Have Bill Gates and his eugenicist foundation’s crimes against humanity finally caught up with him? If the Supreme Court of India has anything to say about it, he will face the ramifications of poisoning millions of Indian children with vaccines.

A recent report published by Health Impact News shows that a vaccine empire built on lies can only go on for so long. The reports states:

“While fraud and corruption are revealed on almost a daily basis now in the vaccine industry, the U.S. mainstream media continues to largely ignore such storiesOutside the U.S., however, the vaccine empires are beginning to crumble, and English versions of the news in mainstream media outlets are available via the Internet.

One such country is India, where the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and their vaccine empire are under fire, including a pending lawsuit currently being investigated by the India Supreme Court.”

If you aren’t aware of the key players in the vaccine mayhem being driven into African countries, they are:

  • The World Health Organization
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, funded by the Gates’ foundation), and
  • GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, also funded by the Gates’ foundation)

All four of these organizations will now be expected to explain themselves due to a writ of petition originally submitted to the Supreme Court of India in 2012, by Kalpana Mehta, Nalini Bhanot, and Dr. Rukmini Rao, which has finally been heard by the courts.

The petitioners stated:

“BMGF, PATH and WHO were criminally negligent trialling the vaccines on a vulnerable, uneducated and under-informed population school administrators, students and their parents who were not provided informed consent or advised of potential adverse effects or required to be monitored post-vaccination.”

Furthermore, though absent from most mainstream U.S. media outlets, the Economic Times of India published their report in August 2014, stating that young tribal girls were tested with HPV vaccines. This involved not a handful of children, but 16,000 individuals in Andhra Pradesh, India, where they were given the Gardasil vaccine.

KP Narayana Kumar reported that within a month of receiving the vaccine, many of the children fell ill, and by 2010, five of them had died. Another two children were reported to have died in Vadodara, Gujarat, where another 14,000 tribal children were vaccinated with another brand of the HPV vaccine, Cervarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmitheKline (GSK), who incidentally, has been accused of dumping polio virus into a Belgium river.

Consent forms to administer the HPV vaccine were ‘illegally’ signed by wardens form youth hostels, showing that the Gates’ prey on the indigent without parents. For those who had parents, most were illiterate, and the true potential dangers of the vaccines were not explained to them.

SAMA, an organization in India which promotes women’s health discovered this insidiousness, and reported it, but only now will Gates and his cronies have to answer for their misdeeds. Approximately 120 girls reported epileptic seizures, severe stomach cramps, headaches, and mood swings, of those who did not die. Other girls receiving the Gardasil vaccine have experienced infertility.

The Economic Times further reported:

“The SAMA report also said there had been cases of early onset of menstruation following the vaccination, heavy bleeding and severe menstrual cramps among many students. The standing committee pulled up the relevant state governments for the shoddy investigation into these deaths.

It said it was disturbed to find that ‘all the seven deaths were summarily dismissed as unrelated to vaccinations without in-depth investigations …’ the speculative causes were suicides, accidental drowning in well (why not suicide?), malaria, viral infections, subarachnoid hemorrhage (without autopsy) etc.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation declared their little vaccine project a total success. I guess the Supreme Court of India will decide that now.

Healthcare experts throughout the U.S. are strongly criticizing the Centers for Disease Control for its handling of Ebola.

For example:

  • Infectious disease experts say the CDC is blaming nurses for their exposure to Ebola when the CDC has given faulty instructions on how to handle Ebola patients
  • Public health experts also criticize the CDC’s statement that any hospital in the U.S. can handle Ebola patients
  • And nurses are calling the CDC hypocrites for saying that cloth masks and goggles are sufficient … while CDC personnel wear respirators and full hazardous materials suits when visiting hospitals with Ebola patients

The annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings concluded in Washington over the weekend in the midst of a deepening economic and financial crisis, with no prospect of a recovery in the world economy.

The euro zone seems set to enter its third recession since the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, and there are fears that the policies being pursued by the world’s major central banks are creating the conditions for another crash.

The IMF and World Bank meetings were held following the release of data showing that Germany could be moving into a recession. Industrial production dropped 4 percent from July, the biggest decline since January 2009. New orders for September fell at their fastest pace since 2009, according to a survey of purchasing managers.

Output of investment goods slumped 8.8 percent in August, intermediate goods were down 1.9 percent, consumer goods fell 0.4 percent, and construction dropped by 2 percent. Only energy output increased, by 0.3 percent.

The IMF cut its forecast for German growth for 2014 from 1.9 to 1.4 percent and downgraded its 2015 prediction from 1.7 to 1.5 percent. Even these predictions are likely to be too optimistic, since Germany’s economy shrank in the second quarter of this year. Germany, which depends highly on exports, is being hit by stagnation across Europe, its largest single market, as well as recession in Brazil, another key market, and the marked slowdown in Chinese growth.

The world slump, growing uncertainties over the direction of central bank policies and increasing geo-political tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East are all combining to create volatile conditions in financial markets.

Trading on Wall Street opened this week with the S&P 500 Index experiencing its worst three-day loss since 2011, led by falls in airline shares as a result of the Ebola crisis and declines in energy stocks as the price of oil hit its lowest point in four years. Monday’s losses came after a week in which $1.5 trillion was wiped off the value of global equities.

Fears of another financial crisis prompted US and British financial officials to organise a war game yesterday in which they sought to ascertain whether lessons had been learned from the 2008 crisis. Reporting on the war game on Sunday, Larry Elliott, the Guardian economics correspondent, summed up the atmosphere at the IMF meeting.

“The Fund’s annual meeting was like a gathering of international diplomats at the League of Nations in the 1930s. Those attending were desperate to avoid another war but were unsure how to do so. They see dark forces gathering but lack the weapons or the will to tackle them effectively.”

Elliott pointed out that the IMF and central bankers are well aware that pumping money into the financial system has not boosted the real economy through expanded investment and increased production, but led only to increased financial risk-taking. At the same time, they fear that lifting interest rates to halt speculation will push their economies into recession, and so they “cross their fingers and hope for the best.” The IMF, he continued, knows something is going “badly wrong in Europe, but was powerless to do anything about it.”

Clear evidence of the gathering slump is provided by the sharp declines in commodity prices. Oil prices are reported to be in “free fall,” with benchmark Brent Crude down 24 percent since the middle of the year. The International Energy Agency says oil prices have been “weighed down by abundant supplies” and weakening demand.

The price of iron ore, a key indicator of investment because of steel’s role in construction, has dropped by 41 percent this year to its lowest level for five years. The Bloomberg industrial metals index is down 37 percent from its highest point after the financial crisis and 50 percent below the levels reached in 2007.

The price of gold is 38 percent off the high it reached in 2011. Agricultural product prices, another key indicator, are also sharply down. Corn prices are 22 percent lower than they were in June, wheat is down by 16 percent over the same period, and soybean prices have fallen 28 percent to their lowest level in four years.

The growing slump is compounded by uncertainty and confusion in financial markets. Last week, the US Federal Reserve Board released the minutes from the September meeting of its policy-making committee, revealing that “some participants expressed concern that the persistent shortfall of economic growth and inflation in the euro area could lead to a further appreciation of the dollar and have adverse effects on the US external sector.” The Fed’s vice-president, Stanley Fisher, has said that the central bank will monitor the impact of the dollar’s strength on the level of global demand for US goods and services.

The minutes raised questions over how far and how fast the Fed will seek to raise interest rates to more normal levels. The risk of turbulence results from the fact that while the Fed is ostensibly on an ill-defined path back to higher rates, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan are pushing rates down. This creates the conditions for so-called carry trades, where investors borrow at lower rates in international markets and then invest in US assets, pushing up the value of the dollar and impacting US exports.

The uncertainty over the direction of Fed policy has contributed to a sharp rise in the VIX volatility index, which tracks movements on US share markets. It has increased by 21 percent over the past week, following months of what was described as an “eerie calm.”

The problems in financial markets are exacerbated by differences in the policies of the major economic powers, which emerged into the open at a seminar organised during the IMF meeting.

Centering his fire on Germany, former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who last year warned of the prospect of “secular stagnation” for the world economy, criticised Europe’s “dismal” economic performance, comparing it to the two-decades-long stagnation in Japan and the Great Depression of the 1930s.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble struck back, dismissing the suggestion that the crisis was the outcome of European policy failings. “America was the cause of the crisis, to be frank,” he said.

The US, as well as the IMF, wants the ECB to extend its asset-buying program to the purchase of government bonds in order to increase financial stimulus. But ECB President Mario Draghi has said the ECB is close to the limit of what it can do. In 2012, Draghi managed to avert a financial crisis originating in Spain, Greece, Portugal and other highly indebted euro zone countries by declaring that the ECB would do “whatever it takes.”

As six years of central bank interventions have demonstrated, however, injections of money cannot bring about increased investment and production in the real economy, which is where the crisis is now centered. The only beneficiaries are the banks, finance houses and ultra-wealthy speculators.

Moreover, there are deep divisions in the ECB itself. German representatives have already voted against the present round of asset purchases and are certain to stridently oppose any central bank move to buy up government bonds and extend quantitative easing.

The IMF discussions presented a picture of a ruling class in disarray. Divided over what to do and unable to advance a program to promote anything remotely resembling an economic recovery, the ruling elites are acutely aware they are sitting on a powder keg. They are united only by their fear that the worsening social conditions and deepening inequality produced by the breakdown of the economic order over which they preside will provoke an explosion of social struggles from below.

With US politicians and the American media engaged in an increasingly acrimonious debate over the strategy guiding the latest US war in the Middle East, the United States Army has unveiled a new document entitled the Army Operating Concept (AOC), which provides a “vision of future armed conflict” that has the most ominous implications. It is the latest in a series of documents in which the Pentagon has elaborated the underlying strategy ofpreventive war that was unveiled in 1992—that is, the use of war as a means of destroying potential geopolitical and economic rivals before they acquire sufficient power to block American domination of the globe.

The document was formally released at this week’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference, an annual event bringing together senior officers and Defense Department officials for a series of speeches and panel discussions, along with a giant trade show mounted by arms manufacturers to show off their latest weapons systems and pursue lucrative Pentagon contracts.

Much of this year’s proceedings were dominated by dire warnings about the impact of cuts to the Army’s troop strength brought about by sequestration. Gen. Raymond Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, told reporters at the AUSA conference Monday that he was “starting to worry about our end strength” and regretting having told Congress in 2012 that the Army could manage with 490,000 active-duty soldiers.

In addition to the 490,000, there are 350,000 National Guard soldiers and 205,000 reservists, for a combined force—referred to by the Pentagon as the Total Army—of well over one million American troops. The answer to why such a gargantuan armed force would seem inadequate to Gen. Odierno can be found in the new Army Operating Concept (AOC), a reckless and dangerous document laying out a strategy of total war that encompasses the entire planet, including the United States itself.

The document makes clear that in regard to the ongoing debate over “boots on the ground,” for the top brass of the US Army there is no question: there will be boots and plenty of them.

At the outset, the AOC states its “vision” for the coming wars to be fought by the US Army. In language that recalls former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s invocation of the “unknown unknowns,” the document asserts: “The environment the Army will operate in is unknown. The enemy is unknown, the location is unknown, and the coalitions involved are unknown.”

The only logical explanation for this paranoid scenario is that the US military views every country beyond its borders as a potential enemy. Starting from the premise that the environments, the enemies, the locations and the coalitions involved in future conflicts are unknown, the US Army requires a strategy for war against all states and peoples. This strategy is derived from the unstated, underlying imperative that US imperialism exert hegemony over the entire planet, its markets and resources, and that it be prepared to militarily annihilate any rival that stands in its way.

The document states bluntly that the “character of armed conflict” will be influenced primarily by “shifts in geopolitical landscape caused by competition for power and resources.” For the Army’s top brass, such wars for imperialist domination are a certainty.

The Army’s strategic aim, according to the document, is to achieve “overmatch,” which it defines as “the application of capabilities or use of tactics in a way that renders an adversary unable to respond effectively.”

What do these words entail? In the case of a confrontation with another nuclear power, they encompass the implementation of a first-strike doctrine of mass annihilation. In regard to the subjugation and domination of other areas of the globe, they call for massive ground operations to quell popular resistance and enforce military occupation.

Significantly, after more than a decade of the so-called “global war on terror, “ when countering a supposedly ubiquitous threat from Al Qaeda was the overriding mission of the US military-intelligence apparatus, “transnational terrorist organizations” are rather low on the Army’s list of priorities.

First and foremost are “competing powers,” a category that includes China, followed by Russia. In the case of China, the document evinces serious concern over Chinese “force modernization efforts,” which it says are aimed at achieving “stability along its periphery,” something that the US military is determined to block. China’s military efforts, it states, “highlight the need for Army forces positioned forward or regionally engaged,” and for “Army forces to project power from land into the air, maritime, space and cyberspace domains.”

Based on recent events in Ukraine, the document accuses Russia of being “determined to expand its territory and assert its power on the Eurasian landmass,” precisely US imperialism’s own strategic goal. Only a powerful deployment of US ground forces, it argues, can deter Russian “adventurism” and “project national power and exert influence in political conflicts.”

From there, the paper proceeds to “regional powers,” in the first instance, Iran. It also accuses Iran of “pursuing comprehensive military modernization” and argues that “Taken collectively, Iranian activity has the potential to undermine US regional goals,” i.e., undisputed hegemony over the Middle East and its energy resources. Iran’s activities, it concludes, “highlight the need for Army forces to remain effective against the fielded forces of nation states as well as networked guerrilla or insurgent organizations.”

The document does not limit the “vision” of future military operations to war abroad, but includes the need to “respond and mitigate crises in the homeland,” which it describes as “a unique theater of operations for the Joint Force and the Army.” The Army’s mission within the US, it asserts, includes “defense support of civil authorities.”

The AOC document is stark testimony to a military run amuck. Involved in these strategic conceptions are advanced preparations for fighting a Third World War, combined with the institution within the US itself of a military dictatorship in all but name.

Gen. Odierno’s complaints about troop strength will not be satisfied by any minor congressional adjustments of the Pentagon budget. The kind of warfare that the Army is contemplating cannot be waged outside of a massive military mobilization by means of universal conscription—the return of the draft.

The founders of the United States repeatedly expressed grave distrust of a standing army. The military as it presently exists and its plan for global warfare represent a hideous modern-day realization of their nightmare scenario. The implementation of this doctrine of total war is wholly incompatible with democratic rights and constitutional government within the US. It requires the ruthless suppression of any political opposition and all social struggles mounted by the American working class.

Within the US ruling establishment and its two political parties, there exists no serious opposition to carrying the militarization of life within the so-called “homeland” to its ultimate conclusion. Civilian control of the military has been turned into a dead letter, with politicians routinely bowing to the generals on matters of policy, both foreign and domestic.

Most people that discuss the “economic collapse” focus on what is coming in the future.  And without a doubt, we are on the verge of some incredibly hard times.  But what often gets neglected is the immense permanent damage that has been done to the U.S. economy by the long-term economic collapse that we are already experiencing.  In this article I am going to share with you 12 economic charts that show that we are in much, much worse shape than we were five or ten years ago.  The long-term problems that are eating away at the foundations of our economy like cancer have not been fixed.  In fact, many of them continue to get even worse year after year.  But because unprecedented levels of government debt and reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve have bought us a very short window of relative stability, most Americans don’t seem too concerned about our long-term problems.  They seem to have faith that our “leaders” will be able to find a way to muddle through whatever challenges are ahead.  Hopefully this article will be a wake up call.  The last major wave of the economic collapse did a colossal amount of damage to our economic foundations, and now the next major wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching.

#1 Employment

The mainstream media is constantly telling us about the “employment recovery” that is happening in the United States, but the truth is that it is just an illusion.  As the chart below demonstrates, just prior to the last recession about 63 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  During the last wave of the economic collapse, that number dropped to below 59 percent and stayed there for a very long time.  In the past few months we have finally seen the employment-population ratio tick back up to 59 percent, but we are still far, far below where we used to be.  To call the tiny little bump at the end of this chart a “recovery” is really an insult to our intelligence…

Employment Population Ratio 2014

#2 The Labor Force Participation Rate

The percentage of Americans that are either employed or currently looking for a job started to fall during the last recession and it has not stopped falling since then.  The labor force participation rate has now fallen to a 36 year low, and this is a sign of a very, very sick economy…

Labor Force Participation Rate 2014

#3 The Inactivity Rate For Men In Their Prime Years

Some blame the decline in the labor force participation rate on the aging of our population.  But it isn’t just elderly people that are dropping out of the labor force.  In fact, the inactivity rate for men in their prime working years (25 to 54) continues to rise and is now at the highest level that has ever been recorded…

Inactivity Rate Men 2014

#4 Manufacturing Employees

Once upon a time in America, anyone that was reliable and willing to work hard could easily find a manufacturing job somewhere.  But we have stood by and allowed millions upon millions of good paying manufacturing jobs to be shipped out of the country, and now many of our formerly great manufacturing cities have been transformed into ghost towns.  Over the past few years, there has been a slight “recovery”, but we are still well below where we were at just previous to the last recession…

Manufacturing Employees 2014

#5 Our Current Account Balance

As a nation, we buy far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  In other words, we perpetually consume far more wealth than we produce.  This is a recipe for national economic suicide.  Our current account balance soared to obscene levels just prior to the last recession, and now we have almost gotten back to those levels…

Current Account Balance 2014

#6 Existing Home Sales

Our economy has never fully recovered from the housing crash of 2007-2008.  As you can see from the chart below, the number of existing home sales is still far below the level that we hit back in 2006.  At this point we are just getting back to the level we were at in 2000, but our population today is far larger than it was back then…

Existing Home Sales 2014

#7 New Home Sales

Things are even more dramatic when you look at new home sales.  This is an industry that have been absolutely emasculated.  The number of new home sales in the United States is just a little more than half of what it was back in 2000, and it isn’t even worth comparing to what we experienced during the peak of 2006.

New Home Sales 2014

#8 The Monetary Base

In a desperate attempt to get the economy going again, the Federal Reserve has been wildly printing money.  It has been so reckless that it is hard to put it into words.  When I look at this chart, the phrase “Weimar Republic” comes to mind…

Monetary Base 2014

#9 Food Inflation

Thankfully, much of the money that the Federal Reserve has been injecting into the system has not made it into the real economy.  But enough of it has gotten into the system to force food prices significantly higher.  For example, my wife went to the store today and paid just a shade under 10 bucks for just four pieces of chicken.  And as you can see from the chart below, food prices have been steadily going up in America for a very long time…

Food Inflation 2014

#10 The Velocity Of Money

One of the reasons why we have not seen even more inflation is because the velocity of money is extraordinarily low.  In general, when an economy is healthy money tends to flow through the system rapidly.  People are buying and selling and money changes hands frequently.  But when an economy is sick, money tends to stagnate.  And that is exactly what is happening in the United States right now.  In fact, at this point the velocity of the M2 money stock has dropped to the lowest level ever recorded…

Velocity Of Money 2014

#11 The National Debt

As our economic fundamentals have deteriorated, our politicians have attempted to prop up our standard of living by borrowing from the future.  The U.S. national debt is on pace to approximately double during the Obama years, and it increased by more than a trillion dollars in fiscal year 2014 alone.  Despite assurances that “the deficit is under control”, the federal government borrows about a trillion dollars a year to fund new spending in addition to borrowing about 7 trillion dollars to pay off old debt that is coming due.  What we are doing to future generations of Americans is absolutely criminal, and it is just a matter of time before this Ponzi scheme totally collapses…

National Debt 2014

#12 Total Debt

Of course it is not just the federal government that is gorging on debt.  When you add up all forms of debt in our society (government, business, consumer, etc.) it comes to a grand total of more than 57 trillion dollars.  This total has more than doubled since the year 2000…

Total Debt 2014

If you know anyone that believes that we are in good economic shape, just show them these charts.

The numbers do not lie.  Our economy is sick and it is getting sicker by the day.

And of course the next major financial crisis could strike at any time.  U.S. stocks just experienced their worst week in three years, and if cases of Ebola start popping up around the country the fear that would cause could collapse our economy all by itself.

The debt-fueled prosperity that we are enjoying today is not real.  We are living on the fumes of our past, and every single day our long-term problems get even worse.

Anyone with half a brain should be able to see what is coming.

Sadly, most Americans will continue to deny the truth until it is far too late.

On October 15, the United Nations Will Fail Haiti Once Again

October 14th, 2014 by Dr. Ajamu Nangwaya

On October 15, the United Nations Security Council will meet to “debate” the extension of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) which has acted as an occupying force in the country since the summer of 2004. MINUSTAH was created to put an end to the Multinational Interim Force (primarily made up of U.S., French, Canadian and Chilean troops) which occupied Haiti after an internationally backed coup d’état ousted the democratically elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas party from power on February 29, 2004.

During these ten years, MINUSTAH has compiled a horrific record of human rights abuses, including but not limited to extrajudicial murder, an epidemic of sexual assault against Haitian men, women and children, the repression of peaceful political protests, in addition to unleashing cholera through criminal negligence which has caused the death of over 9,000 people and infecting nearly a million more. Despite these well documented abuses, the historical record has shown that the Security Council will mostly likely renew MINUSTAH for another year without any thought to damage being done to Haiti. As evidence of how little resistance there is to the renewal of MINUSTAH’s mandate in the United Nations, on August 21, MINUSTAH’s budget was extended to June 2015 – clearly signalling that the occupation is certain to continue.

When one examines the level of instability in Haiti which is used as the justification for MINUSTAH’s continued presence in the country, the United Nations’ argument of protecting the Haitian people from themselves falls flat. Despite the mainstream media portrayal of Haiti as a lawless and dangerous country, in 2012, it had a homicide rate of 10.2 per 100,000 people, ranking it as one of the least violent countries in Latin America and the Caribbean – in contrast to Washington DC which sat at 13.71 per 100,000. Furthermore, to argue that it is the presence MINUSTAH which has acted as a stabilizing force which has kept violence down, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that between 2007 and 2012, Haiti’s homicide rate doubled from 5.1 to 10.2 per 100,000.

For the fiscal year running from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, $609.18 million was allocated to MINUSTAH. In the ten years in which MINUSTAH has been operational, their total budget is over $5.5 billion. If this same amount had been applied towards human development in the form of investments in clean water, sanitation, healthcare and education – Haiti would have the potential reclaim its sovereignty and self-determination.

We must be clear, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti is not based on any principles of humanitarianism, but rather those of an imperialist occupation which seeks to make sure that the island’s government can implement and maintain repressive policies favourable to international investors. Thus the reasons for MINUSTAH’s continued presence in Haiti were confirmed thanks to revelations by WikiLeaks. In one of the most up-front classified cables, from US Ambassador Janet Sanderson on October 1, 2008, stated that, “A premature departure of MINUSTAH would leave the [Haitian] government…vulnerable to…resurgent populist and anti-market economy political forces—reversing gains of the last two years.”

The corrupt and repressive regime of President Michel Martelly has proudly boasted that “Haiti is open for business”. Indeed, this is true – however it is the people and the land that are being sold. Canadian mining companies like St. Genevive and Eurasian Minerals have taken advantage of weak laws to prospect new sites covering enormous swaths of territory (an estimated 1/3 of Northern Haiti has been granted to companies via permit), setting up the potential for substantial displacement through forced evictions and environmental destruction. Montreal based Gildan Activewear (the world’s largest manufacturer of blank T-shirts) has routinely pressured the Haitian government to block an increase in Haiti’s abysmally low daily minimum wage and have undermined unionization efforts in their plants.

MINUSTAH has carried out a series of human rights violations resulting in a loss of Haitian sovereignty, stability, dignity and life. Its record of engaging in acts of extrajudicial murder, sexual assault, suppressing peaceful political protests, undermining democracy and introducing cholera into Haiti are more than enough grounds to revoke its mandate. Yet for geopolitical and economic reasons, this does not happen.

As people of good conscience and principled internationalists, we collectively have the capacity and the resources to force an end to the military occupation of Haiti. However, we will not be able to fulfill this potential and stand in solidarity with the laboring classes in Haiti, if we don’t organize campaigns in Canada and across the world that pressure contributing states to end their provision of military and police personnel to MINUSTAH’s occupation force.

Our opposition to the military occupation of Haiti ought to take the form of grassroots-oriented campaigns that educate, mobilize, and organize membership-based organizations to add the end to the occupation to their organizational programme. It is critically necessary to reach out to the people in the spaces in which they are present, and offer specific actions that they may carry out to force the withdrawal of the occupation troops.

We have a moral and political obligation to support the struggle for self-determination by the popular classes in Haiti. The successful Haitian Revolution eliminated the enslavement of Afrikans in Haiti, and lit the fire of freedom in slaveholding states in the Americas.

The people of Haiti demonstrated their solidarity with the colonized peoples in South America by providing a place of refuge, guns, ammunition, personnel, and a printing press to Simon Bolivar’s campaign to liberate the region from Spanish colonialism. The French Revolution and the American Revolution cannot lay claim to being beacons and agents of emancipation in the Americas.

As we work to rid Haiti of MINUSTAH’s occupation forces, we ought to be motivated by the fact that we are continuing a long and proud tradition of people-to-people solidarity in support of emancipation in the Americas. Haiti is the architect and pioneer of this principled political tradition. We should remember this legacy as we call for the Security Council to pull out the occupation troops from Haiti.

Kevin Edmonds is a PhD student and member of the Toronto Haiti Action Committee and the Campaign to End the Occupation of Haiti.

Ajamu Nangwaya, Ph.D., is an educator. He is an organizer with the Campaign to End the Occupation of Haiti, and the Organization of Afrikan Struggles and International Solidarity.

Television News and Hypnotic Data: 4 Essential Features

October 14th, 2014 by Jon Rappoport

Television news needs to create a hypnotic effect. Otherwise it would fall apart and shatter into a million nonsensical pieces.

One: the presented data must be repeated, of course. This is the time-honored strategy. When the viewer sees and hears the same nugget many times, he accepts it because—“how can they say it so often if it isn’t true?”

Close on the heels of this: “everybody else must be accepting it, who am I to make an objection?”

And then, finally, there is the after-image effect. At the edge of consciousness, the viewer remembers the nugget and—“anything in my memory is automatically real.”

Two: a significant percentage of all news stories are framed as he-said, he-said. Two opposing viewpoints. No resolution. Done often enough, this produces cognitive dissonance, which in turn shuts off the rational mind and puts the viewer into a light trance, a state of suspension.

At this point, he becomes more accepting of other news items. No deliberation; no questions. He’s a channel, sucking in the information.

Three: the blend, the segue, the smooth transition from one news story to the next, as if the entire newscast is a single narrative: car accident on the highway, holiday shopping, ISIS, defective car recall, slow hurricane season, new drug for arthritis, stock market jitters, Presidential approval ratings, dancing cat YouTube video.

Consciously, the viewer can’t connect any of these bits, but the anchor is an actor who can pretend to make them all into a flowing story.

The viewer chooses to succumb—otherwise he would have to face the fact that he is looking at unbridled lunacy.

He doesn’t want that. He wants story. He’s solidly addicted. So he’ll settle for the nightly pretense of a story.

His settling deepens his trance.

Four: the invisible threat. This is always a big seller. Whether it’s al Qaeda or ISIS or some other group he’s never heard of—and will never see—he’s buying.

At some interior level, he’s hoping for an enemy that will justify his ongoing generalized fear, suspicion, and anxiety—as a point of focus. “Ah yes, there it is. Got it in my crosshairs. Now I know why I feel this way.”

The Surveillance State implies there are untold numbers of terrorists hiding in our country. The CDC hypes a new invisible germ that could sweep away lives.

Perfect.

“I don’t want to see the threat. Let it remain invisible. I just want to know it’s there. Then I can explain why I have feelings that point to no apparent target. Tell me there is a target. Then I’ll be satisfied.”

In this kind of psyop, the viewer is quite happy to sit on one side of a line in the sand, where he doesn’t have to do anything.

Occasionally, the news, with pumped-up emphasis, pulls him across the line and tells him: get vaccinated; see something, say something; vote; donate to a good cause—then you can you return to your former trance.

Or, in extreme circumstances, the news will present a quick blitz of several simultaneous stories, all of which appear to be spinning out of control and bringing chaos.

This is a prelude to later assurances that order has been restored. Of course, the order always carries with it a retraction of some piece of freedom—characterized as a humane response.

To the degree that I watch, listen to, and read mainstream news, this is why: to observe these and other allied strategies in action.

Seeing how reality is being built among ladders, pulleys, ropes, utilizing workers, deploying front men, is the kind of education that energizes the mind and torpedoes the trance.

“Coming up after the break, more mind control. Stay with us.”

Jon Rappoport is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALEDEXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com

Most U.S. Hospitals Cannot Safely Handle Ebola Patients

October 14th, 2014 by Michael Snyder

This Ebola outbreak is being called the “most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times“, and the U.S. health care system is completely and totally unprepared for it.  The truth is that most U.S. hospitals are simply not equipped to safely handle Ebola patients, and most hospital staff members have received little or no training on Ebola.  And the fact that Barack Obama and our top public health officials are running around proclaiming that Ebola is “difficult to catch” is giving doctors and nurses a false sense of security.  There is a reason why Ebola has been classified as a biosafety-level 4 (BSL-4) pathogen.  It is an extraordinarily dangerous virus, and there are only a few facilities in the entire country that are set up to safely handle such a disease.

The Ebola patient that recently died in Dallas was the first to be cared for in a facility that did not follow biosafety-level 4 protocols.  And so it should not be a surprise that this is the facility where transmission happened

Of the six Ebola patients treated in the U.S. before the health worker’s case, Duncan was the only one not treated at one of the specialized units in several hospitals around the country set up to deal with high-risk germs.

The CDC’s director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, has said that any U.S. hospital with isolation capabilities can care for an Ebola patient. But his stance seemed to soften on Sunday, when asked at a news conference whether officials now would consider moving Ebola patients to specialized units.

“We’re going to look at all opportunities to improve the level of safety and to minimize risk, but we can’t let any hospital let its guard down,” because Ebola patients could turn up anywhere, and every hospital must be able to quickly isolate and diagnose such cases, he said.

The head of the CDC continues to underestimate the seriousness of this disease.  His opinion that just about any U.S. hospital can safely handle Ebola patients is being contradicted by a whole host of medical experts, including ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser

Besser said he does not agree with the Centers for Disease Control, which says any U.S. hospital can safely care for an Ebola patient.

To do it safely, health care workers need to train and practice using protective equipment like they have been doing at the Emory and Nebraska facilities,” he said, referring to special biocontainment units at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta — where Fort Worth physician Kent Brantly was treated for Ebola exposure; and the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where an NBC photojournalist is currently being cared for. “I would never have gone into an Ebola ward in Africa without being dressed and decontaminated by experts — health care workers here should expect no less.”

And even if our hospitals had the proper equipment and hospital staff were being given proper BSL-4 protective clothing, the reality of the matter is that most of them have not received adequate training.  Just check out the following excerpt from an NBC News article that was posted this week…

Three out of four nurses say their hospital hasn’t provided sufficient education for them on Ebola, according to a survey by the largest professional association of registered nurses in the United States.

National Nurses United has been conducting an online survey of health care workers across the U.S. as the Ebola outbreak has widened globally. After a Texas nurse who cared for the first patient diagnosed with the Ebola in the U.S. tested positive for the virus Sunday, the group released its latest survey findings.

Out of more than 1,900 nurses in 46 states and Washington D.C. who responded, 76 percent said their hospital still hadn’t communicated to them an official policy on admitting potential patients with Ebola. And a whopping 85 percent said their hospital hadn’t provided educational training sessions on Ebola in which nurses could interact and ask questions.

If this is indeed the most serious health emergency in modern times like the WHO is saying, then we need to get our health care personnel trained to face it immediately.

Sadly, if a major Ebola pandemic does break out in this country, there is no way that we are going to have the resources to be able to deal with it.

As I discussed yesterdayWND is reporting that there is only one BSL-4 care facility in the entire nation that is available to treat the general public…

Have you wondered why Ebola patients are being sent to Omaha, Nebraska?

It’s because one physician, Dr. Philip Smith, had the foresight to set up the Nebraska Biocontainment Patient Care Unit after the Sept. 11 attacks as a bulwark against bioterrorism. Empty for more than a decade, used only for drills, it was called “Maurer’s Folly,” for Harold Maurer, former chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The unit has a special air handling system to keep germs from escaping from patient rooms, and a steam sterilizer for scrubs and equipment.

It could handle at most 10 patients at a time, but one or two would be more comfortable, owing to the large volume of infectious waste.

It is the largest of only four such units in the U.S., and the only one designated for the general public.

If the outbreak in the United States is limited to just a few patients we will probably be fine.

But what if it isn’t?

Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to do next to nothing to prevent more people infected with Ebola from traveling into this country.

Obama says that there is “extensive screening” at our airports, but that simply is not true.

The following is one example of the “extensive screening” that is taking place…

The World Health Organization is sending doctors to countries where the virus is most prevalent — Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Fusion’s Jorge Ramos spoke to one of the doctors, Dr. Aileen Marty, who recently returned home to Miami after spending 31 days in Nigeria. She says she was surprised what happened when she arrived at Miami International Airport.

“I get to the kiosk…mark the fact that I’ve been in Nigeria and nobody cares, nobody stopped me,” Marty said.

“Not a single test?” Ramos asked her, surprised.

“Nothing,” Marty answered.

And the head of the CDC continues to rule out a ban on air travel for non-essential personnel to and from the countries where Ebola is raging…

Dr. Frieden strongly argued against curtailing travel to and from West Africa, in part because that could make it harder to get supplies to those countries. “That will make it harder to stop the disease,” he said. “Whatever we do, we won’t stop travel to and from these countries.

It is hard to put into words how foolish this is.

If this virus gets loose inside the United States it could easily become the worst health crisis our nation has ever seen.

The key is to keep the virus from getting into our country in the first place.

Banning air travel for non-essential personnel to and from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia would not be that big of a deal.  Many other countries have already done it.

But the CDC and the Obama administration are not even considering it.

If they have made the wrong call on this, it could end up costing large numbers of Americans their lives.

What Claim Does America Have to Global Dominance?

October 14th, 2014 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

In his address to the United Nations president Obama said of the United States of America: “We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s…” So, what sort of claim does America have to global domination? VoR’s Dmitry Linnik hosts a discussion.

Barack Obama used the word America 27 times in a fairly short speech. That includes only two mentions of the United States of America.

Why does president Obama think the US has a claim to leadership of the world?

“Because we hold our leaders accountable, and insist on a free press and independent judiciary.”

In other words, is there a division of powers, a system of checks and balances that makes US government a model? It seems that the US is unprepared or unwilling to apply the same principles on a global scale – it doesn’t want to see any checks or balances to its global domination…

LISTEN TO THE SHOW - Click here

To discuss this VoR’s Dmitry Linnik is joined by:

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalisation, a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation in Moscow and an author and sociologist

Jonathan Steele, Guardian columnist and author of Ghosts of Afghanistan: The Haunted Battleground.

James Thackara, novelist, human rights activist and author of The Book of Kings.

Anatol Lieven, visiting professor at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London and author of In America Right and Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism.

Soundbites 

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: “I think the United States has no claim to global domination. Of course, that’s not the same in practice. It’s done everything it can, everything in its power, to impose itself globally. But if we’re talking about a claim to global domination it has no legal claim, it has no moral claim, it has no claim whatsoever.

“What he [Obama] was saying is basically poetry…

“The United States does many times lose sight of the fact that when it talks, it can only talk for itself. It is not supposed to be talking for the rest of the world. And in fact, it appropriates terms like ‘international community’ and it increasingly mingles the two. It loses sight of where the international community is and where the United States is.”

James Thackara:: “I don’t feel any apology for Obama. I think everybody should be worrying about what would’ve happened if he hadn’t been in office. It was a great speech in the UN. Unfortunately, America doesn’t follow its own precepts, and part of the speech – the whole world to adopt this speech as its credo, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that they belong to an American empire, they might just do things in the American way which is something Americans hugely believe in…

“He talked about ‘might not right’ and ‘right not might’ and I thought that was gross hypocrisy. We have just been through a very ugly period in which America exerted ‘might not right’ and a lot of people died, and that’s been true of Vietnam and Korea before that. So we have a really big foreign policy problem. When one says ‘American dominance’ and ‘the American way of life’ you’re actually talking about a country that’s withdrawn from the world. The American Revolution was about withdrawing from the world. It wasn’t about dominating the world. It’s done a hell of a bad job of influencing anybody in the world…

“Putin has been able to concentrate in his hands, and create, probably as he would have liked, a personality cult and when you have that amount of power – he’s moved very deafly in Ukraine, it’s been a spectacular performance…

 “America doesn’t have anybody like Putin. We have an elected official that’s got very little power. He [Obama] came in on dreams and I’m glad you say ‘poetry’ because he certainly has a lot of poetry. I thought it was a great speech! Interestingly, I thought he agreed with Lavrov – I think if you examine the foreign policy aspect of what they are saying they were both talking as responsible people. Obama avoided foreign policy and in fact, that was a stump speech for the midterm elections…

“From the War Powers Act in 1941 the American security establishment has been building up its presence in the world. We now have 1000 bases in 120 countries. If he [Obama] had 36 years in office he could not dismember this monster. Obama is certainly not unaware that the monster is there and we should all be collaborating to get rid of it.”

Jonathan Steele: “It’s not domination. It’s an attempt to domination, maybe. I think in that speech made to the UN General Assembly, he [Obama] was speaking to the world as it were. But I think he was speaking down to the world. It was a very patronising speech to talk constantly about American leadership, and the ‘beacon on the hill’ and all that, and the hope of freedom, etc. This is the strand that has long been there in American history – this exceptionalism, that somehow, unlike any other country it [America] is not motivated by self-interest or cynicism and it’s bringing freedom and democracy and the rule of law to the rest of the world. It’s interesting that Putin picked that up in his famous op-ed piece in the New York Times some months ago criticising this ‘American exceptionalism’, saying we’ve had enough of it…

Photo: Barack Obama, Flickr

“I think Obama has unfortunately been very hypocritical because when he came in, we thought that he would respect the UN much more than Bush had done – with all of Bush’s pre-emptive wars and unilateralism. But actually, Obama’s hardly brought the UN into the mix at all. Look at this latest thing against ISIS! This is a classic case where you would want a UN Security Council Resolution and it wouldn’t have been too difficult! But instead he just announces that we’re having a ‘coalition of the willing’ and we’re going to be the leaders of it. So unfortunately he has been very much in the same mould of previous American presidents in spite of the election rhetoric when he came in, in 2008.”

Anatol Lieven: “It’s important to note though that both sides of it [America] are nationalist. The belief in America’s right and duty to lead the world towards democracy is just as nationalist in its way as that of the hard-line chauvinists who basically hate the rest of the world. It’s two faces of the same nationalism. What one certainly sees in America today compared to under George Bush is much less desire to become involved in overseas adventures on the ground. While Obama has shown that he is completely part of the US establishment and the whole of the establishment, Democrat and Republican, believe in American global leadership as they would call it, there are tactical differences. Obama, of course, came in with a much more cautious agenda than George Bush, much more realist in a way… Some people have called him an Eisenhower-Republican.

“What we are seeing is a much more cautious US president who is determined to maintain US dominance in various parts of the world and almost cannot phrase that to the American people – possibly can’t even imagine it, except in these tremendously magniloquent and ideological terms of leading democracy and leading freedom, which frankly, on the ground in the Middle East nobody believes in. It’s a separate issue whether it is or is not a good thing to fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria but this is most certainly not America leading democracy…”

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: “From my experience in Eastern Europe it is not that Eastern Europeans want to have American leadership at all. You’re talking about something that Eastern European political and financial elites are interested in, not something that the regular people in Eastern Europe are interested in. In places like Bulgaria and Romania, where they’re more concerned about bread on the table, an end to corruption; their states have been criminalised and the mafia is basically involved in government there. Those are their concerns, not being part of some ‘American Empire’.

“Being there and speaking to people in Eastern Europe, seeing things as they are, a lot of them [Eastern Europeans] are actually having second questions about what entry into the European Union, into being part of the Euro-Atlantic orbit, as some people in Brussels and in Washington like to call it, means…

“This talk about America being a beacon of freedom, helping spread democracy – this is just an ideological framework to justify American foreign policy abroad. During colonial periods, in Western Europe there was the white man’s burden, there was the mission of civilising the world and today the United States has the mission of spreading democracy, but in practice, the proof is in the pudding. You can see that the United States has been one of the biggest obstructions to democracy in the Middle East – supporting the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, the Al Khalifa family in Bahrain which uses tanks against peaceful protesters…”

Photo: South Vietnam. Residents leaving western quarters of Saigon bombed by US warplanes, 1968 (RIA Novosti)

James Thackara: “I think you’re talking about the institution of the security apparatus we’ve got in America. I don’t think that Obama created it and I’m not saying that to defend Obama. Obama’s election mandate, I would go a little further than Anatol and say that he [Obama] was given a rather large, not so moderate one, which was basically to contain America. The people of America wanted to withdraw from the world and that is what he came in on.

“I’ve watched many-many phases of America abroad and I’ve never heard anybody talk about American dominance, forgive me for saying that… I think American influence is the word that might be needed and that was probably what he [Obama] was trying to emphasise in that speech about ‘might for right’ and ‘right for might’…

“I don’t think America wishes to dominate the world. Since it’s never developed a foreign policy, its idea of its utopian prescription, which I agree with Mahdi has not worked very well, I mean we’ve got the largest prison population in the world […], and particularly with the Kennedy doctrine in Vietnam – these were really abhorrent, malfunctioning forms of governance and they were forms of governance! And in that sense, yes, America probably does exert a dominating influence but I don’t think its dominance is the idea of building an ‘American Empire’ because that would never work. We haven’t even been able to run our own country correctly!”

Photo: Donald Rumsfeld (L) abd Dick Cheney (R)

Anatol Lieven: “There’s obviously a very strong current in the American establishment which certainly does desire dominance and sometimes is willing to talk explicitly of ‘empire’… If you look at some of the neoconservatives and the programme of Rumsfeld [Donald Rumsfeld] and Cheney [Dick Cheney] during the last administration, I mean, this is very powerful in the US establishment. Of course America didn’t develop all these bases and all these client regimes all over the world by accident…

“This is by no means necessarily the will of the American people as a whole. It’s often necessary to whip up a completely exaggerated hysteria over international threats in order to get Americans really to want to do anything much at all – that has been the history of several episodes in US foreign policy.

“It’s true no doubt that in most parts of the world ordinary people are really just concerned with jobs and income and security and so forth, but foreign policy is shaped by foreign policy elites, or if you like, simply those parts of the population that are interested in foreign policy. And if you look at Eastern Europe – and I have to say, I have been a strong critic of US policy in Ukraine, but clearly there are a great many Ukrainians who do look to the US for help and leadership. As for partly similar reasons there are of course so many people in the Far East who look to the US for help against China because their fear of China is greater and that includes of course, the Vietnamese who suffered so terribly at America’s hands.

“And in the Middle East there a great many people who look to the US for help, also against neighbours whom they are extremely frightened of. They may not like asking or needing US help in this way but they do ask for it. That isn’t however, by any manner of means necessarily in the name of democracy – as one can see in the Far East in the Vietnamese case and as one can see in the Middle East with the Saudi case… US dominance would be going too far but certainly should we say ‘predominant influence’ in certain parts of the world is not simply imposed by imperial force, it is also desired by a good many people in these areas.”

Photo: Anti-attack on Syria demonstration, Rafah, Gaza Strip, Palestinian Territories, 2013 (Rex Features)

Jonathan Steele: “I would very much actually disagree on this occasion with Anatol. I don’t think that the Middle East is the area where many people would want US protection or friendship or help. It’s the region of the world where there is most strong anti-Americanism, except obviously in the case with Israel…”

Anatol Lieven: “…The thing is that many of them [in the Middle East] are more afraid of Iran and ISIS than they are of the US presence…”

Jonathan Steele: “No, I think that’s completely exaggerated. I think the elites of the Gulf certainly want to be America’s ally and friend and that is why some of them have joined this ‘coalition of the willing’ but one of the things in the Arab Spring was precisely to get away from dictatorships which were clients of the United States. That element of the Arab Spring which was about foreign policy is often underplayed but it was clear in Tunisia where France was the colonial power more than the US, but in Egypt is was certainly the colonial power seen as a neo-colonial power and people wanted to get away from that…

“Most countries are very suspicious. After all, the US has been intervening in the Middle East for more than fifty years after it took over from the British. And it’s been a disaster for most people…”

James Thackara: “The Arab world has been trying to unify itself – the caliphate speech has been going on for quite some time, it started with Bin Laden… And there are movements like that – the pan-Arab revolution in Algeria was going on in the early 19th century; the British imposed their structures there which couldn’t be maintained by anybody really; and these experiments of trying to restore the caliphate have been hugely enhanced by America’s interference in the region – getting involved with elites, rather like the ones in Latin America… We seem to do this over and over, even in Ukraine we’ve somehow gotten into this role. What it’s actually doing is it is perfecting a laboratory in which this experiment of unifying militant Islam from Indonesia to Morocco is prospering.

Photo: Fight for Kobane between Islamic State militants and kurdish troops, Suruc (Rex Features)

“ISIS has really got the formula quite right. They’re getting much-much closer to being able to find an ideology within Islam, as brutal and ghastly as it is, which will more or less erase all our – or what I would call – American allies in that region, or what’s left of them, and I don’t think that any of the Arab governments down there want us there except to maybe get something out of us and if they do, maintain their position in power.”

Jonathan Steele: “[In Afghanistan] there was an element of provocation [by the West] but I think it was this idea that the US was going to encroach on the Soviet Union from the south – don’t forget that in 1979 the Shah, the great bastion of American power in the Middle East, collapsed and was thrown out and in came Khomeini [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]. There was this funny feeling in Moscow that somehow Khomeini would move Iran back to the Americans and that in Afghanistan, Hafizullah Amin who was the current leader, would also move back to the Americans and they moved pre-emptively and stupidly into Kabul to try to overthrow that regime and put in a client-puppet regime [in Kabul]. But it wasn’t expansionist. Some people in the West, including Zbigniew Brzezinski said they were trying to move to the warm water ports for Pakistan and so on and to go through Afghanistan to get that, which I thought was nonsense. I think it was a kind of defensive move, if you can call an aggression defensive, to pre-empt something worse happening in Afghanistan which was falling out totally from the non-allied camp into an American camp…”

Photo: Participants of an anti-American rally outside the former U.S. Embassy building in Tehran, 2013 (RIA Novosti)

Anatol Lieven: “As Brzezinski himself has admitted there was an element of deliberate provocation on the US side even before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan…

“It was a classic attempt to prop up a client regime fearing that its fall would lead to wider and very dangerous consequences. In that of course, it’s very close to what America and previous imperial powers did in South Vietnam… That, however, doesn’t make it any less of a mistake on the Soviet part.”

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: “When we talk about American influence, we can argue about the terms, but we have to look at what someone means when they say ‘American influence’… So for example, when we hear Hillary Clinton speaking on the media front saying that the United States need to expand more on things like Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty so that American influence can increase in other places – what does that mean? That’s a question that we should keep in mind.

“In regards to this entire question of dominance, we have to remember that perception management is something that the United States is very good at. People might perceive that their lives have become better or they might perceive that China is a threat now or might perceive that Russia is a threat, but that doesn’t mean it is reality. We need to ask where the constructs for these perceptions are coming from. This goes full circle to statements like Hillary Clinton saying we should prop up our media because our enemies are winning the war… And what is this war? It’s on this perception management…

“Yes, foreign policy elites – this goes to your question about how Ukraine is like Afghanistan; I’m in Canada and in Halifax there’s something called the International Halifax Security Forum… This security forum was started by the German Marshall Fund which is based in Washington DC. It was funded by them and the Canadian government, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. This security forum started in 2009 and one of the first guests was the foreign policy advisor of Mr Yatsenyuk [Arseniy Yatsenyuk]; and this forum was about expanding NATO, one of the speakers was talking about war with Iran…

“There’s something the United States is working on – creating consensus amongst elites all around the world and in fact, they made similar security forums in Ukraine. For years they spent money in Ukraine to basically groom an elite to think that ‘your interests’ lie with the United States, not with the Russian Federation or with the Commonwealth of Independent States which is where the majority of your trade is…

“This entire situation in Kiev, it’s been manufactured by the United States.”

Photo: US Senator John McCain, center, at the Dignity Day rally held by supporters of eurointegration on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev (RIA Novosti)

James Thackara: “The fact is, and Xi [Xi Jinping], the head of the Chinese government has said it, Russian officials have said it – American exceptionalism is this idea that America is somehow the only superpower. I’m afraid that China and Russia, Russia being the largest country in the world and China, since before the first Opium War having the largest economy in the world and certainly will have it now again – these three countries are going to have to get along together.

“I think that the problem we’ve got is not with Obama and it’s not with his speech at the United Nations… It’s with this huge security operation. The Republicans are doing their very best to keep that there – they probably thought Romney would take over again and run that whole thing continuing their imperial ambitions. That has to stop, and I don’t think the American people want it, I don’t think the Chinese want it and I don’t think the Russians want it…”

Anatol Lieven: “I think America will bankrupt itself in the process and stir up so many enemies against itself that it will at best, eventually, be forced to withdraw as previous empires did and at worst, will actually stumble into a very serious conflict, possibly a catastrophic conflict in the Far East.

“Putin, the Chinese leadership and others too, including the democratic governments, have been saying that America simply has to get on with other major powers even if they do not share America’s ideology. This is something which the American establishment at heart finds very difficult to do.

“The striking thing is, and with a bipartisan consensus behind it, that to a great extent this has become the modus operandi of US policy – under the Clinton administration, the Bush administration and admittedly once again in a softer and more cautious way under the Obama administration, hence the move into Ukraine, hence the move to contain China.

“I’ve argued for many-many years about America’s need to recognise the legitimacy of other people’s interests; the need for cooperation across ideological lines against the range of threats facing humanity. I must say that over the years I have also become less optimistic. I would however like to come back once again, and if you look at India for example, they would certainly never accept American dominance but as we see from Modi’s visit to Washington – India, after all is the second largest country in the world in terms of population, and certainly the Indian policy elites while they will never accept American dominance, are very strongly supportive of an American presence in Asia against what they see as their major rival – China and major threat – Pakistan. Once again, this is not about democracy, whatever the American and Indian governments may say. It’s about national interests.”

Jonathan Steele: “There’s a big question mark in my mind, and I still haven’t found a good answer – why have the Americans revived this Cold War against Russia?

“The earlier part of Obama’s second term was the pivot to Asia and this attempt to contain China, which I think they are exaggerating anyway – this alleged threat, but nevertheless, there is this great push in East Asia. Then you’ve got the whole Islamic thing and complete turbulence in the Middle East now because of ISIS… Why do they suddenly need a third front, as it were, which they’ve developed in the last six months as a result of Ukraine, to revive the Cold War? It doesn’t seem to make any sense! Russia is not the equal of the United States in the world, it’s no longer a global power – it’s a regional power and not a challenge to them! It’s had no attempts to recreate the Soviet empire, let alone a global empire!

Photo: Rex Features

“Sometimes you feel that Obama is like a prisoner in the White House. That there’s a combination of the neocons from the Bush administration who are still there, plus these humanitarian interventionists like Samantha Powers and Susan Rice, who are there in other capacities, and that Obama is the only one who is trying to keep an even keel but is always outsmarted by his advisers.”

Anatol Lieven: “It is precisely the way in which the Wolfowitz Doctrine [unofficial name given to the initial version of the Defence Planning Guide for 1994-99, by Paul Wolfowitz], if you can call it that, has become – an American Doctrine: nobody else is to exert influence beyond their borders essentially, in any part of the world except when America sees it as completely in tune with its interests.

“This [reviving the Cold War with Russia] is in no way in the interests of the United States, let alone humanity – and the answer is that the Washington policy elites are not wholly rational; they are also influenced by very strong prejudices, emotions, affections and also, I’m sorry to say, hatred in many cases! Precisely the mixture that George Washington, the first president, warned against…”

James Thackara: “The ruling elite which is an amateur elite – these people in Washington who I’ve often seen, these are people who don’t know very much and this is what I find scary. Let’s not accuse Obama, let’s be terrified of this extraordinary ignorant and ill-tutored bunch of special interests people who will bow to all sorts of pressures…”

Photo: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Flickr

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: “Where are these ideas coming from? Mr Brzezinski himself said that it is better if Russia was divided into several countries. It would be more democratic for the Russians if their country was split up. And who supports the separatists in Chechnya?

“I don’t think the Cold War ever ended because when the foreign elites like the ones in Washington or the ‘Washington beltway’, want to control everything in the world or ‘have influence’ if some people want to use the term ‘influence’ instead of ‘control’… Well, of course you would want everyone else weaker. Why do we consistently see countries in other parts of the world that are always opposed to the United States breaking up? Like Yugoslavia, it was neutral actually, it wasn’t even in the Soviet camp and it wasn’t in the western bloc… You see the Soviet Union breaking up and you see Arab countries, instead of becoming more unified, they become more fragmented whenever the United States intervenes.”

Anatol Lieven: “The world is ‘balkanised’ already and it didn’t take the United States to ‘balkanise’ it – if you look at the situation in East Asia and in the Middle East – yes, it was originally ‘balkanised’, if you like, by Britain and France after the First World War and the US have done nothing to ‘de-balkanise’ it. I would caution against thinking that there is some wicked detailed master plan in Washington…”

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: “Hold on, Joe Biden agreed with dividing Iraq – it’s called the Biden Plan…”

Anatol Lieven: “No, I’m sorry, the plan for the division of Iraq – yes, it was the US invasion that brought about the civil war that divided Iraq and the Biden Plan was an attempt to get out while leaving some sort of minimal order behind. The United States did not invade Iraq with the intention of dividing the place – you mustn’t work backwards from events to invent detailed plans for them. A lot of the time the United States elites, just as is the case with ISIS, are scrambling to respond to events that they were not prepared for and do not understand – as we’ve heard many of them, even the so-called foreign policy elites, are actually profoundly ignorant of the rest of the world and certainly of the details of situations. The problem is that they are programmed ideologically to respond in certain ways and the key factor in this point of view is that yes, America has the right and duty to lead and when necessary, to force other people to follow it and nobody has the right to object to that. This is very often an essentially confused response rather than a cold-blooded highly intelligent master plan…

“If you look at so many of the people in Washington, they are not super-intelligent nor actually are they cold-blooded – they are responding very emotionally…”

Photo: A rally in Kiev against Ukraine joining NATO. The Russian-language poster reads: “No to NATO!” (RIA Novosti)

Jonathan Steele: “I think there’s a been a plan to try and get Ukraine into NATO for the last 10 years and they’ve been working very hard – grooming the elites, particularly the Ukrainian elites… The National Democratic Institute or whatever it’s called – the Democratic party’s foreign policy arm and the same one for the Republicans who had offices in Kiev, constantly pushing this idea, inviting people to Washington, inviting them to Brussels, to the NATO headquarters, wining and dining them, offering them all kinds of blandishments even though every single opinion poll in Ukraine showed that the majority of Ukrainians did not want to enter NATO. But they would not give up and they’re slowly moving towards achieving their aim because now Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko are saying that they will get parliament to throw out the vote that ratified non-alignment as a strategy, and then they are going to start proceedings to join NATO…”

VoR

The corporate jargon surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal is about ‘protecting’ investment’, reducing ‘unnecessary’ barriers and ‘harmonising’ regulations that supposedly deter free trade between the US and the EU.

In principle, the notion of trade that is free and fair sounds ideal. But, across the world, the dominant ideological paradigm allows little scope for neither. Markets are rigged [1], commodity prices subject to manipulation [2] and nations are coerced [3], destabilised [4] or attacked [5] in order that powerful players gain access to resources and markets.

On 11 October, over 400 groups across Europe took to the streets to demonstrate against the TTIP, which has just ended its seventh round of talks in Washington. While some groups are accused by supporters of the TTIP of being ideologically driven in their opposition, it is not ideology that drives this opposition. It is sceptism and suspicion fuelled by the prevailing pactices and actions of powerful corporations and their ideological brand of neoliberalism and rampant privatisation. The secrecy and lack of transparency surrounding the TTIP fuels this suspicion. The public has not been allowed to know who set the agenda for the negotiations or what specifically is being negotiated supposedly its our behalf?

The public is expected to put up and shut up and leave it all to those who know best: EU officials with their deep-seated conflicts of interest [6,7,8] and big business. It has been mainly through leaked documents and recourse to freedom of information legislation that the public has gained insight into the nature of the negotiations.

The origins of the TTIP and the absence of transparency

The deal was masterminded by the ‘High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth’ (HLWG), which was set up in 2011 and chaired by European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and the then US Trade Representative Ron Kirk [9]. In its final report, the Group not only recommended entering into the negotiations but went into some detail as to what should be put on the table, with the far-reaching aim of moving towards a “transatlantic marketplace.”

When questioned about the nature of the group, the European Commission (EC) said it had no identifiable members and stated that “several departments” contributed to the discussion and the reports of the (memberless) group. It even stated that there was no document containing the list of authors of the reports. A request by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) to disclose membership/report authors was met with the response: “Unfortunately we (the EC) are not in a position to provide you with the information requested.” [10]

CEO argued that the group should be subject to the transparency requirements set up in EC’s rules on ‘expert groups’, including transparency about who participated.

When asked about the ‘outside expertise’ (as the EC called it) that had influenced the reports produced by the HLWG, CEO was told that the impact assessment of the proposed EU-US trade deal contained a summary of the expert evidence gathered since its inception. CEO was also directed to the Commission’s overview page for public consultations, where it is stated that more than 65 percent of the input to the first two consultations on the proposed EU-US deal came from companies and industry associations.

European Commissioner De Gucht claimed that “there is nothing secret” about the ongoing talks. In December 2013 in a letter published in The Guardian [11], he argued that “our negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are fully open to scrutiny.”

If that was the case, why then were notes of Commission meetings with business lobbyists released to Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) under the EU’s freedom of information law heavily censored? [12]

The public is not allowed to know the positions held by the EU (unlike business interests) in these talks, who is being given access to whom and who is lobbying for what on whose behalf. High-minded platitudes referring to protecting the integrity of industry and the sensitive nature of negotiations have been used in an attempt to subvert democracy, prevent public scrutiny and secure the continued privileged positions and influence that big business has held in the talks. The arguments being used to justify the secrecy were thinly veiled disguises to try to hoodwink the public into the accepting the legitimacy of these negotiations without question.

Documents received by CEO showed that De Gucht’s officials invited industry to submit wishlists for ‘regulatory barriers’ they would like removed during the negotiations. However, there was no way for the public to know how the EU incorporated this into its negotiating position as all references had been removed.

CEO received 44 documents about the EC’s meetings with industry lobbyists as part of preparations for the EU-US trade talks. Most of the documents, released as a result of a freedom of information (FOI) request, were meeting reports prepared by Commission officials.

The documents arrived almost a full ten months (!) after the FOI request was tabled and 39 of the 44 documents were heavily censored. The documents covered only a fraction of the more than 100 meetings which De Gucht’s officials had with industry lobbyists in the run-up to the launch of the TTIP negotiations.

Were no notes taken during closed-door meetings with corporate lobbyists from, for example, the US Chamber of Commerce, the German industry federation BDI, chemical lobby groups CEFIC and VCI, pharmaceutical industry coalition EFPIA, DigitalEurope, the Transatlantic Business Council, arms industry lobby ASD, the British Bankers Association and corporations like Lilly, Citi and BMW?

In the 39 documents which were “partially released”, large parts of text (“non releasable” or “not relevant”) had been hidden. In some cases, every single word had been removed from the document.

Not only was the text of the EU’s negotiating position secret, the public was even denied access to sentences in meeting reports that referred to the EU negotiating position. These were minutes from meetings with industry lobbyists who were clearly given information about the EU’s negotiating position in the TTIP talks, unlike the public. The sharing of information about the EU’s negotiating position with industry while refusing civil society access to that same information was a case of unacceptable discrimination.

In many cases, parts of text were removed because they contained the views of industry lobby groups “on particular aspects of the EU/US trade negotiations.” “Release of that information could have a negative impact on the position of the industry”, the Commission argued. It was unclear why the views of the lobby groups should be hidden from public scrutiny.

The Commission had also removed all names of lobbyists from the 44 documents arguing that “disclosure would undermine the protection of […] privacy and the integrity of the individual”. According to CEO, this was an absurd line of argument as these were professional lobbyists who are not acting in an individual capacity. There is clear public interest in transparency around who is lobbying on whose behalf and who is getting access to EU decision-makers.

What the corporations really want

Despite being heavily censored, the documents showed clearly that removing differences in EU and US regulations is the key issue in the TTIP talks, with ‘regulatory barriers’ coming up in a large majority of the meetings. For example, in a meeting with the European Services Forum in February 2013, a lobby group for global service players such as Deutsche Bank, IBM and Vodafone, the Commission suggested various options for regulatory cooperation such as ‘compatibility’, ‘mutual recognition’ and ‘equivalence.’

In another meeting in February 2013, BusinessEurope (the most powerful business lobby in Brussels), stressed “its willingness to play an active role in the upcoming negotiations, in particular on the regulatory front”. The Commission noted the importance of EU industry “submitting detailed ‘Transatlantic’ proposals to tackle regulatory barriers”.

A leaked EU document from the winter of 2013 showed the Commission proposing an EU-US Regulatory Cooperation Council [12], a permanent structure to be created as part of the TTIP deal. Existing and future EU regulation would then have to go through a series of investigations, dialogues and negotiations in this Council. This would move decisions on regulations into a technocratic sphere, away from democratic scrutiny. Policies could be presented to the public as ‘done deals’, all worked out behind closed doors between pro-business officials and business leaders. There would also be compulsory impact assessments for proposed regulation, which will be checked for their potential impact on trade. What about whether they protect people’s health or are good for the environment?

This would be ideal for big business lobbies: creating a firm brake on any new progressive regulation in the very first stage of decision-making.

Even without access to various sources of information, some of the main players that originally supported the deal included the biotech sector, Toyota, General Motors, the pharmaceutical industry, IBM and the Chamber of Commerce of the US, one of the most powerful corporate lobby groups in the US. Business Europe, the main organization representing employers in Europe, launched its own strategy on an EU-US economic and trade partnershipin early 2012 [13]. Its suggestions were widely included in the draft EU mandate.

Over the past couple of years or so, an increasing number of politicians and citizens groups have demanded that the negotiations be conducted in an open way, not least because there are concerns that the deal will open the floodgate for GMOs (food multinationals, agri-traders and seed producers have had more contacts with the EC’s trade department than lobbyists from the pharmaceutical, chemical, financial and car industry put together [14]) and shale gas (fracking) in Europe, threaten digital and labour rights and will empower corporations to legally challenge a wide range of regulations which they dislike.

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

The US wants all so-called barriers to trade, including highly controversial regulations such as those protecting agriculture, food or data privacy, to be removed. Even the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, made it clear that any agreement must also reduce EU restrictions on genetically modified crops, chlorinated chickens and hormone-treated beef [15].

Demands include an “ambitious liberalisation of agricultural trade barriers with as few exceptions as possible”. Similarly, food lobby group Food and Drink Europe, representing the largest food companies (Unilever, Kraft, Nestlé, etc.), has welcomed the negotiations, with one of their key demands being the facilitation of the low level presence of unapproved genetically modified crops. This is a long-standing industry agenda also supported by feed and grain trading giants, including Cargill, Bunge, ADM, and the big farmers’ lobby COPA-COGECA. Meanwhile, the biotech industry on both sides of the Atlantic is offering its “support and assistance as the EU and the US government look to enhance their trade relationship.” [13]

There is also the highly contentious investor-trade dispute settlement provision. It would enable US companies investing in Europe to bypass European courts and challenge EU governments at international tribunals whenever they find that laws in the area of public health, environmental or social protection interfere with their profits. EU companies investing abroad would have the same privilege in the US.

Across the world, big business has already used such settlement provisions in trade and investment agreements to claim massive sums from sovereign states in compensation [16]. Tribunals, consisting of ad hoc three-member panels hired from a small club of private lawyers riddled with conflicts of interest, have granted billions of euros to companies, courtesy of taxpayers.

EU and US companies have already used these lawsuits across the globe to destroy any competition or threats to their profits by for example challenging green energy and medicine policies, anti-smoking legislation, bans on harmful chemicals, environmental restrictions on mining, health insurance policies and measures to improve the economic situation of minorities. Even the threat of litigation can mean governments shelving socially progressive policies.

Any form of state intervention that does not work to the advantage of big business is increasingly regarded as a ‘barrier’ to trade, a potential curb on profits.

The TTIP is therefore also designed to undermine public sector service provision. That’s right, the public sector is regarded as a ‘barrier’ too. Private corporations could gain access to the lucrative government procurement market under the banner of free trade. We could well see an irreversible privatisation fest as US private interests bid to run state services such as the UK’s public sector National Health Service: patient care rights would give way to corporate business rights [17].

A report published by the Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B) revealed the true human and environmental costs of the proposed deal. ‘A Brave New Transatlantic Partnership’ [18] highlighted how the EC’s promises of up to one percent GDP growth and massive job creation as a result of the trade deal were not supported even by its own studies, which predict a growth rate of just 0.01% GDP over the next ten years and the potential loss of jobs in several economic sectors, including agriculture.

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

When the report was released, Kim Bizzarri, the author of the report, argued:

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

TTIP in context

Despite sections of the mainstream corporate media glibly presenting the TTIP as a well thought out recipe for free trade, job creation and economic growth, albeit with a few minor glitches, such claims do not stack up. The TTIP is a mandate for corporate plunder, the bypassing of democratic procedures and the erosion of ordinary people’s rights and national sovereignty. It represents a pro-privatisation agenda that enshrines the privileges of the world’s most powerful corporations at the expense of ordinary people.

Ordinary people want powerful corporations to be held to account. They want business practices regulated by elected representatives and public officials in order to protect the public good. However, why so many continue to blithely place such trust in certain EU institutions stretches the imagination: democracy in the EU has been sold to the highest bidder; the EC is a captive but willing servant of a corporate agenda [8]. And now the TTIP presents an ideal opportunity for corporations to force through wholly unpopular policies.

Ultimately, the TTIP could draw Europe even closer to the US and consolidate the power of Anglo-US financial-corporate interests centred in the City of London and on Wall Street. If events surrounding Ukraine tell us anything, it is that these interests have been instrumental in driving a wedge between Europe and Russia to prevent closer economic alignment between the two. By placing economic sanctions on Russia and, according to US Vice President Joe Biden, “embarrassing” the EU to force it go along with them, Europe’s trade with Russia will suffer. As a result, Europe now has added incentive to ‘embrace’ the TTIP.

The TTIP is thus part of the broader geopolitical game plan to weaken Western Europe and divide the European continent by sidelining Russia. While the TTIP may appear to have nothing to do with what is happening in Ukraine or Syria, it must be regarded as another cog in the wheel to cement US global hegemony and weaken Russia [19].

Notes
 

‘Patient Zero’ for Ebola in U.S. is Identified

October 14th, 2014 by 21st Century Wire

She is said to be the first person to contract Ebola from inside the US, and her identity was kept secret, until now.

As far as US domestic epidemiology goes, this Dallas nurse is regarded a Patient Zero, or the ‘index case’ or initial Ebola patient in the native population, or so we’re told anyway…

Huff Post confirms today:

The identity of the Dallas health care worker who contracted Ebola after treating a patient who later died of the virus has been confirmed.

The family of 26-year-old Nina Pham, a nurse at Dallas’ Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, confirmed the news to WFAA. 

The family also confirmed the news to USA Today.”

DAHBOO77 explains the progression of events…

Pham was one of the nurses treating Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who is said to have imported the virus to US shores, by contracting the virus in West Africa and was diagnosed with Ebola in September. Sadly, Duncan died last week.

Authorities insist that nurse Pham was wearing protective gear – gloves, mask, apron and shield when she treated Duncan. So how did she contract the deadly virus? No one seems to really know.

CDC officials are blaming an error in hospital procedures, claiming that it’s a “breach of protocol”, and yet, they still have no idea what that breach actually was.

If that’s the case, how do they know it was a breach to begin with?

How many other healthcare workers were also infected is still unknown.

“Unfortunately, it is possible in the coming days we will see additional cases of Ebola,” said CDC spokesman Mr. Frieden.

Ebola and the Danger of Globalization

October 14th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Whatever the cause – conspiracy or incompetence – the recent Ebola outbreak illustrates the dangers of centralized globalization, and opens the door to possible solutions.

Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) has surfaced in West Africa in an unprecedented outbreak infecting and killing thousands according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The epicenter appears to be centered between Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia – the former being where the first case was reported, the latter being hit the hardest.  Other nations including Senegal, Nigeria, and Mali have had cases reported but were contained and the spread of the disease there appears to have stopped. Nations like Uganda who have grappled with Ebola and similar diseases have yet to be affected and are believed to have suitable measures in place to zero in and contain the virus.

Beyond countries in West Africa, Spain, the United States, Brazil, and now Germany have reported travel-associated cases of Ebola as well as infections of health workers who apparently breached protocols while handling infected patients.

Characteristics of Ebola and Current Countermeasures 

The Ebola virus itself has an incubation period of between 2-21 days. It is not believed to be infectious until symptoms begin to form, however, it can cause infections for up to seven weeks after a patient recovers. Because of its varying incubation period, those infected have between 2-21 days to travel before any form of “screening” currently being done at airports would detect a fever and therefore be able to identify, contain, and treat possible Ebola cases. This means that the infected could be traveling into foreign countries, well past ports of entry and screening points before their symptoms and ability to infect others begin to manifest themselves.

Upon contracting Ebola, patients may begin to exhibit a fever and complain of abdominal pain but otherwise exhibit few other symptoms. It is only until later stages of the infection that Ebola may cause rashes and bleeding – and some patients never develop these symptoms at all. A complete list of symptoms is available at the CDC’s website.

Because of Ebola’s incubation period, screening at airports is perhaps the least effective measure a state could put in place. Instead, and has been done throughout all of human history to contain contagious disease, nations with widespread infections should be quarantined – and travel bans placed on these nations by governments interested in preventing the spread of Ebola within their borders. Within an infected country, quarantines must be placed on areas where infections are present.

Image: For years US and other Western NGOs have meddled in Liberia’s internal affairs, claiming to be building up education and the nation’s healthcare system. The US in particular has participated in military intervention in Liberia and has poured billions in cash in alleged “aid.” Ironic then that Liberia is one of the worst hit and least prepared nations suffering from Ebola. Above is a billboard sponsored by Open Society in Liberia’s capital of Monrovia. 

Despite the success quarantine has exhibited in the past, many Western policymakers have lobbied heavily against placing travel bans on infected countries or the notion of using quarantine procedures within infected countries. Open Society, a corporate-funded foundation that sponsors subversive political programs and so-called “civil society” within targeted countries, has been among the most vocal opponents of quarantining infected communities and countries.

In an Open Society post titled, “Looking Past Quarantine to Community Health,” Open Society President Chris Stone claims:

The current focus on quarantine presents a danger not only in the short run, but in the long run as well. Quarantine forces farmers to leave their fields, freezes air travel in African cities, and slows the flow of food and labor. These interruptions can touch off longer, more complex health crises in the countries where Ebola is already weakening systems.

Instead, the coalition that includes Partners In Health is training and equipping community-based health workers, with local partners such as Last Mile Health taking the lead. Community health workers are trusted neighbors who provide care while connected to a formal health system. This kind of community-based health response not only challenges the spread of Ebola and its fatality but also enables a new economic base and public health infrastructure.

In essence, economic progress within the context of “globalization” and the continued work of Western NGOs like Open Society in building their own administrative networks and infrastructure to control all sociopolitical and economic aspects within nations like Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, takes precedence over actually stopping the spread of Ebola. While the notion of building better and more prepared healthcare infrastructure in such nations should be a priority, it is a long-term goal that will have no affect on stemming the spread of Ebola currently.

Ironically, Open Society, as well as many of its counterparts including, USAID and  Médecins Sans Frontières also known as Doctors Without Borders (MSF), have been operating in the worst infected countries for years allegedly building this infrastructure, with MSF in particular having extensive experience with Ebola outbreaks. And, all of these organizations have collectively and categorically failed to prevent this latest outbreak for a multitude of reasons. In many ways, their attempt to integrate nations into their greater “international order” has set the stage for this outbreak, not prepared them better to prevent it.

Ebola Outbreak Exhibits the Danger of Globalization 

Never has there been a time in human history where governments have had more access to “big-data” legally or illegally. As the NSA, Facebook, Google, and other data mining operations have proven, collecting and exploiting vast quantities of information regarding personal preferences and travel habits not only gives policymakers and corporations immense insight into the current state of any given population, but also grants them varying degrees of predictive insight.

Image: Never has there been a time where technology has empowered governments more to either prevent outbreaks or design the perfect outbreak.

Considering this, one can also say that never has there been a time where such tools have empowered governments more to either prevent outbreaks or design the perfect outbreak.

That Ebola has been around for decades, and previous outbreaks have been contained with far fewer tools at the world’s disposal, but that the toll of Ebola has only today reached such unprecedented proportions – even with Western NGOs located and operating within infected countries for decades on everything allegedly from education to human health, engenders immense suspicion.

Coupled with this, Western governments and their NGOs have been embroiled in a long history of criminal activity including intentionally infecting populations with pathogens, conducting experiments involuntarily on human subjects, and other forms of what can be called “medical tyranny.” Together, the suspicion and distrust this causes led many Africans to turn against Western NGOs attempting to intervene during the early stages of this most recent outbreak.

International health organizations and NGOs that are not trusted are also not effective. What should be an immense asset for nations around the world, becomes instead a liability. The corruption, inefficiency, conspiracy, greed, manipulation, and exploitation bred by the immense centralization of power within the “globalization” model is, above all else, the chief cause of today’s deadly Ebola outbreak. Through either conspiracy or incompetence, Ebola has been allowed to first exploit weak healthcare and infrastructure in West Africa, and then spread beyond the continent through slow, ineffective measures enacted by criminally negligent governments.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter how this most recent outbreak began – it could have been prevented had nations like Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia possessed functioning, competent governments not subjected to both proxy and direct Western military intervention and all of the sociopolitical instability such intervention has caused. Had these nations possessed education systems capable of teaching their populations basic knowledge including aspects of personal health and hygiene, and had they possessed a viable economy to support self-sufficient development that would have drained the swamps of ignorance, poverty, and disease from which Ebola has risen, it is likely this most recent outbreak would have already been long ago contained.

How to Stop Ebola and Prevent it in the Future 

If Ebola continues to spread, containing and treating patients – as well as quarantining areas the virus is spreading – are the only effective methods on hand to stop it. Regardless of how this latest Ebola outbreak began, governments have failed to respond appropriately – leaving it to to people to protect themselves.

Stockpiling food and water and other essential supplies will be critical in quarantining ourselves if governments fail to do so. Intense monitoring and situational awareness by individuals and groups of organized individuals may help prepare communities to decide when extra precautions and self-imposed restrictions on movement may be required. Riding it out is of course an option of last resort, reserved when governments around the world have fully demonstrated their inability or unwillingness to stem the tide of this disease.

Preventing Ebola outbreaks, and outbreaks of other infectious, deadly diseases, will not be done with vaccines meted out by big-pharmaceutical companies that have, like international health organizations, exhausted public trust. Curative therapies may or may not ever be developed. Instead, populations must strive to move away from dependence on heavily centralized, criminal, and/or incompetent systems of governance and crisis management and begin developing for themselves the tools necessary to respond to such crises.

Everything from natural disasters like hurricanes to outbreaks like the current spread of Ebola, have showcased without doubt that centralized governments are neither interested nor capable of managing a crisis better than well educated, prepared, and organized local people.

Likewise moving away from the centralized nature of today’s globalized world is an absolute necessity. Greater decentralization of all aspects of modern society, from the economy, to education, power, food, and water production, to devolving power away from centralized institutions and into the hands of local, pragmatic institutions will all play a role in making stronger, self-sufficient communities able to prepare themselves individually to monitor, identify, and protect against threats of all kinds. Instead of a virus like Ebola spreading through a singular sociopolitical economic body like the United States, or even the global “international order” it insists on implementing, it would be instead confronted by a vast network of self-sufficient communities representing a multitude of “bodies” to enter and infect – making its spread exponentially more difficult.

Image: A representation of a “full-set” local economy complete with food, water, and power production, a community lab that could augment and assist local healthcare professionals, and local manufacturing performed in microfactories and makerspaces/hackerspaces. The concept behind such localization is not isolation, but rather self-sufficiency. Physical, local self-sufficiency coupled with global awareness and collaboration hold the keys to solving some of modern civilization’s most pressing problems. In the case of the latest Ebola outbreak, such communities would easily be able to restrict their own movements, as well as monitor and treat anyone infected without outside support. Networks of such communities, like the cells in a body, provide a parallel, highly responsive, and flexible means to respond to any challenge, threat, or opportunity in ways centralized monopolies of wealth and power simply cannot. 

Such communities could easily restrict travel in and out of their boundaries, and it is likely that travel would not be as prolific as it is today, with the need of “commuting” in order to participate in centralized economic activity diminished. Self-employment and online collaboration already is an increasing prospect as technology opens the door to localization in ways never before imagined. The ability to work locally and continue being productive despite the outbreak and spread of disease, would be just one of many advantages of a decentralized, modern society.

Localization and self-sufficient communities provide solutions to a multitude of problems ranging from the sociopolitical and environmental, to economic and in the case of global outbreaks, the mitigation, prevention, and isolation of disease. Localism, not globalism, creates the sort of modern civilization needed to empower and protect the interests of the majority against the greed, conspiracies, and incompetence of centralized special interests.

As technology continues to empower individuals and communities to take on more responsibilities traditionally reserved for national and international institutions, organizations, governments, and private enterprise, matters of healthcare too will be localized. Imagine local healthcare practitioners leveraging modern manufacturing technology and open source collaboration to create clinics possessing advanced critical care units, diagnosis and other laboratory facilities, as well as the ability to create and distribute locally, pharmaceuticals and other curative or preventive therapies. It would be difficult to argue that networks of such communities would not stand an infinitely better chance of managing an outbreak than the current globalized paradigm.

And unlike centralized globalization that uses centralized NGOs to impose their global order on other nations and communities, localization done through open source online collaboration could be done in parallel around the world exponentially faster than centralized efforts.

This is a future only possible if people make the conscious decision to look locally and inward for solutions, rather than toward the top where demonstrable incompetence is now almost expected as an inevitability. That the outbreak of an otherwise containable disease has stirred such panic is not only an indictment against current leaders in government and global healthcare, but also against the heavily centralized, globalized system they preside over.

If humanity is to not only survive, but thrive, each individual must be able to reach their full potential. This will never happen when centralized special interests view the population as an ocean of potential competitors who they feel are better off left helpless, dependent, ignorant, and if necessary, prone to otherwise avoidable catastrophe if it means protecting their own position of power. The freedom and empowerment we need to break free from this current system will not be granted to us, but rather by necessity must be created by us.

If endless war and perpetual injustice have so far not spurred people into taking on this challenge, perhaps the outbreak of Ebola and its potential spread to the four corners of the globe will. The age of globalization will end one way or another. It is our choice whether it ends because it destroys us all, or because it is replaced by something far superior, truly progressive, and genuinely representative.

Mainstream Media A “No Fly Zone” For Truth

October 14th, 2014 by Brandon Turbeville

It just keeps coming. The pro-war propaganda touting the necessity of intervention and invasion of Syria and the attempt to paint President Bashar al-Assad as a villain and butcher shows no sign of letting up anytime soon, at least not until the goal of the destruction of the secular Syrian government is completed and the Anglo-American oligarchy turns its sights on Iran.

And why would it let up? Such is the nature of war propaganda. Its purpose is to goad a gullible public, made up of individuals who would, in ordinary circumstances, not desire war and, in virtually all circumstances, have nothing to gain from it, into supporting an unfounded, immoral, and costly military operation against a people who are very similar to themselves.

It is precisely because of this fact that the propaganda must be incessant and continual. With every report drumming up support for US military intervention in Syria and coloring every report of events taking place inside or surrounding the country, there is no article in any mainstream media outlet that does not make a series of unfounded claims and reinforce the propaganda narratives provided by the State Department.

Such is the case with an article posted by VOX on October 9, entitled “ Buffer Zones: the New International Plan For A Mini-Invasion Of Syria, Explained .” Although certainly not the only example of Western pro-war propaganda, it is certainly a perfect one to demonstrate how far the American people are being led astray by their supposed “fourth estate.

In its report, which is centered around the idea of buffer zones, a topic which a number of writers in the alternative media have been discussing since the very beginning of the crisis, Max Fisher writes,

The idea of a buffer zone is that some outside country or countries would occupy a little slice of Syria and turn it into a haven for displaced Syrians. The idea is being proposed in response to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)’s invasion of the Syrian town of Kobane, which is creating a refugee crisis along Turkey’s border.

Fischer continues his description of the plan for a buffer zone by writing,

The idea was to protect Syrian civilians from Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, who was (and still is) slaughtering people en masse, by carving out small pieces of territory within Syria that would be safe from Assad. The idea now is fundamentally the same, except that the safe zones would be protect civilians from Assad and from ISIS.

Bullshit.

There has never been any evidence that Bashar al-Assad’s forces have ever intentionally targeted civilians. In fact, there never would have been a civilian crisis to begin with had the United States, NATO, and the GCC not funded death squads, terrorists, and mercenaries to create such a crisis in the service of attempting to overthrow Assad’s government.

The buffer zone will not turn into a haven for displaced Syrians. It will be turned into a haven for death squads and terrorists funded, armed, controlled, and directed by the United States, NATO, and the GCC.

Indeed, a “buffer zone,” in Northern Syria, has been a wish of NATO since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. With the establishment of this “buffer zone,” a new staging ground will be opened that allows terrorists such as ISIS and others the ability to conduct attacks even deeper inside Syria.

Working together with its NATO/GCC allies as well as the ever-present provocateur Israel, the United States is helping to create a buffer zone in the North and East of Syria while continuing to facilitate the opening of a “third front” on the Syrian border with Israel.

Such a strategy was discussed in 2012 by the Brookings Institution in its publication “ Assessing Options For Regime Change ,” where it stated

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.

[...]

In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.

It is important to remember that the U.S. airstrikes and its attempts to create a “buffer zone” inside Syria are nothing more than a farce. The death squads running amok in Syria are themselves entirely creatures of NATO and they remain under NATO’s command. The true enemy of ISIS, Khorasan, and the cannibals of the Levant has always been and continues to be Bashar al-Assad.

Nevertheless, Fischer continues his propaganda spiel by stating that the idea of a “buffer zone” was “an idea that got heavy discussion in 2012, when it was raised by a number of foreign policy thinkers, including former State Department Director of Policy Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter, as a way to ease the killing in Syria.”

Again, Fischer’s statement is grotesquely false. Slaughter’s raising the idea of a buffer zone in Syria had nothing to do with a desire to “ease the killing in Syria” but a desire to increase it. Even more dangerous to the rest of the world, Slaughter’s idea was based on the desire to attack Russia using an attack on Syria as a proxy.

Slaughter’s op-eds, of course, betray an underlying reason for her obsessive warmongering against Syria – the strategic desire to weaken Russia. In this, Slaughter reveals herself as an adherent to the Brzezinski doctrine as it is espoused in The Grand Chessboard .[1] Even if Slaughter does not openly state her affinity for such a destructive and provocative foreign policy by name, her ideology is revealed by both her actions and her work.

Indeed, in her April, 2014 op-ed for Project Syndicate, entitled “ Stopping Russia Starts In Syria ,” Slaughter is nothing if not obvious about her offensive geopolitical targeting of the Russian Federation as well as that of China and Japan . She writes that

The solution to the crisis in Ukraine lies in part in Syria. It is time for US President Barack Obama to demonstrate that he can order the offensive use of force in circumstances other than secret drone attacks or covert operations. The result will change the strategic calculus not only in Damascus, but also in Moscow, not to mention Beijing and Tokyo.

Slaughter essentially argues that Putin is much too strong to inflict damaging geopolitical costs in Ukraine. She suggests that Putin is much weaker in Syria, however, and, therefore, it is Syria where the United States must strike. Slaughter states,

Regardless of Putin’s initial motivations, he is now operating in an environment in which he is quite certain of the parameters of play. He is weighing the value of further dismemberment of Ukraine, with some pieces either joining Russia or becoming Russian vassal states, against the pain of much stronger and more comprehensive economic sanctions. Western use of force, other than to send arms to a fairly hapless Ukrainian army, is not part of the equation.

That is a problem. In the case of Syria, the US, the world’s largest and most flexible military power, has chosen to negotiate with its hands tied behind its back for more than three years. This is no less of a mistake in the case of Russia, with a leader like Putin who measures himself and his fellow leaders in terms of crude machismo.

It is time to change Putin’s calculations, and Syria is the place to do it.

After repeating the tired, disproven, and borderline idiotic propaganda of Assad’s alleged “chemical weapons attacks,” “killing his own people,” and “barrel bombs,” Slaughter attempts to cover up what is nothing more than a geopolitical strategy as a humanitarian issue.

Slaughter laments the fact that “It is impossible to strike Syria legally so long as Russia sits on the United Nations Security Council, given its ability to veto any resolution authorizing the use of force.” However, she continues her article by stating that the United States should act anyway, unilaterally or multilaterally, by striking Syria and, at the very least, destroying its “fixed wing aircraft.”

The US, together with as many countries as will cooperate, could use force to eliminate Syria’s fixed-wing aircraft as a first step toward enforcing Resolution 2139. “Aerial bombardment would still likely continue via helicopter, but such a strike would announce immediately that the game has changed. After the strike, the US, France, and Britain should ask for the Security Council’s approval of the action taken, as they did after NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999,” she states.

Slaughter continued by writing,

Equally important, shots fired by the US in Syria will echo loudly in Russia. The great irony is that Putin is now seeking to do in Ukraine exactly what Assad has done so successfully: portray a legitimate political opposition as a gang of thugs and terrorists, while relying on provocations and lies to turn non-violent protest into violent attacks that then justify an armed response.

Slaughter, of course, was angry that the incessant and nonsensical propaganda of her former office, the US State Department, and other Western governments across the world largely failed to manufacture a string of lies that would serve to effectively motivate Americans to gear up for war yet again.

By no stretch of the imagination is Fischer and VOX’s blatant propaganda piece an isolated or especially significant presentation. The article is, however, representative of the incessant propaganda fed to Americans day in and day out. It is an example of just how far astray the general public in the United States has been led. It is also an example of just how discredited mainstream media and Western media outlets actually are.

Notes:

[1] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives. 1st Edition. Basic Books. 1998.

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

Fox News, always ahead of the curve on panicking the general public into giving up all their rights, aired programming Monday during which an analyst openly called for quarantine camps to be set up all over the country to house those with Ebola like symptoms.

Fox contributor and former actress Stacey Dash called for the federal government to establish emergency centers to hold Americans in isolation, despite the fact that there have only been two confirmed cases of the ebola virus in the US.

“I think they should set up special centers for just Ebola in each state,” Dash said. “They shouldn’t be letting people go into regular hospitals, where it could be spread.”

“I just think that for this specific disease, we should have a special facility with specially trained people,” Dash added. “In each city. That way it’s not spread, and when the person walks in, they know what they’re looking for, they know if they find it, they know how to contain it. And they know how not to infect themselves.”

The controversial proposal comes in the wake of a string of calamitous errors in the handling of the Eric Duncan case, and disturbing revelations that US hospitals are woefully unprepared to deal with potential Ebola cases.

In Duncan’s case, up to 70 staffers at Texas Presbyterian Hospital were involved in caring for him, with one nurse now becoming the first person to be infected within the US.

In the same Fox News program, Comedian Paul Mecurio, who was also on the panel for some reason, supported Dash’s call for Ebola camps, stating “There’s a really bad health protocol throughout the United States right now, it’s called going to the hospital.”

The panel then clamoured for big government to step in and save America from Ebola, suggesting creating an Ebola czar and throwing former New York City Mayor Rudy Guliani’s name into the ring.

It is not that far fetched to imagine Ebola camps being set up. Indeed, it is only a step away from the current calls by U.S. and local health officials to set up dedicated hospitals in each state for Ebola patients.

“We’d like to have at least one hospital in every state that does feel they could manage a patient from start to finish,” said Abbigail Tumpey, the CDC official in charge of the education outreach. So far, the new system is only in the discussion stage, and one issue is that there are currently only four U.S. hospitals with top-level bio-containment units.”

As Infowars has noted, The CDC has instructed funeral homes to bury Ebola victims in hermetically sealed caskets, a potentially disturbing revelation given reports that the federal agency had previously purchased thousands of air tight coffin liners which were being stored in Madison, Georgia.

In addition, former Border Patrol Agent Zach Taylor has divulged that the CDC is working with Border Patrol authorities and the Department of Homeland Security to disappear potential Ebola victims attempting to cross the border into the United States, putting them into quarantine in an unknown location.

In August, former FDA official Scott Gottlieb, M.D. wrote in Forbes that the CDC will invoke powers to “hold a healthy person against his will” in the event of an Ebola outbreak, warning that the feds may assume “too much jurisdiction to detain people involuntarily,” leading to “spooky scenarios where people could be detained for long periods, merely on a suspicion they might have been exposed to some pathogen. And forced to submit to certain medical interventions to gain their freedom.”

An executive order signed by President Obama at the end of July also allows for the “apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of suspected communicable diseases.”

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

From West Africa to Texas: Ebola Outbreak Impacts the World

October 14th, 2014 by Abayomi Azikiwe

With the death of Thomas Eric Duncan in the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Oct. 8, the political dynamics of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak has taken on wider dimensions.

One nurse who was providing care for Duncan, Nina Pham, has tested positive for the virus and is being treated in Dallas. Hospital officials say that she was wearing protective gear while working with the deceased victim.

Relatives of Duncan say that he was not given proper attention at the hospital where he had been turned away on Sept. 25. Three days later he was admitted in a more serious condition which deteriorated to the point of being placed on breathing and dialysis machines.

The case of the Dallas nurse represented the first known transmission of EVD in the United States. In Spain, a nurse was reported to be in critical condition after contracting the infectious disease while treating a priest who was flown back to Madrid for hospitalization but later died.

Despite the defensive posture taken by the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in response to the criticisms leveled surrounding the care provided to Duncan, the facility was forced under public pressure to release the medical records of the deceased Liberian national. Based on information provided by the Associated Press, Duncan should have never been refused admission to the hospital on Sept. 25, particularly after informing personnel that he had recently travelled from Liberia, the center of the deadliest outbreak of Ebola since it was first acknowledged in 1976.

Societal Impact of the Spreading Outbreak

According to statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), over 4,000 people have died from EVD since March. Most fatalities have occurred in three West African states: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Conakry. WHO figures report that 8,400 have fallen ill with EVD over the last seven months. (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/)

Data on other cases remain unsubstantiated but are based on projections from healthcare departments and hospitals in the West Africa region. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that tens of thousands of others in this region of West Africa could be infected if the outbreak is not halted and millions more have already been impacted socially and economically.

Reduced growth rates are anticipated in all three of the most impacted states. Mining firms, tourist and transportation industries are already stating that revenue losses will be substantive.

Workers Demonstrate, Strike Demanding Safety Measures and Protocols

Labor organizations representing healthcare workers and service employees have spoken out forcefully against what they perceive to be a lack of concern for the plight of those who are on the frontlines of the fight against EVD. From the earlier strikes by nurses in Liberia to the insistence of burial workers that they be given the necessary information as well as protective gear needed to safely dispose of deceased victims of the disease, workers are demanding action from their bosses in government and private industry.

On Oct. 13, Liberian nurses threatened to strike demanding more pay for working in hazardous conditions and to be supplied with the necessary protective gear. George Williams of the Health Workers Association representing 10,000 employees, with 1,000 providing services in the Ebola wards, accused the Liberian government of intimidating workers to return to their jobs. (Associated Press, Oct. 13)

Reports on participation in the strike varied with many news agencies saying the call for the work stoppage did not enjoy wide adherence while others indicated that in some areas attendance was lower than normal. The government in Monrovia said that a strike would further hamper the healthcare system’s capacity to provide treatment for patients.

Already many people have been turned away from hospitals and clinics due to lack of beds and trained personnel. Liberia has been the hardest hit in the EVD outbreak with more than 2,300 deaths reported.

Hundreds healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, have become infected with EVD and some have died. Others have refused to come to work because of the perceived dangers associated with treating infected patients.

The impact of EVD has also been felt in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). In an article published on Oct. 12 in the Observer, it states that nine soldiers have already died from the disease.

“Following the death of the soldiers, and for fear of the further spread of Ebola in the army, regular daily training, a core activity of the military, has been suspended indefinitely. ‘We no longer train, neither do we receive visitors, nor are we allowed visits outside of the barracks,’ a soldier lamented when the Daily Observer toured the Kesselly Barracks over the weekend.”

An Associated Press article reported that “In Guinea, a private clinic which served much of the city’s elite, including many expatriates, stopped accepting new patients this weekend after a woman there showed symptoms of Ebola. The woman never went past the lobby of the clinic, a statement from the medical center in the capital Conakry said Monday (Oct. 13), and the area she was in has been disinfected and sealed off.”

In regard to Sierra Leone, the British government’s resumption of commercial flights into the country was cancelled on Oct. 13. The decision not to fly into the former colony of London drew protests from the government in Freetown and humanitarian organizations such as Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).

“It’s extremely difficult to get much-needed staff into the region and at a time that we need more people on the ground than ever, this is very unhelpful,” said a MSF spokeswoman. The freight transport company Redcoat said that its scheduled Oct. 17 flight was designed to carry four tons of humanitarian assistance including 1,000 protective gear suits that are essential for treating infected patients. (Guardian, Oct. 13)

Gambia Bird, a German-owned airline, was scheduled to also transport 60 passengers on Oct. 17 from England to Sierra Leone. The airline has appealed the decision of the British government.

A spokesman for McPhillips Travel, Ben Mortimer, which represents the interests of Gambia Bird in Britain, said the cancellation of the flight was “an overreaction. The situation was bad on 26 September. It is worse now, but not much.” (Guardian, Oct. 13)

Mortimer went on to say that “We already had protocols in place as part of the permit in which they had the names and addresses of all passengers in the event they needed to trace people. This is much better than trying to screen people who are coming into the country from Europe or Morocco on an indirect route.”

Meanwhile in the U.S., a demonstration by Delta Airlines cabin cleaners and LaGuardia airport in New York City on Oct. 9 and a press conference held by the National Nurses United (NNU) three days later, highlighted the failure of the travel and healthcare industries to provide basic safety information, training and protective gear. With specific reference to the plight of nurses, the Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Thomas Frieden, suggested that the infection of the Dallas nurse was a result of not following medical protocols issued by the healthcare establishment.

In a press conference held by the NNU on Oct. 12, their leaders took exception to such an allegation. NNU officials said that no official medical protocols have been issued to the 185,000 healthcare workers they represent. (nationalnursesunited.org)

Frieden later retracted his statement on Oct. 13 but the damage had already been done. “I apologize if people thought I was criticizing the hospital,” the CDC director said at a press conference. “And I feel awful that a health care worker became infected while helping an Ebola patient.”

Place People Before Profits

However, decisions regarding healthcare treatment, workplace safety and insurance coverage in the U.S. are made largely by private firms that profit to the tune of billions of dollars every year. The lack adequate health insurance or no coverage at all, is a direct result of the character of the capitalist economic system.

In the West Africa region where EVD has been the most devastating, the underdevelopment of these states is a direct result of the legacies of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Imperialism has demanded that human needs related to employee safety, adequate healthcare personnel and facilities be subjected to what they perceive to be the larger priorities related to political domination and economic exploitation.

Until these priorities are re-oriented there will be ongoing periodic outbreaks of infectious diseases which will impact broad segments of societies throughout the world. In order to effectively halt the spread of such crises, the needs of people must be placed before those of the corporations and international financial institutions in Africa as well as other regions of the world.

The United Nations has become an Instrument of NATO

October 14th, 2014 by Ramsey Clark

What happens in the international community is not by chance, and what happened In Libya is not by chance, what is happening in Syria and Iran is not by chance. And what is happening in Syria and Iran?

Who is behind the acts of terrorism? What is behind the assassinations and murder of intellectuals and high-ranking officials in both countries? We are building up to what, exactly? And where is the truth in the international press?

As usual, the obedient press, along with the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has managed to come up with the same goods time and time again and so long as a gullible public, obediently swayed to where it is supposed to be by swallowing the tidy controlled media package daily, it is going to work: public opinion will acquiesce to the schemes of the arms and energy and banking lobbies which control Washington, and by proxy, NATO and the USA’s allies.

What you also do not know is that the squeaky-clean media package placed before you daily in your nice crisp newspaper or your TV News is the result of a process of sinister manipulation — brainwashing. How many people were informed of Colonel Gaddafi’s positive humanitarian record – for which he was to receive an award from the UN in March 2011?

Interview with Ramsey Clark

How many people knew he was spending his time trying to reduce casualties among the terrorists attacking his country to the minimum, negotiating with them before an attack took place? Who informed the readers that NATO broke the rules, broke international law, supported terrorists on their own proscribed lists and committed acts of murder and war crimes? Now let us move on to Syria and Iran.

Where are the stories about the mass acts of murder inside both countries, taking out Generals, strategists and high-ranking politicians and scientists? Who is perpetrating these evil deeds, who are these terrorists? Why are these acts being committed? The answer is perfectly simple. Syria is the last frontier between sanity and a balanced international community, a world ruled by the forces of right and reason and good, and the Satanic desires of the evil and invisible lobbies which are currently in power in Washington, and which in turn control the foreign policy of its allies.

We are speaking here of those responsible for torture, for maintaining concentration camps such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, those who urinate on dead, commit acts of sodomy on prisoners, those responsible for torture, for maintaining concentration camps such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, who detain persons without due process, without the right to a lawyer, to an accusation or a trial, who commit rape and murder, who break international law, who breach the UN Charter and Geneva Conventions and commit war crimes. And this same evil clique is now swinging into action in the Middle East.

First objective: Lebanon and Syria; second objective: The Islamic republic of Iran; third objective: the resources of Central Asia, leading to direct confrontation with Russia and the People’s Republic of China, which passes by installing Washington-friendly regimes in all these countries so that guess who can siphon off the resources? This is why Syria is the final frontier, this is why Syria must resist the intrusion of enslaved by NATO Arab League and this is why Syria must destroy the demonic elements running amok inside the country committing acts of arson, butchery, terrorism, vandalism, murder and torture.

It is not difficult to stir up trouble, take advantage of internal divisions, divide and rule and reap the consequences from the chaos that is sown. That is exactly what the West has been doing for hundreds of years and continues to do today. It has to do not with freedom and democracy – why did NATO not allow the Libyan Jamahiriya government to hold an election? It has to do with control of resources and guaranteeing that the US dollar is used as the international currency in major deals, and that includes oil. Why is it that when a country threatens to swap the USD for another currency in its dealings, it is invaded?

As for what we can do, the bottom line is keep informed and hold the politicians responsible for their actions. Democracy does have a fatal fault for those who try to manipulate it, and that is the fact that the power lies ultimately in the hands of the people. Bring international policy onto the political agenda and don’t let them lie to you and fool you about what is really going on. If you really feel your vote makes a difference, then create the conditions for this to be the case. Let us use citizen power to avoid World War Three. After all those who push for it, will their sons be on the front line? Would anyone survive?

Comments by Stop NATO Crimes

Listen to the radio show here

Transcript:

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: Last week, a new BBC documentary titled “Rwanda: The Untold Story” upended the world’s basic beliefs about what really happened during the Rwandan war and genocide of the 1990s..

The history that the documentary challenges is not legally enforced in the United States, as it is in Rwanda, but it is ideologically central to U.S. foreign policy. The bombing of both Libya and Syria were prefaced by U.S. officials’ urgent warnings that we must – quote unquote – “stop the next Rwanda.” KPFA’s Ann Garrison filed this report.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: With “Rwanda: The Untold Story,” the BBC became the first media outlet of its size and influence to radically challenge the received history of the Rwandan Genocide, which has become such a centerpiece of US and NATO interventionist policies.

The documentary opens with the question it attempts to answer.

Image: Most of the world knows the Rwandan Genocide as the story told in the Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda. The new BBC documentary tells a radically different story.

BBC Host Jane Corbin: Rwanda, a country dominated by its dark history. The senseless barbarity of the genocide still shocks us. We think we know the story., but do we?

Alan Stam: What the world believes and what actually happened are quite different.

BBC: Rwanda’s ruled by President Kagame, regarded by many as the savior of his country. But what kind of man is Paul Kagame?

Kayumba Nyamwasa: We have a dictator. We have a man who is a serial killer, who enjoys killing his citizens.  

BBC: He’s a man with powerful friends.  

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair: The President of Rwanda is someone I’ve got a lot of respect for, a lot of time for, and I think he has got a vision for the country.

Filip Reyntjens: Their closeness is a closeness with what I call the most important war criminal in office today.

BBC:: Twenty years on from the genocide, what is the truth about Rwanda?  

KPFA: University of Michigan Professor Alan Stam, who did ten years of research in Rwanda with Notre Dame Professor Christian Davenport, contradicts the most basic statistics recounted in the Wikipedia and parroted by journalists for the past 20 years.

Image: University of Michigan Professor Allan Stam on the BBC

Alan Stam: If a million people died in Rwanda, in 1994, and that’s certainly possible, there’s no way that the majority of them could be Tutsi.

BBC: How do you know that?  

Stam: Because there weren’t enough Tutsi in the country.

BBC: The academics calculated there had been 500,000 Tutsis before the conflict in Rwanda. Three hundred thousand survived. This led them to their final, controversial conclusion.

Stam: If a million Rwandans died, and 200,000 of them were Tutsi, that means 800,000 of them were Hutu.

BBC: That’s completely the opposite of what the world believes happened in the Rwandan Genocide.

Stam: What the world believes and what actually happened are quite different.

BBC: Estimates of the number of Tutsis and Hutus killed during the genocide vary greatly. The Rwandan government asserts there were far more Tutsi in the country to begin with, and that nearly all of those who died were Tutsis. When Stam and Davenport presented their findings, they were told to leave Rwanda, accused of being genocide deniers.

Stam: We have never denied that a genocide happened.. We don’t deny a genocide happened. But that’s only part of the story.

KPFA: The BBC documentary only hints at US and UK complicity in what happened, and in the cover-up, by reporting that Rwandan President Paul Kagame has very powerful friends, including Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. And by noting that the US military trained General Paul Kagame, just before he led the 1990 invasion of Rwanda from Uganda, because they noted, quote unquote “his military potential.”

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

The BBC video is available at http://vimeo.com/107867605.

Rwanda’s Untold Story Documentary from RDI-Rwanda Rwiza on Vimeo.

As a consequence of the corporate mass media’s blackout of the news about Israeli crimes against humanity; as a consequence of the International Criminal Court’s cowardly disregard of crimes committed by Israeli leaders while instead charging Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta with crimes against humanity; and as a consequence of the West’s Israeli orchestrated preoccupation with the necessity to wage war against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) — which came into being with covert encouragement and assistance from the real axis of evil of the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia — Israel’s latest barbaric assault euphemistically codenamed Operation Protective Edge but in reality intended to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people, has been quietly and quickly forgotten.

Collective corporate mass media amnesia comes as no surprise considering that in the U.S. alone 90% of what Americans read, watch and listen to is controlled by just six corporations whose combined revenue in 2010 was $275.9 billion. Furthermore, all six of those corporations like for example Rupert Murdoch’s [not the actual] News Corp (Fox News, Wall Street Journal, and New York Post) have Israeli aligned global news tentacles that distort, mislead, and even suppress the true facts. Mass media bias towards Israel is even prevalent at the supposedly dispassionate and honest taxpayer funded BBC where coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires finding “a balance” that is in actual fact strongly tilted towards Israel.

As part of its “balance” the BBC’s director of television, Danny Cohen (surprise, surprise), has announced plans to air a series of special programs next year that will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The programs are to be broadcast around Holocaust industry Memorial Day on January 27, 2015 and will range from interviews with survivors of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau camp to a new drama about the 1961 trial in Israel of Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann who was seized in Argentina by Israeli agents and smuggled back to Israel on an El Al airliner. Cohen’s announcement was welcomed with “We are delighted that the BBC will be ensuring that Holocaust Memorial Day is marked by the widest possible audience,” declared Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. The question is have fine Jewish people of status like Olivia felt the slightest twinge of conscience over the recent horrific images coming from the Gaza Strip as a result Israel’s Operation Protective Edge: an operation that had Israeli Jews chanting “tomorrow there’s no school in Gaza, they don’t have any children left.”?

Such passionate racist hate can only beget hate from the victims and global condemnation form compassionate people. But are such reactions anti-Semitic or simply the consequence of Apartheid Israel’s incitement to genocide of the Palestinian people who — contrary to what Israeli Jews keep telling us — are human beings and not beasts; are a people in their own right; and do exist on their own land with an inalienable entitlement as follows:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Israel is a signatory but from which it is apparently exempt from respecting because of the Holocaust.

Will BBC viewers be watching programs at any time in the near future that document the atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinians by an Apartheid Israeli war criminal state that fine people like Olivia Marks-Woldman unconditionally support? No doubt force-feeding “the widest possible audience” of gullible gentiles with memories of the genocide of Jews by the Nazis helps to offset current condemnation of the equally abhorrent genocide of Palestinians by Jews.

“Israelis and American Jews fully agree that the memory of the Holocaust is an indispensable weapon — one that must be used relentlessly against their common enemy … Jewish organisations and individuals thus labor continuously to remind the world of it. In America, the perpetuation of the Holocaust memory is now a $100-million-a-year enterprise, part of which is government funded.”

According to Israeli author Moshe Leshem, the expansion of Israeli power is commensurate with the expansion of the “Holocaust” propaganda.1

Last month the Russell Tribunal (comprised of international law experts) announced that Israel was guilty of “incitement to genocide,” and that Israel’s long-term collective punishment of Palestinians seemed to be designed to “inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about the incremental destruction of the Palestinians as a group.” Despite that announcement of what has been obvious for decades (not short-term occupation, but long-term extermination), the International Criminal Court has maintained its usual avoidance of pursuing the big fish — like Henry Kissinger, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, Barack Obama, and many others including equally indictable Israeli leaders such as Benjamin Netanyahu — while concentrating on minnows like Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta who became the first sitting head of state to appear before the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in unleashing a wave of post-election violence during 2007-08.

Uhuru (Swahili for “freedom”) whose alleged guilt is far from being as obvious as that of Israeli leaders, is the son of Jomo Kenyatta “the founding father” who led Kenya from its independence in 1963 until his death in 1978. Independent Kenya, like most post-colonial nations, was also the beneficiary of colonialism’s main legacy of injustice and corruption of which Jomo had personal experience at his trial along five others accused of managing the Mau Mau. The accused appeared before Mr. Justice Thacker, a man who practiced his profession in the same self-serving mould as that of Tony Blair, the war criminal “Middle East Peace Envoy.” Thacker accepted a bribe of £20,000 (a small fortune in those days) from the Governor of Kenya, Evelyn Baring, 1st Baron Howick of Glendale, who wanted to ensure that Thacker would find the accused guilty. Also according to Baring, “Every possible effort has been made to offer them [the witnesses] rewards and to protect them but no one can tell what will really happen when they are confronted in court by Kenyatta’s formidable personality …” One witness did in fact subsequently recant, admit he had been bribed, and was convicted of perjury.

After finding the accused guilty at the end of the trial, “Justice” Thacker — who had also unashamedly asked for an honour from the Queen but was refused — then fled the country on the first available flight. As an aside to this tale of unbridled corruption of justice, Ngina Kenyatta — widow of Jomo and mother of Uhuru — is the fourth richest woman in Africa with a net worth of $500 million while the majority of Kenyans exist in abject poverty. For most African people the only notable difference between colonial and post-colonial rule has been the colour change of their corrupt political exploiters from white to black.

The West’s current Israeli-inspired and U.S.-led fabricated necessity for waging war against ISIS is not a recent development but part of a long-established strategy promoted by Israeli sponsored U.S. neoconservatives who ensure the constant existence of Islamic enemies so as to justify costly and never ending wars that ultimately benefit Israel through the destruction of surrounding Arab neighbour infrastructures. The creation of ISIS arose from the necessity to replace the old Islamic ogre of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda with a new one.

In March 2007, General Wesley Clark, a retired 4-star U.S. Army general and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia, had the following to say in an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now:

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, ‘Are we still going to war with Iraq?’ And he said, ‘Oh, it’s worse than that.’ He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, ‘I just got this down from upstairs’ — meaning the Secretary of Defence’s office — ‘today.’ And he said, ‘This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.’ I said, ‘Is it classified?’ He said, ‘Yes, sir.’ I said, ‘Well, don’t show it to me.’ And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, ‘You remember that?’ He said, ‘Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you.’

General Clark’s allegation is amply substantiated by recent Israeli-inspired and U.S.-led conflicts in the Middle East and provides proof that plans for such conflicts were already in place long before the justification for them had even been fabricated. Such Middle East conflicts serve to benefit Israel in three ways: the first is to destabilise and fragment but preferably destroy surrounding Arab states; the second is to achieve the first by getting Western nations at their taxpayers expense to bear all the cost and do the fighting; and the third is to have such conflicts serve as a distraction from Zionist Apartheid Israel’s lying, cheating, stealing, double-crossing, and killing along with all its other barbaric violations of international law including human rights.

Concerned, decent, and responsible people everywhere must relentlessly demand honest and impartial media coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict which must not be overlooked or forgotten until Palestinians receive justice and reparations for the decades of heinous crimes perpetrated against them by Israeli Jews; they must resolutely resist the Anglo-Zionist Political Corporate Military Industrial Empire’s voracious dependency on continual military conflict that maintains the status quo of almost half the world’s wealth belonging to just one percent of the population; and they must unconditionally insist that the ICC fully fulfils its charter as described in the Rome Statute’s Preamble by charging Israeli leaders with the crimes that everybody knows they have been guilty of committing.

Israeli Jews have every right to have a “world of their own” if they want, but not on ethnically cleansed Palestinian land and at the expense of goyim taxpayers.

William Hanna is a freelance writer with a recently published book the Hiramic Brotherhood of the Third Temple. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Read other articles by William, or visit William’s website.

Notes:

1. Balaam’s Curse: How Israel Lost its Way, and How it Can find it Again, Simon & Schuster, 1989. []

The U.S. government purchased sixteen transport planes for the Afghan Air Force at the cost of $500 million; those planes have now been destroyed by Afghan military and sold for scrap parts at six cents per pound. Congressional leaders are working to determine why taxpayer money was wasted on this failed program. Instead of finding another use for them, sixteen of the airplanes were transported to a remote corner of the Kabul airport and sold by the Defense Logistics Agency for scrap at a price of six cents per pound.

The Defense Department purchased for the Afghan military 20 G222 military transport planes at a total cost of $486 million dollars. The fleet was grounded last March “after sustained, serious performance, maintenance, and spare parts problems” according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The IG wrote a letter to Secretary Hagel saying:

“It has come to my attention that the sixteen G222s at Kabul were recently towed to the far side of the airport and scrapped by the Defense Logistics Agency,”

“I was also informed that an Afghan construction company paid approximately 6 cents a pound for the scrapped planes, which came to a total of $32,000,”

“I am concerned that the officials responsible for planning and executing the scrapping of the planes may not have considered other possible alternatives in order to salvage taxpayer dollars.”

The aircraft was sitting abandoned on the tarmac at Kabul International Airport, the AAF decided to destroy sixteen of the planes and sell the scrap metal for six cents per pound. The SIGAR intended to inspect the aircraft but was caught off guard by the sudden destruction of the fleet. SIGAR is most concerned by the notion that U.S. officials did not consider any other options before destroying the planes at a high cost to the taxpayers. SIGAR has sent two letters to the Defense Department. Currently only four G222s from the program are still in existence, they are housed at Ramstein Air Base.

Nuclear War Could Be Near, According to Nobel Laureate

October 13th, 2014 by Martin Sieff

The United States and Russia are dangerously close to stumbling into a war over Ukraine that could go nuclear and kill hundreds of millions of people in a single day, a Nobel laureate who is one of the world’s leading experts on the dangers of nuclear weapons warned in Washington this week.

“It’s an incredibly dangerous situation. … If there’s a nuclear war tonight, that’s the Northern Hemisphere (of the entire world) gone, Dr. Helen Caldicott told a National Press Club Newsmakers news conference on Wednesday. She was speaking on the topic: “Ukraine: Is Nuclear Conflict Likely?”

Caldicott is an Australian physician who founded the International Physicians against Nuclear War, a group that under her leadership won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. She is the former president of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute based in Washington

The expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders is “very, very dangerous,” Caldicott said.

“There is no way a war between the United States and Russia could start and not go nuclear. … The United States and Russia have enormous stockpiles of these weapons. Together they have 94 percent of all the 16,300 nuclear weapons in the world.”

“We are in a very fallible, very dangerous situation operated by mere mortals,” she warned. “The nuclear weapons, are sitting there, thousands of them. They are ready to be used.”

Image: The crashed Malaysia Airlines passenger plane sits near the village of Rozsypne, Ukraine. (Screenshot)

Caldicott strongly criticized Obama administration policymakers for their actions in forward positioning U.S. and NATO military units in countries of Eastern Europe in response to Russian support of breakaway separatists in the provinces of eastern Ukraine. On –, the U.S. government announced the deployment of the Ironhorse Brigade, an elite armored cavalry unit of the U.S. Army to the former Soviet republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, along the historic invasion route from the West to St. Petersburg.

“Do they really want a nuclear war with Russia?” she asked “The only war that you can have with Russia is a nuclear war. … You don’t provoke paranoid countries armed with nuclear weapons.”

Caldicott said U.S. policymakers appeared oblivious to rising Russian fears as successive U.S. presidents and their administrations continued to break the security guarantees that President George Herbert walker Bush and his secretary of state James A. Baker had given to last Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the end of the Cold War.

“The United States has broken the guarantees it gave to Gorbachev before the breakup of the Soviet Union when it promised not to expand NATO to Russia’s borders,” Caldicott said.

“Imagine if the roles were reversed and if Russia (provoked a coup in Ottawa and) took over Canada. What would the U.S. reaction be?” Caldicott asked.

“(In 1962) we nearly had a nuclear world war over Cuba and Ukraine is a lot bigger (and more important) than Cuba,” she said.

Caldicott said she disagreed with the widespread criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin over his support for Eastern Ukrainian separatists.

“Putin … I think he is being very restrained at the moment,” she said. “… Putin is trying to defend himself. He has the support of most Russians. The Russians are a proud and patriotic people.”

Image: Dr. Helen Caldicott (Wikipedia)

Caldicott also warned that another flare up of the civil war in Ukraine could threaten catastrophic meltdowns of the many nuclear power stations in the country, risking millions of lives.

“Ukraine has 15 large nuclear power plants,” she said.

“Any conventional weapon going into any one of them would set off a meltdown on the scale of Chernobyl in 1986. The most recent studies have shown that more than a million people have died from the after-effects of the Chernobyl melt-down.”

“Nuclear reactors are cancer factories and nuclear bomb factories; each reactor makes 500 pounds of plutonium a year (It’s made when a U238 (Uranium 238) atom captures a neutron) It takes only 10 pounds of plutonium to make a nuclear weapon.”

“Japan has got 40 tons of plutonium in its stockpiles. That means Japan could become a major nuclear military power in a matter of weeks if it wanted to,”

she added.

Even a limited nuclear exchange would have devastating economic and environmental consequences on the world, Caldicott warned.

“If a single thermonuclear weapon, or hydrogen bomb, is exploded into space it would knock out all electronic communications in at least six Westernized states for months,” she said.

But such a nuclear exchange, once initiated, would certainly get out of control rapidly, she added.

“The United States and Russia (between them) have 94 percent of the 16,400 nuclear weapons in the world,” she added.“Albert Einstein was right: The splitting of the atom changed everything, it changed all reality – except for the way men think,”

Caldicott said.

Caldicott was scathingly critical of the mainstream U.S. media for ignoring the real risks of a nuclear exchange.

“The mass media has a huge role to play. The media is being absolutely irresponsible,” she said. “Mr. Jefferson said a well-informed public was essential to the successful functioning of a democracy. But this democracy is thoroughly ill-informed.”

“We all practice psychic numbing. We are lemmings. We are all into manic denial,” she added.

“The real issue facing us is the continuation of life on the planet. There is a complete lack of knowledge among the general public and their leaders about this threat,” Caldicott added.

Caldicott expressed sympathy for U.S. President Barack Obama but said he had been “overwhelmed’ by the crises facing him. “We’ve got a good man, but the pressures have overwhelmed him. Obama has been overwhelmed by the pressures,” she said.

“I pity Obama, he’s got so much on his plate,” she said.

Caldicott noted that the world had just passed the centenary of the start of World War I, but the forces and problems that caused it remained the same today.

“You know how the First World War started 100 years ago: One person shot an archduke. The pride of the leaders and generals of the great nations did the rest: They went to war,” she said. “Human fallibility was a major cause then. It is just as common today. All kinds of things can cause very dangerous (developments) in the world.”

Monsters are the stuff of legend, but they rarely exist in splendid isolation.  They have reasons to be, be it by script or oral tradition.  In politics, where monsters perform a theatrical necessity – they are the wicked ones who must be defeated – origins are often neglected.  The evolution of various revolutionary and jihadi groups has its links to finance and rhetoric from all sides of the diplomatic round table; to backers and the punters in the Middle East and to the West.  The Islamic State has proven to be no exception.

Arms may have a distinct, metallic smell, but no conscience, whatever the mystics of the National Rifle Association believe. Weapons are not spiritual, and are not reposed with the magic of miraculous wonder.  They will find their way into any owner and acquirer keen to use them on targets.  The recent discussions about how the Islamic State is getting both its finance and its arms is interesting only in stating an obvious point: arms and armaments will, when required, be used.  There will be those who buy, and those who seize.

In the words of Fouad al-Ghuraibi, commander of the Kafr Owaid’s Martyr’s Brigade in Northern Syria, “When battling against the Syrian Army, ISIS chooses to fight in a specific battle on a specific front only when the investment is appealing: there will be warehouses to capture.”[1]  IS operates as much as a combat force as it does in a financial sense: pilfer at minimum cost.

This becomes ever more acute in the chess game of supplying unstable, mutable regimes – the US efforts, for example, to arm an Iraqi army it so foolishly disarmed in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion.  Having removed authoritarian regimes, only to replace them with creakily corrupt ones, the failed state syndrome has become something of a Washington sponsored pandemic through the Middle East and North Africa.  Supply such regimes at your own, and the region’s, risk.

A study by the Conflict of Armament Research (CAR) of more than 1,700 shells used by Islamic State forces in the Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq found that 20 per cent were manufactured in the United States.[2]  There were other states as well – the former Soviet Union and China, Serbia, Sudan and North Korea.

The study provides a vulgar and unflattering glimpse of the arms industry spanning 21 countries.  The brand name WOLF, for instance, is given to the products of the US-based Sporting Supplies International, Inc., which is also in the business of marketing Russian Federation products.  In the world of armaments, there are only colleagues in purse strings and intended targets, exemplified by the fact that SSI also markets products to US civilians.  Killing, in short, is both domestic and international in business and scope, and it if crudely fitting that Syrian Kurds are being killed just as US citizens are being pulverised in their own, ill-governed backyard.

More than 300 US manufactured cartridges from the 2000s were found by the CAR study.  “IS forces appear to have acquired a large part of their current arsenal from stocks seized from, or abandoned by, Iraqi defence and security forces.  The US gifted much of this materiel to Iraq.”

Then come such countries as Iran, with manufactured ammunition between 2006 and 2013 appearing in the samples.  This has its roots, as much as anything else, in the fact that Syrian arms depots will invariably have Iranian supplied munitions.  Those keen in monitoring the arms market may point to various UN Security Council resolutions restricting such  a transfer but the old problem remains one of false logic.  While recipients might be “vetted”, arms can, on their own accord never be.  In that sense, all countries in the business are implicated.

Such vetting fictions can be found in the language of the Obama administration towards Syrian rebels, or at the very least the “right” sort of rebel Washington bureaucrats might take to tea.  That plan to supply some 5,000 Syrian rebels with weapons and training in facilities in Saudi Arabia passed 273-156 in September.[3]  It is governed by a bucket full of fallacies about shoring up one set of groups against another, while invariably adding more armaments to what has been described as a “dog’s breakfast” of a conflict.

It should also inspire little confidence that the Central Intelligence Agency, which has proven to be astonishingly inept in its deployments in the region, has been given that onerous, and ultimately impossible task, of vetting and anointing the fighters.

Other countries are also muscling in on the arms market, seeing chances to make decent returns even as the body bags rise in number.  Sudan features prominently, providing weapons to clients in Africa and, more recently, the Middle East.  Nothing grows better than a small armaments industry – cheap to make, easy to sell.

There are no morality tales to this, other than to show that the arms industry continues to be the greatest winner in the games of aspiring caliphate upstarts and moralistic democracies keen to keep revolution in check.  Even as talk of stabilising and control remain on the lips of the world’s diplomats, the only real conversation taking place is that of the bullet and the shell.

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

Notes:

Iran and Russia plan to establish a joint bank as an effort to multiply bilateral trade and bypass sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s banking sector.

Head of the Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce Asadollah Asgaroladi said that Tehran and Moscow are studying the possibilities of opening a new chapter in trade relations that could break the domination of Western currencies over bilateral exchanges.

“Since Russian banks fear the implications of working with Iran due to sanctions, we want to establish the joint Iran-Russia bank with the help of our central banks and private sectors,” Asgaroladi said.

“Such a bank would be able to exchange money between the two sides using rials and rubles and put aside dollars, euros and pounds,” he added.

Unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran’s banking sector by the US and the European Union over Tehran’s nuclear energy program and the recent Western bans against Russia over Ukraine have prompted the two countries’ trade officials to boost economic cooperation.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have held four meetings on different occasions after the Iranian president took office in 2013.

“We are responsible for our nation’s prosperity. Before the sanctions, we had 150 billion euros of deposits in the banks of West and Europe. When they sanctioned us, we transferred the money to other countries exactly where they don’t want to be,” Asgaroladi said.

Iran’s Minister of Economy Ali Tayyeb-Nia said the Islamic Republic has already traded with some of its partners through the exchange of national currencies and will welcome the plan to establish the joint bank with Russia.

“I’m glad that our country is less dependent on several currencies and this process will continue in the future,” Tayyeb-Nia said.

In September, Iran and Russia agreed to use national currencies in bilateral trade.

The West and Russia can’t seem to get over their differences, with the tensions between the Washington and Kremlin changing the stakes for the whole world. How far would this confrontation go? Is there another Cold War coming? And finally, will the world once again know the horror of a Nuclear War looming over the humanity? We ask these questions to a prominent American scholar on Russian studies, Professor at New York University and Princeton University. Stephen Cohen is on Sophie&Co today.

Censorship Alert: the Alternative Media Harassed by the NSA

October 13th, 2014 by Dr. Christof Lehmann

Google’s Safe Browsing List, which blocks websites and flags them as containing malware, is increasingly used as a mechanism for the censoring of independent media and the falsification of history. It is an alarming development that, left unchallenged, puts the survival of any independent newspaper, blog, TV or radio station at risk. Over the past months the list has apparently been used to target websites critical of U.S.’ involvement in the wars in the Middle East, U.S.’ involvement in Ukraine and independent media who are publishing material that is critical of Zionism.

Google’s Safe Browsing List translates into the blocking of websites which allegedly contain malware. Instead of showing the website one is presented with a red-colored Google page that warns that the URL in question has been blocked because it contains malware. Ultimately, being flagged on the list can also result in the removal of the flagged websites from Google’s search engine. Being flagged, blocked or removed from search engines can have devastating results for independent journalists and media who are struggling to finance investigative journalism, rather than regurgitating alternative versions of Reuters and other major news agencies. The targeting of independent media and journalists is especially noteworthy when one considers Google’s close cooperation with the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA).

Incestuous Relationships between Google, Apple, Microsoft, their Subsidiaries, and the NSA.

Google’s close cooperation with the NSA is a well-documented fact. An article from May 7, entitled ”Is Google in cahoots with the NSA? Email leak reveals close relationship”, published in Tech Times, reveals that the close cooperation between Google and the NSA was documented long before NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told the world what most who cared to investigate already knew. The article quotes emails between NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt from 2011 and 2012. Tech Times states:

”In the mails, the Google executives sound friendly and cooperative. Alexander’s emails hint at the importance of ´Google’s participation in refinement, engineering and deployment of solutions`to cyber threats”.

The article also details the fact that the NSA chief had invited CEOs of key companies including Google, Apple, and Microsoft to classified briefings. What is important about these three key corporations cooperation with the NSA is that they are economically interrelated with most other, commercial Internet providers, including web-hosting companies, firms which provide Internet security products, as well as advertising companies who sell advertising on everything from blogs over smaller independent media to major corporate newspapers. The following are recent examples, which demonstrate how this incestuous relationship translates into the targeting of independent media, censorship and the falsification of history.

October 6, nsnbc received an e-mail from the Internet security provider SiteLock, warning that there was a serious malware issue pertaining to some articles published on nsnbc. SiteLock stressed that the issue had to be resolved within 72 hours if nsnbc international wanted to avoid being added to Google’s Safe Browsing List and have the site withdrawn from nsnbc’s web-host, which among many other web hosts is a business partner of Site Lock.

So what was the alleged threat  and what is the real threat – to the USA?

A full security scan conducted by nsnbc with the newspaper’s own security software revealed that several articles had been flagged as containing malware. Among them were six articles which had been published on the renown independent on-line newspaper Voltairenet. All of the articles which had been flagged as containing malware dealt with illegal U.S. Involvement in the Syria war and illegal U.S. Involvement in Ukraine.

Another article that was flagged as containing malware was the article ”Palestine Israel History and Theirstory”. The article was originally published in nsnbc and it has been republished in numerous other independent media, including the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), Sabbah Report, and about 100 independent blogs. The reason why this particular article was flagged as containing malware was that it contained a link to the publication ”Der Ewige Jude”, a racist, supremacist propaganda book published by the German Nazi Party during WWII.. The article documents the systematic dehumanization of Arabs by Zionists and Hollywood, and compares the dehumanization with that which the Nazis practiced against Jews and Slavic people.

Our scan further revealed that an article by the Bangkok based, independent analyst, editor of Land Destroyer Report, and contributor to New Eastern Outlook, nsnbc and others, Tony Cartalucci, also was on the list of flagged articles. The article is entitled ”America’s Nazis in Kiev: ”Russians are Subhuman”. The article was published in New Eastern Outlook, and was republished in LandDestroyer and nsnbc international. Tony Cartalucci demonstrates the Nazi ideology of post-coup Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatzenyuk by quoting Yatzenyuk, and referring to the Nazi pamphlet ”Der Untermensch”, so one could understand that Yatzenyuk’s quote directly reflects the racist and supremacist ideology that was spread in ”Der Untermensch”, which translates into ”The Subhuman”. Also here, nsnbc had to remove the URL to the pamphlet and any media that continues carrying the URL risks, knowingly or not, to be added to Google’s ”Safe Browsing List” to have the newspaper’s, journal’s or blogs website flagged as containing malware, and to be removed or at the very least significantly down-graded in Google’s search engine.

The real threat is, in other words, the threat that direct U.S. Collaboration with terrorists in Syria and Nazis in Ukraine is disclosed to a growing number of readers who have become suspicious about the accuracy of mainstream, corporate, state and foundation funded media. nsnbc did not respond to the initial SiteLock email but received a second email from SiteLock, late at night on October 8. In the mail SiteLock’s Website Security Consultant Hubert Robinson wrote:

”My name is Hugh with SiteLock I recently left you a message regarding the status of your web domain, nsnbc.me During a recent SiteLock security scan of your website, malware was detected that could jeopardize the safety of your website and your data. I wanted to reach out before Google blacklist the site or before your Hosting provider pulls the site down for being infected. …. Please contact me immediately at 602-753-3929, so that I can help you secure your website as soon as possible”.

We conducted an additional security scan with nsnbc’s own software and didn’t identify additional ”threats”, other than those articles by Voltairenet, nsnbc, Land Destroyer Report and New Eastern Outlook which documented U.S.’ collaboration with wanted Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria and Iraq, the article that documented that Zionist and Nazi ideology in large parts are identical, and the article which disclosed the Nazi ideology of Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatzenyuk whom the U.S.’ administration attempts to pass off as ”house trained”.

After nsnbc had de-activated the links to the URLs which allegedly contain malware, nsnbc wrote three mails to SiteLock’s Website Security Consultant Huge Grant, asking, among others, whether they could be more specific about which malware the flagged sites allegedly contained. We also asked whether SiteLock has a direct or indirect corporate partnership with Google, and for the name and contact details of SiteLock’s CEO. SiteLock failed to respond. SiteLock also failed to inform nsnbc whether the deactivation of the flagged URL’s was ”sufficient” or whether they perceived other ”threats” to our ”security”.

Infecting Independent Media with Malware via Add Companies.

In February 2014, nsnbc was suddenly taken off-line and flagged as containing malware by Google’s Safe Browsing List. The incident occurred about 20 minutes after nsnbc published an article entitled ”US’ Victoria Nuland about Ukraine ´Fuck the EU`. The article contained a covertly recorded and leaked phone conversation between the U.S. State Department’s Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. The conversation revealed that the U.S.’ was directly involved in the micro-management of the coup d’état in Ukraine.

nsnbc immediately investigated the reason for the closure of the newspaper’s website. The result of the investigation was that nsnbc’s at that time advertising partner, MadAdsMedia, which is heavily economically dependent on cooperation with Google and Google’s AdSense, had inserted an add that contained a Java Script with malware”. Contacting MadAdsMedia resulted in their consultant explaining that they were ”terribly sorry for the incident and any inconvenience it had caused us, assured that they were removing the add that contained malware and advised us how to contact Google to have the newspaper removed from Google’s Safe Browsing List”.

nsnbc contacted MadAdsMedia and politely asked whether they would be so kind to send us detailed information about which add it was that had contained the malware, and documentation for who it was that had placed the malware, and on which websites. MadAdsMedia failed to respond to at least three polite reminders by email and several phone calls. What MadAdsMedia did, however, was to inform nsnbc that it had decided not to serve any adds to nsnbc any longer and that they had moved us to another company whom we could contact if we wanted. In practical terms, the incident translates into this:

A minor advertising company that is heavily dependent on serving adds via a partnership with Google denies to answer justified questions and responds to the audacity to continue asking them by withdrawing an independent newspaper’s only source of income, from one day to the other, without prior notice.

Facebook’s ”soft” censorship?

On September 5, New Eastern Outlook contributor and editor of Land Destroyer, Tony Cartalucci, published an article entitled ”Beware: Facebook’s ´Soft Censorship`”. Cartalucci stressed that Land Destroyer Report had maintained a Facebook page under the name Anthony Cartalucci since 2009. Many of the readers of Land Destroyer Report used Facebook as a means of accessing the LD Report’s articles. Tony Cartalucci wrote:

”Today, Facebook, without prior warning or opportunity to appeal, decided that the Facebook account must be changed over to a page. By doing so, all those following my account no longer would receive updates, because of Facebook’s ´news feeds`filter”.

Note that one of Tony Cartalucci’s articles also was among those flagged by SiteLock as containing malware. Moreover, Tony Cartalucci’s experience with Facebook’s ”soft censorship” as he described it, is not unprecedented. Two of nsnbc editor Christof Lehmann’s Facebook accounts were closed or blocked by Facebook within a period of less than twelve months. The accounts were not only used personally, but as a basis for a nsnbc Facebook page – one of that type Facebook demanded that Tony Cartalucci should open.

Facebook’s way of blocking these two accounts were simple. Facebook demanded that a large number of ”friend’s” profile photos were matched with the correct names of these ”friends”. Now, consider 1,000 ”friends or followers”, and many of them using anything but their own portrait as profile photo. It is needless to say that solving that ”quiz” is impossible.

A concerted U.S.’ effort to censor, target independent media economically, withdraw their reader base, and falsify history.

Let us sum up some of the main issues. The incestuous relationship between the NSA and major corporations like Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft is a well-documented fact. Many of the smaller companies, including web-hosting companies, Internet security providers, and advertising companies are either in part owned by one of these major corporations ore they are heavily dependent on cooperation and partnerships with them for their economic survival. nsnbc has already experienced being closed down and have its only source of income withdrawn from one day to the other. Others, including Voltairenet have regularly been flagged as containing malware. Media like New Eastern Outlook, IMEMC, and others risk being targeted in similar manner. Others whom Google and a U.S. Senate Hearing falsely accused of containing malware are The Drudge Report and Infowars. One can only guess how many of the smaller blogs, who are too small to raise alarm bells have been targeted. The conclusion is that the United States is engaged in an aggressive campaign that targets independent media and falsifies history. The question is, whether independent media have the political will to stand united in addressing the problem and in using the fact that they serve a growing part of , for example, the advertising market as leverage.

Dr. Christof Lehmann an independent political consultant on conflict and conflict resolution and the founder and editor in chief of nsnbc, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

“There are two thousand political prisoners. We spoke to people in Yalta who said you can’t even go on facebook and make a friend of somebody who is suspected…SUSPECTED, not accused or proven, of being a supporter of the resistance without being jailed. I met somebody who’s girlfriend had been jailed for twelve years for facebook-friending somebody who was a member of the resistance. That’s not a democracy. So, the way that the story is being told, just again and again, doesn’t have a relation to what’s going on on the ground.” -Alan Freeman, Economist who participated in the July 2014 anti-war conference in Yalta

 ”In the Western media discourse, Russia is the Indians, the bad guys who must be kept separate and apart. Indeed, at this stage Marvel Comics are more nuanced in their superhero stories than much of the EU and US press and that’s saying a lot. United Artists, and later MGM’s, representation of Bond movie Russian villains had nothing on this.” -Bryan MacDonald, journalist

 LISTEN TO THE SHOW
Play
Length (59:35)
 Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

Ever since the Maidan protests of nearly a year ago, the Western media depiction of events in Ukraine appears to have been subjected to intense distortion and conspicuous omissions.

As detailed on this website, the popular uprisings that ultimately served to overthrow the government of Viktor Yanukovych got substantial assistance from the US and NGOs like the National Endowment for Democracy.

There has furthermore been a downplaying of the involvement of Neo-Nazi elements within the protests and in the government which replaced Yanukovych.

There is also the complete censorship by the Canadian press of the Odessa Massacre and evidence that pro-Ukraine protesters brutally murdered people in the city’s Trade Union Hall.

In the first half of this week’s Global Research News Hour, we examine the demonstrable deceptions proliferating through Western media of events in Ukraine and why this continues to happen. The guests are Konstantin Goulich, a University of Manitoba student originally from Russia, and Alan Freeman, visiting professor at the London Metropolitan University now living in Winnipeg, who recently attended an anti-war conference in Yalta. Both are working on an on-line media platform aiming to bring accurate information from the war-torn region.

Roger Annis is a Vancouver-based writer and anti-war activist who attended the Yalta conference. He appears in the second half of the show. He elaborates on the Cold War propaganda dominating the discussion around the Ukraine situation and its resemblances to the propganda of thirty years ago. He addresses the legitimacy of the Crimean referendum. Annis also details the state of the anti-war movement in Ukraine currently, and the involvement of some elements of the Euromaidan movement which are particpating in that movement.

Roger Annis’s website is www.rogerannis.com 

LISTEN TO THE SHOW
Play
Length (59:35)
 Click to download the audio (MP3 format)
The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.

L’ambiguità della NATO

October 13th, 2014 by Valentin Vasilescu

Una volta superata la propaganda delirante che invase i media romeni dopo il vertice NATO in Galles, i romeni iniziano a capire che Basescu ha sempre bluffato. Il comando tattico proposto e ottenuto dalla Romania non ha alcun significato militare. In realtà è un raduno di 25-30 ufficiali della NATO che scarabocchiano e giocano con le carte di piani operativi inutili. Questo comando tattico senza truppe (come quelli che saranno attuati in Polonia e Paesi baltici), è subordinato a un altro comando operativo della NATO in Italia. La decisione di finanziare, costruire ed usare equipaggiamenti militari, munizioni e soldati in tali presunte basi militari della NATO in Europa deve rispettare gli interessi statunitensi sotto l’egida dell’USEUCOM-Europa, responsabile delle operazioni militari dell’US Army nel teatro europeo. Ciò è stato affrontato in questo articolo.

La decisione annunciata da Rasmussen, al vertice della NATO, non corrisponde affatto all’ultima affermazione del generale Philip Breedlove, comandante della NATO in Europa, secondo cui: “La Russia potrebbe condurre incursioni militari nella Repubblica di Moldavia e nella regione separatista moldava di Transnistria“. Ma tale sottigliezza non è stata notata in un Paese come la Romania, ancora considerato “alleato strategico”, semplicemente perché non ha idea delle decisioni del Congresso sulla ristrutturazione del Pentagono, con una riduzione significativa della spesa militare annuale nel 2012-2020. La decisione promulgata dal presidente degli Stati Uniti per salvare 487 miliardi di dollari ha già avuto effetti dal 2012 ad oggi. Le forze di terra statunitensi sono già state ridotte da 45000 soldati e marines a circa 10000 soldati. Ciò, per il Pentagono, consiste nel graduale ritiro di circa 7000 soldati statunitensi dall’Europa entro il 2020. Così, l’esercito statunitense in Germania è stato ridotto di tre brigate corazzate e una di fanteria Stryker, dotata del LAV-25 Stryker, derivato dal Piranha III.

L’esercito in Italia si riassume nella 173.ma brigata aeroportata della forza di reazione rapida. Il tenente-generale Donald Campbell, ex-comandante del III Corpo d’Armata, l’unità più potente dello schieramento statunitense, nel 2013 divenuto comandante dell’esercito in Europa (US Army Europe), ha chiaramente spiegato alla stampa la missione affidatagli: mantenere solo 7 grandi basi militari in Europa delle 12 esistenti nel 2010. Il piano di ristrutturazione porta alla chiusura imminente della caserma di Heidelberg, in Germania. Secondo lo stesso piano di ristrutturazione, la guarnigione statunitense di Mannheim e le basi di Schweinfurt e Bamberga saranno chiuse e rimosse nel 2015. L’USEUCOM non supererà l’attuale livello massimo di 32000 truppe di stanza sul continente europeo. Piuttosto, il loro numero dovrebbe essere ridotto di 2000 uomini entro il 2017. Campbell ha anche ricordato che il Pentagono ha abbandonato i piani per costruire basi militari in Romania e Bulgaria, oltre alla base Deveselu per lo scudo ABM.

L’United States Air Forces in Europa è stata ridotta a sei squadroni compositi (aerei multiruolo, da trasporto, da rifornimento, sorveglianza ed elicotteri): uno in Germania, due in Italia e tre nel Regno Unito). Come risultato di tali tagli di bilancio, i restanti 20 aerei da attacco al suolo A-10 Thunderbolt dell’81.mo squadrone della Spangdahlem Air Base in Germania, sono stati rimpatriati negli USA a fine 2013. Secondo il piano del Pentagono, nel 2014-2017 più di 500 aerei saranno ritirati, tra cui 8 velivoli da trasporto pesante C-5 Galaxy, 16 C-17 Globemaster III, 30 C-130 Hercules e 16 aerei-cisterna KC-135 Stratotanker, riducendo notevolmente la possibilità di schierare una forza di reazione rapida degli Stati Uniti.

L’analisi della natura politica del proposte di Anders Fogh Rasmussen al vertice in Galles non potrebbe essere più evidente. Soprattutto che la NATO non è solo un’alleanza politico-militare creata dagli Stati Uniti. Avevo già scritto che nel Pacifico occidentale gli Stati Uniti avviano il trattato ANZUS e vari altri trattati militari con gli Stati vicini la Cina, divenuti per gli statunitensi più importanti della NATO. Ecco perché gli Stati Uniti valutano la creazione di uno schieramento aeronavale e terrestre del comando militare del Pacifico (USPACOM) nella regione occidentale del Pacifico, dispiegando come truppe supplementari 200000 soldati statunitensi. Parte di tali soldati apparteneva poco prima all’USEUCOM. Nelle conclusioni del mio articolo dicevo, “dunque, le dichiarazioni ufficiali dei leader della NATO, soprattutto statunitensi, sulla creazione di cinque nuove basi NATO in Europa sono semplici favole. Chi non capisce dove va il mondo, affidandosi alla NATO e quindi non creando un esercito moderno appositamente dedito alla difesa del territorio, avrà presto brutte sorprese“.

A differenza dei rumeni, Aleksandr Grusko, ambasciatore russo presso la NATO sa tutto ciò. In una dichiarazione in cui era evidente l’enorme sforzo per non ridere, Grusko ha detto, “una base militare attualmente in costruzione in Romania è una seria sfida alla sicurezza della Russia e Mosca è molto preoccupata per le attività della NATO nel Mar Nero“. Come ho già scritto il 28 agosto 2014 il sottomarino diesel-elettrico Novorossijsk, classe Varshavjanka (Projekt 636.3/877), è stato consegnato alla flotta russa del Mar Nero. Un mese o due più tardi sarà affiancato dal gemello Rostov-na-Donu e seguito da altri quattro sottomarini della stessa classe, per la flotta russa del Mar Nero. Soprannominati “buchi neri” dalla NATO perché non possono essere rilevati, questi sottomarini hanno la capacità di monitorare segretamente tutte le navi, francesi, statunitensi o canadesi inviate nel Mar Nero. Le ultime esercitazioni navali dalla NATO nel nord-ovest del Mar Nero, “Sea Breeze 2014“, raccolsero 12 navi da guerra di Ucraina e NATO. I marinai della fregata canadese Toronto poterono verificare l’affidabilità delle componenti di 35-40 anni dei missili lanciati dal caccia-sottomarini Ternopol, ammiraglia della flotta ucraina.

Tra le navi della NATO parteciparono all’esercitazione c’era una delle due fregate Type 22 romene, denominate “Pattuglia di Pace”, 10 anni fa acquistate dai rottamatori inglesi; sono sempre attive.

187266414

Otan militaires

Le double langage de l’OTAN aux alliés européens

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio – SitoAurora

NATO and Turkey do not have legal grounds to overtly make a declaration of war on Syria, which would have very considerable additional legal implications.

Instead they continue to duck and dive all over the place to try and find some sort of legal cover to hide behind, in their continuing efforts to try and illegally overthrow the Syrian government.

It is abundantly apparent that the entire US/EU ‘news’ media are helping the US/EU governments try to duck and dive from the rule of law.

Image: Fars News Agency: Kurdish Community stage protest against ISIL, Turkey, on Westminster Bridge, in London.

NATO and Turkey quite properly are utterly exposed as not caring at all about human life, every single day they not only refuse to work with the legitimate Syrian government, but continue trying to illegally overthrow the legitimate Syrian government.

363 Israeli public figures have signed a letter to the Members of the British Parliament, calling upon them to vote in favor of British recognition of a Palestinian State, to be created side-by-side with Israel.  

The letter was handed on Sunday noon to representatives of the British MP’s supporting the motion, due to be voted tomorrow (Monday). The Israeli letter was initiated by Dr. Alon Liel, former Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry; Prof. Amiram Goldblum, a founder of the Peace Now movement; and Yehuda Shaul of “Breaking the Silence”.

The letter reads:

“We, Israelis who worry and care for the well-being of the state of Israel, believe that the long-term existence and security of Israel depends on the long-term existence and security of a Palestinian state. For this reason we, the undersigned, urge members of the UK Parliament to vote in favor of the motion to be debated on Monday 13th October 2014, calling on the British Government to recognize the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel “.

Signatories include:

Nobel Prize Laureate (Economics) Daniel Kahneman
Six Laureates of the Israel Prize – Professors Alice Levy, David Har’el, Shimon Sandbank, Yehoshua Kolodny, Yona Rosenfeld and Yoram Bilu;
Two former ministers – Ran Cohen and Yossi Sarid, as well as four former Knesset Members – Uri Avnery, Yael Dayan, Mossi Raz and Naomi Chazan;
Former Ambassador and Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Dr. Alon Liel, as well as former Ambassador Ilan Baruch;
Gen. (ret.) Emanuel Shaked, former of the Paratooper Corps;
Former Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair;
Four writers – Yehoshua Sobol, Yehudit Kafri, Savyon Liebrecht and Amos Mokadi;
Professor Rafi Walden, Deputy Ditector of the Shiba Hospital and Chair of “Physicians for Human Rights”
Yuval Rahamim, Co-Chair of “Bereaved Families for Palestinian-Israeli Peace” and the grouop’s founder Yitzhak Frankenthal;

As well as many residents of Gaza border communities and other peace and social rights activists.

As the world pays close attention to the war on terror with ISIS in the Middle East, the ongoing civil war in the Ukraine and the spread of Ebola that began in West Africa, another war has been silently extended for another year with hardly any media coverage especially in the U.S. It is not a war on a new terrorist organization called ‘Khorasan’ or any other group; it is Washington’s long economic war on Cuba which has been an ongoing policy of every administration that has occupied the Whitehouse since 1960. But the New York Times is quick to point out that “a rising tide of Cubans in rickety, cobbled-together boats is fleeing the island and showing up in the waters off Florida.” Adding what Ted Henke, A Cuba Scholar at Baruch College at the City University of New York had said blaming the Cuban government’s economic policies “Washington should be worried about the increase in migration, because it demonstrates that Cuba’s recent economic reforms have failed to help the majority of Cubans, making the nation vulnerable to a catastrophic event.”Completely ignoring the US embargo’s effects it has on the economy.

Just like his predecessors before him, U.S. President Barack H. Obama extended the US embargo or as they call it in Cuba “El Bloqueo” for another year as reported by Venezuela’s Telesur news network last month. Cuba responded by denouncing Obama’s actions at the United Nations. The report titled ‘Cuba denounces extension of US blockade’ stated what Cuban officials had said about the extension of the embargo:

Diplomats from the Caribbean island said the main goal of the U.S. embargo is to inflict pain and suffering upon the Cuban people. Cuba denounced this Wednesday at the United Nations President Barack Obama’s decision to extend the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on the island for another year, claiming it is in the “national interest of the United States

It’s amazing how Obama can flip-flop on specific issues with a straight face. According to the Washington Post, in 2004, when Obama was an Illinois State Senator, he did say that “I think it’s time for us to end the embargo in Cuba.” Of course Obama’s was trying to score political points among potential voters when he was running for a seat in the U.S. Senate when he called for an end to the US embargo against Cuba. He went on to say in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Southern Illinois University why he opposed the embargo and that US interests should focus on fighting terrorism and economic growth. As Obama continued his rhetoric

“and I think that we have to end it because if you think about what’s happening internationally our planet is shrinking, and our biggest foreign policy challenge — and it fits directly into the battle on terrorism and it fits into issues of trade and our economy — is how we make sure that other countries, in developing nations, are providing sustenance for their people, human rights for their people, a basic structure of government for their people that it’s stable and secure so that they can be part in a brighter future for the entire planet.”

Obama said that US foreign policy towards Cuba was a failure because it did not remove Fidel Castro from power nor did it help the Cuban people in any meaningful way which is obvious. “And the Cuban embargo has failed to provide the source of raising standards of living and it has squeezed the innocents in Cuba,” Obama continued “and utterly failed in the effort to overthrow Castro, who’s now have been there since I was born. So, it’s time for us to acknowledge that that particular policy has failed.” The Washington Post also reported that Obama was Speaking to a Cuban American audience in Miami, Florida in 2007 as a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party and said that he would not “take off the embargo” as president because it is “an important inducement for change.” Why not? He had to win the hearts and minds of the right-wing Cubans in Florida who have traditionally voted for the Republican Party since President John F. Kennedy failed to overthrow Castro during the ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion. Many Cubans of the younger generation have been shifting their votes to the Democratic Party in recent years. However, Malaysia’s national news agency, Bernama reported how the Obama administration strengthened the sanctions with harsher penalties against institutions that do business with Cuba. The article ‘US Blockade of Cuba Intensified under Pres Obama’ explains:

The US blockade against Cuba was intensified during President Barack Obama’s administration with the increased persecution of financial institutions which have business relations with the island. Andres Zaldivar, a researcher of the Center for the Study of Global Economy said in a video conference on the topic that the measures were part of the implementation of Obama’s “smart power” policy.

From 2010 to 2014, out of the 130 extraterritorial actions carried out against the island, 81 were in the financial sector and 38 institutions were fined with the astronomical amount of more than US$11.4 billion, he added. He stressed that sanctions are imposed even to US allies, like the recent US$8.9 billion fine to the French bank BNP Paribas

The online website www.havanatimes.org published statements made by the Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno in 2013 who introduced Cuba’s annual report on the impact of the embargo when he said “Despite Obama’s promise of a new beginning with Cuba, nothing has changed and intensified in the persecution of all who make financial transactions.” Democracy Now also reported Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez’s response to the Obama Administration’s actions:

The State Department has again included Cuba in its unilateral and arbitrary list of states that sponsor international terrorism. Its true purpose is to increase the persecution of our international financial transactions in the whole world and justify the blockade policy. Under the present administration, there has been an unprecedented tightening of extraterritorial character of the blockade, with a remarkable and unheard-of emphasis on financial transactions through the imposition of multi-million fines on banking institutions of third countries

The idea of imposing an embargo was to isolate Cuba’s diplomatic and economic relationships with governments around the world whom many allied with the United States. Then the embargo would have direct consequences on the Cuban people allowing them to develop an animosity against their government. This would then enable them to overthrow the government because of their dire economic situation which was caused by Washington’s policies in the first place. Washington’s goal was to destroy the Cuban economy to produce a new government similar to Fidel Castro’s predecessor, Dictator Fulgencio Batista.

This past April, The Associated Press (AP) reported that Washington plotted to destabilize the Cuban government through a ‘Cuban Twitter’ feed through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID is an agency that was created through an executive order under President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The twitter program was called ‘ZunZuneo’, developed by USAID in 2010 to promote a counter-revolution against the Cuban government. This should be no surprise considering Washington’s appetite for destabilizing nations in the Middle East and in Latin America. The Associated Press also reported a story titled ‘US sent Latin youth undercover in anti-Cuba ploy’ which describes how USAID attempted to create a revolution against the Cuban government:

Over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development — best known for overseeing billions of dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid — sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba

The report also described one of the Latin Americans named Fernando Murillo who was involved in the US plot as he was “deployed by a U.S. agency to work undercover in Cuba. He had little training in the dangers of clandestine operations — or how to evade one of the world’s most sophisticated counter-intelligence services.” According to the report, USAID re-hired a Washington-based company called Creative Associates International who was the creator of ‘ZunZuneo’ to form the clandestine program. It was “The same company was central to the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” — a messaging network revealed in April by the Associated Press, designed to reach hundreds of thousands of Cubans.” USAID recruited “young operatives” to pose as tourists with low pay so that they themselves can possibly recruit Cuban students to turn on their government:

According to internal documents obtained by the AP and interviews in six countries, USAID’s young operatives posed as tourists, visited college campuses and used a ruse that could undermine USAID’s credibility in critical health work around the world: An HIV-prevention workshop one called the “perfect excuse” to recruit political activists, according to a report by Murillo’s group. For all the risks, some travelers were paid as little as $5.41 an hour

USAID split the groups for various missions:

While Murillo and the Costa Rican travelers focused on the HIV workshop and other programs, teams of Venezuelans and Peruvians were deployed to Cuba’s college campuses. Their mission, documents and interviews show, was to recruit university students with the long-term goal of turning them against their government

Since the ‘ZunZuneo’ project failed, the Obama administration decided to extend the embargo for another year. According to the Telesur report

“In an official statement the Cuban mission to the U.N. said that the main goal of the blockade, which is in force since the early 1960s, is to cause pain and suffering of the people of Cuba, besides causing losses to the country of about US$115 billion.”

The Costa Rican News also reported in a story titled ‘Despite Appeals Obama Extends Cuba’s Trade Embargo for Another Year’ that

“The renewal of the Act on Trading with the Enemy, which prohibits American companies to do business with the island, has a routine nature and Obama’s predecessors have also extended it annually. The law against Trading with the Enemy, which dates from 1917 and was approved in light of American entry into World War I, forbids American companies from trading with hostile countries.”

There were more than 600 failed assassination attempts according to Cuban intelligence reports on Fidel Castro, including the ‘Bay of Pigs’ Invasion orchestrated by Washington and anti-Castro groups, many of whom were the elite’s of the Batista Era. Many Cubans settled in Florida and New Jersey after Fidel Castro and his supporters overthrew Batista. Terrorists’ attacks on Cuba were frequent including the bombing of the Cubana de Aviacion airliner back in 1976 that killed 78 people by CIA-linked anti-Castro Cuban exiles such as Orlando Bosch (died in 2011 while in exile in Miami) and Posada Carriles (also still resides in Miami) with the Venezuelan secret police known as the DISIP (Bolivarian Secret Police). Cuba accused the US government for the attack. In 2005 CIA documents released indicated that the agency “had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana airliner.” Posada Carriles who by the way is a former CIA operative stated in his book ‘Caminos del Guerrero’ (Way of the Warrior) the details of the incident. So Cuba is the Hostile country?

The Costa Rican News noted how Washington had imposed harsher sanctions on Cuba since the 1990’s as a way to influence the Cuban population to revolt against the Castro government. It stated that “This was the law that was used to enforce the economic embargo against Cuba, but has been expanded and enhanced with other American laws, like Torricelli in 1992, preventing the shipment of food to Cuba with the exception of humanitarian aid or the Helms Burton in 1996.”

In 1992, when the Cuban Democracy Act which began under (R-TX) George H.W. Bush and ending up signed into law under Bill Clinton banning all food and medicine in route to Cuba allowing only for humanitarian aid. Since 1992, the United and Israel and a handful of other countries has voted not to end the blockade of Cuba. The Cuban Democracy Act or the “Torricelli Law” named after former Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli who introduced the act was passed in 1992 which prohibited U.S. companies from trading with Cuba. It also prohibited travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens and prevented family remittances to Cuba. It was described as “a bill to promote a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba through the application of sanctions directed at the Castro government and support for the Cuban people.” By 1996, the Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act also known as the Helms-Burton Act penalized foreign companies that conducted business transactions in Cuba were prevented from doing any form of business on U.S. territory. The European Union did not agree with the Helms-Burton act because it allowed Washington to dictate to the world who can trade with Cuba. American farmers and agricultural companies were also not in favor of the act because it affected trade. It added pressure on Washington to ease the harsh sanctions. By October 2000, Washington had eased the embargo through the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act with congressional approval which was later signed by President Bill Clinton as it allowed the sale of agricultural goods and medicine to Cuba for humanitarian purposes.

Washington Long History of Economic Embargos against Cuba

Originally, the U.S. imposed an arms embargo in March 1958 due to Cuba’s civil war between the Cuban Rebels led by Fidel Castro and the Batista regime. In July 1960, after the Castro government seized U.S. properties, Washington decided to reduce Cuba’s sugar imports under the Sugar Act of 1948. It was the beginning of the embargo, or one can call it a new economic war on Cuba. The former Soviet Union stepped in at the time and purchased Cuban sugar as the Castro government continued to nationalize American businesses and properties. Washington’s arms embargo ignited an economic war, one that followed up with more embargos that harmed Cuba’s economy. ‘U.S. Economic sanctions against Cuba: objectives of an imperialist policy’ by Salim Lamrani author and lecturer at La Sorbonne University in Paris wrote:

The Cold War context, used for thirty years as a pretext legitimizing U.S. animosity towards Cuba, was actually a fraud since there are no facts to support this theory. If there had been any foundations to this thesis, the United States would have normalized its relations with Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Instead of that, Washington launched a new and more serious wave of economic sanctions with the Torricelli Act in 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act in 1996. As the ancient paradigm departed this life in 1991, a new one was created. Now it is no more about containing communism but about “re-establishing democracy” in Cuba, a “democracy” devoted to the interests of Washington. No matter if it is ruled by a clone of Gerardo Machado or Fulgencio Batista: what’s important is that it should make of its subordination to the United States its main virtue.

Lamrani also summarized the history of countries that were either for or against Washington’s economic sanctions since the start of the Cuban Democracy Act in 1992:

Number of countries opposing the blockade Number of countries against the end of the blockade Countries voting against the end of the blockade

1992 59 3 United States, Israel, Romania

1993 88 4 United States, Israel, Albania, Paraguay

1994 101 2 United States, Israel

1995 117 3 United States, Israel, Uzbekistan

1996 137 2 United States, Israel

1997 147 3 United States, Israel, Uzbekistan

1998 157 3 United States, Israel, Marshall Islands

1999 155 2 United States, Israel

2000 167 3 United States, Israel, Marshall Islands

2001 167 3 United States, Israel, Marshall Islands

2002 173 3 United States, Israel, Marshall Islands

2003 179 3 United States, Israel, Marshall Islands

The United States and Israel consistently voted in favor of the U.S. embargo since the Torricelli Act was passed. A handful of states who also voted in favor were either allies or governments that were bribed, blackmailed or forced to vote yes to enforce the embargo on Cuba. Washington’s strategy was not just based on economics, it was also based on violent actions that included assassination attempts and US sponsored invasions that all failed. It did force Castro to take drastic security measures at home. The embargo only created an atmosphere of security concerns for Cuba after the Castro-led revolution against former Dictator Fulgencio Bastista. The US government has been actively targeting the Cuban government with a 54 year embargo. It has not changed any political outcome according to Washington’s strategy. It has been a failure not only to Washington and its allies, but to the Cuban people who have been suffering through needed medicines and imports Cuba does not have. The achievements of Cuba’s healthcare system and its food security have been successful under Castro despite the U.S. embargo that has banned everything except of course non-subsidized sales of food staples and medicine.

The Cuban government faces continues threats by Washington. Acts of subversion against groups are paid for by US sponsored non-government organizations (NGO’s). Washington strategy has been covertly used against the Castro government. Castro did not allow Cuba to be governed democratically since Cuba was at war with the United States so he decided with the support of the majority of Cuban people not to hold elections, allow dissent or any opposition against the state of Cuba. The London-based Amnesty International reported the Cuban government’s crackdown on dissent in the past although it maintains the argument that “Foreign Agents” threatens its national security. The revelations of USAID’s ‘ZunZuneo’ program to destabilize Cuba, who can argue with the Cuban governments concerns? Other violations made by Amnesty International accuses the Cuban government of arresting dissidents, holding unfair trials and capital punishment in cases that involve armed hijackings although the Cuban government had placed a moratorium on the death penalty back in 2001. It is fair to say that Amnesty International report on Cuba’s human rights issues may be true in some cases, it’s is important to note that the U.S. embargo made only matters worse for the Cuban government as Washington’s attempt to topple its government continued under numerous threats of invasions, bombings and economic sabotage. Amnesty International’s report concerning Cuba’s human rights record admitted that “The economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba has served as an ongoing justification for Cuban state repression and has contributed to a climate in which human rights violations occur.” An important element Amnesty international did not include on their report concerning Cuba’s human rights is the fact that the United States government has been working relentlessly to destabilize Cuba since the 1959 revolution. The US and Human Rights Watch among others has criticized Cuba’s human rights record. It is important to understand that Cubans do enjoy their rights many Americans in the U.S. don’t have and that is the right to food security, housing, medical care, and education. The media remains under state control and general elections are only held for municipal, provincial and national candidates. Saul Landau, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies wrote an article called ‘Cuba: Human Rights Again?’ and said:

Washington’s real issue relates to Cuban disobedience of its policies — not human rights. In fact, Cubans enjoy substantive rights American citizens don’t: food, housing, medical care, and education. Cuba falls short on procedural rights regarding press and political parties

If Washington really cared about human rights as in the case of Saudi Arabia (who won’t even allow women to apply for driver’s licenses) and other Gulf States would have been sanctioned long ago.

Interestingly, Raul Castro and his administration are starting to change direction economically where it is looking to develop a new form of economy at a subtle pace. Lifting an inhumane trade embargo would allow Cuba to open for business and opportunity for the people. Would they open for business worldwide including the West? Yes. Castro’s brand of Communism was the unintended consequence of US foreign policy that has tried to destabilize the Castro government by an economic blockade. Cuba can establish a new economic model that respects human dignity. US economic control over the Caribbean continues to weaken as its own economy continues to decline. Puerto Rico has been under Washington’s Democratic and economic policies since the Spanish-American war (known as the Spanish-Cuban-American War in Cuba). Recently, the Padilla government announced that they would consider legalizing marijuana and prostitution. I could understand creating a marijuana industry especial for its health benefits, but legalizing prostitution for more tax revenue will literally turn the Puerto Rican government into “tax pimps”. Ironically speaking, that is funny. But that was what Castro was concerned about, a fascist-capitalist model under Fulgencio Batista and his mafia friends with Washington’s approval exploit the Cuban people. Reuters reported in 2001 on specific comments Castro made concerning prostitution in Cuba:

Once known as “the brothel of the Caribbean” due to its reputation as a haven for rich Americans looking for sex, gambling and a swinging nightlife, Cuba drastically cleaned up society after Castro’s 1959 revolution. But the problem came back at the start of the 1990s against a backdrop of increased economic hardship for locals, and an opening to tourism which brought foreigners flooding back.

“The situation was very tough,” Castro said, in what was only his second reference to prostitution in public following a January 1998, speech where he declared war on various growing vices, including prostitution, drugs and violent crime. “Some people were coming here with ideas of sexual tourism … There were cases of what we call ‘jineterismo’,” he said, using a Cuban slang word for street-hustling and prostitution. ‘Perfecting our methods’ “We began taking adequate measures to combat these outbreaks. And we are still perfecting our methods … We understand this problem, and our methods are human,” Castro added, saying “advances” were expected.

Castro gave no figures this time, whereas he had laced his 1998 speech with statistics like the fact that more than 6,700 prostitutes and around 190 pimps were rounded up in Havana in the first 11 months of that year

Ending the embargo is the only solution to Cuba’s economic woes. Change must come from within, not outside forces. The twitter incident of ‘ZunZuneo’ only reinforces the belief that the United States is still trying to undermine the Cuban government. Change comes from within. It has to be dynamic in a sense. A foreign country imposing change with their form of democracy only leads to resentment and anger. Cuba’s political outcome was predictable. Cuba will find its own way. Cuba’s history and culture is dynamic and that will never change no matter what Washington tries to do. Cuba is a sovereign nation, not a colony as several of its neighbors throughout the Caribbean including Puerto Rico. Washington’s endless crusade to overthrow the Castro government will not change anytime soon. So in a sense, Cuba is still stuck between a rock and a hard place. US-Cuba relations will not change either at least until the embargo has ended, until then; expect more political tension in the years to come.

Fidel Castro is a legend and history will “absolve” him, no question about that. He will live in the Cuban people’s hearts and minds as a revolutionary leader who defied an empire over his nation’s sovereignty. In fact, his legacy will endure all over the world. But times are changing, and so is the Cuban government. The Cuban government and its people are clearly moving in a different direction economically; especially after President Raul Castro economic reforms according to the Associated Press “About 455,000 islanders are currently running or working for private small businesses as a result of the reforms, and about 450 new non-agricultural cooperatives are operating autonomously.” Cuba wants its sovereignty respected as any other nation. They also understand that the world’s economy will experience a pivot into a different direction. What path Cuba would have chosen? What if Washington had not imposed economic sanctions on Cuba? What type of society would Cuba have become? It would have been sure interesting. But we would never know. What we do know is that Washington’s relentless crusade against Cuban Independence had prevented any progress of Cuba’s political situation. Fidel Castro saw what Washington and the Fascist Dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and his Mob friends did to the Cuban people. He grew up to despise the elite. How could the Cuban government liberalize its political process under an aggressive foreign power that would love turn the country into a US corporate dominated –gambling casino filled with drugs (perhaps freshly imported heroin from Afghanistan, courtesy of the US military as Geraldo Rivera of Fox news reported) and prostitutes? That was where Cuba was headed to. Fidel and Raul Castro share a concern that was and still is legitimate. Cuba wants to sustain itself for its future generations. The US and Israel are the main forces that are preventing any political progress that affects the Cuban people. Salim Lamrani sums up what Washington’s intentions are, and that is to take control of Cuba. He wrote:

The roots of the blockade date back not to 1959 but to the beginning of the 19th century since U.S. imperialists have always wanted to take hold of Cuba. In 1902, a U.S. bookstore distributed a map of Cuba under the title: “Our New Colony: Cuba” . The United States will do whatever is in its power to go back to that pre-revolutionary situation, to make Cuba become another Puerto Rico, Haiti or Dominican Republic, places in which the wealth of a minority stands out in sharp contrast with the poverty of the majority and where U.S. multinationals make staggering profits. It will also unflaggingly cling to the same voluble and outdated arguments that its representatives keep on repeating

The only country in the Caribbean that is not under Washington’s dictate is Cuba. Cuba will continue to resist the empire despite the U.S. embargo. Even the affluent Cuban-American Community in Florida has been increasingly calling for an end to the blockade, because it has not produced any positive results. This past June, A Florida International University Poll found that “Seventy-one percent said the embargo is not working at all or not very well.” With a 54 year embargo and the aggressive empire to its north, the Cuban economy will continue to feel the consequences imposed by Washington’s ruthless behavior. Cuba may be independent and not under Washington’s thumb, but it is been held hostage, 54 years and counting.

Palestinians Torn over Contact with Israelis

October 13th, 2014 by Jonathan Cook

A Palestinian university’s decision to bar from its campus an Israeli journalist and outspoken critic of the occupation has exposed a growing rift among Palestinian activists about the merits of contact with Jewish Israelis.

Staff at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah in the West Bank, ordered Amira Hass, a reporter for the Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper, to leave a public conference late last month. She was told it was for her own “safety” in case students protested against her presence.

Hass, who has lived among Palestinians in the occupied territories for many years, is a rare critical voice against the occupation in the Israeli media. Her articles translated in Haaretz’s English edition are widely read outside Israel.

Bir Zeit’s decision has provoked a heated debate among Palestinian intellectuals, students and activists about how far refusal to cooperate with Israelis should extend.

Observers say hostility towards Israeli Jews of all political stripes has become more pronounced among some Palestinian youth over the past few years. The trend is especially strong in Ramallah, where many Bir Zeit students live.

However, a petition circulated on social media against Hass’ exclusion quickly attracted signatures from hundreds of Palestinian scholars, who noted that she was a “courageous human rights defender”. In a column in Al-Ayyam newspaper, Ghassan Zaqtan, a prominent poet, called Hass’ treatment “shameful”.

Meanwhile, Israeli political activists have been left wondering whether, if the next generation of Palestinians rejects all joint endeavours, they have a place either in the struggle against the occupation or in a solution to the conflict.

South Africa or Algeria?

“The question is whether Palestinians want a South African model of an inclusive solution that offers a shared future for Palestinians and Israelis, or an Algerian model of exclusion,” said Jeff Halper, the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, an Israeli group that campaigns against the demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories.

Referring to the expulsion of French colonists from Algeria in the early 1960s, he said: “Increasingly, it sounds like the Palestinian view is that this is another Algeria. If Israelis are simply colonial settlers, then we have no right to remain here.”

In a report for her newspaper, Hass wrote that other notable Israeli dissidents, such as Ilan Pappe, an historian who characterises the dispossession of Palestinians in 1948 as ethnic cleansing, had in the past been forced to hold talks off campus.

She said university staff had told her they were enforcing a regulation from the mid-1990s intended to create a “safe space” for students.

For decades, the Israeli army has targeted Bir Zeit, the most prestigious place of learning in the West Bank and a hotbed of political activism, harassing and arresting students and staff.

According to the Israeli media, more than 1,000 Palestinian students have been arrested by Israel since 2000, with most of them from Bir Zeit. That number includes three former heads of the student council. In 2009 alone, 83 students from the university were arrested or jailed.

Matthew Kalman, a reporter specialising in education issues, wrote in Haaretz: “Just about every Palestinian university in the West Bank has stories of nighttime IDF [Israel Defense Forces] raids, campus teargas attacks and random arrests and intimidation.”

Arrests and torture

Omar Barghouti, a prominent activist in the boycott movement in Ramallah, said he opposed exclusion of individuals but understood why there was increasing opposition to cooperation with Israelis from some young activists.

“Most students’ only experience of ‘meeting’ Israelis is being arrested by soldiers and tortured by the Shin Bet [Israel’s intelligence service]. Without a doubt, it colours their view.”

The row about Hass prompted the university to hastily issue a statement in which it seemed to reverse policy. Staff and students would be told that the university opposed all “discrimination based on identity”. The statement added that Israelis “on the side of justice and humanity”, such as Hass, would always be welcomed on campus.

But many students appeared unhappy with the administration’s more conciliatory tone.

Shortly after the statement was issued, Bir Zeit’s student council demanded it be withdrawn. “We say that any Israeli Zionist is not welcome in Bir Zeit University,” Mustafa Mustafa, the student council’s leader, told the Associated Press news agency. “If Amira really supports the Palestinian struggle against the occupation, she needs to leave the country.”

The controversy was pounced on by commentators in Israel and abroad. In Commentary, a conservative US magazine, Evelyn Gordon asked: “How is peace possible when Birzeit [sic] is educating these future Palestinian leaders to believe all Israeli Jews should be shunned simply because they are Israeli Jews?”

No peace camp

Ghassan Khatib, a senior official at the university, told Middle East Eye that things had changed significantly since his time studying at Bir Zeit in the 1970s.

“At that time we would make huge efforts to find Israelis to meet or debate us. There were Israeli Jews who came to show solidarity when we were attacked by the occupation forces, including during the first intifada [in the late 1980s].”

The situation for today’s generation is very different, he said. “The [Israeli] peace camp has collapsed, and there is no visible debate in Israeli society about ending the occupation or even criticism of what happened in Gaza this summer. In that climate, young people cannot see a reason for any interaction and dialogue with Israelis.”

The debate about dealings with Israelis should be understood in the context of a wider policy across the Arab world opposing what is termed “normalisation”. According to this view, there should be no normal relations with Israel until the occupation ends.

Bir Zeit’s policy was formulated in the mid-1990s, at the time when the Palestinian leadership returned to the occupied territories from exile in Tunisia under the terms of the Oslo accords.

But while the Arab world has rarely needed to test the intricacies of its anti-normalisation approach, given its lack of public contacts with Israel, Palestinians in the occupied territories have found the policy more complicated to implement.

With the Palestinian economy almost completely dependent on Israel, casual labourers need permits to work in Israel or the settlements, business leaders require Israel’s assistance with exports and imports, and the Palestinian Authority has to cooperate closely with Israel on many matters, including security.

At the same time, Khatib observed, Israel’s policy of separation – culminating in the building of a wall across the West Bank and the “disengagement” from Gaza a decade ago – severely limited the possibility of contacts between Israelis and Palestinians. That was especially true, he said, in the Palestinian cities, which were designated by Israeli military regulations as off-limits to Israelis.

Barred from Ramallah

Sam Bahour, a businessman and political activist in Ramallah, said: “What makes no sense to me is that young people are vehemently protesting against any contact with Israeli Jews, even those who are on their side, and yet publicly they barely say a word against Palestinian security cooperation with Israel.”

He contrasted their position with that held in Palestinian rural areas close to the Green Line, which formally demarcates the boundary between Israel and the occupied territories. “There every week Israeli activists are coming to help Palestinian villagers struggle against the Israeli army’s confiscation of their lands.

“The irony is that farmers are fostering cooperation while Palestinian intellectuals and academics are opposed.”

Bahour cited his own bitter experiences two years ago when he tried to bring to Ramallah an Israeli group, Zochrot, that supports the right of return to Israel of Palestinian refugees expelled in the 1948 war, as well as their descendants. The right of return is possibly the biggest taboo in Israeli society.

The meeting, which was to have discussed strategies for effecting a return of the refugees, had to be cancelled after young Palestinian activists mounted a Facebook campaign threatening to disrupt the meeting.

In one post, an opponent called the meeting an “act of immoral normalisation”. Another protested at the Palestinians’ continuing dispossession by Israel: “When they drop their ‘Israeli citizenship’, I can look [at] them as partners, but since they [are] still living in my grandfather’s house in Akka, Yaffa, Safad, they [are] occupiers.”

“Such reactions show no understanding of the need to create political alliances and to break down barriers if we want to make progress on finding a solution to the conflict,” said Bahour.

“Israelis are no longer seen as an address. The view in the PA is that we can leapfrog over Israel to talk to Washington, while the activists behave as though we can leapfrog over Israelis to get help from solidarity groups in Europe.”

Big picture forgotten

Bahour blamed the lack of effective political leadership for encouraging sloganeering rather than organised and coherent action from Palestinian activists.

“The PA is talking about getting statehood at the UN but there is no debate about how we envision relations with Israelis post-occupation.”

Halper concurred. “It’s like Palestinians have given up on the occupation ever ending. No one talks about where Israelis fit in, no one is sure of the policy. That’s why Amira Hass gets caught up in this incident at Bir Zeit.”

Sami Kilani, a professor at An-Najah university in Nablus who signed the petition in support of Hass, said that, in expelling her, Bir Zeit had “forgotten the bigger picture”.

“It’s a self-defeating approach,” he told Middle East Eye. “An-Najah invites Israelis to come to meetings and conferences so that we can hear and learn from each other. But given Israel’s military restrictions, they usually either can’t or won’t come.”

Bahour and Kilani are among those hoping that Hass’ exclusion will force a more critical re-appraisal of popular notions of anti-normalisation.

Bahour said Bir Zeit’s policy was inconsistent with the more precise guidelines introduced since 2005 by the Palestinian movement calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, modelled on a similar campaign against apartheid South Africa.

Precarious situation

Barghouti, one of the founders of the BDS movement, said the guidelines for boycott did not apply to individuals, only to institutions and projects that failed to follow the principle of what he called “co-resistance”.

BDS’ three official goals are: an end to the occupation, a right of return for Palestinian refugees, and equal rights for Palestinian citizens in Israel.

Barghouti added that the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) had never requested that Palestinian universities endorse BDS, aware of their precarious situation under occupation.

Some commentators, however, have suggested that the action against Hass was in accordance with BDS.

They have observed that Hass was expelled from the meeting after she had registered herself as a representative of the Haaretz newspaper, an institution that would be covered by the call for boycott.

Hass noted in her report that she had been on the campus many times before without incident. But she also pointed out that she had been personally barred from attending an Arabic course at the university in 1998.

The Myth of “America”

October 13th, 2014 by Dahr Jamail

Happy Columbus Day

    Columbus sailed the ocean blue in Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two …

    May the spirit of adventure and discovery always be with you.

    Wishing you a great Columbus Day - Columbus Day greeting card

 

To mark Columbus Day In 2004, the Medieval and Renaissance Center in UCLA published the final volume of a compendium of Columbus-era documents. Its general editor, Geoffrey Symcox, leaves little room for ambivalence when he says, “This is not your grandfather’s Columbus…. While giving the brilliant mariner his due, the collection portrays Columbus as an unrelenting social climber and self-promoter who stopped at nothing – not even exploitation, slavery, or twisting biblical scripture – to advance his ambitions…. Many of the unflattering documents have been known for the last century or more, but nobody paid much attention to them until recently. The fact that Columbus brought slavery, enormous exploitation or devastating diseases to the Americas used to be seen as a minor detail – if it was recognized at all – in light of his role as the great bringer of white man’s civilization to the benighted idolatrous American continent. But to historians today this information is very important. It changes our whole view of the enterprise.”

But does it?

“They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “They willingly traded everything they owned…. They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas, in the multi-volume “History of the Indies” published in 1875, wrote, “… Slaves were the primary source of income for the Admiral (Columbus) with that income he intended to repay the money the Kings were spending in support of Spaniards on the Island. They provide profit and income to the Kings. (The Spaniards were driven by) insatiable greed … killing, terrorizing, afflicting, and torturing the native peoples … with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty.”

This systematic violence was aimed at preventing “Indians from daring to think of themselves as human beings. (The Spaniards) thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades…. My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I tremble as I write.”

Father Fray Antonio de Montesino, a Dominican preacher, in December 1511 said this in a sermon that implicated Christopher Columbus and the colonists in the genocide of the native peoples:

“Tell me by what right of justice do you hold these Indians in such a cruel and horrible servitude? On what authority have you waged such detestable wars against these people who dealt quietly and peacefully on their own lands? Wars in which you have destroyed such an infinite number of them by homicides and slaughters never heard of before …”

In 1892, the National Council of Churches, the largest ecumenical body in the United States, is known to have exhorted Christians to refrain from celebrating the Columbus quincentennial, saying, “What represented newness of freedom, hope, and opportunity for some was the occasion for oppression, degradation and genocide for others.”

Yet America continues to celebrate “Columbus Day.”

That Americans do so in the face of all evidence that there is little in the Columbian legacy that merits applause makes it easier for them to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions, or the actions of their government. Perhaps there is good reason.

In “Columbus Day: A Clash of Myth and History,” journalist and media critic Norman Solomon discusses how historians who deal with recorded evidence are frequently depicted as “politically correct” revisionists while the general populace is manipulated into holding onto myths that brazenly applaud inconceivable acts of violence of men against fellow humans.

For those of us who are willing to ask how it becomes possible to manipulate the population of a country into accepting atrocity, the answer is not hard to find. It requires normalizing the inconceivable and drumming it in via the socio-cultural environment until it is internalized and embedded in the individual and collective consciousness. The combined or singular deployment of the media, the entertainment industry, mainstream education or any other agency, can achieve the desired result of convincing people that wars can be just, and strikes can be surgical, as long as it is the US that is doing it.

Never has this process been as blatant and overt as in recent years when the time has come for America to legitimize the idea of global domination. A Department of Defense report titled Joint Vision 2020 calls for the US military to be capable of “full spectrum dominance” of the entire planet. That means total domination and control of all land, sea, air, space and information.

That’s a lot of control.

How might this become accepted as “Policy” and remain unquestioned by almost an entire population?

The one word key to that is: Myths. The explanation is that the myths the United States is built upon have paved the way for the perpetuation of all manner of violations.

Among the first of these is that of Christopher Columbus. In school we were taught of his bravery, courage and perseverance. In a speech in 1989, George H.W. Bush proclaimed: “Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished through perseverance and faith.”

Never mind that the monumental feats mainly comprised part butchery, part exploitation and the largest part betrayal of host populations of the “New World.”

On their second arrival in Hispaniola, Haiti, Columbus’s crew took captive roughly two thousand local villagers who had arrived to greet them. Miguel Cuneo, a literate crew member, wrote, “When our caravels … were to leave for Spain, we gathered … one thousand six hundred male and female persons of those Indians, and these we embarked in our caravels on February 17, 1495…. For those who remained, we let it be known (to the Spaniards who manned the island’s fort) in the vicinity that anyone who wanted to take some of them could do so, to the amount desired, which was done.”

In 1500, Columbus wrote to a friend, “A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old) are now in demand.”

Such original “monumental feats” as were accomplished by our nation’s heroes and role models were somewhat primitive. Local inhabitants who resisted Columbus and his crew had their ears or nose cut off, were attacked by dogs, skewered with pikes and shot. Reprisals were so severe that many of the natives committed mass suicide and women began practicing abortions in order not to leave children enslaved. The population of Haiti at the time of Columbus’s arrival was between 1.5 million and 3 million. Sixty years later, every single native had been murdered.

Today, “perseverance and faith” allow us to accomplish much more and with far greater impunity. The US continues to liberate Iraq and Afghanistan with 2,000-pound bombs in civilian areas and purge Pakistan via drone attacks on weddings.

Neither case is of isolated whimsy. It was and remains policy.

In “A People’s History of the United States,” celebrated historian Howard Zinn describes how Arawak men and women emerged from their villages to greet their guests with food, water and gifts when Columbus landed at the Bahamas. But Columbus wanted something else. “Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise,” he wrote to the king and queen of Spain in 1503.

Rather than gold, however, Columbus only found slaves when he arrived on his second visit with seventeen ships and over 1,200 men. Ravaging various Caribbean islands, Columbus took natives as captives as he sailed. Of these he picked 500 of the best specimens and shipped them back to Spain. Two hundred of these died en route, while the survivors were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town where they landed.

Columbus needed more than mere slaves to sell, and Zinn’s account informs us, “… desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, (he) had to make good his promise to fill the ships with gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and his men imagined huge gold fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.

“The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs, and were killed.”

As a younger priest, the aforementioned De las Casas had participated in the conquest of Cuba and owned a plantation where natives worked as slaves before he found his conscience and gave it up. His first-person accounts reveal that the Spaniards “thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades. They forced their way into native settlements, slaughtering everyone they found there, including small children, old men, pregnant women, and even women who had just given birth. They hacked them to pieces, slicing open their bellies with their swords as though they were sheep herded into a pen. They even laid wagers on whether they could manage to slice a man in two at a stroke, or cut an individual’s head from his body, or disembowel him with a single blow of their axes. They grabbed suckling infants by the feet and, ripping them from their mothers’ breasts, dashed them headlong against the rocks. Others, laughing and joking all the while, threw them over their shoulders into a river, shouting: ‘Wriggle, you litle perisher.’ They slaughtered anyone on their path …”

Full Spectrum Dominance

In a letter to the Spanish court dated February 15, 1492, Columbus presented his version of full spectrum dominance: “to conquer the world, spread the Christian faith and regain the Holy Land and the Temple Mount.”

With this radical ideology, Las Casas records, “They spared no one, erecting especially wide gibbets on which they could string their victims up with their feet just off the ground and then burned them alive thirteen at a time, in honour of our Saviour and the twelve Apostles.”

About incorporating these accounts in his book, Zinn explained to Truthout, “My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears, that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present … but I do remember a statement I once read: The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.”

Author journalist Chris Hedges believes that glorification of (the atrocities of) Columbus is one of several myths that sustain the illusions that justify the imperial visions of the United States.

In conversation with Truthout, he said, “It’s really easy to build a holocaust museum that condemns Germans. It’s another issue to build a museum that confronts our own genocide, the genocide that was perpetrated by our own ancestors towards Native Americans or towards African-Americans. I am all for documenting and remembering the [World War II] Holocaust, but the disparity between the reality of the [World War II] Holocaust or the reality of the genocide as illustrated in the [World War II] Holocaust museum and the utter historical amnesia in the Native American museum in Washington is really frightening and shows a complete inability in a public arena for us to examine who we are and what we’ve done.”

Noam Chomsky holds a similar view. “We have [World War II] Holocaust museums all over the place about what the Germans did,” Chomsky told Truthout. “Do we have one about what we did? I mean about slavery, about the Native American population? It’s not that the people involved didn’t know about it. John Quincy Adams, a great grand strategist, who had a major role in these atrocities, in his later years when he reflected on them, referred to that hapless race of North Americans, which we are exterminating with such insidious cruelty. They knew exactly what they were doing. But it doesn’t matter. It’s us.”

Explaining how the mythology of a country becomes its historic reality, Chomsky stated, “If you are well-educated, you can internalize that and it. That’s part of what a good education is about, enabling people to live with those contradictions. And you see it very consistently. In the case of, say, the Iraq war, try to find somebody who had a principled objection. Actually you can, occasionally, but it’s suppressed.”

Historical revisionism and amnesia are critical for nation-building, opines Paul Woodward, the writer and author of the blog “War In Context“. He elaborates, “Every nation is subject to its own particular form of historical amnesia. Likewise, imperial powers have their own grandiose revisionist tendencies. Yet there is another form of historical denial particular to recently invented nations whose myth-making efforts are inextricably bound together with the process of the nation’s birth …

“Whereas older nations are by and large populated by people whose ancestral roots penetrated that land well before it took on the clear definition of a nation state, the majority of the people in an invented nation – such as the United States or Israel – have ancestry that inevitably leads elsewhere. This exposes the ephemeral link between the peoples’ history and the nation’s history. Add to that the fact that such nations came into being through grotesque acts of dispossession and it is clear that a psychological drive to hold aloft an atemporal exceptionalism becomes an existential necessity. National security requires that the past be erased.”

Robert Jensen is an author and teaches media law, ethics and politics at the University of Texas. In an essay where he justifies his decision to not celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday, he says, “Imagine that Germany won World War II and that a Nazi regime endured for some decades, eventually giving way to a more liberal state with a softer version of German-supremacist ideology. Imagine that a century later Germans celebrated a holiday offering a whitewashed version of German/Jewish history that ignored that holocaust and the deep anti-Semitism of the culture. Imagine that the holiday provided a welcomed time for families and friends to gather and enjoy food and conversation. Imagine that businesses, schools and government offices closed on this day. What would we say about such a holiday? Would we not question the distortions woven into such a celebration? Would we not demand a more accurate historical account? Would we not, in fact, denounce such a holiday as grotesque?”

Of course we would.

But our story is different, and once again this year, on October 12, we will once again “Hail Columbus.”

Bhaswati Sengupta contributed to this report.

Columbus or Native American Day?

October 13th, 2014 by Eric Walberg

The writing is on the wall for Columbus Day. In the latest move to rid the calendar of its day of infamy, in April, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. Many American Indians have long resisted the observance of a day to honor Christopher Columbus.

Since 1970, the holiday has been fixed to the second Monday in October, coincidentally the same day as Thanksgiving in Canada—another holiday of dubious origins from the native point of view. Most states celebrate Columbus Day as an official state holiday, though already many states are uncomfortable with the reality of Columbus, and mark it as a “Day of Observance” or “Recognition”.

Alaska and Oregon do not recognize Columbus Day at all. Hawaii calls it Discoverers’ Day, which commemorates the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii, though not as a legal holiday.

The first governor with the smarts to foresee the political astuteness of at least balancing the holiday scales was ironically California’s Ronald Reagan. He proposed adding a holiday in September called American Indian Day. Interestingly, Reagan played the ill-fated General Custer in the 1940 blockbuster Santa Fe Trail. Another Hollywood icon, Marlon Brando, gave the movement to reassess colonial chauvinism prominence with his 1973 refusal of the Oscar for Best Actor in The Godfather in protest to treatment of Native Americans in movies.

In 1989, South Dakota decided to change its name for the October holiday “Native American Day”, and keep it as a non-work day devoted to educating citizens about Native American heritage. The South Dakotans also declared 1990 as a “Year of Reconciliation”. Berkley California adopted the name Native American Day in 1992, California and Washington state joined them in 1998, and other municipalities have kept up the momentum over the past decade.

Despite the later dominance of Spain and Britain as the colonizing powers, Italians were the earliest explorers. Apart from Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci explored the east coast of South America, and his name was adapted to the entire hemisphere.

In 1792, New York City and other US cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of Columbus’s landing in the ‘New World’, and the flood of Italian immigrants led New York Italians to celebrate the day in a big way in 1866. Ironically, the first opposition to the day was by WASP Americans anxious to eradicate Columbus Day celebrations because of their association with these (Catholic) immigrants and their ‘Knights of Columbus’.

It did not occur to Americans fresh from decimating the indigenous peoples and stealing their land that celebrating their own good fortune was unseemly, so the day became a holiday in many states, and finally a federally recognized holiday in 1937. It was used by teachers, preachers, poets and politicians to teach ideals of patriotism, especially support for war, US citizenship, its ever-expanding national boundaries, and social progress.

Columbus’s navigational feats have traditionally been celebrated throughout the Americas. In Haiti and Santo Domingo (Hispaniola) December 5 is Discovery Day. In Brazil, Discovery Day (in April) commemorates the day when Pedro Alvares Cabral became the first European to land in Brazil in 1500.

The Dia de la Raza (“Day of the Race”), like Columbus Day on or near October 12, originally celebrated the Spanish ‘race’, both in the colonies and the motherland, though by 1918, Mexican philosopher Antonio Caso took it as an opportunity to praise the “Mexican mestizo race”. In 1928, the Dia de la Raza was declared an official national holiday in Mexico, and other Latin American countries followed suit.

Despite the notoriety of the Spanish conquerors, they were in fact less awful than the French and British. “Spain was constantly debating with itself: ‘Am I right, am I wrong? What is it I’m doing with these peoples?’” notes Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes in The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the New World (1992).

In 1552 Dominican Bishop Bartolomé de Las Casas published “A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies”. Bernal Díaz, a soldier in Cortés’ army wrote a history of the conquest of Mexico. “We came here to serve God, and also to get rich.” University of California (Berkeley) prof Woodrow Borah points out that, “The Spanish made a place for the Indians—as part of the lowest order, but at least they had a place”, whereas, “North Americans in many cases simply exterminated the Indians.”

Instead of Day of the Race, Argentina has a Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity. Spain renamed Race Day as National Day in 1987. In 1994, Costa Rica changed the official holiday from Dia de la Raza to Dia de las Culturas (Day of the Cultures) to recognize the mix of European, American, African and Asian cultures. Bahamas changed its Discovery Day to National Heroes Day in 2001.

Venezuela changed Race Day to Day of Indigenous Resistance in 2002. In 2004 activists toppled the statue of Christopher Columbus in Caracas and wrote: “Just like the statue of Saddam in Baghdad, that of Columbus the tyrant also fell this October 12 in Caracas.

The momentum to cancel Columbus Day went global in 1990, when 350 Native Americans met in Ecuador and launched the campaign. The American Indian Movement declared October 12, 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s landing, “International Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People”. The National Council of Churches called on Christians to refrain from celebrating the Columbus quincentennial, saying, “What represented newness of freedom, hope, and opportunity for some was the occasion for oppression, degradation and genocide for others.”

In a 2000 press release, the American Indian Movement called Columbus “the beginning of the American holocaust, ethnic cleansing characterized by murder, torture, raping, pillaging, robbery, slavery, kidnapping, and forced removals of Indian people from their homelands.”

In Canada, there was never a Columbus Day (it was too cold for him). The closest is Discovery Day in Newfoundland and Labrador in June, commemorating John Cabot’s ‘discovery’ of Newfoundland in 1497. National Aboriginal Day (June 21) was established in 1996 though not as a legal holiday, as part of the “Celebrate Canada” series, followed by St-Jean Baptiste Day on June 24, Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27, and concluding with Canada Day on July 1.

Nova Scotians have Treaty Day October 1, honoring the Treaty of 1752 and the date on which the Mi’kmaw people would receive gifts from the Crown to “renew their friendship and submissions.” But the only Canadians to honor native bloodlines with a statutory holiday are Manitobans, with Louis Riel Day in February (when other Canadians have Family Day) in honor of the Métis leader regarded as the Father of Manitoba.

However, we must ask ‘What’s in a name?’ There has been little sign of genuine reconciliation to date between conquerors and the conquered—with the possible exception of the South Dakotans, who have the third highest proportion of indigenous peoples and seven large reservations.

Reagan’s astute move in 1968 was more a precognition of the growing wave of political correctness and identity politics that became the hallmark of the post-communist New World Order which Reagan’s vice president, Bush Senior, was soon to declare.

In 2005, the UN recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Day to commemorates the Nazi killing of Jews, Roma and homosexuals on January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, by Soviet troops. It’s time to take the campaign to recognize the much worse genocide against Native Americans (not to mention the plight of African slaves) to the UN and follow it up with real measures to promote “reconciliation”. WWII is only the tip of the imperialist iceberg.

A version of this appeared at PressTV

I have come to the conclusion that the West is a vast lie machine for the secret agendas of vested interests. Consider, for example, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Transpacific Trade and Investment Partnership.

These so-called “partnerships” are in fact vehicles by which US corporations make themselves immune to the sovereign laws of foreign countries in which they do business. A sovereign country that attempts to enforce its laws against an American corporation can be sued by the corporation for “restraint of trade.” For example, if Monsanto wants to sell GMO seeds in France or US corporations wish to sell genetically-modified foods in France, and France enforces its laws against GMOs, the Transatlantic Trade Partnership allows France to be sued in jurisdictions outside the courts of France for “restraint of trade.” In other words, preventing the entry into France of a prohibited product constitutes restraint of trade.

This is the reason that the US has insisted that the Transatlantic and Transpacific Partnerships be totally secretive and negotiated outside the democratic process. Not even the US Congress has been permitted knowledge of the negotiations.

Obviously, the Europeans and Asians who are agreeing with the terms of these “partnerships” are the bought-and-paid-for agents of the US corporations. If the partnerships go through, the only law in Europe and Asia will be US law. The European and Asian government officials who agree to the hegemony of US corporations over the laws of their countries will be so handsomely paid that they could enter the realm of the One Percent.

It is interesting to compare the BBC’s coverage (October 10) with that of RT (October 11). The BBC reports that the aim of the Transatlantic Partnership is to remove “barriers to bilateral commerce” and to stimulate more trade and investment, economic growth and employment. The BBC does not report that the removal of barriers includes barriers against GMO products.

Everyone knows that the European Commission is corrupt. Who would be surprised if its members hope to be enriched by the American corporations? Little wonder the European Commission declared that concerns that the Transatlantic partnership would impact the sovereignty of countries is misplaced.  http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29572475

RT, which is restrained in reporting truth because it operates inside the US, still manages to come to the point in its headline: “No TTIP: Mass protests slam US-EU trade deal as ‘Corporate power grab’.”

All over Europe people are in the streets in mass rallies against secret agreements by their corrupt governments for Washington to take over their lives and businesses. RT reports that “social networks have been mobilized for a mass campaign that has been calling on Europeans and Americans to take action against ‘the biggest corporate power grab in a decade’.”

RT quotes a leader of the demonstration in Berlin who says the secret agreements “give corporations more rights they’ve ever had in history.” As we all know, corporations already have too many rights.

“Protests are planned in 22 countries across Europe–marches, rallies and other public events–in over 1,000 locations in UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Netherlands, Poland, The Czech Republic and Scandinavian countries.”

Did you hear about this latest American corporate power grab from Fox “News,” CNN, New York Times, London Times, ABC? Of course not. Did you hear about the massive protests against it? Of course not. You only hear what the interest groups permit you to hear.

RT reports that the main aim of the international protests is “to reclaim democracy” and to put an end to the secret deals that are destroying life for everyone but the American corporations, organizations now regarded worldwide as the epitome of evil.
http://rt.com/news/195144-europe-protests-stop-ttip/

These phony “trade agreements” are advocated as “free trade removal of tariffs,” but what they remove are the sovereignties of countries. America is already ruled by corporations. If these faux “trade agreements” go through, Europe and Asia will also be ruled by American corporations.

American politicians are fond of telling their audiences that the United States is the greatest country in the world.  Is there any evidence for this claim?

Well, yes.  When it comes to violence and preparations for violence, the United States is, indeed, No. 1.  In 2013, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the U.S. government accounted for 37 percent of world military expenditures, putting it far ahead of all other nations.  (The two closest competitors, China and Russia, accounted for 11 percent and 5 percent respectively.)  From 2004 to 2013, the United States was also the No. 1 weapons exporter in the world.  Moreover, given the U.S. government’s almost continuous series of wars and acts of military intervention since 1941, it seems likely that it surpasses all rivals when it comes to international violence.

This record is paralleled on the domestic front, where the United States has more guns and gun-related deaths than any other country.  A study released in late 2013 reported that the United States had 88 guns for every 100 people, and 40 gun-related deaths for every 400,000 people―the most of any of the 27 economically developed countries surveyed.  By contrast, in Britain there were 6 guns per 100 people and 1 gun-related death per 400,000 people.

Yet, in a great many other areas, the United States is not No. 1 at all.

Take education.  In late 2013, the Program for International Student Assessment released a report on how 15-year old students from 65 nations performed on its tests.  The report showed that U.S. students ranked 17th in reading and 21st in math.  An international survey a bit earlier that year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that the ranking was slightly worse for American adults.  In 2014, Pearson, a multinational educational services company, placed the United States 20th in the world in “educational attainment”―well behind Poland and the Slovak Republic.

American healthcare and health fare even worse.  In a 2014 study of healthcare (including infant mortality, healthy life expectancy, and mortality from preventable conditions) in 11 advanced industrial countries, the Commonwealth Fund concluded that the United States ranked last among them.  According to the World Health Organization, the U.S. healthcare system ranks 30th in the world.  Other studies reach somewhat different conclusions, but all are very unflattering to the United States, as are studies of American health.  The United States, for example, has one of the world’s worst cancer rates (the seventh highest), and life expectancy is declining compared to other nations.  An article in the Washington Post in late 2013 reported that the United States ranked 26th among nations in life expectancy, and that the average American lifespan had fallen a year behind the international average.

What about the environment?  Specialists at Yale University have developed a highly sophisticated Environmental Performance Index to examine the behavior of nations.  In the area of protection of human health from environmental harm, their 2014 index placed the United States 35th in health impacts, 36th in water and sanitation, and 38th in air quality.  In the other area studied―protection of ecosystems―the United States ranked 32nd in water resources, 49th in climate and energy, 86th in biodiversity and habitat, 96th in fisheries, 107th in forests, and 109th in agriculture.

These and other areas of interest are dealt with by the Social Progress Index, which was developed by Michael Porter, an eminent professor of business (and a Republican) at Harvard.  According to Porter and his team, in 2014 the United States ranked 23rd in access to information and communications, 24th in nutrition and basic medical care, 31st in personal safety, 34th in water and sanitation, 39th in access to basic knowledge, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, and 70th in health and wellness.

The widespread extent of poverty, especially among children, remains a disgrace in one of the world’s wealthiest nations.  A 2013 report by the United Nations Children’s Fund noted that, of the 35 economically advanced countries that had been studied, only Rumania had a higher percentage of children living in poverty than did the United States.

Of course, the United States is not locked into these dismal rankings and the sad situation they reveal about the health, education, and welfare of its citizens.  It could do much better if its vast wealth, resources, and technology were employed differently than they are at present.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of priorities.  When most U.S. government discretionary spending goes for war and preparations for war, it should come as no surprise that the United States emerges No. 1 among nations in its capacity for violence and falls far behind other nations in providing for the well-being of its people.

Americans might want to keep this in mind as their nation embarks upon yet another costly military crusade.

Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany.  His latest book is a satirical novel about university corporatization and rebellion, What’s Going On at UAardvark?

The Syrian Lie: What Happens When Liberals Go to War

October 13th, 2014 by 21st Century Wire

The facade of the new US-led campaign to ‘degrade and destroy’ ISIS/ISIL in Syria is quickly shaping-up as a bad joke.

For nearly three years now, 21WIRE has been reporting on how Washington and London, along with the GCC feudal kings, have been busy plotting, planning, funding and doing destabilization in Syria (view our Syria Archives here). Instead, what the public have is a steady stream of tired lies regarding the real US-UK-Turkey-GCC axis motivations in Syria.

If you truly want to know how ISIS came to infest Syria (or Iraq for that matter) just ask Hillary Clinton about her little project called, ‘Friends of Syria’ which ran from 2011-2013. Funny how she jumped ship from her Secretary of State position just months before the West nearly declared war against Damascus in September 2013. Under Hillary’s nurturing care, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra and ISIS – were somehow funded, manned, armed and encouraged to run wild through Syria because the Great and the Good thought they’d help to displace the regime of Syria’s maligned leaderBashar al-Assad.

Few in mainstream media or politics cared to listen – until now. Finally, they are beginning to catch up on the harsh reality of the global imperium’s latest Middle East Mongolian Barbecue.

Granted, both Right and Left will bomb away – no matter what the public think. But each wing of the Establishment has its own unique style of chaos. Sadly, they are still clinging to tired old 20th century political mythologies…

When Neoconservatives go to war, it’s “bomb now, ask questions later”. Fine, take it or leave it. It’s easy to follow, and does what it says on the can. But when liberals get the itch to bomb, things quickly get super-complicated with doublespeak and newspeak, because a liberal, or left-wing Administration in the US just can’t be perceived as drifting to the right (which Democrats have done). That ‘warmonger’ parking space in Washington is traditionally reserved for Republicans and the right-wing.

It’s the kind, gentler, ‘more thoughtful war’. Call it beating around the bush, or just being sneaky, but that’s what happens when Liberals Go to War.

To preserve the Right-Left polarity in the US, the US media normally go to unusual lengths to obscure any obvious geopolitical play, disguising it as a ‘humanitarian’ effort, as the Washington invokes the ‘Right to Protect’ (RTP) moral clause as political cover, which is nothing more thanManifest Destiny in drag. The reason for this is elementary: in America, a Democratic White House cannot risk awakening their Occupy or Code Pink street mobs as to the true nature of their warmongering. That’s why the left needs to twist it.

So, at great pains, President Obama, the man who claims to have slain Osama bin Laden, made an awkward ‘right turn’ by declaring the ISIS Campaign as a grandiose ‘anti-terror operation’ and not a liberal-style humanitarian intervention. “The only language killers like this understand, is the language of force”, said Obama at the UN. For his legal out, Obama could not go so far as to qualify it as a war. On top of all that, Washington is still sticking by their pledge to “arm and train the moderate rebels in Syria”, while most experts are now admitting there are no ‘moderate rebels’. They will also tell you that building a new desert army will not accomplish anything other than lead to emergence of a another new Islamic terror gang sprouting out of the West’s latest paramilitary death squad. No surprise then that the White House and its Sorority State State Department are now tripping over their shoe laces over their non-committal commitment to “stop ISIS in Syria”.

You know the levies of lies are breaking when traditionally left-leaning outlets like Counter Punch start publishing insightful and truthful pieces like this article (As ISIS Slaughters Kurds in Kobani, the U.S. Bombs Syrian Grain Silos) – a damning indictment of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain’s bloodbath in Syria. The political fragmentation in the US is serious – even Vice President Joe Biden is distancing himself from his colleagues’ ugly ISIS mess.

The short-sighted failure of Washington agents of change is now laid bare for the whole world to see…


YOU TALKING TO ME? Syrian President Bashar al-Assad being blanked by a failing US Coalition fighting ISIS (Photo: Skeptical Libertarian)

Concerns are growing that we are heading for another banking crisis, one that could be far worse than in 2008.  But this time, there will be no government bailouts. Instead, per the Dodd-Frank Act, bankrupt banks will be confiscating (or “bailing in”) their customers’ deposits.

That includes local government deposits. The fact that public funds are secured with collateral may not protect them, as explained earlier here. Derivative claims now get paid first in a bank bankruptcy; and derivative losses could be huge, wiping out the collateral for other claims.

In a September 24th article titled “5 U.S. Banks Each Have More Than 40 Trillion Dollars In Exposure To Derivatives, Michael Snyder warns:

Trading in derivatives is basically just a form of legalized gambling, and the “too big to fail” banks have transformed Wall Street into the largest casino in the history of the planet. When this derivatives bubble bursts (and as surely as I am writing this it will), the pain that it will cause the global economy will be greater than words can describe.

The too-big-to-fail banks have collectively grown 37% larger since 2008. Five banks now account for 42% of all US loans, and six banks control 67% of all banking assets.

Besides their reckless derivatives gambling, these monster-sized banks have earned our distrust by being caught in a litany of frauds. In an article in Forbes titled “Big Banks and Derivatives: Why Another Financial Crisis Is Inevitable,” Steve Denning lists rigging municipal bond interest rates, LIBOR price-fixing, foreclosure abuses, money laundering, tax evasion, and misleading clients with worthless securities.

Particularly harmful to local governments have been interest rate swaps misrepresented as protecting government agencies from higher rates.

Yet as Michael Snyder observes:

At this point our economic system is so completely dependent on these banks that there is no way that it can function without them. . . . We are steamrolling toward the greatest financial disaster in world history, and nobody is doing much of anything to stop it.

Sidestepping the Steamroller

California Governor Jerry Brown sees it coming. Rather than rebuilding the state’s crumbling infrastructure, rehiring teachers and other public employees, and taking other steps to restore the Golden State to its former prosperity, he has proposed a constitutional amendment requiring all excess state revenues to go into a rainy day fund to prepare for the next crisis.

But there is a better way forward.

In North Dakota – the only state to post a budget surplus every year since 2001 – the state owns its own bank. When the state last went over-budget in 2001 due to the Dot.com crisis, it merely issued itself an extra dividend through the Bank of North Dakota – the only state-owned depository bank in the country – and the next year it was back on track.

Other local governments would do well to follow suit, not just for the promising profit potential, but as protection against a “bail in” of public deposits.

Forming their own banks can also protect local governments from a looming and  unaffordable rise in municipal bond interest rates. State treasurers fear that the Fed’s September 2014 exclusion of municipal bonds from the category of “high quality liquid assets” that big banks must hold will drive up bond rates, as it shrinks the market for those bonds and drives up the interest required to attract buyers.

There is also the big money local governments lose to Wall Street just in fees. A 2013 study found that the city of Los Angeles spends over $200 million annually on big bank fees and management – more than its budget to maintain its extensive streets and highways.

In a recent press conference, Mayor Javier Gonzalez of Santa Fe raised provocative questions facing all elected officials today. He said:

Right now our bank is Wells Fargo.  They serve the City according to our contract.  But they also take city revenues, taxpayer dollars, and they use those taxpayer dollars as part of their loan portfolio that goes to places outside of Santa Fe and certainly outside of New Mexico.  And when you think of that most basic concept of taxpayer money being used to earn revenues for national banks that have reduced their small business lending by 53%, you have to pause and wonder – is this the best structure for our community?

Addressing these concerns, Mayor Gonzalez has launched a formal process to study the feasibility of a city-owned bank of Santa Fe. Public banking efforts are also underway in other cities and states.

How to Start a Bank Overnight

Forming a state or municipal public bank need not be slow or expensive. An online bank could be run out of the Treasurer’s office and operational in a few months. And the bank could be turning a profit immediately – without spending the local government’s own revenues.

How? The way Wall Street does it with our public deposits and investments: by leveraging. We could reclaim those funds and put them to work for our local economies.

The bank could be capitalized with a bond issue (borrowing from the public), and this capital could be leveraged into a loan portfolio that is about eight times the capital base. The bond issue could be financed with 1/8th of the interest accruing from this portfolio. The remaining 7/8th could be pocketed as profit.

This profit could be earned immediately and without risk, by buying municipal bonds rather than issuing loans. That move could also help municipalities, by guaranteeing that their bond rates remain low in the face of threatened interest rate rises on the private market.

How to Start a Bank at Virtually No Cost or Risk

To demonstrate the safety and viability of the model, the bank can start small and build from there. For startup capital, a new bank needs anywhere from a few million to $20 million nationwide. (The amount varies from state to state.) To be cautious and conservative, however, let’s say $40 million.

Many cities have this money available in “rainy day” or reserve funds. Many others have substantial investments, often underperforming, that could be more responsibly invested as an equity position in a bank. In California, for example, a whopping $55 billion is languishing in the Treasurer’s Pooled Money Investment Account, earning a mere 0.23% interest.

Moving a portion of those funds into the state’s own bank would just be good portfolio management. State pension funds are another investment option.

If surplus funds are not available, capital can be raised with a bond issue. (That is how the Bank of North Dakota got its start in 1919.) Assume the interest due on these bonds is 3%. The local government’s cost of funds will be $1.2 million annually.

At a 10% capital requirement, $40 million is sufficient to capitalize $400 million in loans. But again assume the bank is started conservatively at a 20% capitalization, for a loan portfolio of $200 million.

To make those loans, the bank will need deposits. These can be acquired without advertising or other costs, by moving $200 million out of the local government’s existing deposit account at JPMorgan Chase or another Wall Street bank. (In North Dakota, all of the state’s revenues are deposited by law in its state-owned bank.) Assume the new bank pays 0.3% interest on these deposits, or $0.6 million annually as its cost of funds.

To satisfy the 10% reserve requirement for deposits (something different from the capital requirement), $20 million of this deposit pool would be held in reserve. The remaining $180 million are counted as “excess reserves,” which can be used to make an equivalent sum in loans or bond purchases.

Assume the excess reserves are used to buy local municipal bonds paying 3% annually. The return to the bank will be $5.4 million less $0.6 million in interest on the deposits, for a total of  $4.8 million annually.

To recoup the cost of the bond issue, $1.2 million can be paid from these profits as a dividend to the local government. The bank will then have a net profit of $3.6 million annually; and this profit will have accrued to the local government as the bank’s owner, without needing to advance any money from its own budget.

What if the state needs its deposits for its budget?

That is the beauty of being a bank rather than a revolving fund: banks do not actually lend their deposits, as the Bank of England recently acknowledged. Rather, they createdeposits when they make loans. If the state or local government needs more cash for its operating expenses than the bank has kept in reserve, the bank can do what all banks do: it can borrow. And if it has grown to be a large bank, it can borrow quickly and cheaply – from other banks through the Fed funds market at 0.25%, or from the money market at 0.15%.

A smaller public bank might want to keep a larger cushion of deposits in reserve for liquidity purposes. If it keeps 30% in reserve, in the above example $140 million would be left to invest in bonds, generating $4.2 million annually in interest. Deducting $1.8 million as the cost of servicing deposits and capital, the bank would still generate $2.4 million in profit, while providing a safe place to park public revenues.

What of the bank’s operating costs? These can be kept quite low. The Bank of North Dakota operates without branches, tellers, ATMs, retail services, mega-salaries or mega-bonuses. All those saved costs fall to the bank’s bottom line.

Ballpark operating expenses for a small but growing public bank with a President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Lending Officer, Chief Credit Risk Management Officer, Compliance Officer, and the systems required to support a banking function are estimated at under $1 million per year. A start-up focused on municipal bonds could be operated for even less. This expense could come out of the initial $40 million in capitalization, again without impairing the local government’s own operating budget.

Manifesting the Bank’s Full Potential

Once a charter has been obtained and sound banking practices have been demonstrated, the capital ratio can be dropped toward 10%. When the bank has built up a sufficient capital cushion, it can begin to work with community banks and other financial institutions for the broad range of commercial lending that creates jobs and prosperity and generates profits as non-tax revenue for the municipality, following the Bank of North Dakota model.

The public bank can also invest in infrastructure loans to the state or local government itself. Interest now composes about half of capital outlays for public projects. Since the local government will own the bank, it will get this interest back, cutting infrastructure costs in half.

These are just a few of the possibilities for a publicly-owned bank, which can provide security from risk while generating a far greater return on the local government’s money than it is getting now on its Wall Street deposit accounts. As we peer into the jaws of another economic meltdown, moving our public funds into our own banks is an investment we can hardly afford not to make.

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

The Globalization of War

October 13th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The world is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The U.S. and its NATO allies have embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. This “war without borders” is intimately related to a worldwide process of economic restructuring, which has been conducive to the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The U.S. weapons producers are the recipients of  U.S. Department of Defense multibillion dollar procurement contracts for advanced weapons systems. In turn, “The Battle for Oil” in the Middle East and Central Asia directly serves the interests of the Anglo-American oil giants. The U.S. and its allies are “Beating the Drums of War” at the height of a worldwide economic depression.

The military deployment of US-NATO forces coupled with “non-conventional warfare” –including covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”– is occurring simultaneously in several regions of the world. 

Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. War has been provided with a humanitarian mandate under NATO’s “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P). The victims of U.S. led wars are presented as the perpetrators of war.  Civilians in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq are responsible for their own deaths.

Meanwhile,  the Commander in Chief of the largest military force on planet earth is presented as a global peace-maker. The granting of the Nobel “peace prize” in 2009 to President Barack Obama has become an integral part of the Pentagon’s propaganda machine. It provides a human face to the invaders, it demonizes those who oppose US military intervention.

The Nobel Committee says that President Obama has given the world  “hope for a better future”.   The prize is awarded for Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

…His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population. 1 (The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009: Barack H. Obama, Press Release, October 9, 2009)

Realities are turned upside down. “War is Peace”  said  George Orwell.  The media in chorus upholds war as a humanitarian endeavor. “Wars make us safer and richer” says the Washington Post.

The Big Lie becomes The Truth. In turn, upholding The Truth –through careful documentation and investigative analysis of the horrors of U.S. led wars– is casually categorized as “conspiracy theory”.

While Washington wages a “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), those who forcefully oppose America’s wars of aggression are branded as terrorists.  War becomes peace, a worthwhile “humanitarian undertaking”.  Peaceful dissent becomes heresy.

With unfolding events in Ukraine and the Middle East, humanity is at a dangerous crossroads.  At no time since the Cuban Missile Crisis has the World been closer to the unthinkable: a World War III scenario, a global military conflict involving the use of nuclear weapons.

The killing machine is deployed at a global level, within the framework of the unified combat command structure. It is routinely upheld by the institutions of government, the corporate media and the mandarins and intellectuals of The New World Order in Washington’s think tanks and strategic studies research institutes, as an unquestioned instrument of peace and global prosperity.

A culture of killing and violence has become imbedded in human consciousness.

War is broadly accepted as part of a societal process: The Homeland needs to be “defended” and protected.

“Legitimized violence” and extrajudicial killings directed against “terrorists” are upheld in western democracies, as necessary instruments of national security.

A “humanitarian war” is upheld by the so-called international community. It is not condemned as a criminal act. Its main architects are rewarded for their contribution to world peace.

Nuclear weapons are heralded by the US government as instruments of peace. The pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons is categorized as an act of “self-defense” which contributes to an illusive concept of “global security”. (see Chapter II).

The so-called “missile defense shield” or “Star Wars” initiative involving the first strike use of nuclear weapons has been developed globally in different regions of the world. The missile shield is largely directed against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Meanwhile, in the context of unfolding events in Syria and Ukraine, there has been a breakdown of international diplomacy. Whereas a Neo-Nazi regime directly supported by the West has been installed in Kiev, the Russian Federation is now threatened by US-NATO with military action on its Western frontier. (See Chapter IX).

New Cold War?

While this renewed East-West confrontation has mistakenly been labelled a “New Cold War”, none of the safeguards of The Cold War era prevail. Russia has been excluded from the Group of Eight (G-8), which has reverted to the G-7 (Group of Seven Nations). Diplomacy has collapsed. There is no Cold War East-West dialogue between competing superpowers geared towards avoiding military confrontation. In turn, the United Nations Security Council has become a de facto mouthpiece of the U.S. State Department.

Moreover, nuclear weapons are no longer considered a “weapon of last resort” under The Cold War doctrine of “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD).  Nuclear weapons are heralded by the Pentagon as “harmless to the surrounding civilian population because the explosion is underground”. In 2002, the U.S. Senate gave the green light for the use of nuclear weapons in the conventional war theater.  Nukes are part of the “military toolbox” to be used alongside conventional weapons.

The “Communist threat” of The Cold War era has been replaced by the worldwide threat of “Islamic terrorism”. Whereas Russia and China have become capitalist “free market” economies, a first strike pre-emptive nuclear attack is nonetheless contemplated.

China and Russia are no longer considered to be “a threat to capitalism”.  Quite the opposite. What is at stake is economic and financial rivalry between competing capitalist powers. The China-Russia alliance under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) constitutes a “competing capitalist block” which undermines U.S. economic hegemony.

In Asia, the U.S. has contributed under its “Pivot to Asia” to encouraging its Asia-Pacific allies including Japan, Australia, South Korea, The Philippines and Vietnam to threaten and isolate China as part of a process of “military encirclement” of China, which gained impetus in the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, war propaganda has become increasingly pervasive. War is upheld as a peace-making operation.

When war becomes peace, the world is turned upside down. Conceptualization is no longer possible. An inquisitorial social system emerges. (See Chapter X). The consensus is to wage war. People can longer think for themselves. They accept the authority and wisdom of the established social order.

An understanding of fundamental social and political events is replaced by a World of sheer fantasy, where “evil folks” are lurking. The objective of the “Global War on Terrorism” narrative –which has been fully endorsed by the US administration– has been to galvanize public support for a worldwide campaign against heresy.

Global Warfare

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

The concept of the “Long War” has characterized US military doctrine since the end of World War II. Worldwide militarization is part of a global economic agenda.

Militarization at the global level is instrumented through the U.S. military’s Unified Command structure: the entire planet is divided up into geographic Combatant Commands under the control of the Pentagon. U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska plays a central role in coordinating military operations.

While surrounding and confronting Russia and China, new U.S. military bases have been set up with a view to establishing U.S. spheres of influence in every region of the World.  There has been a reinforcement of the six geographic commands including the creation in 2008 of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).

As heralded by the Pentagon, AFRICOM becomes a “full-spectrum combatant command” responsible for what are described as “defense” and U.S. “national  security” operations “through focused, sustained engagement with partners in support of our shared security objectives”. AFRICOM’s area of jurisdiction extends to the entire “African continent, its island nations, and surrounding waters”. 2 US Africa Command, “What We Do”,

This US militarization of Africa supports the concurrent economic conquest of the continent, the pillage of its natural resources, the acquisition of its extensive oil and gas reserves, etc.

AFRICOM is an instrument of a U.S. led neocolonial project in alliance with the United Kingdom which consists in expanding the Anglo-American sphere of influence specifically in Central Africa, Francophone West Africa and North Africa largely at the expense of France.

While the US has military bases and/or facilities in more than 150 countries, with 160,000 active-duty personnel, the construction of new military bases is envisaged in Latin America including Colombia on the immediate border of Venezuela.

Military aid to Israel has increased. The Obama presidency has expressed its unbending support for Israel and the Israeli military, which is slated to play a key role in US-NATO led wars in the Middle East. The unspoken agenda is outright elimination of Palestine and the instatement  of “Greater Israel”.

Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of War. America’s Long War against Humanity, excerpt from forthcoming book, Global Research Publishers, 2014.  Expected date of publication November-December 2014.

Barbarie, lo llaman…

October 13th, 2014 by Fondation Frantz Fanon

Las decapitaciones filmadas de rehenes occidentales en Iraq y de un guía turístico francés en Argelia suscitan legítimamente un sentimiento de horror y una condena unánime y sin paliativos. Estos demenciales asesinatos no pueden ser sino obra de criminales perversos al servicio de una ideología pervertida. Estas macabras puestas en escena llegan después de imágenes igual de insoportables que muestran ejecuciones masivas de hombres desarmados. Sin embargo, unos medios e intermediarios políticos en Occidente manipulan fríamente la emoción que provoca este teatro de la crueldad. El calificativo que se repite sin cesar de “barbarie”, perpetrada por “bárbaros”, responde a la voluntad de deshumanizar a los autores de estas atrocidades. Fuera de los límites de la Civilización, ya no les compete el derecho común ni están sometidos a las leyes ordinarias. Conforme a sus costumbres establecidas y a sus experimentadas tradiciones, para la propaganda blanca se trata de denunciar la barbarie irreductible del “otro”, presentado como una totalidad indistinta para, más allá de los criminales, someter o exterminar mejor a toda una sociedad. O, como en los casos de Iraq y Siria, destruir los Estados.

Los órganos de propaganda representan estos asesinatos mediáticos como actos irracionales de una alteridad radical, casi no humana. Pero, mucho más que eso, desde las escalas de Levante a las de Barbería estas atrocidades serían inherentes a una esfera étnico-religiosa, el Islam, que a pesar de los matices lingüísticos, sigue siendo intrínsecamente peligroso, casi incomprensible y opuesto sistemáticamente a un Occidente cuyos valores humanos, por esencia y definición, son definitivamente superiores a todos los demás.

En una descarada aunque claramente asumida amalgama, los policías del pensamiento conminan a desolidarizarse públicamente de estos crímenes a los musulmanes de aquí y de allá, sospechosos de connivencia “cultural” con los asesinos. Se les conmina a aprobar la nueva guerra de Occidente en Oriente Próximo y los bombardeos “vengadores” decididos por la Civilización.

Estos argumentos de una propaganda esencialista cuyo objetivo es criminalizar a unas comunidades en su totalidad son odiosos y totalmente necios. Esta propaganda de estigmatización y de culpabilización es tanto más inaceptable cuanto que estos periodistas-fiscales estarían particularmente bien situados, si hicieran bien su trabajo, para mencionar en su condición de especialistas la sistemática brutalidad y unos excesos de un inaudito alcance sanguinario de aquellos cuyas armas se vuelven desde hace décadas contra las poblaciones árabo-musulmanas.

Estos periodistas que repiten sin cesar la palabra “barbarie”, ¿qué han escrito sobre los cientos de miles de personas civiles muertas en Iraq a consecuencia del fósforo blanco y de las municiones de uranio empobrecido utilizados contra poblaciones civiles? ¿Quién de estos dechados de Civilización ha mencionado la suerte de estas decenas de niños con malformaciones genéticas en Faluya y en otros lugares a consecuencia del uso de armas inteligentes?

¿Se oyeron los gritos de indignación de esta prensa en posición de firmes cuando la muy civilizada Madeleine Albright, ex secretaria de Estado estadounidense, justificaba la muerte de medio millón de niños iraquíes? ¿Quién de esta prensa o de estas cadenas de televisión se sublevó ante el hecho de que en este país de los derechos humanos criminales cuando menos igual de sádicos que los del Estado Islámico pudieran morir en su lecho gracias a las amnistías y a la amnesia del Estado?

Pero no es en absoluto necesario remontarse a las guerras coloniales en nombre de la “Ilustración” de la generación anterior para reconocer la misma brutalidad contemporánea, igual de indecente, que se envuelve en los valores de la Democracia y los Derechos Humanos. Así, Barack Obama, premio Nobel de la paz, puede emprender siete guerras desde que recibió esta distinción que ha perdido definitivamente cualquier significación moral. ¿Quién de estos medios menciona las decena de miles de víctimas inocentes en todo el mundo de los ataques de los drones? ¿No es “barbarie” la muerte de quinientos niños y niñas de Gaza bajo los misiles guiados y las bombas “inteligentes”? Del mismo modo, los bombardeos de escuelas administradas por la ONU serían como mucho daños colaterales de ataques quirúrgicos. Es cierto que sin imágenes y sepultados bajo la mistificación y el silencio cómplice de los periodistas a caballo entre la información y el entretenimiento no existen las decenas de miles de muertos de las guerras asimétricas. Simples estadísticas, los cadáveres destrozados de las personas pobres e indefensas no suscitan emoción alguna.

Por consiguiente, no hay ninguna necesidad de hacer investigaciones minuciosas para descubrir que la realidad de la “barbarie” es muy diferente de lo que quiere hacer creer esta prensa en uniforme de combate. Tampoco se intentará establecer aquí la genealogía política del Islam fanático fabricado por las monarquías del Golfo y armado por Occidente. ¿Quién se acuerda de los misiles franceses Milan, de las armas inglesas y estadounidenses generosamente suministradas a los “muyaidines” afganos, ayer luchadores por la libertad y hoy talibanes extremistas?

Las puestas en escena de asesinatos abyectos en unas circunstancias horribles por psicópatas apolíticos no pueden, en ningún caso, servir de pretexto para manipulaciones cargadas de ocio. El discurso de la barbarie proferido por los intermediarios de la propaganda, destinado a designar a falsos enemigos internos, tiene por objetivo hacer callar a aquellos musulmanes en Europa que denuncian las aventuras guerreras en Oriente Próximo. Tiene por objetivo hacer olvidar los crímenes cometidos por los aliados de Occidente y también, jugando con el miedo, arrojar a unas minorías visibles “de aspecto musulmán” a una opinión pública machacada mediáticamente a la que desde hace años se trata de condicionar. Estas gesticulaciones en torno a una denominada barbarie musulmana no logran ocultar la sangrante verdad de un Occidente colonialista ayer e imperialista hoy, que asume sin discontinuidad desde el siglo XIX sus guerras eminentemente civilizadas y muy sanguinarias en el mundo musulmán. Los criminales del Estado Islámico han asistido a una buena escuela.

En el experimentado dispositivo de preparación psicológica la barbarie del otro es la justificación última de la guerra. Ahora bien, las “guerras” eternas contra el terrorismo que se emprendieron hace décadas, lejos de haber contenido el fenómeno, lo han generalizado y hecho más complejo. Por consiguiente, a la luz de la experiencia apenas cabe la duda de que el rechazo de los enfoques políticos y la fascinación por la guerra manifestados por los dirigentes occidentales no producirá sino un aumento de la subversión, además de una peligrosa regresión del derecho internacional.

Los primeros y los peores bárbaros están entre nosotros.

Fundación Frantz Fanon, 27 de septiembre de 2014

Fuente: http://fondation-frantzfanon.com/article2250.html

Traducido del francés para Rebelión por Beatriz Morales Bastos.

Prof Michel Chossudovsky will be speaking in Manila, Philippines on the Globalization of War, focussing on the Pivot to Asia. He will be speaking at the University of the Philippines (UP Diliman), Quezon City,  under the auspices of The Center for People Empowerment and Governance on Oct 14. 1-4.30pm (Scroll down for details).

On Wed October 15 he will be speaking in a public forum organized by the Development Studies Program of the University of the Philippines, UP Manila, 2-4pm and at a Media Forum at the National Press Club organized by ILPS (October 15, 6-8pm)

On October 16, 4-7pm, Michel Chossudovsky will be addressing a public forum at the University of Makati

The world is at a dangerous crossroads.  The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.

Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The US military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

The “Communist threat” of The Cold War era has been replaced by the worldwide threat of “Islamic terrorism”. Whereas Russia and China have become capitalist “free market” economies, a first strike pre-emptive nuclear attack is nonetheless contemplated.

China and Russia are no longer considered to be “a threat to capitalism”.  Quite the opposite. What is at stake is economic and financial rivalry between competing capitalist powers. The China-Russia alliance under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) constitutes a “competing capitalist block” which undermines U.S. economic hegemony.

In Asia, the U.S. has contributed under its “Pivot to Asia” to encouraging its Asia-Pacific allies including Japan, Australia, South Korea, The Philippines and Vietnam to threaten and isolate China as part of a process of “military encirclement” of China, which gained impetus in the late 1990s.

Meanwhile, war propaganda has become increasingly pervasive. War is upheld as a peace-making operation.

When war becomes peace, the world is turned upside down. Conceptualization is no longer possible. An inquisitorial social system emerges. (See Chapter X). The consensus is to wage war. People can longer think for themselves. They accept the authority and wisdom of the established social order.

(Michel Chossudovsky, America’s Long War against Humanity, excerpt from forthcoming book, Global Research, 2014)

 

Here are highlights from a one-hour-and-thirty-seven-minute video documenting the ethnic cleansing or attempted genocide against the residents in southeast Ukraine, the Ukrainian area that had voted overwhelmingly for the man whom Obama overthrew on February 22nd. If the voters in that region were to stay in the then-existing territory of Ukraine, no nationwide Ukrainian vote (such as for Ukraine’s President) would favor the pro-U.S, anti-Russian, Government, that Obama had installed in February of this year.

Even if new leaders would be elected, the government would then go back to being predominantly pro-Russian, as it had been under Yanukovych. That’s why Obama wanted the residents there slaughtered until enough escaped to Russia so as to eliminate enough of them from the voter-rolls in Ukraine so as to enable Obama’s Ukrainian coup d’etat to succeed (i.e., be stable) on a long-term basis. So, that’s what was tried; and one chooses for carrying out such a purpose racist fascists — or nazis — whose particular hatred is focussed against ethnic Russians: against the people who lived in the pro-Yanukovych region of Ukraine, Ukraine’s southeast.

The full video is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ozdz7fMdXI

Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.28.36 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.30.00 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.30.42 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.31.07 PM

Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.31.43 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.32.26 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.33.23 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.34.50 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.37.43 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.38.14 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.38.38 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.39.15 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.39.51 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.40.58 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.41.28 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.42.06 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 1.48.57 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 2.30.01 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 2.31.08 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 2.36.39 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 2.37.33 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 2.40.24 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 2.42.40 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 2.43.08 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.12.36 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.17.46 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.19.57 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.23.08 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.30.32 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.31.33 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.34.54 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.35.21 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.40.16 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.42.02 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.45.26 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.51.49 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 3.56.56 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.03.27 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.04.55 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.07.33 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.26.06 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.26.37 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.52.18 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.58.05 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 4.59.57 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 5.11.19 PMScreen shot 2014-09-28 at 5.20.48 PM

This is how Obama spreads ‘democracy’ by coup d’etat against the democratically elected leader of a country and by extermination of the people who live in the region that had overwhelmingly voted for that leader. But it didn’t work.

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.

Uzbekistan’s Bubbling Pot of Destabilization

October 12th, 2014 by Andrew Korybko

Something’s cooking in Uzbekistan, and it’s not just plovThe country’s political stability is on the line, as a power struggle is underway for control in a post-Karimov reality that is soon approaching. Karimov himself has been increasingly sidelined as of late, even being pressured to allow his own daughter, once thought to be his hand-picked successor, to go under house arrest. The rival security agencies, specifically the National Security Service, are now the ones holding the initiative, and the Karimov family will likely be a political irrelevancy after the President’s passing. Aside from the successionist intrigue, the whispers of Karakalpakstan independence (likely Western-influenced) and the reemergence of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) bode negatively for the country’s internal stability. Thus, the bubbling pot of destabilization is set to overflow any time now, and the intended disastrous consequences are expected to reach as far away as Moscow and Beijing.

The Central Asian Core

Uzbekistan is geostrategic for a few reasons, not least of all for the fact that it abuts all four other Central Asian republics and Afghanistan. Additionally, Uzbekistan has the largest population andmilitary of all the former Soviet republics in Central Asia. This means that not only do events there have the strong possibility of affecting all of its neighbors, but conversely, regional events can play a large role in its own domestic affairs. Looking even deeper into this, one sees that most of the fertile and densely populated Fergana Valley, the heart of Central Asia, is located within Uzbek territory, further underlining the central placement of Uzbekistan in regional developments.

In an out of regional context, Uzbekistan retains major importance for Russia, China, and the West. Pertaining to Moscow, it sees Tashkent as a regional holdout to its Eurasian Union integrationalist plans, as well as a defectorfrom the CSTO. Uzbekistan is also in aheated rivalry with CSTO-member Tajikistan, in which Russia could possibly be involved if the conflict goes hot. On the other hand,China has only positive relations with Uzbekistan, since the critical China-Central Asia Natural GasPipeline traverses the entire territory of this SCO member. As for the West, although the US had its military kicked out of the country in 2005 after criticizing the Andijan Events and the EU imposed sanctions around that time, bilateral relations appear to be on the mend. The US and NATO have considered selling Uzbekistan their used Afghan equipment, and the EU reversed its previous arms embargo.

Thus, what one is left with is that Uzbekistan is antagonistic to Russia and its integrationalist vision, friendly with China in terms of energy and political dealings, and potentially becoming a bastion of Western influence (or strategic destabilization) after the NATO drawdown later this year. Unquestionably, the country is the core of all three actors’ Central Asian policies and exceedingly more relevant to each of them as time goes by.

Power Pivoting in Tashkent

Going back to Uzbekistan’s oncoming destabilization, the country is presently experiencing the climax of a long-running power struggle between the National Security Service and the Interior Ministrybefore next year’s presidential election. Seeing as how Gulnara Karimova has been removed from political life (possibly by Rustam Inoyatov from the National Security Service, whom she accuses), now may be the time for Inoyatov to make his power play. At the same time, however, Stratfor feels that whoever succeeds Karimov, be it through an election or a coup, must be a potent enough to manage relations between Uzbekistan’s disparate and conniving clans. Their January 2014 analysis states that the Tashkent Clan, of which Inoyatov is a part of, is on the upswing, having just mitigated the Samarkand-heavy Interior Ministry through a recent reshuffling. However, the National Security Service underwent a purge of its own in July, raising questions over how much power they truly hold. Furthermore, a Carnegie Center report from July believes that Karimov will bestow the final say over whoever replaces him, making the leadership transition even more confusing for observers.

What is obviously happening is that multisided power plays are under way in Tashkent, with various factions and clans vying for power. It is unclear who Karimov would prefer to succeed him, but the fact that his daughter was implicated in a corruption scandal and currently under house arrest, points to the fact that he doesn’t wield as much power as once thought. Either that, or he is under the influence of Inoyatov, which in both cases goes to show that Karimov’s power is rapidly fading even while he nominally remains president. The clan factor, too, cannot be discounted, and ‘dark horses’ may emerge to steal the spotlight or team up against Inoyatov in the future. All in all, Uzbekistan’s secessionist question is messy and convoluted, and there is no certainty over who will replace Karimov if he dies, steps down, refuses to run in the upcoming election, or is overthrown, or even which of these scenarios will transpire in the near future. Under such uncertain circumstances, the specter of Color Revolution may even once again rear its head.

Karakalpak Rumblings There has been muted talk lately of the beginnings of a Karakalpak secessionist movement in Uzbekistan’s western autonomous republic. Hushed Twitter talk and mysterious fliers have started promoting this idea in the distant and sparsely populated western chunk of the country, although it has been in the works for about for a few years already. It must be noted that sizeable natural gas reserves are located here (especially under the former Aral Sea bed), although the nearby Bukhara and Xorazm Provinces have 70% of all resources. However, Karakapakstan is situated on Gazprom’s Central Asia-Center gas pipeline, meaning that it occupies strategic real estate in influencing Russia’s downstream shipments.

Whether or not the population’s grievances are legitimate, what is important to consider is how this cause can be co-opted (if it isn’t completely created) by Western intelligence organizations to destabilize the region and maintain a source of pressure on the central government. An upsetting of the provincial dynamic into low- or large-scale rebellion and (to the degree that it is possible) insurgency could immediately spill over into Kazakhstan’s energy-rich western provinces or into Turkmenistan, both of which are underpopulated and whose borders the central government may have difficulties monitoring and controlling. If outside-sponsored destabilization cannot be successful in the populated Fergana Valley in the east, it may have a chance of succeeding in the polar opposite environment, the underpopulated Karakalpak deserts of the west.

The IMU Returns

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a terrorist organization that has been actively fighting for an extreme Islamic state in Central Asia since the 1990s. It was almost completely wiped out by the US in the beginning of its Afghan Campaign, only to flee into Pakistan and reconstitute itself with foreign fighters. By this manner, it is a precursor to ISIL, in that it is fighting for a radical Islamic state in its home region by means of foreign jihadis. The group resurfaced in July when it carried out the deadly Karachi airport terrorist attack and demonstrated its grandiose terror plans and their effectiveness in practice. It declared its allegiance to ISIL earlier this month, thus raising the prospect that it may return to Central Asia after the NATO drawdown this year.

Seeing as how it now gains its inspiration from its newfound partners in the Mideast, it may even chose to emulate their hybrid fighting style, implementing both conventional and unconventional methods in waging war. Should they use their alliance with the Pakistani Taliban to team up with their Afghan counterparts, this could see a Central Asian terrorist army sweeping into Turkmenistan (the ‘sitting duck’ of the region) and then flanking Uzbekistan from its exposed and scarcely protected western desert regions. The worst scenario would be if this occurs in the midst of an all-out successionist crisis in Tashkent, where the central government is near-paralyzed in responding to this threat and the terrorist hordes overrun large swaths of territory and capture key settlements.

The Shatter Effect

Through the fulfillment of any of these three primary destabilization scenarios or a combination thereof, the entire Central Asian region would experience a shatter effect that could bring about its total collapse. On the ground level, one of the first repercussions that may be massive refugee flows northwards into Kazakhstan. The parts of the Kazakh border in proximity to Uzbekistan are poorly guarded, thus meaning that the authorities may not be able to adequately and immediately react to a sudden and unexpected surge there. Since Kazakhstan is in the Eurasian Union, the freedom of movement within this zone could allow the refugees (or terrorists posing as such) to enter into Russia, thus expanding the problem even further. CSTO have to carefully look over the situation in the Central Asia.

The breakdown in governance could then lead to Uzbekistan becoming a rapidly failing state, and hence, a perfect incubator for hyper terrorism on par with portions of the present Mideast. The terrorists could then target the vulnerable Chinese and Russian pipelines crisscrossing Uzbekistan, inflicting considerable economic (and consequently, social) damage to parts of those countries. Aside from attracting terrorist-prone elements such as misguided Chechens and revolutionary Uighurs, this terrorist cauldron could then spew its contents outwards to its neighbors or further afield to Russia and China. Should they cross into Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, or Tajikistan, this would activate the CSTO’s mutual defense obligations and necessitate a Russian military response. Even prior to that, the SCO may attempt a type of intervention into Uzbekistan to prevent it from descending into complete disarray. No matter which way one looks, the chaotic potential energy circling around Uzbekistan could unleash itself in the near future and drag the entire area down with it.

Concluding Thoughts

Uzbekistan is on the threshold of major changes, both inside and outside of the country. The successionist struggle is being fought largely behind the scenes for now, but ever more often, elements of this battle in Central Asia’s core state are coming to the surface. It is not known exactly which way the wind will blow in Tashkent, but what is for certain is that the process is wrapped in mystery and fraught with risk on all sides. While power plays are being made in the capital, in the distant energy-rich and geostrategic province of Karakalpakstan, mild secessionism is being stoked by unknown forces. Making matters worse, the IMU is back and its Taliban associates are more invigorated than ever, sparking fears of an ISIL-like blitzkrieg into Central Asia after this year. Although the situation facing Uzbekistan, its neighbors, and even Russia and China by extension, is horrendous, for the US’ grand strategic planners, this provides them with the opportunity to apply the combined lessons of Syria and Ukraine to yet another vulnerable theater and test the Reverse Brzezinski theorem of American hegemonic prolongation.

Andrew Korybko is the American political correspondent of Voice of Russia who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Originally published in July, 2014:

Analysis of clinical samples from suspected Lassa fever cases in Sierra Leone showed that about two-thirds of the patients had been exposed to other emerging diseases, and nearly nine percent tested positive for Ebola virus.

The findings, published in this month’s edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases, demonstrates that Ebola virus has been circulating in the region since at least 2006—well before the current outbreak.

First author Randal J. Schoepp, Ph.D., recently returned from Liberia and Sierra Leone, where he spent six weeks helping to set up an Ebola testing laboratory and training local personnel to run diagnostic tests on suspected Ebola hemorrhagic fever clinical samples. He is part of a team from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) that has been providing assistance to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa since March.

Three other USAMRIID personnel also have been involved in this ongoing effort: Wes Carter, who traveled with Schoepp to Liberia; Aileen O’Hearn, Ph.D., who recently returned from providing laboratory support to Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) in Sierra Leone; and Matthew Voorhees, who is currently onsite at KGH.

USAMRIID has been working in the region since 2006, when it began a collaborative project to develop and refine diagnostic tests for the Lassa fever virus endemic to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. As those assays have matured, the scientists have begun to optimize additional tests for a number of emerging diseases.

Because the team was working on disease identification and diagnostics, and had pre-positioned assays in the region, said Schoepp, “We had people on hand who were already evaluating samples and volunteered to start testing right away when the current Ebola outbreak started.”

According to the publication’s authors, between 500 and 700 samples are submitted each year to the KGH Lassa Diagnostic Laboratory in Sierra Leone. Generally, only 30 to 40 percent of the samples test positive for Lassa fever, so the aim of this study was to determine which other viruses had been causing serious illnesses in the region.

Using assays developed at USAMRIID that detect the presence of IgM, an early protein produced by the body to ward off infection, the research team found evidence of dengue fever, West Nile, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever, chikungunya, Ebola, and Marburg viruses in the samples collected between 2006 and 2008.

In addition, of the samples that tested positive for Ebola, the vast majority reacted to the Zaire strain, which was unexpected, according to the authors.

“Prior to the current outbreak, only one case of Ebola had ever been officially reported in this region, and it was from the Ivory Coast strain,” said Schoepp. “We were surprised to see that Zaire—or a variant of Zaire—was causing infection in West Africa several years ago.”

The laboratory testing site in Kenema is supported by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center-Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System. In collaboration with the host country, the site enables collection of samples that can be used in research toward new medical countermeasures, and allows USAMRIID to evaluate the performance of previously developed laboratory tests using samples collected on-site. The Institute hopes to eventually obtain viral isolates for medical countermeasure development and receive data on the performance of the diagnostic assays.

In addition to providing laboratory testing and training support for the current outbreak, USAMRIID has provided more than 10,000 Ebola assays to support laboratory capabilities in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Institute also supplied personal protective equipment to Metabiota Inc., a non-government organization (NGO) involved in the testing.

Other contributors to the work include the Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office-Critical Reagents Program, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Cooperative Biological Engagement Program, and the DTRA Joint Science and Technology Office.

COL Erin P. Edgar, commander of USAMRIID, called the project “a great example of medical diplomacy at work.”

“This collaboration allows USAMRIID to bring our expertise to bear in responding to an international health crisis,” he said. “In addition, it enables us to test the medical diagnostics that we develop in a real-world setting where these diseases naturally occur.”

Read the study at Emerging Infectious Diseases : Undiagnosed acute viral febrile illnesses, Sierra Leone.

Source: US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, adapted.

The US Military and the Ebola Outbreak

October 12th, 2014 by Robert Wenzel

Note: Originally published in August, some aspects raised have been covered in previous articles.

I continue to suspect that the Ebola outbreak in western Africa be the result of U.S. military biowarfare research gone awry.

As I previously reported:

The epicentre of the current Ebola epidemic is the Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone. BeforeItIsNews claims the hospital houses a US a biosecurity level 2 bioweapons research lab. That claim is unconfirmed, however, this we do know.

Analysis of clinical samples from suspected Lassa fever cases in Sierra Leone showed that about two-thirds of the patients had been exposed to other emerging diseases, and nearly nine percent tested positive for Ebola virus. The findings, published in this month’s edition of Emerging Infectious Diseases, demonstrates that Ebola virus has been circulating in the region since at least 2006—well before the current outbreak,reports Global BioDefense.

According to GBD, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases has been operating in the area since 2006, supposedly working on “diagnostic tests.”
Author Randal J. Schoepp, PH. D. reports that because the USAMRIID team just happened to be working on disease identification and diagnostics in the area, they had pre-positioned assays in the region to address the ebola outbreak:

We had people on hand who were already evaluating samples and volunteered to start testing right away when the current Ebola outbreak started.

The laboratory testing site in Kenema is supported by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center-Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System. Other contributors to the work include the Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office-Critical Reagents Program, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Cooperative Biological Engagement Program, and the DTRA Joint Science and Technology Office.

Metabiota Inc., a non-government organization (NGO) is also involved in the testing. It lists among its partners, the Department of State, Biological Engagement Program and the Department of Defense, Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Advisors to the NGO include Admiral Gary Roughead, former US Chief of Naval Operations.

In an August 1 story, the Army Times informed:

Filoviruses like Ebola have been of interest to the Pentagon since the late 1970s, mainly because Ebola and its fellow viruses have high mortality rates — in the current outbreak, roughly 60 percent to 72 percent of those who have contracted the disease have died — and its stable nature in aerosol make it attractive as a potential biological weapon.

Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have sought to develop a vaccine or treatment for the disease.

Last year, USAMRIID scientists used a treatment, MB-003, on primates infected with Ebola after they became symptomatic; the treatment fully protected the animals when given one hour after exposure.

Two-thirds of infected primates were protected when treated 48 hours after exposure, according to a report published last August in Science Translational Medicine.

As I reported earlier, MB-003 appears to be part of the “secret serum” treatment being administered to the two Americans that are now in the U.S. and who contracted Ebola.

Friday in a television interview on Defense News with Vago Muradian, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson said, ”One of the things I don’t think many people realize is what a huge valuable asset the military health system is to this nation.”

“Not only are we a key enabler so that service members, men and women who … go in harm’s way will be taken care of, but we are a public health system, an education system, a research and development system,”

“The recent development with infectious disease issues in Africa — they are turning to the U.S. military to provide expertise.”

The Defense Department earlier this week issued a statement, which said:

A small group of military and civilian personnel assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, or USAMRIID, is in Liberia as part of a larger U.S. interagency response to the world’s worst outbreak of the Ebola virus which continues to spread in West Africa, a Defense Department spokesman said today.

Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters that personnel assigned to USAMRIID have established diagnostic laboratories in Liberia and Sierra Leone, two of three countries where the outbreak has been spreading in recent months.

“We also evaluate and develop diagnostic instruments and technologies for use in forward field medical laboratories and with the Joint Biological Agent Identification and Detection System, called JBAIDS, the diagnostics platform used across the DoD,” the statement added.

It’s really not a big jump to suspect that the military has also been doing research on Ebola as a bioweapon. As the Army Times notes about Ebola, “its stable nature in aerosol make it attractive as a potential biological weapon.” What better place, via the eyes of the U.S. military, to be messing around with such research than Africa? The thinking might go: If there is a misstep with the virus, research blowbacks don’t happen around US civilian populations.

It appears that some locals in eastern eastern Sierra Leone may  have just such suspicions.

Specifically, they appear to be very suspicious of the “help” US personnel want to provide Ebola victims. Some of this suspicion may be the result of a failure by the locals to appreciate the techniques of modern medicine, but some may also be the result of whispers and rumors from locals who may have been low level workers close to US military research before the outbreak blew up.

Mainstream US media is now claiming that rumors about the early lab work at the Kenema hospital, where US military research may have been going on, were being spread by a “mentally ill former nurse.”

According to Bloomberg, the nurse is now in custody. Bloomberg also said that the nurse charged that health workers were using Ebola as a ruse to kill people and collect body parts. Whatever the nurse was really saying, the locals are certainly not happy with the research and the hospital.

Residents of Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone threw stones at the hospital and a police station, reports Bloomberg.

There is no smoking gun here, but one can certainly draw dots around the facts that suggest the U.S. military was the bad actor in this Ebola breakout.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Dividends of Death: Doing Well in Defence Stocks

October 12th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

War does what it needs to. It kills. It disrupts.  It ruins and maims. And it earns a good dividend for shareholders who think their continued wealthy existence depends on the profit of the war industry.  While the official definition of a state of war is becoming ever more opaque before legal watering downs such as “armed conflict”, the money being earned is getting clearer than ever. If you are in the death business and its various offshoots, you are doing spectacularly well with the noisy trading and the even noisier consequences.

Such behaviour goes to show that a fall in military spending does not necessarily equate to a fall in the business of arming.  2012 was the first year since 1998 that global military spending actually fell, but that did not stop the 100 largest arms producers and contractors recording $395 billion in sales.  The dip was explained by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute as a lull occasioned by the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Those figures have certainly changed with the broadening of conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank, was getting so tumescent at the latest figures, his talk started streaming with suggestive, meaty metaphors. “As we rap up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise.”[1]

Ablin’s response is the fetishist’s hope that his product is bound to go further than it can.  Forget the human element, and embrace the machine-like logic of destruction.  “To the extent that we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment – that could present and opportunity.”  Humans, after all, just get in the way.

The log book of slaughterhouse inventiveness has thrilled the arms suppliers globally, but also traditional suppliers in countries who tend to get rather moral when it comes to violence in other theatres.  The most sanctimonious of all, the United States, is doing rather well for itself, thank you.  The dark voice of the trading scene and death dealer Lockheed was rolling in it.  It remains the world’s biggest defence company, and its existence is based on the most obvious point: it keeps having customers.  On September 19, the price of its shares reached totals of $180.74.  Huffing their way along the trail of dividends and death were good companions Raytheon Co. and General Dynamics Corp.

Others also profit on presumption and fear. Troop movements of an enemy state, or at least one not exactly in your good books, need monitoring.  Machinery sales connected with that are doing well – keeping an eye on those naughty Russians is bound to keep some pockets heavy with purchase, the delectable spin-offs.

Previous attempts have been made in the fast disappearing mists of history that made the war profiteer the ultimate criminal, an uncomfortable mix of snake oil merchant and rapacious seducer.  Governments would be wooed into purchasing weapons for some future date of mass lethality, and the only one to really gain from it would be the arms seller. Contingency here is everything – but the point is that anyone who has such weapons is bound to, as Anton Chekhov so effectively reminds us, use it. Why load a gun if it isn’t going to go off?

For all its fixations on finding links and conscious efforts as to what lured the United States into the First World War, the angry deliberations of the Committee of Senator Gerald Nye remain important.  The focus of the seven-member munitions Committee, chaired by the North Dakota Senator, was ostensibly to examine the roles played by various groups that purportedly manoeuvred the Wilson administration into declaring war on the Germany in April 1917.  While much of this was imputed motive, Nye was very much on the money when it came to the profiteers.

As Nye termed it on October 3, 1934, war was a form of “incorporated murder” and had taken the lives of 53,000 Americans.  On other occasions, he deemed it “insane”, a cruel commercial racket inflicted upon people and country.  They were the busy, and profiting, Merchants of Death.  The term itself came into vogue after World War I, when conservatives such as H. C. Engelbrecht and F. C. Hanighen used it in their 1934 classic with great effect. Far from it being a screed of the left with enervating pacifist elements, it was a sober suggestion that the arms industry was a disease of broad proportions, the carcinogenic consequence of militarism and nationalism.  “The arms industry did not create the war system.  On the contrary, the war system created the arms industry.”

Modern forms of the defence contracting industry see instances of corruption, and manipulation of government contracts.  As Samuel Perlo-Freeman of the SIPRI Programme on Military Expenditure and Arms Production explains, “The arms industry has always been associated with corruption both in international arms transfers and sometimes in domestic procurement.”[2] Arms dealers are the desperadoes of dubious deals.

While no form of righteousness is ever pleasant, the Nye Committee at least understood who its targets were.  If you are going to get on a pulpit and blast the enemy, make sure you use scorn and morality over weapons and profit – they are not merely kinky targets of the moralists, but logical subjects of opprobrium.  As Nye was attempting to show, by the investigation’s end, “we shall see that war and preparation for war is not a matter of national honour and national defence, but a matter of profit for the few.”

Arms dealers, whatever fabulous public relations outfit comes to the rescue, are in the business of killing.  They do not facilitate daily living in all its ordinariness, but the taking of life.  Those who invest in them are in the business of investing in war, which should not be seen as some anthropological release for antsy upstarts. Good for the personal dividend; very bad for the durability and peace of human life.

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

Notes

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported yesterday that the Agricultural Bank of China is starting operations in Russia.  

This is a big deal, because this bank is huge, the eighth largest in the world.

It’s a sign of how quickly China will be able to fill the financing vacuum left by sanction, and an example of European companies losing markets to Chinese competitors.

It is also a sign that China is seriously interested in investing in Russia’s enormous unrealized agriculture potential.  China, a net food importer, has been scooping up agricultural deals around the world, competing for scarce crop lands.

Expect to see increased Chinese investment in Russian agriculture.

The U.S. is conducting a curious humanitarian war against ISIS in Syria. While Kobani, the largely Kurdish district that straddles the border with Turkey is being attacked by ISIS forces and facing the very real possibility of mass civilian killings if it falls, U.S. military spokespersons claimed that they are watching the situation in Kobani and have conducted occasional bombing missions but that they are concentrating their anti-ISIS efforts in other parts of Syria. Those other efforts appear to consist of bombing empty buildings, schools, small oil pumping facilities, an occasional vehicle and grain silos where food is stored to feed the Syrian people. Turkey also seems to be watching as the Kurds of Kobani fight to the death against ISIS.

The humanitarian concerns of officials in the U.S. with the plight of Kurds in Kobani could not be more different than what occurred in Iraq when ISIS forces made a push into Kurdish territory. When the Kurdish city of Erbil was under attack by ISIS, U.S. forces unleashed the full power of its air force in tactical coordination with Kurdish forces to push ISIS back.

So what is the difference in the two situations?

The difference and the reason why the Kurds of Kobani are to be sacrificed stems from the fact that they are the wrong kind of Kurds. Masoud Barzani and the bourgeois Kurds of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) are the “good Kurds” and the predominant force among the Kurds of Iraq. Their control of almost 45% of Iraqi oil reserves and the booming business that they have been involved in with U.S. oil companies and Israel since their “liberation” with the U.S. invasion makes them a valued asset for the U.S. The same goes for Turkey where despite the historic oppression of Kurds in Turkey, the government does a robust business with the Kurds of Iraq.

The situation is completely different in the Kurdish self-governing zones in Syria. In Kobani, it is the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G., that is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K), a Turkey-based Kurdish independence organization that both the U.S. and Turkey have labeled a “terrorist” organization, that provides the main forces resisting the ISIS attack. Also, the ISIS attack in Kurdish territory neatly converges with the strategic interests of Turkey. Both the U.S. and Turkey saw the control of territory by militant Kurds as a threat. Turkey in particular wanted to undermine the self-governing process among Kurds, Christians and Sunni Arabs in those self-governing zones and turn the territory into a battlefield in order to steal Syrian territory and isolate and attack the “bad” Kurds of the PKK.

Turkey pushed and apparently secured an agreement from the U.S. that it will not oppose it taking parts of Syrian territory. To consolidate that land grab Turkey also wants to establish a “buffer zone” along the Syrian-Turkey border. This is why U.S. government spokespersons have been floating the idea of a no-fly zone in Northeastern Syria in the U.S. state/corporate media. The zone is being framed as necessary to protect civilians from attacks by the Syrian forces – the humanitarian hustle again.

Yet for the “bad” Kurds of Syria like the “bad” Palestinians of Hamas and Gaza, there will be no humanitarian intervention.

To placate the Turkish government in exchange for its increased cooperation in what is being set-up as a final push on Damascus, the people of Kobani will be delivered to ISIS.

The transparency of Turkey’s plan and the collaboration of the U.S. in the planned massacre of YPG combatants at Kobani could be easily exposed in the U.S. if the news readers in the corporate press were actually able to “see” the world more critically and allowed to question the state sanctioned narratives without running the risk of ending their “careers.” For example, the obvious question regarding a no-fly zone in Northeastern Syria is why is it necessary when the only civilians being attacked in Northeastern Syria are Kurds and they are being attacked by ISIS forces that don’t have an air force, at least not yet.

But those questions are not being asked very often because they don’t comport with the official narrative that the U.S. is compelled to act once again to save the world against an intractable enemy that can only be defeated by U.S. military might. All of this is part of the imperialist hustle that even large segments of the “left” in the U.S. has fallen for.

However, the non-bombing of ISIS at Kobani and the theatrics of bombing fixed, empty buildings confirm what should be obvious based on the history of U.S. interventions – that the real objective of U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria is the reintroduction of direct U.S. military power in the region in order to secure continue control over the oil and natural gas resources of the region, undermine Iran, block the Russian Federation, and break-up cooperative economic and trade agreements between counties in Central Asia and China. In other words, the objective is to secure U.S. and Western colonial/capitalist hegemony. The U.S. and its allies just needed a pretext to get back in without alienating large sectors of their domestic populations. ISIS give them what the sarin gas attacks could not – mass acceptance in the West for another war, however limited it is being sold in its first phase.

The militarists in the U.S. political establishment never wanted to abandon their plans for a permanent military presence in Iraq, even in the face of the fact that it was costing the nation an enormous price in blood, treasure and domestic legitimacy to remain. They concluded that the road back to Bagdad and on to Tehran went through Syria. A position that despite reports to the contrary, Obama signed on to early in his administration. All Obama wanted was some plausible deniability during the first phase of the plan to destabilize Syria.

The current situation in Kobani is part of the cynical farce that is the fight against ISIS. Turkey has no interest in preventing Kobani from falling to ISIS when it suits its strategic interests to deny the Kurds any semblance of self-determination. And the U.S. is not interested in altering the balance of forces on the ground in Syria by seriously degrading ISIS militarily and undermining its primary short-term strategic objective of regime change in Syria.

With the creation of ISIS, the neocons and liberal interventionists now have their war and a sizeable portion of the U.S. public is in support, at least at this point . But that support will change as soon as it becomes clear that the political elite has plunged the U.S. back into another quagmire. The real shame and expression of the white supremacist colonial/capitalist global contradiction is that until that awareness takes hold among the people at the center of the empire and the people there move to alter U.S. war policies, thousands more will die in Kobani and throughout Syria, Iraq and the world.

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence” (Counterpunch Books, 2014). He can be reached at [email protected] and www.AjamuBaraka.com

On Monday, America’s government offices, businesses, and banks all grind to a halt in order to commemorate Columbus Day. In schools up and down the country, little children are taught that a heroic Italian explorer discovered America, and various events and parades are held to celebrate the occasion.

It has now become common knowledge amongst academics that Christopher Columbus clearly did not discover America, not least because is it impossible to discover a people and a continent that was already there and thriving with culture. One can only wonder how Columbus could have discovered America when people were watching him from America’s shores?

Contrary to popular belief, African American history did not start with slavery in the New World. An overwhelming body of new evidence is emerging which proves that Africans had frequently sailed across the Atlantic to the Americas, thousands of years before Columbus and indeed before Christ. The great ancient civilizations of Egypt and West Africa traveled to the Americas, contributing immensely to early American civilization by importing the art of pyramid building, political systems and religious practices as well as mathematics, writing and a sophisticated calendar.

The strongest evidence of African presence in America before Columbus comes from the pen of Columbus himself. In 1920, a renowned American historian and linguist, Leo Weiner of Harvard University, in his book, Africa and the discovery of America, explained how Columbus noted in his journal that Native Americans had confirmed that “black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears.”

One of the first documented instances of Africans sailing and settling in the Americas were black Egyptians led by King Ramses III, during the 19th dynasty in 1292 BC. In fact, in 445 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs’ great seafaring and navigational skills. Further concrete evidence, noted by Dr. Imhotep and largely ignored by Euro-centric archaeologists, includes “Egyptian artifacts found across North America from the Algonquin writings on the East Coast to the artifacts and Egyptian place names in the Grand Canyon.”

In 1311 AD, another major wave of African exploration to the New World was led by King Abubakari II, the ruler of the fourteenth century Mali Empire, which was larger than the Holy Roman Empire. The king sent out 200 ships of men, and 200 ships of trade material, crops, animals, cloth and crucially African knowledge of astronomy, religion and the arts.

African explorers crossing the vast Atlantic waters in primitive boats may seem unlikely, or perhaps, far fetched to some. Such incredible nautical achievements are not as daunting as they seem, given that
numerous successful modern attempts have illustrated that without an oar, rudder or sail ancient African boats, including the “dug-out,” would certainly have been able to cross the vast ocean in a matter of weeks.

As time allows us to drift further and further away from the “European age of exploration” and we move beyond an age of racial intellectual prejudice, historians are beginning to recognize that Africans were skilled navigators long before Europeans, contrary to popular belief.

Of course, some Western historians continue to refute this fact because, consciously or unconsciously, they are still hanging on to the 19th-century notion that seafaring was a European monopoly.

After all, history will tell you that seafaring is the quintessential European achievement, the single endeavor of which Europeans are awfully proud. Seafaring allowed Europe to conquer the world. The notion that black Africans braved the roaring waters of the Atlantic Ocean and beat Europeans to the New World threatens a historically white sense of ownership over the seas.

When most people think about ancient Mexico, the first civilizations that come to mind are the Incas, Aztecs and the Maya. However, during the early 1940′s archeologists uncovered a civilization known as the Olmecs of 1200 BC, which pre-dated any other advanced civilization in the Americas.

The Olmec civilization, which was of African origin and dominated by Africans, was the first significant civilization in Mesoamerica and the Mother Culture of Mexico.

Olmecs are perhaps best known for the carved colossal heads found in Central Mexico, that exhibit an unmistakably African Negroid appearance. Ancient African historian Professor Van Sertima has illustrated how Olmecs were the first Mesoamerican civilization to use a written language, sophisticated astronomy, arts and mathematics and they built the first cities in Mexico, all of which greatly influenced the Mayans and subsequent civilizations in the Americas. “There is not the slightest doubt that all later civilizations in [Mexico and Central America], rest ultimately on an Olmec base,” once remarked Michael Coe, a leading historian on Mexico.

Africans clearly played an intricate role in the Olmec Empire’s rise and that African influence peaked during the same period that ancient Black Egyptian culture ascended in Africa.

A clear indicator of pre-Columbus African trans-Atlantic travel is the recent archeological findings of narcotics native to America in Ancient Egyptian mummies, which have astounded contemporary historians. German toxicologist, Svetla Balabanova, reported findings of cocaine and nicotine in ancient Egyptian mummies. These substances are known to only be derived from American plants. South American cocaine from Erythroxylon coca and nicotine from Nicotiana tabacum. Such compounds could only have been introduced to Ancient Egyptian culture through trade with Americans.

Similarities across early American and African religions also indicate significant cross-cultural contact. The Mayans, Aztecs and Incas all worshipped black gods and the surviving portraits of the black deities are revealing. For instance, ancient portraits of the Quetzalcoatl, a messiah serpent god, and Ek-ahua, the god of war, are unquestionably Negro with dark skin and wooly hair. Why would native Americans venerate images so unmistakably African if they had never seen them before? Numerous wall paintings in caves in Juxtlahuaca depict the famous ancient Egyptian “opening of the mouth” and cross libation rituals. All these religious similarities are too large and occur far too often to be mere coincidences.

Professor Everett Borders notes another very important indication of African presence, which is the nature of early American pyramids. Pyramid construction is highly specialized. Ancient Egypt progressed from the original stepped pyramid of Djosser, to the more sophisticated finished product at Giza. However, at La Venta in Mexico, the Olmecs made a fully finished pyramid, with no signs of progressive learning. Olmecian and Egyptian pyramids were both placed on the same north-south axis and had strikingly similar construction methods. Tellingly, all of these pyramids also served the same dual purpose, tomb and temple.

Ancient trans-Atlantic similarities in botany, religion and pyramid building constitute but a fraction of the signs of African influence in ancient America. Other indicators include, astronomy, art, writing systems, flora and fauna.

Historically, the African people have been exceptional explorers and purveyors of culture across the world. Throughout all of these travels, African explorers have not had a history of starting devastating wars on the people they met. The greatest threat towards Africa having a glorious future is her people’s ignorance of Africa’s glorious past.

Pre-Columbus civilization in the Americas had its foundation built by Africans and developed by the ingenuity of Native Americans. Sadly, America, in post-Columbus times, was founded on the genocide of the indigenous Americans, built on the backs of African slaves and continues to run on the exploitation of workers at home and abroad.

Clearly, Africans helped civilize America well before Europeans “discovered” America, and well before Europeans claim to have civilized Africa. The growing body of evidence is now becoming simply too loud to ignore. It’s about time education policy makers reexamine their school curriculums to adjust for America’s long pre-Columbus history.

Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on [email protected]

There was a sense of shock and disbelief when news was released about the death of Thomas Eric Duncan on Oct. 8 at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The Liberian-born 42-year-old was the first reported case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which emerged in the U.S. and resulted in death.

Reports during the week of Oct. 6 mentioned that Duncan’s medical condition was worsening and that he was “fighting for his life.” The patient was being treated at the same hospital where he was turned away on Sept. 25 after appearing to report symptoms associated with EVD and telling personnel that he had recently traveled from Liberia, located in the epicenter of the current outbreak.

The death of Duncan raises serious questions about the quality of care he was given in Dallas. Why was Duncan not transferred to the facilities at Emory University Hospital or the University of Nebraska Medical Center Bio-containment Unit where other patients had been treated successfully?

Racism and Class Bias Charged

Duncan’s nephew released a statement on Oct. 9 suggesting that there was racial bias in the way in which his relative was treated by the hospital and the entire infectious disease establishment in the U.S. Was this case in Dallas evaluated and addressed as a national issue beyond the press conferences delivered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

Josephus Weeks said of his uncle’s plight that “Eric Duncan was treated unfairly. Eric walked into the hospital while the other patients were carried in after an 18 hour flight. It is suspicious to us that all the white patients survived and this one black patient passed away. It took 8 days to get him medicine. He didn’t begin treatment in Africa, he began treatment here, but he wasn’t given a chance.”

Weeks was making reference to the so-called alternative drug produced by a Canadian pharmaceutical firm which could be effective against combatting EVD. The Director of the CDC Dr. Thomas Frieden said that the ZMapp drug was no longer available.

Frieden’s press conference on Oct. 6 indicated a hands-off approach to the overall treatment of Duncan. He said that it was up to the hospital physicians and family members to make decisions about his healthcare.

Obviously this first case of EVD diagnosed in the U.S. was not treated as a medical situation requiring national and international attention where the most qualified physicians in the country were mobilized to address Duncan’s condition. What type of preparedness did the Dallas facility have in approaching this case?

Cable News Network (CNN) wrote in an article on Oct. 9 asking the questions “What if they had taken him right away? And what if they had been able to get treatment to him earlier?” quoting Pastor George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.

In attempts to contradict the claims of Duncan’s family, the hospital officials asserted that Duncan had received the best of care and that they did consult with specialists at Emory University and the CDC. They noted that it was not clear whether ZMapp and other drugs are really effective in treating the disease.

Other questions were raised over the reported lack of health insurance coverage of Duncan. Did this have an impact on the sense of importance and urgency exercised by the Dallas hospital, the CDC and the Barack Obama administration?

Civil Rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson has surfaced as the spokesman for the family of Duncan saying the deceased man’s health insurance status could very well have been a factor in the medical response. “I would tend to think that those who do not have insurance, those who do not have Medicaid, do not have the same priorities as those who do,” Jackson said. (CNN, Oct. 9)

Nonetheless, the officials at the medical facility denied this allegations stressing that Duncan was treated on the same level as everyone “regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care,” Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said in a statement.

EVD Outbreak Exposes Lack of Preparedness in the U.S. and Internationally

On Oct. 9 several hundred workers at LaGuardia airport who are responsible for cleaning cabins belonging to Delta Airlines set up a picket line demanding greater precautions related to the potential threat of EVD as well as overall exposure to unsafe and unsanitary conditions on the job. The workers were reported to be seeking recognition through the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which organizes largely low-wage workers across the U.S.

These workers are employed by Air Serv which is owned by ABM Industries, Inc. They complained about the work load and the lack of training related to exposure to infectious diseases.

Despite statements made by Delta Airlines that they have provided training related to medical safety, Star Online reported that “The striking Air Serv workers said they have not had adequate training to protect themselves and are not provided with durable gloves or face masks to use when cleaning with strong chemicals. They said in a statement their employer has halved the size of cleanup crews and reduced the time allotted to clean an entire plane to as little as five minutes instead of up to 45 minutes.” (Oct. 9)

Earlier in the week the National Nurses United (NNU), the largest labor union representing healthcare workers in the U.S., said that there were no official medical protocols for dealing with the Ebola outbreak. Consequently, this lack of readiness can potentially endanger healthcare professionals, patients and the general public.

The Australian newspaper reported on Oct. 9 that “National Nurses United, representing about 185,000 nurses nationwide, has been surveying its union members and found that many don’t feel nurses are getting enough training to properly handle Ebola, union spokesman Charles Idelson said. Many nurses said they didn’t know whether their hospital had protective gear, he said. ‘It’s not enough to post a link to the Centers for Disease Control on the hospital’s website,’ he added.” (Australian.com.au)

In Spain 44-year-old Nurse Teresa Romero is reported to be the first person outside of Africa to have contracted EVD from a patient. She was one of the people who provided care for a priest that was evacuated from West Africa after being infected and later died in Madrid.

The medical status of Romero deteriorated on Oct. 9 with very few details on her condition being released. Spanish residents are outraged that the nurse came down with the illness in Madrid and some have demanded the resignation of the Health Minister Ana Mato.

Reuters published an article noting that “In Madrid, health workers at a major hospital protested about inadequate training to deal with the virus while unions have demanded the resignation of Health Minister Ana Mato. A union official said training for staff to deal with expected Ebola cases was inadequate.” (Oct. 9)

“In some places they are carrying out drills, in others not, there is a lack of co-ordination,” Rosa Cuadrado a union official told Reuters. “News of the contraction of the Ebola virus in the country has deeply shaken Spaniards’ faith in their government and the health system, which has suffered deep spending cuts as part of austerity measures over the past years.”

Spain has been one of the hardest hit European nations in the overall world economic crisis. Unemployment is over 25 percent and massive cuts in public services have been instituted in order to pay debt service to the international financial institutions.

In both Liberia and Sierra Leone, healthcare workers and grave diggers have engaged in strikes demanding better safety precautions and a living wage. Liberian government officials signed an agreement with the nurses last month and in Sierra Leone similar protests have occurred.

Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost physicians and nurses working on the frontlines in the battle against EVD. At an International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meeting in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 9, presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Karoma of Sierra Leone and Alpha Conde of Guinea plead with the western states to provide additional assistance in the combatting the disease.

Speaking via video conferencing to the meeting, Karoma said that “Sierra Leone needed more than 5,000 medical workers, including 750 doctors and 3,000 nurses. The two treatment centers Sierra Leone had now were not enough and it needed 1,500 more beds just for Ebola patients. The four laboratories in the country were able to handle only 100 diagnostic samples a day, he said, and five more were urgently needed.” (Financial Times, Oct. 9)

Source of World Power Must Change

Even in the U.S. where the corporate media and the federal government promotes the false notion of an economic recovery, large-scale austerity measures have impacted public institutions including healthcare services that are becoming further privatized through the so-called Affordable Healthcare Act (better known as Obamacare). Inside the country there is no guaranteed national health insurance program and consequently millions remain without any coverage or inadequate safeguards.

Therefore the system of prioritizing healthcare and human needs must take priority over profits for privatized hospitals, insurance plans and pharmaceutical firms. Western states through the IMF-World Bank and other financial institutions have imposed structural adjustment programs on African states and similar policy designs are being carried out against cities, suburbs and state governments in the U.S.

With these economic programs guiding the policy imperatives of the dominant capitalist and imperialist states around the world, there can be no real fundamental shift in the quality of healthcare and social services in both the developing and developed countries. Only a radical transformation of political power in favor of the majority working class, nationally oppressed and poor can create the conditions for effectively attacking EVD and other infectious diseases throughout the planet.

Coincidence … Or Something More?

On June 22-23, 2001 – some 3 months before 9/11, and 4 months before the Anthrax attacks – the U.S. military held a senior-level war game at Andrews Air Force Base called Dark Winter.

The scenario of this bio-terrorism drill was designed to simulate a smallpox attack in three states. Numerous congressmen, former CIA director James Woolsey, New York Times reporter Judith Miller (who pushed the Iraq WMD myth, as well as the false link between Iraq and the Anthrax attacks), and anti-terror official Jerome Hauer all participated in the exercise.

As a part of this war game, scripted TV news clips were made to help make this drill as realistic as possible.

At the end of one of these clips, the reporter says:

Iraq might have provided the technology behind the attacks to terrorist groups based in Afghanistan.

Why is this interesting?

Because U.S. officials intentionally linked Iraq to Al Qaeda and 9/11 to justify the Iraq war, even though they knew there was no such connection. (The claim that Iraq is linked to 9/11 has since been debunked by the 9/11 Commission, top government officials, and even – long after they alleged such a link – Bush and Cheney themselves.)

Indeed, Dark Winter participant Woolsey – the former CIA director – swore in court testimony that Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11.

Similarly, the government tried to falsely blame the anthrax attacks on Iraq as a justification for war:

When Congress was originally asked to pass the Patriot Act in late 2001, the anthrax attacks which occurred only weeks earlier were falsely blamed on spooky Arabs as a way to scare Congress members into approving the bill. Specifically:

And see this.

Dark Winter participants Judith Miller – the New York Times reporter who had long hyped bioterror threats through books and articles – and CIA head Woolsey were two of the loudest voices blaming the Anthrax attacks on Iraq.

Woolsey was an outspoken proponent of war against Iraq even before 9/11.

Moreover, the parallels between the Dark Winter exercise and the Anthrax attacks are numerous.  For example, in the Dark Winter exercise:

  • Anonymous letters are sent to the media
  • Anonymous letters threatened anthrax attacks on the United States
  • Iraq and Bin Laden are top suspects

Remember, neoconservatives planned regime change in Iraq  (and the U.S. had already carried out regime change in Iraq in the early 1960s).

It has been extensively documented that the White House decided to invade Iraq before 9/11:

Here are the other 5 of the scripted news clips from Dark Winter:

Ebola is inflicting its devastating psychic toll on countries, even though its devastating impact remains essentially confined to various West African countries.  Brutal and lethal as it is, there is a sense that Ebola has become a celebrity virus, enraging and exciting those who so happen to wind their way back from a country suffering from an outbreak.  Four thousand deaths, tragic as it is, doesn’t quite push the pandemic button. The blogging estate, some media outlets, and those manoeuvring through the Twatosphere, suggest otherwise, fearing infiltration.

Spain has certainly been very much in the Ebola news cycle.  It became the first non-African country to see a genuine spread of Ebola.  While African countries have been subjected to something of a smear campaign be it in terms of resources, and assistance, states are all going for the clamp down, restricting flights, running strict medical tests and controls.  But the Spanish tale to the virus took one dramatic, even idiosyncratic twist.

The flashpoint here was the nurse, Teresa Ramos of Madrid’s Hospital Carlos III, who caught the virus after leaving a room where the missionary Manuel García Viejo was being treated.  (Viejo, along with his colleague in robes, Brother Miguel Pajares also died from Ebola.)  A sense of fury and nerves crept through the administrative establishment – the pandemic was lurking, and here, finding its form in a nurse who had not been aware of contracting the virus.  There were “slip-ups” in the response, and a good deal of tardiness in what became something of a panoramic bungle.

But perhaps the strangest feature of the latest round of Ebola mania came in the response to the fate of Ramos’ pet canine.  The Daily Mail could barely resist waxing on the script, sounding like a Roman poet about to take his life by imperial decree: “Final day of freedom: Excalibur, the dog of the Spanish nurse, barks from her balcony in Madrid, on Wednesday.”[1]  After the quarantining of both Ramos and her husband, Javier Limon, authorities deliberated over what to do with the animal.  It did not take long: Excalibur would have to die.

Then came the flurry of images as part of a campaign to shame and convince, pulling on heart strings to spare the doomed animal.  Limon had been busy, releasing a video calling for a campaign to save the animal.  King Arthur’s sword of legend became associated with a quadruped pet in Iberia.  What, exactly, was being fought for started to get rather blurry.  In this view, it is not the rights of the animal, but the entitlement of owners to speak on behalf of animals as humanised appendages, that found expression in a range of manipulated images.

Dogs, cats or birds, having no concept of consent one way or the other as to whether they were fronting up for a political advertising campaign, would have cards and items of paper placed in front of them.  Desperate snaps were taken and posted on Twitter.  Such items had Twitter hash tags with such expressions as “#SaveExcalibur” and “#SalvemosAExcalibur.”  Effectively, they were becoming empty vessels for moral outrage, instruments for the indignation of their human masters.

It did not take long for some to note that the petition to save Excalibur had become an expression of “asymmetrical” feelings on mercy and justice.[2]  The late Brother Pajares was obviously in the wrong line of work in helping the poverty stricken.  Instead of saving Africans, he might have gotten more sympathy for saving dogs.  The parameters of the debate were decided in advance, enraging those who could not see why individuals might scream claims of assassination in defending the life of an infected dog but ignore the “demographic suicide” of a country.[3]

Over 350,000 signatures of purported salvation were registered through a Change.org petition.  (As a matter of comparison, the plea to help Christians in northern Iraq got a mere 90,000 on the same site.)  They were to be disappointed.  The drama of resistance culminated in the confirmation by the Minister of Health for the Community of Madrid that Excalibur had been euthanized.  The body was subsequently taken to Paracuellos del Jarama for incineration.  It had been a true model of disaster non-management.[4]

As Hal Herzog of Western Carolina University would argue, the canine was seen as no less than a human child.  “In a way, the moral revulsion we’re seeing for euthanizing the dog is the same revulsion we’d have for euthanizing a child” (National Post, Oct 8).  As one comment doing the rounds of Twitter confirmed this: “They have entered their home and murdered a family member.”

The efforts to save Excalibur certainly acted as a diminution of other sufferers. It was not Sierra Leone or Liberia in the news, with their genuine problems in containing the virus, let alone the names of victims. It was not even individuals who had returned to Spain and had subsequently died that mattered.  It was Excalibur, immortalised pet and anthropomorphic phenomenon.  Animal advocates such as Jorge Javier Vázquez and Fernando Tejero got itchy with tweets and re-tweets on canine welfare.  The writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte suggested a formula that got much attention: put the dog under clinical observation and sacrifice the health minister, Ana Mata.[5]

The other side of the argument, one put forth by the authorities, was also rather shoddy. The demon dog, or at least one with potentially demonic potential in infecting a community, was not even kept to be studied, examined, or monitored.  Eric Leroy, a global authority in the field of Ebola studies, told El País that “the dog did not need to be put down because it is important from a scientific viewpoint.”

Felipe Vilas of Madrid’s Official College of Veterinarians was not going to take the risk.[6]  A 2005 report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that “dogs might be asymptomatically infected by Ebola virus”.[7]  It also noted that, during an outbreak in Gabon in 2001-02, several dogs were exposed through the consumption of contaminated dead animals. The results on transmission between canines and humans it, for all of that, remains inconclusive.

Grace and dignity have tended to be the ultimate casualties in the Excalibur affair.  The fate of a pet, tragic as it was, tended to outshine other Ebola victims in an orgy of sentimentality.  But this affair also betrayed a good deal of incompetence while reaping a harvest from the fear factory, with authorities refusing to even consider monitoring the doomed canine.  The impression given here was that Spain was under siege from an exotic, murderous African problem.  And just to confirm that sentiment, the hash tag #VamosAmorirTodos (“We Are All Going to Die”) began trending.[8]

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

Notes:

As most of the world has duly noted, Canada under the neo-Conservative Harper regime has been a front-runner in supporting Israel in its racial apartheid policies in Israel.  Also  recently a discussion comparing South Africa’s apartheid system with that of Israel  has occurred with South African testimony indicating that while they are not the same,  they are very similar, and in some circumstances, Israel’s apartheid is worse.  What is not seen is Canada’s role in modeling apartheid for South Africa under the Afrikaner-dominated National Party.  Canada’s role in developing these systems of apartheid has been seldom noted academically, and is given very little attention either domestically or internationally.

It is generally recognized that North America was a series of colonies from Great Britain, France, Spain, and Russia with a few Dutch thrown into the mix.  The first ‘discoverers’ of America, the Norse Vikings, died out through their lack of ability to adapt to the climatic changes that overtook them.  The later colonial settlers survived in part because they did accept the graciousness of the indigenous peoples in assisting them, from which Canada and the U.S. derive their respective national holiday, Thanksgiving.

However, right from the start, these colonial-settler immigrants created myths that allowed them to overrun the native populations without too many qualms about the abuses they perpetrated.  Religion, race, and government policies all had a great deal to do with this.  The two main myths directed at the Indians of North America can be located elsewhere in the world where colonial-settler populations have invaded.  The first myth is that North America was a vast empty land filled with riches to be exploited by the newcomers.  Somewhat in contradiction to that is the myth that the Indians were primitives, needing to be civilized, a notion that included religion, land ownership, and the rule of white man’s law.

The reality of history is much more disconcerting for those concerned about human rights and the nature of our societies, as they were, and as they exist today.  I will not deal with the history of the natives population in the U.S., although it is interrelated with that of Canada.  It is generally recognized that after the era of glorious movie westerns celebrating the settlement of the empty plains and mountains, the reality is that of a steady policy of genocide, racism, and warfare against the native people while capitalist ownership of land subjugated the landscape.

Canada’s native history

Canada’s story is a bit different, especially as perceived in comparison to that of the U.S.  It is true we do not have the same degree of violent history over the native population, but it is a history that nonetheless is still violent, genocidal, and racist.  Current events reflect that it is still violent, if of a different form, and still very much racist, although covered over with all sorts of ignorant platitudes.  Unfortunately as well, the vestiges of apartheid still hang on within Canadian governance, never described as such, with the blame for its human rights abuses being blamed mainly on the recipients of that abuse – racism at its most civilized.

These thoughts all coalesced this summer while I was travelling across Canada.  Somewhere along the line (literally – I went by train) I bought a powerful, damning critique of Canadian government policy during the era of Canada’s colonial settlement years across Canada’s vast resource rich prairie region.  Clearing the Plains – Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life, (University of Regina Press, 2013), written by James Daschuk, is a study of the Canadian settlement in relation to the early fur trade up to the time when the railroads opened up the plains for the large settler populations from Europe, most from eastern Europe.  The title is very indicative of the content, and as I read it I was also reminded of Jared Diamond’s  Guns, Germs, and Steel – The Fates of Human Societies (Norton & Company, 1999).

It is Diamond’s middle term, germs, that plays a significant role in Canada’s history, although guns and steel had their fair share, and all were tied into political policies of the day.

By the time the fur traders arrived in the Prairie region of Canada, epidemics of European origin had already swept through many of the tribes, decimating a population that had not previously been exposed to them.  While this is an attribute of all peoples not previously exposed to particular microbes, the problem in Canada was significantly increased by both a lack of interest in native health – other than for labour for harvesting the beaver pelts – and later a government official policy of ‘near starvation.’

Without their historical access to food as the buffalo herds were decimated as a foodstock for the early traders and settlers, and without reliable water resources as the beaver population was decimated for the leisure class in Europe, the natives were highly susceptible to foreign microbes as malnutrition compromised their immune systems.  As the fur trade progressed in its many facets, then died out to be replaced by the railroads and settlements, the vectors for transmission of disease increased.  As the vectors increased, so did the government policies of starvation and apartheid.

Our current neo-Conservative government loves to promote the achievements of Sir John A. Macdonald, considered the ‘father of confederation.’  It is perhaps not surprising then that their current attitudes towards the native population are reminiscent of their political heritage.  It was Sir John A. MacDonald who said, “We cannot allow them to die for want of food….[We] are doing all we can, by refusing food until the Indians are on the verge of starvation, to reduce the expense.”

The Liberals were not significantly different as opposition to the government.  They were

“an important factor in constraining the government expenditures on the Indian population….the prime minister pre-empted criticism by promising to keep the hungry from dying, but assuring the House that his government would be “rigid, even stingy” in the distribution of food.”

This pretence of financial responsibility was of course part and parcel of the countries policy of settlement of the prairies.  Along with this simple policy of starvation were several other factors (such as the lack of immunities mentioned above) that were part of Canada’s racial apartheid policy.

Reservations

Today, much of Canada has no recognizable Indian territories other than the small parcels of land allocated to the various remaining band populations under the Indian Act (1876).  This Act purportedly provided the Queen’s protection for the natives including the enforcement of the various treaties that ceded huge swaths of territory to the Canadian government.    These reservations have a history of being revoked, resettled, cut-off, redrawn, leaving mostly small remnants of generally poorer geographical areas for native use.

The treaties themselves were and are generally treated as inconveniences for the government and were not much more than lip service for their underlying articles for rights and assistance.  The Indian Act placed the native population under the care of the ‘crown’, the government, and has been used as a device to control and limit native power rather than to uphold treaty obligations: “To Canadian officials, the widespread occupation of reserves had another benefit:  it greatly facilitated their control of the population.”  This was managed in several ways along with the official policy of starvation.

Agricultural practices were one factor.  Although encouraged to settle and take up farming, the government controlled agricultural practices,

An order in council was passed to forbid the inhabitants of reserves from “selling, bartering, exchanging or giving any person or persons whatsoever, any grain, or root crops, or any other produce grown on any Indian Reserve in the Northwest territories [as the prairie regions was then called].”  The move was intended to preserve locally grown food for the communities that produced it, but it also had the effect of barring reserve farmers from participating in the commercial economy of the northwest.

As usual the excuse for the action and the intended effect are contradictory.  The ultimate idea “was not that the Indian should become self-supporting.  He was only to be kept quiet till the country filled up when his ill will could be ignored.”

Settlements

With the arrival of the railways, sections of land were given to immigrants in order to establish an agricultural economy.  This was done through providing the railways themselves with enormous tracts of land, and relocating the natives.

The most significant relocation was the forced removal of communities from their chosen reserves in the Cypress Hills after the decision to build the Canadian Pacific Railway along the southern prairies….In doing so, the Canadian government accomplished the ethnic cleansing of southwestern Saskatchewan of its indigenous population.

Starvation was a tool within this policy as “Rations were deliberately withheld until the chief capitulated.”

Another factor of control was the institution of a pass system.  With a pass, the natives were given certain rights subject to the Indian Act and ultimate control by the government.  It was “perhaps the most onerous regulation placed on the Indians after the rebellion,”…implemented to limit the mobility of treaty Indians, keeping them on their reserves and away from European communities.”

Culture

Once the land was removed – and the land is essential to any indigenous people’s culture -  the cultural attributes of the indigenous people were attacked.  Foremost among these efforts were the Residential schools controlled mainly by the Catholic and Anglican religions (paid for by the government) that followed the white man into the prairies.  Native languages and religious rituals were forbidden, visitations were limited, the program of minimal nourishment and lack of health care continued, the latter contributing to many unrecorded deaths among the native children.  Along with these limitations and prohibitions, the religious orders created a situation ripe for sexual abuse and assault.  These institutions existed until as late as 1996 when the last one was closed down.

Beyond the residential schools, band based religious practices were forbidden.  Indigenous rights to access courts were forbidden.  The right to vote did not arrive fully until 1960; before then if a native were to vote, their treaty rights – such as they were – were revoked, another means to control the reserve populations.

Disease continues

Racism was easily inculcated into the settlers across the prairies as by the time they arrived in the late Nineteenth Century, they were witness to the nadir of native health and culture.  What they saw was a population decimated by disease, incapable of supporting themselves, unkempt and “uncivilized”.  They did not know or care to know the conditions that had reduced the once self-sufficient and culturally whole tribes to a state of haggard dependency on an uncaring government.

The Indian Act still controls the reserve system and is still used and abused by the government to control the native population.  While outright starvation is not a serious problem, modern diseases – AIDS, diabetes, alcoholism, suicide – are significantly higher in native populations than in the rest of Canada.

Education is still used as a tool to manipulate both the native people and the opinions of the non-native population.  The latter is managed by the latent racism that is not far below the surface of many Canadians of all political stripes, very clearly seen in response to protests or demonstrations, especially with the “Silent no more” actions.

Economic activity is another tool used to manipulate the current native populations.  Individual economic agreements with bands are attempts to both divide the populations in the bands as well as get around Treaty requirements and other Federal or Provincial regulations in many aspects of the economy from agriculture to mining and forestry.  Money is still used as a manipulator, with promises and conditions being put forward that overall are attempts by the government to destroy the resurgence in native culture, to destroy its ability to use constitutional law against the government.

The Canadian apartheid system is still alive.  It is not as demonstrative or obvious as that of Israel or formerly of South Africa, but it still exists as a construct within Canadian governance.  As concluded by Daschuk,

While Canadians see themselves as world leaders in social welfare, health care, and economic development, most reserves in Canada are economic backwaters with little prospect of material advancement and more in common with the third world than the rest of Canada.

Apartheid in South Africa

As I indicated above, I will not discuss the relationships, differences, and commonalities between South Africa and Canada and Israel.  There are two recent works that discuss Israeli apartheid in comparison to South African apartheid that I have read: Battle for Justice in Palestine (Haymarket Press, 2014) and The Anatomy of Zionist Apartheid (Porcupine Press, SA, 2013).  Both provide the obvious evidence for the state of apartheid in Israel, with valid comparisons to South Africa.

There is however a Canadian link.  Officially Canada opposed South Africa’s apartheid system, but underneath trade and economic business carried on as usual.  Canada only went against it when popular opinion became too strong to resist as a political platform.  The real tie to South African apartheid is not at this level, but comes from South Africa modelling the Canadian reserve system and its instruments in order to implement apartheid in South Africa.

Notwithstanding this self-congratulatory revisionism, Canada mostly supported apartheid in South Africa. First, by providing it with a model. South Africa patterned its policy towards Blacks after Canadian policy towards First Nations. Ambiguous Champion  [University of Toronto Press, 1997] explains, “South African officials regularly came to Canada to examine reserves set aside for First Nations, following colleagues who had studied residential schools in earlier parts of the century. http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/10/canadas-role-in-the-apartheid-struggle/

More recently Thomas Mulcair, as opposition leader to the current neo-Cons, commenting after the passing of Nelson Mandela,

makes a fairly direct comparison between South Africa’s apartheid regime and Canada’s treatment of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. He’s not wrong, either — in fact, the apartheid system was based on Canada’s Indian Act. Our residential schools, Indian Reserve and many other deeply racist systems inspired South Africa’s oppressive regime. I’m glad that at least one of our federal leaders has (somewhat) acknowledged this in their remarks on Mandela’s death. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/anne-theriault-/canadas-apartheid_b_4468449.html

Thus for all of Canada’s rhetoric about apartheid in South Africa and its rhetoric in support of Israeli and therefore its apartheid, there is a strong linkage demonstrating the positive role Canada has had in creating and maintaining the apartheid systems.

Israel’s apartheid

Apartheid in Israel is obvious to anyone reading about how the overall cultural-geopolitical landscape is managed.  Accompanying apartheid, ethnic cleansing has also occurred, on a scale probably larger and more violent than occurred in Canada; genocide has not been a significant factor in Israel yet (other than used as an ongoing excuse for being the global victim of ethnic hatred), but was a considerable factor in Canada.

Certainly there are similarities and differences.  Israel, like Canada, is a colonial-settler country, with the original Zionist philosophers clearly recognizing the problem of an already existing population in Palestine.  Theodore Herzl recognized it clearly, advocating the ethnic cleansing of the region,

“Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment… Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.” Theodore Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization, speaking of the Arabs of Palestine,Complete Diaries, June 12, 1895 entry.

Ben Gurion also warned in 1948 after the independence war and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their villages and towns,  “We must do everything to insure they ( the Palestinians) never do return.” Assuring his fellow Zionists that Palestinians will never come back to their homes,  “The old will die and the young will forget.”

The lie of denial of an existing population, reminiscent of North America’s ‘unoccupied’ lands is frequently quoted from Golda Meier: “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.” Golda Maier, March 8, 1969;  “There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed.” Golda Maier, Israeli Prime Minister, June 15, 1969.

Cultural apartheid

Apartheid is a construct that includes both cultural and geographical elements.  The idea of ethnic cleansing and the denial of existence as above is one such factor.  There are many  others.

Strangely enough, the idea of starvation as a manipulator of populations has been one of the more recent manifestations of Israeli policy, most particularly as directed against Gaza.  Dov Weisglass,advisor to Ehud Olmert stated, “The idea,” he said, “is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”  Sounds strangely familiar to Canada’s policy of the Nineteenth century.

Canada somehow calculated what it thought were minimal survival rations for its indigenous populations, and it appears that Israel carried that forward with even more mathematical precision,

While the health ministry determined that Gazans needed a daily average of 2,279 calories each to avoid malnutrition – requiring 170 lorries a day – military officials then found a host of pretexts to whittle the number down to a fraction of the original figure.

The reality was that, in this period, an average of only 67 lorries – much less than half of the minimum requirement – entered Gaza daily. This compared to more than 400 lorries before the blockade began.  http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/the-starvation-diet-for-gaza-shows-the-blockade-will-fall#full

Other cultural factors

Racism, ethnic cleansing, starvation are manifestations of cultural policies that support apartheid and its purposes.  The purpose in Israel, unlike Canada, is the great demographic fear of the burgeoning Arab population within Israel and cantonized Palestine.

There are many other cultural factors that come into play, similar in several respects to Canada’s apartheid system.

Education is controlled centrally, and the knowledge base allowed for Palestinian education ignores completely the ‘nakba’ and its ethnic cleansing and instances of mass murder.  Islam is obviously an ongoing religious base for the Palestinians, but it is increasingly demonized as an ideology of evil, resulting in the ever present rhetoric of an existential threat.  Many laws are discriminatory, with rulings on land ownership, residency, marriage, mobility, and other facets of civilian life being restricted by Israeli courts.

Most Palestinians live under military rule where civilian law simply does not exist.  Movement of any kind, and daily life can all be controlled at the whim of regional military personnel and/or Shin Bet.

Geographical apartheid

The reality of apartheid however is the physical setting.  Racism and ethnic hatred can spread throughout cultural systems and can support apartheid, but they are not apartheid itself.  Israel is clearly an apartheid state from its actions on the ground.  These have been well explained in many, many books and articles over the past several decades.

The physical landscape of apartheid is clearly visible in Israel.  The euphemistic ‘wall’ is one of the larger barriers, supposedly to keep out ‘terrorists’ but in reality enclosing prime settlements, agricultural lands, and water sources.  The settlements are designed to capture and hold prime landscapes for demographic control as well as resource control, physically grabbing land and effectively denying the validity of a two state solution with a contiguous Palestinian state.  Roads are built that bypass Palestinian settlements, providing both a barrier to Palestinian movement and a continuous web of encroachment and encirclement of Palestinian villages and farmlands.  The indiscriminate destruction of Palestinian housing on various trumped up civilian rules and on military authorizations to evict resistance fighters slowly clears land to be later incorporated into Israeli settlements using various laws concerning land usage and residency.

Gaza

Looking at a map of areas ‘controlled’ by Palestine reveals a largely diminished and fragmented series of bantustan style areas remaining.  The West Bank is ostensibly under the rule of Abbas, but its apartheid nature is still clear from the descriptions given above.  Gaza is the largest indicator of Israeli apartheid, and an indicator of the viciousness of Israeli apartheid.

Starvation as a policy is directly applied – and acknowledged – as a control mechanism for Gaza.  Gaza is technically not occupied but all of its land, sea, and air space is controlled by Israeli military force.  It is in essence a large concentration camp, completely controlled in all its physical aspects by Israel.

The ultimate purpose of Israeli apartheid is similar to that of Canada, the Palestinians are “to be kept quiet till the country filled up when his ill will could be ignored.”  That purpose cannot be realized without much violence:  Canada’s indigenous population is very small in comparison the overall population; Gaza in particular and the Palestinians in general are about on par with the Israeli population, but with a higher birth rate that, as always, gives the big demographic threat to the idea of a unitary theological state called Israel.

Partners in apartheid

Apartheid in Israel is a process used to try and eliminate as many  Palestinians through emigration as possible, and perhaps the same conditions as in Canada: starvation leading to malnutrition, compromised immune systems, especially among the young, and an eventual and inevitable outbreak of some epidemic.

Fortunately for the Palestinians, the world is watching.  Drastic actions, including the past three invasions of Gaza by Israel, are openly observed by the world.  The result of all these actions has been an increase in support for Palestinians and a much more critical view of Israel and its national intentions.  The boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement have strengthened and Israel is increasingly recognized globally as a threat to Middle East peace.

Canada remains in the forefront of countries supporting Israel.  This devolves from Canada’s history of Christian Zionism, its support of Britain’s colonial systems, and its current neo-Conservative government with its fundamentalist evangelical mythology.  On the surface the Harper neo-Conservatives argue in terms of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and the evil of terror perpetrated by “Islamicism” (Harper’s coined term to try and create a pejorative view of Islam).  Underneath lies the religious fundamentalism combined with strong support for non-democratic corporate control of governance.  Canada has distinct problems with human rights, the ongoing problems with the Indian communities and reserves being the largest, its ongoing support of Israel and its apartheid policies being another.

Final word to Canada’s indigenous population

Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, attending the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP), an historic two-day meeting, that began on Sept. 22 at the UN General Assembly in New York, summarized Canada’s position,

For years, the Harper government has refused to consult indigenous rights-holders on crucial issues, especially when it involves international forums. This repeated failure to consult violates Canada’s duty under Canadian constitutional and international law.

In his opening remarks, Ban declared to indigenous peoples from all regions of the world, “You will always have a home at the United Nations.” Yet in our own home in Canada, the federal government refuses to respect democracy, the rule of law and human rights.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/canada-sets-lowest-standard-at-world-conference-on-indigenous-peoples-1.2779590

A new report by Human Rights First on fascism in Hungary and Greece raises important questions. But its orientation toward U.S. national interests smacks of Cold War thinking.

When we think of the leaders of Europe’s far- and extreme-Right parties today, it is easy to ridicule them as fossils, nostalgic for days of Empire and white supremacy, or stranded on pre-second-world war shores, fighting the territorial fights of yesteryear. Yet despite the extreme Right’s much-vaunted irredentism, it has also mounted strong critiques of the very modern phenomenon of globalization. The internationalization of capitalism, its unprecedented ability to cross the boundaries of national political and legal jurisdictions, has led to a sea-change in the way fascists respond to the vital question ‘where does the national interest lie’. Today, fascist and nationalist movements don’t just wave the flag of the nation-state. Despising the liberal values of Europe, deploring the subservient actions of European governments in the face of the EU’s hegemonizing tendencies, extreme-right leaders gaze admiringly across the EU border to authoritarian leaders abroad, longing for the day when they too can govern illiberally.

For the counter-jihadi strand of modern fascism, it is Israel, with its unrelenting force against the Palestinians, that stands out as a nation with civilizational rigour. But for many of the up-and-coming demagogues of the populist and anti-Communist extreme Right, ranging from UKIP’s Nigel Farage to the FN’s Marine Le Pen, from Gábor Vona of Jobbik to Nikos Michaloliakos of Golden Dawn, it is the autocratic leadership of Russian president Vladimir Putin that is most admired and emulated.

Fact-Finding Mission

It is this, the so-called ‘Putin connection’, that the Washington and New York- based ‘non-profit, non-partisan’ think tank Human Rights First (HRF) sets out to explore in its 121-page report We’re not Nazis, but… The Rise of Hate Parties in Hungary and Greece and Why America Should Care. The result of fact-finding trips to Greece and Hungary carried out in April and May 2014, the report depicts a landscape familiar to a European audience, but adds new and important insights. The greater part of its critique is directed at Hungary, where it is not so much Jobbik that comes under fire, as the authoritarian government of Victor Orban and the Fidesz party, which the authors quite rightly point out are carrying far-Right ideas from the margins to the mainstream.

The origins of Jobbik in the anti-Communism of its leader, its meteoric rise from 2006 to 2014 (its share of the vote has risen tenfold), its current control of ten mayorships, its support for anti-Roma paramilitary organizations like the Civic Guard for the Future of a Better Hungary and its institution of public works programmes to control the Roma, are all capably described. And HRF’s assertion that Orban is “backsliding on democracy” is amply proved through the listing of illiberal policies instituted by the Fidesz government, from sweeping changes to the constitution, the weakening of the independence of the judiciary and the media, the pursuit of irredentist claims and the drawing up of a revisionist history, to the current crackdown on NGOs which mirrors, albeit on a smaller scale, Putin’s ‘Foreign Agent’ law requiring NGOs to register as foreign agents if they receive funding from abroad. In Hungary’s case, three NGOs funded through a programme known as the Norway grants were raided by the Government Control Office, their finances scrutinized. The government is also reportedly keeping a list of 13 NGOs for evidence of ‘left-leaning’ or ‘problematic’ tendencies.

The report devotes less attention to exploring the rise of Golden Dawn and the complicity of the neo-conservative coalition in the rise of fascism in Greece. This is surprising, given the fact that Golden Dawn’s systematic infiltration of the Greek police and armed forces has been far more deep-seated than in any other European country, including Hungary, and the considerable evidence that the neo-conservative government (described in the report as a reliable NATO partner, Greece is depicted as an ‘old friend and ally’) turned a blind eye, since a far-Right force with an anti-immigration agenda suited their electoral interests. Despite this analytical weakness, there are solid accounts of the roots of Golden Dawn in its support for past military dictatorships, new information on anti-immigration violence and a welcome critique of the government’s failure to allow non-Greeks the benefits of witness protection schemes (which would have allowed immigrants to give evidence against Golden Dawn), as well as intimations that GD’s ability to maintain seventy offices and distribute food to the poor could be due to the financial backing of major ship owners and businessmen. Rather oddly, though, there is no mention of the mass racial profiling, Operation Zeus, under which, between April 2012 and June 2013, more than 120,000 foreign nationals were subjected to identity checks and countless were exposed to racism, brutality and other abuses of their human rights.

U.S. Security Interests

The usefulness of HRF’s research is marred by its biased orientation toward U.S. security interests, and its shaping of the facts around the recommendations aimed at President Obama, U.S. intelligence agencies, the military and NATO. What underpins this can only be described as over-egging of the ‘Russian connection’. Although Greece and Hungary are clearly countries where fascism poses a danger to democracy, they seem to have been selected for analysis solely on the grounds that they are “NATO members in frontline regions that are becoming more important on the U.S. strategic map.” The deployment of the facts to fit the authors’ hypothesis, that the Kremlin may be funding the European extreme Right as a Trojan Horse against the EU and NATO, resembles the building of a conspiracy theory drawing on the cartoon ogre of the Russian bogeyman and nursery tales about the ‘threat from the East’. (Similarly, the citing of an article on the counter-jihadi website the Gates of Vienna, does not prove evidence of an Iranian plot to undermine the EU by courting Jobbik.) And the report’s treatment of Orban and Jobbik’s ‘pro-Russian, pro-Eastern’ bent cries out for cultural contextualizing – Hungary is a country which economically and culturally has looked both east and west, with Jobbik’s fascist ideology drawing on the nineteenth-century romantic ideas of ‘Turaniasm’, the belief in a mythical tribe of Turanian people originating somewhere in Central Asia and migrating westward thousands of years ago. (No mention of this in the report.)

HRF’s recommendations are made in the context of the current war in Ukraine, which has claimed over 3,000 lives and displaced over one million people (according to the latest UNHCR figures). And here lies the nub of the problem. HRF acknowledges the threat to democracy and to the human rights of vulnerable minorities posed by the rise of fascism in Europe and its ability to penetrate the State in both Greece and Hungary. But it assembles and contextualizes the facts in such a way that they seem of value only to the extent that they serve the authors’ primary concern: the threat to U.S. national interests – the Transatlantic Treaty, U.S. bases in Greece (Souda Bay, on Crete) and Hungary (Papa Airbase, home to the U.S. European Command) – and to NATO’s unquestioned right to expand eastward. References to Russia’s responsibility for the current war in the Ukraine are as frequent as rain on an English summer’s day. But such myopia rules out the consideration of other perspectives that would militate against a new Cold War. Is it possible that Russia’s bloody-minded and unwelcome militarism in Ukraine is a response to NATO expansionism, and not its cause? Needless to say, such questions are not posed by an American NGO whose motto is “American Ideals. Universal Values.”

Conspiracy Theory

HRF suggests that eight European far-Right parties – the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO), Vlaams Belang of Belgium, the FN in France, the German National Democratic Party, Golden Dawn, Jobbik, Lega Nord in Italy and the Lithuanian Order and Justice party (TT) – have aligned themselves with Russian interests and hints that Russia is funding some or all of these parties. In the context of the ‘Trojan Horse’ theory, the modest gains for the extreme Right in the European parliamentary elections could be seen as ‘a victory for Moscow’.

While none should doubt the ‘Russian connection’, neither Russian funding nor the invitations to extreme-Right party leaders to Moscow for meetings with Aleksandr Dugin, the Moscow Professor who is believed to advise Putin on the ‘Eurasian Doctrine’, amount to a conspiracy to destroy the EU or NATO.

The authors’ speculations raise different questions for readers who may perceive that it is in the EU’s interests to seek dialogue rather than confrontation with Russia. Is opposition to NATO expansionism now an indicator of extremism? Were the CND activists, trades unionists and others who demonstrated in Cardiff against the NATO summit pro-Russian extremists? Are Greek farmers to be considered a threat to democracy because, fearing the loss of their livelihood as their strawberry and peach harvests lie rotting by the wayside, call for a lifting of the sanctions against Russia which have provoked a tit-for-tat import ban? So many times HRF is wildly off the mark. The widespread public opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is not a marker of extremism, even if Jobbik also opposes it.

For HRF, fascism in Europe needs to be countered because it threatens U.S. global interests. But as Seumas Milne and Jeremy Corbyn point out, NATO, founded as a transatlantic anti-Communist alliance, has never been too picky about the democratic credentials of its membership, which in the past included the Portuguese dictatorship, as well as military governments in Turkey and Greece. (HRF points out, in passing and without any sense of irony, that Clinton apologized to its ‘old friend and ally’ Greece for American support for the military dictatorship from 1969 to 1974.)

We are indeed, as the Guardian‘s economic analyst Larry Elliot warns, entering “a messier, less clearly defined multi-polar world, possibly at the brink of a new Cold War.” HRF’s intimation that Greece and Hungary lie in the U.S. ‘sphere of interest’ is a depressing reminder of the distortions that arise when we embrace Cold-War thinking. Exploring the far and extreme Right’s new-found love for the authoritarianism of Putin is one thing. But resurrecting the Russian bogeyman to justify NATO expansionism is quite another. •

Liz Fekete is executive director of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) and head of its European research programme. This article first published on the irr.org.uk website.

The World Bank tried very hard to make the the Turkish military appear salutary, and to avoid criticising their interventions.The official comments from the Bank, that the 1980 coup d’état would not jeopardise the Bank’s intention to lend, were very courteous. |1|

The World Bank’s strategy in Turkey clearly recalls its policy towards Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship in the Philippines from 1972, Augusto Pinochet’s in Chile from 1973, and the economic model they promoted. Geopolitical reasons are once again a determining factor: a hinge between Europe and Asia, Turkey is an essential pawn on the Middle East chessboard. Consequently it is necessary to subordinate this country to Washington’s interests by giving full support to an authoritarian regime. The World Bank works in this direction when, in perfect agreement with the military leaders, it develops neoliberal economic policies that open the door wide to investments by transnational corporations and suppresses both trade unions and far-left parties. Such policies consolidate the rôle of Turkey as a spearhead for the United States in a historic new context.

In the 1950s the World Bank got off to a bad start in Turkey. Its signing officer, Pieter Lieftinck, from the Netherlands, was expelled by the Ankara authorities on the grounds of excessive interventionism.

Under Robert McNamara, Turkey’s geostrategic importance led the World Bank to increase its efforts to improve matters. A few months after becoming president, in July 1968, Robert McNamara visited Turkey. He knew the country well since it had been a military ally of the United States. As Defense Secretary until 1967 he was in close contact with Ankara. Anxious not to repeat what had happened with Pieter Lieftinck, the World Bank took great care not to appear too openly intrusive in the 1970s  |2|. By the end of the decade it had gradually increased its pressure on the Turkish government, particularly in 1978 when the left-wing nationalist, Bülent Ecevit, became Prime Minister. In particular, the Bank tried to force an increase in the price of electricity.

The September 1980 military coup, which resulted in a dictatorship that lasted until May 1983, was very convenient for the World Bank, since the military leaders agreed to maintain the neoliberal plan it had drawn up with Süleyman Demirel |3| and Turgut Ozal.

Turgut Ozal |4| had been appointed state undersecretary for economic coordination by the then Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel. These two were to launch the neoliberal economic programme in January 1980. But its implementation was made difficult by TU actions, the sense of insecurity resulting from confrontations between right-wing and left-wing students, manœuvers in the Muslim Party which drove a hard bargain for its parliamentary support of Süleyman Demirel’s minority government… and the army’s thirst for power, intent on destabilising the government with the help of the US. However, the military regime, which dissolved parliament and put Süleyman Demirel in jail in September 1980, appointed Turgut Özal as plenipotentiary minister for economic affairs. He was then able to implement neoliberal policies for two years, until the financial crash that resulted in his eviction.

The World Bank enthusiastically supported the policies developed by the military leaders and Turgut Özal since they led the way to “increasing export incentives, improving external debt management, eliminating the budget deficit (…), reducing the level of public investment.” |5|

The historians of the World Bank wrote: “the Turkish program became a prototype for the institution’s structural adjustment loan series.” |6|

Several factors made such developments easier:

1. the close connections between Turkish political leaders and Turkish senior officers in the World Bank. In addition to already cited names we can mention Attila Karaosmanoghu |7| and Munir Benjenk |8| men of the Bank par excellence. |9|

2. In 1977 a highly indebted Turkey experienced a crisis, and contrary to other indebted countries it was granted significant aid by Western powers (United States, Germany), the World Bank and the IMF so that it did not go under. |10|

Turkey’s neoliberal turnabout was not easy since the Constitution that had been drafted in the early 1960s stipulated that the country develop an industrialization policy aiming at import substitution, and implement both protectionism and public investment to this end.

The military coup in September 1980 therefore had the World Bank’s wholehearted sympathy. It is likely that Robert McNamara knew about preparations for the coup for he entertained close relations with the Carter administration.

The example of Turkey is another illustration of how thoroughly the World Bank’s policies are determined by geostrategic interests, particularly those of the United States.

Historians of the World Bank even acknowledge this openly: “Personally as a global statesman, McNamara was not blind to Turkey’s geopolitical salience” |11|. Faced with the danger of the 1979 Iranian revolution that was hostile to the United States’ policy, Turkey’s stability had to be ensured by supporting an authoritarian regime. |12| The military coup in Turkey was prepared with the help of the United States.

In neighbouring Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s 1979 coup against a pro-Soviet regime was part of the same convergence of strategic interests. Later Saddam would serve the interests of the United States and of Western Europe when he launched the war against Iran in 1980.

This is not something the historians of the World Bank ever mention. However their comments on Turkey are clear enough:

“The Bank seemed to take special pains to attribute benign motives to the Turkish military and avoid exhibiting displeasure at its interventions. The institution’s formal comments to the effect that the military takeover in 1980 would not displace the Bank’s lending intentions were extremely polite.” |13|

En 1988, la Banque mondiale écrit : “Parmi les clients de la Banque, la Turquie représente l’une des plus spectaculaires réussites »

When the military leaders handed power back to civilians, Turgut Ozal and his Motherland party led the government.

In subsequent years Turkey received five structural adjustment loans (until 1985). In 1988 the World Bank wrote: “Among the Bank’s clients, Turkey represents one of the most spectacular success stories.” |14|

Such a self-congratulatory observation deserves comment. If we look at one of the Bank’s major objectives, namely reducing inflation, there is little success to be celebrated: the annual inflation rate before structural adjustment was between 40 and 50 % at the end of the 1970s; under the military dictatorship that implemented adjustment, inflation reached 46% in 1980-1983, 44% in 1984-1988, 60% in 1989. In the following decades it reached an average of 70% with peaks as high as 140%.

In short, the objective of reducing inflation was definitely not achieved. The same applies to the public internal debt which exploded and to the external debt that increased even further.

But if we consider the Bank’s hidden agenda, it can indeed be said that it achieved a remarkable victory in the 1980s :

-* Turkey remained one of the Western powers’ staunch allies;

-* it completely relinquished the industrialization model by import substitution with a high level of protectionism and a high level of public investment;

-* it developed a model focusing on exports by increasing its competitiveness, forcing down real wages and devaluing its currency in significant proportions;

-* the TU movement and both the reformist and the revolutionary Left were repressed thanks to the dictatorship.

From the end of 1979 to 1994 the relative value of the US dollar to the Turkish lira multiplied by 900; this process started with a 30% devaluation in 1980. In the 1970s real wages had significantly increased as a result of the trade unions’ influence and the political position of the far left among young people and workers. The 1980 military coup made it possible to ban trade unions and strikes, reduce wages and increase profits.

Turkey thus became a veritable haven for corporate investments. Turgut Ozal was rewarded and elected President from 1989 to 1993.

The World Bank steadily supported the military regime and the subsequent regime through loans of close to one billion USD per year.

In 1991, in exchange for its services to the United States and its allies in the first Gulf War, Turkey benefited from reparations paid by a defeated Iraq.

We can thus claim that the World Bank’s strategy in Turkey clearly recalls its policy towards Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship in the Philippines from 1972, Augusto Pinochet’s in Chile from 1973, and the economic model they promoted.

In 1999-2001 Turkey went through a financial crisis as severe as that of Argentina. Geostrategic interests again prevailed in the decisions taken: the IMF abandoned Argentina in December 2001 when it refused a new loan to President de la Rua while it simultaneously pursued its policy of loans to Turkey in order to prevent social disruption that would destabilise an essential pawn on the Middle East chessboard.

Now, as everywhere else, the aid provided by the IMF and the World Bank only increases the debt of recipient countries and Turkish citizens have a right to refuse further reimbursement to the Bretton Woods institutions. The debt that was contracted to the IMF and the World Bank is odious by any standards.

Éric Toussaint is a historian with a doctoral degree in political science from the universities of Paris VIII and Liège. He is the President of CADTM Belgium (www.cadtm.org). He has written many essays on geopolitics including The World Bank: A Critical Primer, Pluto Press, London, 2008, (http://cadtm.org/The-World-Bank-A-critical-Primer ), The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man, CADTM, 2014 and A Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology from its Origins to the Present, Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2012. He has also written several works with Damien Millet, including Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2010, See also Eric Toussaint, doctoral thesis in political science, presented in 2004 at the Universities of Liège and Paris VIII: “Enjeux politiques de l’action de la Banque mondiale et du Fonds monétaire international envers le tiers-monde” (“Political aspects of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund actions toward the Third World”), http://cadtm.org/Enjeux-politiques-de-l-action-de

Notes:

|1| Kapur, Devesh, Lewis, John P., Webb, Richard. 1997. The World Bank, Its First Half Century, Volume 1: History, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1275 p. This book was financed by the World Bank for its 50th anniversary.

|2| “The Bank in the 1970s was at pains in Turkey not to overreach” in D. Kapur, J. Lewis, R. Webb, 1997, vol. 1., p. 547

|3| Süleyman Demirel (1924) served several times as Prime Minister (1965-1971; 1975-1978 ; 1979-1980). He was head of government again in 1991 then president of the Republic from 1993 to 2000.

|4| Turgut Ozal (1927-1993) was Prime Minister from 1983 to 1989, then President of the Republic from 1989 to his death in 1993. He worked at the Bank in Washington from 1971 to 1973.

|5| D. Kapur, J. Lewis, R. Webb, 1997, vol. 1., note 60 p. 548.

|6| D. Kapur, J. Lewis, R. Webb, 1997, vol. 1., p. 548.

|7| In the mid-1980s Attila Karaosmanoglu became vice-president of the World Bank for East Asia and the Pacific. He had been responsible for hiring Turgut Ozal as head of planning in 1960 and was deputy Prime Minister immediately after the 1971 coup.

|8| Munir Benjenk was vice-president of the World Bank for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa all through the 1970s. Munir Benjenk was Robert McNamara’s direct advisor for Turkey.

|9| Later it would turn into quite a tradition with, for instance, Kemal Dervis, former vice president of the World Bank, becoming Turkey’s finance minister from March 2001 to August 2002. In 2005 Kemal Dervis became director of the UNDP.

|10| This continued in the 1990s and early 2000s.

|11| D. Kapur, J. Lewis, R. Webb, 1997, vol. 1., note 62, p. 549.

|12| At the time of the coup, tensions between the United States and Iran were very high since about a hundred American hostages were being detained in Teheran. The issue was at the core of the election campaign opposing Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter (running for a second term of office).

|13| D. Kapur, J. Lewis, R. Webb, 1997, vol. 1., p. 547.

|14| D. Kapur, J. Lewis, R. Webb, 1997, vol. 1., p. 550.

Sanctifying Malala: The Nobel Prize and Moral Alibis

October 12th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

Drones Kill So Malala Can Live.  Sign at a vigil, Pakistan, noted in The Nation, Oct 10, 2014

There were two recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize this year – the rather less known Kailish Satyarthi and near celebrity cherished Malala Yousafzai.  In awarding the prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee deftly ignored the perceived frontrunner, Pope Francis. Il Papa will have to wait his turn.

Those getting it will always be marred by the contradictions any peace prize suggests. The greatest of all remains the fact that the dynamite guru – Alfred Nobel himself – did as much for the cause of war as he decided his profits would supposedly do for peace. Peace was a sentimental afterthought.  Many winners of the prize have since kept this legacy alive: that of war maker turned peace maker; a fair share of hypocrisy, with a good share of feigned sincerity.

Satyarthi doesn’t seem to suffer those problems.  He made his name targeting the persistent use of child-labour in India.  In the business of freeing slaves, it is hard not to admire efforts that saw the freeing of over 80,000 children from a state of servitude.[1]

In contrast, the photogenic seventeen-year old Pakistani, Malala Yousafzai, is both the prop of an agenda, and the cause of a program. In 2012, she received life threatening wounds to the head from the Taliban for her stance on girls’ education in the SWAT valley.  In suffering those injuries, she gave a problem a face and voice.  She is also the perfect poster girl for Western middle-class anxieties, one which Zeynep Tufekci has described as “finding a young woman we admire that we all want to take home as if to put on a shelf to adore.”[2]

What of, argues historian Sarah Waheed, the Malalas you do not see?[3]  They are very much the victims of a dysfunctional relationship between Pakistan and the United States, one that is all too brutally characterised by the continued use of drone strikes and bundles of US aid.  “Unlike Malala Yousafzai… Madonna did not dedicate a song to them, nor has Angelina Jolie spoken out on their behalf.”  They are the faceless ones, the sort that celebrities so conspicuously resist.  Malala, on the other end, is ideological candy for the morally outraged in Hollywood and beyond.  She did, after all, survive.

The congratulatory tone is invariably gushing, and the Malala cheer squad is both heavily staffed and noisy with inspirational snippets.  Dominique Mosbergen, writing in The Huffington Post, gives eight reasons why Malala “is an inspiration to us all.”[4]  What are some of them?  Bravery, for one.  Another: tremendous compassion.  Importantly, Malala has to be seen as a universal figure, rather than one with particular aptitude in dealing with problems of education in her own country.  “Malala advocates for young women everywhere.”

Malala may well strike fear into the gun men of the Taliban.  She may well terrify, in her own specific way, the theocrats who stand guard over jaundiced traditions and archaic law.  “Armed men run scared of an unarmed girl.”  But something else is at work in what seems to be a form of witting, and unwitting deification.  It ignores, for instance, that she is being perceived in some quarters of her country as a symbol of Western sponsored interference.  (This takes the form, most blatantly, in the charge that she is a product of the CIA doll factory.)

Malala, in what is becoming something of a sanctification project, risks falling into the role of a moral cipher for a range of other causes in a global battle that is both political and cultural.  She is a moral reminder, but also an alibi for actions taken under the cover of improvement.  She has become a politicised Shirley Temple, a child politician of the developing world.  Her life under Taliban rule – which she no longer experiences by virtue of her move to Britain – is becoming the cudgel to use, be it in her statements against the Taliban, or her general pronouncements on the BBC reflecting on those harrowing experiences under their rule.

This is the tragedy of politics and morality – at a certain point, manipulation is unavoidable, be it through its own self-justifying propaganda, or basic sloganeering. The public relations watchers have quickly noted the “important binary” of selecting “a Pakistani Muslim” and “an Indian Hindu”.  “Their joint selection,” argues Elias Groll in Foreign Policy, “is an obvious nod towards the ongoing efforts to bring a peaceful end to Pakistan and India’s long-standing conflict with one another”.[5]

Weapons get sharpened in the name of what perceived justice is – even some of Pakistan’s liberal elite have allied their interests with US drone strikes aimed for a higher good.[6]  The funding institutes get busy.  The think tank circuits issue invitations.  A drooling press corps, and a hyperventilating blogosphere, finds in Malala another child crusader.  Her quotes are tweeted like a bestselling manual of self-help instructions – “12 powerful and inspiring quotes”.  Editor of the Pakistan Observer, Tariq Khattak, sees the crudest form of branding at work.   In his words to the BBC Newshour, Malala’s “father is a good salesman, that’s it.  And the daughter has also become a salesgirl.  And they are dancing on the tunes of the West.”[7]

There is the other side of the peace and education crusade. It is the political mettle that is coming to the fore, a cool yet discerning sense that she is becoming a figure in the folds of a contradictory history.  Malala, over time, has matured into a moving advertiser of causes, even telling CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that she intends leading Pakistan.  “Through politics, I believe I can serve my whole country.”

That maturity, however, is in an ever problematic dance with Malala the emblem – one that European and American voices can use in their cultural causes against other states even as villages get struck by the lethal work of drones.  Sainthood and martyrdom tend to be poor tools for measuring actual change.

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

Notes:

Under the influence of an intense disinformation campaign much of the world has tried its best to ignore the existence of the sovereign state of Novorossiya (Federativnoye Gosudarstvo Novorossiya).  The Western media when it does mention Novorossiya applies denigrating terms like self declared state, unrecognized state and even puppet republic to describe the status of Novorossiya.  In fact under international law, Novorossiya has the same status as any other member of the community nations – it is a sovereign independent nation.

The “gold standard” of statehood is the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States enacted in 1933 The Montevideo Convention requires an aspiring state to have it own territory, population, a functioning government and the ability to enter into relationships with other states.  Novorossiya while not currently in control of all its territory has maintained an undisputed presence in Lugansk and Donetsk backed up by a seasoned army and security forces. There is a sizeable population in Novorossiya despite ethnic cleansing attempts by the Ukraine government. There is a functioning government and diplomatic efforts are ongoing as evidenced by the Minsk process.  In a just and fair world then Novorossiya would be welcomed into the fold of sovereign nations as its newest member.  But the world is neither just nor fair and Novorossiya is attacked by enemies in the West and blocked on other fronts by economic sanctions and diplomatic boycotts.

Nonetheless, Novorossiya has friends. The Russian people of course overwhelmingly support this new nation and South Ossetia has welcomed Novorossiya by diplomatically recognizing it.  Diplomatic recognition is an important first step towards international legitimacy since South Ossetia itself is recognized by four UN member states – Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nauru.  More recognition for Novorossiya of course would be desirable but is not necessary to establish legitimacy.  Somaliland for example which has been sovereign since 1991 and is recognized by no other country yet has maintained its complete independence and conducts business worldwide, issues passports and currency, and defends itself without any disapproval from the major powers. Novorossiya unlike Somaliland is an industrialized nation in Europe and not on the periphery of Africa, its relevance as an independent nation is asdsured.

But how does this relate to war crimes committed by Kiev’s political elite, Ukrainian armed forces and so called volunteer brigades of fascists?  Before the brilliant tactical victory by the Novorossiya self defence forces that broke the blockade of Dontesk and Lugansk in late August  2014, it appeared as if the entire command and political infrastructure of Novorossiya might be in real danger of liquidation, summary arrest or exile if Ukrainian forces and their foreign mercenaries stormed Donetsk and Lugansk.  The very real scenario of another unfair UN sponsored tribunal like the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia) which mainly persecuted Serbs for defending themselves was looming large in the vent Ukraine prevailed.

Personally, on the 4 months anniversary of the Odessa I was thinking shame on the ICC (International Criminal Court) which has ignored the snipers of the Maidan and the paid thugs who burned innocents alive in Odessa.  And God forbid the UN set up show trials to demonize the defenders of Donetsk and Lugansk. As an international human rights lawyer I believed there had to be a way for justice to prevail. I wrote an article suggesting the Council of Europe, a separate organization from the biased European Union, of which both Ukraine and Russia member might be a possible sponsor of a war crimes tribunal. [See:www.globalresearch.ca/crimes-against-humanity-committed-by-kiev-regime-the-case-for-an-independent-ukrainian-war-crimes-tribunal/5399117 ]

One of the Council of Europe’s main organs is the European Court of Human Rights. I was thrilled when the day after my article was published; Foreign Minister Lavrov met with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland. However nothing concrete has emerged and under heavy pressure from the United States the Council of Europe has proven itself no friend to Novorossiya through its inaction and has seemingly become yet another loudspeaker for Kiev’s backers.

Nonetheless, a war crimes tribunal is an important weapon against fascism. Fascists thrive in dark places and times and hide their identities behind masks and hoods; the threat of exposure their identities and deeds scares them greatly.  Even during the worst days of the Second World War, Himmler eased his murder of the Jews in Hungary in fear of prosecution after the war. The cowards and the cravens in Kiev, who allow their forces to target schools and mass transit in Donetsk would likely modify their behaviour if they risked indictment for war crimes from a recognized tribunal.  But the Kiev regime is currently well protected by backers in United States and NATO and consequently is emboldened in its attempts to intimidate the people of Novorossiya.

Therefore Novorossiya itself as a sovereign state must seize the initiative.  Just as Novorossiya and only Novorossiya defended itself from Kiev, it is only Novorossiya that can move forward with a war crimes tribunal. Evidence and testimony has been already been collected and it is abundant.  Many of the perpetrators both high and low are known and the rest will be discovered. The enablers, propagandists and funders of genocide outside Ukraine are also numbered and known for the most part.  There is no lack of allegations or suspects. What is lacking is the mechanism to bring them to justice.

Currently, Novorossiya is isolated. The threat of sanctions against the companies and persons of those who might help has unfortunately made the cause of justice take a back seat to economics and politics. Yet Novorossiya can act against war criminals and not just symbolically. Section 107 of the Restatement (Second) of Foreign Relations Law of the United States [1965] states that:

“An entity not recognized as a state but meeting the requirements for recognition specified in § 100 [of controlling a territory and population and engaging in foreign relations], or an entity recognized as a state whose regime is not recognized as its government, has the rights of a state under international law in relation to a non-recognizing state…”

See also Article 74 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which states that “The severance or absence of diplomatic or consular relations between two or more States does not prevent the conclusion of treaties between those States.”  What all this means is that under international law Novorossiya may act avail itself of all the remedies under international law as long as some other states concur.

Novorossiya can set up not just a domestic tribunal but an international one that can reach beyond its borders. This is especially important because the war criminals are for the most, except for their foot soldiers, not on the borders of Novorossiya or inside the territory of Novorossiya.  The criminals are in Kharkiv, Denepetrovsk, Kiev, Lviv, Warsaw and beyond.  International reach is the key.  When the oppressed people of Ukraine finally wake out of their slumber and throw out the rascals in the Kiev government and cleanse the country of Nazis and corrupt oligarchs, the criminals will find a soft landing in Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada just as many blood stained Banderists did after Second World War.  The Vatican, MI6, and the predecessor to the CIA did all they could to help certain useful Nazis and their collaborators escape justice via the ratlines and find a new life as assets abroad. A repeat of this travesty of justice must be avoided as these rotten apples have a way of resurfacing later with their message of hate and ultra nationalism.

It is not enough to want justice for crimes.  It is not enough to investigate war crimes. The guilty must eventually be chased down and brought back to face justice for these efforts to be credible. The task is even more daunting when most of the major powers in the world are on the side of the killers.  Even the international organizations tasked with enforcing human rights, the ICC, the UN, and Council of Europe have abandoned their responsibilities to the people of Novorossiya.  Is a war crimes tribunal therefore a mission impossible?

A Modest Proposal

It is impressive that even in the midst of current battle for the Donetsk Airport brave people are collecting and documenting evidence of war crimes committed in the Donbass. The news media and human right activists from Russia have been particularly helpful. But who should be the recipient of the evidence? If the investigation of the downed Malaysian jetliner flight MH-17 is an indication of the sort of justice that can be found outside Novorossiya, I have serious doubts.. Evidence has been destroyed by the Ukrainian government, unfounded allegations of mass murder of innocent passenger of flight MH-17 levelled against not only Novorossiya but the Russian government which has been defamed by the press and politicians from Kiev to Kansas City. The Dutch team who are the lead investigators of the plane crash and from a NATO member state are susceptible to subtle and not so subtle pressure.  Everyone has been kept in the dark through a lack of transparency throughout the process.

On the other hand, why not turn the evidence over to a friendly country like Russia?  That also creates a problem.  Sanctions will flow like wine at a wedding and any results denied and discredited by a thousand naysayers in the Western press. I suggest Novorossiya must act on its own initiative against war criminals however not just domestically but internationally too.  As pointed out above, Novorossiya as a sovereign state may engage in foreign relations.  It can sue in the courts of other countries because it is an independent sovereign state under international law and its agencies are legal entities. Novorossiya may file cases with international tribunals. However, it is also blocked from membership in the major international organizations and the existing tribunals seem heavily prejudiced against Novorossiya.

Novorossiya therefore must set up its very own International Tribunal and give it independence to act in lieu of the UN, ICC, and Council of Europe. This bold act will result in recognition of the tribunal even when states may still shy away from recognizing Novorossiya itself. Progressive states will recognize the tribunal and its power to seize property and extradite criminals. Perhaps a third party country host can be found too.

But how can this be accomplished and who will do the work when the existence of Novorossiya still hangs in the balance? Much of the field investigation is being done already. However, the most important element is who will staff the Tribunal?  Yes people from Novorossiya and Russia but also lawyers and jurists from around the world who seek to advance the cause of justice should be encouraged to participate.  It is international participation and support that will give the proposed tribunal substance even as the UN and ICC have failed the people of Donetsk and Lugansk.

We live in a virtual world. While court rooms are still necessary, there exists the technology to supplement traditional methods of justice. Judges often conduct hearings via Internet while the accused are held elsewhere. Jurists and attorneys from around the world could act as judges, advocates for the defence and prosecution. International lawyers commissioned by Novorossiya could file actions to seize assets of blood stained Ukrainian oligarchs and politicians with bank accounts and property outside Ukraine for the benefit of the victims and their families. There are dozens of international lawyers who would help and they in turn know dozens more.

The war criminals are smug in the thought they have powerful friends outside Ukraine who will help them escape justice if their plans to subvert Ukraine and destroy the Donbass ultimately fail. Let us unleash a volunteer corps of a thousand lawyers linked by technology worldwide and undeterred by their governments. Novorossiya must give to them the commission to hunt down the war criminals and seize their assets. Give us lawyers the right to sue the merchants of death and destruction, the purveyors of deadly agitprop, and even the old networks of Nazis who are behind the Banderists.

Lawfare is a strategy of using law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective – in this case bring war criminals to justice and deter future crimes. The present day legal hurdles are surprisingly low and the proliferation of potential forums adds to the attractiveness of lawfare. Novorossiya can demonstrate standing and jurisdiction and is especially well situated to take advantage of lawfare. Legal action can be accomplished without loss of life or large scale deployment of assets. The only requirements are potential standing and a knowledgeable legal representative. A court filing often generates as much or more publicity than a military skirmish.

The world and its organizations have largely ignored, covered up or even condoned the war crimes committed against the people of Novorossiya.  The backers of fascism think they can act with impunity just as they did after the Second World War when Nazi war criminals used the Vatican run “ratline” to escape to South America and Spain. But the world has changed, technology and access to information has levelled the playing field. Novorossiya has demonstrated it can prevail against great odds on the battle field, now let the members of the international community who abhor war crimes use their skills and technology to make the seemingly impossible happen – to bring Kiev’s war criminals to justice.

The author, Dr. Jonathan Levy, is an attorney member of the International Criminal Bar and holds a PhD in Political Science.  He may be reached at [email protected]

First Published by WhoWhatWhy

Peter Dale Scott is considered the father of “Deep Politics”— the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected, appointed and career officials who come and go.

A Professor of English at Berkeley and a former Canadian diplomat, he is the author of several critically acclaimed books on the pivotal events of our country’s recent past, including Deep Politics and the Death of JFK ; Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina (War and Peace Library); The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America and  American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (War and Peace Library)He is also a poet, whose long work, Coming to Jakarta: A Poem about Terror, was hailed as “the most important political poem to appear in the English language in a very long time,” by Robert Hass, Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. 

01Daniel Ellsberg said of his book Drugs, Oil and War, “It makes most academic and journalistic explanations of our past and current interventions read like government propaganda written for children.”

What follows is based on a recent Scott lecture entitled “The JFK Assassination and Other Deep Events”, and will be expanded on further in his next book, The American Deep Statedue out in November.

***

For some time now, I have been analyzing American history in the light of what I have called structural deep events: events, like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, Iran-Contra, or 9/11, which repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, are mysterious to begin with, are embedded in ongoing covert processes, have political consequences that enlarge covert government, and are subsequently covered up by systematic falsifications in the mainstream media and internal government records.

The more I study these deep events, the more I see suggestive similarities between them, increasing the possibility that they are not unrelated external intrusions on American history, but parts of an endemic process, sharing to some degree or other a common source.

 A deep state event seen from deep space. New York City, 9/11.  NASA Photo

Image: Deep State Event—Deep View. New York City, 9/11. NASA Photo

For example, one factor linking Dallas, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11, has been the involvement in all four deep events of personnel involved in America’s highest-level emergency planning, known since the 1950s as Continuity of Government (COG) planning, or more colloquially inside the Pentagon as “the Doomsday Project.” A few of these actors may have been located at the top, as overseers of the secret COG system. Others – including some I shall talk about today – were located further down in its secret communications network.

I see this planning group as one among many in what I have chosen to call the American deep state, along with agencies like the CIA and NSA, the private groups like Booz Allen Hamilton to which more than half of the US intelligence budget is outsourced, and finally the powerful banks and corporations whose views are well represented in the CIA and NSA. But if only one group among many, the COG planning group is also special, because of its control of and access to a communications channel, not under government control, that can reach deeply into the US social structure. I discuss these matters at some length in my next book, The American Deep State, due out in November.

03COG planning was originally authorized by Truman and Eisenhower as planning for a response to a crippling atomic attack that had decapitated government. In consequence its planning group contemplated extreme measures, including what Alfonso Chardy in 1987 called “suspension of the Constitution.” And yet in Iran-Contra its asset of a secret communications network, developed for the catastrophe of decapitation, was used instead to evade an official embargo on arms sales to Iran that dated back to 1979. My question today is whether the network could have been similarly misused in November 1963.

The Iran-contra misuse has been well-documented. Oliver North supervised the sale of arms to Iran by using his resources as the National Security Council action officer for COG planning, under cover of a “National Program Office” that was overseen by then Vice-President George H. W.  Bush. North and his superiors could thus use the COG emergency network, known then as Flashboard, for the arms sales to Iran that had to be concealed from other parts of the Washington bureaucracy as well as the public. So when North had to send emergency instructions for arms delivery to the US Embassy in Lisbon, instructions that directly contravened the embargo prohibiting such sales, he used the Flashboard network to avoid alerting the Ambassador and other unwitting personnel.

04The documented example of Iran-Contra allows me to explain what I am saying about the users of the COG network, and also what I am not saying. To begin with, I am not saying that a single “Secret Team” has for decades been using the COG network to manipulate the US Government from outside it. There is no evidence to suggest that North’s actions in Iran-Contra were known to any of his superiors other than CIA chief William Casey and probably George Bush. The point is that a very small group had access to a high-level secret network outside government review, in order to implement a program in opposition to government policy. They succumbed to the temptation to use this secure network that had been designed for other purposes. I have argued elsewhere that this secure network was used again on 9/11, to implement key orders for which the 9/11 Commission could find no records. Whether it was also used for illicit purposes is not known.

It is certain that the COG emergency network program survived North’s demise, and continued to be secretly developed for decades, at a cost of billions, and overseen by a team including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. It is relevant that the two men’s presence on the committee spanned three administrations – those of Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton — even though at one point under Clinton neither man held a position inside the U.S. government. Such continuity was essential for a group so secret that few records existed of its activities. And on 9/11 COG plans were officially implemented for the first time, by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the two men who had planned them for so many years.

Whether or not they knew about Iran-Contra, Cheney and Rumsfeld were on the COG planning committee at the time of Iran-Contra. There is no such obvious link between COG planning and Watergate, but the involvement of COG personnel in Watergate is nonetheless striking. James McCord, one of the Watergate burglars, was a member of a small Air Force Reserve unit in Washington attached to the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) that was assigned “to draw up lists of radicals and to develop contingency plans for censorship of the news media and U.S. mail in time of war.” His unit was part of the Wartime Information Security Program (WISP), which had responsibility for activating “contingency plans for imposing censorship on the press, the mails and all telecommunications (including government communications) [and] preventive detention of civilian ‘security risks,’ who would be placed in military ‘camps.’” In addition, John Dean, perhaps the central Watergate figure, had overseen secret COG activities when serving as the associate deputy attorney general.

05In the case of the JFK assassination, I wish to focus on two men who functioned as part of the communications network of the Office of Emergency Planning (OEP), the agency renamed in 1968 as the Office of Emergency Preparedness (to which McCord was attached), and renamed again in 1982 as the National Program Office (for which Oliver North was the action officer).

These two men (there are others) are Winston Lawson, the Secret Service advance man who from the lead car of the motorcade was in charge of the Secret Service radio channels operating in the motorcade; and Jack Crichton, the army intelligence reserve officer who with Deputy Dallas Police Chief George Lumpkin selected the Russian interpreter for Marina Oswald’s first (and falsified) FBI interview.

Lawson has drawn the critical attention of JFK researchers, both for dubious actions he took before and during the assassination, and also for false statements he made after it (some of them under oath). For example, Lawson reported after the assassination that motorcycles were deployed on “the right and left flanks of the President’s car” (17 WH 605). On the morning of November 22, however, the orders had been changed (3 WH 244), so that the motorcycles rode instead, as Lawson himself testified to the Warren Commission, “just back of the President’s car” (4 WH 338; cf. 21 WH 768-70). Captain Lawrence of the Dallas Police testified that that the proposed side escorts were redeployed to the rear on Lawson’s own instructions (7 WH 580-81; cf. 18 WH 809, 21 WH 571). This would appear to have left the President more vulnerable to a possible crossfire.

Early on November 22, at Love Field, Lawson installed, in what would become the lead car, the base radio whose frequencies were used by all Secret Service agents on the motorcade. This radio channel, operated by the White House Communications Agency (WHCA), was used for some key decisions before and after the assassination, yet its records, unlike those of the Dallas Police Department (DPD) Channels One and Two, were never made available to the Warren Commission, or any subsequent investigation. The tape was not withheld because it was irrelevant; on the contrary, it contained very significant information.

06The WHCA actually reports to this day on its website that the agency was “a key player in documenting the assassination of President Kennedy.” However it is not clear for whom this documentation was conducted, or why it was not made available to the Warren Commission, the House Select Committee on Assassinations, or the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). It should have been.

For one thing, the WHCA tape, as Vincent Palamara has written, contains the “key” to the unresolved mystery of who, after the shooting, redirected the motorcade to Parkland hospital. The significance of this apparently straightforward command, about which there was much conflicting testimony, is heightened when we read repeated orders on the Dallas Police radio transcript to “cut all traffic for the ambulance going to Parkland code 3” (17 WH 395) – the ambulance in question having nothing to do with the president (whose shooting had not yet been announced on the DPD radio). In fact the ambulance had been dispatched about ten minutes before the assassination to pick someone from in front of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD), who was wrongly suspected of having suffered an epileptic seizure.

Lawson later reported to the Secret Service that he heard on his radio “that we should proceed to the nearest hospital.” He wrote also that he “requested Chief Curry to have the hospital contacted,” and then that “Our Lead Car assisted the motorcycles in escorting the President’s vehicle to Parkland Hospital” (17 WH 632), cf. 21 WH 580). In other words, after hearing something on the WHCA radio, Lawson helped ensure that the President’s limousine would follow the route already set up by the motorcycles for the epileptic. (In his very detailed Warren Commission testimony, Lawson said nothing about the route having already been cleared. On the contrary he testified that “we had to do some stopping of cars and holding our hands out the windows and blowing the sirens and horns to get through” (4 WH 354).

The WHCA radio channel used by Lawson and others communicated almost directly to the WHCA base at Mount Weather in Virginia, the base facility of the COG network. From there, Secret Service communications were relayed to the White House, via the

batteries of communications equipment connecting Mount Weather with the White House and “Raven Rock” — the underground Pentagon sixty miles north of Washington — as well as with almost every US military unit stationed around the globe.

Jack Crichton, head of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit of Dallas, was also part of this Mount Weather COG network. This was in his capacity as chief of intelligence for Dallas Civil Defense, which worked out of an underground Emergency Operating Center. As Russ Baker reports, “Because it was intended for ‘continuity of government’ operations during an attack, [the Center] was fully equipped with communications equipment.” In retrospect the Civil Defense Program is remembered derisively, for having advised schoolchildren, in the event of an atomic attack, to hide their heads under their desks.But in 1963 civil defense was one of the urgent responsibilities assigned to the Office of Emergency Planning, which is why Crichton, as much as Secret Service agent Lawson, could be in direct touch with the OEP’s emergency communications network at Mount Weather.

07Jack Crichton is of interest because he, along with DPD Deputy Chief George Lumpkin of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit, was responsible for choosing a Russian interpreter for Marina Oswald from the right-wing Russian community. This man was Ilya Mamantov, who translated for Marina Oswald at her first DPD interview on November 22. What she allegedly said in Russian at this interview was later used to bolster what I have called the “phase one” story, still promoted from some CIA sources, that Russia and/or Cuba were behind the assassination.

As summarized by the FBI, Mamantov’s account of Marina’s Russian testimony was as follows:

MARINA OSWALD advised that LEE HARVEY OSWALD owned a rifle which he used in Russia about two years ago. She observed what she presumed to be the same rifle in a blanket in the garage at [Ruth Paine’s residence]…. MARINA OSWALD stated that on November 22, she had been shown a rifle in the Dallas Police Department…. She stated that it was a dark color like the one that she had seen, but she did not recall the sight.

These specific details – that Marina said she had seen a rifle that was dark and scopeless – were confirmed in an affidavit (signed by Marina and Mamantov, 24 WH 219) that was taken by DPD officer B.L. Senkel (24 WH 249). They were confirmed again by Ruth Paine, who witnessed the Mamantov interview, (3 WH 82). They were confirmed again the next night in an interview of Marina by the Secret Service, translated by Mamantov’s close friend Peter Gregory. But a Secret Service transcript of the interview reveals that the source of these details was Gregory, not Marina:

(Q) This gun, was it a rifle or a pistol or just what kind of a gun? Can she answer that?

(A) It was a gun

Mr. Gregory asked: Can you describe it?

NOTE: Subject said: I cannot describe it because a rifle to me like all rifles.

Gregory translation: She said she cannot describe it. It was sort of a dark rifle just like any other common rifle…

Subject in Russian: It was a hump (or elevation) but I never saw through the scope….

Gregory translation: She says there was an elevation on the rifle but there was no scope – no telescope.

We have to conclude not just that Gregory had falsified Marina’s testimony (“a rifle to me like all rifles”); but so probably had his friend Mamantov, who later testified no less than seven times to the Warren Commission that Marina had used the word “dark” to describe the gun. There were others in Dallas who claimed that Oswald’s gun indeed had been scopeless, until Oswald had a scope installed on it by Dallas gunsmith Dial Ryder. The Warren Report elaborately refuted this corroborated claim, and concluded that “the authenticity of the repair tag” used to support it was “subject to grave doubts.” (WR 317).

We can see here, what the Warren Commission did not wish to see, signs of a conspiracy to misrepresent Marina’s testimony, and possibly to link Oswald’s gun to a dark and scopeless rifle he had in the Soviet Union. Our concerns that Mamantov misrepresented her lead us to concerns about why two Army Intelligence Reserve officers from the 488th unit (Jack Crichton and Deputy DPD Chief George Lumpkin) selected Mamantov as her interpreter. Our concerns are increased when we see that B.L. Senkel, the DPD officer who took Marina’s suspect affidavit, was the partner of F.P. Turner, who collected the dubious rifle repair tag (24 WH 328), and that both men spent most of November 22 with DPD Deputy Chief Lumpkin. For example, they were with Lumpkin in the pilot car of the motorcade when Lumpkin was communicating with Winston Lawson in the lead car behind them.

I conclude that when we look at the conduct of the two men we know to have been parts of the COG emergency communications network in Dallas, we see patterns of sinister behavior that also involved others, or what we may call conspiratorial behavior. These concatenated efforts to implicate Oswald in a phase-one conspiracy narrative lead me to propose a hypothesis for which I have neither evidence nor an alternative explanation: namely, that someone on the WHCA network may have been the source for the important unexplained description on the Dallas Police tapes of a suspect who had exactly the false height and weight (5 feet 10 inches, 165 pounds) recorded for Oswald in his FBI and CIA files.

08Note that there are no other known sources ascribing this specific height and weight to Oswald. For example, when he was arrested and charged in Dallas that same day, Oswald was recorded as having a height of 5’9 ½ inches, and a weight of 131 pounds. The first reference to Oswald as 5’10”, 165 pounds, was that offered by Oswald’s mother Marguerite to FBI Agent Fain in May 1960, when Oswald himself was absent in Russia.

The DPD officer contributing the description on the Police Channel was Inspector Herbert Sawyer, who allegedly had heard it from someone outside the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) whom he could not identify or describe. The Warren Report said categorically that his source was Howard Brennan (WR 5), and that on the evening of November 22, Brennan “identified Oswald as the person in the lineup who bore the closest resemblance to the man in the window but he said that he was unable to make a positive identification” (WR 145). But there are many reasons to doubt this, starting with conflicts in Brennan’s own testimony (as Anthony Summers reported in Conspiracy, pp. 109-10) . And Ian Griggs has made a strong case that Brennan never saw Oswald in a line-up that evening. (There are police records placing Oswald in three line-ups that day, and corroborating witness reports of them; but there is no evidence whatever that Brennan attended any of the three.)

There is another strong reason to doubt that the source was Brennan. Brennan testified later to the Warren Commission that he saw his suspect in a window of the Texas School Book Depository, “standing up and leaning against the left window sill.” Pressed to describe how much of the suspect he saw, Brennan answered, “I could see probably his whole body, from his hips up. But at the time that he was firing the gun, a possibility from his belt up” (3 WH 144).

The awkwardness of Brennan’s language draws attention to the fundamental problem about the description. It is hard to imagine anyone giving a full height and weight estimate from seeing someone who was only partially visible in a window. So there are intrinsic grounds for believing the description must have come from another source. And when we see that the same description is found in Oswald’s FBI and CIA files — and nowhere else – there are reasons to suspect the source was from government secret files.

We have seen that there was interaction in Dallas between the WHCA and DPD radio channels, thanks to the WHCA portable radio that Lawson had installed in the lead car of the presidential motorcade. This radio in turn was in contact by police radio with the pilot car ahead of it, carrying Dallas Police Department (DPD) Deputy Chief Lumpkin of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit. At the same time, as noted above, it was in contact with the COG nerve center at Mount Weather, Virginia. And Mount Weather had the requisite secret communications to receive information from classified intelligence files, without other parts of the government being alerted.

Mount Weather COG Nerve Center

Image: Mount Weather COG Nerve Center

Permit me at this moment an instructive digression. It is by now well established that Kennedy in 1963 was concerned enough by “the threat of far-right treason” that he urgently persuaded Hollywood director John Frankenheimer “to turn [the novel] Seven Days in May into a movie.” In this book, to quote Wikipedia, a charismatic superior officer, Air Force General James Mattoon Scott, intend[s] to stage a coup d’état …. According to the plan, an undisclosed Army combat unit known as ECOMCON (Emergency COMmunications CONtrol) will seize control of the country’s telephone, radio, and television networks, while the conspiracy directs the military and its allies in Congress and the media from “Mount Thunder” (a continuity of government base based on Mount Weather).

It is no secret also that in 1963 Kennedy had aroused major right-wing dissatisfaction, largely because of signs of his increasing rapprochement with the Soviet Union. The plot of the book and movie reflects the concern of liberals at the time about generals like General Edwin Walker, who had resigned in 1961 after Kennedy criticized his political activities in the Army. (Walker had given his troops John Birch Society literature, along with the names of right-wing candidates to vote for.) We can assume however that Kennedy had no firm evidence of a Mount Weather conspiracy: if he had, it is unlikely his response would have just been to sponsor a fictionalized movie.

It is important at this stage to point out that, although COG elements like Mount Weather were considered part of the Pentagon, the COG “government in waiting” was at no time under military control. On the contrary, President Eisenhower had ensured that it was broadly based at the top, so its planners included some of the nation’s top corporate leaders, like Frank Stanton of CBS. By all accounts of COG leadership in the decades after Reagan took office in 1981, this so-called “shadow government” still included CEOs of private corporations, like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, as well as three former CIA directors: Richard Helms, James Schlesinger, and George Bush.

Alfonso Chardy wrote in 1987 that the “virtual parallel government” empowering North to run Iran-Contra had also developed “a secret contingency plan that called for suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the United States over to FEMA.” Subsequently North was questioned in the Iran-Contra Hearings about this charge, but was prevented by the Committee Chairman, Democratic Senator Inouye, from answering in a public session.

Later, investigating the powerful COG planning group, CNN called it “a hidden government [in the USA] about which you know nothing.” James Mann emphasized its hawkish continuity, unaffected by changes of presidency in the White House:

Cheney and Rumsfeld were, in a sense, a part of the permanent, though hidden, national security apparatus of the United States, inhabitants of a world in which Presidents come and go, but America always keeps on fighting.”

Cheney and Rumsfeld in 1974

Image: Cheney and Rumsfeld in 1974

Going one step further, Andrew Cockburn quoted a Pentagon source to support a claim that a COG planning group under Clinton was now for the first time staffed “almost exclusively with Republican hawks.” In the words of his source, “You could say this was a secret government-in-waiting. The Clinton administration was extraordinarily inattentive, [they had] no idea what was going on.”

The Pentagon official’s description of COG planners as a “secret government-in-waiting” under Clinton (which still included both Cheney and Rumsfeld) is very close to the standard definition of a cabal, as a group of persons secretly united to bring about a change or overthrow of government. A very similar situation existed under Jimmy Carter, when some of those who would later figure in Iran-Contra (notably George H.W. Bush and Theodore Shackley) worked with chiefs of foreign intelligence services (the so-called Safari Club) “to start working with [former DCI Richard] Helms [then U.S. Ambassador to Iran] and his most trusted operatives outside of Congressional and even Agency purview.” This group began by backing guerrilla forces in Africa (notably UNITA of Jonas Savimbi in Angola), which they knew would not be backed by the CIA under William Colby or Stansfield Turner.

But some of these figures, notably Alexandre de Marenches of the French spy agency SDECE, became involved with Casey, Bush, Shackley, and others in a 1980 plot – the so-called Republican “October Surprise” – to prevent the reelection of Jimmy Carter. The essence of this plot was to frustrate Carter’s efforts to repatriate the hostages seized in the U.S. Tehran Embassy, by negotiating a Republican deal with the Iranians that would be more to their liking. (The hostages in fact were returned hours after Reagan took office in 1981.)

This Republican hostage plot in 1980 deserves to be counted as a fifth structural deep event in recent US history. Unquestionably the illicit contacts with Iran established by the October Surprise Group in 1980 became, as Alfonso Chardy wrote, the “genesis” of the Iran-Contra arms deals overseen by the COG/ Mount Weather planners in 1984-86.

In an important interview with journalist Robert Parry, the veteran CIA officer Miles Copeland claimed that a “CIA within the CIA” inspired the 1980 plot, having concluded by 1980 that Jimmy Carter (in Copeland’s words) “had to be removed from the presidency for the good of the country.” Copeland made it clear to Parry that he shared this view that Carter “represented a grave threat to the nation,” and former Mossad agent Ari Ben-Menashe told Parry that Copeland himself was in fact “the conceptual father” of the 1980 arms-for-hostages deal, and had “brokered [the] Republican cooperation with Israel.” And Copeland, together with his client Adnan Khashoggi whom he advised, went on with Shackley to help launch the 1984-85 Iranian arms deals as well.

However, just as Knebel in Seven Days may have overestimated the military component in the COG Mount Weather

Peter Dale Scott, Russ Baker, David Talbot, Daniel Ellsberg, Jefferson Morley at a recent lunch

Image: Peter Dale Scott, Russ Baker, David Talbot, Daniel Ellsberg, Jefferson Morley at a recent lunch

leadership, so Copeland may have dwelt too exclusively on the CIA component behind the October Surprise Group. In The Road to 9/11, I suggested that this CIA network overlapped with a so-called “Project Alpha,” working at the time for David Rockefeller and the Chase Manhattan Bank on Iran issues, which was chaired by the veteran establishment figure John J. McCloy.

I will conclude by again quoting James Mann’s dictum that the Mount Weather COG leadership constitutes a “permanent, though hidden, national security apparatus of the United States, … a world in which Presidents come and go, but America always keeps on fighting.” And I would like this audience to investigate whether elements of this enduring leadership, with its ever-changing mix of CIA veterans and civilian leaders, may have constituted “a secret government-in-waiting,” not just under Clinton in the 1990s, not just under Carter in 1980, but also under Kennedy in November 1963.

Notes:

[1] Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014 [forthcoming]). 1.

[2] For a partial list of anomalies between the JFK assassination and 9/11, see Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (New York: Skyhorse, 2013), 341-96.

[3] Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 6.

[4] Alfonso Chardy, “Reagan Aides and the Secret Government,” Miami Herald, July 5, 1987, http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=9877: “Some of President Reagan’s top advisers have operated a virtual parallel government outside the traditional Cabinet departments and agencies almost from the day Reagan took office, congressional investigators and administration officials have concluded.”

[5] Iran-Contra Committee Counsel Arthur Liman, questioning Oliver North, “had North repeat his testimony that the diversion was Casey’s idea” (Arthur Liman, Lawyer: a life of counsel and controversy [New York: Public Affairs, 1998], 341).

[6] James Bamford, A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the abuse of America’s intelligence agencies (New York: Doubleday, 2004), 72.

[7] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 213-14, 219-29.

[8] Bamford, A Pretext for War, 71-81.

[9] Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All the President’s Men (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), 23.

[10] Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (New York: Random House, 1984), 16. For more on WISP, see David Wise, The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, Secrecy, and Power (New York: Random House, 1973), 134-37.

[11] John Dean, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush (New York: Little Brown, 2004), 120. In addition Howard Baker, in 1973 the ranking Republican member of the Senate Committee that investigated Watergate, was later  part of the COG secret leadership (CNN Special Assignment, November 17, 1991).

[12] James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004), 142.

[13] Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. 9, p.106 (or 9 WH 106) ; Scott, Deep Politics, 275-76; Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2009), 119-22.

[14] “White House Communications Agency,” Signal Corps Regimental History, http://signal150.army.mil/white_house_communications_agency.html.

[15] In the 1990s the WHCA supplied statements to the ARRB concerning communications between Dallas and Washington on November 22 (NARA #172-10001-10002 to NARA #172-10000-10008).  The Assassination Records Review Board also attempted to obtain from the WHCA the unedited original tapes of conversations from Air Force One on the return trip from Dallas, November 22, 1963. (Edited and condensed versions of these tapes had been available since the 1970s from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, Texas.) The attempt was unsuccessful: “The Review Board’s repeated written and oral inquiries of the White House Communications Agency did not bear fruit. The WHCA could not produce any records that illuminated the provenance of the edited tapes.” See Assassinations Records Review Board: Final Report, chapter 6, Part 1, 116, http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/review-board/report/chapter-06-part1.pdf.

[16] 17 WH 394-95, 23 WH 841; 17 WH 368, 395; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 273-74, 278. The alleged epileptic walked away from the ambulance after it arrived at Highland (Warren Commission Document 1245, 6-10).

[17] Statement of Special Agent Winston E. Lawson [to Secret Service],” 17 WH 632; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 278.

[18] Richard Pollock, “The Mysterious Mountain,” The Progressive, March, 1976; cf. “Mount Weather’s ‘Government-in-Waiting,’” http://www.serendipity.li/jsmill/mt_weather.htm.

[19] Russ Baker, Family of Secrets, 121.

[20] Dee Garrison , Bracing for Armageddon: Why Civil Defense Never Worked

(New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 46.

[21] Warren Commission Exhibit 1778, 23 WH 383-84.

[22] Commission Document 344 – SS Howard Tape Copy of 01 Dec 1963, p. 23.

[23] Lee Harvey Oswald fingerprint card, 17 WH 308. The heaviest Oswald actually weighed was 150 pounds, when he left the Marines in 1959 (19 WH 584, 595).

[24] FBI report by Special Agent Fain, dated May 12, 1960, 17 WH 706. In the same report Marguerite named Oswald’s father as “Edward Lee Oswald.” His actual name was Robert Edward Lee Oswald (WR 669-70).

[25] Testimony of Inspector Herbert Sawyer, 6 WH 321-22:  “I remember that he was a white man and that he wasn’t young and he wasn’t old.” Cf. Dallas Police Channel Two Tape at 12:25 PM (23 WH 916).

[26] Ian Griggs, “Did Howard Leslie Brennan Really Attend an Identification Lineup?”

http://spot.acorn.net/jfkplace/09/fp.back_issues/28th_Issue/id_draft.html.

[27] Statement of Secret Service Winston Lawson, 17 WH 630: “I checked with Chief Curry as to location of Lead Car [at  Love Field] and had WHCA portable radio put in and checked.”

[28] “The lead car was in radio contact with the pilot car by police radio, and with the Presidential limousine by Secret Service portable radios” (Pamela McElwain-Brown, “The Presidential Lincoln Continental SS-100-X,” Dealey Plaza Echo, Volume 3, Issue 2, 23, http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=16241&relPageId=27). Cf. Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 272-75 (Lumpkin).

[29] David Talbot, Brothers: the hidden history of the Kennedy years (New York: Free Press, 2007), 148.

[30] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Days_in_May.

[31] Jonathan M. Schoenwald, A time for choosing: the rise of modern American conservatism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), .

[32] Hope Yen, “Eisenhower Letters Reveal Doomsday Plan: Citizens Tapped to Take Over in Case of Attack,” AP, Deseret News, March 21, 2004, http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595050502/Eisenhower-letters-reveal-doomsday-plan.html?pg=all.

[33] CNN Special Assignment, November 17, 1991.

[34] Alfonso Chardy, “Reagan Aides and the Secret Government,” Miami Herald, July 5, 1987, http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=9877: “Some of President Reagan’s top advisers have operated a virtual parallel government outside the traditional Cabinet departments and agencies almost from the day Reagan took office, congressional investigators and administration officials have concluded.”

[35] Iran-Contra Committee Counsel Arthur Liman, questioning Oliver North, “had North repeat his testimony that the diversion was Casey’s idea” (Arthur Liman, Lawyer: a life of counsel and controversy [New York: Public Affairs, 1998], 341). Cf. The “October Surprise” allegations and the circumstances surrounding the release of the American hostages held in Iran: report of the Special Counsel to Senator Terry Sanford and Senator James M. Jeffords of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Volume 4, p. 33 (October Surprise Group).

[36] CNN Special Assignment, November 17, 1991.

[37] James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans, 145.

[38] Andrew Cockburn, Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy (New York: Scribner, 2007), 88.

[39] Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to terror: the rogue CIA and the legacy of America’s private intelligence network (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005), 61.

[40] Piero Gleijeses, Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, [2013]), 66-68; Elaine Windrich, “The Laboratory of Hate: The Role of Clandestine Radio in the Angolan War,” International Journal of Cultural Studies 3(2), 2000.

[41] Alfonso Chardy, “Reagan Aides and the Secret Government,” Miami Herald, July 5, 1987, http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=9877: “The group, led by campaign foreign policy adviser Richard Allen, was founded out of concern Carter might pull off an “October surprise” such as a last-minute deal for the release of the hostages before the Nov. 4 election. One of the group’s first acts was a meeting with a man claiming to represent Iran who offered to release the hostages to Reagan.

Allen — Reagan’s first national security adviser— and another campaign aide, Laurence Silberman, told The Herald in April of the meeting. they said McFarlane, then a Senate Armed Services Committee aide, arranged and attended it. McFarlane later became Reagan’s national security adviser and played a key role in the Iran-contra affair. Allen and Silberman said they rejected the offer to release the hostages to Reagan.” [The Iranian was Houshang Lavi, and after Lavi’s death Robert Parry confirmed from Lavi’s diary that the meeting did take place].

[42] Alfonso Chardy, “Reagan Aides and the Secret Government,” Miami Herald, July 5, 1987, http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=9877.

[43] “America’s False History Allows the Powerful to Commit Crimes Without Consequence,” Mark Karlin Interview of Robert Parry, January 15, 2013, Truthout Interview, http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/13904-americas-false-history-allows-the-powerful-to-commit-crimes-without-consequence.

[44] Robert Parry, Trick or Treason, 175.

[45] Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America

(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 81-83, 88. A key figure was CIA veteran and Copeland friend Archibald Roosevelt, in 1980 a Carter foe and also  employee of the Chase Manhattan Bank.

[46] Mann, Rise of the Vulcans, 145.

1997 witnessed the birth of one of the most pivotal American think tanks in modern times, whose ideas and objectives would come to shape the foreign policy of the United States (U.S.) for decades to come. The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) was founded by William Kristol, the chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle during the Bush senior administration, and Robert Kagan, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The PNAC group’s stated objectives included the desire to “shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests” along with challenging “regimes hostile to U.S. interest and values”.

Prominent individuals who belonged to the think tank include some of the most influential politicians in America’s recent history, including the former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Vice President of the U.S. during the George W. Bush administration, Dick Cheney, the ex President of the World Bank and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs under Ronald Regan. In September 2000, the PNAC group released a document titled: ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses – Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century’, in which the group discusses the need for the U.S. to assert its military authority around the globe to secure its strategic objectives:

“Preserving the desirable strategic situation in which the United States now finds itself requires a globally preeminent military capability both today and in the future (p.8).”

Premeditated Wars

The report then continues to advocate an increase in military spending to enable this “military capability” as well as asserting one year before 9/11 that all this would be unlikely to manifest unless there was a “new Pearl Harbour” event (p.63). In addition, the document lists a number of regimes that the group viewed as “deeply hostile to America”. “North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria” (p.63 & p.64) are all pinpointed as enemies of the U.S. well before the illegal war in Iraq in 2003, as well as the illegal 2011 war in Libya and the ongoing proxy war in Syria.

Further evidence was revealed in 2007 that supports the thesis that wars are premeditated by the Anglo-American elite for years prior to them being launched. This was when retired four star general and former NATO commander, Wesley Clark, disclosed a plan circulating around the Pentagon in 2001 to attack 7 countries in 5 years. The countries named mirror the ones targeted by the PNAC group, as Iraq, Syria, Iran and Libya were all listed in addition to Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan.

The reality is that all the wars of the past and the future are planned well in advance of the public ever hearing our morally repugnant politicians demanding action. Countries that resist being absorbed into the Anglo-American-European international order and allow multinational corporations to exploit their resources, are targeting for regime change well in advance of the pretext they give to intervene.

Israel is also set to benefit if the government of al-Assad is replaced with a client state of the West. A study group led by neocon Richard Perle prepared a policy document in 1996 for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, titled: ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’, in which it outlines the strategic importance of removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq as well as the desire to weaken the regime in Syria:

“Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

Russian FM: Airstrikes on Islamic State could be used to Weaken Assad

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the world last month that the US-led airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) in Syria could also target Syrian government forces in an attempt to “weaken the positions of Bashar al-Assad’s army”. U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Samantha Power, recently reiterated that Washington’s objective in Syria is the removal of al-Assad from power in Damascus and that the “moderate Syrian opposition provides the best alternative to the al-Assad regime”. What Power omits from her statement though is that IS is a key part of the “Syrian opposition” and has been battling the Syrian government – with the financing and support of the west – for years now. The reality is that the al-Assad regime will remain in power for decades to come unless the Western elite is able to justify military strikes against key military and energy targets inside Syria.

A History of Turkish False Flag Attacks on Syria

 An article by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh in April of this year titled: ‘The Rat Line and the Red Line’, argues that the gas attack last year in Ghouta was an attack carried out by the Syrian rebels with the planning of Turkish authorities as opposed to the Syrian government. In the article Hersh quotes a former intelligence official as stating: ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line’. As soon as the gas attack hit the mainstream press in the West, the calls for war went into overdrive. War was only averted due to massive public opposition to the move which forced the British parliament to vote against intervention in Syria, as well as the Russian government brokering a deal to place the Syrian government’s chemical weapons supplies under international control.

The notion that Turkey is capable of planning such a malevolent attack was strengthened when officials from the top echelons of the Turkish government were caught red handed discussing a false flag attack on their own territory, in order to justify a war with Syria earlier this year. The officials are heard discussing the possibility that they could arrange an attack on the tomb of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman Shah, which is situated in a Turkish enclave in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkish intelligence is heard saying in the leaked audio tape: “We can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah’s tomb if necessary”, Fidan continues, “Listen, listen commander if it’s a pretext we’ll give you one. I’ll send over four men and have them fire right rockets on an empty lot. That’s not the problem, pretexts can be arranged.

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

Hong Kong’s Identity Crisis

October 11th, 2014 by Ulson Gunnar

When Anson Chan sat before an audience in Washington DC earlier this year giving a talk at the National Endowment for Democracy sponsored “Why Democracy in Hong Kong Matters” event, she claimed that Hong Kong was suffering from an identity crisis.

Chan would claim,

“we are facing an identity crisis in Hong Kong, particularity in the younger generation, people born after 1987 whose never known life other than under Chinese sovereignty. Hong Kong people pride themselves on the fact that we have an identity that is separate from the rest of China, we have core values rooted firmly in the rule of law, an open transparent accountable government, in protecting the rights and freedoms that we enjoyed under British colonial rule and which are protected under our constitution, the Basic Law. But today we see all these values being eroded.”

Indeed, Hong Kong does face an identity crisis. It has irreversibly become once again a part of China after 142 years of foreign occupation by Britain. China now is a nation rising upon the world’s stage, exercising increasingly what could be called “soft power” and developing its own institutions, organizations and laws to manage society and to conduct business both within China’s territory and beyond it. What is eroding is not “the rule of law” or any of the other values Chan cited, but rather the West’s versions of them as they existed under British colonial rule. These versions are being supplanted and incrementally replaced by China’s own institutions, legal and socioeconomic structures as they should be.

What is left of British colonial rule over Hong Kong was originally designed to serve the British Empire, or in other words, emptying out the resources and prosperity of foreign lands, and consolidating it on behalf of London.

Later during the event in Washington, Anson Chan along with Martin Lee, a political activist, lawyer, former legislator and now co-organizers of the ongoing Occupy Central protests, would be confronted with the fact that mainland Chinese cities like Shanghai appear positioned to overtake Hong Kong as a regional financial center.

Both Chan and Lee would insist that Hong Kong’s devotion to the vestigial institutions left over from nearly a century and a half of British occupation were not only the keys to Hong Kong’s past success, but the keys also to its future success as well as in maintaining its primacy as a financial and trade center for both China and greater Asia.

If that were truly the case, how is it then that Shanghai and in particular the Lujiazui development zone could rise above Hong Kong? It would appear that Beijing is just as capable as the British Empire in creating the conditions necessary for prosperity and economic growth.

China’s reforms over the past several decades have allowed it to emulate the institutions and infrastructure necessary for a prosperous society developed by its former occupiers, but without resigning sovereignty to those nations that have already monopolized such institutions and infrastructure throughout much of the rest of the world. The very characteristics Anson Chan cites as the keys to Hong Kong’s success are being employed by Beijing within its own cities. The only difference between Hong Kong and the leftovers of British colonialism Chan is so enamored with, and growing cities like Shanghai, is that Hong Kong’s institutions and infrastructure are still subjected to direct foreign influence.

Holdovers like Chan represent colonial collaborators who cannot accept the return to China of Hong Kong, nor can imagine a life without being a cog within an Anglo-American world order.

With this in mind, Hong Kong’s identity crisis can be truly diagnosed. It is not what constitutes Hong Kong’s special administrative territory, but rather who primarily influences it. Until now, that has been Anglo-American interests. With China’s growing influence abroad, it is able to better project influence domestically over territory like Hong Kong traditionally sheltered and entwined with foreign interests.

Anson Chan is wrong. Hong Kong’s identity crisis is not so much about the keys to its success being “eroded,” but rather who now holds those keys. For Anson Chan, her former British colonial masters have had their grip loosened, while Hong Kong’s rightful owners prepare to pry those keys out of their hands for good and employ them for Beijing’s not Great Britain’s benefit.

Ironically, as Chan, Lee and other proponents and leaders of the Occupy Central movement sow unrest in Hong Kong’s streets, creating hostility between Hong Kong and the rest of China as well as doubt in the mind of business owners and investors, it will only make Shanghai and other cities appear more attractive as centers of financial transactions. As with any identity crisis, a decision must be made for those like Chan and others across Hong Kong. Will they insist on defending crumbling colonial institutions and ideals? Or will they find a new and constructive role within China?

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Nestled between Russia and China, Mongolia is a geographically obscure country with the sparsest population density in the world. It isn’t exactly what comes to mind when one thinks of East Asian or Pacific economic opportunities, yet for Russia, Mongolia is the key that it needs to unlock strategic relations with South Korea. Ulaanbaatar’s unique Third Neighbor Policy has allowed it to cultivate favorable relations with Seoul, and coupled with its valuable coal reserves and rare earth minerals, it has just the type of resources that South Korea needs. By bridging the geographic divide between the two, Russia stands to gain by entering into a strategic and multifaceted partnership with South Korea that proves the seriousness of its Pacific Pivot and could potentially transform Northeast Asian affairs.

Mongolia’s Third Neighbor Policy

Mongolia has historically been in the Russian sphere of influence, but after 1991, the country spearheaded the so-called Third Neighbor Policy to diversify its relations in the post-Cold War world. This saw it reaching out in economic, political, and military (although largely benign) ways to distant partners such as the EU and NATO, as well as closer ones such as Japan and South Korea. The guiding philosophy behind this policy was that Mongolia did not want to be dominated by either Russia or China, the latter of which it secured its independence from in 1911 after centuries of control. This concept will be important in later understanding Mongolia’s anticipated role in bringing together Russia and South Korea.

Oyu-Tolgoi-333-300x250

Image: Although securing significant natural resource investment from leading Western companies such as Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines and the UK’s Rio Tinto, it still sells 90% of its natural wealth to China, creating just the type of dependency that it had earlier sought to avoid.

Mongolia’s Chinese Dependency

Mongolia has thus been faced with the dilemma of interacting with the wider world while still being dependent on its neighbors for physical trade networks. Although securing significant natural resource investment from leading Western companies such as Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines and the UK’s Rio Tinto, it still sells 90% of its natural wealth to China, creating just the type of dependency that it had earlier sought to avoid. The fact that 20% of Mongolia’s GDP is dependent on mining, and growth in this field has allowed the country’s GDP to be the world’s fastest growing since 2012 (and expected to remain among the top for the coming years), reinforces the dominant role that Chinese mineral purchases have on the overall Mongol economy.

King Coal and its Curse

There are concrete reasons why Mongolia’s mining sector (and consequently, the mainstay of its economy) became dependent on China. Way more than rare earth mineral demand (of which China is already dominant), this has to do with China’s insatiable appetite for coal. Bluntly put, Mongolia is nothing more than a raw resource appendage of China and has little purpose for Beijing besides helping to keep the lights on. Nonetheless, this arrangement was beneficial for Mongolia, so long as China kept buying coal.

At the same time, though, this may be rapidly changing in the near future. For the first time, China’s coal consumption has actually decreased by 23% year-on-year for August-September as the government implements cleaner energy policies and diversifies its electricity generation to natural gas and other means. Although ideal for China, this will be disastrous for Mongolia, seeing as how intricately its mining sector (and by degrees, its entire economy) is dependent on Chinese coal consumption. Whereas in the past coal was treated as a king in Ulaanbaatar, now it appears to be a curse, and the country desperately needs to diversify its consumer base to stave off economic destabilization and possible social and Color Revolution-influenced unrest.

Mongolian train full of coal, heading to China. Mongolian mining sector (and by degrees, its entire economy) is dependent on Chinese coal consumption.

Image: Mongolian train full of coal, heading to China. Mongolian mining sector (and by degrees, its entire economy) is dependent on Chinese coal consumption.

 

The Mongolian Middleman

As all of this is happening, larger global processes are at play. Russia has set a grand aim of becoming a Pacific Power and moving away from its previous European economic interdependence, and in light of recent East-West tensions and subsequent sanctioning, this has taken on a more pressing urgency than ever. Concurrently, South Korea, wedged between heavyweights China and Japan, is growing at a consistent rate and is on the prowl for energy resources to fuel this into the future. 97% of its energy is foreign-sourced, and its import of coal, already at 80 million tons a year, is expected to rise to 128 million by 2018. Thus, the situation is presented where Russia wants a more active East Asian presence, South Korea is thirsting for energy, and Mongolia has the world’s largest untapped coking coal deposit. It is through this confluence of factors that the three actors are uniting their interests, with Mongolia being the middleman via its Third Neighbor Policy, which allowed it to jointly develop positive relations with both Russia and South Korea and thus make the entire arrangement workable.

Russia’s Delicate Steps

Within this structure of interests, Russia took care to avoid upsetting its global strategic partner, China. It signed an historic natural gas deal in May to supply it with nearly half a trillion dollars’ worth of energy for 30 years, thus assisting with Beijing’s plans to replace coal with natural gas during this timeframe. This massively important tradeoff is advantageous for China and placates any fears or jealousy that it may have over Mongolia’s future trade links with South Korea. Additionally, Russia, China, and Mongolia have announced their intent to economically cooperate in a trilateral framework and create an economic corridor, showing that no bad blood exists between any of these actors. As is thus seen, Russia has taken delicate steps to ensure that Beijing would not be perturbed by its Mongolia-enabled outreach to South Korea, as such a move, in line with the practice of the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership, would increase the strategic influence of both Moscow and Beijing if successful.

The Way Forward

Going back to the Mongolia’s role in connecting Russia with South Korea, the heart of it all rests in a proposed railroad project to link Mongolia’s Gobi desert coal deposits to Russia’s Pacific coast. Afterwards, the coal would be loaded onto ships for transport to South Korea and possibly Japan. Leading Australian companies already fear that the opening of Mongolia’s coal resources to the East Asian market would be a game-changer and could possibly push them out of the market, indicating the enormous impact that this project would have if successfully implemented.

Although rail links already exist between Mongolia and China, as stated earlier, the former is trying to cut its future dependence on the latter and understands the additional influence that Beijing would have if the line ran southeast instead of northeast. Also of importance, Mongolia’s expected customers, South Korea and possibly Japan, would be hesitant to know that a growing percentage of their energy imports are indirectly controlled by China. That being said, the proposed railroad through Russia takes care to respect the geopolitical sensibilities of its intended East Asian client(s).

mongolia

Russia’s Pacific Future

Projecting even further, the East Asian coal market is only one of the many spheres that would be fundamentally altered by the proposed Mongolian-Pacific railroad. One of the most breakthrough results of this would be the creation of a Russian-South Korean strategic partnership. Although Russia would be playing a physically passive role in the Mongol-South Korean energy relationship simply through allowing the railroad to traverse its territory, it will still have prized access to influential South Korean companies, investors, and government figures who are involved in its construction. As Russia naturally needs investment in its Far East and South Korea has a hunger for energy besides coal, this could open the prospect for South Korean investment in the region in exchange for Russian natural gas exports, most likely through LNG, of which Seoul is the world’s second-largest importer. Of relevant note, South Korea’s demand for natural gas is expected to increase 1.7% annually until 2035, meaning that both Russia and South Korea now have the perfect time to work out an energy deal as significant and historic as the one between Russia and China (possibly even involving the promise of a share of Artic gas resources in the future).

The strategic partnership between the two states would then take on a larger significance. The demonstration effect of the booming Russian-South Korean energy trade could possibly convince recalcitrant Japan to abandon its blind loyalty to its American overseer and concede its Kuril Islands claims in exchange for a similar and much-needed deal as well. Additionally, South Korea is at the center of the US-China-Japan nexus in Northeast Asia, and by moving closer to Russia, it can expand its foreign policy importance and serve as the perfect conduit between all four actors in this region. By integrating Russia more closely into the region and its affairs, it could give it a greater stake in the peninsula’s future, thereby possibly motivating it to seek a diplomatic breakthrough in the North Korean nuclear talks. With Russia returning to the Korean peninsula, no matter in which form this takes (diplomatic, energy, political, economic, etc.), it would place the US on the strategic defensive in Northeast Asia and show that Russia has succeeded in pivoting to the Pacific.

Concluding Thoughts

It is of absolute importance for Russia’s future that the country move as rapidly as possible to the burgeoning Asia-Pacific region. Although China is a steadfast and loyal strategic ally, by itself, bilateral relations between the two do not constitute a proper Pacific Pivot for Russia. Instead, what is urgently needed is for Russia to enter into a strategic relationship with a non-Chinese partner that can immediately accelerate full-spectrum relations between the two. This is where South Korea comes in, but the key to accessing that country’s decision makers and business leaders is to provide them with something that they too urgently need, and this is Mongolian coal. By acting as a conduit between Mongolia’s coal mines and South Korea’s power plants via a strategic railroad, Russia can take a concrete step in pivoting to the Pacific, attracting investment to the Far East, and working to transform the long-term nature of Northeast Asian relations.

Andrew Korybko is the American political correspondent of Voice of Russia who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

The Kiev Junta’s Military Debacle in East Ukraine

October 11th, 2014 by Alexander Mercouris

Following the publicized estimations that the true fatality rate of the junta’s army during the “anti terrorist operation” may have been in the region of 8,000 to 12,000, a number of important points can be made:

1. These figures are of course unverified. However they do not look unreasonable to me in light of Poroshenko’s admission that the Ukraine lost during the ATO something like 65% of its armoured vehicles. It seems the Ukrainian airforce has also been essentially annihilated. Certainly it has ceased to be a presence in recent weeks.

2. Assuming that the figures are true then the Ukraine has just been witness to a slaughter unprecedented in any European country since the end of the Second World War. It bears saying that the fighting only achieved full intensity following the fall of Slaviansk on 5th July 2014. The fighting around Slavyansk in May and June was of a lesser intensity. It is surely the case therefore that the bulk of the losses the Ukraine suffered were accounted for by the fighting that took place after Slavyansk fell on 5th July 2014. In other words it is likely that between 8,000 to 12,000 Ukrainian troops were killed in a period of around 2 months from 5th July 2014 until the announcement of the ceasefire on 5th September 2014. If so this would mean the Ukraine was losing during this period men at a rate of roughly 129 to 190 a day. Nothing comparable has happened in Europe since the German surrender on 9th May 1945. 00-dead-junta-soldiers-novorossiya-17-08-14

Image: A loss rate of anything more than 5% in a combat action is more than a unit can be reasonably expected to bear and that anything above that figure would render the unit inoperable.

3. Another way of looking at the scale of these losses would be to consider what proportion they make up of the Ukrainian force involved in the ATO. Most of the figures I have heard put the size of that force in the region of 60-80,000 men. If the estimate for dead of 8,000 to 12,000 is anywhere near the truth then between a tenth (10%) and a fifth (20%) of this force may now be dead. The reality would surely in fact be worse since it is a certainty that a disproportionate share of the dead would be front line combat soldiers who would account for only a part of the force involved in the ATO. A large proportion of the total of 60-80,000 men in the force involved in the ATO would be support and logistics troops who would be expected to come out more lightly. I once read that a loss rate of anything more than 5% in a combat action is more than a unit can be reasonably expected to bear and that anything above that figure would render the unit inoperable. If the figures of 8,000 to 12,000 are anywhere close to the truth then this figure of 5% has been exceeded in which case the Ukrainian army has ceased to exist as an effective force.

4. I would just also say that it is clear to me that the vast bulk of Ukrainian losses are made up of troops from the regular army. It was obvious to me during the fighting that the various right wing paramilitary units rarely fought in the front line but were used to terrorist people in the rear.

5. The question then is how did such a debacle happen? Even if the 8,000 to 12,000 loss figure is an exaggeration one still has to account for the loss of 65% of the Ukrainian military’s armoured vehicles. Claims that the Ukrainians had to fight the Russian regular army are clearly not true so an explanation for the debacle clearly does not lie there.

6. Firstly it needs to be said that we are not looking here at any lack of courage or determination on the part of the Ukrainian troops. This was not a collapse such as the one experienced by the Iraqi army fighting ISIS in which soldiers led by their officers simply turned tail and ran. Rather it is a case of an army that was bled to death over weeks of appalling attrition during the summer months. The fact that the casualties may be so high suggests no lack of discipline or courage on the part of the troops. On the contrary they suggest extraordinary discipline and courage on the part of troops sent into the meat grinder by their commanders in a way that to a Briton like me carries uncomfortable echoes of the Somme. Claims that were made back in February and March that the Ukrainian military had been so run down by Yanukovitch that it for all practical purposes had ceased to exist are on the evidence of what happened in July and August simply untrue. I strongly doubt by the way that soldiers from any west European country would today be able to go on fighting for so long if they were suffering losses on this sort of scale.

7. I think the explanation for this debacle is quite simply the disastrous leadership provided by the junta.
Parubiy (on the picture), Avakov & co gone control of the army but they  have no knowledge of war. Will they ever stand in front of military tribunal in Hague?

Image: Parubiy (on the picture), Avakov & co given control of the army but they have no knowledge of war. Will they ever stand in front of military tribunal in the Hague?

8. It is clear that after the junta ceased power in February the Ukraine’s professional military leadership was no longer trusted. Instead operational control of the ATO seems to have been given to psychopathic amateurs like Parubiy, Yarosh, Avakov and Lyashko. Following the key Security Council meeting of 30th June 2014 that decided to resume the offensive, General Kovalov (“Koval”), the junta’s then defence minister, who was at least a professional soldier, either resigned or more probably was dismissed (supposedly he was transferred to a new post after which he seems to have disappeared). Probably he objected to the resumption of the offensive. With him gone control of the army passed to people like Parubiy, Avakov & co who have no knowledge of war. They were joined by Geletei, the new defence minister, who is a security official rather than a soldier. Having no understanding of war or knowledge of military command these people then spent the rest of the summer hurling the Ukrainian army to its destruction by repeatedly attacking NAF positions whilst indiscriminately shelling residential areas and getting their Nazi thugs to murder and terrorise civilians. To make matters even worse, as a further indication of their ignorance and arrogance, they chose to fight the war by the calendar, setting themselves an arbitrary deadline of Ukrainian Independence Day on 24th August 2014 to win it by.

9. By contrast the NAF at some point clearly acquired a proper professional military leadership with a proper staff and headquarters consisting apparently of retired staff officers from Moscow who set up headquarters in the eastern town of Krasnodon on the Russian border. We know very little about these people but Strelkov has indirectly admitted that one of the reasons for his dismissal was to make way for a more professional military leadership, that could not be provided by himself as he is not a trained soldier. This could refer to the people in Krasnodon. They for their part seem to have fought a classic Soviet style defensive battle, relying on cities like Donetsk and Lugansk to provide a barrier behind which an armoured reserve capable of taking offensive action was built up. A fair parallel (though obviously one fought on an immeasurably greater scale) might be the battle of Kursk.

That at least is my take on the disastrous course of the ATO. Of course it should never have been launched at all. That it was launched was criminal. So however on my reading was its conduct, both towards the civilians it so indiscriminately slaughtered, and towards the hapless Ukrainian soldiers it sent to the slaughter. Anyone who pretends to real Ukrainian patriotism ought at this time to be condemning not Putin and the Russians but those who to the accompaniment of inane cries of “Glory to Ukraine” are responsible for sending so many of the Ukraine’s sons to their deaths.

Alexander Mercouris is a former British barrister, international law expert.