said of the period after the overthrow of Nkrumah that

“A long-standing relationship has existed between Ghana and IMF dating back to 1966. From that time, successive governments have signed separate loan arrangements with the IMF. Indeed, the relationship has suffered bitter divorces and ambivalent reconciliations over the years. For instance, when in 2006 the country was exploring other financing options, it pulled out from the IMF loans arrangement. But it came back in 2009 to borrow a whopping US$602 million from the international financial institution, thus reaffirming the important role that the Fund plays in the economic life of Ghana. “(April 24, 2015)

The hardships engendered by the IMF role in the post-CPP imposed political construct in Ghana created the social conditions which resulted in yet another military coup in January 1972. Instability continued with successive military seizures of power in 1978, 1979 and 1981.

By the mid-to-late 1980s Ghana had gone further than any other African state in adopting an Economic Recovery Program (ERP) as part of an overall Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) framework that served as a blueprint for other governments on the continent. Despite the progressive and revolutionary legacy of the Nkrumah-CPP period, the country has largely remained within the orbit of the western capitalist and imperialist systems.

These developments in regard to Ghana have been evaluated from two different perspectives. There are those who say that the IMF loans have provided stability to the otherwise turbulent economic situation. On the other hand, those within the country who have suffered from the impact of the imposition of austerity say that the western-based financial institutions have strangled the ability of Ghana to determine its own future in the interest of the majority of people within society.

By the conclusion of the 1990s, significant portions of the debt had been written off and re-scheduled. Today this problem is re-emerging due to several factors including the decline in commodity prices, growing class divisions and reliance on foreign direct investment.

This financial crisis emanates from Wall Street and other centers of borrowing throughout capitalist states. Within the leading industrialized countries of the West, there has still not been a full recovery from the economic crisis of 2007-2009. Unemployment remains high and consumer spending is low due to the loss of wages and household wealth.

Consequently, the availability of credit to African states will be far more limited during the second decade of the 21st century than what prevailed in the 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s. Repressive measures by neo-colonial client states will intensify in efforts to suppress mass demonstrations and strikes which are erupting as workers and youth demand the enactment of government policies that are designed to stem the tide of currency devaluations and the imposition of austerity.

Moreover, the continuing dependency on the neo-colonial system will serve as an impediment to not only national but regional and continental integration and economic planning. These issues of course require more of a political response rather than economic.

The genuine political independence and sovereignty of African states must lead to the rejection of the conditions established by the IMF and World Bank. Such a position will place leaders and political parties on an automatic collision course with the imperialist system of international finance capital.

Longstanding US/Israeli imperial partnership overrides how both leaders feel about each other – undisguised loathing no matter how they tried hiding it Monday in a media photo op.  Business as usual alone matters.   

The New York Times supports what demands condemnation. It said Monday’s meeting “turn(ed) the page on a season of poisonous relations… focus(ing) on collaboration over acrimony.”

Both leaders “highlight(ed) their shared goals of confronting Iranian misbehavior, countering terrorism, bolstering Israel’s security and strategizing over the crisis in Syria.”

Their shared goals include endless regional wars, creating a permanent environment of instability and chaos, prioritizing state-sponsored terrorism, denying Palestinians their fundamental rights, and blaming others for their high crimes

Netanyahu called Monday’s meeting “one of the best” between both leaders. “No one hid the disagreements between us. Rather, we focused on how to go forward” – plotting more regional violence, instability and chaos, he didn’t explain.

Obama said he’ll send unnamed high-level aides to Israel next month – plotting what both countries plan next.

Netanyahu lied, claiming he hasn’t “given up…hope for peace” – claiming he “remain(s) committed to a vision of peace of two states for two peoples,” while his combat troops and militarized police murder, brutalize, kidnap and terrorize Palestinians daily.

The New York Times ignored reality on the ground, reported nothing about what’s ongoing, simply quoted and parroted back disingenuous statements by both leaders, instead of denouncing their demagogic duplicity.

Obama showed his longstanding contempt for Palestinian rights, saying “I want to be very clear that we condemn in the strongest terms Palestinian violence against innocent Israeli citizens. And I want to repeat once again, it is my strong belief that Israel has not just the right, but the obligation, to protect itself.”

Reality on the ground is polar opposite. The Times support generous annual military aid, billions of US taxpayer dollars funding Israel’s killing machine, including endless war on Palestine.

Netanyahu wants current aid exceeding $3 billion annually increased to $5 billion when the agreement between both countries expires in 2017.

The Times supports whatever amount Israel gets unconditionally – despite disingenuously saying it should be linked to a peace deal with Palestine, what Washington and Israel fundamentally oppose. Their claims otherwise ring hollow.

Obama and Netanyahu are partners in high crimes, warriors, not peacemakers, – an alliance for endless wars, instability, chaos and human misery.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. 

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

ArmisticeDayArmistice Day 97 Years On. “The Stupidity of War”, The Propaganda That Motivated the Fighting

By David Swanson, November 09 2015

November 11 is Armistice Day / Remembrance Day. Events are being organized everywhere by Veterans For Peace, World Beyond War,Campaign Nonviolence,Stop the War Coalition, and others.

2016-us-presidential-election-460x250Pity the Democracy. “US Media runs our Proud American Democracy”

By Barbara Nimri Aziz, November 09 2015

Sit back and enjoy the ride. US media runs our proud American democracy. It’s in their interests to keep Trump in the forefront, then shift to Carson, maybe move to Fiorina—just for a day– with interludes into the cozy nest of Democratic contenders.

9-11The New York Times’ 9/11 Propaganda

By Kevin Ryan, November 09 2015

The Times eventually offered a weak public apology for its uncritical support of the Bush Administration’s obviously bogus Iraq War justifications. However, it has yet to apologize for its role in selling the official account of 9/11, a story built on just as many falsehoods. Instead, the newspaper continues to propagandize about the attacks while putting down Americans who seek the truth about what happened.

MediaLiesTVNo Matter How Well Russian Media Expose Western Lies …

By Eric Zuesse, November 09 2015

Western ‘news’ media simply refuse to report the lying that’s done by Western ‘news’ media and their governments.

By Russ Baker, November 09 2015

You can be sure that with the red carpet rolled out for this author by virtually every major network and media show of every stripe, while every publication dutifully “summarizes” the “major revelations,” Poppy Bush will rightfully perceive himself to have won the war of perceptions over those who have struggled to unearth the truth.

US goes on punishing Younous Chekkouri for, well, nothing really….

What do you say about the blameless man who was held at the Guantanamo concentration camp for 13 years, without trial, without charges against him, without credible evidence that he had done anything remotely deserving of 13 years of torture and isolation, with no hope of anything remotely like justice?

If you happened to be US senator Dianne Feinstein, you might write a chilly op-ed piece for The New York Times, calling for the umpteenth time since 2007 for closing the festering moral abscess you previously supported. In your op-ed you won’t mention those eight years of failure to close the human rights crime scene in Cuba because, after all, you never tried very hard to get it closed. You just tried hard to get on the record appearing to try to get it closed. In 2008, you even sounded critical of Guantanamo, without actually challenging any of its underlying assumptions:

Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners under American control violates our nation’s laws and values….

It damages America’s reputation in the world and serves as a recruitment tool for our enemies….

Perhaps most importantly, it has also limited our ability to obtain reliable and usable intelligence to help combat the war on terror, prevent additional threats and bring to justice those who have sought to harm our country.

Senator Dianne Feinstein. (photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Senator Dianne Feinstein. (photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

So now, in late 2015, do you stand up for the freedom of a former Guantanamo prisoner jailed in Morocco, after US promises of freedom were betrayed weeks ago? Not even close – instead you write this torpid op-ed in which you fester first over the way jihadists use Guantanamo as a recruiting tool (and why wouldn’t they? Even you sort of admit that our torture camp is “a violation of the rule of law” – and has been since the beginning, when you supported it). Then you fret over the expense of running a lawless prison camp (you don’t call it “lawless”) and you never, never mention any victim by name or acknowledge the ghastly injustices they have suffered. You certainly show no concern for Younous Chekkouri and his continued abuse with US complicity. Instead you only note, appallingly casually, that:

During the Bush administration, 779 people were brought to Guantánamo, all without charge. Over time we’ve learned that many were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and shouldn’t have been detained in the first place. [emphasis added]

Feinstein, as a 1% rich California Democrat, has neatly portrayed herself as an ugly example of the worst of America’s callous disregard for the humanity of others. Feinstein has expressed the icy, imperial view with the familiar moral numbness, the hardened indifference that has characterized US national behavior in its extreme form since 2001. Anyone with an open mind, paying the slightest attention to the emergence of the Guantanamo gulag, learned quickly at the start that the place was a moral black hole and a vicious judicial sham. Guantanamo was created precisely to allow the US to operate outside the law, as literally an outlaw nation. The US was paying bonuses for prisoners, any prisoners, regardless of evidence, regardless of the credibility of the accuser, regardless of any rational process in the midst of the nation’s narcissistic post-911 panic.

For all her lack of humanity, Senator Feinstein is hardly the worst of Congress

Feinstein does not acknowledge her role in the crime of Guantanamo, nor does she acknowledge directly that it is a crime at all. Her appeal is to others in Congress who continue to insist that the US continue committing Guantanamo crimes in perpetuity. In this context, her suggestion that Congress allow the US to set free the 53 Guantanamo hostages already cleared for release is an almost radical idea. Yes, she almost calls outright for the US to free the innocent. But not quite. Her Guantanamo “solution” reads like an Andy Borowitz column, except the senator is serious:

In particular, we need a proposal for bringing detainees to the United States and holding them securely for as long as necessary.

That’s exactly the problem with Guantanamo! “Detainees” are extra-legal prisoners, they are hostages, they can be held indefinitely, without charges, without evidence of wrongdoing, with no more against them than “simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time” (a rather apt description of Feinstein as a senator). This solution is a corrupt manipulation that does nothing to restore the rule of international law, the principle of due process of law, or any of the other affronts to justice the US continues to make with impunity.

This is not an extreme rendition of Feinstein’s argument. She reiterated the lawlessness she endorses in even clearer terms a few paragraphs later, leaving it up to the US to decide what to do about people against whom there is no evidence:

Third, for those relatively few detainees who can’t be tried because of a lack of evidence but still need to be held until the end of hostilities, bringing them to the United States presents a more cost-effective option. [emphasis added]

So who decides that these people “need to be held”? And more important, who decided that we have reached “the end of hostilities”? Feinstein assumes the US is engaged in endless war, and expresses no objection to that. She wants to close Guantanamo as prison real estate. That’s all. She has no problem with continuing the lawless behavior Guantanamo represents as long as it’s more out of sight. Hers is the consensus view in national politics. Like her equally shabby peers, she’s a politician, she’s concerned only about looking good, she doesn’t care about doing good.

US bought Chekkouri as a hostage, paid good money for him

“779 people were brought to Guantanamo, all without charge,” writes Feinstein with the all-too-common official attitude: “stuff happens.” In a just world, stuff would be happening to the moral outlaws who perpetrated and still maintain the blatant criminal enterprise that Guantanamo has been from the start. If Feinstein had any compassion, she could highlight the Younous Chekkouri case as an example of the moral chaos created by US Guantanamo policy. Secret military files titled “Gitmo Files” published by Wikileaks, including Chekkouri’s case, have been available since April 2011.

In October 2005, officials at Guantanamo acknowledged in writing that Chekkouri was a relief worker who had done relief work and had no identifiable connection with any terrorist group (reiterating similar circumstantial, non-substantive findings in November 2004). Some of the assumed facts had been gathered by torturing Chekkouri and others. Nevertheless, these officials used conclusory inferences unsupported by any evidence as the basis for continuing to hold Chekkouri. The officials promised “a meaningful opportunity to be heard.” The 16-page, declassified transcript of an undated status review hearing (#002562) portrays the tribunal as merely reiterating the conclusory inferences without presenting supporting evidence. The transcript portrays Chekkouri as open, direct, responsive to all questions, and denying any terrorist activity or connection (except for fellow prisoners). After several similar hearings, Chekkouri was “recommended for further detention” in an official assessment in November 2008 that includes much more information (true or false) than was addressed in the available records of the “meaningful opportunities to be heard.”

Younous Abdurrahman Chekkouri, now 47, is represented by the UK human rights organization Reprieve, which says about its work: “We help people who suffer extreme human rights abuses at the hands of the world’s most powerful governments.” Reprieve is still pushing Chekkouri’s case because he is still not free, even though he has been released from Guantanamo 13 years after he was kidnapped:

Younous was doing charity work in Afghanistan and starting a business when he was rounded up with other Arabs and taken to a prison in Kandahar.

He was sold to US forces for a bounty and then taken to Guantánamo Bay. He was held without charge for 14 years before finally being released to his native Morocco in September 2015.

Now the US is tolerating a substitute “Morocc-antanamo” holding Chekkouri

In 2011, attorneys for Chekkouri challenged the supposed evidence against him in a habeas corpus hearing. The US government’s case fell apart and Chekkouri was eventually re-classified as suitable for transfer. In September 2015, the US transferred Chekkouri from Guantanamo to Morocco, where he was born in 1968. The Moroccans took Chekkouri into custody immediately and he remains in custody, under threat of a Moroccan trial based on the discredited US evidence. US officials have told Reprieve that they released Chekkouri into Moroccan custody on the understanding that he would not face charges and that he would be held no more than 72 hours for any reason. The Moroccan government says there was no such understanding. Attorney Cori Crider, who represents Chekkouri and is a director at Reprieve, said on November 5:

Someone is just not telling the truth here. Either US State Department officials misled me and my client about Morocco’s intentions when my client was in Guantánamo, or Moroccan officials have been making diplomatic promises freely and breaking them just as fast. Which is it? And if the State Department did tell Mr. Chekkouri the truth and the promises have been broken, why isn’t this being made a major issue in US-Moroccan relations now?

Attorney Crider also wrote to US attorney general Loretta Lynch, who was then visiting Morocco,asking her to “urgently intervene” to persuade Moroccan authorities to honor the assurances made by the US in order to get Chekkouri to agree to go to Morocco. So far, Attorney General Lynch is not known to have acted to honor her government’s promises. US ambassador to Morocco Dwight Bush has refused to offer any assistance. Officials at the US State Department have apparently done nothing for Chekkouri, even though they had assured him he would be held no more than 72 hours and he has in fact been imprisoned since September 15 in Morocco, where his next hearing is scheduled for December 3.

This is all of a piece of official US bad faith on Guantanamo. Let Morocco look bad doing American dirty work (like exporting prisoners for torture). The US can claim clean hands and no responsibility, and it’s all a degenerate lie in service of Dick Cheney’s version of American exceptionalism.

And Dianne Feinstein, along with most of the rest of Congress, is part of the corrupt charade. With all the moral fervor of a profitable plantation owner trying to weasel her way onto the right side of history, Feinstein calls for closing Guantanamo, sooner or later, some day, like the President says he wants, and “Congress should be working with him to finally shut it down.” Sure, the President ordered Guantanamo closed his first day in office, then dithered fecklessly from January 2009 till now, while Congress was led by fear-mongering torture-tolerating toadies who were determined to punish someone, anyone, regardless of guilt, so long as the person was some third world color. Feinstein speaks no truth to that power, she does not acknowledge that Guantanamo is an American outrage that is entirely of America’s making, entirely of America’s perpetuation, and entirely to America’s shame, were America capable of feeling shame any more.

By any reasonable standard, Guantanamo and the rest of the US secret torture and incarceration network represent a continuing, collective crime against humanity. Meanwhile, at Guantanamo, the US is again inflicting genital searches on prisoners before they can meet with their attorneys, sometimes keeping such simple due process from going forward. In all fairness, America is not at all exceptional in such crimes.

 William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

This article was originally published by Who What Why.

Several years ago, when I heard that George H.W. Bush’s “biographer” was preparing an authorized account of the 41st president’s life, I was curious, to say the least. How would he handle the remarkable fact that Bush 41, known to friends and family as “Poppy,” was nothing like the man the public thought he was?

Two faces, neither good

For anyone unfamiliar with my work: I spent five years researching Poppy and his clan for my book, Family of Secrets. In the course of my digging, I was positively gobsmacked to discover that this supposedly mild-mannered, nerdy, inarticulate, awkward, indecisive fellow had actually been much more interesting and consequential.

From the moment he went to World War II as a naval aviator through successive stints as an oilman, congressman, diplomat, and party official, his official work masked the fact that he was deeply immersed in the spy world. He was involved with a succession of highly secretive covert operations affecting not just outcomes in his own country but around the world — from the Bay of Pigs to coups abroad and scandals and cataclysms at home — including Watergate and Iran Contra. (To learn more, begin here, Part 1 of a series of 10 excerpts from Family of Secrets.)

Publicly, he said he couldn’t recall where he was when John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, but I found out. Guess where? Dallas! Guess who he was working for? The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)! Whose longtime director and master coup planner, Allen Dulles, a close friend of the Bush family, had two years earlier been forced out by JFK.

This “double life,” explains why in 1976 — at a moment when Congress was digging into the deepest secrets of the CIA and threatening to dismember that powerful and unaccountable club — the man chosen to run it was none other than the “pleasant”, preppy, purported non-spook, George H.W. Bush.

Because virtually no one knew that he was already in the club, he could come in and give it a phony veneer of a house cleaning. However, if the media actually did its job, dug for the truth and then leveled with the public, Poppy’s appointment might have opened the way to a whole new understanding of how power is wielded in America, through a cast of characters in which Poppy Bush and his brethren played a starring role.

This revelation wasn’t forthcoming, of course, and to this day labeling George H.W. Bush as a master-spook sounds like lunacy, because “everyone knows” he’s an affable fellow who owes his successful public career to little more than a series of curious accidents.

But those who make an effort to get the history of the Bush clan, unfiltered, from unendorsed sources — and I am one of them — know better.

Giving the cover-up a touch-up

So when I heard the inevitable drumbeat for the new “biography,” with which the elder Bush had “cooperated,” I couldn’t help wondering how the author would handle this “assignment.”

I didn’t have to wait to read the book, which is called Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, (and comes out Tuesday) to get the answer. Because what counts for public opinion is typically not what is in a book, since most will not buy it. And even those who do will often not read it. Or they won’t read it carefully.

No, what shapes opinion most often is what the public is told is in it.

The pre-publicity answered the question for me: the author, Jon Meacham, a former editor of Newsweek (a magazine with its own strong historical connections to the intelligence fraternity) would simply walk around the truth, while keeping his attention steadfastly on the carefully propped up facade.

When I saw the excerpts, I knew for sure that this would be another whitewash — another dishonest contribution to the disinformation campaign that has for so long kept most Americans in the dark about key episodes in modern United States history.

Typically, publishers take their best shot with the snippets, morsels and advance peeks they dole out to their favored outlets in the media. That means that whatever is most shocking is revealed at the outset. In the case of this new book, the shocker is that Poppy Bush doesn’t like what became of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and blames them for, to some extent, leading his son and namesake astray.

Example, from The New York Times, which of course got an advance copy:

He said he thought Mr. Cheney had changed since serving in his cabinet. “He just became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with,” Mr. Bush said. He attributed that to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “Just iron-ass. His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East.”

… He added, “Rumsfeld was an arrogant fellow and self-assured, swagger.”

Whatever one makes of these not really very shocking ”shocking” news items, rendered in Poppy’s inimitably mangled, imprecise and inelegant diction, it hardly goes to the essence of this man.

What really amazes me, despite how often I have seen it played out in the course of my career, is how superficial, purblind, fundamentally dishonest our media establishment is.

You can be sure that with the red carpet rolled out for this author by virtually every major network and media show of every stripe, while every publication dutifully “summarizes” the “major revelations,” Poppy Bush will rightfully perceive himself to have won the war of perceptions over those who have struggled to unearth the truth.

At the same time, I can’t help wondering if, deep down, George H.W. Bush doesn’t feel just a little bit frustrated that his life has been reduced to a bland fiction — when it really is such an extraordinary story.

Reactions are emerging toward the comments by General Nicholas Houghton, the chief of Britain’s defence staff, that the country should involve in anti-ISIL air strikes in Syria.

Analysts believe that Britain is preparing the British public opinion about a potential military involvement in Syria. However, they are unanimously warning that this strategy – that they say has been devised on fake grounds – is already doomed to failure.

Anna O’Leary, a UK-based journalist and political commentator, believes that General  Houghton’s remarks show that Britain has not moved too far away from its stance when Tony Blair entered the war in Iraq with George Bush under a false flag.

“It looks like the same thing is about to being geared up again,” O’Leary told Press TV adding that the false flag that Britain and others are this time trying to use the recent downing of a Russian plane in Egypt.

She further emphasized that the construction of a major military base in Bahrain by Britain is part of the same scenario.

“Britain is not just there for the sake of the sunshine. They are there to use their destroyers and to use their aircraft carriers,” O’Leary added, stressing that a real conflict could be soon in the offing.

She told Press TV’s UK Desk that the shooting of the Russian plane seems to have given Britain and others an excuse to expand into the theater of war.

“Already in the British Parliament, they are talking about not letting their allies down,” said O’Leary. “In other words, they are preparing the ground to say that they want to go in and get involved in Syria,” she added.

Political commentator Reza Nadim believes that General  Houghton’s remarks show that Britain wants to regain the grip it had over the Middle East.

“It’s all to do with power and control in the region,” Nadim told Press TV. “Britain has been feeling that it is losing its grip over the region and that’s why it has to get involved in air strikes in Syria,” he added.

Nadim said history shows that Britain has always been after its own goals in the Middle East. “Whenever Britain gets involved in the Middle East it is for its own purposes, its own interests not people,” he said.

“The thing is that the goal is not to have an amicable solution. The goal is power,” Nadim told Press TV’s UK Desk in an exclusive interview.

“Therefore, it is for power that they have to get involved. And that’s why we are going to see a lot of bloodshed and a lot of instability for the years to come,” he warned.

Navid Nasr, a political commentator from Zagreb, told Press TV that he believes Britain’s desire to get involved in the Syrian conflict is meant to counteract the Russians.

“They don’t want to stabilize the situation. They certainly don’t want the [Syrian] government to remain in place. They would rather burn it down to the ground,” he said.

Nasr has also told Press TV that the British military involvement in Syria will only add to the tragic situation in the country.

He further warned that the British politicians will soon find themselves faced with criticisms from the people for adopting what he described as a deliberate campaign of destabilization that has been waged against Syria.

Watch videos here

The full text of the ubiquitous Trans Pacific Trade Partnership deal, which the public has been rallying against for months now has been released.

Previously, Wikileaks released ‘leaked’ documents, including chapters on intellectual property rights (but not the full text) of a document that would affect everything from our civil liberties to biotech’s ability to legally patent your genes.

This document has been voted on in our government without the full text even being released to the public – until now – and take note – it wasn’t released by the US government, either. It would affect your Internet privacy, your ability to choose whether or not to eat GM food, and could even force multiple countries’ citizens to lose their rights for free speech or a fair trial for commodities traded between corporations.

Even the leaked chapters proved that lobbyists were going forward guns-blazing to try to pass this abhorrent piece of legislation. Specifically:

  • The public would be completely locked out of international trade deals, no matter how the deals might affect them personally.
  • Judges would be able to hold back certain technological advances which would help society by invoking faulty language in the US copyright law, while giving biotech companies free-reign to plant ‘proprietary’ seeds all over the world, without people even knowing where they were planted.
  • Whistleblowers in multiple industries would have an even more difficult time coming forward, as they would not be protected as well under new TPP laws.

For the first time, the ‘secret’ text which has been negotiated behind lock and key is available.

You can read the full text of the TPP here:

US Defense Secretary Threatens Russia and China

November 9th, 2015 by Patrick Martin

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter delivered a pointed warning of future wars Saturday in an address to a forum at the Reagan Library in southern California. The reckless and provocative character of the Pentagon chief’s speech is underscored by the targets of his saber-rattling: Russia, with the world’s second largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, and China with the third.

The subject of the forum was the restructuring of the military-intelligence apparatus to deal with the threats that strategists for US imperialism anticipate in the coming years. As Carter noted, “After 14 years of counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism–two skills we want to retain–we are in the middle of a strategic transition to respond to the security challenges that will define our future.”

Giving only brief mention of the ongoing US wars in Afghanistan and against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Carter said he wanted “to focus my remarks this afternoon on another kind of innovation for the future, which is how we’re responding to Russia, one source of today’s turbulence, and China’s rise, which is driving a transition in the Asia-Pacific.”

Carter paid tribute to the warmongering of the Reagan administration (1981-1989) in which he served, holding his first Pentagon job as an aide to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. He credited Reagan with a military buildup that contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union, particularly “America’s support for the mujahedeen in Afghanistan,” although Carter was diplomatically silent about this support giving rise to Al Qaeda.

The defense secretary claimed that both Russia and China, in different ways, were challenging the foundations of international order laid down by successive US administrations throughout the period since the end of World War II. “The principles that serve as that order’s foundation,” he said, “including peaceful resolution of disputes, freedom from coercion, respect for state sovereignty, freedom of navigation and overflight–are not abstractions, nor are they subject to the whims of any one country.”

Actually, those principles have been systematically violated by the US in war after war over the quarter century since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was the existence of the USSR, not any respect for “principles,” that set limits to the depredations of US imperialism.

From 1991 on, Washington has felt itself empowered—its strategists wrote openly of a “unipolar moment” in world history—to use military force in an increasingly unrestrained and reckless fashion. Wars and other military interventions have followed in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Haiti, Yemen and now Syria, along with the ongoing buildup of US forces along the western border of Russia and the coastal waters of China.

Towards the end of his speech, Carter referred in passing to the “more than 450,000 men and women serving abroad, in every domain, in the air, ashore and afloat.” That figure exceeds the total number of troops deployed by all other countries in the world outside their own borders. By itself, that number demonstrates the basic reality of 21st century global politics: US imperialism considers itself the policeman of the world, entitled to intervene in any country, to bomb and kill at will, against any challenge to its domination.

According to Carter, “Russia appears intent to play spoiler by flouting these principles and the international community. Meanwhile, China is a rising power, and growing more ambitious in its objectives and capabilities.”

After denouncing Russia for “violating sovereignty in Ukraine and Georgia”—actions which, however bankrupt, pale by comparison with the US invasion and destruction of Iraq—and for its recent intervention in Syria, Carter raised the danger of what he called “Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling,” which he said “raises questions about Russia’s leaders’ commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons, and whether they respect the profound caution nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to the brandishing of nuclear weapons.”

Carter used this nonexistent danger to justify the vast US expansion of its own nuclear arsenal, by far the world’s largest, in an Obama administration initiative now estimated to cost more than $300 billion.

He then hinted enthusiastically at the potential of new weapons for use against Russia, including “new unmanned systems, a new long-range bomber, and innovation in technologies like the electromagnetic railgun, lasers, and new systems for electronic warfare, space and cyberspace, including a few surprising ones that I really can’t describe here.”

The defense secretary reiterated the US commitment to Article V of the NATO charter, which requires an all-out war by NATO in the event of a conflict between Russia and one of the Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, each ruled by rabidly anti-Russian cliques and with large Russian-speaking minorities. Few citizens of the United States—or Britain or Germany, for that matter—realize that their governments are committed to war with a nuclear-armed Russia in the event of a border clash with Estonia.

Carter also hailed recent NATO exercises, including Trident Juncture, simulating a Russian invasion of one of the NATO countries in Eastern Europe, in which 4,000 American troops participated. He also noted, “[W]e’re providing equipment and training to aid Ukraine’s military as it confronts Russian-supported insurgents in Eastern Ukraine.” This includes training forces from neo-Nazi militia groups now integrated into the Ukrainian military.

On China, Carter was less openly confrontational, and he revealed that he had accepted an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Beijing in 2016. Militaristic rhetoric was unnecessary, however, since he was coming straight from a well-publicized appearance on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The ship is one of the American aircraft carriers redeployed from the Middle East to the Pacific as part of the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” aimed at confronting China with a massive military buildup.

The visit to the aircraft carrier took place shortly after a US destroyer, the USS Lassen, made a provocative sally in Chinese waters around an islet in the South China Sea, not far from the carrier task force. The US deliberately challenged the 12-mile limit China has declared around its islets in that sea, on the grounds that the islets are either manmade or have been artificially expanded.

Responding to questions in media reports about whether the US Navy engaged in what is technically known as “innocent passage,” which would concede Chinese territorial claims, or a “freedom of navigation exercise,” which asserts that the waters are international, not Chinese, Carter made it clear that it was the latter.

He emphasized the connection between the repositioning of US military assets to the Pacific, the establishment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an anti-Chinese trade bloc dominated by the US and Japan, and the buildup of US alliances in the region. He added, “We are also changing fundamentally our operational plans and approaches to deter aggression, fulfill our statutory obligations to Taiwan, defend allies, and prepare for a wider range of contingencies in the region than we have traditionally.”

Just as important as the rampant militarism of Carter’s speech was its bipartisan character. Carter is a lifelong Democrat, and his threats to Russia and China have the full backing of the liberal wing of the US ruling elite. His remarks were not impromptu or offhand comments, but part of a carefully prepared, deliberately bipartisan event, a forum on the “Force of the Future” sponsored by the Reagan Foundation, which operates the presidential library in Simi Valley, outside Los Angeles.

The Obama administration was represented by Carter, his deputy Robert Work and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain and House Armed Forces Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry represented the congressional Republicans.

The permanent security apparatus, which calls the shots regardless of which party occupies the White House, was represented by no less than three of the five members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Imagine um pirômano incendiando um edifício, dando uma volta, trocando de roupa por um uniforme de bombeiro e voltando correndo, não com uma mangueira d´ água, mas com um tambor de gasolina sendo rolado a sua frente. Poderia alguém acreditar que a sua intenção seria a de apagar o fogo? Não deveria estar claro para qualquer um que a sua finalidade era a de assegurar-se que, não importa o esforço que se fizesse, esse fogo não iria se extinguir tão cedo, e provavelmente não mesmo antes que tudo já estivesse queimado?

Encontro com a piromania e os incendiários maníacos

Os Estados Unidos estiveram fazendo voos ilegais sobre a Síria já a mais de um ano. Ele esteve abertamente armando, financiando e treinando terroristas ao longo da fronteira da Síria com a Turquia e Jordânia, reconhecidamente, por muito mais tempo. Tem-se que mesmo antes do conflito ter começado em 2011, os Estados Unidos estiveram conspirando, tão cedo quanto em 2007, como foi revelado em entrevistas conduzidas pelo Prêmio-Pulitzer jornalista Seymour Hersh em seu relatório de 9 páginas “O redirecionamento” (in his 9-page report “The Redirection ) e isso para destabilizar e derrubar o governo da Síria através de extremistas sectários – mais especificadamente, Al Qaeda – com armas e fundos lavados através do mais velho e dedicado aliado regional dos Estados Unidos, a Arábia Saudita.

O surgimento do chamado “Estado Islâmico” (ISIS/ISIL) mostrou-se como fazendo parte de uma premeditada “desconstrução da Síria, como admitido no relatório de um departamento da Agência de Inteligência DIA, elaborado em 2012 (. A Department of Intelligence Agency (DIA) report drafted in 2012 (.pdf) . Nessa lia-se:

Se a situação se desenrolar bem deverá haver uma possibilidade de estabelecer um declarado, ou não-declarado, Principado Salafista no leste da Síria (Harsaka e Der Zor)sendo que isso é exatamente então o que os poderes apoiando a oposição desejam para isolar o regime na Síria, que é considerado como prova da intensidade da expansão xiita (Iraq e Irã).

Para clarificar quais seriam esses “poderes apoiando” a construção de um “Principado Salafista” o relatório do DIA explica que seriam:

  • o ocidente, os países do golfo e a Turquia; enquanto então a Rússia, a China e o Irã estariam apoiando o regime constitucional.

Nesse contexto tornava-se bem evidente quem seriam os pirômanos.

Rolando tambores de gasolina para “Apagar o Fogo”

Nenhum dos recentes movimentos dos Estados Unidos foram honestos. Os formuladores de políticas dos Estados Unidos conspiraram abertamente para se comprometerem com estratégias não destinadas a lutar contra o Estado Islâmico (ISIS), ou a acabar com o conflito destrutivo na Síria, o qual eles mesmo tinham começado. Em vez disso eles agiram para combater as tentativas da Rússia de o fazer. Tudo feito abaixo do disfarce de combater ISIS, ajudar refugiados, ou mesmo qualquer outro subterfúgio que acreditassem a opinião pública mundial pudesse aceitar, se não apoiar.

A verdade começou a aparecer até mesmo nos próprios jornais de propriedade do ocidente. O “Washington Post”  num artigo intitulado “Obama tem uma estratégia para a Síria mas enfrenta grandes obstáculos” (Obama has strategy for Syria, but it faces major obstacles.) declara explicitamente que:

[EUA] irá aumentar operações aéreas no norte da Síria, especialmente na área da fronteira com a Turquia, para cortar o influxo de combatentes estrangeiros, dinheiro, e material vindo para apoiar o Estado Islâmico.

Aqui o “Washington Post” admite abertamente que o apoio para o Estado Islâmico está fluindo de dentro de um país membro da OTAN, da Turquia. É claro que para parar esse “fluxo” esforços deveriam ser concentrados na fronteira Turquia-Síria antes que abastecimentos e reenforçamentos pudessem entrar na Síria. Está evidente também que o Estado Islâmico (ISIS) está sendo intencionalmente permitido a reabastecer e reforçar  sua capacidade de luta dentro da Síria, e isso vindo de um território OTAN, nominadamente para servir como pretexto para uma maior e mais direta intervenção do ocidente na Síria, como se pode notar já em junho de 2014 ( as was noted in June of 2014 ) de quando ISIS pela primeira vez mostrou-se no Iraque.

ISIS representa os tambores de gasolina sendo rolados para dentro do fogo, não para extinguir as chamas, mas para as desenvolver a um inferno ainda maior.

Os maníacos incendiários procuram criar um inferno ainda muito maior

O mesmo artigo do “Washington Post” iria revelar as verdadeiras intenções dos Estados Unidos e suas “botas no terreno” na Síria. Apesar deles dizerem que pretendem lutar “contra o Estado Islâmico” a verdade apresenta-se como muito mais sinistra. Abaixo do pretexto de lutar o Estado Islâmico, essas forças dos Estados Unidos, que apoiam militantes armados, treinados e financiadas pelos Estados Unidos e seus aliados regionais, irão tomar e manter territórios, efetivamente realizando o expresso nos documentos de ação política que de a muito vem expressando o desejo dos formuladores de políticas em Washington  de “desconstruir” a Síria como uma maneira secundária de destruir a mesma como uma nação-estado, se direta mudança de regime mostrar-se como coisa inatingível.

Washington Post” diz especificamente que:

Abaixo da estratégia Obama  a derrota do Estado Islâmico na Síria baseia-se em possibilitar forças locais sírias a não só fazer retroceder os combatentes do Estado Islâmico como também manter territórios libertados até que um novo governo central, estabelecido em Damasco, possa assumir.

Como já existe um governo central estabelecido em Damasco, é seguro concluir que as regiões asseguradas pelos militantes apoiados pelos Estados Unidos nunca seriam retornadas até uma derrubada de Damasco. Caso essa estratégia obtenha sucesso isso iria significar uma “balcanização” da Síria e consequentemente, o seu fim como uma nação unificada.

Comparando essa recente confissão do “Washington Post”, que se baseia em “lutar contra o Estado Islâmico” seguindo um  plano que já tinha sido feito antes mesmo do aparecimento do mesmo, revela também que o Estado Islâmico é só mais um de uma série de pretextos usados para implementar os objetivos dos Estados Unidos. Tudo já tinha sido elaborado, até mesmo o surgimento do próprio, antes de que qualquer tiro tivesse sido dado na atual crise da Síria.

No Memo #21 “Brookings Institution-Middle East, de março 2012 “Avaliando Opções para Mudança de Regime” ( “Assessing Options for Regime Change” ) especifica-se que:

Uma alternativa seria que os esforços diplomáticos se concentrassem primeiro em acabar com a violência e em como ganhar acesso humanitário, como tem sido feito abaixo da direção de Annan. Isso poderia levar a criação de áreas-seguras e corredores humanitários, que teriam que ser assegurados por poder militar limitado [limitado!!! ? !]. Isso iria naturalmente ficar abaixo dos objetivos estabelecidos pelos Estados Unidos e poderia preservar Assad no poder. Entretanto, desse ponto de partida seria possível que uma substancial coalisão, com o apropriado mandato internacional pudesse acrescentar subsequente ação coercedora aos seus esforços. [ênfases acrescentadas]

O plano de se usar forças especiais dos Estados Unidos para assegurar território sírio também foi especificado no documento da “Brookings” [instituição] de junho de 2015 denominado “Desconstruindo a Síria: Uma nova estratégia para a guerra mais desesperançada dos EUA”- Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war . Nesse documento declara-se que:

A idéia seria a de ajudar elementos moderados a estabelecer zonas de segurança dentro da Síria uma vez que estivessem preparados. Os EUA assim como forças sauditas, turcas, britânicas, da Jordânia e outras forças árabes poderiam agir em apoio, não só com ajuda aérea mas eventualmente no terreno com uma presença de forças especiais também. Essa abordagem iria beneficiar-se do terreno desértico aberto que poderia permitir a criação de zonas marginais de segurança – buffer zones – que poderiam ser monitoradas para possíveis sinais de ataque inimigo através de uma combinação de tecnologias, patrulhas e outros métodos que forças especiais, vindo de fora, poderiam ajudar os combatentes locais a erigir. [ênfases acrescentadas]

Se Assad fosse suficientemente audaz  para desafiar essas zonas, mesmo que de alguma maneira ele  tivesse conseguido o retirar das forças especiais, ele iria provavelmente  perder seu poder aéreo em ataques retaliatórios subsequentes, vindo das forças especiais, deprivando assim os militares sírios de uma das poucas vantagens sobre o Estado Islâmico. Concluiu-se portanto que ele provavelmente não iria fazer isso. [ênfases acrescentadas]

É óbvio que o esquema mais recente dos Estados Unidos continua com a mesma conspirção criminosa, a longo prazo, levantada contra a Síria, como exposto tão cedo como em 2007, por Seymour Hersh.

Para por ponto final aos pirômanos denomie-os pelo que são – Maníacos Incendiários

É claro que os Estados Unidos poderiam parar a marcha do Estado Islâmico sem por um único par de “botas no solo” sírio ou fazer um único voo pelos seus céus ( and without setting a single boot down on Syrian soil ).

A Rússia tem a autorização do governo constitucional da Síria para operar no território sírio para confrontar o Estado Islâmico. Entretanto a Rússia poderia gostar de interditar os abastecimentos e reenforçamentos para o Estado Islâmico antes que esses entrassem no território sírio, mas tem-se aqui que os países vizinhos, nominadamente a Turquia e a Jordânia, abrigam e ajudam, assim como agem em cumplicidade com as organizações terroristas, não indo então cooperar honestamente com a Rússia.

A Rússia tem influência limitada sobre os financiadores do Estado Islâmico, incluindo-se aqui a Arábia Saudita da qual a inteira existência depende das armas no valor de muitos bilhões compradas dos Estados Unidos, do círculo de bases militares americanas construídas em volta, e através, de todo o Golfo Pérsico defendendo-os contra a sempre aumentando quantidade de bem merecidos inimigos que adquire, e da constante legitimidade política garantida a eles pelos círculos diplomáticos e midiáticos do ocidente.

Os Estados Unidos tem uma presença física na Turquia, na Base Aérea de Incirlik, e vem já por vários anos operando ao longo da fronteira turco-síria – tendo também a sua Agência Central de Inteligência provendo armas aos terroristas, as suas forças especiais fazendo operações inter-fronteiriças, enquanto os seus militares vem administrando os campos de treinamento que preparam terroristas antes deles entrarem no território sírio, perpetuando dessa maneira o conflito [que dizem combater]. Os Estados Unidos, como se pode deduzir do acima dito, exercem além disso tudo a sua grande influência sobre a Arábia Saudita, sendo então que seu apoio político e militar é essencial para que a existência do regime saudita, em Riad, possa continuar.

Se os Estados Unidos estivessem mesmo interessados eles poderiam a qualquer momento apagar esse fogo todo simplesmente através de fechar a fronteira entre a Turquia e a Síria, e fazer por onde por um ponto final na ajuda da Arábia Saudita aos terroristas operando na Síria. Isso iria terminar com o conflito em poucas semanas, senão em poucos dias. Não fazendo isso ele mostra o papél central que ocupa na criação e na perpetualização do próprio “Estado Islâmico”.

A Síria e seus aliados precisariam não só de reconhecer esses fatos como também de elaborar uma estratégia que possaa efetivamente conter essa situação. Negociar com estados-financiadores da mais terrível e devastadora organização terrorista tendo pisado essa terra, em recente memória coletiva, não parece ser uma opção viável. A alternativa que se apresenta então é a expansão da coalisão sírio-russa dentro da Síria, especialmente nas regiões que os Estados Unidos pretendem arrebatar e esculturar a sua conveniência. Inicialmente uma esmagadora presença de “tropas de paz” vindas de várias nações e localizadas ao longo da fronteira turco-síria poderia bloquear os esforços dos Estados Unidos para a perpetualização desse, e relatados conflitos.

Isso não sendo possível, a Síria e a Rússia tem de tentar expandir suas operações por toda a Síria, e isso mais depressa do que os Estados Unidos possam espalhar seu pretendido caos.

Por já os Estados Unidos têm muito poucos elementos de uma força especial servindo como um tênue “escudo humano” para os terroristas na mira das operações militares da Rússia e da Síria. Eles ainda estão vulneráveis e possíveis de desengatilhar. Entretanto, os Estados Unidos irão sem dúvida continuar a expandir sua presença na Síria, talvez mesmo até a um ponto onde um retroceder poderia se mostrar como impossível ou inadmissível.

Tirar do jogo os incendiários pirômanos antes que o fogo irreversivelmente tome toda a estrutura que é o atual estado nacional sírio poderia ser já a única maneira de impedir que a Síria se torne na “Líbia do Levante”. Isso poria também um fim a geopolítica da perigosa guerra-relâmpago claramente destinada, em sua continuação, a Teerã, Moscou e Pequim, respectivamente então Irã, Rússia e China.

Tony Cartalucci

Artigo em inglês : 

Obama talks about bombing Syria (this time to fight the insurgents that the US created)

US in Syria: Stopping the “Arsonist-Firefighter”, “Openly Arming, Funding and Training Terrorists”

New Eastern Outlook 6 de novembro 2015

Traduzido por Anna Malm – para

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

Pinotti, droni e padri padroni

November 9th, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

Cambia verso. Ormai è chiaro che per il Pd demolire l’Art. 11 della Costituzione sul ripudio della guerra, non solo non è più un tabù ma costituisce un elemento fondativo della sua natura.

Lo stesso giorno in cui terminava la Trident Juncture 2015 – una delle più grandi esercitazioni Nato svoltasi in Italia, Spagna e Portogallo dal 3 ottobre al 6 novembre – la ministra della difesa Roberta Pinotti, appena avuta l’autorizzazione al drone dal padre padrone Usa, ha esternato, in una intervista al Corriere della Sera, il renzipensiero sull’uso della forza armata.

La Trident Juncture – cui hanno partecipato oltre 230 unità terrestri, aeree e navali e forze speciali di 28 paesi alleati e 7 partner (tra cui l’Ucraina), con 36 mila uomini, oltre 60 navi e 160 aerei da guerra – costituisce per il segretario della Nato Jens Stoltenberg, «un chiaro messaggio a qualsiasi potenziale avversario che la Nato non cerca il confronto, ma che siamo pronti a difendere tutti gli alleati». La Trident Juncture, la maggiore delle oltre 300 esercitazioni nel 2015, è stata una evidente prova di guerra contro la Russia, cui la Nato — che come patto militare offensivo si è allargata per 20 anni a est alla frontiera dell’ex Urss — capovolgendo i fatti, attribuisce la responsabilità di aver creato in Ucraina «una situazione potenzialmente più pericolosa di quella della guerra fredda».

Allo stesso tempo è stata una prova generale di quella che la Nato chiama «Forza di risposta» (40 mila uomini) e in particolare della sua «Forza di punta ad altissima prontezza operativa», proiettabile in 48 ore verso Est e verso Sud (Medioriente e Nordafrica). Un ruolo chiave viene svolto dalle forze speciali che, spiega la Nato, «operano senza essere viste». La Trident Juncture è stata anche un laboratorio «dal vivo» delle maggiori industrie belliche statunitensi ed europee, che sono state «invitate a parteciparvi per trovare soluzioni tecnologiche che accelerino l’innovazione militare».

Innovazione in cui l’Italia è ai primi posti: unico paese al mondo dopo la Gran Bretagna, riceverà dagli Stati uniti missili e bombe per armare i droni Predator MQ-9 Reaper made in Usa, già acquistati. Spendendo centinaia di milioni di euro che si aggiungono a una spesa militare, quella italiana, di circa 80 milioni di euro al giorno, sottratti alle spese sociali come è chiaro dalla manovra finanziaria denunciata anche dalle Regioni. Il «Predatore» Reaper (Mietitore, ovviamente di vite umane) è armato di 14 missili Hellfire (Fuoco dell’inferno) e di due bombe a guida laser o satellitare. I telepiloti, seduti alla consolle a migliaia di km di distanza, una volta individuato il «bersaglio», comandano con il joystick il lancio dei missili e delle bombe. I «danni collaterali» sono inevitabili, come hanno dimostrato i droni Usa impiegati in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia e altri paesi.

Del resto come dimenticare che quando la Mogherini prima dell’estate ha annunciato con Gentiloni la «guerra in Libia agli scafisti» subito si è affrettata a dichiarare che purtroppo non sono da escludere «dolorosi effetti collaterali». Così per colpire un presunto nemico, i droni killer distruggono spesso una intera casa, villaggi e feste popolari (soprattutto matrimoni) uccidendo donne e bambini con il «Fuoco dell’inferno» a testata termobarica o a frammentazione. Quella termobarica, spargendo una nube di aerosol esplosivo, provoca una sovrappressione e una ondata di calore tali da risucchiare l’aria dai polmoni e bruciare chiunque si trovi nel suo raggio. Quella a frammentazione investe l’area circostante con acuminati frammenti metallici che squarciano chiunque si trovi all’aperto e possono anche penetrare negli edifici, facendo strage di chi è all’interno. Questa è la nuova arma di cui si sta dotando l’Italia.

Che non ci siano problemi ad usarla lo conferma la ministra Pinotti al Corriere. Alla domaNda «Quando arriverà la decisione italiana di bombardare in Iraq?», risponde: «L’Italia ha già effettuato raid aerei in passato. Lo ha fatto nei Balcani, lo ha fatto in Libia». Al bombardamento Nato della Jugoslavia nel 1999 parteciparono 54 aerei italiani, che effettuarono 1378 sortite, attaccando gli obiettivi indicati dal comando Usa. «Per numero di aerei siamo stati secondi solo agli Usa. L’Italia è un grande paese e non ci si deve stupire dell’impegno dimostrato in questa guerra», dichiarava il presidente del consiglio D’Alema. Al bombardamento Nato della Libia nel 2011 gli aerei italiani effettuarono oltre 1100 raid. «La missione in Libia – dichiarava il segretario del Pd Bersani – rientra nella nostra Costituzione, perché l’Art. 11 ripudia la guerra ma non l’uso della forza per ragioni di giustizia». E il presidente Napolitano assicurava: «Non siamo entrati in guerra».

Sulla stessa linea, la ministra Pinotti dichiara oggi, a nome del governo Renzi, che effettuare raid aerei «non deve essere un tabù. Anzi sarebbe ipocrita pensare che possiamo fare tutto senza arrivare a quel punto». E tra poco si leveranno in volo anche i droni killer italiani con i loro missili «Fuoco dell’inferno».

Ormai è chiaro che per il Pd demolire l’Art. 11 della Costituzione sul ripudio della guerra, non solo non è più un tabù ma costituisce un elemento fondativo della sua natura.

Manlio Dinucci

Tomasso Di Franceso

Five security guards, members of the RCMP, two in bulletproof vests, all entrants pass through metal detectors, undergo a wand search, check all electronics including cell phones and have their bags meticulously scrutinized. Why all the security? The crown was presenting its criminal case against Arthur Topham, for the crime of “hate”.

The Law

Section 319 of Canada’s criminal code is an extraordinary law by most western standards. It reads, in relevant part: “(2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, willfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

The statute does not define hatred, but does provide 4 statutory defenses.

(a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
(b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;
(c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or
(d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.

It is important to understand that the prosecution (the Crown), with all of its resources, need only prove ‘hate,’ and then the only available defenses are affirmative, meaning that the burden of proof switches to the defense.

This week I attended some of the extraordinary trial of Arthur Topham in the Supreme Court (the highest provincial trial court) in Quesnel, British Columbia. As a lawyer, the differences in procedure between American and Canadian courts were of interest to me. Ahead of the trial, I read a little about the Canadian legal system and found that on paper the differences appeared minor. I don’t know if the huge differences in practice that I observed in this trial has to do with the way trials are usually conducted in Canada, the understandable loosening of formality in a court in a small town and/or the nature of the trial.

The Background

The history of Mr. Topham’s travails can be found here.

It is sufficient to understand that this trial follows eight years of harassment. Mr. Topham has already had to close his successful remodeling business. This is a criminal trial, and Mr. Topham could go to prison for two years. Mr. Topham and his wife live on a remote property on which they maintain a chicken coop, grow vegetables and engage in other rural activities. But it is clear that Mrs. Topham could not live there alone. These are not wealthy people. Mrs. Topham told me that she is not a political person, but she loves and supports her husband and believes in free speech. The defendant and his wife have exhibited bravery, courtesy and calm to a degree that is awe inspiring.

The police arrested Mr. Topham for ‘hate’ after they received complaints from various Jewish people who found his writing hateful. Although the police clearly knew where he lived, they arrested Topham as he and his wife were driving, leaving his wife stranded and Mr. Topham in jail. While jailed, Mr. Topham’s house was searched and his computers, shotguns and other items were taken. (Shotguns are essential in an area where grizzlies often decide to take up residence on the porch.)

The Trial

I understand that before I arrived, the Crown presented the arresting and investigating officers. Clearly the officers are not qualified to establish ‘hate,’ so how does the Crown do this? There is no victim to present, no one whose injuries the jury must assess, instead it is to the jury to decide if ‘hate’ is present, no injury need be shown.

The Crown chose to use an expert witness to show hate, and qualified Len Rudner as an expert in Judaism and anti-Semitism. Mr. Rudner’s biography indicates that he is a ‘professional’ employed for the last 15 years by the Canadian Jewish Congress and its successor organization, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). Prior to this trial, Rudner has attempted to force Mr. Topham’s internet service provider to shut down his web site, and has lodged civil complaints against Mr. Topham.

The crown used its questioning of Rudner to introduce what it considered to be the most damaging articles on Topham’s site, Radical Free Press (RFP). These included a list of books and articles, all of which are easily accessible on the internet and/or for sale at

Most of these publications accuse Jews of some pretty nasty politics. What at first appeared to be the Crown’s most damning evidence was a picture of a stereotyped Jew holding puppets that were Canadian politicians. On cross examination, it was hard for Mr. Rudner to counter what a careful viewing showed to be a clear political statement. I think the shocking picture of the Jew served to make the statement more powerful. But is it the job of the court to evaluate the strength of a political cartoon?

Without going to the truth of the matters presented, I am troubled that Mr. Topham is on trial for reprinting sources that are widely available in Canada. Again, on cross examination, Mr. Rudner had to admit that this was so. A quick google search for “the protocols of the Elders of Zion,” reveals hundreds of sources that display the protocols in full.

The procedure, at least in this court, was that all objections had to be heard outside the presence of the jury. This meant that each objection forced the jury to leave the room (not the judge and the lawyers) thus making an objection, even for the record, was a cumbersome and time consuming process.

In one of these interminable objection interludes, the Crown stated that ‘free speech is not on trial here.” Shockingly, Judge Butler echoed her sentiments. Legal fictions (such as that all lawyers are capable of providing an adequate defense) are generally employed to allow the system to work. In this case, the legal fiction went to the charge itself. Mr. Topham is on trial for writing and for publishing articles that presumably reflect his beliefs. What else is free speech if not that?

Mr. Rudner indicated under direct examination that he was the author of the written expert opinion he provided to the court. This was troubling, because the Crown had originally employed Bernie Farber as its expert, and Mr. Farber had provided an opinion that was word for word the same as Mr. Rudner’s. If Mr. Rudner did not commit perjury, he was at least deceptive in his presentation of his expert opinion.

The Defense

Barkley Johnson, defense attorney extraordinaire, gave an opening argument that was an impassioned call for freedom of thought and speech. Later the Crown objected, but the damage so-called had been done. Mr. Johnson endured a tongue lashing and a civil procedure lesson from the judge. The jury was instructed to ignore some of Mr. Johnson’s speech. I assume that this helped plant the speech more firmly in their minds.

Mr. Topham countered the charge of hate and argued as a defense that the writing was political with an expert of his own. Gilad Atzmon, the iconoclastic jazz musician, writer and philosopher volunteered his time to help. It seems wrong to enjoy a presentation when a man’s freedom is at stake, but it was delightful to watch Mr. Atzmon ignore or flaunt every rule of procedure and get away with it.

Atzmon was qualified as an expert on Jewish Identity Politics a topic that clearly few in the court had heard of. In his most amusing argument on the subject, Atzmon explained that there was a section on identity politics in every bookshop, and that topics included the LBGT community. Faced with political correctness, the court backed off and agreed to allow Atzmon in as an expert.

Atzmon began by explaining his system of characterization. He divides ‘the Jews’ into three non-exclusive categories. The first, Judaism, is made up of religious Jews. The second, Jews, are people who are Jewish by an accident of birth. The third, and most important category for this purpose is ‘Jewishness,’ those who identify politically as Jews. Mr. Atzmon described the first two categories as innocent.

Objections were raised, innocent is, after all, a legal conclusion and if the first two are innocent, the third is, by implication, guilty. Judge Butler agreed with the Crown’s objection and then allowed Atzmon to proceed in describing the first two categories as innocent. From then on, the defense attorney, the prosecution and the judge adopted these categories for clarity of discussion.

Atzmon argued that contemporary opposition to Jewry is driven by political and ideological arguments; that no one criticizes Jews as a race or a biology. There is little criticism of Judaism, the religion, as a whole, but there has been some criticism leveled at a few aspects of the religion such as blood rituals and goy hatred. The thrust of his argument was that Jewish politics and ideology must be subject to criticism like all other politics and ideologies.

Like a rabbi on acid, Atzmon explained his philosophy, allowed few questions, and browbeat the attorneys. He dealt with his own philosophical approach to Jewishness and the dangers of believing oneself ‘chosen’ and then he got in a few swipes at categories one and two as well. The jury was mesmerized. Later, Atzmon told friends that he had directed his remarks to the juror sleeping in the first row. If he could be made to listen, presumably the others could as well.

Atzmon made the point that many of the most apparently anti-Semitic writings were made by the early Zionists. According to Atzmon, Herzl and others saw a problem with European Jewry and thought that the existence of a homeland could cure problems such as usury, discrimination against non-Jews, exclusiveness, etc. The take away is that if Jews are entitled to criticize Jews, why can’t other people? This is especially true because the Jews have a disproportionate amount of power in government, finance and the media. They clearly have the means to counter criticism if they choose to do so.

  • Part 2 will cover the closing arguments and the verdict.

Eve Mykytyn graduated from Boston University School of Law and was admitted to the bar of the state of New York. Read other articles by Eve.

The recent Greek elections (25/9/2015) offer some valuable lessons for not only the Greek Left and the popular movement. SYRIZA – the darling of the Western Left that has been portrayed as a model – performed a blatant somersault and unashamedly betrayed the popular expectations that brought it to government. SYRIZA began as a left euro-skeptic party that disputed the neoliberal and austerity policies of European Union (EU), questioned aspects of the European Monetary Union (EMU) and promised that there can be an alternative within the EU.It banked on people’s disgust with EU’s structural adjustment programs but also on its fear of exiting from this trap without a clear and convincingly delineated alternative. The end result is now well known. After almost six months of theatrical gestures SYRIZA – faced with the unyielding position of the EU – capitulated unconditionally betraying even the vociferous popular NO to EU’s blackmail expressed in the referendum of the 5th of July.

On top of that SYRIZA added insult to the injury by blackmailing the Greek people to vote for it in the 25th of September elections: this time not as a reformer of EU’s policies but as the milder facilitator of its policies. The results of these recent elections show clearly the limits of euro-skepticism and how it can easily betray the popular cause.

The global capitalist crisis of 2007-8 is the first big crisis of the 21st century. Its outbreak upset further the unequal development of the world capitalist system and aggravated intra-imperialist conflicts between its main poles.

The structural crisis of the Eurozone (and the rest of the EU as the former represents the hard core of the latter) is one of the main regional crises that ensued in the aftermath of the global crisis. It denotes the internal and external problems of one of the main challengers of US global hegemony. EU’s dominant powers – the euro-core countries – reacted by unloading a great portion of the crisis’ burden on the dominated sub-imperialisms of the euro-periphery; thus aggravating the crisis of the latter further. The imposition in many of the latter of restructuring policies – particularly through adjustment programs by troikas – has dramatically exacerbate class tensions in these countries, as distinct from the euro-core countries where restructuring is milder.

The aforementioned difference has some critical political implications and creates a political North – South divide in Europe – on top of the economic one. In the euro-core countries it is the extreme right-wing and even neo-fascist parties that benefit from the crisis. On the contrary, in most of the euro-periphery countries it is parties to the left of social-democracy that gain support. The main reason for this political divide is that in the euro-core countries the Left (social-democracy excluded since it is a systemic force) has faced successive defeats that weakened it and in the end made it an appendage to social-democracy. Moreover, as the European imperialist integration and the EU is the system’s major long-standing project, the Left in the euro-core countries has become integrated in this. For this reason it cannot attract the popular discontent with the EU and its anti-popular structures and policies. For this reason it is the extreme Right – till recently outside the official political spectrum – that can deceive the popular masses and, with the implicit or explicit support of segments of the bourgeoisie, lead them to the slippery road of nationalism.

On the contrary, in most euro-periphery countries – apart from those of the now defunct Eastern bloc that has tarnished the name of socialism – the Left has remained outside the political mainstream. Thus it kept its militant traditions and is, too a great extent, against (or skeptic) regarding the European imperialist integration. For this reason it is the Left and left popular and social movements that are the main vehicles of popular discontent against the EU.

This peculiarity of the Euro-South has not gone unnoticed by EU’s hegemonic imperialist countries and the domestic bourgeoisies. In Greece the open declaration by systemic mouthpieces of the need to put ‘an end to the Greek specificity’ is a typical example. Thus the system resorts to a two-pronged attack. On the one hand it attacks directly the Left and popular movements and attempts to discredit them as irresponsible that endanger the ‘European paradise on earth’. This course proceeds through fear and intimidation and attempts to subdue the popular discontent against the EU.

On the other hand, the system attempts to incorporate this discontent by channeling it to euro-skeptic but not anti-EU parties and political formations. The recent proliferation of euro-skeptic fractions and formations is tantamount to that. These formations dispute aspects of the European imperialist integration and even go against the EMU. But they shy away from denouncing the EU altogether. SYRIZA is a typical example of this slippery road. It shows how euro-skepticism cannot soften EU’s anti-popular structures and policies but it can diffuse – at least for a period – the popular discontent.

Left euro-skepticism argues that it EU is not an anti-popular structure per se but it has been dominated by neoliberalism. It consciously hides that EU’s – and European Economic Community’s before – policies were anti-labor before the onset of neoliberalism in the 1980s. It also consciously conceals the fact that EU is a structure based on specific powers and interests and not the ‘common European house’. If these interests are endangered their agents will prefer to demolish the structure rather than alter it. Euro-skepticism begins with the myth that there can be non-austerity and pro-labor policies within the EU. When this myth is challenged then euro-skepticism moves hesitantly to dispute the EMU but not the EU.

This latter proposal is also a blind alley. Particularly for the euro-periphery countries it is nonsensical to leave the EMU and remain in the EU. This is the worst scenario from all. It means that you require a consensual divorce while remaining a dominated part of the wider structure. As shown in the Greek case, the only way this can happen is through a Schauble plan that moves a country to a currency zone depending on the euro (like the Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II)) while remaining under implicit and explicit austerity Memoranda. In this scenario the dominated country ends up with additional burden instead of being liberated.

Euro-skepticism is an easy ‘opponent’ for the system. It lulls the popular movement that a smooth course is achievable and, when this is disproved, it throws it into disarray and submission. Again the Greek debacle is a typical example of that. On the one hand, SYRIZA played its treacherous game. And, on the other hand, the Left –despite being anti-EU – failed to create a mass popular movement against the EU that would offer immediate practical solutions to people’s problems and grievances. The Left, and particularly the militant extra-parliamentary Left (as expressed by ANTARSYA) openly and honestly declared its opposition to the EU. However, it failed to organize this as a coherent and practical project and as a political proposal for the toiling popular masses.

This lesson has to be learned; particularly by the Greek Left. SYRIZA’s betrayal and its open implementation of a third even more anti-popular and recessionary austerity program are already fomenting popular anger. This was not expressed in the last elections but it is already simmering as the new measures erode further popular income and increase poverty and immiseration. If the Left fails to create a mass popular socio-political anti-EU front that will gather the popular discontent then it might be a polished extreme Right that will highjack it and channel it back into the system.

This time I must speak in first person because, after 22 years of working for and directing the communication platform “Resumen Latinoamericano” (journal, radio and TV Station), sadly I find myself immersed confronted by an action that violates freedom of speech, of information and of thought, a human right that is explicitly protected by the Constitution.

How did everything start? A few days ago, I received in my e-mailbox, a message from Google Inc, written in English, in which they informed me that “in the next 10 days” Google would have to give access to the Justice system to all my e-mail accounts, because of an intimation formulated by the Court of First Instance for the Criminal, Contraventions and Offences No. 28, where the cause Number 7271/15 is radicated.

In this singular way, I found out about this incredible abuse of my privacy as a journalist, as my e-mail is primarily a medium of exchange of information with colleagues or media outlet, apart from the personal information that anyone has in their box. Such meddling is based on a criminal complaint made by the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations (in Spanish acronym, DAIA) accusing me for “being in solidarity” with the Palestinian people.

DAIA and its lawyers presented themselves before the Public Prosecutor’s Office No. 25 to accuse me of “discriminatory organization and propaganda”, brandishing the argument of “anti-Semitism”. The reasons given for that procedure are illogical and offend me as a citizen and as a journalist.

DAIA points to my participation in an activity of solidarity with the Palestine People in August 2014, when tons of Israeli Bombs were thrown in Gaza, causing thousands of innocent deaths —many of them children—, just as what is happening nowadays in West Bank. They consider my presence there to be criminal.

In that occasion, as in many others, due to my professional activity, carried out in Resumen Latinoamericano journal as well as in collaboration with international media, such as Russia Today, HispanTv or ALBA Tv, I had to broadcast the alternatives of the act and I was invited to express my opinion about what was happening in Gaza.

Just the fact of being there with other Argentinian men and women, crudely describing what was happening in Gaza and along all Palestinian territory, seems to be an offense to my accusers, and this is why they try to prosecute me, asking for a prison sentence, in order to commence an open persecution to the right to information, expression and opinion.To add with your solidarity write your name and place where you live to:,
Thanks to everyone

Carlos Aznarez Solidarity Committee,,

Global Research expresses its solidarity with Carlos Aznarez

The New York Times’ 9/11 Propaganda

November 9th, 2015 by Kevin Ryan

The New York Times led the propaganda behind 9/11 and the 9/11 Wars. It did so by ignoring many of the most relevant facts, by promoting false official accounts, and by belittling those who questioned the 9/11 events. The Times eventually offered a weak public apology for its uncritical support of the Bush Administration’s obviously bogus Iraq War justifications. However, it has yet to apologize for its role in selling the official account of 9/11, a story built on just as many falsehoods. Instead, the newspaper continues to propagandize about the attacks while putting down Americans who seek the truth about what happened.

The New York “newspaper of record” has published many articles that promote official explanations for the events of 9/11. These have included support for the Pancake Theory, the diesel fuel theory for WTC 7, claims based on the torture testimony of an alleged top al Qaeda leader, and accounts of NORAD notification and response to the hijackings. Since then, U.S. authorities have said that none of those explanations were true. However, the Times never expressed regret for reporting the misleading information.

tta53Instead, the Times continued to sell every different official explanation. When a new government theory for destruction of the WTC was put forth, it was immediately promoted. The newspaper never reported any critical analysis of the official accounts, despite the fact that all of them, including the final reports for the Twin Towers and WTC 7, have been proven to be wrong.

When the fourth story for how the North American air defenses failed—the one that said U.S. military officers had spent three years giving “false testimony,” the Times pushed it as fact. Its article on the subject simply closed the matter with the statement that “someone will still have to explain why the military, with far greater resources and more time for investigation, could not come up with the real story until the 9/11 commission forced it to admit the truth.” The idea that military officers might have started out telling the truth, thereby leaving very sensitive questions to be answered, and that the 9/11 Commission was now being false, apparently never occurred to the editors.

Meanwhile, the newspaper has made considerable efforts to belittle Americans who question the official account of 9/11.

In June 2006, the Times published a snarky account of a grassroots conference of 9/11 investigators. The article focused on sensational descriptions of the participants, including what it called “a long­haired fellow named hummux who, on and off, lived in a cave for 15 years.’’ The fact that Dr. hummux was a PhD physicist who had worked on the Strategic Defense Initiative for 20 years was not mentioned. TheTimes simply distorted his experience living with a Native American tribe and falsely stated that he had lived in a cave. No mention was made of serious, undisputed facts that were presented at the conference.

A few months later, at the fifth anniversary of 9/11, the Times published another propaganda article in support of the politically timed reports from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The article began by declaring that those who questioned 9/11 were “an angry minority,” while minimizing a national Scripps Howard poll, published just a month earlier. The poll showed that “More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East.” That is, the number of Americans who thought that federal officials were behind the attacks (36%) was on par with the percentage of Americans who had voted for the president. Yet the Times inferred that it was only a small fraction of the population who questioned 911.

The September 2006 article promoted one Brent Blanchard as a demolition expert, implying that hisrecent essay refuted any suggestions that the WTC buildings were demolished. As I told the reporter Jim Dwyer, when he interviewed me for the article, “Mr. Blanchard may be a good photographer, but the uninformative bluster that fills the first two and a half pages of this piece, and a good deal throughout the paper, shows that he is not a good writer.” The fact that Blanchard was only a photographer and not a demolition expert was not mentioned by Dwyer, nor was my point-by-point refutation of Blanchard’s limited arguments. Instead, Dwyer purposefully ignored the evidence and ended his article with another quote from Blanchard.

More recently, perhaps in response to another large billboard posted right outside the Times offices, the newspaper has renewed its 9/11 propaganda efforts. In one new article, reporter Mark Leibovich wonders “why is it good to tell the truth but bad to be a ‘Truther’.” Leibovich turns to former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer for support. Of course, the article does not refer to Fleischer’s curious behavior on the morning of 9/11, which stands among the unresolved questions. Instead, Fleischer’s input is that he uses the term “truther” as an epithet (read “truth nigger”), “floating a notion and letting it hang there to absorb sinister connotations.” Leibovich goes on to portray 9/11 questioning as just another form of ridiculous “trutherism” that is “stranger than fiction.“

Leibovich and his colleagues at the Times continue to suggest that they are unaware of the manyincredible facts about 9/11 that call out for critical investigation. At this point, however, that level of ignorance is not believable and the Times’ track record shows that it will never take an honest and objective approach to the events of 9/11. As one former Times reporter stated, the paper’s slogan that it provides all the news ‘fit to print’ really means that it provides all the news that’s fit to serve the powerful. And as long as the needs of the powerful differ from the needs of the people, the truth will be something that is unavailable at the New York Times.

Kevin Ryan blogs at Dig Within.

Is it impossible to conceive of a peacetime USA?

Culturally and politically, American leaders with both political parties have declined to provide a vision to the American people of a country that has declared an end to war in the Middle East and the resumption of a peace time society.

Instead, the last 14 years of war have produced an overgrown Executive branch, unconstrained by law, by Congress or the judiciary.

Inder Comar Esq

If nothing is done, the Executive branch, as a domestic institution, will almost certainly overwhelm Congress and the courts and will permanently disrupt the careful checks-and-balances system that is the hallmark of the American constitutional order. There is a real threat that unending war will create a domestic monster.

The hallmark of this overgrown Executive is the continued and unabashed violations of law with respect to military action.

Today, the Executive branch wallows in an aggressively militant governmental apparatus that routinely violates law and expands the boundaries — both legally and culturally — of permissible violent government conduct.

Bush-era illegality in the form of wars of aggression, torture, war crimes and domestic spying caused outrage amongst the public when these crimes were initially revealed.

But outrage without an outlet has, through some reverse osmosis, transmuted itself into a permanent cultural numbness.

The continued silence amongst members of the cultural, social and governmental elite with respect to Bush-era crimes permits a similar silence to surround illegal activities by the Obama Administration.

For example, the public seems to willingly accept the notion that the use of drone strikes (which in some instances may constitute illegal acts of aggression and crimes against humanity), the continued use of indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay and the normalization of domestic surveillance powers under national security auspices are the “new normal” — no matter whether laws are broken.

There is very little legal basis for Obama’s bombing of Syria, both internationally and domestically. In a functioning democracy, the bombing of a sovereign country would create widespread political discussion. Yet the decision in the US to bomb Syria was made practically overnight.

The same was true of the recent announcement — again, met with silence — that US ground forces would begin to enter Syria.

Even the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, in what appears to be a clear prima facie war crime, produces mute commentary.

Carl Schmitt, the philosopher most associated with the intellectual defense of National Socialism, applauded a strong, law-breaking executive on the grounds of what he termed the “state of exception.”

Schmitt believed that in times of crises, a sovereign had to act outside of the normal constitutional framework in order to save society from existential threats. Schmitt thus defended the sovereign who violated the law, if in so doing, the sovereign could help a society delineate between friends and enemies, and give meaning to its citizens.

Nothing upset Schmitt more than the weakness of societies that had adopted liberalism, societies he viewed as hopelessly depoliticized and without the glory associated with a strong state.

Schmitt’s foul logic does much to explain the current “state of exception” in US politics. The supposed and ever present threat of terrorism is used as a means for the Executive branch to act outside of the law in order to save the law. Whether it is a Democrat or Republican in the White House, the law breaking remains the same.

Meanwhile, such illegal international actions threaten to shatter the remaining shards of what is left of the global peace. In attempting to “defend freedom” by the “war on terror,” the American government and its allies create further instability, which in turn creates additional violence directed against Americans. The CIA refers to this as “blowback.” It is not a difficult concept to grasp, and the fact that US leaders refuse to alter their conduct in the face of blowback means they are either too dense or too intentional in their use of military action abroad. Either conclusion should be frightening to a thinking person.

It is Hannah Arendt, another German thinker,  whose 20th century insights are even more profound in this current time. In her classic, Eichmann in Jerusalem, she coined the “banality of evil” as a phrase that described the seeming stupidity (or at least the clumsiness) of people like Adolph Eichmann, who were responsible for countless atrocities and yet were able to defend their actions with trite rationalizations that they were simply doing their jobs, or following orders.

Today, there is a similar caustic fog that shrouds the culture, a darkness that no one speaks of, and an acceptance of criminal conduct by those in power. Empathy towards the countless innocent victims (perhaps millions at this point) who have been killed in their homes, their schools, or even at their own weddings, all in the name of the War on Terror, is entirely absent from everyday discourse.

Americans need only look to their Founders to understand the consequences of illegal warmaking. James Madison, the chief drafter of the US Constitution, observed,

“Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

“In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.”

As Madison observed, war itself becomes a threat to domestic security and individual liberty. It acts as the pretext for an overgrown Executive and the beginnings of a criminal state.

Madison’s classical liberalism is now threatened by the views of Schmitt and other statists, who seemingly welcome the growth of the “unitary Executive” and the beginnings of domestic despotism.

So long as Americans give their leaders carte blanche to wage war in their name, to break laws domestically and internationally, and to avoid scrutiny or oversight for such conduct, then criminality will only increase, and with it, an increase in the potential for sudden instability in the global economic and political order.

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” Frederick Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, aphorism 146.

The re-enserfment of Western peoples is taking place on several levels. One about which I have been writing for more than a decade comes from the offshoring of jobs. Americans, for example, have a shrinking participation in the production of the goods and services that are marketed to them.

On another level we are experiencing the financialization of the Western economy about which Michael Hudson is the leading expert (Killing The Host). Financialization is the process of removing any public presence in the economy and converting the economic surplus into interest payments to the financial sector.

These two developments deprive people of economic prospects. A third development deprives them of political rights. The Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic Partnerships eliminate political sovereignty and turn governance over to global corporations.

These so called “trade partnerships” have nothing to do with trade.

These agreements negotiated in secrecy grant immunity to corporations from the laws of the countries in which they do business. This is achieved by declaring any interference by existing and prospective laws and regulations with corporate profits as restraints on trade for which corporations can sue and fine “sovereign” governments. For example, the ban in France and other counries on GMO products would be negated by the Trans-Atlantic Partnership. Democracy is simply replaced by corporate rule.

I have been meaning to write about this at length. However, others, such as Chris Hedges, are doing a good job of explaining the power grab that eliminates representative government.

The corporations are buying power cheaply. They bought the entire US House of Representatives for just under $200 million. This is what the corporations paid Congress to go along with “Fast Track,” which permits the corporations’ agent, the US Trade Representative, to negotiate in secret without congressional input or oversight.

In other words, a US corporate agent deals with corporate agents in the countries that will comprise the “partnership,” and this handful of well-bribed people draw up an agreement that supplants law with the interests of corporations. No one negotiating the partnership represents the peoples’ or public’s interests. The governments of the partnership countries get to vote the deal up or down, and they will be well paid to vote for the agreement.

Once these partnerships are in effect, government itself is privatized. There is no longer any point in legislatures, presidents, prime ministers, judges. Corporate tribunals decide law and court rulings.

It is likely that these “partnerships” will have unintended consequences. For example, Russia and China are not part of the arrangements, and neither are Iran, Brazil, India, and South Africa, although seperately the Indian government appears to have been purchased by American agribusiness and is in the process of destroying its self-sufficient food production system. These countries will be the repositories for national sovereignty and public control while freedom and democracy are extinguished in the West and among the West’s Asian vassals.

Violent revolution throughout the West and the complete elimination of the One Percent is another possible outcome. Once, for example, the French people discover that they have lost all control over their diet to Monsanto and American agribusiness, the members of the French government that delivered France into dietary bondage to toxic foods are likely to be killed in the streets.

Events of this sort are possible throughout the West as peoples discover that they have lost all control over every aspect of their lives and that their only choice is revolution or death.

The escalation to world war appears to be in motion, just waiting for the first diplomatic row to explode into something considerably worse than fighting various hydra-like bandits in Syria. Countries are being slowly dragged into the continuing violence with ever greater weapons and destructive capabilities and vociferous verbal dogfights ever more frequent.

With Russia, Iran and China on one side and the US, France, Australia and Britain plus the GCC countries, Turkey and Jordan on the other and Iraq and Syria in the middle, a lot is a stake in the world’s tinderbox.

US president Obama promised no less than 15 times to the world that American troops would not be deployed to Syria. With intensifying U.S. military operations in both Iraq and Syria, dozens of bipartisan US lawmakers issued an open letter on Friday calling for Congress to fulfill its responsibility by voting “as quickly as possible” on whether to authorize a war that is well over a year old. In the meantime, Obama has just authorised the deployment of special forces troops to Syria as it intensifies airstrikes which has coincided with Washington’s shift in approach to the conflict. As Russia intensifies its efforts, Washington is spurred to take more effective action.

There is serious political unrest at the parliamentary level in Britain. Parliament unequivocally voted for no military action in Syria in 2013 yet PM David Cameron simply lied by omission and sent fighter jets in defiance.

Just yesterday the head of the British armed forces said “Britain is “letting down” its allies by not taking part in attacking Isil’s key strongholds in Syria,” General Sir Nicholas Houghton, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said it “makes no sense” that RAF airstrikes in Iraq stop at the border, when Britain knows Isil has based its stronghold in Syria. He seems to have forgotten that Britain is a democracy and its people are not answerable to the army.

Last week Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said it was “morally indefensible” that Britain was not attacking the extremist group and even went as far as to say that we should be fighting in Syria because of ISIL’s involvement in the downing of the Russian passenger plane in Egypt.

In Britain and America the political gloves are off – democratic process is suspended. The big guns are on the way.

As WSWS reports –

The US will send a squadron of F-15C fighter jets to Turkey’s Incirlik air base, the US Defense Department (DOD) announced on Friday. The nature of the US war planes, which are specifically designed for dogfight combat operations with other highly advanced fighter jets, indicates that the deployment carries a significance far beyond what its small scale would suggest.

The US is preparing for aerial combat with exactly who in Syria – Russia?

Turkey is not happy with the situation as it currently prevails. Senior government officials in Turkey have now escalated the situation by insisting they would “not hesitate” to use force against any nation’s military might. The defiant pledge has sparked fears that Turkey would not discriminate and could risk even waging war with the US.

Prime Minister Davutoglu said: “We downed a drone yesterday. If it was a plane we’d do the same. Our rules of engagement are known. Whoever violates our borders, we will give them the necessary answer.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese have confirmed aerial activity in the region.

“The J-15 warplanes will take off from the Chinese Liaoning-CV-16 aircraft carrier, which reached Syrian shores on Sept. 26 (as debkafile exclusively reported at the time). This will be a landmark event for Beijing: its first military operation in the Middle East as well the carrier’s first taste of action in conditions of real combat.”

At the same time, the Syrian government halted all flights in and out of an airport in Latakia province and the airport is currently being used by Russia and Iran as an airbase. Thousands of Iranian troops have arrived, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed.

Despite Moscow’s denial of their own ‘boots on the ground’ they are present. “We have seen Russian servicemen way outside of their airbase in Latakia, contradicting reports that Russia is not engaged in the Syrian regime’s ground offensives,” reports the Moscow based Conflict Intelligence Team.

Britain sent its Special Forces (against a parliamentary vote) to mount hit and run raids against Islamic State deep inside eastern Syria dressed in black and waving ISIS flags as insurgent fighters. Part of a force known as the Coalition Joint Special Operations Task Force, the British troops are under American command. Dubbed “smash” the units, which travel in civilian pick-ups, launch their own unmanned aerial vehicles, to scan terrain ahead of them and attack.

What type of diplomatic emergency would it be if Russian troops or air forces engaged these black clad Britons, wiped them out and then found out who they were afterwards? Will the headlines read “Russia Attacks Britain”, what then?

Different types of wars are now taking place but the actors remain the same. The US is witnessing a rival financial world order and a direct threat to its blood soaked empire.  Global Research Reports –

As the financial architecture of the world is being altered by China and Russia, the US dollar is gradually being neutralised as one of Washington’s weapon of choice. Even the monopoly of Washington’s Bretton Woods system formed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank is being directly challenged.

In response, on September 12th –  EU sanctions pushed by the US, targeted even more of Russia’s state finances, energy and arms sectors. These are sectors managed by the powerful elite around President Vladimir Putin. Russian state banks are now excluded from raising long-term loans in the EU, exports of dual-use equipment for military use in Russia are banned, future EU-Russia arms deals are banned and the EU will not export a wide range of oil industry technology. Three major state oil firms are targeted: Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft, the oil unit of gas giant Gazprom.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has openly accused the West of seeking to force a regime change in Russia through sanctions by saying “The West is showing unambiguously that they do not want to force (Russia) to change policy, they want to achieve a change of regime.” Putin, a master strategist will have all these factors in mind when it comes to Syria. And unlike Obama, Cameron, Hollande and Co, Putin is unanimously supported by the Russian people.

In Syria, unrest began in the early spring of 2011 within the context of Arab Spring protests, with nationwide protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government, whose forces responded with violent crackdowns. The conflict gradually morphed from prominent protests to an armed rebellion after months of military sieges.

Slowly and surely, through ‘mission creep’ the major global super-powers, already engaged in currency, commodity and economic conflict are being dragged into the quagmire from cold war to hot war. If it is true that Russia is preparing a ground offensive with 150,000 troops, supported by Iranian and Syrian troops, how will the west respond and what will it take for the last rung of the escalation ladder to be reached for all out conflict?

The battle for Darayya in the Western Ghouta (collection of farms) of the Rif Dimashq province has recently intensified between the Syrian forces and the Ajnad Al-Sham and Liwaa Al-Shuhada Al-Islam terrorist groups. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies continue a large-scale offensive inside the city.

On Saturday afternoon, the SAA and the National Defense Forces (NDF) advanced the militants’ defenses inside the Al-Shayah District of Darayya and imposed full control over the Al-‘Arabiya Neighborhood which allows to control the road to Al-Mo’adhimiyah in rural west Damascus. According to the field reports, the SAA also destroyed the main Ajnad Al-Sham HQ building there.

The Syrian forces restarted military operations at the Dara’a Al-Balad Quarter to reclaim the southern part of the provincial capital. Despite the pro-Syrian media statements about successes resulting in capturing several building blocks, the recent clashes have shown that the Syrian forces don’t have a momentum there. The fights are continuing.

Separately, the SAA and the NDF carried out an assault at the eastern slopes of the Al-Hiyal Mountains (Jabal Al-Hiyal). 40 ISIS militants were killed. The SAA seized several ISIS points at the eastern slopes of the Al-Hiyal mountains and killed about 40 militants but it wasn’t enough to free this area. The pro-government forces have been continuing to advance east towards the city of Palmyra in the Homs province.

Three separate bomb attacks killed at least nine people in and around the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. No group or individual has taken responsibility for these attacks. However, the ISIS militants are often considered to be the main suspect in such attacks.

The Iraqi army conducted an operation against the terrorists in the area of Bu Hayat in the restive western province of Anbar on Saturday. The Iraqi forces destroyed a number of bridges constructed by the militants and killed five of them.

Local reports also said that four members of ISIS were killed in an attack on the hideout of the militants in the city of Fallujah in Anbar Province on Saturday.

Western ‘news’ media simply refuse to report the lying that’s done by Western ‘news’ media and their governments.

Western media didn’t even report — and more than a decade after the fact, they still are not reporting — that George W. Bush was lying when he said on 7 September 2002 that the IAEA had just issued a report saying that Saddam Hussein was six months away from having a nuclear weapon — when he said this even though the IAEA repeatedly denied having ever issued such a report. (And: largely because Western media still  don’t report that he had lied  there, the Gallup Poll, on 20 June 2014, found that former President George W. Bush was continuing to be well-regarded by the American public: he still had an approval rating of 53%, and only 44% of Americans disapproved of him.

His approval-rating within his own Republican Party continued to be an astronomically high 88%. His failure to have acted on pre-9/11 intelligence about Al Qaeda, the massive needless bloodshed from foreign invasions, trillions of dollars wasted, millions of needless Iraqi refugees produced, tortures and ‘renditions’ in violation of international law, and the explosion of financial fraud and its resulting economic crash, all failed to cause him to be generally unpopular amongst the American people, whose nation he had actually almost wrecked. Such is the power of a constantly lying press, which claims that all these catastrophes were ‘well-intentioned’ by the ‘democratically’ ‘elected’ President.)

And, more than a decade later, the media are still not reporting that Barack Obama lies saying that the August 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria was from Assad’s forces and not from the rebel side — which it actually was. (Obama repeats this lie every time he ‘justifies’ his invasion of Syria. He’s actually supporting the people who did  that sarin attack — and he knows  it.)

When will Western ‘news’ media start behaving as if they’re actual news-media in an authentic democracy, instead of mere propaganda-outlets for their government against the various nations that the local aristocracy (the Western aristocrats who also own the ‘news’ media) want to take over or else destroy — first, Libya, then Ukraine, now Syria — all allies of Russia (as had been Saddam Hussein’s Iraq), which Russia is the American aristocracy’s actual ultimate target here.

It’s like George Orwell’s 1984, in “the West.” It’s no real democracy here. It’s fake. It’s built on lies. (Just as all U.S. Presidents since the end of the Soviet Union have been lying about Russia.)

And it has been going on like this for decades in the United States. For example, farther on, in that same video (at 3:17) which is linked here at the top of this article, is also the 1990 Congressional testimony of “Nurse Nayirah” about Saddam Hussein’s atrocities in her country Kuwait, which testimony was used in Congress to ‘justify’ Bush Senior’s war against Saddam’s army in Kuwait. That ‘evidence’ too was a U.S. government hoax, engineered with the assistance of Kuwait’s U.S. Embassy and the PR firm Hill and Knowlton. (And a fuller description of that PR campaign can be found here. And also here.)

It wasn’t publicly revealed, that Nayirah was a member of Kuwait’s royal al-Sabah family, she was the daughter of Kuwait’s Ambassador to the United States, Saud Nasser Al-Saud Al-Sabah. The al-Sabah family plus the National Parliament, own Kuwait (they jointly control the country and own its oil wells), and the al-Sabahs had hired Hill and Knowlton for this propaganda-operation. None of that was revealed to the public when “nurse Nayirah” was shown crying on U.S. television as she testified lying in Congress.

What the al-Sabah family were actually crying about was the theft of Kuwait from them, after they had (centuries earlier) largely stolen Kuwait from the Kuwaiti public and privatized it largely to themselves. For this theft from the al-Sabahs and from the National Parliament, the Bush family, long allied with the Saud family (friends of the Sabah family) sent America’s soldiers in to kill, and be killed, in Kuwait.

We know why the Bushes did this. Why is Obama doing it? Who are his  friends?

And, above all: When will the Western ‘news’ media start  reporting about their own fakeness? Isn’t that the pre-condition for any intelligent  consumer of news to start to take them seriously? (Perhaps Western ‘news’ executives don’t think so; perhaps they think that, instead, hiding  their fakery is the only way to keep  their ‘dumb’ audience’s trust.)

Here and here are two Western news-reporters who have gone public about those individual journalists’ personal refusals of demands by management to deceive the public. (Both of them were fired and then blackballed for doing this. Journalists are actually trapped.)

Personal note:

No one pays me to write this sort of thing. I offer my news reports and commentaries free to all American and many other Western news-media, in order to persuade them that they should start to become honest — and also in order to encourage readers to support the few that already are  honest enough to report the truth about what has actually happened to the media in the Western world (google the headline to this report between quotation-marks, and see who published this and who didn’t).

The reason that I do this is that the biggest news-story of all, to me, is actually about the press itself. (Incidentally: America’s self-styled ‘critics’ of the press, such as MediaMatters, FAIR, and AIM, don’t report this particular news-beat either — they too are mere propaganda-vehicles.) And, in fact, the biggest scandal is that there is no market for honesty in the journalism-profession in the West.

The West is all that I know about and have investigated; so, I can’t say whether this corruption is the same elsewhere, and I won’t speculate about that. My concern is the corruption here, not there. And I have found lots of that corruption, such as: here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Until the Western press starts reporting its own corruptness, democracy will be impossible in the West. Wars and other catastrophes can be the result. Criminal invasions such as of Iraq in 2003, or perhaps even of Russia itself yet to come, can result from a lying press. That’s why I am concerned about this.

* Regarding the RT investigative news report that starts this article, the BBC even had the nerve to headline, after it was telecast, a ‘news’ report supposedly exposing the RT news report as false, while not identifying anything in it to be  false. On 21 September 2015 they headlined, very misleadingly, “UK regulator Ofcom backs BBC in Russian TV case,” and opened (also misleadingly saying what had allegedly been affirmed in what they had ‘won’): “The BBC has won a case against Russian TV channel RT, which claimed the corporation faked a report on Syria. The station [RT] said the BBC had ‘staged’ a chemical weapons attack for a news report, and digitally altered the words spoken by an interviewee.

The BBC complained to Ofcom, saying the ‘incredibly serious’ allegations struck ‘at the heart’ of its obligations to accuracy and impartiality.” (At least that much from the BBC was honest: this RT report really did strike at the heart of the BBC’s trustworthiness.) However, only at the end of this BBC ‘news’ article, after a lot of misdirection and side-tracking in the BBC’s article, was the actual decision from Ofcom quoted from, or even summarized, when it finally said:

“It [Ofcom] ruled: ‘We did not consider that viewers would have clearly understood that the ‘massive public investigation’… was a complaint by a member of the public to the BBC which had been responded to in detail by the BBC and that it was also based on a number of online articles detailing individuals’ opinions.’ RT has been directed to broadcast a summary of Ofcom’s decision that its programme was misleading.”

Nothing was identified in this BBC ‘news’ article as having been ‘misleading’ in the RT news report. And, specifically, RT’s allegation that the BBC had staged and “faked a report on Syria” wasn’t actually denied in the BBC’s article (though the opening of the BBC ‘news’ article misleadingly suggested that the charge that the BBC had engaged in fakery there had been found by Ofcom to be a false allegation by RT as the BBC was alleging — which wasn’t at all true). However, in order for RT to retain its license in UK, they had to comply with the British regulatory agency’s command. And Britain doesn’t have a censored ‘news’ media? The UK is a ‘democracy’? The Home Team (BBC) can use the home-nation’s media-regulator to punish a foreign competitor that has exposed the Home Team’s lies, and this is supposed to be ‘democracy’?

Here is what Ofcom’s actual report on this case actually said:

“Ofcom has not taken forward [i.e., accepted] the BBC’s complaint of due accuracy under Rule 5.1 as this rule applies to news reports and is therefore not applicable to the Programme which was an investigative current affairs programme. However, Ofcom considered that the [RT] Programme raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 2.2 of the Code which states: ‘Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience.’”

In other words: Whereas the BBC’s ‘news’ story here had opened by alleging that, “The BBC has won a case against Russian TV channel RT, which claimed the [BBC] corporation faked a report on Syria,” that statement by BBC was false. Ofcom’s report had clearly stated that, “accuracy … is … not applicable to the program.” Furthermore: elsewhere in Ofcom’s report, there was also this:

“Ofcom’s functions do not extend to regulating the provision of the BBC’s services in so far as they concern the accuracy or impartiality of the content of any programme included in the BBC’s UK public broadcasting services.”

In other words: As regards the BBC itself, accuracy isn’t required, not only in “an investigative current affairs program” but in anything at all  which comes from the BBC. Wow! Why would Ofcom — supposedly the BBC’s (and all news-media’s) regulator, say such things? The reason is obvious once one reads the rest of Ofcom’s report. The BBC in its complaint to Ofcom, which had sparked this ruling by Ofcom, provided no documentation disproving or in any way contesting the truth of what the RT news-report had reported. For this reason, Ofcom instead applied a different, totally vague and therefore pliable standard, namely that “factual matters must not materially mislead the audience.” Even if the given “investigative current affairs programme” is 100% “accurate,” it must not “materially mislead” (unless it’s the BBC, which is free to falsify. The BBC is allowed to be entirely inaccurate anywhere, but RT isn’t allowed even to merely “materially mislead” — whatever that’s supposed to mean).

So: what was the basis for Ofcom’s ruling that this RT program did “materially mislead”? Ofcom presented details of where the progam was “misleading.” Most of them consisted of arguments to the effect that the private person who had investigated the BBC’s report, Robert Stuart, and who was quoted at several points in the RT report, had produced no ‘massive public investigation,’ though it was, in fact, massive and had, in fact, been made public on the Web, at

The Ofcom report said that:

“The BBC said that the ‘extremely disturbing findings’ of the ‘massive public investigation’ referred to and relied on in the [RT] Programme were in fact the complaints of Mr Stuart and that the statement of Mr Stuart which is read out in the Programme is portrayed as the ‘outcome of an official public investigation’. The BBC said that these assertions are false and ‘un-evidenced’.”

Ofcom there stated the BBC’s accusation, using BBC’s original complaint from BBC.

However, in fact, Mr. Stuart’s investigative report was “massive,” and it was “public” in the sense of its being online; and, as far as “official”  is concerned, that three-word phrase “official public investigation” employed by the BBC in their complaint against RT, used by BBC in their charge filed at Ofcom against RT, describing RT’s references to RT’s investigation, that it was an ‘official public investigation,’ was a fabrication by the BBC: Not once in the RT news-report was that three-word phrase actually used. Never was Mr. Stuart’s report being referenced there as an “official public investigation,” nor was it referred to there as any “outcome of an official public investigation.” (You can easily confirm this fact by examining the transcript of the segment — you’ll need to click there on “Read the full transcript.”) The BBC lied there to Ofcom, and Ofcom simply took their lie on that as being the Gospel Truth.

Ofcom concluded its finding:

“For the reasons stated above, Ofcom was of the view that the Programme, in stating that the BBC was the subject of a ‘massive public investigation which made some extremely disturbing findings’ presented the audience with a materially misleading fact, and therefore, within the context of the Programme which was a current affairs programme, had the potential to cause harm to viewers.”

As if the BBC’s faked chemical-weapons attack by Assad’s forces hadn’t caused real harm to the BBC’s viewers — and to democracy itself? That’s right; that’s Ofcom.

Therefore, (p. 124)

“Ofcom found that the Programme as broadcast resulted in unfairness to the BBC. [Oh? It’s not ‘harm to viewers’ that Ofcom was actually concerned about here, after all?] Therefore, Ofcom has upheld the BBC’s complaint of unjust or unfair treatment in the Programme as broadcast.”

Clearly, by Ofcom’s phrase there, “unjust or unfair treatment,” they were referring to the BBC as being their client — not the BBC’s viewers, at all.

Therefore, RT, afraid that their license will be revoked if any further compaints against them by the BBC are filed at Ofcom, did whatever they were told.

According to Britain’s pro-imperialist New Statesman  magazine, RT is “Putin’s Mouthpiece” and is thus a threat. So: this is how Britain deals with that alleged situation — by imitating the Soviet Union.

A nation doesn’t need to be communist in order to be a dictatorship. Just ask Julian Assange, involuntarily imprisoned for years in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London because he runs an operation (wikileaks) that exposes dictatorships that call themselves ‘democratic’ though they aren’t. Perhaps the most-successful dictatorships are the ones that (like the U.S.) deny that this is what they are.

It’s a lot easier to lead the herd to slaughter if they don’t know what is happening behind the wall at the front of the line.

Ofcom’s real message to the British public: Get in line, herd!

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

Israel Has Murdered 80 Palestinians Since October 1

November 9th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Cold-blood murder and extrajudicial assassinations reflect longstanding Israeli policy, terrorizing an entire population, defenseless against the daily onslaught.

Palestinians have no place to hide, trapped throughout the Territories, victimized with no world community support,  murdered by Israeli forces, including 17 young children since October 1 alone.

Soldiers and police have shoot-to-kill orders. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) can’t keep up, its operations ongoing round-the-clock, dispatching medical and relief teams wherever needed, often blocked by soldiers from reaching the injured and dying.

PRCS runs two main Operations Rooms – at its Al-Bireh headquarters and Gaza City, as well as two others in Nablus and Hebron, each staffed with over 50 volunteers, caring for sick, wounded, suffering and dying Palestinians, issuing regular reports on its activities and Israeli abuses against its staff, ambulances, facilities and overall operations.

It increased them sharply last month, in response to Israeli initiated violence, heavily overworked, struggling to keep up with overwhelming needs.

It declared a level 3 state of emergency, highlighting ongoing dire circumstances. It provides media with current information, Palestine Today journalist Jihad Barakat, saying:

The Society’s Operations Room has been the quickest source of information for journalists since the beginning of the current situation. For me personally, it was my first source of information on confrontations and casualties, and I am in constant contact with colleagues at the OR.

Reports highlight multiple daily Israeli-instigated violence throughout the Territories, including in Occupied Gaza – nonviolent resisters lethally shot or wounded, vital agricultural land uprooted, fishermen attacked at sea threatening no one.

Soldiers and police have one operating standard – shoot first, ask no questions, blame Palestinians for their high crimes.

Journalists are assaulted daily for doing their job, at least 105 targeted in October alone, according to the Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA).

Scores were wounded from live fire, potentially lethal rubber/plastic coated steel bullets, toxic tear gas, stun grenades and physical beatings – their equipment confiscated or destroyed. Over a dozen others were arrested, detained and brutally interrogated.

Israel wants none of its crimes against humanity revealed, especially with hard to dispute video evidence.

MADA reported at least 450 violations against journalists since January, escalated exponentially since October 1.

Nonviolent demonstrations for justice are viciously attacked, followed by mass arrests. The world community is virtually silent in the face of extreme Israeli viciousness – heavily armed combat troops attacking defenseless civilians, including women and children.

Judge Israel by its actions, not its duplicitous rhetoric.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.


In the hours after the downing of a Russian airliners over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, there was little to no intelligence comment from Western nations. It was only a few days later that they started giving credence to the idea that ISIS, who immediately claimed credit, was actually responsible.

It now appears that the intelligence they suddenly had on the bombing wasn’t internally gathered, as US diplomatic sources say Israel actually provided the two nations with intelligence of their own about the matter. Israel is so far not offering additional details.

It makes a lot of sense, both as to why the US was dismissing the ISIS claim initially, and why they suddenly got new intelligence seemingly out of nowhere. Israel has been closely cooperating with the Egyptian junta on the Sinai Peninsula war and likely would have access to additional channels of information gathering.

The big question this raises, however, is why Egypt continued to deny the bombing all week, and other than anonymous Egyptian investigators, the official story out of Cairo is still dismissive of the idea of a bombing, as they surely would’ve been among the first provided the intelligence by Israel.

Egypt’s junta appears desperate for the story of the attack to go away, fearing the severe damage it may do to their tourism industry, but the continued denials are ringing increasingly irresponsible in the face of growing evidence which has convinced virtually everyone else ISIS really did launch the attack.