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Global Research Editor’s Note

We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.

The authenticity of this interview remains to be confirmed. It is available in recognized electronic news archives including the BBC. Its authenticity has not been questioned.  

The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.

Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks.  Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.

In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He focusses on CIA support to the narcotics trade.

He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of  the September 11 attacks.

This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.

We have highlighted key sections of this interview.

It is our hope that the text of this interview, published on 28 September 2001 barely a week before the onset of the war on Afghanistan, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of Al Qaeda, the role of Osama bin Laden and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

This interview is published for informational purposes only. GR does not in any way endorse the statements in this interview.

Michel  Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014


Full text of September 2001 Pakistani paper’s “exclusive” interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin

Ummat (in Urdu)

translated from Urdu

Karachi, 28 September 2001, pp. 1 and 7.

Ummat’s introduction

Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.

The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.

Following is the interview in full detail:

Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?

Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.

I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.

Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.

There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?

Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .

The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.

However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .

Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.

According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.

Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.

They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.

Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.

Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?

Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?

Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.

We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.

Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?

Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom. This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.

Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.

Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.

Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?

Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.

The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.

Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?

Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.

These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.

Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?

Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.

Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?

Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.

Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001

Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller

According to Chossudovsky, the  “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

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November 22nd, 2013 by Global Research News

Today’s Most Popular Stories

October 15th, 2013 by Global Research News

A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:

“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”

What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.

As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:

Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.

And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become – a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-Qaeda. AQIM’s headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of “Which Path to Persia?” which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there – illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy.Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar noted a more direct connection between LIFG and AQIM in an Asia Times piece titled, “How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:”

“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “

“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.

Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”

….

LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.

In fact, ABC News reported in their article, “Al Qaeda Terror Group: We ‘Benefit From’ Libyan Weapons,” that:

A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”

It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.

French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.

Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.

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Salafism and the CIA: Destabilizing the Russian Federation?

September 14th, 2012 by F. William Engdahl

Part I: Syria comes to the Russian Caucasus

On August 28 Sheikh Said Afandi, acknowledged spiritual leader of the Autonomous Russian Republic of Dagestan, was assassinated. A jihadist female suicide bomber managed to enter his house and detonate an explosive device.

The murder target had been carefully selected. Sheikh Afandi, a seventy-five-year old Sufi Muslim leader, had played the critical role in attempting to bring about reconciliation in Dagestan between jihadist Salafi Sunni Muslims and other factions, many of whom in Dagestan see themselves as followers of Sufi. With no replacement of his moral stature and respect visible, authorities fear possible outbreak of religious war in the tiny Russian autonomous republic.[1]

The police reported that the assassin was an ethnic Russian woman who had converted to Islam and was linked to an Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist insurgency against Russia and regional governments loyal to Moscow in the autonomous republics and across the volatile Muslim-populated North Caucasus region.

Ethnic Muslim populations in this region of Russia and of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and into China’s Xinjiang Province, have been the target of various US and NATO intelligence operations since the Cold War era ended in 1990. Washington sees manipulation of Muslim groups as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia. It’s being carried out by some of the same organizations engaged in creating chaos and destruction inside Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. In a real sense, as Russian security services clearly understand, if they don’t succeed in stopping the Jihadists insurgency in Syria, it will come home to them via the Caucasus.

The latest Salafist murders of Sufi and other moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus are apparently part of what is becoming ever clearer as perhaps the most dangerous US intelligence operation ever—playing globally with Muslim fundamentalism.

Previously US and allied intelligence services had played fast and loose with religious organizations or beliefs in one or another country. What makes the present situation particularly dangerous—notably since the decision in Washington to unleash the misnamed Arab Spring upheavals that began in Tunisia late 2010, spreading like a brushfire across the entire Islamic world from Afghanistan across Central Asia to Morocco—is the incalculable wave upon wave of killing, hatreds, destruction of entire cultures that Washington has unleashed in the name of that elusive dream named “democracy.” They do this using alleged Al-Qaeda groups, Saudi Salafists or Wahhabites, or using disciples of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen Movement to ignite fires of religious hatred within Islam and against other faiths that could take decades to extinguish. It could easily spill over into a new World War.

Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus

Following the dissolution of the USSR, radical Afghanistani Mujahadeen, Islamists from Saudi Arabia, from Turkey, Pakistan and other Islamic countries flooded into the Muslim regions of the former USSR. One of the best-organized of these was the Gülen Movement of Fethullah Gülen, leader of a global network of Islamic schools and reported to be the major policy influence on Turkey’s Erdogan AKP party.

Gülen was quick to establish The International Dagestani-Turkish College in Dagestan. During the chaotic days after the Soviet collapse, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation officially registered and permitted unfettered activity for a variety of Islamic foundations and organizations. These included the League of the Islamic World, the World Muslim Youth Assembly, the reportedly Al-Qaeda friendly Saudi foundation ‘Ibrahim ben Abd al-Aziz al-Ibrahim.’ The blacklist also included Al-Haramein a Saudi foundation reported tied to Al-Qaeda, and IHH, [2] a Turkish organization banned in Germany, that allegedly raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, and was charged by French intelligence of ties to Al Qaeda.[3] Many of these charities were covers for fundamentalist Salafists with their own special agenda.

As many of the foreign Islamists in Chechnya and Dagestan were found involved in fomenting the regional unrest and civil war, Russian authorities withdrew permission of most to run schools and institutions. Throughout the North Caucasus at the time of the Chechyn war in the late 1990’s, there were more than two dozen Islamic institutes, some 200 madrassas and numerous maktabas (Koranic study schools) present at almost all mosques.

The International Dagestani-Turkish College was one that was forced to close its doors in Dagestan. The College was run by the Fethullah Gülen organization.[4]

At the point of the Russian crackdown on the spread of Salafist teaching inside Russia at the end of the 1990’s, there was an exodus of hundreds of young Dagestani and Chechyn Muslim students to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other places in The Middle east, reportedly to receive training with the Gülen movement and various Saudi-financed organizations, including Salafists. [5] It is believed in Russia that the students trained by Gülen supporters or Saudi and other Salafist fundamentalist centers then were sent back to Dagestan and the North Caucasus to spread their radical strain of Islam.

By 2005 the situation in the Caucasus was so influenced by this Salafist intervention that the Chechen Salafist, Doku Umarov, cited by the UN Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda,[6] unilaterally declared creation of what he called the Caucasus Emirate, announcing he planned to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law encompassing the entire North Caucasus region including Dagestan. He modestly proclaimed himself Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. [7]

*  *  *

WWIII Scenario

*  *  *

 

Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition

Salafism, known in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism, is a fundamentalist strain of Islam which drew world attention and became notorious in March 2001 just weeks before the attacks of September 11. That was when the Salafist Taliban government in Afghanistan willfully dynamited and destroyed the historic gigantic Buddhas of Bamiyan on the ancient Silk Road, religious statues dating from the 6th Century. The Taliban Salafist leaders also banned as “un-islamic” all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Afghani sources reported that the order to destroy the Buddhas was made by Saudi-born jihadist Wahhabite, Osama bin Laden, who ultimately convinced Mullah Omar, Taliban supreme leader at the time to execute the act.[8]

Before and…After Salafist Taliban …

While Sufis incorporate the worship of saints and theatrical ceremonial prayers into their practice, Salafis condemn as idolatry any non-traditional forms of worship. They also call for the establishment of Islamic political rule and strict Sharia law. Sufism is home to the great spiritual and musical heritage of Islam, said by Islamic scholars to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, going back centuries.

As one Sufi scholar described the core of Sufism, “While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise–after death and the ‘Final Judgment’– Sufis believe as well that it is possible to become close to God and to experience this closeness–while one is alive. Furthermore, the attainment of the knowledge that comes with such intimacy with God, Sufis assert, is the very purpose of the creation. Here they mention the hadith qudsi in which God states, ‘I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known, so I created the creation in order to be known.’ Hence for the Sufis there is already a momentum, a continuous attraction on their hearts exerted by God, pulling them, in love, towards God.” [9]

The mystical Islamic current of Sufism and its striving to become close to or one with God is in stark contrast to the Jihadist Salafi or Wahhabi current that is armed with deadly weapons, preaches a false doctrine of jihad, and a perverse sense of martyrdom, committing countless acts of violence. Little wonder that the victims of Salafist Jihads are mostly other pacific forms of Islam including most especially Sufis.

The respected seventy-five year old Afandi had publicly denounced Salafist Islamic fundamentalism. His murder followed a July 19 coordinated attack on two high-ranking muftis in the Russian Volga Republic of Tatarstan. Both victims were state-approved religious leaders who had attacked radical Islam. This latest round of murders opens a new front in the Salafist war against Russia, namely attacks on moderate Sufi Muslim leaders.

Whether or not Dagestan now descends into internal religious civil war that then spreads across the geopolitically sensitive Russian Caucasus is not yet certain. What is almost certain is that the same circles who have been feeding violence and terror inside Syria against the regime of Alawite President Bashar al-Assad are behind the killing of Sheikh Afandi as well as sparking related acts of terror or unrest across Russia’s Muslim-populated Caucasus. In a very real sense it represents Russia’s nightmare scenario of “Syria coming to Russia.” It demonstrates dramatically why Putin has made such a determined effort to stop a descent into a murderous hell in Syria.

Salafism and the CIA

The existence of the so-called jihadist Salafi brand of Islam in Dagestan is quite recent. It has also been deliberately imported. Salafism is sometimes also called the name of the older Saudi-centered Wahhabism. Wahhabism is a minority originally-Bedouin form of the faith originating within Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia since the 1700’s.

Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism give the following description of Saudi conditions under the rigid Wahhabi brand of Islam:

Women living under Saudi rule must wear the abaya, or total body cloak, and niqab, the face veil; they have limited opportunities for schooling and careers; they are prohibited from driving vehicles; are banned from social contact with men not relatives, and all personal activity must be supervised including opening bank accounts, by a male family member or “guardian.” These Wahhabi rules are enforced by a mutawiyin, or morals militia, also known as “the religious police,” officially designated the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) who patrol Saudi cities, armed with leather-covered sticks which they freely used against those they considered wayward. They raid homes looking for alcohol and drugs, and harassed non-Wahhabi Muslims as well as believers in other faiths.” [10]

It’s widely reported that the obscenely opulent and morally-perhaps-not-entirely-of- the-highest-standards Saudi Royal Family made a Faustian deal with Wahhabite leaders. The deal supposedly, was that the Wahhabists are free to export their fanatical brand of Islam around to the Islamic populations of the world in return for agreeing to leave the Saudi Royals alone.[11] There are, however, other dark and dirty spoons stirring the Wahhabite-Salafist Saudi stew.

Little known is the fact that the present form of aggressive Saudi Wahhabism, in reality a kind of fusion between imported jihadi Salafists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabites. Leading Salafist members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into the Saudi Kingdom in the 1950’s by the CIA in a complex series of events, when Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood following an assassination attempt. By the 1960’s an influx of Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia fleeing Nasserite repression, had filled many of the leading teaching posts in Saudi religious schools. One student there was a young well-to-do Saudi, Osama bin Laden.  [12]

During the Third Reich, Hitler Germany had supported the Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against the British in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. Marc Erikson describes the Nazi roots of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thus:

…as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and ’40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and “supreme guide” Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini.[13]

After the defeat of Germany, British Intelligence moved in to take over control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ultimately, for financial and other reasons, the British decided to hand their assets within the Muslim Brotherhood over to their CIA colleagues in the 1950s. [14]

According to former US Justice Department Nazi researcher John Loftus,  “during the 1950s, the CIA evacuated the Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia. Now, when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Dr Abdullah Azzam, became the teachers in the madrassas, the religious schools. And there they combined the doctrines of Nazism with this weird Islamic cult, Wahhabism.” [15]

“Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not,” Loftus continues. “They think that Islam–the Saudi version of Islam–is typical, but it’s not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia–that’s how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.” [16]

Loftus identified the significance of what today is emerging from the shadows to take over Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, and the so-called Syrian National Council, dominated in reality by the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly led by the more “politically correct” or presentable likes of Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani, foreign affairs spokesman for the SNC was twice an invited guest at the Bilderberg elite gathering, latest in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this year.[17]

The most bizarre and alarming feature of the US-financed  regime changes set into motion in 2010, which have led to the destruction of the secular Arab regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muhammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the secular regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia, and which have wreaked savage destruction across the Middle East, especially in the past eighteen months in Syria, is the pattern of emerging power grabs by representatives of the murky Salafist Muslim Brotherhood.

By informed accounts, a Saudi-financed Sunni Islamic Muslim Brotherhood dominates the members of the exile Syrian National Council that is backed by the US State Department’s Secretary Clinton and by Hollande’s France. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is tied, not surprisingly to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohammed Morsi who recently in a meeting of the Non-Aligned in Iran called openly for the removal of Syria’s Assad, a logical step if his Muslim Brothers in the present Syrian National Council are to take the reins of power. The Saudis are also rumored to have financed the ascent to power in Tunisia of the governing Islamist Ennahda Party,[18] and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. [19]

Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror

Indicative of the true agenda of this Muslim Brotherhood and related jihadists today is the fact that once they have power, they drop the veil of moderation and reconciliation and reveal their violently intolerant roots. This is visible in Egypt today under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.

Unreported in mainstream Western media to date are alarming direct reports from Christian missionary organizations in Egypt that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already begun to drop the veil of “moderation and conciliation” and show its brutal totalitarian Salafist colors, much as Khomeini’s radical Sharia forces did in Iran after taking control in 1979-81.

In a letter distributed by the Christian Aid Mission (CAM), a Christian Egyptian missionary wrote that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood “announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn’t win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq. Yesterday they began by killing two believers in el Sharqiya because of this,” the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.[20]

This report came only weeks after Egyptian State TV (under Morsi’s control) showed ghastly video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims. The footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat. As one man was heard chanting Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity, another man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts. In the letter, the Egyptian missionary leader added that, “soon after Morsi won, Christians in upper Egypt were forcibly prevented from going to churches.” Many Muslims, the letter claimed, “also began to speak to women in the streets that they had to wear Islamic clothing including the head covering. They act as if they got the country for their own, it’s theirs now.” [21]

Already in 2011 Morsi’s Salafist followers began attacking and destroying Sufi mosques across Egypt. According to the authoritative newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm (Today’s Egyptian), 16 historic mosques in Alexandria belonging to Sufi orders have been marked for destruction by so-called ‘Salafis’. Alexandria has 40 mosques associated with Sufis, and is the headquarters for 36 Sufi groups. Half a million Sufis live in the city, out of a municipal total of four million people. Aggression against the Sufis in Egypt has included a raid on Alexandria’s most distinguished mosque, named for, and housing, the tomb of the 13th century Sufi Al-Mursi Abu’l Abbas.[22]

Notably, the so-called “democratically elected” regime in Libya following the toppling of Mohamar Qaddafi by NATO bombs in 2011, has also been zealous in destroying Sufi mosques and places of worhip. In August this year, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressed “grave concern” at the destruction by Islamic Jihadists of Sufi sites in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli and urged perpetrators to “cease the destruction immediately.” [23] Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. [24]

The explosive cocktail of violence inherent in allowing the rise to power of Salafist Islamists across the Middle East was clear to see, symbolically enough on the night of September 11,th when a mob of angry supporters of the fanatical Salafist group, Ansar Al-Sharia, murdered the US Ambassador to Libya and three US diplomats, burning the US Consulate in Bengazi to the ground in protest over a YouTube release of a film by an American filmmaker showing the Prophet Mohammed indulging in multiple sex affairs and casting doubt on his role as God’s messenger. Ironically that US Ambassador had played a key role in toppling Qaddafi and opening the door to the Salafist takeover in Libya. At the same time angry mobs of thousands of Salafists surrounded the US Embassy in Cairo in protest to the US film. [25]

Ansar Al-Sharia (“Partisans of Islamic law” in Arabic) reportedly is a spinoff of Al-Qaeda and claims organizations across the Middle East from Yemen to Tunisia to Iraq, Egypt and Libya. Ansar al-Sharia says it is reproducing the model of Sharia or strict Islamic law espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq. The core of the group are jihadists who came out of an “Islamic state”, either in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, or among jihadists in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.[26]

The deliberate detonation now of a new round of Salafist fundamentalist Jihad terror inside Muslim regions of the Russian Caucasus is exquisitely timed politically to put maximum pressure at home on the government of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Putin and the Russian Government are the strongest and most essential backer of the current Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and for Russia as well the maintenance of Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base at Syria’s Tartus port is vital strategically. At the same time, Obama’s sly message to Medvedev to wait until Obama’s re-election to evaluate US intent towards Russia and Putin’s cryptic recent comment that a compromise with a re-elected President Obama might be possible, but not with a President Romney, [27] indicate that the Washington “stick-and-carrot” or hard cop-soft cop tactics with Moscow might tempt Russia to sacrifice major geopolitical alliances, perhaps even that special close and recent geopolitical alliance with China.[28] Were that to happen, the World might witness a “reset” in US-Russian relations with catastrophic consequences for world peace.

F. William Engdahl*  is the author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

Notes:

[1] Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120830/175517955.html.

[2] Mairbek  Vatchagaev, The Kremlin’s War on Islamic Education in the North Caucasus, North Caucasus Analysis Volume: 7 Issue: 34, accessed in http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3334

[3] Iason Athanasiadis, Targeted by Israeli raid: Who is the IHH?, The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2010, accessed in http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0601/Targeted-by-Israeli-raid-Who-is-the-IHH.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

[6] UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQI29011E.shtml. The UN statement reads: “Doku Khamatovich Umarov was listed on 10 March 2011 pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 1904 (2009) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “recruiting for”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” the Islamic Jihad Group (QE.I.119.05), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (QE.I.10.01), Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) (QE.R.100.03) and Emarat Kavkaz (QE.E.131.11).”

[7] Tom Jones, Czech NGO rejects Russian reports of link to alleged Islamist terrorists al-Qaeda, May 10, 2011, accessed in http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/society/czech-ngo-rejects-russian-reports-link-alleged-islamist-terrorists-al-qaeda?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=enprofil&utm_campaign=twennews.

[8] The Times of India, Laden ordered Bamyan Buddha destruction, The Times of India, March 28, 2006.

[9] Dr. Alan Godlas, Sufism — Sufis — Sufi Orders:

[10] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, Center for Islamic Pluralism, May 21, 2012, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia

[11] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, May 21, 2012, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia.

[12] Robert Duncan, Islamic Terrorisms Links to Nazi Fascism, AINA, July 5, 2007, accessed in http://www.aina.org/news/2007070595517.htm.

[13] Marc Erikson, Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2), AsiaTimes.Online, November 8, 2002, accessed in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK08Ak03.html.

[14] Ibid.

[15] John Loftus, The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda,  Jewish Community News, October 11, 2006, accessed in http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/loftus101106.htm

[16] Ibid.

[17] Charlie Skelton, The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?: The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …, London Guardian, 12 July 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/12/syrian-opposition-doing-the-talking.

[18] Aidan Lewis, Profile: Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, BBC News, 25 October 2011, accessed in http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15442859.

[19] Hassan Hassan, Syrians are torn between a despotic regime and a stagnant opposition: The Muslim Brotherhood’s perceived monopoly over the Syrian National Council has created an opposition stalemate, The Guardian, UK, 23 August, 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/syrians-torn-despotic-regime-stagnant-opposition.

[20] Stefan J. Bos, Egypt Christians Killed After Election of Morsi, Bosnewslife, June 30, 2012, accessed in http://www.bosnewslife.com/22304-egypt-christians-killed-after-election-morsi.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Irfan Al-Alawi, Egyptian Muslim Fundamentalists Attack Sufis, Guardian Online [London],

April 11, 2011, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/1770/egyptian-Muslim-fundamentalists-attack-sufis

[23] Yafiah Katherine Randall, UNESCO urges Libya to stop destruction of Sufi sites, August 31, 2012, Sufi News and Sufism World Report, accessed in http://sufinews.blogspot.de/.

[24] Jamie Dettmer, Libya elections: Muslim Brotherhood set to lead government, 5 July, 2012, The Telegraph, London, accessed in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/9379022/Libya-elections-Muslim-Brotherhood-set-to-lead-government.html.

[25] Luke Harding, Chris Stephen, Chris Stevens, US ambassador to Libya, killed in Benghazi attack: Ambassador and three other American embassy staff killed after Islamist militants fired rockets at their car, say Libyan officials, London Guardian, 12 September 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/chris-stevens-us-ambassador-libya-killed.

[26] Murad Batal al-Shishani, Profile: Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen, 8 March 2012, accessed in  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17402856.

[27] David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/world/europe/putin-calls-missile-deal-more-likely-if-obama-wins.html. According to an interview Putin gave on Moscow’s state-owned RT TV, Herszenhorn reports, “Mr. Putin said he believed that if Mr. Obama is re-elected in November, a compromise could be reached on the contentious issue of American plans for a missile defense system in Europe, which Russia has strongly opposed. On the other hand, Mr. Putin said, if Mr. Romney becomes president, Moscow’s fears about the missile system — that it is, despite American assurances, actually directed against Russia — would almost certainly prove true.

“Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if current President Obama is re-elected for a second term? Theoretically, yes,” Mr. Putin said, according to the official transcript posted on the Kremlin’s Web site. “But this isn’t just about President Obama. “For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere,” Mr. Putin continued. “I met him recently on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I could still take stock of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a very honest man, and that he sincerely wants to make many good changes. But can he do it? Will they let him do it?”

[28] M.K. Bhadrakumar, Calling the China-Russia split isn’t heresy, Asia Times,  September 5, 2012, accessed in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NI05Ad01.html.

 

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Welcome to the newly redesigned Global Research website!

September 8th, 2012 by Global Research

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The tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history. a decisive watershed, a breaking point. Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.

September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society.

A far-reaching overhaul of US military doctrine was launched in the wake of 9/11.

Endless wars of aggression under the humanitarian cloak of “counter-terrorism” were set in motion. 

September 11, 2001 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest.

Guns and Butter, WBAI  Radio, New York

click here (audio)

https://www.wbai.org/archive/program/episode/?id=5854

The transcript of this interview will be published shortly

***

At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.

CIA Director George Tenet stated that same morning that Osama bin Laden had the capacity to plan  “multiple attacks with little or no warning.”

That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.

Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress, which the mainstream media chose to either dismiss or ignore. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.

Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

Is there any proof to the effect that Osama bin Laden, the bogeyman, coordinated the 9/11 attacks as claimed in the official 9/11 narrative?

According to CBS news (Dan Rather, January 28, 2002), “Enemy Number One” was admitted to the urology ward of a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan. He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as presidential speeches in the course of the last 18 years.

1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;

2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.

 U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld:  “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.

October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan

The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.

Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.

This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.

On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.

Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.

The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset

Important to the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.

Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.

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Video: Greater Idlib: Is Syrian Army Advance Inevitable?

September 20th, 2019 by South Front

After over 8 years of war, the province of Idlib and its surrounding areas remain the key stronghold of radical militant groups in Syria. Over the past years, anti-government armed groups suffered a series of defeats across the country and withdrew towards northwestern Syria. The decision of the Syrian Army to allow encircled militants to withdraw towards Idlib enabled the rescue of thousands of civilians, who were being used by them as human shields in such areas as Aleppo city and Eastern Ghouta. At the same time, this increased significantly the already high concentration of militants in Greater Idlib turning it into a hotbed of radicalism and terrorism.

The ensuing attempts to separate the radicals from the so-called moderate opposition and then to neutralize them, which took place within the framework of the Astana format involving Turkey, Syria, Iran and Russia, made no progress. A network of Turkish and Russian observation posts along the contact line and the demilitarized zone agreement did not allow a proper ceasefire to be established at the contact line between the government-controlled area and the militant-controlled territories. The August 2019 advance of the Syrian Army in northern Hama and southern Idlib led to the liberation of a large chunk of territory from the militants. However, strategically, the situation remained the same.

Watch the video here.

Idlib serves as home to a number of militant groups, who are engaged in constant competition for influence and resources. The most notable of these are:

  • Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) – the most influential group in Greater Idlib.
  • The National Front for Liberation – a Turkish-backed militant alliance created around Ahrar al-Sham to be an alternative power to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and promote Turkish interests in this part of Syria.
  • The Turkistan Islamic Party – an al-Qaeda-linked militant group founded by foreign jihadists, mainly Uighurs. The key ally of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
  • Hurras al-Din – the pro-al-Qaeda militant group allied with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Hurras al-Din’s main difference from its Big Brother is that it makes no attempt to hide its existing links to al-Qaeda.

Different sources provide different numbers regarding the manpower of militant groups operating in Idlib. The armed groups themselves provide contradictory and exaggerated numbers of their members to boost their popularity, intimidate rival factions and get additional funding from foreign sponsors.

In 2018, U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford estimated that there were 20,000 or 30,000 militants inside Idlib. In 2019, the UN estimated that there were 20,000 fighters associated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib. Sources linked with militants say that HTS has about 31,000 members. The same sources say that the total number of militants in Idlib is about 60,000. Most of the weapons and ammunition depots, tunnel networks, repair facilities, HQs and other infrastructure objects used by the militants are located in the countryside of the city of Idlib, and the towns of Saraqib and Maarrat al-Numan. Militants locate them near civilian areas intentionally, using the people living there as human shields.

Despite the observed diversity, no group seems able to challenge HTS dominance. In the period from 2016 to 2019, the group undertook active efforts to consolidate its military, political and economic control of the region. Competing factions were absorbed or just forced to accept the rules established by Hayat Tahir al-Sham. The Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation, created in May 2018, was unable to challenge the HTS expansion and had to be satisfied with the role of junior partner.

In 2017, Hayat Tahir al-Sham created the Syrian Salvation Government to administrate the territory of Greater Idlib. The Salvation Government includes eight ministries: interior, justice, religious endowments, health, education, local administration and services, economy, development, and social affairs. It also has its own police force which, however, has limited responsibilities such as managing traffic, catching criminals, and solving disputes. Nonetheless, any notable security efforts in the area, like cracking down on ISIS cells which have pretty complicated relations with mainstream Idlib militants, always involve HTS forces.

All this has allowed HTS to take a grip of the region’s economy, controlling all key roads (primarily the M5 highway) and trade crossings – both with Turkey and across the frontline into government-controlled areas. When the Al-Ais crossing in Aleppo province was open, HTS was collecting taxes on those driving in and out of Idlib. The group also collects taxes from people that want to leave the Idlib zone via humanitarian corridors opened by the Damascus government with help from the Russian Military Police.

The major source of income is the Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey. HTS has imposed fees on all goods entering Idlib. These include clothes, food, fuel and its derivatives. HTS established strong ties with a wide network of traders, and reportedly has links even with the Watad Petroleum Company, which holds the monopoly on importing hydrocarbons from Turkey. Additionally, militants raise money through direct and indirect taxes imposed on business, shadow schemes of money transfer and currency exchangers. Businesses are obliged to comply with these conditions to ensure they can continue operating. The control over the flow of funds, fuel and repair parts allows HTS to be the most well-equipped and well-armed formation in Idlib, with the biggest fleet of heavy military equipment.

According to existing data, a part of HTS financing comes from external sources. Most the funding came from the charitable Salafi foundations in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and from high-ranking clerics and wealthy businesspeople in Jordan and Turkey who sympathize with the ideas of Salafi Islam. Experts estimate that the flow from foreign sources decreased after the conflict in Syria entered a relatively low intensity phase in 2018. The flow of finances collected by armed groups through crowdfunding on social networks also decreased for the same reason. Therefore, HTS and other groups have been forced to rely more and more on local financial sources.

Before the conflict, the province of Idlib had a population of 1.5 million people. The UN says that some 3 million people currently live in Idlib. Most of them are Sunni Arabs, some are Syrian Turkomans protected by Turkey. Most of the members of other ethnic and religious communities (like Shias or Christians) were forced to flee from the area or were murdered by radicals controlling the area. Reports speculate that about 40% of the people now living in Greater Idlib come from other previously militant-held areas. These are current and former members of militant groups, their families and relatives. These predetermined the position of Idlib as the main hotbed of terrorism in the modern Syria.

From the political point of view,  the vast majority of the leadership of the Idlib militant groups and the entities affiliated with them align their policies with the attitude of Turkey. Publicly, they declare that the main goal of their efforts is the victory of the so-called Syrian Revolution and the reformation of the Syrian governance system under Sharia law. Nonetheless, these claims are just a formal part of the militants’ official propaganda. The actions of HTS and its allied groups during the past years demonstrate that they are in fact seeking to create a de-facto independent quasi-state under their own control and as a partial protectorate of Turkey. If the current situation in northwestern Syria would remain the same over the next 3-5 years, there is a high chance that Turkey would be trapped in conditions in which it would have to try to annex this territory. Thus, the Idlib radicals would achieve their main goal.

The irony is that HTS and its allies are by their own policies preventing this scenario. In the current conditions, the Idlib zone is a constant source of terrorist threats and instability. In all previous cases when Syrian and pro-Syrian forces ceased their offensive operations and started unilaterally fulfilling ceasefire agreements, Idlib armed groups immediately started making attempts to seize new areas, attack pro-government forces and prepare terrorist operations within the government-controlled area. Furthermore, the Idlib zone is the area where the most murderous part of the so-called opposition is concentrated. The core of the ‘Idlib opposition’ is made up of mercenaries, criminal gangs and radicals. It is not expected that the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Syrian Army in southern Idlib on August 31 will last for long. In the first half of September, militants already conducted several armed unmanned aerial vehicle attacks targeting positions of the Syrian Army and even Russia’s Hmeimim airbase.

Turkey is keen to prevent any possible advances of the government forces in Idlib. Therefore it supports further diplomatic cooperation with Russia and Iran to promote a ‘non-military’ solution of the issue. However it does not seem to have enough influence with the Idlib militant groups, in particular HTS, to impose a ceasefire on them at the present time. Ankara could take control of the situation, but it would need a year or two that it does not have. Therefore, a new round of military escalation in the Idlib zone should not be very long in coming.

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For most Israelis, the general election on Tuesday was about one thing and one thing only. Not the economy, nor the occupation, nor even corruption scandals. It was about Benjamin Netanyahu. Should he head yet another far-right government, or should his 10-year divisive rule come to an end?

Barring a last-minute upset as the final ballot papers are counted, Israelis have made their verdict clear: Netanyahu’s time is up.

In April’s inconclusive election, which led to this re-run, Netanyahu’s Likud party tied with its main opponent in the Blue and White party, led by retired general Benny Gantz. This time Gantz appears to have nudged ahead, with 33 seats to Netanyahu’s 31 in the 120-member parliament. Both parties fared worse than they did in April, when they each secured 35 seats.

But much more significantly, Netanyahu appears to have fallen short of the 61-seat majority he needs to form yet another far-right government comprising settler and religious parties.

His failure is all the more glaring, given that he conducted by far the ugliest – and most reckless – campaign in Israeli history. That was because the stakes were sky-high.

Only a government of the far-right – one entirely beholden to Netanyahu – could be relied on to pass legislation guaranteeing him immunity from a legal process due to begin next month. Without it, he is likely to be indicted on multiple charges of fraud and breach of trust.

So desperate was Netanyahu to avoid that fate, according to reports published in the Israeli media on election day, that he was only a hair’s breadth away from launching a war on Gaza last week as a way to postpone the election.

Israel’s chief law officer, attorney general Avichai Mendelblit, stepped in to halt the attack when he discovered the security cabinet had approved it only after Netanyahu concealed the army command’s major reservations.

Netanyahu also tried to bribe right-wing voters by promising last week that he would annex much of the West Bank immediately after the election – a stunt that blatantly violated campaigning laws, according to Mendelblit.

Facebook was forced to shut down Netanyahu’s page on two occasions for hate speech – in one case after it sent out a message that “Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men”. That sentiment appeared to include the 20 per cent of the Israeli population who are Palestinian citizens.

Netanyahu incited against the country’s Palestinian minority in other ways, not least by constantly suggesting that their votes constituted fraud and that they were trying to “steal the election”.

He even tried to force through a law allowing his Likud party activists to film in Arab polling stations – as they covertly did in April’s election – in an unconcealed attempt at voter intimidation.

The move appeared to have backfired, with Palestinian citizens turning out in larger numbers than they did in April.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, intervened on Netanyahu’s behalf by announcing the possibility of a defence pact requiring the US to come to Israel’s aid in the event of a regional confrontation.

None of it helped.

Netanayhu’s only hope of political survival – and possible avoidance of jail time – depends on his working the political magic he is famed for.

That may prove a tall order. To pass the 61-seat threshold, he must persuade Avigdor Lieberman and his ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party to support him.

Netanyahu and Lieberman, who is a settler, are normally ideological allies. But these are not normal times. Netanyahu had to restage the election this week after Lieberman, sensing the prime minister’s weakness, refused in April to sit alongside religious parties in a Netanyahu-led government.

Netanyahu might try to lure the fickle Lieberman back with an irresistible offer, such as the two of them rotating the prime ministership.

But Lieberman risks huge public opprobrium if, after putting the country through a deeply unpopular re-run election, he now does what he refused on principle to do five months ago.

Lieberman increased his party’s number of seats to eight by insisting that he is the champion of the secular Israeli public.

Most importantly for Lieberman, he finds himself once again in the role of kingmaker. It is almost certain he will shape the character of the next government. And whoever he anoints as prime minister will be indebted to him.

The deadlock that blocked the formation of a government in April still stands. Israel faces the likelihood of weeks of frantic horse-trading and even the possibility of a third election.

Nonetheless, from the perspective of Palestinians – whether those under occupation or those living in Israel as third-class citizens – the next Israeli government is going to be a hardline right one.

On paper, Gantz is best placed to form a government of what is preposterously labelled the “centre-left”. But given that its backbone will comprise Blue and White, led by a bevy of hawkish generals, and Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, it would, in practice, be nearly as right wing as Netanyahu’s.

Gantz even accused Netanyahu of stealing his idea in announcing last week that he would annex large parts of the West Bank.

The difficulty is that such a coalition would depend on the support of the 13 Joint List legislators representing Israel’s large Palestinian minority. That is something Lieberman has rejected out of hand, calling the idea “absurd” early on Wednesday as results were filtering in. Gantz appears only a little more accommodating.

The solution could be a national unity government comprising much of the right: Gantz’s Blue and White teamed up with Likud and Lieberman. Both Gantz and Lieberman indicated that was their preferred choice on Wednesday.

The question then would be whether Netanyahu can worm his way into such a government, or whether Gantz demands his ousting as a price for Likud’s inclusion.

Netanyahu’s hand in such circumstances would not be strong, especially if he is immersed in a protracted legal battle on corruption charges. There are already rumblings of an uprising in Likud to depose him.

One interesting outcome of a unity government is that it could provoke a constitutional crisis by making the Joint List, the third-largest party, the official opposition. That is the same Joint List described by Netanyahu as a “dangerous anti-Zionist” party.

Ayman Odeh would become the first leader of the Palestinian minority to attend regular briefings by the prime minister and security chiefs.

Netanyahu will continue as caretaker prime minister for several more weeks – until a new government is formed. If he stays true to form, there is plenty of mischief he can instigate in the meantime.

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Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

The World Order Backdrop

Arguably, even before the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, there was a widespread sense that a state-centric form of world order was morally and functionally deficient in certain fundamental respects. Political actors were indifferent to the outbreaks of war, disease, and famine outside of their sovereign territory absent serious extraterritorial reverberations. At the same time lesser states were vulnerable to the manipulations and territorial/imperial ambitions of leading states that generated colonialism, interventions, and sustained an exploitative Europeanization of world order. World War I with massive casualties, closely followed by the Russian Revolution, which posed a normative challenge to the capitalist/market driven organization of national societies, led to some groping toward a new global order taking the institutional form of the League of Nations. It became soon obvious that the League, a project of idealists, was not endowed with the capabilities, independence, and authority needed for success, and its failure to bring peace to the world did not surprise the political leaders of major countries and even less, their realist advisors.

Then came World War II with estimated casualties of 60 million and the future gravely menaced by the advent of the nuclear age, and the recognition became more widespread, including among political classes, that global reform was indispensable if catastrophe was to be avoided. The United Nations emerged in this atmosphere of urgency, conceived to correct the shortcomings of the League while recognizing and incorporating the geopolitical realities of inequalities among states when it comes to political and economic power and diplomatic influence. The predominant Western understanding in 1945 was that to make the UN operationally relevant it would be necessary to connect geopolitics to statism in a mutually acceptable manner. This rather incoherent dualistic goal was operationalized by giving the right of veto to the five permanent members of the Security Council and in the Charter and General Assembly affirming the juridical equality of all Members, whether small or large sovereign states. There were also parallel worries n 1945 as serious as the impulse to achieve war prevention. It was widely believed in the West that effective global mechanisms were needed to avoid a new worldwide economic depression, which was translated into political reality through the establishment of the World Bank, IMF, and later, the World Trade Organization that also had a dual mission of regulating and promoting global market forces.

The UN lacked sufficient financial independence and political autonomy to fulfill the promise of the idealistic vision of the Preamble to the UN Charter. This vision of war prevention was blocked geopolitically by the political behavior of states enjoying a right of veto and juridically by the primacy accorded national interests of all Members. The result, as evidenced by the failure to remove threats of nuclear weapons, climate change, and global migration, demonstrated the UN’s inability to protect either global or human (that is, species) interests. In such an atmosphere, the drift toward catastrophe continues, hastened by hyper-nationalism, escapism, denialism, and short-termism. This drift is currently accelerated by the hyper-nationalism of leading states, including the United States, that earlier offered some incidental support for global and human interests, expressive of its hybrid approach to global leadership, which featured both selfish and benevolent motivations. This meant combining the pursuit of self-aggrandizing goals with the pursuit of a somewhat enlightened and pragmatic view of its global leadership role, sometimes called ‘liberal internationalism.’ Such an approach favored mutually beneficial forms of international cooperation, human rights, environmentalism, and disaster relief, while simultaneously accommodating geopolitical goals as achieved by intervention and a selective instrumentalization of international law and the UN, which meant using law and the UN when supportive of foreign policy, while ignoring or opposing when obstructive.

In effect, the sovereign territoriality of all states prevailed in the organization of international life so long as the strategic, ideological, corporate, and financial interests of geopolitical actors were not serious threatened adversely affected by internal developments. The UN Charter recognized this in Article 2(7) by prohibiting the Organization from intervening in matters ‘essentially within the domestic jurisdiction’ of Member states unless international peace and security were affected. In this spirit, environmental issues have never been seen as providing sufficient grounds for intervention by the UN or geopolitical actors. As a matter of international law intervention by states is prohibited by contemporary international law, although opportunistic exceptions exist, and violations and geopolitical interpretations of the norm occur.

There exists a doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention’ and a norm mandating ‘a right to protect’ (R2P), but no claim or practice associated with ‘environmental’ or ‘ecological’ transnatonal intervention, and no norm formulated in light of a ‘right to protect humanity.’ And so the fires in Brazil (and Africa) continue to burn, a rhetoric of widespread disapproval reaches the stars, but no coercive action is even proposed beyond some expressions of reluctance to cooperate economically or halfhearted recommendations to boycott of certain agricultural exports. The Brazilian response has produced exclamations of ‘national sovereignty’ and some cosmetic reassurances that matters are under control, despite the continuing billowing of clouds of smoke so dark as to obscure the sun as far 1,700 miles away in the huge city of Sao Paulo. Finally, nominally bowing to international pressures, Bolsonaro finally dispatched 700 troops to help with firefighting in the Amazon, but such a move seemed nominal and too belated to undo the damage being daily done by the raging fires in the forest areas.

Amazonia, Syria, Yemen, and Kashmir

What these issues have in common is the inability of the global system of authority to save these national populations from experiencing prolonged tragedy as a result of the criminal behavior of the territorial government and, in some instances, its insurgent adversaries. It is a central deficiency of world order as a system of political control as assessed from a humanistic perspective, and is reinforced by the geopolitical maneuvers of leading states. The political will to act effectively is shaped by nationalist motivations and by more material concerns involving territory, markets, resources, and population identities, with the concern for the avoidance of mass suffering pretty much confined to angry or pleading rhetoric. In effect, principles of international law and the authority UN are ineffectual unless backed by political will or activated by a robust political movement. For Syria, Yemen, these tragic happenings impact upon the society of people, while for Kashmir, the Indian repudiation of Kashmiri autonomy threatens a war between two nuclear weapons states, as well as gives rise to severe state/society tensions.

Image on the right is from Greenpeace

The 2127 fires ablaze in the Amazon are different. Burning Amazonia affects the world by endangering the world’s largest rain forest. It is the latest manifestation of ecological insensitivity by leaders of important countries, in this case, Brazil. Such an extreme degree of insensitivity is not only responsible for massive human suffering by way of displacement and disruption, it also weakens the carbon cycle and lessens biodiversity. The increased concerns about these fires are linked to the 278% in deforestation over the prior year, and to a Brazilian political leadership that makes no secret of its hostility to environmentalism, blaming its critics for drawing attention to these occurrences to discredit the Bolsonaro government, a way of discrediting Brazil’s supposedly justifiable emphasis on economic development and investment opportunity.

The Environmental Minister of Brazil, Ricardo Selles sought to deflect criticism, attributing the surge in fires to weather, wind, and heat, that is, as arising from natural causes rather than government policies. He pointed out, correctly, that many of the fires were annual efforts by cattle ranchers, farmers, and loggers to clear their land, a routine agricultural practice. Bolsonaro went so far as to suggest that environmental NGOs might have deliberately set the fires to bring disrepute to the government, and he angrily resisted attempts by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to internationalize the Amazon fires. There may be an element of truth in these defensive assertions, but they fail to address the real ecological done by those fires in the forest areas of the Amazon that have been deliberately set to make way for soy crops, cattle, and more profitable logging.

Despite ‘the fog of ecocide,’ this much is clear. The rainforests of the Amazonia, sub-Sahraran Africa, and Borneo/Indonesia are indispensable ecological resources of the planet whose managerial control should not be left entirely to national discretion as exercised by governments, often on the basis of economistic and short-term policy goals, which is currently almost invariably the case. This statist sovereignty approach not only puts at risk the planet’s largest carbon sink and most valued source of biodiversity, as well as disrupting and imperiling the lives of 20 million or more people, mostly indigenous communities, living in Amazonia. Forest experts warn that once a rainforest is degraded beyond a certain point, a tipping point is reached, and the degrading will continue of its own accord until what was once a flourishing rainforest becomes a huge area savannah grasslands. Even before tipping points are reached it takes decades to restore forest ecosystems, including precious biodiversity resources. This dynamic of disastrous mismanagement is accentuated with respect to Amazonia by the Brazilian leadership that ignores pleas from indigenous and riverine communities, as well as environmental groups in Brazil, and the UN and the EU at a time when the planet’s eco-stability depends on planting billions of trees annually, and is further jeopardized by large scale deforestation that cuts deeply into the population of carbon-absorbing trees. Of course, ecological irresponsibility has become for the autocrats who now rule the world their perverse norm of political correctness, led by the climate deniers in Washington that are setting retrograde standards for American environmental policy during the Trump presidency. If the richest country in the world is so irresponsible as to embrace climate change denialism, withdraw from negotiated international arrangements, and make national policy on this basis, what can we reasonably expect from poorer more economically challenged developmentally preoccupied countries? The world order crisis is real, severe, intensifying, and unprecedented in scale and scope.

Legalistic Exercises in Futility

One of the most progressive and persuasive contemporary advocates of a law-based approach to world order and U.S. foreign policy has been that of Marjorie Cohn, a friend and more than that, a comrade. She has responded to the fires in the Amazon in a well-sourced opinion piece whose thesis is conveyed by its title “The UN Could Save the Amazon With One Simple Move,” [Truthdig,  Sept. 1, 2019] She points out that the UN Security Council can declare that the Amazon fires are a threat to international peace and security, and that Brazil should be the target of economic punitive measures to coerce responsible environmental policies, pointing out that the UN did this with good effect as part of the global anti-apartheid movement [See Security Council Resolution 585, 586, 587, 1985] Cohn also calls attention to Articles 25 and 49 of the UN Charter which commits Member states to implement Security Council decisions. Such an analysis is completely valid as far as it goes. A coherent legal framework exists within the UN System that could be used to exert unlimited pressure on Brazil to act in an ecologically responsible manner with respect to Amazonia, but there is one vital element missing—the political will of the main geopolitical actors.

It is often overlooked that the UN never was never intended to offer the world an unconditional endorsement of a global rule of law. By its constitutional character, it was established as an institution that was expected to juggle the requirements of global law and order with geopolitical priorities. Such was the clear function of the right of veto given to the five permanent members of the Security Council. It was hoped by those of idealistic disposition that the wartime anti-fascist alliance would persist in a peaceful world, especially as the special status within the Organization was given only to the five states regarded as the victors in World War II. But it was the realists who shaped the will of the geopolitical actors, then and now, and they never for a moment endorsed a global security system resting on law and Charter principles. Indeed, they derided it. The realist consensus, associated with such policy-oriented intellectuals as Dean Acheson, George Kennan, Henry Kissinger, and Zbigniew Brzezinski knew better, believing that national and global security rested, as supposedly always had and always will on balance of power mechanisms, military capabilities, pragmatic leadership, and calculations of national interests. With the partial exception of Kennan none of those figures inhabiting the realist pantheon had the slightest interest in or respect for those who encouraged a framing of global policy by reference to human wellbeing, global justice, or ecological sustainability. In the present global mix, it is only France, a geopolitical lightweight that has dared to raise its voice above the level of a whisper to urge that the extraterritorial repercussions of the Amazon fires justify a global response, but even Macron is quite timid, relying on diplomatic discourse, offers of economic assistance, and the policy venues of the European Community and the G-7. He is too tied to the realist camp to encourage reliance on international law or the UN, and gives not even a hint that the French government would favor punitive action. Even this small French gesture of concern is too much for Donald Trump who complains that Bolsonaro was not being properly consulted while Brazilian internal policy is under consideration.

It is perhaps true that the UN could save Amazonia if the political will to do so existed, but it doesn’t, which sadly means that the UN is irrelevant, which is even more true than in the past, given the ultra-national mood now prevailing among geopolitical actors. We might ask what would Obama or Carter have done differently. Probably, not much without a robust global civil society movement that was itself advocating change and drastic measures. It should be remembered that the UN joined, rather than initiated, the anti-apartheid campaign in the 1980s, and that the geopolitical actors in the West went reluctantly along, not because of their antipathy to racism, but because of grassroots agitation in their own societies. In this connection it should be remembered that the U.S. and Britain vetoed UN calls for mandatory economic measures to be lifted only when South Africa agreed to abandon apartheid, and abstained on other resolutions. [See NY Times, July 27, 1945]

What is the Question? 

In my view, the crisis of Amazonia Burning, makes us more aware of the structural deficiencies of world order that existed ever since sovereign states claimed authority over the entire land mass of the planet as allocated to governmental authorities through the device of internationally recognized boundaries, yet the environmental and ecological issues raised were largely containable within national, regional, and even global frameworks (including world wars). This approach to the territorial allocation of authority and responsibility is supplemented by a highly permissive approach to the world’s oceans by way of freedom of all states to make almost unrestricted use, including naval operations, with minimal procedures for accountability in the absence of specific agreements (as exist, for instance, in the form of prohibitions on most whaling, and many other matters of common concern). Perhaps, the most untenable use of the oceans occurred in the decades after World War II when massive nuclear explosives designed to become warheads on weapons were extensively tested on the high seas, causing radiation to cause disease and death, especially to nearby islanders. And yet, aside from civil society protests, nothing was done by the UN or elsewhere, undoubtedly in part because the main culprit was the leading geopolitical actor. Only after a worldwide civil society protest did governments respond by negotiating the Limited Test Ban, which itself was never fully implemented.

With the use of atomic bombs in 1945, and their later development and spread, the core stability of statist world order—also, known as Westphalian world order—began to fray. With the buildup of greenhouse gasses and the decline of biodiversity that process has taken on a momentum of its own, which if not resisted and reversed, spells doom for the human species and much of its natural habitat.

We know that this bio-ethical ecological crisis cannot be overcome by appeals to international law and an ethos of international responsibility. We know also that the UN and regional organizations lack the capability or authority to override the sovereign resolve of states dedicated to maximizing national interests, being especially inhibited by the geopolitical actors who have the authority to block decisions in the Security Council. We also have become aware that these essentially structural features of world order exert additional negative influences as a result of failures of global leadership to mitigate world order deficiencies by acting to some extent in the global interest or to react empathetically to the peoples victimized by internal oppression. In an earlier period, this supplemental structural element associated with global leadership helped generate such beneficial arrangements as the public order of the oceans and of Antarctica and more recently the 2015 Paris Agreement on Global Warming and the Iran Nuclear Agreement. It would be a mistake to exaggerate the contribution of global leadership, or overlook its negative impacts, which always accorded geopolitical concerns the highest priority, failing to rid the world of nuclear weaponry and colonialism and failing to set a positive example by shows of respect for international law and the UN.

Efforts to overcome these deficiencies have been a characteristic of reformist initiatives and transformative proposals ever since the end of World War II. A dramatic initiative took place with the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement as an outgrowth of the Bandung Conference in 19  . Reflecting developmental priorities and a post-colonial naïve sense of global ethical consciousness, the Third World configuration of non-Western state actors put forward a broad platform under the rubric of The New International Economic Order. And more recently, the UN International Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons highlighted both the concerns of non-nuclear weapons states and the dismaying irresponsible offsetting pushback by geopolitical Western actors determined to retain nuclearism. In effect, overcoming the deficiencies of world order have failed when undertaken by governments or under the auspices of the UN. Reformist initiatives supported by geopolitical actors have done somewhat better due to their policymaking leverage, but do not seek changes that are inconsistent with their short-term geopolitical interests. Hence, the failure to realize the vision of a world without nuclear weaponry, to achieve environmental regulations as a level responsive to the consensus among climate scientists, and to address a long list of extraterritorial problems that would be treated differently if approached from perspectives of global rather than national interests.

What is suggested, is the dependence of human wellbeing on the emergence of a transnational activist movement that demands major structural reforms of world order that seek a favorable resolution of the bio-ethical crisis. If this seems utopian, you are quite right to react as if there is no plausible path leading from here to there. Yet I believe it is more illuminating to insist that activating the utopian imagination is the only source of a transformed realism that is sensitive to the distinctive challenges and opportunities of the 21stcentury. Adhering the premises of 20th century realism is increasingly a recipe for disaster as the tragedy of Amazonia Burning illustrates, a metaphor for the losing struggle to save life, health, and sanity on planet earth. And while Yemen, Syria, and Kashmir do not threaten the planet’s material viability, the failure to address these massive assaults on human dignity and human rights exhibit the spiritual impoverishment of world order.

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Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He initiated this blog partly in celebration of his 80th birthday.

Featured image is from Forest Peoples Programme

Syria Expresses Its Freedom Through Resistance

September 20th, 2019 by Mark Taliano

Syria expresses her freedom in her resistance to Empire. Resistance takes many forms and trajectories, but they all lead to freedom.

Resistance delivers freedom from terrorism, it expresses itself not only when the SAA defeats Western supported terrorists, but also when Syria rebuilds from the ruins.

Resistance and freedom are evident when Syria and Syrians choose their own political economy. Syrians choose President Assad, and he is staying. Syrians choose a secular government and constitution, and they are staying.

Ironically, but predictably, social schisms DID occur in Syria prior to 2011. As Prof. Chossudovsky notes in “SYRIA: NATO’s Next ‘Humanitarian’ War?”,(1) in 2006 Syria adopted economic reforms under IMF guidance (2) which included austerity measures, wage freezes, financial deregulation, trade reforms and privatizations.

This economic poison served Empire well, but not Syria.

However, Syria still has its own public Central Bank, which promises a free and self-determining political economy. Reportedly, even now, Syria has no external debts.

Central Bank of Syria

Syrian society is more equal than its Western counterparts. Everyone is entitled to free education, and everyone is entitled to free healthcare. Access is not limited by a person’s ability to pay. Equal access to healthcare and education also mean that there is more gender equity in Syria than there is in the West.

Interview with Dr. Ayssar Midani

Prior to the war, Syria was largely self-sufficient. She had food security and financial security.

Despite the criminal economic blockade, the criminal occupations, and the terrorism imposed on her, she remains steadfast. Syrians still receive their salaries and they still receive their pensions. The West would prefer that the world remain blind to Syria’s successes, and the West still seeks to destroy these successes of democracy and of political and economic independence.

The task of post-war reconstruction is gargantuan. Here, Syria’s allies, in particular Russia and China, will play a pivotal role, which will further alienate the terrorist-supporting West. Syria will become more economically integrated into Eurasia, and the One Belt One Road initiative. (3)

Syria resists, and Syria rebuilds, so true freedom, which lies submerged in the hearts of us all, will continue to burn brighter and stronger in Syria, for all the world to see.

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Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017. Visit the author’s website at https://www.marktaliano.net where this article was originally published.

Notes

(1) Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, “SYRIA: NATO’s Next ‘Humanitarian’ War?”
ONLINE INTERACTIVE I-BOOK , Global Research, 11 February, 2012 (https://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-nato-s-next-humanitarian-war/29234 ) Accessed 19 September, 2019

(2) “Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation, Mission’s Concluding Statement,” May 14, 2016.
(https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2015/09/28/04/52/mcs051406 ) Accessed 19 September, 2019

(3)Finian Cunningham, “Enter the dragon: China’s crucial role in winning Syria peace” RT, 24 May, 2018. (https://www.rt.com/op-ed/427699-china-syria-business-peace/) Accessed 19 September, 2019.


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Saudi Arabia up in Flames: Riyadh Is Headed for a Major Disaster

September 20th, 2019 by Federico Pieraccini

On Saturday September 14, Yemen’s Houthi rebels announced that they had conducted a massive attack on several Aramco plants in Saudi Arabia, including the largest oil refinery in the world in Abqaiq, using 10 drones. On Twitter, dozens of videos and photos showed explosions, flames and the resulting damage.

The move is part of a retaliatory campaign by the Houthis in response to the indiscriminate bombings conducted by the Saudi air force over more than four years. UN estimates speak of more than 100,000 deaths and the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

The Saudi kingdom finds itself in an increasingly dangerous situation as a result of the retaliatory capacity of the Houthis, able to inflict severe military and economic damage on Riyadh with their missile forces. Estimates suggest that Riyadh is losing something in the region of $300 million a day from the Houthi attacks. On Sunday September 15, a spokesman for the Saudi oil ministry spoke of damage that is yet to be calculated, possibly requiring weeks of repair. Meanwhile, Saudi oil production has halved following the Saturday attack. With a military budget of $200,000, the Houthis managed to inflict damage numbering in the billions of dollars.

House of Saud Isolated

The withdrawal of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from the conflict in Yemen, driven by their desire to improve relations with Tehran, and the impossibility of the United States intervening directly in the conflict, has created significant problems for the House of Saud. The conflict is considered by the UN to be the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and Trump has no intention of giving the Democratic presidential contenders any ammunition with which to attack him. Bolton’s dismissal could be one of those Trump signals to the deep state stating that he does not intend to sabotage his re-election hopes in 2020 by starting a new war.

This reluctance by Washington to directly support Israel and Saudi Arabia has aggravated the situation for Riyadh, which now risks seeing the conflict move to its own territory in the south of the country. The Houthi incursions into Saudi Arabia are now a daily event, and as long as Riyadh continues to commit war crimes against innocent Yemeni civilians, the situation will only worsen, with increasingly grave consequences for the internal stability of the Saudi system.

Saturday’s retaliation is the real demonstration of what could happen to the Saudi economy if Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) refuses to sit down and negotiate a way out of one of the worst military disasters of the contemporary era.

The invincibility of US weapons systems is only in Hollywood movies

The Houthis have in recent months managed to strike their targets in Saudi Arabia dozens of times using different aerial means. This highlights once again the total failure of American air-defense systems in the country.

In contrast, the multiple Russian anti-aircraft systems in Syria have achieved a 100% success rate with regard to interceptions, managing to disable (through electronic warfare) all the drones, mortars and missiles launched by jihadists against Russia’s bases in Tartus bases and Latakia.

Blame Iran!

Pompeo blames Tehran for the Yemeni attack on Saudi Arabia, of course without offering any proof. Riyadh and Tel Aviv are increasingly isolated in the Middle East. Washington is only able to offer tweets and paranoia about Iran to help its allies, given that a direct intervention is seen as being too risky for the global economy, not to mention the possibility of the conflict becoming a wider regional conflagration that would sink any chance of reelection in 2020 for the present administration.

Trump, Netanyahu and MBS are concocting a witches’ brew that will bring about a disaster of unprecedented proportions to the region. It is only a matter of time before we see the baleful consequences of their handiwork.

A hypothesis to be discarded

There is some talk doing the rounds that the Saudis conducted a false-flag attack on their own oil refineries, a hypothesis that enjoys a superficial plausibility. The resulting increase in the price of oil could be seen as having a positive effect on Aramco’s share price, it is true. But for the reasons given below, this hypothesis is actually not plausible.

The Houthis develop their own weapons, assisted by the Yemeni army. Used drones would cost less than $20,000 a piece. The military embargo on Yemen (enforced by the US and UK) has created a humanitarian disaster, limiting food and medicine. The delivery of weapons by sea therefore seems unlikely. As repeatedly stated by Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, as well as representatives of Ansarullah, Tehran has no influence on the Houthis.

The Yemeni response is part of an increasing asymmetric logic, which has as its primary objectives the halt to Riyadh’s bombings of Yemen by increasing the costs of doing so such that they become unsustainable. The obvious pressure point is the 20 billion barrels in strategic reserves.

There is no need for a false flag to blame Iran for the work of the Houthis. The corporate media is enough to have the false accusations repeated without the help of the Israelis or US-based neocons.

The Saudis are more cautious, even if unable to decide how to proceed. In Yemen, they have no more cards to play: they do not want to sit down and deal with Ansarullah, Tehran is unassailable, while Tel Aviv is pushing for a conflict, with Riyadh offered to be sacrificed.

I have been writing for months that, sooner or later, an event will occur that will change the regional balance in a possible conflict with Iran. This happened on Saturday, when half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production was brought to a halt by an attack.

Conclusion

There could not be any worse news for the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists. If the Houthis could inflict such damage using 10 drones, then Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Washington must be having conniptions at the thought of what the Iranians would be capable of doing in the event that they themselves were attacked.

Any power (in this case the US and their air-defense systems) and its close ally would do everything to avoid suffering such a humiliation that would only serve to reveal their military vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow is seen by many in Israel as a failure. It is confirmed in Tel Aviv that the Zionist state’s recent attacks in Syria have been quashed by Russian intervention, sending an unambiguous message to Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and MBS, I reiterate, are heading towards the political abyss. And given their inability to handle the situation, they will do everything in their power to draw Washington into their plans against Iran.

It is all certainly vain. But in the coming weeks, I expect further provocations and tensions in the Middle East.

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Federico Pieraccini is an independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

New studies are being published that detail high levels of dangerous microplastics had been detected in some of the most remote regions of the world. Another study warned microplastics are turning up in human stool. Now there are new reports that show high levels of microplastics have been found in blood and urine samples of children. 

The study, conducted by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute, found an alarming 97% of blood and urine samples from 2,500 children tested between 2014 and 2017 had traces of microplastics.

Der Spiegel, the German weekly magazine, published the findings over the weekend, which were part of a national study focused on “human biomonitoring” of 3 to 17-year-olds, found traces of 11 out of 15 plastic ingredients in the collected samples.

“Our study clearly shows that plastic ingredients, which are rising in production, are also showing up more and more in the body. It is really worrying that the youngest children are most affected as the most sensitive group,” Marike Kolossa-Gehring, one of the study’s authors, told the magazine.

Researchers found perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also used in cleaning products, waterproof clothing, food packaging, and cooking utensils, was present in the blood and urine samples.

PFOA has been described as a dangerous chemical that is toxic to the liver. The EU will outlaw the substance next year.

In at least 20% of the 2,500 children tested, microplastics were above safe government limits. Children from low-income regions were more susceptible to ingesting plastics than ones from the middle class and wealthy areas.

“It can not be that every fourth child between the ages of three and five is so heavily burdened with chemicals that long-term damage cannot be reliably ruled out,” said Hoffmann, adding that “the Federal Government must make every effort to protect people from harmful chemicals.”

Der Spiegel said the study hadn’t been published, and the results were only made available by the government upon request by the Green Party.

Hoffmann said there’s not enough research on how microplastics affect the body, and how exactly they’re ingested.

As far as environmental and health impacts of microplastics, these three studies could suggest a silent plastic apocalypse has infected Earth.

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Who Owns the Sea?

September 20th, 2019 by Vanessa Baird

The coming months are critical if we are going to stop the damaging free-for-all that is the current status quo and save the world’s oceans for our common future. Vanessa Baird examines the prospects.

***

There’s a cartoon that oceanographer Lisa Levin uses in her lectures. It shows a group of women having coffee. One is saying: ‘I don’t know why I don’t care about the bottom of the ocean, but I don’t.’ It’s from The New Yorker, dated 1983, and it’s safe to say it probably reflected the feeling of the vast majority of people at the time.

Whatever has happened in the intervening decades, that, at least, may have changed. It’s so much easier today to feel for the seas.

We now know that the vast, once seemingly empty, body of blue is teeming with precious and precarious life. And we know much more about the human role in endangering so many of its creatures. A turtle, with a plastic straw stuck poignantly in its nostril. A baby whale, clutching to its ailing mother. A dolphin expiring from exhaustion, tangled in a fishing net.

We know the sheer colour and wondrous beauty of sea life. Bioluminescent fish that dazzle in the dark deep, where no light penetrates except the magical flashes that sea creatures themselves create. Awesome underwater mountains and kelp forests that seem like the stuff of rich fantasy.

Such images have been brought into the homes of millions by the Blue Planet television series, narrated by David Attenborough, providing us with an iconography of marine conservation that commands an almost sacred potency. Earlier this year, the naturalist and filmmaker achieved rock-star status, appearing, at the age of 93, at this year’s Glastonbury festival in the west of England.

But, more important, he has helped turn a vast anonymous expanse into something people care about, feel connected to, might even want to save.

Law of the Sea

Who owns the sea, that body of water that covers two-thirds of the planet? Can you really draw lines on water, circumscribe it with laws?

The idea of an international law of the sea has a long history. In 1609 Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius published a treatise called ‘The Freedom of the Seas or the Right which belongs to the Dutch to take part in the East Indian Trade’. The subtitle is a bit of a giveaway.

He began by saying: ‘Every nation is free to travel to every other nation and to trade with it.’

In 1982, after a decade of negotiation, a new UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) came into being.

This enshrined Grotius’ ‘freedom of the seas’ but with more detailed national rights and privileges. It extended the ‘territorial sea’ where a coastal state is free to set laws, regulate, and use any resource from 3 to 12 nautical miles.[1] Vessels of all nations have the right of ‘innocent passage’ through all such territorial waters. Fishing, polluting, weapons practice and spying are not considered ‘innocent’, and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flags.

The 1982 Convention also introduced a new 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), within which the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources. In some cases, this can be extended even further.

Most of the seas – 64 per cent of the ocean’s surface – remain ‘high seas’ or ‘areas beyond national jurisdiction’, a free-for-all region.

The Convention has been signed by 167 countries and the European Union. The US has never ratified it, which is ironic given how often it uses its rhetoric when aggressively patrolling key waters to secure ‘freedom of navigation’. Nor, incidentally, has Iran.

Fit for purpose?

When it was first being discussed, the Law of the Sea was welcomed by many. Dorrik Stow, now oceanography professor at Scotland’s Heriot Watt University, recalls: ‘I was very enthusiastic about it as a student. There was such a huge ocean out there that should be beneficial to humankind.’

But what followed was a resource grab of epic proportions by richer coastal nations. ‘I don’t think the Law of the Sea has done anything for poorer communities or landlocked nations or the world in general,’ Stow now concludes.

Meanwhile, its enshrining of the ‘freedom of the high seas’ has in some ways enshrined lawlessness. Steven Haines, professor of international law at London’s Greenwich University, says:

‘Most international law in relation to the high seas is virtually unenforceable.’

He sees the international system for registering ships as a significant part of the problem.

‘It doesn’t work. If you talk to people who have vested interests they will say it’s working fine, but that’s simply not the case.’

Under UNCLOS, only flag states (the main ones being Panama, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Hong Kong and Greece) have jurisdiction over their registered ships in international waters. But they don’t, or can’t, effectively police their ships or what happens on them. There is no police force for the high seas and no criminal justice system that applies there.

A recent case is emblematic: a British teenager, allegedly raped on board a Panama-flagged cruise ship in international waters in the Mediterranean, was unable to obtain justice because the Spanish court in Valencia, where the ship docked, did not have the jurisdiction to try the case. Her alleged attacker was freed.

Current harms

Today many experts agree that the Law of the Sea is not fit for purpose. It has proved unable to deal with many challenges that were less apparent in the 1980s, such as modern slavery on ships, people-trafficking, piracy, overfishing, plastics pollution and climate change.

The high seas are, by and large, a zone where weak laws and poor governance allow the powerful to plunder and human rights abuses to go unchecked. Something close to anarchy prevails.

A handful of mainly rich nations exploit marine life for profit under the freedom to the high seas granted by UNCLOS. The Convention does include some duties to conserve living marine resources and protect and preserve the environment, including rare or fragile ecosystems and habitats, but these are largely ignored.

Though vast and forgiving, the seas are now in crisis, stressed to the limit by a range of human activities. For example, nearly 90 per cent of the world’s marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted, according to the UN.

The extension of fishing into the high seas, and the deep seas, has put pressure on large migratory fish and marine animals: sharks, some types of tuna, whales, dolphins and turtles, are especially at risk.

Industrial fishing is the most harmful. Bottom trawling, which involves dragging a large net and heavy gear across the sea floor, is generally considered the most aggressive method, destroying fragile deep-sea habitats. Just six fishing powers – China, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Spain and North Korea – account for 77 per cent of the global high-seas fishing fleet.

If industrial high-seas fishing is bad for marine creatures, it’s not much cop for humans either. A recent report on modern slavery at sea showed that it was ‘endemic’ in the Pacific, the source of most of the world’s tuna. Only 4 out of 35 leading brands surveyed had systems in place to detect slavery in their supply chains, which are complex and opaque.

Plastics pollution in the seas is now headline news. The oceans are awash with the stuff. Most originates on land as waste which then enters the river system, before flowing into the sea – 12 million tonnes a year. Much consists of single-use plastic containers and packaging.

Ocean currents carry this plastic waste over vast distances and to great depths. Spare a thought for US explorer Victor Vescovo who recently descended 11 kilometres to the deepest place in the ocean, the Pacific’s Mariana Trench – and found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers. Spare more thoughts for all the marine creatures that are eating plastic, often mistaking it for nutritious plankton. The trouble with plastic is that although it might eventually break down into smaller particles, it lasts forever.

Human activity on land is responsible for another growing marine problem – eutrophication. This is the creation of oxygen-depleted ‘dead zones’ in the sea.

Each summer, a 20,000 square-kilometre dead zone forms in the Gulf of Mexico near the Mississippi Delta. Cause of death: pig shit and artificial fertilizer from Iowa.

Yes. You read right. Two thousand kilometres up the Mississippi River is the US pig-breeding and soy and corn belt. Massive amounts of waste, including nitrates and phosphates, are produced by industrial farming methods; prodigious quantities of pig manure and artificial fertilizer are used on the crops. The chemicals contaminate the groundwater and then flow into the Mississippi-Missouri river system, which ends in the Gulf of Mexico. There, the nitrates and phosphates over-fertilize the sea, causing the formation of oxygen-starved areas devoid of life.

Scientists now know much more about the intricate relationship between the oceans and the atmosphere and what it means for climate change (see page 21). The ocean is like a gigantic sponge, explains Stow, holding 50 times more carbon and carbon dioxide than the atmosphere. It absorbs more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide produced by human activity. But all that excess carbon is leading to acidification of the seas as the CO2 dissolves, releasing hydrogen ions, lowering the water’s pH value and increasing its acidity. Called climate change’s ‘evil twin’, acidification kills off coral reefs, which provide habitats for 25 per cent of marine species.

A healthy sea absorbs CO2 and cools down the world, while its abundant plant-life produces much of the oxygen we need on land. It’s said that we have the ocean to thank for every second breath we take. We are not exactly showing our gratitude.

There are diverse ways in which we are treating the ocean badly – as a limitless dustbin for all manner of waste, chemical, nuclear, industrial, shipping, human; as a living storehouse that can be endlessly plundered without a thought for replenishment.

Future threats

We know, for example, of the lasting damage done by fossil fuel exploitation. BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 is fresh in the memory. A ban on further oil exploration in the fragile and environmentally challenged Arctic and Antarctic should be a no-brainer.

‘We should keep away from them,’ says Stow, simply.

But what about the new initiatives that are increasingly seen as drivers of a future, high-tech ‘blue economy’?

In July protesters gathered in Kingston, Jamaica, where the International Seabed Authority (ISA) was holding a major meeting. This body is responsible for managing the seabed and ocean floor beyond national jurisdictions and it’s trying to finalize regulations for seabed mining by the end of 2020. The protesters were calling for a 20-year moratorium on deep-sea mining.

Large swathes already have been licensed to companies by the ISA for mineral exploration, many in areas of high biodiversity value. But scientists warn that mining will cause irrevocable damage to vulnerable deep ocean ecosystems which also play a key role in controlling our climate. A simulated mining operation conducted 26 years ago in the sea off Peru shows biological damage enduring to this day.

The ISA has a serious conflict of interest. It is supposed to protect the seabed at the same time as enabling its exploitation. Environmentalists and some marine scientists say it is too close to the mining industry and is failing to encourage informed public debate about the risks. The company DeepGreen is a vocal proponent for deep-sea mining at the ISA and is working with shipping giant Maersk and mining transnational Glencore.

Marine bioprospecting is another controversial area. There has been a corporate rush to acquire marine patents. At present there are no clear rules governing the use of marine genetic resources and there are major issues around the access to these resources and how any resultant benefits should be distributed.

Reproduced and adapted from the Ocean Atlas, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, 2017, under Creative Commons licence, nin.tl/ocean-atlas

A Global Ocean Treaty

All that might be about to change. Representatives from 190 countries are taking part in the Intergovernmental Conference on the Protection of Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), which at the time of writing is about to enter the third of its four rounds. It is due to complete in mid-2020 and will pave the way to a new Global Ocean Treaty.

‘This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get ocean governance that puts conservation and sustainable use first,’ says Liz Karan, senior manager for the high seas programme at Pew Charitable Trusts.

The aim is to develop an international, legally binding instrument to enable the protection of marine life and habitats outside national jurisdiction.

Issues on the table include: the need for comprehensive environmental impact assessments for activities on the high seas; capacity building for management and conservation; the international sharing of benefits from marine genetic resources; and the use of area-based management tools, including marine protected areas (MPAs). The outcome will need to be radical, ambitious and properly enforced, if it is to work.

‘Just asking existing institutions to do their job better will not go far enough,’ says oceanographer Callum Roberts at the UK’s University of York.

Those existing institutions include regional fisheries management organizations, the International Seabed Authority and the International Maritime Organization.

‘There is a deep level of dysfunction at the heart of many of these organizations,’ says Roberts. ‘Putting them in charge of environmental protection would be a disaster. They urgently need reforms in the way they operate, as part of the Treaty. Some other body, with legal teeth and powers to sanction non-compliance with rules, must be created to co-ordinate and deliver protected areas.’

Roberts is lead author of a bold and comprehensive report published by Greenpeace, which lays out a blueprint to protecting 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030.

We are currently achieving less than half of the 10 per cent by 2020 figure agreed under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

But the report’s authors say that 30 per cent is the minimum required to save the seas and that this can be achieved by creating a planet-wide network of ocean sanctuaries, making large areas of international waters off limits for fishing and extractive industries. The sanctuary network is designed to use data such as the distribution of sharks, whales, seamounts, trenches, hydrothermal vents, fishing fleets, mining claims and so forth. It takes into account wider environmental change and uncertainty and uses sea surface temperature to identify places likely to change more slowly or adapt more readily to rising temperature stress.

In the past, marine protected areas (MPAs) have been criticized for being too weak, for failing to stop over-exploitation, or for threatening the livelihoods of local traditional fishers.

‘I think many of the uncertainties about how MPAs work have now been resolved by science,’ says Roberts. ‘We know they are powerful tools that will deliver a wide range of benefits if done well. Many people who think they will lose turn out not to when MPAs are established, often becoming supporters of protection. People are afraid of what they don’t know. We should be more afraid of a future without protected areas, since protection is critical to help us mitigate the impacts of global climate change and adapt to its effects.’

Conservation takes many forms. These traditional fishers from Madagascar have switched to fishing more sustainable species. Credit: Tommy Trenchard and Aurelie Marrier D’unienville/Panos

Our sea

The oceans are our shared common heritage, but the current Law of the Sea does not deliver equity by a long chalk. In 2010 Australian philosopher Denise Russell wrote, with some prescience:

‘A formidable force involved in the fate of the oceans favours a largely unregulated sea. This is the group of corporations that make use of the oceans in diverse ways… The Law of the Sea is now part of the problem with oceans and radical reorganization of ocean ownership is needed. Instead of a free-for-all, the high seas should be owned by the international community and regulated to ensure equity between nations and generations.’

This is the moment for the big push, to demand that our leaders agree a strong Global Ocean Treaty in 2020 with the creation of a body with enforcement powers to protect the seas, their life forms – and life on Earth.

As David Attenborough said at the end of his Blue Planet 2 series:

‘Never before have we had such awareness of what we are doing to the planet. Never before have we had such power to do something about it.’

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Vanessa Baird lived and worked as a journalist in Peru during the tumultuous mid-1980s, and she maintains a passionate interest in South America.

Note

[1] One nautical mile is equivalent to 1.15 land miles and 1.85 kilometres.

Featured image: The rubbish that’s visible near the surface is just part of the problem of ocean abuse – and planned future exploitation. Credit: Justin Hofman/Greenpeace

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Europe’s Complicity in Latin America’s Deforestation Crisis

September 20th, 2019 by Forest Peoples Programme

Dear President-elect Ursula von der Leyen,
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans,
President of the European Parliament David Sassoli,

Dear Heads of State [heads of government] of countries signatory to the Amsterdam Declaration:

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Prime Minister Erna Solberg,

Plea to address EU complicity in current deforestation crisis and instruct the European Commission to work on EU regulation to end deforestation

The dramatic acceleration in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon which has led to an alarmingnumber of fires is one of the world’s most urgent problems. The fires have evoked a powerfulworldwide response, as people look on in anger and desperation at the worsening situation.

The sharp increase in fires, both in Brazil and in surrounding countries like Bolivia and Paraguay, is not natural. They are lit by landholders in an effort to improve grass cover in cattle pastures or to burn felled trees in preparation for crops or pasture. Neither are some of the fires incidental, since in the state of Pará, for example, ‘dias de fogo’ – days of fire – have been planned and announced in advance by landholders.

The high deforestation rates and forest fires in Brazil can be directly associated with the Brazilian federal government. Public statements by President Bolsonaro outlining his commitment to loosen law enforcement, have sent a clear signal of impunity that encourages environmental crimes.

The largest and most dangerous impacts of these crimes are felt not only by nature but also by indigenous peoples and traditional communities, whose ways of life, traditional knowledge and livelihoods are under severe threat from a serious increase in violations of their nationally and internationally protected rights. Women are particularly impacted.

Combined with the refusal to demarcate indigenous lands, the deliberate dismantling of the operational capacity of the federal environmental agency IBAMA, backsliding in the legal framework for environmental licensing of infrastructure, logging, mining and agribusiness projects and much more, it is clear that the current Brazilian administration is deeply embroiled in the current deforestation emergency facing Brazil, which harms Brazilians first and foremost.

This subject was judiciously put on the Agenda of the recent G7 meeting in Biarritz. However, we do not believe that the actions decided on go anywhere near far enough to tackle the escalating deforestation emergency.

You not only have the power to do more – you also bear the responsibility.

European consumption and finance is intimately linked with the current deforestation crisis in Brazil and neighbouring countries. The EU is Brazil’s second biggest trading partner – with 19% of all soy the EU consumes coming from Brazil (for the period July-December 2018) and 10% of all Brazilian beef for export is destined for the EU, two of the commodities that are highly associated with the current deforestation crisis. The EU is also a large importer of tropical hardwoods. According to the UN, 70% of deforestation due directly to agricultural clearing is precipitated by the existence of logging roads, with logged tropical forests being eight times more likely to be completely deforested than those remaining unlogged. As well, the degradation caused by logging is a significant source of emissions itself.

We believe the EU can act decisively in two ways.

  1. Suspend ratification of the Free Trade AgreementAs you are well aware, the EU has recently concluded a Free Trade Agreement with Mercosur countries, including Brazil. Within this Free Trade Agreement, Brazil pledged to uphold its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

    The current deforestation crisis contravenes the stated aims of the Paris Agreement. It is therefore a matter of urgency for the EU to formally suspend the ratification process, as a number of EU leaders have called for. It should contain strong and binding safeguards that will ensure that forests are protected, and Indigenous and traditional communities’ rights respected.

    Furthermore, we believe it is pertinent to remind EU leaders that the Mercosur Free Trade Agreement negotiations were conducted despite the lack of up-to-date analysis ofthe deal’s potential social, human rights and environmental damage.

  2. Prepare legislation which will ensure companies and the finance sector do due diligence to guarantee that products placed on the EU market and investments have not led to recent forest degradation or deforestation or caused human rights abuses

It has become apparent that the provisions within the existing Free Trade Agreements, including with Mercosur countries, are not strong enough to hold trading partners to account for their environmental and human rights performance, especially when reckless administrations take hold.

A recent poll showed that 87% of Europeans support new laws to ensure that the food they eat and the products they buy don’t drive global deforestation. European citizenswill not continue to allow further destruction of the forests we all depend on to stabiliseour climate, maintain rainfall, nurture biodiversity and protect the world’s poorestpeople.

On the 23rd of July, the European Commission issued a Communication on Stepping upEU Action to Protect and Restore the World’s Forests. Within this Communication, the EU commits to:

“assess(ing) additional demand side regulatory…measures to ensure a level playing field…in order to increase supply chain transparency and minimise the risk ofdeforestation and forest degradation associated with commodity imports in the EU”

Our main asks to you today is to instruct the European Commission to work on such legislation with immediate effect and suspend the process on the conclusion of the Mercosur free trade agreement.

Yours sincerely,

Hannah Mowat, Campaigns Coordinator, Fern
Daniel Merdes, CEO, Borneo Orangutan Survival Germany
Nicholas Bell, European Civic Forum
Mary Booth, Director, Partnership for Policy Integrity
Martin Luiga, International Communications Coordinator, Estonian Forest Aid
Eric Benson, Partner, Re-nourish, LTD.
Evelyn Schönheit, Jupp Trauth, Forum Ökologie & Papier, Germany
Tina Lutz, Jana Ballenthien, Forest Campaigners ROBIN WOOD, Germany
Glenn Hurowitz, Director, Mighty Earth
Christoph Wiedmer, CO-Director Society for Threatened Peoples Switzerland
Faith Doherty, Forests Campaign Leader, Environmental Investigation Agency
Reinhard Behrend, Rettet den Regenwald e.V. – Rainforest Rescue, Germany
Patrick Alley, Director and Co-Founder, Global Witness
Lukas Straumann, Director, Bruno Manser Fund, Switzerland
Nikolai Lang, Constituted executive Director, Forests of the World
Karin Lexén, Secretary general, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
Merel van der Mark, Finance WG coordinator, Environmental Paper Network
Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch
Ton Sledsens, Forest Campaign, Milieudefensie
Øyvind Eggen, Executive Director, Rainforest Foundation Norway
Nikolaj Kornbech, Economic Justice Campaigner, NOAH, Denmark
Jagoda Munić, Director, Friends of the Earth Europe
Tom Griffiths, Coordinator of the Responsible Finance Programme, Forest Peoples Programme Sylvain Angerand, Campaigns Coordinator, Canopée
Harri Hölttä, Chairman, Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, Finland
Magda Stoczkiewicz Deputy Director, Greenpeace European Unit

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On 20 September students will be mobilizing in a global protest against climate change.

Who is supporting this Worldwide endeavour, who is funding it?

Is this a real rebellion?

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It is natural for people to come forward in defense of planet Earth once they become aware of the policies of ecocide built into corporate globalization. In fact, it is the general lack of such action which constitutes the real concern for all who care deeply about the health and welfare of the planet and its occupants.

But for a long time now, those with their hands on the control levers of daily life have shown themselves to be extremely adept at tuning-in to expressions of resistance and covertly subverting such expressions to fit their monopoly of unrestrained economic growth – at all costs.

The Extinction Rebellion clash between eco-activist movements and a highly structured elite policy of distinctly un-ecological wealth procurement, has been increasingly in the public eye  recently.

It looks, to all intents and purposes, as though these are indeed two camps with major idealistic differences, coming up against each other on the streets, in print and over the airwaves.

However, on closer inspection, it transpires that this is not the case. Just under the surface is an entanglement which we need to grasp in order to know what is actually going on. I am grateful to www.nowhere.news for looking behind the scenes of recent high profile events on the streets of London and elsewhere and drawing out the largely hidden details of exactly who is behind these actions and what they aim to achieve.

In brief, what is revealed to be the real under-text of these ‘happenings’ is essentially a cruel hoax on tens of thousands of protesters, the majority of whom are young and ostensibly making their presence known so as to challenge government on global warming/ climate change concerns. People whose stated reason for coming forward is that they don’t believe enough serious actions are being taken to keep CO2 emissions below 400 parts per million.

So let’s try to deconstruct the multiple layered confusion that clouds the road to truth in this matter. Firstly, the majority of ‘stop global warming /climate change activists’ have a problem: they have never questioned the narrative of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change whose edict categorically states that the science behind its prognosis on climate change is an incontrovertible fact and beyond discussion.

Just why would tens of thousands of people, who supposedly have little or no faith in government, not firstly question what a government panel claims to be an indisputable fact? This is the first major question in need of a clear answer.

We shouldn’t need to remind ourselves that the majority of governments are in the pocket of corporations and their main policies never go against the global corporate will. Although they are usually disguised to seem to.

In short, IPCC, industry and government paid climatologists, want people to believe their carefully scripted global warming /climate change story because there is big money to be made mass-producing the infrastructure needed to transform a fading brown and black fossil fuel regime into a supposedly Green New Deal, Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Something that would not encounter resistance from most urban ecologists and greens, as they choke everyday on diesel, oil and coal pollutants and, thanks to IPCC, see the demise of fossil fuels as also key to ‘saving the planet’ – not just themselves.

Next, it would appear that those who take on front line street actions within organizations like Extinction Rebellion make the error of also failing to research the background of those who are financially supporting and leading the organization from behind the scenes – or on occasions – quite openly.

In the case of Extinction Rebellion, the co-founders  and leading light is Gail Bradbrook, assisted by climate change lawyer Farhana Yamin, both of whose backgrounds have lines of direct working connection with people and organizations committed to exactly the opposite objectives to those of the green protesters following their leadership directives.

According to ‘Nowhere News’ investigations, Gail Bradbrook has a history of working with top-down elitist organizations committed to upholding the neoliberal capitalist status quo. She is quoted as being an enthusiastic supporter of ‘Otpor’ – an organization funded by the US National Endowment for Democracy – a body closely affiliated with US government promotion of regime change around the World.

Farhana Yamin is CEO of ‘Track O’ a business whose partners include the Rockefeller Foundation and Chatham House, where she is also an associate fellow. Chatham House, aka The Royal Institute of International Affairs, is perhaps the leading empire upholding think-tank in the Western hemisphere.

Just why would Extinction Rebellion supporters go along with such plainly inappropriate individuals leading their movement?

Before answering this, I would like to focus on how government is using these quasi leaders to misguide and demotivate all those who could, if properly organized and motivated, actually present a serious challenge to genuinely destructive globalist environmental practices that play-out everyday of our lives.  But first, of course, the green aspiring supporters of Extinction Rebellion would have to realize that their ‘rebellion’ never steps outside the confines of a globalist agenda. But instead lands up actually supporting it.

The think-tank secret societies like the Bilderbergers and Trilateral Commission are made-up of leading figureheads from – among others – global banking interests, the military industrial complex, Big Pharma, Big Agro, Big Legal, Big Telecommunications, Big Energy and Big Media. All of which share a common interest in preserving and expanding their empires. To do this they need to be ahead of the game and always ready to infiltrate any movements that might provoke a wider uprising for change in another direction.

This requires considerable cunning and a well developed knowledge of how to deceive in such a way that it appears that one is doing the opposite of deceiving i.e. promoting pragmatic solutions to   global problems – the very one’s one has been responsible for creating in the first place.

This includes the re-branding of global capitalism as something benign and indispensable to the greening of the national and global economy.

Such deception is standard procedure, along with the by now infamous technique of ‘divide and conquer’, for deflating opposition to the expansionist globalist agenda. However, as we shall see, Extinction Rebellion doesn’t really need much encouragement to stick by the rules of the game – as it already bears the official stamp ‘government approved’ .

In the latest round of negotiations that took place between Extinction Rebellion representatives and UK government ministers, it is reported that a green activist put it to Environment Minister Michael Grove, that the current economy is extractive and thereby the cause of much hardship. Grove’s answer caused surprise; because instead of denying this fact, he showed some sympathy for it – stating that the government is working on a more radical circular economy that would overcome the pitfalls of the extractive factor.

This is a classic example of ‘repositioning’ so as to appear to be acquiescing to the demands of a popular movement – by saying that the government is actually ahead of the game in its vision of a better, cleaner, brighter future for all!

But is anyone fooled into believing that what is termed by government ‘ a circular economy’ would be so in reality? Would actually involve the redistribution of income within communities in a way that would close the wealth gap between rich and poor?

Grove, like nearly all government ministers, is schooled in the art of deception. In today’s world of predatory politics, ministers don’t hold down their jobs for long if they are not seen to be towing the line of their masters: the corporations that provide the funds and give the orders that go with them.

What we see in the rash of non governmental organizations suddenly getting excited about initiatives to put pressure on governments to uphold the climate agreement clauses approved at the Paris climate accord, is not actually a demand for radical change to the extractive economy. That is something that would indeed put the capitalist global economy firmly in the dock; whereas what these protesters are demanding resembles nothing much more than a shuffling of the deck chairs around the Titanic.

The Green New Deal, which appears to be closely affiliated with Extinction Rebellion, makes proposals that claim to be the answer to ‘global warming’ and ‘saving the world’, but has correctly been exposed as simply a massive reinvestment of global banking capital into the next big corporate energy heist after coal, oil and gas. Green New Deal lauds itself as having the capacity to provide thousands of new jobs in constructing the next generation of infrastructure to ensure the coming into being of a brave new world of ‘clean energy’.

What is being referred to as a world of clean energy is this: 5G WiFi driven ‘smart cities’; 5G guided autonomous driver-less cars; 5G treeless microwaved streets; 5G robots taking over from people on the factory floor and a 5G satellite and ground based total surveillance grid. Add to this the pleasures of a diet of hydroponic and nanotech ‘clean foods’ plus a  near total vegan take-over of the food chain, with its accompanying ending of family farms working with time honored sustainable mixed rotational livestock/crop systems.

The Green New Deal, in its present form, will lead directly to a microwaved and monitored world population reduced to a state of abject poverty and slavery to the high-tech masters of the long predicted New World Order.

The Green New Deal is being promoted by such figureheads as leader of the DiEm 25 movement ex finance minister of Greece Yanis Veroufakis, Green MP Caroline Lucas and .. yes Gail Bradbrook, leader of Extinction Rebellion.

The great tragedy in all this is that tens of thousands of idealistic young people, seemingly motivated to do something positive for the this planet, cannot see that they are being betrayed.  Co-opted by government to sell its industry backed climate change agenda; with its ‘cap and trade’ and ‘carbon tax’ levies serving as lucrative cash cows for the benefit of government and industry alike.

Gail Bradbrook, recently interviewed on Sky TV, stated (in a conversation about global warming) that UK government advisors had told her “We need you guys to do the job”. We’ll, one doesn’t need to try and prove the collusion between government and the leaders of the social movement called Extinction Rebellion, when it is already openly admitted by its leader.

Frankly, this is serious. Serious because firstly the government presentation of climate change is rife with inconsistencies and deception. And secondly, it comes at a time when most people able to think  recognize that governments – in most of  the Western World and beyond – are not representative of the will of the people – but of the will of the corporations and multi millionaire bankers.

This is so fundamental a fact that one can’t begin to see how movements and organizations like Green New Deal, Extinction Rebellion and Climate Action – which are all lead by people tainted by their close affiliation to the neo liberal  globalist status quo – can be taken seriously. I reiterate “by anyone who can still think”.

Let us recall the words of Albert Einstein “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.

For all the emotional good will generated by a carefully programmed Greta Thunberg and the  contortions performed by ‘inconvenient truth’ multi millionaire jet setter Al Gore, all we land up with is a deeper blurring of the real agenda being enacted by the deep state/shadow government architects of control. Of a supranational, totalitarian New World Order.

While the United Nations pretends to care about sustainable development, the International Monetary Fund pretends to care about the economy, the World Bank pretends to care about the starving, The World Health Organization pretends to care about health. Yet even while these corrupted organizations (and many more) eat into our planetary survival, too many environmental activist organizations remain transfixed by the hugely over-hyped government red herring known as global warming. I might be castigated for bringing out this ‘inconvenient truth’, but it needs to be said.

I would also like to flag-up this fact, it is the military war machine which has been identified as contributing the highest levels of toxic pollutants into the biosphere.

There is no doubt that the climate is changing and being changed. It is a recognized fact that our planetary weather is frequently being manufactured and manipulated by superpower military interventions, particularly by US operatives. Who has not seen the sky criss-crossed by the toxic atmospheric geoengineered aerosol jet trails designed by these criminals.

As a direct result of such interventions our world has a fever. She is running hot and cold. After all, our planet is Gaia, a living being – and living beings get fevers when their bodies can absorb no more sickness inducing pathogens.

It is highly significant that the architects of the central control system that holds this world to ransom, have succeeded in side-lining a large percentage of those who might have otherwise poured their energies into tackling the the military intervention of natural climatic cycles and other such brutal interventions with the health of our living planet.

I would like to conclude this article by revealing the agenda that has been most side-lined by the proclamations of the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is the promotion of a vision of a decentralized society that fosters into reality benign, local and regional socio-economic cells of creative activity. Activities that lead the world away from the suicidal globalized capitalistic cliff face.

The United Kingdom and all European Countries as well as the USA and beyond, could and should be nations built on the foundations of human scale, self governing communities, in which central government quite simply becomes redundant. Has no role to play, except within the sphere of certain international concerns.

This is the only truly radical ‘people power’ take-over that would channel human energies in a positive direction. One in which taking control of – and responsibility for – our destinies becomes the precursor for all actions that follow.

I have written at length about how this can be practically achieved  in Changing Course for Life, now republished under the new title ‘Creative Solutions to a World in Crisis’ (Dixi Books). I show how all aspects of community life and higher human aspiration can be met via a logical and really quite simple re-organizational and regenerative process that starts at the local level. A formula I have named ‘The Proximity Principle’.

This is not to say that intensive efforts to stop governments and corporations rolling-out their disastrous policies should be dropped in favour of concentrating on building the local community ‘arks’ envisaged. Of course not – one simply has to redouble one’s efforts and fight on two fronts simultaneously.

At the moment, the vision that would lead to the creation of human scale, self governing communities, is simply not being considered or expressed. Maybe because most green activists who join organizations like Extinction Rebellion, are urban raised and schooled; buy their foods in supermarkets and are preoccupied with maintaining the life styles peculiar to the urban jungle. Unfortunately, most couldn’t begin to envision the practicalities of building a new life outside the urban rat-race.

The majority are dependent on the very corporations they expose; the materialistic global agenda they blame for planetary warming and global ecocide.  In urban settings nobody is independent of a heavy reliance upon unsustainable, toxic and extractive economic patterns of daily life.

People caught-up in this way of life firstly need to find a way out, if they are to present a meaningful critique of its pit-falls. One cannot avoid the old axiom ‘practice as you preach’.

No progress can be made while one is financially supporting those who one attacks. Those that represent the interests of multinational/transnational business conglomerates that keep inorganic life-styles going. In other words one has to start on a new journey which involves saying ‘no’ to supermarket shopping, sweat shop and branded clothes, money deposits with big banks, fast food chains, household chemicals and so forth and so on.

It is hard to see such changes happening overnight, but they will have to if movements like Green New Deal and Extinction Rebellion are to have any credibility or achieve any meaningful results.

The unfortunate truth is that, in the great majority of cases, if one cannot ‘lead by example’ one is no better than the people and policies one seeks to expose.

Real resistance is a much tougher proposition than participating in happenings on the streets of London, New York or Berlin, however well-intentioned and spectacular they might be. Especially ‘government approved’ TV spectacles like Extinction Rebellion, led by insider individuals whose agendas have been tainted by careers that would appear to have successfully initiated them into the corporate art of deception. It all comes down to un-hideable hypocrisy.

Extinction Rebellion and other comparable protest statements, are essentially bandwagon movements. Pop-up cult like manifestations cleverly branded by those who have something significant to gain from the manipulation of others. So long as this sort of mass outcry is seen as the best hope for achieving change, we will be on a road to nowhere. A highway already so well traveled that the tarmacadam has worn through and potholes are now the predominant feature.

The serious route to positive change is built on more than just good intentions. It is built on holistic awareness and long-term graft – with a solid determination to ‘practice what one preaches’. Practical examples need to form the core of actions designed to halt the destruction. Sound examples that demonstrate a way forward that heals wounds and catalyses a way of life based on conscious responsibility, ecological awareness, real justice and a strong predisposition for humanitarian sharing.

Step forward all those who are committed to face the deeper challenges of life, with bravery. For these are the people who will form the vanguard of resistance to the erosion of values indispensable to the coming-through of a new paradigm. A new paradigm in the way we humans creatively interact with each other and our priceless planet Earth.

That is the real rebellion.

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Julian Rose is an international activist, writer, organic farming pioneer and actor.  In 1987 and 1998, he led a campaign that saved unpasteurised milk from being banned in the UK; and, with Jadwiga Lopata, a ‘Say No to GMO’ campaign in Poland which led to a national ban of GM seeds and plants in that country in 2006. Julian is currently campaigning to ‘Stop 5G’ WiFi. He is the author of two acclaimed titles: Changing Course for Life and In Defence of Life. His latest book ‘Overcoming the Robotic Mind’ will be available from this July. Julian is a long time exponent of yoga/meditation. See his web site for more information and to purchase his books www.julianrose.info

The Saudi Arabia Oil Refinery Bombing: The Latest False Flag

September 20th, 2019 by Robert Fantina

The United States has long been itching to do Israel’s bidding and invade Iran. This desire was somewhat subdued during the administration of Barack Obama, but returned like gang-busters with the ascendance of the unstable, narcissistic Donald Trump to the U.S. throne. First was the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); Trump and his minions apparently hoped that the economic damage resulting from this would cause the Iranian people to rise up against their own government. The U.S. would then, of course, have to invade for ‘humanitarian’ purposes.

That failed, so then the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the clown-like Nikki Haley, went on and on about Iran’s alleged nefarious dealings throughout the Middle East. Not only was any evidence of this lacking, but the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was inspecting Iran’s nuclear sites, and certifying Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA several times a year. Unfortunately, no one was inspecting the U.S. for compliance, because in 2018, it violated the agreement. Any while Haley was looking for any excuse to criticize Iran, she had nothing but praise for the brutal apartheid regime of Israel.

But Haley’s accusations didn’t amount to much, and she faded into obscurity, where she certainly belongs. So the U.S. tried to blame Iran for damaging two Saudi Arabian oil tankers in May of this year, and again in June. Still, this didn’t resonate with the world sufficiently for the U.S. to invade.

Iran shot down a U.S. drone flying in Iranian airspace, and again, Donald Trump and his minions when ballistic (please forgive the pun). In retaliation, Trump proclaimed that the U.S. shot down an Iranian drone, but didn’t bother to show any evidence of it, while the Iran’s government spokespeople stated that all of their drones returned on schedule.

What is an unstable, war-mongering president to do?

Well, the answer, perhaps, was to hit everyone where it hurts the most, in their pocketbooks. Enter Abqaiq. The possibility of oil supplies being disrupted might be sufficient to cause the world to act in a totally irrational manner.

As shown, this is just the latest in the long list of false flags the U.S. raises in its attempt to justify an invasion of Iran.

Is this a new concept? Hardly! We need not look very far back in history to see other examples; in fact, the entire ugly and violent history of the United States is littered with such false flags, each of them bloodier than the next. A few examples will suffice.

In early 2018, the U.S. bombed Syria to punish the government after it accused Bashar al-Assad of using poison gas on his own people. Shortly thereafter, then Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that the U.S. had no evidence that Assad had done what the U.S. bombed his country for doing. The U.S. wanted to bomb Syria, because it wasn’t rolling over and dying in its intense battle with U.S.-financed terrorists, so some additional violence needed to be perpetrated against it.

Let us go all the way back to 2002 and 2003, when then President George Bush told the world that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction’, all of which threatened the very existence of the United States, if not civilization itself. The fact that much of the weaponry Iraq once had was provided to it by the U.S. wasn’t much discussed back then. But Bush and his cohorts told the U.S. and the world, from the United Nations, that something needed to be done. And while most of the U.S.’s major allies took a pass on participation in the subsequent invasion, the U.S. went forward with its ‘Shock and Awe’ (who on earth comes up with these names? And is naming an invasion even necessary) campaign against the people of Iraq. But lo and behold, no ‘weapons of mass destruction’ were ever found in Iraq’s possession. Of course, no one talks about the weapons of mass destruction that the U.S. used against Iraq.

For those who are a bit older, they may remember that the start of the Vietnam War was another significant false flag. Two U.S. destroyers patrolling the Gulf of Tonkin, where they had no legitimate business to be, reported that they’d been fired upon. Within 24 hours, the ships’ captains realized that there had been no attack, just some ‘ghost’ images on the radar that falsely signaled an attack. But President Lyndon Johnson, a major war criminal if ever there was one, used this non-event to astronomically escalate U.S. troop presence in Vietnam; up to this point, U.S. soldiers were ostensibly just ‘advisers’. At least 2,000,000 Vietnamese men, women and children died as a direct result of this; over 50,000 U.S. soldiers died; Cambodia and Laos were also bombed, the U.S. was nearly bankrupt by the war, students across the country fought the U.S. government, and the reputation of the U.S. was in tatters. And the goal of the people of Vietnam, the uniting of their country which the U.S. so vehemently and violently opposed, was eventually realized when the U.S. fled in defeat.

And now we have Iran firmly in the crosshairs of U.S. imperial adventurism. We see one baseless accusation by the U.S. after another, against a nation that hasn’t invaded another country since 1798. Yet the list of nations the U.S. has invaded is a mile long.

The U.S. policy of Middle East destabilization has been wildly successful, evidenced by the blood of innocents that the U.S. has shed in that part of the world. But Trump & Co. had better think twice before invading Iran; this is not an isolated, Third-World country, but a major Middle East powerhouse, with allies including Russia. U.S. militarism should tread very lightly in that part of the world.

But will Trump exercise restraint? Possibly. He has promised his base of support, for whom he will do anything, including depriving them of health care (that’s a topic for a different essay), not to get into any more wars. And with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, another major war criminal, on the cusp of losing power, Trump may not be so willing to do his bidding. Trump likes ‘winners’, as he always says, and Netanyahu’s days of winning may be over.

If there were any cooler heads in the White House to prevail, one would have some hope. But relying on the whim of the self-proclaimed stable genius, who is quite patently neither, is not much to hold onto.

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Featured image: A fire boke out at the Saudi Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq on Saturday after a drone attack by Houthi rebels from Yemen. | Reuters

Israeli Elections: Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic

September 20th, 2019 by Richard Silverstein

Israel’s second election in the past five months has led to yet another political stalemate. As occurred in April, the two main political parties, the far-right Likud and centre-right Blue and White, fought to a virtual tie.

The political kingmaker today, as he was ingt April, is Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu. In the last election, he refused to offer his party’s seats to a Likud-led coalition headed by his once-patron and now arch-rival, Benjamin Netanyahu. This is what led to the current round of voting.

Though it is hard to predict what Lieberman will do, he is holding out for a secular “unity government” consisting of Likud and Blue and White. His main aims are to keep the Orthodox parties out of the ruling coalition and pass a military draft law to compel currently-exempt Orthodox youth to join the army.

Path to a coalition

This plan is vehemently opposed by the ultra-Orthodox, who maintain that studying the Torah is the only suitable vocation for men. They view joining the army as a grave desecration of their divine obligations. In the past, they have closed down major highways and rioted during protests against this law.

There is another path to a centre-right coalition led by Blue and White that would exclude Likud. The Palestinian Joint List has offered, for the first time in Israeli history, to join such a government.

Given that it is the third-largest party in the Knesset, increasing its representation in this election to 13 seats, in any other democratic legislature it would be a natural constituent for such a governing coalition.

But Israel is not a secular democracy. It is rather an ethnocracy, in which the rights of Palestinian citizens are subordinated to those of Jews. No ruling Israeli coalition has ever included Palestinian parties.

This is a prospect that Lieberman, who is fanatically anti-Palestinian, would never countenance. As such, it’s highly unlikely that these seats will be placed at the service of a centrist coalition.

This, of course, is one of the major tragedies of Israeli political discourse. The system refuses to confer equal rights on its Palestinian citizens. This, in turn, only confirms that the conception of Israel as a Jewish state is in irredeemable conflict with Israel as a democratic state.

Clearly many, if not most, Israeli Jews are willing to shed the notion of a democratic Israel to preserve their superior rights.

Hollow rationale

Returning to Lieberman’s grand coalition: it would be a weird amalgam of parties holding views from the centre-right to the far-right. Most of the centre-left parties, such as Labor and the Democratic Union, would either boycott it or be dubbed too left-wing for comfort.

These two large party blocs would cohabit in extreme discomfort. They have been campaigning against each other for months, slinging vile, racist smears.

Lieberman’s own rationale for such a government rings exceedingly hollow:

“I say to all citizens, our security and economy are in an emergency situation. Therefore, the state must have a broad national, liberal government, and not one which fights for survival from one week to the next and from one no-confidence vote to the next.”

Neither Israel’s security nor its economy face any emergency, nor would such a government address the nation’s problems very differently than the current far-right, Likud-led government.

The main difference will be that Lieberman will have played an instrumental role in forging this ruling coalition, and will score a plumb ministerial assignment as foreign or defence minister. In other words, this is a vanity project boosting his own political power.

Whatever the outcome, and barring any miraculous rabbits pulled from a hat, Netanyahu’s career as prime minister seems to be at an end. The price for Blue and White entering into a coalition with Likud will be dropping him as its leader. Gantz has said that he will not serve with a coalition partner facing major corruption charges.

Though Israeli politicians have been known to make such pledges before and break them when faced with the prospect of securing power, Gantz likely will not compromise on this point – and Likud’s loyalty to Netanyahu under such circumstances will be exceedingly weak.

The party would much rather remain in power than go to a third election or see themselves on the outside of the next government. Ditching their long-time leader will not be a heavy lift.

Palestinians lose again

Netanyahu is so desperate to retain power that he hatched a plan to invade Gaza. Such a military operation would have conveniently entailed delaying the election. There’s nothing like a good war to rally voters to a politician’s side, but the Israeli army chief of staff and the attorney general both nipped the stratagem in the bud.

Whoever wins, Palestinians – both Israeli citizens and those in occupied Palestine – will lose. They are an afterthought, at best.

No party during this election offered any serious thought to the conflict with Palestinians; it is simply not on the Israeli political agenda.

For more than four decades, the ruling Israeli far-right has co-opted the debate and formed a national consensus that rejects a single-state or two-state solution. Yes, the politicians have mouthed fealty to two states, but they then refused to sign any agreement with the Palestinians that offered them even half a loaf.

Israelis are happy with the status quo since it offers them all of the benefits and none of the costs of maintaining the occupation of millions of Palestinians.

Regardless of who wins, regardless of the composition of a new government, this election is a tragedy. It breaks no new ground in resolving Israel’s greatest, most unsolvable problem. This means the wars will continue, the violence will continue, the hatred will continue unabated.

As I wrote in my post-mortem of the 2015 election, the results consist of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, instead of seeing clearly the iceberg lying straight ahead.

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Richard Silverstein writes the Tikun Olam blog, devoted to exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state. His work has appeared in Haaretz, the Forward, the Seattle Times and the Los Angeles Times. 

Will the Yemen War be the End of Saudi Arabia?

September 20th, 2019 by Tom Luongo

The attack on Saudi Arabia’s major oil processing station in Abqaiq over the weekend was a major turning point in global politics. It may be even bigger than many of us realize.

While forces within U.S. political circles, Israel and Saudi Arabia keep trying to shift the blame to Iran, the most likely scenario is that the Houthis in North Yemen were responsible for the attack as a follow up to last month’s hit which showed off the capabilities of their new drones.

That attack set the stage for the latest one in a classic case of the past being prologue. By showing the world it was capable of throwing drones anywhere in Saudi Arabia rebels in Yemen created plausibility for last weekend’s attack.

And as I said the other day this attack begs a lot of questions. And the ham-fisted push to blame Iran for it, after President Trump all but ruled out a military response from the U.S. from all corners of the U.S. and Saudi establishment opens up even more.

If this was a swarm attack from Iraq and Iran, as claimed now (and supported by factless conjecture) then how did all the vaunted U.S. technology fail to account for it?

U.S. Naval CENTCOM is in Bahrain folks. Are these people blind as well as incompetent?

No. I don’t think they are. Say what you want about U.S. political leadership and the nigh-treasonous bureaucracy supporting it, I don’t think our military is that fundamentally corrupt, lazy or stupid.

What are we spending all of the money on, after all?

By continuing to spin this attack up as Iranian in origin people like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Saudi Arabian government are throwing the Pentagon under the bus.

The truth is that by trying to re-frame this as an attack by Iraqi Shi’ite militias, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), in conjunction with the IRGC, we are trying to further separate them from the Iraqi government who still openly support them and deflect against Saudi Arabia’s inherent weakness.

The PMUs have been our target politically in Iraq for months now so as to restart the chaos in Iraq.

Iraq and Syria continue to try and re-open the Al-Bukumai border crossing near Deir Ezzor. In response to the drone attack on Saudi Arabia there were two sets of airstrikes there on the 17th and the 18th. Saudi Arabia denies being involved and blamed Israel for the strikes.

The Shia Crescent is forming. The PMUs are an important part of this. Iran is investing billions in new road and rail links from Tehran to Beirut. So, the existential threat to Saudi Arabia and Israel is real.

Of that I have zero doubt.

But, notice what’s happening. Everyone’s pointing fingers at each other within the the U.S. alliance now.

Meanwhile Iran very calmly keeps denying the attack. I fully expect proof from them in the near future if the U.S. shows “proof” of Iran’s involvement.

Think back to the drone incident in June which nearly landed us in a war with Iran. The story morphed and changed with each day. The Iranians had the data, the proof, on their side and they let morons like Pompeo say provably false things before releasing it.

“Drip Drip Drip” is the strategy, as Andrew Breitbart used to call it. Drip out some information and allow your target to lie about it. Then drip out the next bit exposing that lie. And so on, and so on.

That’s what Iran did in June, humiliating Trump at every turn. And I’m sure if they weren’t behind this attack they will do the same thing in the coming days.

And I also think the U.S knows this as well. And that’s why nothing much more will come of it. It will be used diplomatically to tie Trump’s hands and front a lie to conceal more important truths.

  • The Saudi Arabians cannot defend their home. As Moon of Alabama points outSaudi air defense coverage is poor.
  • U.S. naval positioning is not prepared for a step up in violence. Carrier Groups are not in the Persian Gulf.
  • The Iranians believe they can hit targets up to 2000 kilometers away. How true that is versus U.S. air defense systems is questionable.
  • The Saudis have lost nearly all of their external support. The coalition against Yemen has collapsed.
  • The Houthis are winning.
  • Qatar hates them.
  • Egypt wouldn’t join Trump’s Arab NATO.
  • OPEC+ is floundering and Russia sets the tone.

And this brings me to the stark possibility Pepe Escobar laid out in his recent column. The Houthis may, right now, be in a position to launch an all-out attack from Yemen on Saudi Arabia and destabilize the country.

The situation has now reached a point where there’s plenty of chatter across the Persian Gulf about a spectacular scenario: the Houthis investing in a mad dash across the Arabian desert to capture Mecca and Medina in conjunction with a mass Shiite uprising in the Eastern oil belt. That’s not far-fetched anymore. Stranger things have happened in the Middle East. After all, the Saudis can’t even win a bar brawl – that’s why they rely on mercenaries.

An uprising in the east has always been on the table. It’s why the Saudis need $80+ per barrel oil. They have to pay for social programs that keep the population relatively happy.

From every side now, the Saudi Kingdom is under existential threat. So, I’m not surprised they are trying to push the blame for this incident onto Iran.

The quick announcement by newly-minted Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman that Aramco’s production will be back to normal quickly was done to reassure potential investors in the upcoming Aramco IPO, a $400 billion affair. It is the lynchpin to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS) Vision 2030 plan for modernizing the kingdom’s economy.

That fits with the desire to deflect the source of the attack away from their war in Yemen. Because, as bad as the optics are for the U.S. military, they are far worse for the Saudis if the Houthis are truly the culprits.

At a minimum the changing of the energy minister was a signal that a shift in Saudi policy is forthcoming. But without suing for peace soon MbS may not have time he thought he did.

Because there is no appetite for all out war with Iran in the U.S. The Saudis are no longer the ‘good Arabs’ to most Americans.

The military doesn’t want to put the soldiers at risk, Wall St. doesn’t want to see a financial collapse that makes Lehman Bros. look like a couple of Amish kids on rumspringa.

The MIC doesn’t want to expose their toys to the potential for them failing to dominate in the field.

War with Iran will not be conventional. It will come from all sides, all across the Shia Crescent, but especially Yemen. Of this the Iranians have been very clear, regardless of the outcome. They believe their missile technology is superior to U.S. air defense systems.

They may be correct and the last thing the U.S. wants is an actual shooting war where the outcome isn’t a foregone conclusion. The U.S. military is better served as a bogeyman, politically, rather than an actual physical threat.

So, MbS better come to the conclusion quick that a settlement in Yemen is the key to his near-term survival. Because in a quick strike by the Houthis which creates an uprising across the country there’s precious little the U.S. can or will do to oppose that.

And while an all-out war would certainly bring $150+ per barrel oil which the Saudis need to balance their budget, they most likely wouldn’t be the ones selling into that market.

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Tom Luongo is publisher of the Gold Goats n Guns. Ruminations on Geopolitics, Markets and Goats.

Featured image is from Al-Masdar News

The United States is discussing with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies about possible responses to Saudi Aramco oil facility attack. What is not being aired are any discussions between Washington and Israel on the matter. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already described the event as “an act of war” by Iran against the Saudi monarchy, even though Yemeni resistance forces had already claimed responsibility for the attack. The US-Saudi axis has simply ignored the Yemeni claims and preceded with their own ‘Iranian’ narrative.

But there are new concerns about the size and scope of any planned retaliation by the US-Saudi axis which are increasingly worrying. This morning, additional reports have surfaced suggesting that Israel and Saudi Arabia may have launched retaliatory airstrikes against “pro-Iranian militias” stationed along the border between Syria and Iraq. As these are early reports, it is difficult to determine who carried out the strikes, and why. However, the Jerusalem Post headline clearly infers that these strikes were carried out by Saudi and Israeli military:

“Saudis, Israel attack pro-Iran militias on Syria-Iraq border,” and adding that, “Saudi fighter jets have been spotted along with other fighter jets that have attacked facilities and positions belonging to Iranian militias.”

When piecing their report together, Jerusalem Post have compiled citing from various sources, including pieces of information from the Independent Arabia, Lebanese outlet Al Mayadeen and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

According to their article, “unidentified aircraft” have been striking targets from this past Monday (killing 10), Tuesday (killing 16) and most recently on Wednesday (killing 5), hitting what are being labeling as “Iranian-backed” Iraqi Hash’d Shaabi (People’s Mobilization Units/PMUs) positions near the Iraqi-Syria border.

“On Wednesday, five people were killed and another nine were wounded in an airstrike carried out by unidentified aircraft that targeted positions of the Iranian-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces militia in Albukamal, according to Sky News Arabia.”

The Times of Israel reiterated this reporting stating:

“It was the second strike on positions controlled by Shiite militias in the Boukamal region of Syria in as many days, and the third in a month. Some Syrian and Iraqi outlets said Israel was suspected of being behind the strikes. There were no such public allegations by Syrian or Iraqi officials.”

Over the last few weeks, Israel has attacked no less than 4 of its neighbours, including unprovoked military strikes against Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Gaza.

While such attacks on Hashed/PMU positions have been ongoing over the last two months, the fear now is that the US-led axis, with Israel and Saudi running point on ‘non-ISIS’ airstrikes in the region now (US still reserves exclusivity on supposed ‘ISIS’ targets), may use the Aramco Oil attack as a license to eliminate Hashed/PMU positions along the Iraqi border (thus freeing up additional room for ISIS to maneuver).  Indeed, the fresh targeting of Hashed/PMU “Iranian-backed militias” positions in Al Bukamal, Syria near the Iraqi border, could now be justified by US, Israel and Saudi Axis powers as a ‘legitimate response’ to the attack on Saudi oil this past weekend. The Al Bukamal talking point is currently making its way around the information sphere.

This, to take out supposed “Iranian” Hashed/PMU targets in Iraq, again, justifying what would normally be illegal acts of aggression against Saudi and Israel’s neighbors, now cloaked under claims of ‘legitimate acts of self-defense’ in retaliation to a ‘Iranian regime and IRGC terrorist attack’ as the Saudi Arabia official stated at their recent press conference.

This version of events which blames Iran for the Saudi Oil Attack narrative championed by Mike Pompeo and the Saudi government is being buttressed by Washington’s various pro-war propaganda arms including CNN, as ‘journalists’ Nick Robertson and Nick Paton Walsh did their part in helping to launder Riyadh’s shaky pretext as a “high probability” that the attack was launched from an Iranian base located in Iran.

Although no actual evidence has been produced by Saudi or US officials to support their theory that Iran launched the attack on Aramco, it seems the western media are still determined to nudge the idea of war forward – until it reaches full public saturation and becomes consensus reality in the West. But with so many ‘local’ allies to work on its behalf, Washington does not really need to carry out any military attacks itself, a position hinted at in President Trump’s recent remarks against attacking Iran.

Still, any escalation in an already tense region could very easily careen out of control, which is why any reports of Saudi and Israeli air strikes against Iraqi or Syrian targets should be a cause for great concern.

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Trump Reviewing Target Lists as Iran War Threat Mounts

September 20th, 2019 by Bill Van Auken

US President Donald Trump has been presented with list of targets for US military strikes against Iran as US imperialism draws ever closer to initiating an armed conflict that could prove the antechamber to a third world war.

According to a report by the New York Times late Wednesday, military planners at the Pentagon and the US Central Command (CENTCOM) have provided the White House with options for strikes against Iran’s massive Abadan oil refinery on Kharg Island, Iranian missile launch sites, military bases and assets associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“Any strikes against Iran would almost certainly be carried out by volleys of cruise missiles from Navy vessels,” according to the Times report. “Strike aircraft would be aloft to carry out attacks if Iran retaliated against the first wave….”

As the threat of a major war with Iran becomes ever more imminent, the corporate media, with the Times in the lead, becomes all the more slavish in its parroting of the US charges of Iranian responsibility for Saturday’s attacks on Saudi oil installations. There is no serious attempt to critically probe these claims, much less to place them in the context of the proven record of deliberate lies and false pretenses used to justify US military aggression, from the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam to “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.

On Wednesday, Trump said that he would announce a new round of economic sanctions against Iran within the next 48 hours, while again raising the threat of military action, in relation to the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, for which Tehran has repeatedly denied responsibility.

While deflecting reporters’ questions over whether the White House is preparing military strikes, Trump, who was in California on a campaign fund-raising tour, said that “there’s plenty of time to do some dastardly things. It’s very easy to start. And we’ll see what happens.”

“There are many options,” Trump told the media. “And there’s the ultimate option, and there are options that are a lot less than that.”

Asked by a reporter whether by “ultimate option” he was referring to dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran, Trump said no, adding, “I’m saying ‘the ultimate option,’ meaning go in—war.”

The fact that such questions are being raised and such answers are being given is a manifestation of the acute and rising danger of a catastrophic new war in the Middle East that can trigger a global nuclear conflagration.

Given Trump’s repeated statements about how he could end the war in Afghanistan overnight if he “wanted to kill 10 million people,” the question about the “nuclear option” was hardly far-fetched. As for his answer, to “go in” to Iran by means of war would far eclipse the disastrous US wars waged in Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of casualties and destruction, while requiring hundreds of thousands of troops and, inevitably, the reimposition of the military draft in the United States.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the most prominent hardliner in relation to Iran within the administration after the recent resignation of John Bolton as national security adviser, declared in the western Saudi city of Jeddah Wednesday that the attacks on the oil facilities were “an act of war,” while insisting, without providing any substantiating evidence, that “this was an Iranian attack.”

Pompeo was in Saudi Arabia for consultations with the kingdom’s de facto leader, the blood-soaked Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who organized the hideous murder and dismemberment of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul nearly a year ago and who has overseen the beheadings of at least 134 people, including dozens of political dissidents, in just the first half of this year.

The Houthi rebels who control the bulk of Yemen claimed responsibility for attacking the Saudi oil facilities, which they said was an act of retribution for the near-genocidal war led by the Saudis and backed by the US which has killed nearly 100,000 Yemenis and driven roughly 8 million more to the brink of starvation.

For his part, Pompeo insisted that the attacks had to have been launched by Iran because the Houthis did not have the technical capacity to organize such an action. He claimed that US intelligence had “high confidence” that the weapons used could not have come from Yemen. Confronted with a UN report issued last January establishing that the Houthis did indeed possess drones capable of carrying out such strikes, the US Secretary of State was unfazed.

“It doesn’t matter,” Pompeo said. “This was an Iranian attack. It’s not the case that you can subcontract out the devastation of five percent of the world’s global energy supply and think that you can absolve yourself of responsibilities.”

Even if the Houthis did launch the attacks, he added,

“it doesn’t change the fingerprints of the Ayatollah as having put at risk the global energy supply.”

In other words, Washington has no evidence that Iran launched the attack. If the Houthis, who have every reason to claim the attack as an act of self-defense, did so, they will simply be dismissed as Iranian “proxies” in order to justify the US build-up to war against Iran.

Such assertions are believed by no one, including Washington’s erstwhile allies. Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that his government is “not aware of any information that points to Iran” in relation to the Saudi attacks. He added,

“We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.”

It is widely recognized that Washington has deliberately provoked the confrontation with Iran, having last year unilaterally and illegally abrogated the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, followed by the imposition of a draconian regime of economic sanctions tantamount to a state of war.

For its part, Tehran delivered an official diplomatic note to the United States through the Swiss embassy Wednesday, denying that it was responsible for the strikes on the Saudi oil facilities and warning that “if any actions are taken against Iran, that action will face an immediate response from Iran and its scope will not be limited to just a threat.” Iranian officials have previously warned that US bases throughout the region, and the roughly 70,000 US troops deployed there, are in range of Iran’s ballistic missiles.

In a further exacerbation of tensions, the Trump administration has failed to issue visas for an Iranian delegation, including President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, to travel to New York City for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. An advance party was already supposed to be in New York, while Zarif was to arrive there on Friday, and Rouhani on Monday.

Trump made the idiotic statement Wednesday that “if it was up to me I’d let them come,” when it is entirely up to the US president to admit or exclude the Iranians. For his part, Pompeo justified barring the Iranian officials from the United Nations on the grounds that they are guilty of “terrorism.”

It had earlier been suggested that Trump and Rouhani could hold a meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly meeting. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, however, ruled out talks with American officials “at any level.” In a speech Tuesday, he described US suggestions of a negotiated settlement as a “ploy” designed to prove that Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure,” designed to starve the Iranian people into submission, had succeeded.

Other Iranian officials have insisted that any resumption of negotiations be preceded by Washington resuming its adherence to the nuclear accord negotiated between Tehran and the world’s major powers in 2015 and the lifting of US sanctions.

The response of Trump’s ostensible political opposition, the Democratic Party, to the rising war threat has been mild at best. Leading congressional Democrats have largely restricted themselves to calling for any proposal for military action to be submitted to Congress, where it in all likelihood would be approved with substantial bipartisan support.

Meanwhile, Michael Morell, who was appointed acting director of the CIA under Obama and endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, echoed the calls for a military assault on Iran. In a speech delivered in northern Virginia Monday night, he insisted that Washington needed to respond to an “act of war,” suggesting strikes on Iranian military installations “to deter Iran.”

A war for regime change in Iran and the securing of a US stranglehold over the massive energy reserves of the Middle East has been a strategic objective of major sections of the US ruling establishment and its military and intelligence apparatus for some 40 years, under both Democratic and Republican administration.

The deepening crisis of American capitalism, and above all the growth of social inequality and class struggle within the US itself, powerfully expressed in the autoworkers strike at General Motors, is providing an impetus for escalating the confrontation with Iran and provoking another war for the purpose of directing social tensions outward in an explosion of military violence.

Such a war would pose the immediate threat of drawing in all of the major world powers, including nuclear-armed Russia and China, which have major strategic interests in Iran. A war on Iran and the threat of a new world war, posing the end of human civilization, can be prevented only by means of the independent mobilization of the international working class in a struggle to put an end to capitalism.

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150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

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

Michel Chossudovsky

The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project. 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 U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0
Year: 2015
Pages: 240 Pages

List Price: $22.95

Special Price: $15.00

Click here to order.

What the “War on Terror” Really Is, and How to Fight It

September 19th, 2019 by Marilyn Vogt-Downey

First published in December 2015 in the month following the Paris terror attacks

The attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, and in San Bernardino on December 4, 2015, have provided ample “justification” for authorities to ramp up “The War on Terror.” They were followed by draconian attacks on civil liberties in France. They have spurred escalated imperialist military intervention in the war-torn regions east of the Mediterranean Sea, particularly Syria and Iraq. The US government has moved to officially deploy its Special Operations Forces to “oversee” military assaults in that region by various armed groups. In addition, the intense US government-led bombing campaign launched in September 2014, allegedly aimed at ISIS targets, has been stepped up and has now been joined by the previously hesitant French and British governments.

The war hysteria has been galvanized to a fevered pitch: One particularly delirious hawkish presidential candidate – Ted Cruz – has even called for “carpet bombing” the Iraq-Syria region to destroy ISIS and “find out” if the “sand can glow,” according to the online magazine Politico on December 5, 2015.

The “War on Terror” was launched in 2001. Fourteen years and trillions of dollars later, it is alive and well, and so are the “terrorists.” Moreover, there is not the slightest doubt that these escalated military offensives will neither end the former nor destroy the latter. Meanwhile, the ghastly attacks by ISIS and other such groups provide abundant opportunities for the corporate-owned media and politicians to remind the world’s working-class of the urgency of “The War on Terror,” which Pentagon officials predict will last into the next generation.

Nor is there the slightest doubt, as the evidence below will show, that the US government has fabricated “The War on Terror” to meet US imperialism’s long-term geopolitical goals. The evidence will show that either directly or through its vassal states, the US government is responsible for organizing armed terrorist groups across Asia and has been doing so for decades, causing tens of millions of deaths and injuries. This policy has led to the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now Yemen, and has already been extended into Africa. (1)

These are not just “wars for oil,” as echoed in the popular refrain. There is much more involved than just oil – although oil is a part of it. The underlying purpose of this policy is clearly to promote a state of chaos that makes it easier to negate and preemptively remove any organized resistance to the unfettered exploitation of resources by the capitalist class, particularly the US capitalist class.

Furthermore, the ultimate aim – particularly as regards the regions of Asia and Europe – is undoubtedly to clear the way to finally retake for US imperialism and its allies, unlimited access to the resources removed from their reach during the last century by the proletarian revolutions in Russia (1917) and China (1949).

Who’s Helping?

The US imperialists are operating through the regimes in their flunky states in Pakistan and in the Persian Gulf region. The regimes in the Gulf region are controlled by local family dynasties accountable to no one except their imperialist sponsors. The regime in Pakistan relies on a petty-bourgeois, US-backed military elite and, like the Arab monarchies, is in no way accountable to the oppressed working class there, which is hard put to even organize unions.

The role of these retrograde regimes in creating and facilitating the violence that is tearing apart countries from Afghanistan to Libya has even been reported by bourgeois media such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian of London. It has also been acknowledged on occasion by some of US imperialism’s leading politicians, such as John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, who posture as if US imperialism is helpless to stop these regimes from doing what they are doing.

The implementation of this plan requires the creation of groups of ruthless, anonymous, masked mercenary armies who commit rampant atrocities, usually in the name of jihadi “holy war against infidels.” Exactly who is building these armies? How are they funded? And by whom? Where do they get their ideologies? We have clear evidence that the gangs of armed thugs that have been tearing Libya and Syria apart since 2011 were not only funded by but were created by and through these Gulf States.

How Do We Know This?

The responsibility of the Gulf States – of both the governments themselves and “private donors” – for the rise of the armed “religious fundamentalist” military brigades in Syria was well documented by the prominent establishment “think tank,” the Brookings Institute back in December 2013. Its report, entitled “Playing With Fire: Why Private Gulf Financing for Syria’s Extremist Rebels Risks Igniting Sectarian Conflict at Home,” by Elizabeth Dickinson, was based on months of investigation in the Gulf states and conversations with individuals who had been directly involved in the process. (2)

According to the Brookings Institute’s study:

“Over the last two and a half years, Kuwait has emerged as a financial and organizational hub for charities and individuals supporting Syria’s myriad rebel groups. These donors have taken advantage of Kuwait’s … relatively weak financial rules to channel money to some of the estimated 1,000 rebel brigades now fighting against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad…”

The report opens with a summary of its findings:

This memo charts how individual donors in the Gulf encouraged the founding of armed groups, helped to shape the ideological and at times extremist agendas of rebel brigades, and contributed to the fracturing of the military op position. From the early days of the Syrian uprising, Kuwait-based donors … began to pressure Syrians to take up arms. The new brigades often adopted the ideological outlook of their donors. As the war dragged on and the civilian death toll rose, the path toward extremism became self-reinforcing. … Today, there is evidence that Kuwaiti donors have backed rebels who have committed atrocities and who are either directly linked to al-Qa’ida or cooperate with its affiliated brigades on the ground.

The flow of donations, which began under the auspices of charity in the spring of 2011, quickly morphed into a torrent of military aid:

By the fall of 2011, some Kuwaitis involved in charity work began to say they supported an armed uprising. And by the winter, Kuwaiti individuals and charities … began channeling a portion of their funding into the creation of armed groups.

Various donors created their own jihadi armies. Infighting began among agents of the numerous armed groups as they competed for funds. The various funders sought to see their group outdo the group of their competitors. This process quickly became common and was played out vigorously over the social media, precluding the unification of the resistance. The armed conflicts between groups escalated and – obviously – so did civilian deaths. (3)

Although it is impossible to quantify the value of private Kuwaiti assistance to the rebels, it almost certainly reaches into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Donors based in Kuwait have also gathered contributions from elsewhere in the Gulf. …

And it was not only donors from and through the Gulf states who are responsible for the organization and funding of these competing jihadi armies. Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan also play a role. Dickinson goes on:

…a great deal of the money and supplies … passes directly through Turkey, Lebanon, or Jordan before crossing into Syria … At least half a dozen Kuwaiti donors … travel to Syria personally.

The report concludes:

Gulf donors have contributed to the ideological and strategic alignment of today’s [Dec. 2013] rebel groups, in which extremists have the military upper-hand. (4)

It is unclear just how or when the decision to actually fund the armed brigades began, but witnesses in early meetings described an ‘implicit desire’ from the donors to create military resistance. (5) [Emphasis added]

The bourgeois media marvel at the social media proficiency of ISIS in relaying “studio quality” videos of its atrocities. However, the use of social media for this purpose was fostered early on in the process of building these competing Islamic fundamentalist formations. According to Dickinson’s report, social media was widely employed in the early phases of the fundraising process as an avenue through which the jihadi groups that had been created via the donations throughout the Gulf sought to promote themselves. Social media was a critical tool, used both by the donors and by all the armed groups to promote their feats and alleged conquests in competition with other groups.

Witnesses … describe fighting among representatives of armed groups in Kuwait as they faced the perverse incentive of trying to prove their brigade had suffered more martyrs and fought more difficult battles. Jealousies and conflicts broke out among donors as well. A flurry of brigades were thus created and ceased to exist in the span of months.

One way armed groups secured longer-term backing was by adopting the ideologies of their benefactors.

And, their most zealous backers were advocates of the extreme Salifist branch of Wahhabi Islam, the Sunni sect that is the official religion of the family monarchy ruling Saudi Arabia. From throughout the Gulf Emirates – all of them Sunni religious states – and on through to Kuwait the funds flowed to Syria to foment bloody conflict – jihad against “infidels,” especially infidels of the Shia variety. (6)

Almost all of the groups “actively cooperate with al-Qa’ida’s Jabhat al-Nusra,” which had been one of the most notoriously brutal of the jihadi groups until the appearance of ISIS on the scene. (7)

The conflict metastasized into full-scale civil war by early 2012 when some Gulf countries also backed particular rebel groups…each brigade and political faction depended on an independent funding stream. (8)

This vast and disparate fundraising network created “thousands” of armed brigades which expended a great deal of their resources attacking each other – a situation in which no group had sufficient force to actually prevail. Meanwhile, all the groups that were created were united in their opposition to a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The main victims of this bloody conflict were the civilians who were caught in the crossfire.

By the end of 2012, Dickinson reports, Kuwaiti-funded mercenaries had led offensives where hundreds of civilians were massacred. These offensives, along with the al-Assad government’s brutal bombing led to mounting civilian casualties and death tolls. The ensuing war was destroying entire towns and/or sections of cities and causing populations to flee for their lives. Any secular nationalist or working-class opposition to the al-Assad regime that had managed to get organized was outgunned and outnumbered by the jihadi armies created by the Gulf donations. One notorious jihadist donor openly called for the blood of his sectarian rivals: “Among the beautiful things inside Syria is that the mujahedeen have realized that they need to deeply hit the Alawites, in the same way they kill our wives and children.” (9)

In 2013, in an effort to appear to “crack down” on jihadi donors, the Kuwaiti regime finally passed laws to “criminalize terrorist financing” and restrict money laundering. However, enforcement was virtually nonexistent. (10)

Meanwhile, in Qatar…

Nine months later, in a follow-up article in Foreign Policy magazine, Dickinson documented the even more critical role of another key Gulf donor: The Qatar regime had “pumped tens of millions of dollars … to hard-line Syrian rebels and extremist Salafists …” (11)

The Qatar regime uses another system to build proxy armies: it channels state funds through middlemen. Because there were no established rebels when the uprising in Syria started, Qatar backed businessmen and Syrian emigrants in Qatar who promised they could rally fighters and guns. We learn that the Qatar government employed the same plan of action in Syria that it employs with respect to other proxy armies that it funds: “Taliban insurgents, the Somali Islamists, and Sudanese rebels.” “The same Qatari network has … played a major role in destabilizing nearly every trouble spot in the region and in accelerating the growth of radical and jihadi factions… Libya is mired in a war between proxy-funded militias, Syria’s opposition has been overwhelmed by infighting and overtaken by extremists….

Applying “the Libyan Solution” in Syria

Dickenson quotes Andreas Kreig, an advisor to the Qatar Armed Forces, describing just what the Qatari monarchy did – and surely is still doing – to Libya, actions it has repeated in Syria with the same results:

The first battlefield test of Qatar’s proxy chain was in Libya [in 2011] where there was a broad regional consensus – as well as US support – to oust then-leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. Qatar, together with the UAE [United Arab Emirates], had signed on to Western airstrikes against the regime. But Doha [Qatar’s capital, seat of that family monarchy] also wanted to help build up rebel capacity on the ground.

The Qatar regime had a job to do:

They had to literally go to their address book and say ‘Who do we know in Libya?’ says Krieg. ‘This is how they coordinated the Libya operation.’ Doha lined up a collection of businessmen, old [Muslim] Brotherhood friends, and ideologically aligned defectors, plying them with tens of millions of dollars and 20,000 tons of arms … After a months-long-war, the rebels took Tripoli and Qaddafi was dead. Doha’s clients found themselves among the most powerful political brokers in the new Libya. And long after the NATO strikes had ended, some Qatari-backed militias continued to receive support….

The imperialists expected that the protests in Syria would “quickly topple the Assad regime” as protests had toppled the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, Dickinson continues. However, that didn’t happen.

By August, Washington was calling on al-Assad to step down … Not long thereafter, Qatar began its Syria operation, modeled on [its] Libyan adventure…. Like the tendering of a contract, Doha issued a call for bidders to help with the regime’s overthrow.

Thus, the tiny ruling clique of Qatar actually initiated the devastating armed conflicts that – supported by the hundreds of millions of dollars collected by “wealthy donors” in the Gulf through Kuwait – fueled a five-year war that has killed over 250,000 Syrians and turned half the population into refugees and entire cities into rubble, with no end in sight.

Prelude to ISIS: Creating a Sunni-Shia Rift

The US government began its official, direct military intervention against Syria in September 2014, after the advancing conquests of the now-notorious ISIS, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Whence the soil that nourished ISIS?

ISIS began as ISI – Islamic State of Iraq – an offshoot of al-Qa’ida of Iraq (AQI), a Sunni jihadi group funded through/by the Saudi regime. AQI’s targets were allegedly the Shia-dominated governments imposed by the US government after its 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The governments imposed by US imperialism in post-2003 Iraq were clearly directed toward fueling a murderous Sunni-Shia warfare from the outset. This process started with the “de-Ba’athification” of Iraqi government payrolls by the very first US occupation government under the imperialists’ proconsul L. Paul Bremer III. “De-Ba’athification” excluded from government jobs some 400,000 members of the Ba’ath political party, the party that ruled under Saddam Hussein.

Many Ba’ath members were Sunni. Therefore, so were most of these 400,000 dismissed workers who ended up suddenly without an income and banned from working for either the government or the military – virtually the only jobs available. This fed the growth of Sunni resentment against the US military occupation and the government it imposed. (The Ba’ath Party is also the party of the al-Assad government in Syria. The Ba’athist party is an Arab nationalist party that arose to resist the post-WWI imperialist-imposed monarchies. The Ba’ath party in Syria was dominated by the Shia Allawite sect while the Ba’ath Party in Iraq was dominated by Sunni Muslims.)

Turning a “Rift” Into a Bloody Gash

“De-Ba’athification” was accompanied by a surge of assassinations targeting hundreds of Iraqi professionals and intellectuals, many of whom were Sunni. These horrors were followed by the rampant growth of Shia death squads after the mysterious bombing of the Golden Dome Shia Mosque in Samara in February 2006, for which no group claimed responsibility. Both the surge of assassinations and the rise of death squad activity against Sunnis are associated with

  1. the US military’s deployment to Baghdad of James Steele, a notorious State Department operative with vast experience organizing death squads against the worker and peasant insurgency in El Salvador in the 1980s, and
  2. the arrival in Iraq – as a US military commander – of his collaborator General David Petraeus. (12)

Over the next several years, these US government-sponsored death squads kidnapped, tortured, and executed tens of thousands of men in Baghdad and elsewhere, creating piles of tortured, dead bodies and armies of widows and orphans.

The working-class neighborhoods where these killings took place were unable to organize self-defense groups on a massive scale to defeat these death squads, however, because under the US Occupation government, it was illegal for civilians to own a gun! US Special Forces carried out ongoing night raids on homes. Those found to be in possession of a gun were dragged off to indefinite detention or worse. As a result: according to The New York Times of January 18, 2015, “tens of thousands of Sunni men [are] languishing in jails [in Baghdad], having never seen the inside of a courtroom.” (13)

The creation of these death squads targeting Sunnis – and certainly others – made it virtually impossible for the Iraqi workers to organize as a class across religious lines against the US imperialist occupation and its quisling governments, which was, of course, the purpose of the death squads. Moreover, the most talented, experienced, and vocal activists were surely among the first targets.

Despite the enormous obstacles, however, the Iraqi Sunnis managed to organize widespread protests against government corruption and for jobs and services and to set up encampments beginning in the winter of 2012. These were violently suppressed by the occupation government. The repression was accompanied and followed by a string of car bombings that hit popular markets and meeting points, killing thousands of Iraqis of all religions, for which no one claimed responsibility. (14)

Who Was “ISI” and What Was It Doing?

The Islamic State of Iraq declared its existence in 2007 as a united front of Sunni jihadi groups. By its name, it declared that its goal was to set up a Sunni State that would rival and replace the Shia state ensconced in US imperialism’s “Green Zone” fortress in central Baghdad. By 2011, splits had developed within it. Nevertheless, ISI gained strength.

By 2013, ISI began invading and occupying Iraqi regions and cities with long motorcades of white Toyota trucks carrying hundreds of well-armed, masked men all dressed in black carrying the ISI flag, a tour de force that had never been seen before. Sometimes, the ISI invasions of a city took the form of entering a town with vehicles equipped with massive explosive devices that destroyed whole blocks when detonated. The Iraqi troops whose job it was to defend these cities and regions dropped their weapons and fled the ISI invaders.

Then, ISI began to take over “rebel-controlled regions” of Syria and changed its name to ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. By mid-2014, news of its atrocities – mass and individual beheadings and executions, raping of women, expulsions and murders of “infidels,” etc. – were widely advertised by ISIS on social media and sensationalized through the bourgeois media around the world, over shadowing other news from Syria. “Stopping ISIS” became the pretext for the US government to finally announce its official intervention into the war in Syria. In September 2014, the US government began bombing Syria allegedly “to stop ISIS.” The US government’s partners in this bombing campaign were Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan – the very governments that had started and fed the conflict!

By the end of 2014, the flow of the populations out of Syria to escape the escalating conflict became a flood. Where the US-sponsored bombing campaign had assisted in “liberating” a city such as Kobani and Sinjar, the cities were abandoned and there was nothing left but rubble.

After the events of November 13, 2015, in Paris, the French “socialist” government authorized its air force to join the bombing campaign, targeting the Syrian city of Raqqa that was occupied by ISIS. ISIS took control over Raqqa in Syria after defeating rival Islamic jihadi groups.

On to Libya (Again)!

Now, ISIS has set up operations in the ruins of Libya, in the city of Surt, where it has already been advertising its presence by committing various atrocities, such as crucifying an aged ultra conservative Muslim imam, beheading Christians, forcing residents to flee and creating even more refugees. A Saudi “administrator” was sent in to preside over ISIS in Surt, and ISIS “periodically rotates administrators,” who are – not surprisingly – “typically from the Persian Gulf.” Its recruits – some 2,000 – are reportedly masked foreigners, and ISIS is able “easily to transport fighters” in and out of Libya according to its needs. It is rapidly overpowering the other proxy armies creating even more havoc in Libya and is soon expected to take over 150 miles of Libyan coast.

Another point of note is the ISIS – al Qa’ida computer “database” – which is what “al Qa’ida means.” (According to the Urban Dictionary, “The name came from a database created by bin Laden at the end of the 1980s that contained the names of Islamic extremist fighters who fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.”) Two drivers kidnapped by ISIS and later released reported their experiences to a Times reporter:

The Islamic State seemed to command a strong intelligence network … They [the captives] marveled at an interrogator’s probing and well-informed questions about their families and personal histories. ‘If he said he was my own brother I would have believed him,’ one driver said. (15)

And Afghanistan!

The same Times article reports that ISIS donors are also moving to push ISIS to take on the Taliban in Afghanistan, a development that will create even more bloodletting and chaos there. “Western officials” inform that “in recent months the [ISIS] core group delivered several hundred thousand dollars to the Afghan fighters helping them gain ground and recruits.” Yes, money like that would probably “help gain recruits” in Afghanistan where decades of US-funded wars have left that country in ruins, with many Afghans joining the flood of refugees fleeing to Europe. In fact, Afghanistan is now such a dangerous and inhospitable place to live that the entire “government” has chosen to live elsewhere. (16)

Who Is in Charge?

As US imperialism and its allies, along with France and Britain, are joining in the frenzy to bomb Syrian cities into rubble, it is important to come to grips with what is actually happening so as to begin to make a plan to stop this carnage.

Who is actually overseeing all this mad destruction? Who is really behind this plan to recruit armies of psychotic, psychopathic mercenaries whose job it is to take over and destroy entire nations? Why are these “private donors” and the autocratic regimes in the Gulf States able to organize genuine, terrorist jihadi armies without being punished by the US government? After all, young Muslim men in the US accused of the slightest connection with groups on the US “terrorist” list, face arrest and long prison terms.

Let’s Think a Minute

The Gulf monarchies – Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, along with Saudi Arabia – are artificial political constructs totally beholden to imperialism for their creation and their very existence. The boundaries for each of them were established by the British imperialists after World War I. “Thus Britain – like France in her sphere of the Middle East … – established states, appointed persons to govern them, and drew frontiers between them … and did so mostly in and around 1922. As they had long intended to do, the European powers had taken the political destinies of the Middle Eastern peoples in their hands….” (17) The process also led to the creation of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and – of course – the initial Zionist State of Israel

The US imperialists – like the British imperialists before them who carved out these authoritarian, theocratic fiefdoms on the Arabian peninsula – have always and continue to use these strategically-located, artificial “nation states” to advance their military, geopolitical, and economic interests in the region.

All of these regimes are family-run absolute monarchies and police states based on the same sharia law propagated by the jihadi “terrorists” they engender, applying stoning, beheading, lashing, and amputation as punishments. None of these regimes grants any rights to workers. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the populations of some of the Gulf emirates are foreign indentured servants from impoverished lands who have no rights. It is this labor force that has built the garish “modern” eye-popping projects these emirates are notorious for.

It is these monster regimes that are being used by US imperialism to fund the brutal jihadi armies that have been unleashed on the world.

The Dog Wags Its Tails

All of them survive – despite the enormous wealth the monarchies have amassed through the exploitation of the oil under the ground they were given – at the behest of their US imperialist handlers, even if they are allowed independent posturing from time to time. They all serve as imperialist military outposts and agents and are not independent agents at all.

Saudi Arabia: (population 28.7 million, 8 million of whom are not citizens)* The Saudi family monarchy has collaborated with British and US intelligence agencies since World War II to create and nurture the precursors of ISIS during the Cold War against “atheists and communists” and the Soviet Union. In fact, the current King Salmon is a veteran CIA agent and collaborator: As head of the Saudi intelligence agency, he helped the CIA recruit foreign mercenaries for “jihad” in the CIA’s “secret war” in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 80s, one of whom was Osama bin Laden. And – as stated above – the extreme, strict version of Islam that is espoused by ISIS and “al-Qa’ida” is a politicized version of the fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam – the religion of the Saudi family and the official state religion. By 2013, according to some sources, the Saudi monarchy had taken the leading role in supplying money and arms to jihadi groups fighting in Syria. (18)

Bahrain: (population 1.2 million, more than half are not citizens)* This small island is a US Navy base, the home of the US Naval Forces Central Command and the US Fifth Fleet.

Qatar: (population 1.8 million, 1.5 million of which are not citizens)* is home to a vital Pentagon facility: “the highly classified …Combined Air and Space Operations Center.” This Center

coordinated all of the attack and surveillance missions for the [US government’s] wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…It hosts liaison officers from 30 allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf … Inside this warehouse size command center, three giant digital maps [carry] tracking details of every aircraft – civilian and military – in the skies over three vital regions: Syria and its neighbors, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan and beyond. Qatar is also the location of the massive and strategic Al Udeid US military base, central to the Pentagon’s wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria and from which it launches bombing missions against the region. (19)

United Arab Emirates: (population 9.2 million, 7.8 million of whom are not citizens.)* Along with the other monarchical states, the UAE has been “allowed” to build its own air force, joining bombing missions to serve US military goals in Libya and Syria. UAE pilots, trained by the US Air Force, actually fly US planes on bombing missions against Syria, Iraq, and other targets in the region. In fact, the secret US base at Al Dhafra is the only overseas base for the US government’s F-22 Raptor. (20)

The air forces of these monarchies, like the rest of their military forces, serve as extensions of the Pentagon and carry out the Pentagon’s policy directives. The UAE regime is planning the purchase of 30 F-16s to add to the 80 it already has. That is, there will be roughly one F-16 for every 12,600 UAE citizens! Like the other Gulf regimes – the UAE is a major Pentagon customer.

Kuwait: (4.1 million, 2.8 million of whom are not citizens) This tiny place on the Arab peninsula at the tip of Iraq was created in 1922 by the British to provide an imperialist port and military base on the Persian Gulf, and it has never been anything else. Today, “the US has at least 10 active military facilities in Kuwait, and Kuwait has been referred to by some analysts as the US government’s ‘unsinkable aircraft carrier.’” (21)

(Of the Gulf states, Yemen is the only one that does not have a US military base, and the US government – along with the other Arab monarchies – is now bombing Yemen to ruin. [22])

These entities, created to serve British imperialism, have now been taken over by the US imperialists. None of these so-called countries is independent. They are US military bases and outposts in the Gulf region.

And What Makes These Regimes Extra Special and Dangerous?

These autocratic artificial states provide amazing advantages for US imperialism. First, they are close to the countries that the US government wants to attack and lay waste. Second, these oil-rich regimes not only spend billions boosting US war industry profits but also provide skilled military personnel to assist US military operations. Third, and most important, they have virtual immunity from the class struggle because they have virtually no indigenous proletariat. The “expat” indentured workforce comprises nearly half – 43% – of the population of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman] in 2010. (23)

The conclusion is inescapable: These Gulf regimes created, funded, and armed the jihadi forces that are destroying Syria and Libya in order to promote Washington’s expansionist plans.

(Coincidently – also revealing whose hands are pulling the strings – after reviewing a recent ISIS internet recruitment video, a New York Times reporter observed that “Nowhere in the hour-long production – full of threats, drive-by shootings, explosions and gunfights – does an ISIS fighter mention the United States or directly mention or threaten Israel.”) (24)

“Let’s You and Him Fight”

Bourgeois cretin Donald Trump inadvertently articulated US imperialism’s policy in Asia and Africa: “Let them [the populations of these regions] fight each other and we [US imperialism] will pick up the remnants” (Sept. 18, 2015). He was offering this as his US foreign policy solution to the conflicts in Syria and the region. However, this already is US foreign policy. The only part that Trump had wrong was the word “Let.” The US policy is not to “let” them fight, but to create sectarian divisions and then recruit, pay, arm, and train “them” and then deploy “them” to create bloody havoc – to make people fight each other.

Where are the jihadists trained? While reporting on the facility in Jordan where a Jordanian soldier allegedly shot to death five US and one South African military contract workers, The New York Times quoted a retired Jordanian brigadier general who “said that the training center where the shooting erupted was a particularly sensitive site, having hosted thousands of foreign recruits since it opened in 2005.” (25) This base is one of many clandestine US government-funded training sites across the region and into Africa.

Who Are the Real Terrorists and What Are They Doing?

Marines

Al-Qa’ida was created by the CIA in collaboration with the Saudi regime and the government of Pakistan. (26)

The US government, working with the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, created the Taliban in the 1990s, recruiting, arming, and training students – taliban in Pushtu – from madrassas in Pakistan to send into Afghanistan to battle the armies of warlords.

These warlord armies themselves had been organized, armed, trained by the US government – along with the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere – to fight alongside the jihadi armies of al-Qa’ida against the Soviets. The US government’s goal at that time was to destroy the nationalist government in Kabul that the Soviet army was defending against bloody attacks by retrograde and reactionary forces. These retrograde and reactionary forces who were resisting modernization, by the way, had also been incited, organized and funded by US imperialism. (27)

Today, US imperialism’s political and military client state Pakistan actually sheltered and continues to shelter hundreds of top Taliban leaders. These included the Taliban head Mullah Omar, who evidently died in a Pakistan hospital. His replacement Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, “has … benefited from a powerful alliance with the Pakistani military spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, the original sponsor of the Afghan Taliban insurgency.” This new Taliban leader owns homes in several cities in Pakistan, one of which is located in “an enclave where he and some other Taliban leaders … have built homes.” Moreover, he travels frequently to the UAE where he also owns a home and several businesses, including a cellphone company. (28)

The Pakistani military and the US drones have been allegedly attempting to destroy the “Haqqani Network” by relentless military and drone attacks for years killing hundreds of innocent people, destroying their homes and entire villages, and creating thousands of refugees in Waziristan – a mountainous region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the head of that “network,” Jalaluddin Haqqani, lived comfortably in Pakistan and had dual Pakistan and Saudi citizenship and may have even died in a hospital in Saudi Arabia. The Haqqani network is also a product of the US-Pakistani-Saudi collaboration to create jihadi armies in the 1980s. (29)

US military officials incited sectarian conflicts in Iraq after the US invasion and occupation in 2003, by organizing and training Shia death squads that rent the country apart.

And now it has, through its Gulf minions – created the jihadi armies of sectarian mercenaries who are destroying Syria, Libya and beyond: It was reported on November 25, 2015, that mercenaries from Colombia are being recruited through the UAE to fight in Yemen. (30)

Then, to allegedly destroy the very terrorist groups that it has created, the US government launches a “war on terror” that can never end, a perpetual orgy of violence squandering vast resources and tens of millions of lives.

That is the world that capitalism has wrought by 2015.

The obvious goal of this destructive policy is to redraw the map of the region. In addition, it is aimed not only at “regime change,” but at insuring that – perhaps – there is no regime at all. The working classes of the targeted nations will never have a chance to overthrow the ruling tyrants there because the working class will be dispersed and degraded. In the process, the remnants of the working class will become refugees, fleeing to Europe where they will be used to help the capitalists drive down the wages of all the workers and bust unions. The only powers that will be armed and “prepared to rule” the wretched remains of the targeted nation states will be gangs of mercenary lumpen, déclassé proletarians such as ISIS, who will have unlimited funding and support from imperialism and its agents.

In fact, John Bolton, a notorious defender of imperialism’s criminal behavior, welcomed such an option in an op-ed article in The New York Times. The destruction of Iraq and Syria should not be considered a problem at all, he maintained. The US government should simply establish a new Sunni state in the ruins, to pacify the region. (31)

What Is the US Government’s Response to the Real Supporters of Terrorism?

The US government is not issuing ultimata to these Gulf regimes demanding they stop supporting terrorism “or else.” It is not bombing the Gulf regimes “to defeat terrorists” like it bombs Libya, Iraq, Syria, or Yemen. It is not even calling for economic sanctions against these regimes like it does against Russia or Iran.

Instead, the US government is stepping up funding for and sending ever more weapons to these Gulf entities, strengthening their military might.

What the US government is doing is rewarding these regimes for their cooperation, just like these regimes pay the “jihadi” mercenaries.

Who Can Save the World From Chaos? Some Problems

The only power – today as ever – that can stop imperialist lunacy is the working class. However, because of the dire conditions US imperialism is creating in these foreign lands, the working class that must lead the way is the US working class. Unfortunately, the US working class has been virtually silent on the subject, hardly even defending itself from capitalist assaults on its unions.

Throughout the vicious wars imperialism has been waging – particularly since the attack on Iraq in 2003 – there has been no massive antiwar movement. Millions protested throughout the world and in the United States to try to prevent the US government from launching that 2003 offensive against the Iraqi people. However, these protests failed to prevent that attack. Since then, there has been virtual silence. This is true despite the fact that it is common knowledge that US government officials deliberately lied to justify that war and the multiple atrocities and crimes they have committed. Key known war criminals – such as George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and David Petraeus – write books, appear at public ceremonies, serve as “experts” on network TV, and live peaceful lives, in no way being held accountable.

The US working class has been “sold a bill of goods,” as the saying used to go: It has been cheated, hoodwinked, lied to, fooled again, except for the fact that the really damaging “goods” in this picture are being produced right here by the US working class itself.

One of the few sectors of the US capitalist economy that has been doing very well during the latest world capitalist crises has been the war industry. Congress last year approved a war budget of over $653 billion, according to the American Friends Service Committee. One reason Congress never says “No!” is because the key military contractors like Lockheed Martin engage in what is called “political engineering” to insure that the politicians will not vote “No.” This means that to produce one plane, say the white elephant F-35, Lockheed Martin spreads the work out through 1,400 contractors creating jobs in 46 states. Even though production of this plane should have been canceled long ago for many reasons, Lockheed Martin’s threat that this would “end jobs” helps justify repeated Congressional approval. (32)

Lockheed Martin is not alone. All the war industry giants use the same “political engineering” to insure that they receive huge government handouts. Certainly, the war industry does create jobs, many of them high-paying union jobs. Moreover, these jobs include not only the direct production of the bombers and the bombs, but of all the components used in the production process and all the weapons, uniforms, equipment, parts, and ammunition plus all the electronics used in every phase of attack.

Furthermore, Pentagon money is often welcomed by research departments in today’s underfunded universities, where our scientists misuse their expertise to develop and perfect ever-new weapons and instruments of war. Then, there are the transportation networks that rely on moving all the component parts to production plants and from the plants to the Pentagon or to the Pentagon’s customers. In addition, consider all the jobs that rely on the paychecks of the workers involved in everything listed above. We are talking about tens of millions of US jobs that rely on a thriving US imperialist war economy and the implementation of US imperialism’s plan to take over the entire globe and humanity’s resources.

How Must the Workers Organize to Stop This War Machine? What Is to Be Done?

How can we even begin to take on and shut down such an incredible behemoth that is actually being created by our own working class, by ourselves, here in the “belly of the beast?” It seems impossible! Yet it is not, and it must be done. What is required?

Public protests: First, of course, the working class and its allies across the nation must organize serious public demonstrations demanding that Washington stop funding jihadi armies, stop funding Arab terrorist monarchies, to stop funding Israel and stop the phony “War on Terror.”

However, to really stop all this, to really shut down the entire imperialist war industry requires much more than street protests. What must be done includes:

A thorough public investigation by the workers themselves: First, we need to conduct a complete national and international analysis of what is going on around us. This can only be done by the workers themselves taking on the task of investigating the role of their labor and their plant, industry, and community in the war machine.

A national network of collaboration: This will require that we establish a national organization and collaboration network. Workers on the job can then in a coordinated way form committees to investigate and report on what is being produced in their own plants and locales. Through this process, we will probably learn that the tentacles of this war machine penetrate into every pore of this society, encompassing entire industries, cities, towns, and communities. Workers may otherwise not even be aware – but often they must be! – of the role their labor plays in facilitating this gigantic machine of death and destruction.

A national conference: All of the above work must be directed toward making completely public and understandable what is now arcane and secret. The process will have to be facilitated by workers in some key industrialized and union-organized sectors – say, for example, the airline industry – calling a national conference to discuss the implementation of this process and related issues with the goal of maximizing the participation of workers from as many war-industry sites as possible so everyone involved can have a voice and participate.

Formulating a new national plan: The workers must then begin to formulate an alternative plan to build our economy anew, offering new jobs and using resources in ways that serve life and not death, human needs and not private profits.

While some industries will need to be completely eliminated, others may be converted relatively easily to useful and humane production. Where industries must be eliminated completely – such as those producing cluster bombs, for example – we will need to make sure that the workers whose livelihoods depend on such industries are able to live full and productive lives until the transformed economy provides better options.

Confiscation of the vast war profits of the “masters of war” and all their collaborators will be the first step toward achieving that last goal and many others.

The working-class revolution: The ruling class – these “masters of war” – of course, will not surrender and go home. Seeing this process through to completion will require that the working class take over the means of production and set up a new workers’ government, i.e., the proletarian revolution. Workers will also need to be able to defend ourselves and our gains from all the inevitable attacks from the capitalists and their state.

Genuine international solidarity: At the same time, we have the historic responsibility to help workers everywhere else make the working-class revolution in their countries and help those who have already become victims of US imperialist aggression to rebuild their economies.

And, indispensable to achieving all the above, of course, is the need for an organization to lead the way, a revolutionary party, which must also be built. This is the only way we can begin to “Stop the Bombing” and all the other US imperialist aggression that squander and ravage humanity and our resources.

Conclusion

This is not a matter of charity, pacifism or “good deeds.” It is a matter of survival. As Leon Trotsky put it simply in the Transitional Program for Socialist Revolution, “Under the menace of its own disintegration, the proletariat cannot permit the transformation of an increasing section of the workers into chronically unemployed paupers, living off the crumbs of a disintegrating society…” (33) This is the situation confronting us today. We are talking about the need for the working class to organize to take power. A socialist proletarian revolution is at the top of the agenda. As Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg and other Marxists warned a century ago: Humanity faces a choice: It is either socialism or barbarism. Barbarism right now has the upper hand.

*

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This article was originally published on Truthout.

Marilyn Vogt-Downey is a retired teacher of economics and foreign policy in a New York High School and UFT delegate, the translator of Mikhael Baitalsky’s Notebooks for the Grandchildren and works of Leon Trotsky. She was a frequent contributor to The Bulletin in Defense of Marxism, Socialist Action newspaper, and other socialist publications for many years and is currently a Co-Chair of the Moscow-based Committee for the Study of Leon Trotsky’s Legacy.

Notes

1. See Tomorrow’s Battlefield: US Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, Nick Turse, Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2015.

2. http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/12/06-private-gulf-financing-syria-extremist-rebels-sectarian-conflict-dickinson

3. Ibid. pp. 6-10.

4. Ibid. 1-2

5. Ibid. p. 6

6. Ibid. p. 9,

7. Ibid. p. 10

8. Ibid. p. 11

9. Ibid. p. 17

10. Ibid. p.21

11. http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/30/the-case-against-qatar/

12. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/06/el-salvador-iraq-police-squads-washington

13. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/18/world/sunnis-in-iraq-are-kept-waiting-for-reforms-and-word-on-loved-ones.html?_r=0

14. truthout.org/speakout/item/21046-is-the-us-government-behind-the-carnage-in-iraq

15. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/29/world/middleeast/isis-grip-on-libyan-city-gives-it-a-fallback-option.html

16. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/24/world/asia/afghan-leaders-try-to-halt-exodus-but-pleas-ring-hollow.html

17. A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin, Avon Books, NY, 1989, p. 560

18. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/31/us-syria-crisis-saudi-insight-idUSBRE94U0ZV20130531#OPhPjHwsaTOYf3MQ.97

19. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/world/middleeast/hagel-lifts-veil-on-major-military-center-in-qatar.html

20. http://linkis.com/washingtonpost.com/In_the_UAE_the_Unite.html

21. Globalsecurity.org

22. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2012/04/2012417131242767298.html

23. http://sss.migrationpolicy,org/article/labor-migration-united-arab-emirates -challenges-and-responses)

24. “ISIS Commands Media, Boasting of Statecraft and Killing,” The New York Times, August 31, 2014.

25. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/11/world/middleeast/rampage-by-a-soldier-known-for-loyalty-shakes-jordan-and-a-family.html

26. Robert Dreyfus, The Devil’s Game, Henry Holt and Company, NY, 2005.

27. Gerard Chaliand, Report From Afghanistan, Viking Press, NY, 1982.

28. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/05/world/asia/kunduz-fall-validates-mullah-akhtar-muhammad-mansour-talibans-newleader.htmlown

29. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/01/world/asia/founder-of-haqqani-network-died-nearly-a-year-ago-member-says.html

30. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/26/world/middleeast/emirates-secretly-sends-colombian-mercenaries-to-fight-in-yemen.html

31. “To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State,” Op Ed, The New York Times, November 24, 2015.

32. “The F-35’s History of Costly Problems,” NPR, September 29, 2013.

33. Leon Trotsky, The Transitional Program For Socialist Revolution, Pathfinder Press, 1983, p. 116.

*Population data for the Gulf States was taken from their respective entries in Wikipedia.


waronterrorism.jpgby Michel Chossudovsky
ISBN Number: 9780973714715
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In this new and expanded edition of Michel Chossudovsky’s 2002 best seller, the author blows away the smokescreen put up by the mainstream media, that 9/11 was an attack on America by “Islamic terrorists”.  Through meticulous research, the author uncovers a military-intelligence ploy behind the September 11 attacks, and the cover-up and complicity of key members of the Bush Administration.

The expanded edition, which includes twelve new chapters focuses on the use of 9/11 as a pretext for the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq, the militarisation of justice and law enforcement and the repeal of democracy.

According to Chossudovsky, the  “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

September 11, 2001 provides a justification for waging a war without borders. Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State.

Spy vs Spy vs Spy: The Mysterious Mr. Smolenkov

September 19th, 2019 by Philip Giraldi

A new spy story has been making the rounds in Washington, but this time it involved a brave Russian official who allegedly was allegedly recruited while in the Russian Embassy in Washington in 2007 and then worked secretly for the CIA until he was exfiltrated safely in 2017 lest he be discovered and caught. The tale was clearly leaked by the Agency itself to CNN by way of “multiple Trump administration officials.”

The CNN headline Exclusive: US extracted top spy from inside Russia in 2017 landed like a bombshell but then pretty much disappeared as journalists noted a number of inconsistencies in the government-produced account of what had taken place. Matt Taibbi observed succinctly that “Seldom has a news story been more transparently fraudulent…the tale of Oleg Smolenkov is just the latest load of high-level BS dumped on us by intelligence agencies.”

The account that appeared in the mainstream media went something like this: A midlevel Russian official named Oleg Smolenkov was recruited decades ago by the CIA. He eventually wound up in an important office in the Kremlin that gave him access to President Vladimir Putin. Smolenkov was the principal source of information confirming that Russia, acting on Putin’s instructions, was trying to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump.

It was claimed that Smolenkov was actually able to photograph documents in Putin’s desk. CIA concerns that a mole hunt in the Kremlin resulting from the media revelations concerning Russian interference in the election might lead to Smolenkov resulted in a 2016 offer to extract him and his family from Russia. This was successfully executed during a Smolenkov family vacation trip to Montenegro in 2017. The family now resides in Virginia.

The CNN story and other mainstream media that picked up on the tale embroidered it somewhat, suggesting that although Smolenkov was the CIA’s crown jewel, the US has a number of “high level” spies in Moscow. It was also claimed that the timetable for the exfiltration was pushed forward by CIA in 2017 after it was noted that Donald Trump was particularly careless with classified information and might inadvertently reveal the existence of the source. The allegation about Trump carelessness came, according to CNN, after a May 2017 meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which the president reportedly shared sensitive information on Syria and ISIS that had been provided by Israel.

Variants of the CNN story appeared subsequently in the New York Times headlined C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Secrets to US for Decades, which confirmed that the extraction took place in 2017 though it also asserts that the decision to make the move came in 2016 when Barack Obama was still president.

Taibbi observes, correctly, that CNN and the other mainstream elements reporting the story elaborated on it through commentary coming from anonymous “former senior intelligence officials.” As the networks have all hired ex-spooks, it raises the interesting possibility that employees of the media are themselves providing comments on intelligence operations that they were personally involved in, meaning that they might deliberately promote a narrative that does not cast them in a bad light.

Next morning’s Washington Post story US got key asset out of Russia following election hacking touched all bases and also tried hard to implicate Trump. It confirmed 2016 as the time frame for the decision to carry out the exfiltration and also mentioned the president’s talk with Lavrov in May 2017, though the meeting itself was not cited as the reason for the move. As Taibbi observes, “So why mention it?”

The Russians have denied that Smolenkov was an important official and have insisted that the whole story might be something of a fabrication. And the alleged CIA handling of the claimed top-level defector somewhat bears out that conclusion. Normally, a former top spy is resettled in the US or somewhere overseas in a fake name to protect him or her from any possible attempt at revenge by their former countrymen. In Smolenkov’s case, easily public accessible online county real estate records indicate that he bought a $1 million house in Stafford Virginia in 2018 using his own true name.

If the Russians were truly conducting a mole hunt that endangered Smolenkov it may have been because the US media and their anonymous intelligence sources have been bragging about how they have “penetrated the Kremlin.” A Washington Post June 2017 articled called “Obama’s Secret Struggle to Punish Russia for Putin’s Election Assault is typical. In that article, the author describes how CIA Director John Brennan secured a “feat of espionage” by running spies “deep within the Russian government” that revealed Russia’s electoral interference.

So, the Smolenkov story has inconsistencies and one has to question why it was deliberately leaked at this time. The only constant in the media coverage is the repeated but completely evidence-free suggestion that the mole was endangered and had to be removed because of Donald Trump’s inability to keep a secret. One has to consider the possibility that the story has been leaked at least in part due to the continuing effort by the national security state to “get Trump.”

Highly recommended is former weapons inspector Scott Ritter’s fascinating detailed dissection of Smolenkov’s career as well as a history of the evolution of CIA spying against Russia. Scott speculates on why the leak of the story took place at all, examining a number of scenarios along the way. Smolenkov, who, according to former CIA officer Larry Johnson, has oddly never been polygraphed to establish his bona fides, might have been a double agent from the start, possibly a low level functionary allowed to work for the Americans so the Russian FSB intelligence service could feed low level information and control the narrative. It is a “dirty secret” within the Agency that many agents are recruited by case officers for no other reason than to enhance one’s career. Such agents normally have no real access and provide little reporting.

Or alternatively, Smolenkov might have been someone who was turned after recruitment or a genuine agent who was trying to respond to urgent demands from his controller in Washington, who was de facto John Brennan, by producing a dramatic report that was basically fabricated. Or the story itself might be completely false, an attempt by some former and current officials at CIA to demonstrate a great success at a time when the intelligence community is under considerable pressure.

Scott also believes, as do I, that the story was leaked because John Brennan and his associates knew that they were deliberately marketing phony intelligence on Russia to undermine Trump and are trying to preempt any investigation by Attorney General William Barr on the provenance of the Russiagate story. If it can be demonstrated somehow that the claims of Kremlin interference came from a highly regarded credible Russian source then Brennan and company can claim that they acted in good faith. Of course, that tale might break down if anyone bothers to interview Smolenkov.

Another theory that I tend to like is that the CIA might be making public the Smolenkov case in an attempt to lower the heat on another actual high-level source still operating in Moscow. If Russia can be convinced that Smolenkov was the only significant spy working in the Kremlin it might ratchet down efforts to find another mole. It is an interesting theory worthy of spy vs. spy, but one can be pretty sure that Russian counterintelligence has already thought of that possibility and will not be fooled.

The reality is that spying is a highly creative profession, with operational twists and turns limited only by one’s imagination. In this case, unless someone actually succeeds in interviewing Oleg Smolenkov and he decides to tell the complete truth as he sees it, the American public might never know the reality behind the latest spy story.

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Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is [email protected]. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Trump Regime Anti-Iran Blame Game

September 19th, 2019 by Stephen Lendman

The blame game is longstanding US, NATO, Israeli policy — falsely blaming a targeted nation, entity, group, or individual for something they had nothing to do with.

Time and again, the tactic is used as a pretext to pursue a policy objective, including preemptive wars and/or other hostile actions.

The US, other Western nations, Israel, and their press agent media never explain that the Islamic Republic of Iran never attacked another country preemptively throughout its 40-year history.

It threatens none, stressing only its right under the UN Charter and other international law to retaliate against an aggressor in self-defense if attacked — the universal right afforded all nations.

They’re silent about the Middle East’s leading proponent of peace, stability, and cooperative relations with other countries.

Iran abhors wars, nuclear weapons, and all forms of hostility by one nation against others.

It’s targeted for regime change by the US for its sovereign independence, opposition to imperial wars, support for Palestinian rights, and sharp criticism of Israeli high crimes and other human rights abuses.

In Riyadh on Wednesday, Pompeo met with Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) in charge of Saudi aggression in Yemen, the regime’s regional state terror, its support for ISIS and other jihadists, and horrendous domestic human rights abuses.

Militantly hawkish and Iranophobic, he notoriously turns truth on its head time and again. He falsely calls legitimate criticism of Israel, a nation state, “anti-Semitic.”

He lied claiming the Trump regime aims to aims to “bring peace to Yemen.” He and Bolton undermined congressional legislation toward this end.

He falsely said the White House seeks to “improve the lives of the Palestinians.” Its policies are polar opposite.

He turned truth on its head, claiming

“(t)he Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies continue to foment terror and unrest in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen with devastating humanitarian consequences (sic)” — a US, NATO, Israeli specialty, not how Tehran operates.

He defied reality, affirmed repeatedly by IAEA inspectors, falsely saying Iran “continues to threaten further expansions of its nuclear program in defiance of its international commitments” — maintaining the myth of an Iranian nuclear weapons threat.

He lied about Tehran’s legitimate ballistic and cruise missile program intended solely for defense, not aggression like the US and its imperial allies operate.

He falsely said there’s “no evidence the attacks (on Saudi oil facilities) came from Yemen (sic).”

There’s clearly no evidence of Iranian involvement in what happened. False accusations risk possible greater Middle East war than already — an act of madness if the US alone or with imperial partners attack nonbelligerent Iran.

In Riyadh, Pompeo falsely claimed last Saturday’s strikes on Saudi oil facilities were “an Iranian attack (sic),” calling them an “act of war (sic).”

Not a shred of credible evidence links Tehran to what happened. On Wednesday, Saudi war ministry spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki presented none, falsely saying Saturday’s attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities “could not have originated in Yemen (sic).”

Claiming “(t)he attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran” presented no evidence proving it because none exists.

On Wednesday, Yemeni Houthis said attacks on Saudi oil facilities were launched from “three positions,” the type(s) of drones used to be revealed.

Advisor to Iranian President Rouhani Hesameddin Ashena called al-Maliki’s presentation a “media disaster” — failing to prove “what area and point (the strikes) were fired from (or) why the (kingdom’s) air defense (system) failed to thwart the attack.”

The Military Times quoted an AP News report, saying

“Saudi Arabia spent billions to protect a kingdom built on oil but could not stop (an) attack (on its oil facilities), exposing gaps that even America’s most advanced weaponry failed to fill,” adding:

How will Riyadh “prevent a repeat of last weekend’s attack — or worse, such as an assault on the Saudis’ export facilities in the Persian Gulf or any of the desalination plants that supply drinking water.”

On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the following:

“The secretary and (MBS) discussed the need for the international community to come together to counter the (Iranian threat (sic), and agreed that (Tehran) must be held accountable for its continued aggressive, reckless, and threatening behavior (sic).”

Trump so far opted for more unlawful sanctions on Iran over military confrontation. Pentagon commanders and some Senate Republicans are wary about war on the country, Lindsey Graham an exception.

US News & World Report said Wednesday’s Riyadh “press conference followed reported pressure from (Trump regime officials for the Saudis) to agree with its conclusion that Tehran launched the attack from Iranian territory, using sophisticated drones and missiles to evade early warning radars,” adding:

Al-Maliki “would say only that its intelligence indicates the weapons were ‘of Iranian origin’ (sic) and that the attack was ‘unquestionably sponsored by Iran (sic).’ ”

What actions the Trump regime may take against Iran beyond escalated sanctions war are unclear.

Attacking the country would surely bring a strong response, putting US regional bases and warships, its personnel, and imperial partners at risk of being hit hard in self-defense.

Greater regional war with US body bags coming home in large numbers, featured in media reports, could doom Trump’s reelection aim.

Tehran warned the Trump regime through the Swiss embassy, saying:

“(I)f any actions are taken against Iran, that action will face an immediate response from Iran and its scope will not be limited to just a threat.”

Attacking Iran militarily would be madness. It could open the gates of hell for far more devastating regional war than already.

It could risk possible global war if other major powers get involved to protect their regional interests.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

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

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Pompeo’s provocative pronouncement that the Ansarullah’s drone strike on Aramco’s oil facilities was an “act of war” is extremely hypocritical because it ignores the fact that the Saudis were the ones to initiate the international dimension of the War on Yemen as part of the US’ long-running Hybrid War on Iran, and any conventional US and/or Saudi attack against the Islamic Republic in response to its alleged involvement in the attack would amount to an “act of war” against the entire world due to the global economic consequences that such a move would very likely trigger.

US Secretary of State Pompeo provocatively described the Ansarullah’s drone strike on Aramco’s oil facilities last weekend as an “act of war“, thus making many observers fear that his country and the Saudis are plotting a reciprocal response against them and their Iranian political supporters that both also blame for complicity in the attack, therefore potentially leading to a larger regional conflict. There are reasons to doubt that such a scenario will actually transpire, but the arguments thereof will be explained after elaborating on the hypocrisy of the “act of war” pronouncement.

It was the Saudis, not the Ansarullah, that initiated the international dimension of the War on Yemen out of their serious concern that this rebel group’s rapid successes in the neighboring country would eventually lead to their Iranian rival making military inroads on their doorstep (whether conventional or more likely unconventional) if its political allies captured control of the coast. The Saudis, however, sold their intervention to the public as an attempt to restore Hadi’s internationally recognized government to power following his request for military assistance to this end, which was technically true but didn’t officially touch on the Iranian angle even though the authorities have since emphasized it to the extreme.

Seeing as how no evidence has emerged in the past 4,5 years to corroborate the Saudis’ suspicions about Iran’s future plans to tilt the regional balance of power against it in the event that the Ansarullah were to have taken full control of Yemen, it can be said that their formal intervention was predicated on the concept of “preemptive war” to offset that seemingly impending scenario that they convinced themselves (whether rightly or wrongly) was on the brink of unfolding had they not actively thwarted it. Critics allege that perspective is nothing more than the paranoid delusions of a crumbling Kingdom, but it should be pointed out that Iran has never made a secret of exporting its Islamic Revolution, with its justification for going on the counter-offensive against Iraq in the First Gulf War of the 1980s being a case in point that continues to send chills down the back of its royalist rivals. They, however, weren’t completely innocent in that sense either because they fully supported Iraq’s war of aggression against Iran, as did many other countries in the world at that time including interestingly also the US and USSR. The reason why so many feared the Islamic Revolution is because it presented a credible “third way” for Muslim countries to follow in the Old Cold War and thus upset bipolarity.

To simplify a very complex series of events, the 1979 Islamic Revolution set off a regional — and to an extent, even a global — security dilemma that continues to influence International Relations to this day, most recently when forming the implied basis behind the Saudis’ “preemptive” War on Yemen that eventually led to the Ansarullah asymmetrically responding out of self-defense through their massive drone strike against Aramco’s oil facilities last weekend. Even in the unlikely event that Iran somehow contributed to the attack through logistics, military, or other forms of support like the US and Saudi Arabia allege, that wouldn’t change the fact that it would have been a response to the Hybrid War that those two have been incessantly waging against it since 1979 and which markedly intensified in nearly the past 1,5 years since the imposition of the anti-Iranian sanctions. Even so, many observers fear that the US and Saudi Arabia are prepared to strike (back at?) Iran and ominously climb the conventional escalation ladder to dangerously new heights, but while that certainly can’t be discounted, there are valid reasons for arguing that it probably won’t happen owing to Iran’s control of the asymmetrical escalation one that could impose unacceptable costs to them and the world if that ever occurs.

Irrespective of whether there really was a secret Iranian hand behind the Aramco attack or not, few doubt that the country has the drone and missile capabilities to turn that incident into child’s play and carry out something far more devastating if it were ever attacked. The US’ Patriot missiles failed to intercept the Ansarullah’s ten drones, revealing a glaring regional security shortcoming that therefore means that practically every oil processing facility in the Gulf is vulnerable to this sort of attack unless they’re able to rapidly improve their defensive capabilities, which can’t realistically happen for some time even if they were to purchase Russia’s S-400s and anti-drone equipment to complement or partially replace their inefficient American systems. World-renowned geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar is correct in predicting that

“The real reason there would be no ships traversing the Strait of Hormuz (author’s note: if the US and Saudi Arabia attack Iran) is that there would be no oil in the Gulf left to pump. The oil fields, having been bombed, would be burning”, which would collapse the Gulf economies and also instantly trigger the world’s worst economic crisis in history.

With this in mind, a US-Saudi strike on Iran would be an actual “act of war” against both their target itself and the rest of the world.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Canada’s Arctic Initiative in the Geopolitical Crucible

September 19th, 2019 by Alex Foster

The problem of Canada’s Arctic policy, or lack thereof, lies in its attachment and dependence to Western models of security and integration, and particularly to its traditional ally, the United States.

The last several years have seen an exponential rise in the interest and value of the Arctic among the countries which share it directly (and some that do not), to the degree that the geopolitical climate of the region now rivals the importance of its environmental one. At stake is not only control over large swathes of territory, but as some world leaders have astutely noted, access to rapidly opening trade routes and an abundance of untapped resources, including oil, natural gas and gold, made possible by melting Arctic sea ice.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments at the Arctic Council meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland on May 6, 2019 emphasised many of these points and stressed the strategic interests of the United States in the Arctic region. These comments culminated in U.S. President Donald Trump’s aborted visit to Denmark over a botched proposal that the United States buy the autonomous territory of Greenland. Though largely ridiculed in the international press, the move was aimed at curtailing substantial Chinese investments in the Arctic region. The China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is bidding to construct Greenland’s new airports, while mining and rare earth elements (REE) production giant Shenghe Resources controls nearly 13 percent of the Kuannersuit/Kvangefjeld REE mining project.

Together, these projects would significantly enhance China’s position in the Arctic. By 2020, it is estimated that between 5 to 15 percent of China’s trade value could pass through the Arctic; a feat made possible by China’s close strategic partnership with Russia in the construction of a “Polar Silk Road”, joining the Russian Northern Sea route with the broader Belt and Road Initiative. Russia, for its part, has confirmed its commitment to expanding its position in the Arctic region. In early 2019, Vladimir Putin announced an increase in Russian cargo ship traffic in northern shipping lanes by inviting investment in the Murmansk-Kamchatka Peninsula shipping route, and also reaffirmed on-going projects aimed at modernizing Russia’s military capabilities.

On this highly competitive international playing field, Canada has emerged as a distant and marginal player at best. Though it might seem to the casual observer that Canada would be well-poised to maintain its interests in its own backyard, in truth the country has yet to find its starting position. Indeed, despite the fact that the Canadian Arctic covers 40 percent of Canada’s territory, a recent House of Commons committee has poured doubt over that country’s ability to protect its Arctic sovereignty, citing an infrastructure deficit and insufficient foreign and defence policies. Canada’s failure to make comparatively significant progress on this vital nation-building project has been compounded by a geopolitical position that has left the country wavering between isolation and dependence.

When Liberal Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau announced the government’s new plan, the Arctic Policy Framework (APF) in December 2016 to replace the previous Conservative government’s Northern Strategy, Canada’s Arctic ambitions were set on a new course. The framework applies to a large swathe of Canada’s north, including Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Inuit Nunangat, the Nunatsiavut region of Labrador, the territory of Nunavik in Quebec and northern Manitoba, especially the town of Churchill. Its aims can be broadly described as an attempt at regional devolution, allowing Indigenous Arctic communities greater input in creating diversified economies, protecting the environment and building new infrastructure, while keeping matters of defence, foreign policy and national interest within the purview of the federal government.

Since its announcement, the project has become more of a loose set of ideals rather than a consciously realized program, a fact that has not eluded domestic commentators. This unsubstantiated policy has continued well into 2019. On March 19, the government unveiled a new federal budget that contained several Arctic-specific investment promises totalling $700 million, mostly aimed at developing and supporting local communities. However, with a federal election just over a month away, it is unlikely that the outlined investment goals were anything more than an attempt to repair relations between the incumbent Liberal government and Indigenous communities that have soured since the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

More recently, on September 10, 2019, one day before the federal election campaign was officially inaugurated, the Liberal government reaffirmed its commitment to the APF, with all of its promises of health, economic and infrastructure development. However, skeptics have pointed out that all this really amounts to is more of the same, that the Canadian government is well aware of the challenges facing the Canadian Arctic, and that another reiteration of policy goals is insufficient without a substantial effort to seem them realized.

Even under circumstances whereby the Government of Canada would be able to realize the goals set out by the APF, it is unlikely that doing so would in any way enhance Canada’s position in the region. The government’s overemphasis on local development in the Arctic has largely eclipsed considerations of the broader, national interest. Crucial to the development of any serious Arctic policy is investment in civilian and military infrastructure – two areas that are seriously lacking. As it stands, Canada has only one road that connects the country to the Arctic Ocean, the unpaved Dempster Highway.

The country’s only deep-water Arctic port, located in Churchill, Manitoba, is also of questionable viability. In May 2017, a flood rendered the port’s vital railway services inoperable. Between 1997 and 2018, the U.S.-based transportation infrastructure holding company OmniTRAX was the owner of both the Hudson Bay Railway and the Port of Churchill. Citing the economic unfeasibility of repairs, the port and its rail facilities were sold by OmniTRAX to Arctic Gateway Group, a public-private consortium composed of AGT Food and Ingredients, Fairfax Financial Holdings, and Missinippi Rail Limited Partnership in August 2018. With such vital infrastructure in the hands of private, foreign interests, it is small wonder that Canada’s footprint in the Arctic is virtually non-existent.

Canada has also fallen drastically behind in the acquisition of icebreakers. In May 2019, the Canadian Coast Guard commissioned the CCGS Captain Molly Kool, a medium-class diesel-fueled icebreaker purchased in 2018. It was the first such vessel to be purchased in twenty-five years, and a thoroughly unimpressive one in a naval landscape increasingly dominated by large, nuclear-powered icebreakers, especially those used by Russia. To this, it can be added that Canada has no active military presence in the Arctic of any kind.

The failure of the Canadian government to make a mark in the Arctic region in material terms has been compounded by its deteriorating international position. Ideological differences between prime minister-cum-global citizen Justin Trudeau and the “America First” President Donald Trump no doubt cast a personal shadow over Canada-US relations, but the relationship has also suffered in real terms. The Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), the new trilateral trade agreement meant to supersede the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), has ensured that Canada’s economic prosperity will suffer at the cost of a net benefit to the United States, with agricultural and dairy industries expected to face the brunt of this decline. In specifically Arctic terms, Canada’s “senior partner” has shown a flagrant disregard for Canada’s territorial claims.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone so far as to call Canadian claims to the Northwest Passage “illegitimate” at a meeting of the Arctic Council earlier this year, flying in the face of a decades-old agreement that entitles Canada to call the sea route a part of its sovereign territory. The United States also disputes another offshore demarcation in the Beaufort Sea along the 141st meridian between Yukon and Alaska, a territory that is significant for its likelihood to contain rich oil and natural gas deposits. Given the aforementioned deficiencies in its Arctic infrastructure, it is incredibly unlikely that Canada could do anything to prevent the United States from violating this sovereignty, should the latter choose to translate words into action.

Equally concerning is the breakdown in relations between Canada and China, especially within the context of on-going geopolitical sparring between the United States and China, which shows increasing signs of spilling into the Arctic. Tensions between the Canadian government and the People’s Republic of China first came into being in early December 2018 when Canada detained Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei, pending her arrest by U.S. authorities on charges of violating sanctions against Iran. Since then, the situation has escalated significantly, with China detaining a small number of Canadian citizens on its territory, a move which the Canadian government has interpreted as retaliatory action. In spite of the appointment of Dominic Barton, a former global managing director at McKinsey & Company, as the new Canadian ambassador to China on September 5, 2019, it is unlikely that Canada-China relations will improve in the near future. Canada’s relations with Russia have similarly reached a standstill.

The relationship between the two countries has experienced steady deterioration since the 2014 Ukrainian crisis, when the Conservative government under then Prime Minister Stephen Harper imposed sanctions on Russia, eliciting a series of counter-sanctions in response, including a travel ban that forbids current Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland from entering Russia. Much like its relationship with China, Canada’s relationship with Russia is also unlikely to see any improvement. Within the context of Arctic competition, the lack of a breakthrough on this front is particularly daunting given the potential for shared Canadian-Russian strategic interests in the region. As Alison LeClaire, the senior Arctic official at Global Affairs Canada, has pointed out:

“With respect to co-operation with Russia, one need only look at a map of the circumpolar north to understand why working with them is in our interest. Together we share 75 per cent of the Arctic area… Russia’s military presence in the Arctic is still much more modest than it was in the 1980s. Canada sees no immediate military threat in the Arctic, but we remain vigilant and are working with our allies and partners to keep the Arctic as a zone of peace and co-operation, a goal we share with Russia.”

Unfortunately, such level-headed thinking has not yet been translated into an active policy approach.

Canada’s grasp on its substantial Arctic territory, and the considerable resources that lie within it, thus remains tenuous. A looming federal election has placed Arctic policy matters on the back-burner, and whatever government emerges after October 21st will still have to contend with at least a few decades worth of deficiencies in the region’s civil and military infrastructure. Moreover, a new government will necessarily have to repair relations with regional partners if it is to successfully manoeuvre through the growing turbulence in the Arctic’s geopolitical situation. At its core, however, the problem of Canada’s Arctic policy, or lack thereof, lies in its attachment and dependence to Western models of security and integration, and particularly to its traditional ally, the United States. This dependency has effectively stymied any imaginative approaches to foreign policy, and specifically where policy overlaps with Arctic concerns. As the situation stands presently, Canada runs the risk of having its backyard at the forefront of a confrontation between superpowers.

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I have just read a superb book by Mark Isaacs, an Australian who has documented several years of effort by a group of incredibly committed young people in Afghanistan to build peace in that war-torn country the only way it can be built: by learning, living and sharing peace.

The book, titled The Kabul Peace House: How a Group of Young Afghans are Daring to Dream in a Land of War, records in considerable detail the struggle, both internal and external, to generate a peaceful future in Afghanistan. Some might consider this vision naive, others courageous, but few would doubt the simple reality: it is slow, daunting, incredibly difficult, often saddening, frightening, infuriating or painful, sometimes uplifting or hilarious and, just occasionally, utterly rewarding.

This is a human story written by a person who knows how to listen and to observe. And because the subject is about a group of ordinary Afghans and their mentor doing their best in the struggle to end one of the longest wars in human history, it is a story that is well worth reading.

The Kabul Peace House

This story is embedded in a combination of (brief) historical background on Afghanistan’s longstanding and central role in imperial geopolitics (including during ‘The Great Game’ of the 19th century) and more recent history on the progressive modernity of Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979 which was followed by an ongoing and multifaceted war in which the United States has played the most damaging role since its invasion of the country in 2001.

But the background also includes a description of the ethnic diversity throughout the country, the role of religion and gender relations (and the challenges these social parameters present), as well as commentary on the social, economic and political regression as a result of the war’s many adverse impacts. So the book weaves a lot of strands into a compelling story of nonviolent resistance and regeneration against almost overwhelming odds.

However, that is not all. Given that all of the Afghans in this visionary community have each been traumatized by their unique experience of war, the book doesn’t shy away from describing the challenges this presents both to them personally and to the community, including its mentor and even some of the community’s many international visitors.

Most of the community members – whether Pashtun, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Tajik, Sayyid, Pashai… – have suffered serious loss during the war, especially those members who have had family and other relatives killed, or worse. Worse? you might ask. What is worse than death? Well, after reading this book, you will better understand that the context and the manner of death mean a great deal psychologically. None of the victims of this war died peacefully in their sleep after long and meaningful lives and this is just one part of the psychological trauma suffered by so many in this particular community but also in wider Afghan society.

So what does this community in Kabul do? Well, throughout its evolution and many manifestations, the community has done many things including run a variety of projects intended to foster understanding, cooperation and learning: foster mutual respect among the diversity of people that constitute its membership, teach some of its members to read and write and facilitate learning opportunities in other contexts, teach the meaning and practice of nonviolence, give street kids the chance to learn skills that will make them employable, make duvets to give to people who go cold in Afghanistan’s freezing winters, teach and practice permaculture, organize protests against the war (including by flying kites instead of drones), and generally working to create a world that is green, equal and nonviolent.

If you think this sounds all good and straightforward, given slowly spreading acceptance of such ideas elsewhere (in some circles at least), then you might have underestimated their radical nature in a society in which ideas about nonviolence, equality and sustainability have, for the most part, not been previously encountered and have certainly not taken root. Isaacs records the observations of the group’s mentor on these subjects: ‘Over the years I have seen how the volunteers have changed within their personal lives, even if it means distancing themselves from the traditions of their own family…. But on a public level it’s much slower.’

This is understandable. As Isaacs notes, even in ordinary conversation and group discussions, ‘the weight of resistance, the taboos and the self-censorship’ made an impact on him. In a culture in which, in 2015, a woman in her twenties was stoned, her body run over by a car and then dumped in a river and set on fire because a mullah falsely accused her of burning the Quran, there is a low way to go.

One of the things that I found most compelling about the book is the occasional ‘biography’ of one of the community’s main characters. Given pseudonyms to avoid possible adverse repercussions, these stories provide real insight into the lives of certain community members and their struggle to leave home (in some cases), to join the community, to find their place within it and gain acceptance by the other members.

Some, like Hojar, are more outspoken and this, for a woman, is unusual in itself. Hojar is deeply aware of the gender inequality and violence against women in Afghanistan and will talk about it. This inspires other women, like Tara, who have not experienced this outspokenness before.

But Hojar’s life had started differently, in the mountains where, as a teenager, she was getting up at 3am to start baking bread for her four snoring brothers before milking the goats and sheep. ‘I am not a woman’, she thought, ‘I am a slave’. Fortunately and unusually, Hojar’s parents supported her desire to not marry at 13 or 15, but to continue her education and follow her dreams. It’s a long, painful, terrifying and fascinating journey but Hojar ended up in this novel community experiment in Kabul where her now college-educated talent was highly valued and put to wonderful use. She has my utmost admiration.

Unlike Hojar, other community members, like Horse, originally a shepherd in the mountains, are more circumspect on gender equality and other issues. But this doesn’t mean that Horse is not active, at times playing roles in the networking team, the accounts team and, particularly, as coordinator of the food cooperative which provided monthly gifts of food to the impoverished families of one hundred children who studied at the community’s street kids school. If you think raising donations to pay for this food was easy, particularly given the community decision to avoid the international aid sector to try to encourage Afghans to help their fellow Afghans, when more than half of the population lived below the poverty line and unemployment was at 40%, you will find it compelling to read how the teenaged Horse struggled with the monumental range of challenges he faced in that particular role. He has my admiration too.

Insaan, a doctor who mentors the community, provides a compelling story as well. Originally from another country, in 2002 a consultation with a patient at his successful medical practice inspired him to depart some time later. After spending more than two years in Pakistan, working with refugees from Afghanistan, he went to Afghanistan in 2004 to work for an international NGO in public health education in its central mountainous region.

His ongoing experience in this role, however, taught him that every problem the villagers faced had its origins in the war. And this underpinned his gradual transformation from health professional to peace activist. He discovered Thoreau, Gandhi and King, among others, and ‘became convinced of the power of love’. By 2008, Insaan had initiated his first multi-ethnic live-in community (although he did not live in it himself) in the mountains but in 2011, when his house was deliberately burned down, he departed for Kabul determined to restart the peace work he had begun in the mountains.

Starting with three young people who accompanied him from the mountains, the first manifestation of a live-in peace community in Kabul was soon underway. Endlessly paying attention, trying to provide guidance, reconcile those in conflict, and even withstanding threats of violence, Insaan’s love has undoubtedly been the glue that has held the growing and evolving community together. But not without cost. At times, Insaan has struggled, emotionally and otherwise, to survive in this perpetual war zone as the key figure holding this loving experiment together. He is a truly remarkable human being.

And it is because of the trauma that he and each of the other community members has suffered, that I hope that, in future, they can somehow dedicate time to their own personal, emotional healing. See  ‘Putting Feelings First’ and ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’. There is no better investment for any human being than to spend time consciously focusing on feeling the fear, pain, anger and sadness that we are taught and terrorized into suppressing during childhood (so that we become the obedient slaves that our society wants). Given the extraordinary violence that the people of Afghanistan have suffered and are still suffering, the value of making this investment would be even greater.

Anyway, if you want to read an account of the deeply personal human costs of war, and what one community is doing about it, read this book. It isn’t all pretty but, somehow, this remarkable community, through all of its manifestations over many years, its successes and failures, manages to inspire one with the sense that while those insane humans who spend their time planning, justifying, fighting and profiting from wars against people in other countries, those people on the receiving end of their violence are capable of visioning a better tomorrow and working to achieve it. No matter how difficult or how long it takes. Moreover, we can help too. See Nonviolent Campaign Strategy.

So allow yourself to be inspired by a group of young people, each of whom has lived their entire life in a country at war both with itself and with foreign countries, but has refused to submit to the predominant delusion that violence is the way out.

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Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is [email protected] and his website is here.

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) yesterday set aside a decision by the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Kanab Field Office to remove more than 30,000 acres of pinyonjuniper forest and sagebrush from the Skutumpah Terrace area within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Western Watersheds Project, The Wilderness Society, and the Grand Canyon Trust appealed the BLM’s February 2019 decision approving the project.

In overturning the BLM’s decision, the IBLA found that the BLM erred because it “failed to take a hard look at the Project’s cumulative impacts on migratory birds under NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act]… [and] erred in determining that using non-native seed… was consistent with the applicable land use plan under FLPMA [Federal Land Policy and Management Act].” Non-native grasses, while preferred by the livestock industry, become invasive weeds in their own right and degrade habitat quality for native wildlife.

The BLM’s decision would have rid the area of pinyon pine and juniper trees by mastication, an intensively surface-disturbing method of vegetation removal that involves shredding trees where they stand by means of a wood chipper/mulcher mounted to a large front-end loader, which is driven cross-country throughout a project area. The plan would also have authorized the destruction of sagebrush by chaining, the practice of ripping shrubs and trees from the ground by dragging large chains between two bulldozers. The Skutumpah Terrace project is featured in a National Geographic story this month.

The four conservation groups that prevailed in the appeal praised the IBLA decision.

“This decision illustrates what should be obvious, which is that destroying native pinyon and juniper forests to plant non-native forage for livestock is bad public policy,” said Kya Marienfeld, Wildlands Attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “Unfortunately, the BLM is still proceeding with plans to rip up native vegetation from more than 100,000 acres elsewhere in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and hundreds of thousands of additional acres throughout Utah and the West. Congress needs to step in and ask why the BLM continues to waste taxpayer money on vegetation removal projects that ignore science and its own land management plans.”

“Thanks to an enormous amount of  effort and tenacity, the old growth pinyon-juniper woodland plants and wildlife on the Skutumpah Terrace are safe for now from BLM chains and bulldozers,” said Laura Welp of Western Watersheds Project, a former BLM Botanist at GSENM. “Massive vegetation-removal projects like this one interfere with efforts to restore the native plants and animals we cherish.”

“The IBLA acknowledged what the BLM did not: destroying native pinyon and juniper trees on over 130,000 acres of land — that is, Skutumpah combined with  two additional pinyon and juniper removal projects being planned in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument — just might have significant impacts on birds like pinyon jays, which have declined more than 85 percent,” said Mary O’Brien, Utah Forests Program Director for the Grand Canyon Trust.

“The special values of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument continue to be under attack by this administration,” said Phil Hanceford, Conservation Director for The Wilderness Society. “We will continue to fight illegal efforts to gut this area and efforts like this that mismanage the trees, wildlife, fossils and cultural resources that make this place special.”

Yesterday’s IBLA decision comes on the heels of the BLM’s withdrawal in May of a decision to approve another vegetation removal project on the Tavaputs Plateau in Utah. Conservationists contend that the BLM’s vegetation removal projects on public lands throughout the West lack a scientific basis, and that its vegetation removal program is in dire need of congressional oversight.

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Featured image: Hundreds of Native American sites are protected within the national monument, from early Anasazi and Fremont cultures to more recent Southern Paiute and Navajo. (Source: Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management)

Laura Nolan, a former Google software engineer who left the company in protest of Project Maven, Google’s since-abandoned artificial intelligence development program for military drones, says killer robots could commit atrocities. If governments turn control of their weapons systems over to fully-autonomous machines, we may face devastating, unintentional calamities or acts of war.

Nolan told The Guardian this week that there should always be a human finger on the trigger or else the technology can do “calamitous things that they were not originally programmed for.”  But humans commit atrocities too. Democide, or people being killed by their own government/authorities is the leading cause of human death other than natural causes. Humanity has been notoriously violent and forceful with each other.

Even though most scientists want autonomous weapons completely banned, governments have no intention of doing so.  It would limit their ability to commit mass murder. Major military powers including Russiathe United Kingdom, and the United States have invested heavily in autonomous weapons, military drones, and battlefield robots.

“You could have a scenario where autonomous weapons that have been sent out to do a job confront unexpected radar signals in an area they are searching,” Nolan told The Guardian.

Nolan was illustrating a hypothetical problem area, suggesting that a machine might mistake hunters for enemy combatants and open fire.  But governments are the ones developing these machines and the humans who make up government have “made mistakes” and slaughtered innocent people during war too.  It isn’t the robot that’s morally corrupt here; it’s humanity and always has been.  Until we evolve past the idea that people have the right to murder and enslave and steal as long as they are voted for by a majority, we will experience atrocities committed by those who were given power that wasn’t theirs to have in the first place.

“Very few people are talking about this but if we are not careful one or more of these weapons, these killer robots, could accidentally start a flash war, destroy a nuclear power station and cause mass atrocities,” Nolan added.

The root cause of most of society’s ills–the main source of man’s inhumanity to man–is neither malice nor negligence, but a mere superstition–an unquestioned assumption which has been accepted on faith by nearly everyone, of all ages, races, religions, education and income levels. If people were to recognize that one belief for what it is–an utterly irrational, self-contradictory, and horribly destructive myth–most of the violence, oppression, and injustice in the world would cease. But that will happen only when people dare to honestly and objectively re-examine their belief systems. Most Dangerous Superstition exposes the myth for what it is, showing how nearly everyone, as a result of one particular unquestioned assumption, is directly contributing to violence and oppression without even realizing it. If you imagine yourself to be a compassionate, peace-loving, civilized human being, you must read this book.

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Following John Bolton’s departure from the White House, Saudi Arabia’s oil facility was attacked by drones operated by the Houthi rebels of Yemen.  Trump and his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo once again claimed that it was the Iranians who committed the attack without any supporting evidence. 

Make no mistake, the neocons are still in the White House and they want a war. The neocons or the neoconservatives want the U.S. to promote its form of democracy throughout the world and want to ensure its interests takes center stage in international relations through its military power. The neocons made a comeback with the George W. Bush Jr. administration and their allies in the Middle East including Israel and Saudi Arabia who orchestrated the September 11th attacks. President George W. Bush Jr. gave a speech while the U.S. population was still in shock and named the Axis of Evil which was North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

According to Bush Jr., Iran was a threat to the U.S. and the world  when he said that

Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September 11, but we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens. Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom.” 

The Bush administration was full of neocons who wanted to launch a war against Iran, but settled with attacking Iraq instead and we know what was the outcome.  Bush’s neocons included Vice President Dick Cheney, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee Richard Perle and several others who were determined to spread their vision of a new world order. Now Trump has a few prominent neocons in his administration including Vice President, Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and neocon relic from the 1980′s during the Iran-Contra affair, Elliott Abrams. The Trump administration is continuing the same neocon approach by blaming Iran for everything that happens in the Middle East and threatening military action every chance they get.

Mainstream media outlet ABC News reported on September 14th that

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday blamed Iran for a massive attack on a critical Saudi oil facility that has put the region on high alert. Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen claimed responsibility for the assault, which was conducted using drones and hit the world’s largest oil processing facility hundreds of miles from the Saudi-Yemen border.”

Without any evidence, Pompeo was quick to blame Iran.

“A senior official told ABC News more than 20 drones were used in the strike and that Iran definitely was behind it. “It was Iran,” the senior official said. “Houthis are claiming credit for something they did not do.”

One day after, ABC News ran with the story with the headline ‘Iran fired cruise missiles in attack on Saudi oil facility: Senior US official’ and said that

“Iran launched nearly a dozen cruise missiles and over 20 drones from its territory in the attack on a key Saudi oil facility Saturday, a senior Trump administration official told ABC News Sunday.” admitting that “It is an extraordinary charge to make, that Iran used missiles and drones to attack its neighbor and rival Saudi Arabia, as the region teeters on the edge of high tensions.”

The report mentioned U.S. President Trump who “warned the U.S. was “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack on Sunday, waiting for verification of who was responsible and for word from Saudi Arabia on how to proceed.” Washington is seeking any excuse to launch an attack on Iran, but there is no proof. The only evidence that Washington has is coming from the Saudis themselves. A report by Reuters titled ‘Saudi-led coalition: Evidence indicates Iranian arms used in Saudi attack’ said the following:

The Saudi-led military coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi movement said on Monday that the attack on Saudi Arabian oil plants was carried out with Iranian weapons and was not launched from Yemen according to preliminary findings. Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said that an investigation into Saturday’s strikes, which had been claimed by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, was still going on to determine the launch location.

“The preliminary results show that the weapons are Iranian and we are currently working to determine the location … The terrorist attack did not originate from Yemen as the Houthi militia claimed,” Malki told a press conference in Riyadh

Did Saudi Arabia give the “smoking gun” evidence to Washington? What will the Trump and his neocon war mongers do now? Remember when Iran was blamed for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman? The Trump regime was quick to point fingers at Iran. Even Japan and Germany wanted clear evidence, but Washington was convinced that Iran was behind the attacks on the Norwegian-owned Front Altar and the Japan’s Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman. Pompeo was on ‘Fox News Sunday’ during the crisis and claimed that there was “no doubt” that Iran was responsible for the attacks. Pompeo said that

The intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence. The world will come to see much of it, but the American people should rest assured we have high confidence with respect to who conducted these attacks as well as half a dozen other attacks throughout the world over the past 40 days.”

But the whole accusation was false. Plus, why would Iran attack an oil tanker belonging to Japan whose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was about to meet his Iranian counterparts in Tehran to establish greater economic cooperation between Japan and Iran to bypass U.S. economic sanctions?  One question remains, how would have Iran benefited from such an attack in the first place?

Washington’s inner circles which are full of neocons on both sides of the aisle, both Democrats and Republicans want a war with Iran regardless of how they get it. They want to make Israel and the Saudis the dominant power in the Middle East, but a war with Iran means a war with Russia and China. One other factor for those in Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh seem to forget is what is in their way before they can launch a full scale attack on Iran, and that is Hezbollah, Syria, the Houthis of Yemen and the Palestinians. As long as Hezbollah, Syria and the axis of resistance remains strong enough to repel any aggression by Israel or Washington’s “good” terrorists, no war on Iran would take place anytime soon.

Washington’s aggressive behavior towards Iran is about oil since Iran has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. But it is not only about oil, it’s also about Iran’s reluctance to use the U.S. dollar. Iran is de-dollarizing out of Washington’s economic deathtrap to end their dependence on the petrodollar. Iran is also looking east and establishing multilateral trading blocs with Russia, China and several other countries. The bottom line is that the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East are losing control, so war might be their last option to remain in control, if of course, they come out of World War III victorious, but that will be a long shot.

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Featured image is from the author


150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

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

Michel Chossudovsky

The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project. 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 U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0
Year: 2015
Pages: 240 Pages

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September 19th, 2019 by Global Research

All of these titles from Global Research Publishers are available in print and PDF (e-book). For our North American customers they are also available in bulk for a discounted price. If you prefer to shop using Amazon, they are also available from their website. 

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The Globalization of War by Michel Chossudovsky

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

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

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


Voices from Syria, by Mark Taliano

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Between 15 and 23 September 2016, I travelled to war-torn Syria because I sensed years ago that the official narratives being fed to North Americans across TV screens, in newsprint and on the internet were false. All of the post-9/11 wars were sold to Western audiences through a sophisticated network of interlocking governing agencies that disseminate propaganda to both domestic and foreign audiences. But the dirty war on Syria is different. The degree of war propaganda levelled at Syria and contaminating humanity at this moment is likely unprecedented.

To this ancient and holy land we sent mercenaries, hatred, bloodshed and destruction. We sent strange notions of national exceptionalism and wave upon wave of lies. As a visitor I felt shame, but Syrians welcomed me as one of them. These are their stories; these are their voices.


Seeds of Destruction, by F. William Engdahl

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This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.


The Dirty War on Syria, Tim Anderson

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The Dirty War on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. In seeking ‘regime change’ the big powers sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies of ‘Islamists’, demonising the Syrian Government and constantly accusing it of atrocities.

The popular myths of this dirty war – that it is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or a sectarian conflict – hide a murderous spree of ‘regime change’ across the region. The attack on Syria was a necessary consequence of Washington’s ambition, stated openly in 2006, to create a ‘New Middle East’. After the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Syria was next in line.


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Author’s Note: The US Congress is currently considering the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.  If this bill becomes law it will increase conflict between the US and China and increase US meddling in Hong Kong. It will become an excuse for unilateral coercive measures (sanctions) against China and Hong Kong. In the Open Letter below we explain in detail why this letter should be opposed. We urge you to share it with your representatives in Washington and urge them to oppose the Act.

Young can download the letter as a pdf here.

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HR 3289, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, was referred to the Committee on Foreign affairs on June 13, 2019.  The bill “directs various departments to assess whether political developments in Hong Kong justify changing Hong Kong’s unique [i.e. preferential economic and trade] treatment under U.S. law and to determine whether China has eroded Hong Kong’s civil liberties and rule of law as protected by Hong Kong’s Basic Law.”

Currently, 16 senators and 25 House members from both parties have signed on as co-sponsors.  The bill also directs the government to impose sanctions to those who suppress “freedom” in the territory.

Currently, the leaders of the “leaderless movement” of the Hong Kong protests are touring the capital, urging the US Congress to pass this bill.  Despite claims of extreme obstruction and human rights oppression, it’s clear that they are traveling freely out of Hong Kong, speaking their minds freely while urging a foreign power to assess and impose sanctions on their own state.  These contradictions indicate that all their claims should be critically analyzed.  Some of these will be directly addressed below.

The bill itself should be opposed on the following grounds:

This bill would not serve the purposes for which it is written, namely, to reaffirm the objectives and principles set forth in the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.

Nor would it affirm, support, or further Human Rights in Hong Kong.

The bill accomplishes little except to draw attention to US influence on the Hong Kong protests and highlights US officiousness in Hong Kong politics.  This is within a toxic atmosphere of violence, chaos, and intrigue—engendered and engineered by the protestors–, where the US is already credibly accused of fomenting, supporting, and encouraging this violence: by lending it moral support, meeting with its leaders–having high-level political and diplomatic meetings–, threatening consequences if suppressed, and funding the lead organizations through the NED.

This bill is an act of moral hazard and implicates the US congress in violence, destruction, mayhem, injury, potential loss of life, and the degradation of civic processes. It will validate the current perception of the violent protests as US gray zone aggression in search of a pretext for further sanctions and aggression.

Furthermore, it will also degrade currently antagonistic China-US relations even further, pushing relations towards overt hostility and direct conflict, and setting the preconditions for war.

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The key arguments against this bill are as follows:

The PRC has upheld its commitments to Hong Kong in the Basic Agreement and Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.

As the British returned the colony of Hong Kong to China in 1997, they negotiated the conditions of return and political statehood in the Basic Agreement, and the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992. The PRC has upheld all its commitments to Hong Kong SAR elucidated in the Basic Agreement and the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992: the fundamental letter and the law of the Joint Agreement and the Basic Law have all been upheld, as listed below:

  • The chief executive has been appointed by the Central People’s Government on the basis of the results of elections or consultations held locally. Although the British never allowed elections of the Hong Kong governor, as they left, they instituted provisions for the election of the chief executive by universal suffrage.  However, there is no clause committing Hong Kong to direct democracy, nor is there a specified timeline for this suffrage to be achieved.  Specifically: The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.
  • Chinese and foreign nationals previously working in the public and police services in the government departments of Hong Kong remain in employment. British and other foreign nationals are employed in public posts in government departments. High ranking members of the Hong Kong police force are The current Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, was a British citizen (who renounced her citizenship). Key members of the Legislative council are or have been British citizens. Currently, there is a large roster of British and Commonwealth judges in the Judicial system: two thirds  (16 out of 22 judges) on the Court of Final Appeals (Hong Kong’s Supreme Court) are British Nationals or Commonwealth members.  8 of these are Peers (Lords and Ladies of the British nobility).
  • The current social and economic systems in Hong Kong has remained unchanged:
    The Basic Law committed Hong Kong to free-market capitalism and prevented the institution of socialist measures. Hong Kong is still a free-market capitalist state, and it can be strongly argued the underlying cause of these protests is its unregulated, laissez-faire, corporate, finance and real estate-driven capitalism.
  • Economic Law and practices have been maintained as originally agreed upon.
    These laws have not been abrogated or changed, even though these economic policies have created tremendous hardship to the working classes, in particular in regards to unaffordable housing and poor prospects for work, and run counter to the PRC’s widely acknowledged practices of lifting up society as a whole and eradicating
  • Hong Kong has retained the status of a free port and a separate customs territory.
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has retained the status of an international financial center. Its markets for foreign exchange, gold, securities and futures have continued, along with free flow of capital, and the independent Hong Kong dollar continues to circulate and remain freely convertible.
  • The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has maintained independent finances.
    The Central People’s Government does not levy taxes on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
  • The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has established mutually beneficial economic and cultural relations with other countries; and establishes independent agreements with states, regions and relevant international organizations.

This includes its own extradition agreements with the US, UK, and 18 other countries.

  • The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region issues its own travel documents for entry into and exit from Hong Kong.

Last but not least:

  • Rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association,..of movement, of strike, of academic research and of religious belief have all been ensured by law. Private property, ownership of enterprises, legitimate right of inheritance and foreign investment all have been protected by law. All of these enumerated rights have been protected and defended by Hong Kong law.In particular, during 15 weeks of some of the most violent protests that the region has seen in recent years, the Hong Kong authorities have treated these with extreme attention to Human Rights and due process.No law abrogating the right to protest was passed, nor were there any restrictive measures passed: no curfews, no general bans on assembly or protest, no bans on masks, bans on signs, or any such law.  No measures were passed abrogating freedom of expression.  Nor has there been any arbitrary arrest or detention. Although 1200 protestors have been arrested, almost all of them have been released.To date, a single violent protestor has been sentenced to 80 hours of community service.  (A single individual has an eye injury, but is recovering, and there is no proof that the police were responsible, and contrary to all logic, the individual in question is using all possible legal means to prevent investigation and the gathering of evidence).No other violent civil protest in recent memory—not in France (Yellow Vests), not in Spain (Catalan Independence), not in India (Kashmir), in Indonesia (Papua & West Papua), in the US (Standing Rock, Ferguson, Baltimore)–has there been such extended restraint demonstrated by the forces of order against such extreme rioting and violence.Over a period of 15 weeks of violent rioting, infrastructure attacks, road blockades, and attacks, subway arson and sabotage, airport occupation, mass beatings of civilian bystanders, no protestors have been killed or suffered serious injury.   However, bystanders and people criticizing the protestors have been violently attacked and seriously injured: they have been mobbed, assaulted, and beaten unconscious with pipes, baseball bats, sticks; attacked with caustic lye (drain cleaner), or in the case of police, burned with Molotov cocktails, and stabbed. Police stations, Legislative Chambers, Political offices have been surrounded and attacked and set fire to, and even graves have been desecrated.  Contrary to the claims of protestors, it is inconceivable the US or any other country would have tolerated such massive violence and insurrection.

To summarize: Hong Kong and China have been, and are clearly following, the accords signed and agreed to.

  • There has been no interference with elections, electoral outcomes, domestic politics, or domestic legislation.
  • Hong Kong has an independent judiciary–considered one of the most independent in the world.
  • Hong Kong has a vibrantly independent media, unions, corporations, and electoral bodies.
  • Hong Kong exercises independent executive, legislative, and judicial power, including that of final adjudication.

Global analysis bears this out: the Cato institute’s Human Freedom Index evaluates the countries of the world across 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom including:  Rule of Law, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Freedom of Expression, Legal System and Property Rights.  It’s understood that it is “a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint”.

On this basis, the Human Freedom Index currently ranks Hong Kong as the third freest country in the world (2018), with only New Zealand and Switzerland ahead of it.  Hong Kong currently ranks 14 rankings above the United States in Freedom (17th), and 114 rankings ahead of Ukraine, where the US recently intervened in with support for “democracy and human rights”.  For over a decade—under so-called “Chinese encroachment”–it has ranked consistently in the top 3 countries of the HFI, making it one of the freest states in the world, according to conservative analysis.

This renders allegations of “loss of freedom”  or “human rights” to be without substance or evidence.

The leaders of the protests, now touring the United States urging sanctions against Hong Kong on these grounds, are themselves the purest refutation of their own claims.

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Misinformation on Hong Kong

There is, however, a constant drumbeat of misinformation. These include allegations that:

Beijing was behind the extradition bill:

This is untrue.  The extradition bill was drafted, after extensive public consultation, in response to a heinous murder of a pregnant woman that was not extraditable under the current regime.  A long-overdue bill for case-by-case extradition was written to plug this loophole, while explicitly excluding extradition for political crimes.  The bill fits all the requirements of a well-crafted extradition bill and has multiple safeguards and checks to protect human rights and political abuse.  It is a well-crafted piece of legislation that would pass muster in any democratic, sovereign state. Furthermore, it includes 8 layers of review, including 2 stages of administrative review, and 6 layers of judicial review by Hong Kong’s fiercely independent judiciary (see above).

The bill was designed to render people to mainland China:

This was a general bill for with guidelines and processes for extradition to any country. The framing of “extradition to China” was by the Anti-China protestors, and bears no relation to the actual bill or its intent.

Almost all sovereign countries have extradition agreements.  Hong Kong is part of China, and the very notion that Hong Kong is some sort of extraterritorial criminal sanctuary outside the reach of Chinese law is a concept without legal merit.

Note also that the bill itself has been completely withdrawn.
Note also, that one of the most vociferous opponents of the bill, Martin Lee–one of the unspoken leaders and lobbyists for the protests–himself urged for a comparable extradition bill, giving the lie to the assertion that the extradition process is problematic.

This is part of Beijing’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The object facts show that this has not been the case, as enumerated and elaborated above (see “key arguments”) , and below.  Hong Kong has a fiercely independent judiciary, and it’s inconceivable that it would extradite someone on Beijing’s political whim.  Furthermore, the notion that having an extradition treaty with another country renders an autonomous stateless free or sovereign is ridiculous on its face: extradition treaties do not constitute an infringement on sovereignty.

But Beijing has been resisting a demand for universal suffrage since the British left and still does. Hong Kong citizens became accustomed to freedom under the British, and rightfully claim it against Chinese encroachment.

It’s important to emphasize that the British never gave universal suffrage to the Hong Kong people.  It ran a brutal, demeaning, colonial apartheid state, where Chinese were second class people, where segregated Jim Crow policies were the norm, and during Anti-British protests, Hong Kong citizens were often shot dead in the streets or disappeared. The British colonial administration put suffrage on the bill after never having allowed a meaningful vote during its control of Hong Kong, as a final act of challenge to the Chinese for reclaiming its own territory.  Nevertheless, the Chinese, accepted this because they wanted a peaceful return of Hong Kong to China, and they did not want to derail the process or encourage capital flight.

Regarding the actual state of affairs within Hong Kong, Beijing does not decide what Hong Kong does internally but allows a “high degree of autonomy”.  This is the essence of “two systems”, which the Chinese have upheld (see “key arguments” above).  Hong Kong legislates, implements, and arbitrates its own laws, and they are following the guidelines for “orderly development” of universal suffrage that were outlined in the Basic Law.  Although constituencies currently elect the Chief Executive and Legislators, these can be legitimately acknowledged as accepted political practices in part of an evolving democratic process.  They certainly do not constitute proof of Beijing’s control.

But aren’t the “functional constituencies” that elect legislative members under the influence of Beijing?

These constituencies are diverse and reflect many groups, including business, labor, trade and professional groups.  They themselves represent a large number of individual members who represent a wide range of views.  A constituency is not a single platform party.  Many have members who are anti-Beijing, as shown in the diversity of election results and party seats, many of whom are opposed to Beijing or are outright nativist/secessionist.

But didn’t Beijing interfere in the elections by disqualifying the election of six members elected to the Legislative Council in July of 2017?

Sixtus Leung, Yau Wai-ching, Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law, Yiu Chung-yim and Lau Sil-lai were elected to the Legislative Council on 14 July 2017.  According to Article 104 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, elected members of the Legislative Council must swear an oath to uphold the law and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR.  This is basic legal practice in all political bodies, and an oath incorrectly delivered can be cause for disqualification. An oath deliberately abused, incorrectly spoken, insincerely delivered, or with obscenities added, or otherwise edited or lengthened would result in invalidation across most legal bodies.

The secretary-general of the Hong Kong Legislative Council invalidated their oaths because phrases were added, protests statements made, and obscenities deliberately spoken: “the People’s Republic of China” was referred to as the “People’s re-f*cking of Chee-na” (a derogatory term comparable to the N-word).  Multiple independent judicial reviews by the Hong Kong Judiciary upheld these decisions. This is an action that would have happened in any reasonable legislative or political body.

The working and middle classes are demanding democracy, not the business class, which is doing fine colluding with mainland Chinese state and private capitalists.   They deserve democracy.

The working classes want–and deserve–better representation, and better conditions of living or working, which the current political system cannot deliver (and which Beijing cannot change until 2047).  This is not a fault with Beijing, but is a fault written into the Hong Kong basic law, as scripted, designed, and negotiated by the British, which allocated disproportionate power to business interests in order to conserve Hong Kong’s freewheeling capitalist system, diminish popular will, and maintain its status as a haven for wealthy capitalists.  This basic law absolutely bans the implementation of socialism or socialist practices; and guarantees capitalism until 2047.

In particular, Real Estate interests and the Anti-China Pan Democrats (currently prominent in the protests) in the legislature were instrumental in opposing the large scale creation of social/public housing as China has done on the mainland. As a result, currently, there are only about 150,000 units of public housing–a pittance relative to the actual demand and need.  These groups have created the extreme housing pressures they claim to deplore and seek to blame China for.

But there were large rallies.  This is an undeniable expression of the Hong Kong people opposing the Chinese.

Large rallies have been noted, but police counts claim about 1/10 of what is claimed.   Major western news agencies, using facial recognition technology, state that only a fraction of the claimed numbers can be verified. As noted elsewhere, it’s also important to note that there were large rallies against the protestors, and in support of the administrations, although these were largely erased from the western press and have been de-ranked on google.

Note also that the large rallies have tapered off.  As of the current moment protests seem to number only the hundreds, occasionally, thousands.    This is a small percentage of a metropolis of 7.4 Million.

Note also that these protests have turned incredibly violent and ugly. For example, a reporter for a Chinese mainland newspaper was attacked, bound, tortured and beaten by protesters during their takeover of the Hong Kong International Airport. When police and rescuers tried to free him, the protesters blocked them and also attempted to block the ambulance that eventually bore him off to the hospital, and beat the unconscious individual with a US Flag. Since then, countless Hong Kong citizens have also been mobbed and attacked and beaten—sometimes to the point of unconsciousness–for simply opposing the views of protestors.  They have also been doxed, threatened, and had their businesses or homes vandalized or firebombed.  The ugliness, violence, and terrorism of these protestors is a far cry from what any civilized society could tolerate as reasonable expression of dissent, nor do these protests adhere to any of the touted values of free speech for those who disagree with them.

The pro-democracy movement is a threat to Beijing’s control of Hong Kong’s government and its corrupt protection of the business elite’s banking, real estate, corporate cartels. Big finance capitalism and Chinese state capitalism work hand in hand.

Large sectors of the pro-“democracy” movement are actually bankrolled by certain wealthy anti-China business leaders, media barons, corporations, and receive extensive support–moral, political, financial–from the US and the NED.  This gives the lie to the assertion that this is a “David and Goliath” fight.

This is also why the movement does not have a single articulated demandrelative to business, business practices, real estate, or even capitalism, state, or financial, or otherwise.  Instead, it focuses on opaque demands that are both abstract, unattainable, or demand extra-institutional measures that go against the separation of powers—for example, that demand the Chief executive dismiss all charges against protestors.   The single actionable demand—the retraction of the bill—has already happened.

Unplanned capitalist economies trend towards a bloated corporate finance sector, and this leads to the dysfunction of an extractive rentier economy.  No amount of American or British flag-waving or appeal to a deluded colonial nostalgia will paper over this fundamental contradiction.

What are the problems in Hong Kong then, if not Beijing?

Economic factors: Unrestrained FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) destabilizes society:

Hong Kong is one of the most unequal places on the planet—a dystopian neoliberal state and tax haven that boasts of 93 Billionaires, 14% poverty (over 20% child poverty) and the most unaffordable real estate in the world.  Up to 200,000 people live in literal cages—some as small as 16 square feet, and the majority of working-class families live in tiny partitioned apartments that are smaller than a parking space. This inequality, extreme inequality of income, shortage of housing fit for human habitation, and lack of hope is the basic tinderbox.  This has to do with the failure of the Hong Kong’s model of political economy: a laissez-faire capitalist economy lacking basic taxation, captured by FIRE.

Institutional factors: Unresolved Issues of Colonization

Anti-Chinese secessionists, nativists, and independence activists in Hong Kong have monopoly of several powerful key institutions which bolster their power and aggravate the conflict: in particular, an extreme rightwing media empire, an educational system strongly influenced by colonial values and nostalgia, and which reproduces its values among the young, and certain sectors of the  business/managerial classes allied with Western colonial values.

Cultural factors: Internalized Colonization.
Hong Kong residents also have cultural antagonisms dating from the colonial period.

At the time of the handover, Hong Kong was 30% of China’s GDP, and Hong Kong citizens were entrained to believe they were semi-British–being the recipients of British culture and administration–and disdained the mainland Chinese.   Many groups in Hong Kong were also refugees from Communism. Having copied and taken on, for decades, British class mannerisms and colonial values, as a sort of cultural surplus-value, and being valorized as the financial hub of Asia, Hong Kong citizens now find themselves at a lower rung of the global hierarchy: Hong Kong itself is now less than 3% of GDP.  When it served as a gateway to China, Hong Kong was essential–everything passed through Hong Kong: trade, ports, financing/investment, logistics, etc. It is now on a downward trajectory, a city-state whose prime has passed. At the same time, it is also dependent on China for basic survival: it gets its water, electricity, and most of its food from China.  It also relies on trade and tourism from China.  This fundamental contradiction: that Hong Kong cannot survive without China, but it disdains and rejects it based on implanted colonial values is a large part of the antagonism.  (An analogy would be a foster child raised in a privileged family that has been reunited with its “lower-status” biological parent).

These are fundamental issues and contradictions around culture, values, and identity, that must be resolved over the long term, but will not yield to shibboleths around “freedom”, nor will they be transformed through violent shock therapy or foreign intervention.

Geopolitical Factors:

Hong Kong and its protests are being used to attack, harass, and delegitimate China, as the US has designated China a “revisionist power” (i.e. national enemy) of the 21st Century in its National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy.

China’s key threat is the threat of a viable, non-western, non-imperialist, model of development.

Hong Kong is one of a series of attempts by Anti-China Hawks in Washington to maintain a “global unipolar US hegemony” by interfering and manipulating the geostrategic chessboard, in particular by stoking violent dissent and separatism within China.

These extreme factions of the body politic, including key current and former members of the current administration, are openly, vociferously anti-China, blaming China for all the ills of the US, and openly agitating for direct confrontation with China.

The US people and Congress should avoid involving itself in this ugly partisan battle, making common cause with US hawks, Neocons, White Supremacists, and Hong Kong nativists and colonialists.  It should avoid ineffectual grandstanding, that can have no good outcomes for the Hong Kong people, US-China relations, the US, or the World.

The US Congress should base its legislative decisions on facts and discernment, not emotions or directed media campaigns

And above all, it must oppose this legislation, as do the vast majority of peaceful and freedom loving people in Hong Kong, the US, and the world.

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Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers co-direct Popular Resistance where this article was originally published.

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President Donald Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border could destroy 22 archaeological sites in Arizona, according to a new report produced by the National Park Service. The report was obtained by the Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request but its findings may not matter to government contractors as they race to build the president’s racist vanity project.

The 22 archaeological sites in the report are all part of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona and don’t include the many other sites along the U.S.-Mexico border that could be harmed by the construction of Trump’s wall. The new 123-page report warns that important artifacts, including stone tools and ceramics, will potentially be destroyed if Trump’s expedited plans for a wall are allowed to continue.

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which was created in 1937 and encompasses 330,688 acres of land, already has 5-foot fencing along part of its southern border, but the Trump regime is trying to replace that with 30-foot wall. The area includes a prehistoric trade route rich in artifacts and is the only place where species like the Quitobaquito spring snail, the Sonoyta mud turtle, and the desert caper plant can be found anywhere on the planet, according to the National Park Service website.

The researchers who wrote the report for the NPS studied just 11 miles of the area where the new wall would be built and found hundreds of so-called “pre-contact” Native American artifacts. But U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seem intent on going ahead with construction anyway.

From the Washington Post:

The [CBP] officials said they have not delayed or otherwise altered their construction plans to conduct more detailed surveys or excavations in the area.

Officials said crews with earth-moving equipment have started installing barriers in a two-mile section east of the border crossing at Lukeville, Ariz., a particularly busy stretch for illegal crossings.

CBP officials acknowledged that trucks and earth-moving equipment driving through the fragile desert risk harming sites outside the specific construction zones. The officials said they are following Park Service guidance as to where workers can drive.

President Trump, a longtime white supremacist, has promised to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border while continually denigrating people coming across as “rapists,” and gang members. But the president is clearly worried that his wall isn’t getting built fast enough. Trump declared a national emergency to redirect $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds to the project after Congress wouldn’t give him the money. Those funds are expected to create roughly 175 miles of wall by the end of 2020, though concerns from environmental and land rights groups are largely being ignored.

The president has reportedly encouraged government workers to do anything they can, even if it’s illegal, to build the wall in time for the November 2020 presidential elections.

“Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you,” President Trump repeatedly told officials who were worried about breaking the law by ignoring so many regulations, according to multiple news outlets.

Given the current schedule, the portions of the wall that would destroy these archaeological sites are supposed to be completed by January 2020.

Strangely, the Department of the Interior has blacked out large sections of the report, including sketches of maps that were created in the 1950s and 1970s. Some of the 1970s maps appear to be credited to the Arizona State Museum and it’s not immediately clear why those would be redacted. The Trump regime has a long pattern of trying to conceal as much information from the American public as possible.

As the report notes, humans have been present in the area for at least 10,500 years and we still have a lot to learn about the people who previously inhabited the region. The area also includes evidence of ancient cemeteries in the Arizona desert, according to one expert who spoke with the Washington Post. And if we’ve learned anything from Hollywood, it’s never a good idea to go messing around with ancient cemeteries.

Kevin Dahl, who works for the National Parks Conservation Association, spoke to the Washington Post and probably said it best, calling the wall “insane.”

“We’re destroying what the wall is supposed to protect,” Dahl said.

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Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo’s Paleofuture blog

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Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that he has not seen any intelligence indicating Iran was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, contradicting Saudi and Trump administration claims about the incident.

“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Kono said during a press briefing. “We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.”

The only evidence the Trump administration has released to substantiate its claim of Iranian responsibility are satellite photos that experts said are not clear enough to assign blame. Ret. Gen. Mark Hertling, a CNN intelligence analyst, said the images “really don’t show anything, other than pretty good accuracy on the strike of the oil tanks.”

Kono said Japan, an ally of both Iran and the U.S., is still in the process of determining who was behind the attacks, which were allegedly carried out by drones.

“Given Japan’s strong ties with the U.S. based on the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and the relationship of trust that Japan has with various countries located in the Middle East, Japan is in a position to fulfill a mediating role,” said Kono.

The defense minister’s statement is the second time this year Japan has contradicted the Trump administration’s attempt to pin an attack on Iran with insufficient evidence. In June, as Common Dreams reported, the Trump administration blamed Iran for an explosion that damaged a Japanese oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Yutaka Katada, president of the Japanese company that owns the tanker, publicly disputed the White House’s account of the attack.

Japan is not the only major nation to express skepticism about the Trump administration’s rush to blame Iran for the attacks, which briefly paralyzed Saudi oil production and sent crude prices soaring.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday that he is not aware of evidence demonstrating Iranian involvement, despite claims by U.S. and Saudi officials.

“Up to now France doesn’t have proof permitting it to say that these drones came from such and such a place, and I don’t know if anyone has proof,” said Le Drian. “We need a strategy of de-escalation for the area, and any move that goes against this de-escalation would be a bad move for the situation in the region.”

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Here Is How China-US Trade War Impacts Iran

September 19th, 2019 by Salman Rafi Sheikh

In the last week of August, China added crude oil imports from the US to its tariff list for the first time in a retaliatory decision against the US decision to impose fresh tariffs on Chinese products. China imports about 6 per cent of its crude oil from the US. For an economy that increasingly relies on crude oil imports, this decision carries a lot of significance. While China is also preparing to impose high tariffs on import of US cars and the trade-war is likely to continue in the days to come, the all-important question is: why would China impose tariffs on import of oil, the life-line of its economy? According to some latest figures, China’s reliance on imported crude oil has already jumped to 70 per cent and gas moving towards 50 per cent. Most certainly, China would never have taken such a decision unless its leadership had first secured an alternative source of supply of oil. Here is where Iran and cheap/tariff free Iranian oil comes into play and the larger geo-political chessboard becomes active, allowing China to counter the US on three levels.

First, in terms of trade war, Chinese tariffs on oil imports from the US will undermine the US position as the world’s ‘new champion oil producer.’ Second, in terms of regional geo-politics, import of oil from Iran will boost Iran’s economy in the face of US sanctions and help Iranian economy keep afloat. Needless to say, Iran is a key territorial link for China’s Belt and Road Initiative to expand beyond Asia. Third, if the US and China fail to reach a compromise on trade disputes and their bi-lateral economic and political relations remain cold, China’s continuous reliance on US oil would become a big disadvantage. Therefore, by ridding itself of the US oil, China is preparing for a long-term war with the US, or at least doesn’t see the current dispute resolving any time sooner; hence, the move towards diversification through defiance.

Although China has recently decided to increase its domestic production of gas in Sichuan province, increasing from roughly 20 per cent at present to about 33 per cent of the country’s needs, this isn’t going to be enough for a huge economy that China is; hence, China’s increasing investment in Iran’s huge and sanctioned energy sector.

According to reports, China is set to invest about 280 billion dollars in Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemical sectors. This investment will in turn allow China to buy energy products from Iran at discounted prices, certainly a lot cheaper than the US oil. Although there will be a risk of the US sanctioning Chinese companies involved in buying Iranian oil, China is ready to tackle this. Entering the deal with Iran, China announced that it is not intimidated by the `secondary sanctions` the US has threatened to impose on companies and countries which continue to have economic ties with Iran.

China’s decision has massive geo-political ramifications. China can expand and use the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline to import oil and gas from Iran and can even built new pipelines, allowing it to not only conveniently meet its energy needs but also massively reduce its reliance on a number of US-friendly oil and gas suppliers from the Middle East i.e., UAE and Saudi Arabia.

China, accordingly, is also investing about 120 billion dollars in Iran’s transport and manufacturing infrastructure. Significantly enough, this Chinese-built infrastructure in Iran, which includes high-speed rail on several routes, will provide China with additional avenues for its overland trade through Iran and Turkey to and from Europe and maritime trade through Iranian ports to the Middle East, Africa and beyond. Interestingly enough, one of the ports that China is eyeing is the Indian built port of Chabahar. Due to India’s full compliance with the US directive to bring oil imports from Iran to zero, Iran’s relations with India have gone down massively, allowing China to move in and grab the space.

China’s investment also comes with Chinese troops on the ground in Iran. Sending a clear message to the US, about 5,000 Chinese security personnel will be placed in Iran to protect Chinese projects from possible sabotage attempts by the rivals countries through their sponsored non-state actors, or even directly. Importantly enough, this security presence in Iran will be as big as the US has in today’s Iraq or what the Pentagon aims to leave in Afghanistan in 2020. Also, it intends to deter any US adventurism (visible in Iraq and Afghanistan), inasmuch as any major US military strike on or action against Iran would risk hitting Chinese army personnel and spiking tensions with a nuclear power that has the ability to hit the US both militarily and economically; hence, the increasing emphasis on materialising a true strategic partnership between Iran and China. A binding force will, of course, be US sanctions on Iran and its trade war with China.

Emphasising the same point, Iran’s foreign minister wrote in an Op-Ed for Global Times and said,

“China has become an indispensable economic partner of Iran and the two countries are strategic partners on many fronts…’” and that both China and Iran “ favor multilateralism in global affairs but that has come under attack now more than ever.”

Hitting the US directly, Zarif noted,

“China and Iran support fair and balanced commercial ties around the world and we both face overseas [US] hostility by populist unilateralist bigotry.”

A deep Chinese presence in Iran and a willingness to defy the US is a big boost to the countries, including Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Pakistan, which are trying to build an ‘Asian order’ around Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and other regional connectivity programs i.e., Eurasian Economic Union and even the SCO. As the saying goes, for a new order to emerge, the old must dismantle. Chinese defiance signifies a major step towards the new order.

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Salman Rafi Sheikh is research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

First up, we have the neocon windup clown, Senator Marco Rubio.

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Not to worry, Marco—the Saudis are on it. 

No, wait. Early today the Saudis produced a pile of junk and said it came from Iranian drones and missiles.

From the BBC:

The Saudi defense ministry briefing said the wreckage showed the attacks were “unquestionably sponsored by Iran”.

Spokesman Turki al-Malki showed off what was said to be a delta wing of an Iranian UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) along with other weapons debris.

He said that 18 UAVs had been fired at the Abqaiq oil facility and seven cruise missile had been fired at the Khurais oilfield, three of which had fallen short of the target.

This assemblage of junk put on display for the media proves absolutely nothing. 

Regardless, it will be used by the medieval kingdom and US neocons to blame Iran. 

In response to the charred collection of metal, Donald the Clueless decided to impose yet another round of sanctions designed to punish the people of Iran.

Col. Al-Maliki thinks you’re an idiot—and you are if you believe Iran is the top sponsor of terror in the world. That designation is reserved for Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel.   

We’re told Iran supports the “terrorism” of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Palestinian groups, including Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

Let’s not forget that Hamas was shepherded by Israel. Back in the day, the Zionists figured they could defeat the PLO by nurturing Palestinian Islamists. After the so-called Six Day War, Israel released Sheikh Ahmed Yassin from prison. Yassin went about building Hamas in the 1980s. The Israelis subsequently assassinated the wheelchair-bound imam with a Hellfire missile fired from a US-manufactured Apache helicopter. 

History Commons: 

David Shipler, a former New York Times reporter, later recounts that he was told by the military governor of the Gaza Strip, Brigadier General Yitzhak Segev, that the Israeli government had financed the Islamic movement to counteract the PLO and the communists. According to Martha Kessler, a senior analyst for the CIA, “we saw Israel cultivate Islam as a counterweight to Palestinian nationalism”… Yassin also receives funding from business leaders in Saudi Arabia who are also hostile to the secular PLO for religious reasons. The Saudi government, however, steps in and attempts to halt the private funds going to Yassin, because they view him as a tool of Israel. 

As for Hezbollah, we never get a straight answer from the corporate propaganda media. If we follow the “news,” it appears Hezbollah came out of nowhere with a psychopathic desire to kill Americans and Israelis. 

Brookings and others claim Hezbollah is an Iranian “export.” 

Hezbollah’s methods have evolved as its military and political powers and sophistication have expanded since the mid-1980s, with Lebanon itself rather than American citizens now held hostage. But then as now, Hezbollah serves as the most successful, and the most deadly, export of the 1979 Iranian revolution.

This completely ignores the fact Hezbollah came together in southern Lebanon after Israel invaded the country. Consider the following from the neocon-tinged and humanitarian interventionist “non-partisan” globalist think tank:

Enmeshed in poverty and high rates of illiteracy, Shiite peasants concentrated in the south also suffered disproportionately from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) attacked Israel from southern Lebanon, and the Israelis retaliated in kind. Given years of PLO abuses, Shiite residents of the south briefly welcomed the 1982 Israeli invasion, although Israeli tactics quickly alienated them, driving thousands from ancestral villages to the slums of Beirut’s impoverished southern suburbs.

Samia A. Halaby provides perspective, not that we should expect the “Newspaper of Record,” The New York Times, to tell us the truth about the Hezbollah self-defense organization.

I think residents of the southern Lebanon, of Palestine, and Iraq, especially the poorer ones and the working class are tired—way, way beyond feeling that this is ‘unfair’. We have suffered US/Israel behavior since way before 1948. Hezbollah is resistance to this historic attack.

The formation of Hezbollah is a direct result of Israel’s 1978 invasion of Lebanon (Operation Litani) and the 1982 civil war in Lebanon. 

The Academic website cites Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh (The Path Of Hizbullah):

The Israelis killed more than one thousand civilian Shiites, leading to a mass exodus of yet more Shiites refugees to the Beirut slums. Israel’s 1982 invasion and occupation of Lebanon bolstered the fortunes of Hizbullah by “providing a politic-military environment that legitimated the group and gave a rationale for its guerrilla warfare. Similarly, the presence of the Western foreign troops in Lebanon, particularly of the U.S. Marines, also boosted the fortunes of Hezbollah, which considered fighting such forces to be as legitimate as fighting the Israeli occupation.”

Is it possible self-defense forces would be organized in Washington State if Chinese troops landed at the Port of Grays Harbor? If US citizens were shelled, massacred, and taken prisoner as thousands of Shia Lebanese were, do you think there might be an uprising and “terrorist attacks” on the invaders? 

If Americans suffered like the Shia of southern Lebanon did—particularly those tortured (including children) at the Khiam detention center—wouldn’t resistance and retribution be justified?

The torture was carried out by the South Lebanon Army (SLA), an Israeli proxy. 

According to the World Heritage Encyclopedia:

The SLA was closely allied with Israel. It supported the Israelis by fighting the PLO in southern Lebanon until the 1982 invasion. After that, SLA support for the Israelis consisted mainly of fighting other Lebanese guerrilla forces led by Hezbollah until 2000 in the “security zone” (the area under occupation after a partial Israeli withdrawal in 1985). In return Israel supplied the organization with arms, uniforms, and logistical equipment.

Following the alleged attack on the Saudi facilities, Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, ventured to Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, back home in the indispensable nation, the neocon warmonger from South Carolina said the attack represents an “act of war.” 

At this point, it is unlikely Trump will unleash the dogs of war on Iran—that is if he wants to be re-elected next year. He has vacillated repeatedly on Iran and this drives the neocons to distraction. More false flags are likely in the works.

However, this time may be different. It is reported Trump is drawing up plans to hit Iran. “Donald Trump is drawing up a hit-list as he hatches plans to clobber Iran following the attacks on the world’s largest oil plant in Saudi Arabia,” reports the ever-so factual and unbiased British newspaper The Sun.  

It’s now wait and see.

Trump would be a fool to attack Iran. It has the capability to bring oil shipments to a halt and launch missiles at US troops and hardware in the region. This would undoubtedly take down the global economy and precipitate a world war.

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Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Like all European environmental parties, without any exception, Luigi Di Maio’s Five-Star Movement is deeply anti-nuclear. It campaigned vehemently on this theme. And like all European environmental parties, when they come to power, they defend NATO, its wars and its nuclear policy.

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Is there finally a Minister of Foreign Affairs who will commit to Italy joining the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons?

The neo-minister Luigi Di Maio subscribed in 2017 to the Ican Parliamentary Pledge, the international coalition to which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize [1]. In doing so, the political leader of the 5 Stars Movement – the current Minister of Foreign Affairs – has pledged to “promote the signature and ratification of this Treaty of Historic Importance” by Italy.

The Ican Commitment was also subscribed to by other current 5-star ministers –Alfonso Bonafede (Justice), Federico D’Incà (Relations with Parliament), Fabiana Dadone (Public Service) – and by other M5S parliamentarians, like Roberto Fico and Manlio Di Stefano.

But there is a problem. Article 4 of the Treaty states:

“Each State Party which has nuclear weapons owned or controlled by another State on its territory shall ensure the prompt withdrawal of such weapons”.

To accede to the UN Treaty, Italy should ask the United States to withdraw B-61 nuclear bombs from its territory (which already violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty) and not to install the new B61 -12 or other nuclear weapons. Moreover, since Italy is one of the countries which (as NATO itself states) “provide the Alliance with aircraft equipped to carry nuclear bombs, over which the United States retains absolute control, and staff trained for this purpose “, to accede to the UN Treaty, Italy should ask to be exempted from this function.

Unthinkable requests from the second Conte government which, like the first, considers the United States as a “privileged ally”.

Here is where the cards are shown. The Ican Commitment was subscribed to in Italy by more than 200 parliamentarians, mostly from the Pd and the M5S (about 90 each), the current government parties. With what result?

On September 19, 2017, the day before the Treaty was opened for signature, the House approved a Pd motion (also voted by Forza Italia and Fratelli d’Italia) which committed the Gentiloni government to “evaluate the possibility” of joining to the UN Treaty. For its part, the M5S did not ask for the accession to the UN Treaty, and therefore the withdrawal from Italy of nuclear weapons, but to “declare the unavailability of Italy to use nuclear weapons, and not to buy the necessary components to make the F-35 aircraft fit for the transport of nuclear weapons “. Ergo: that the F-35 planes, designed for nuclear attack especially with the B61-12, be used by Italy with a kind of security that prevents the use of nuclear weapons.

The following day, the North Atlantic Council, with full Italian support, rejected and attacked the UN Treaty. It has so far been signed by 70 countries, but, because of pressure from the US and NATO, ratified only by 26 while it takes 50 to enter into force.

The same thing happened with the Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces buried by Washington. Whether at the NATO, UN or EU headquarters, the first Conte government has lined up behind the US decision, giving the go-ahead for the installation of new US nuclear missiles in Europe, Italy included.

The solemn undertaking pledged by Pd, 5 Étoiles and others has therefore proved, based on the test of facts, to be a demagogic expedient to collect votes. If for any of them this is not so, let them demonstrate it in fact.

Because of the “inevitable link with the United States”, reaffirmed yesterday by Conte in his speech in the House, Italy finds itself deprived of its own sovereignty and transformed into the front line of US nuclear strategy. With multi-partisan consensus and complicit silence.

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This article was originally published on Il Manifesto. Translated from Italian by Roger Lagassé.

Award winning author Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

Desperate Central Bankers Grab for More Power

September 19th, 2019 by Ellen Brown

Conceding that their grip on the economy is slipping, central bankers are proposing a radical economic reset that would shift yet more power from government to themselves.

Central bankers are acknowledging that they are out of ammunition. Mark Carney, the soon-to-be-retiring head of the Bank of England, said in a speech at the annual meeting of central bankers in August in Jackson Hole, Wyoming,

“In the longer-term, we need to change the game.”

The same point was made by Philipp Hildebrand, former head of the Swiss National Bank, in an August 2019 interview with Bloomberg.

“Really there is little if any ammunition left,” he said. “More of the same in terms of monetary policy is unlikely to be an appropriate response if we get into a recession or sharp downturn.”

“More of the same” meant further lowering interest rates, the central bankers’ stock tool for maintaining their targeted inflation rate in a downturn. Bargain-basement interest rates are supposed to stimulate the economy by encouraging borrowers to borrow (since rates are so low) and savers to spend (since they aren’t making any interest on their deposits and may have to pay to store them). But over $15 trillion in bonds are now trading globally at negative interest rates, yet this radical maneuver has not been shown to measurably improve economic performance. In fact  new research shows that negative interest rates from central banks, rather than increasing spending, stopping deflation, and stimulating the economy as they were expected to do, may be having the opposite effects. They are being blamed for squeezing banks, punishing savers, keeping dying companies on life support, and fueling a potentially unsustainable surge in asset prices.

So what is a central banker to do? Hildebrand’s proposed solution was presented in a paper he wrote with three of his colleagues at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, where he is now vice chairman. Released in August to coincide with the annual Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers, the paper was co-authored by Stanley Fischer, former governor of the Bank of Israel and former vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve; Jean Boivin, former deputy governor of the Bank of Canada; and BlackRock economist Elga Bartsch. Their proposal calls for “more explicit coordination between central banks and governments when economies are in a recession so that monetary and fiscal policy can better work in synergy.” The goal, according to Hildebrand, is to go “direct with money to consumers and companies in order to enliven consumption,” putting spending money directly into consumers’ pockets.

It sounds a lot like “helicopter money,” but he was not actually talking about raining money down on the people. The central bank would maintain a “Standing Emergency Fiscal Facility” that would be activated when interest rate manipulation was no longer working and deflation had set in. The central bank would determine the size of the Facility based on its estimates of what was needed to get the price level back on target. It sounds good until you get to who would disburse the funds: “Independent experts would decide how best to deploy the funds to both maximize impact and meet strategic investment objectives set by the government.”

“Independent experts” is another term for “technocrats” – bureaucrats chosen for their technical skill rather than by popular vote. They might be using sophisticated data, algorithms and economic formulae to determine “how best to deploy the funds,” but the question is, “best for whom?” It was central bank technocrats who plunged the economies of Greece and Italy into austerity after 2011, and unelected technocrats who put Detroit into bankruptcy in 2013.

In short, Hildebrand and co-authors are not talking about central banks giving up their ivory tower independence to work with legislators in coordinating fiscal and monetary policy. Rather, central bankers would be acquiring even more power, by giving themselves a new pot of free money that they could deploy as they saw fit in the service of “government objectives.”

Carney’s New Game

The tendency to overreach was also evident in the Jackson Hole speech of BOE head Mark Carney, in which he said “we need to change the game.” The game changer he proposed was to break the power of the US dollar as global reserve currency. This would be done through the issuance of an international digital currency backed by multiple national currencies, on the model of Facebook’s “Libra.”

Multiple reserve currencies are not a bad idea, but if we’re following the Libra model, we’re talking about a new, single reserve currency that is merely “backed” by a basket of other currencies. The question then is who would issue this global currency, and who would set the rules for obtaining the reserves.

Carney suggested that the new currency might be “best provided by the public sector, perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies.” This raises further questions. Are central banks really “public”? And who would be the issuer – the banker-controlled Bank for International Settlements, the bank of central banks in Switzerland? Or perhaps the International Monetary Fund, which Carney is in line to head?

The IMF already issues Special Drawing Rights to supplement global currency reserves, but they are merely “units of account” which must be exchanged for national currencies. Allowing the IMF to issue the global reserve currency outright would give unelected technocrats unprecedented power over nations and their money. The effect would be similar to the surrender by EU governments of control over their own currencies, making their central banks dependent on the European Central Bank for liquidity, with its disastrous consequences.

Time to End the “Independent” Fed?

A media event that provoked even more outrage against central bankers last month, however, was an August 27th op-ed in Bloomberg by William Dudley, former president of the New York Fed and a former partner at Goldman Sachs. Titled “The Fed Shouldn’t Enable Donald Trump,” it concluded:

There’s even an argument that the [presidential] election itself falls within the Fed’s purview. After all, Trump’s reelection arguably presents a threat to the U.S. and global economy, to the Fed’s independence and its ability to achieve its employment and inflation objectives. If the goal of monetary policy is to achieve the best long-term economic outcome, then Fed officials should consider how their decisions will affect the political outcome in 2020.

The Fed is so independent that, according to former Fed chair Alan Greenspan, it is answerable to no one. A chief argument for retaining the Fed’s independence is that it needs to remain a neutral arbiter, beyond politics and political influence; and Dudley’s op-ed clearly breached that rule. Critics called it an attempt to overthrow a sitting president, a treasonous would-be coup that justified ending the Fed altogether.

Perhaps, but central banks actually serve some useful functions. Better would be to nationalize the Fed, turning it into a true public utility, mandated to serve the interests of the economy and the voting public. Having the central bank and the federal government work together to coordinate fiscal and monetary policy is actually a good idea, so long as the process is transparent and public representatives have control over where the money is deployed. It’s our money, and we should be able to decide where it goes.

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This article was first posted on Truthdig.org.

Ellen Brown chairs the Public Banking Institute and has written thirteen books, including her latest, Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age.  She also co-hosts a radio program on PRN.FM called “It’s Our Money.” Her 300+ blog articles are posted at EllenBrown.com.

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The so-called “Extinction Rebellion” set to begin later this month with “Global Climate Strikes” could be a scheme cooked up by the Alt-Establishment, which refers to the con game being played by the current power brokers who deceptively misportray themselves as the “anti-establishment” through the various proxy organizations that they bankroll.

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The Mainstream Media has started promoting the so-called “Extinction Rebellion” in recent weeks that’s set to begin later this month with “Global Climate Strikes”, which are being presented as a “global revolution” of sorts carried out by people from all walks of life and cultures uniting for the sake of the planet’s future.

The idea, as it’s being sold to the masses, is that walking out of one’s school or job to participate in these “historic” events will somehow or another convince one’s educational administrators or employers to throw their support behind the “climate change” movement through active donations and other means in order to ensure that this general agenda is eventually advanced by every government across the world “before it’s too late”.

The climate campaign has become extremely popular in recent years as inclement weather adds credence to the claims that the climate is indeed changing despite the disagreements (some of which are obviously politicized) about who or what is to blame, but there’s no doubt that it’s become an all-inclusive worldwide movement that by its very nature is vulnerable to exploitation, and therein lies the problem with the “Extinction Rebellion”.

At risk of sounding what will be smeared as “conspiratorial” by critics, there’s a very conceivable chance that the many well-intended but extremely gullible people participating in these planned events might be manipulated by what can be described as the “Alt-Establishment”, which refers to the con game being played by the current power brokers who deceptively misportray themselves as the “anti-establishment” through the various proxy organizations that they bankroll.

To be more direct, it wouldn’t be surprising if links were discovered between Big Oil and some of the “NGOs” involved in organizing the “Global Climate Strikes”. For as counterintuitive as this might initially sound, it would make sense from their perspective to want to groom, co-opt, and/or control legitimately anti-establishment sentiment as manifested in the “climate change” movement for their own ends which could include eventually discrediting them or even using them as a “bargaining chip” with lawmakers (e.g. offering to reduce pressure on them in exchange for certain concessions, whether public or secret).

The reason for this speculation is that groups such as “Black Lives Matter” and other movements/organizations supported by establishment foundations  will be participating in some of the “Extinction Rebellion’s” events, and as the cliched saying goes, “birds of the same feather flock together”.

To be clear, that’s not to imply “guilt by association” for everyone associated with any of those entities, but just to challenge folks to think outside of their comfort zone and attempt to understand the larger dynamics of social movement manipulation, “classically” manifested through Color Revolutions but having evolved over the past two decades into seemingly apolitical movements like the “climate change” one that nevertheless rely on the same pressure tactics pioneered by Gene Sharp.

Having said that, legitimately anti-establishment and revolutionary movements can cleverly use those to advance their own interests, but they become part of the establishment or a “useful idiot” thereof if any financial link can be establishment between vested interests and them and/or their partners, which is why the “Extinction Rebellion” is so suspicious and should therefore be treated with the utmost caution by all.

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Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from Julia Hawkins/Flickr

“My whole life in politics was marked by a political version, on a small scale, of the epic global contest that is now under way between inclusive cooperation—involving networks and diverse people working toward a common goal—and the reassertion of tribal nationalism,” he told me.  With the world aflame and even some in posh Chappaqua feeling the country to be in a kind of civil war, Clinton could not escape the possibility that his side was losing the ‘epic global contest’ that had defined his career.  His neighbor, if zany, had recently been backed up in his analysis by the writer Pankaj Mishra, who said of this explosive global moment of terrorist violence, raging xenophobia, and political upheaval, ‘Future historians may well see such uncoordinated mayhem as commencing the third—and the longest and strangest—of all world wars:  one that approximates, in its ubiquity, a global civil war.’”

“Many plutocrats objected to Darren Walker’s shining the spotlight on inequality, instead of the issues they were more comfortable talking about, like poverty or opportunity.  They disliked that he framed the issue in a way that blamed them rather than inviting them to participate in a solution.  They disliked his focus on how money is made rather than how it is given away.  ‘I just think you should stop ranting at inequality,’ a friend in private equity had snapped at him a few nights before the KKR event.  ‘It’s a real turn-off.’  Walker had broken what in his circles were important taboos.  Inspire the rich to do more good, but never, ever tell them to do less harm;  inspire them to give back, but never, ever tell them to take less; inspire them to join the solution, but never, ever accuse them of being part of the problem.” Anand Giridharadas, “Winners Take All: the Elite Charade of Changing the World”

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The United Nations has made its 2030 Sustainable Development Goals the hallmark of its contribution to the world, and to humanity.  In effect, the SDG’s are the justification for the existence of the United Nations.  There is one major problem with this goal:  as is evident, without major transformation in the global economic architecture, the SDG’s will not only fail to be achieved, but, according to several expert reports, progress toward achievement of these goals has actually been reversed.

While the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a crucial target toward maximizing the fulfillment and happiness of every human being throughout the world,  and are of course, the noblest humanitarian goal toward which the United Nations, or any/every organization should aspire, it is acknowledged by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that failure to meet to goals of the SDG is a great danger, and there is a plea for funding for the SDG’s which is a Pyrric search, as the United Nations lacks the courage to confront the fact that the distorted pernicious priorities of its principle funders, the United States, Great Britain, etc., which spend trillions of dollars on their military and especially nuclear weapons development are the problem, the most dangerous and perverted developments of monopoly capitalism.  The one trillion dollars that the United States has committed to the development of more sophisticated and deadly forms of nuclear explosives could fund the entire Sustainable Development Goals, fulfilling the entire 2030 Agenda.

Professor Armida Saisiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the UN Regional Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), has warned that the vast region of more than four billion people for which she is responsible, is set to miss all of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which underpin the 2030 Agenda.  In fact, it is harrowing, and shocking that there is evidence that the region is going backward.

While the United Nations boasts about fulfilling the 2030 Agenda, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which are intended to transform the world into a paradise on earth, the UN Security Council is imposing sanctions on nations such as the DPRK, Venezuela, Iran, Russia, China, etc., which as a form of “economic terrorism” described by Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, are transforming those countries into a Hell on Earth.  It is particularly the nations that have economic systems designed to provide for their citizens the very economic and social endowments that are rhetorically advocated by the SDG’s that are the targets of Security Council sanctions.  These brutal sanctions are destroying viable and effective health care systems and educational systems such as those in the DPRK, Venezuela, Cuba, the former USSR and China, nations that have socialist systems prioritizing, by constitution and by law, those very fundamental rights to health and education that the SDG’s claim to advocate.

Instead of confronting the “Elephant in the Room,” and mandating transformed investment priorities of all United Nations member states through a new Economic Security Council, (there are methods of accomplishing this, though ignored by the UN hierarchy) there is now the dangerous possibility and tendency of the United Nations becoming hijacked by the agenda of the Western capitalist powers. This embarrassing and duplicitous trend is highlighted in an article by Barbarra Crosette: “As the SDGs Falter, the UN Turns to the Rich and Famous.” Crosette describes the new “strategic partnership” with the World Economic Forum, ‘the international organization for public-private partnership.’ Crosette quotes former UN official Steven Browne, writing of the first “public-private partnership” arrangement, the Global Compact:

“’The Global Compact has carried risks for the UN, leaving it open to accusations of associating with companies  indulging in corporate malpractice…The Global Compact cannot wholly avoid ‘blue wash’ (the UN equivalent of whitewash in the eyes of critics)…Companies are in a large majority on the GC Board and are the principle contributors to the trust fund which supports the GC secretariat.  Critics have claimed that the GC serves as a platform for the promotion of corporate interests at the UN, and not the other way around, as originally intended.’”

Who Controls Whom?

Historically, numerous corporations had ‘interests’ in nations such as Guatemala (1954), Iran (1953), Chile (1973), Indonesia (1965), (the list is much longer) countries whose democratically elected governments and economies guaranteed fulfillment of most of what are today’s SDG’s, and planned to use their resources for the benefit of their own people, raising their standard of living by providing free or subsidized health care, education, and protection of their natural resources. The multinational corporations found such an equitable distribution of wealth intolerable. These were the government programs which corporate capitalism demonized as “socialist,” and proceeded to destabilize each and every such economy, culminating in coups d’etat which installed militarized corporate control in each targeted state.  In each case, historically, the corporations wrested control over the governments and economies and distribution of assets of these progressive humanitarian economies, and established fascist dictatorial control.

Private corporations investing in the UN SDG’s have the potential to jeopardize the entire agenda;  corporations are dependent on the global market, and when there are severe downturns, as in 2008, or worse, corporate assets deplete, the size of their contributions to the UNSDG’s diminish drastically, and corporations, clearly, are therefore not a sustainable source of funding, thereby eliminating ‘Sustainability’ from the Sustainable Development Goals.

Even more hazardous is the historic record: countries in which corporations have invested have failed to control these corporations. In every case, the corporations succeeded in imposing their own agenda, causing economic distortions and, indeed perversions, with resulting impoverishment of massive sectors of the populations in each case.

There is little reason for hope or assurance that the UN will or can maintain independence of corporate control, and like the frog who is boiled to death, as the temperature of its bath is raised so stealthily that it remains oblivious to its own peril, before it is able to leap out of its boiling bath to save its own life, it has already been boiled to death.

In a personal conversation with brilliant UN Deputy-Secretary General Amina Mohammed she mentioned her awareness that there will have to be a paradigm shift in the global economic system to avert a looming crisis.  The UN SDG’s are an almost pathetic attempt to acknowledge and address this crisis.  Multiple expert sources offer dismal predictions: The organization “Social Progress Imperative,” predicts that the SDG’s “If current trends continue the world will not achieve these goals until 2073.”

In 2009 Stjepan Mesic, former President of the Republic of Croatia addressed the UN General Assembly stating:

“Our world is, finally, still dominated by an economic model which is self-evidently exhausted and has now reached a stage where it is itself generating crises, causing hardship to thousands and hundreds of thousands of people.  If one attempts to save this already obsolete model at any cost, of one stubbornly defends a system based on greed and devoid of any social note worthy of mention, the result can be only one:  social unrest harbouring the potential to erupt into social insurgence on a global scale.”

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Carla Stea is Global Research’s correspondent at United Nations Headquarters, New York, N.Y.

Climate Change Is “Not a Threat”?

September 19th, 2019 by Jim Miles

I only listened to a small part of the Greta Thunberg‘s U.S. congressional hearings this morning but was rather stupefied by the general ignorance and hubris of several of the U.S. commentators.  Two main ideas stood out for the short period during which I listened to several U.S. government speakers and the commonality behind the two ideas – other than climate change – is that the U.S. has cause and effect backwards.

Climate change does not threaten the economy

First off is the idea that climate change is a “threat” to the economy (everything is a “threat” in the U.S. but climate change is a real one and an existing one).  Sorry, that is wrong as the chain of cause and effect would posit that the economy is a threat to the climate.  It is our consumer oriented capitalist economy that is destroying the environment, the whole environment and not just climate.  It has poisoned land, sea, and air.  It has destroyed forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, coral reefs and many other features.

One representative held up a chart purportedly showing that since 1970, the U.S. economy has grown enormously (as per GDP, a highly manipulated number in itself) while carbon output has decreased.  I have not fact checked that and it may well be true, but the unstated reality is that after 1970 much of the U.S. industrial production, and much of its agricultural production was outsourced to other countries where cheap labour, poor environmental standards and poor working conditions combined with IMF “structural adjustment programs” promoted corruption in other countries while promoting the harvesting of cash crops for U.S. consumption and the harvesting of other resources in order to maintain their own technologically “clean” society.

Another much younger pundit argued that innovation was the way to go, not deconstructing the economy.  That would be nice it had a chance of succeeding, but in a capitalist society the money will remain on the big ticket items, most of which rely on a combination of the above mentioned environmental outsourcing and our continual artificial demand for more and more consumer products and unnecessary creature comforts.

Climate change does not threaten “national security”

The idea that climate change does not threaten security is a hard one for the U.S. and other western nations to swallow.  As the foremost militarized nation in the world, and as stated by the New York Times mouthpiece Thomas Friedman, it is the U.S. military that is the “hidden hand” of the military that supports U.S. corporate endeavours around the world.  That hand is no longer hidden but is very much exposed – in reality it always has been for those that have understood U.S. history – especially since 9/11 and the consequent foreign wars and domestic surveillance and control.

National security as practiced by the U.S. is one of the major threats to the climate and the environment in general, including the lives of tens of millions around the world. “Security” means maintaining the largest institutional user of carbon products in the world, the U.S. military. “Security” means protecting dictators and monarchs who help the U.S. military industrial complex control the usage of the almighty petrodollar for without oil products bought and sold globally using the US$ that same dollar would collapse. “Security” means threatening and attacking anyone who tries to not use the US$ for its transactions with other countries as witnessed by many countries recently – Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Syria.

It is also why the “security” state is making so much noise about Russia and China, threatening and acting against them in mostly economic sanction terms, but also in indirect military terms. Fortunately, not withstanding any problems China and Russia may have domestically, they both are creating a multipolar world in which the U.S. “security” vis a vis its military-financial empire is being contained and restrained. While that is not the answer to global climate change, it does create opportunities if dealt with wisely (I know, not likely with the ignorance and hubris of the U.S. and their allies) for climate and the environment to be dealt with more constructively.

Yes, climate change is a  threat

It is true that there are threats arising from climate change. But we need to recognize that it is not climate threatening the economy or security, but it is the imperial security state and the economy that is destroying the climate and the overall environment. Of the many species bound for extinction, our current societal structures are helping determine that homo sapiens will be one of the species facing extinction.

Greta Thunberg is to be commended for speaking a simple truth to power. Unfortunately for her and current and future generations of young people, the inertia of society, and the ignorance as demonstrated by the reversal of the “threat” idiom as indicated by the U.S. congress, the path ahead will be very difficult.

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Jim Miles is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

These genocide warnings concern current threats to the peoples of Cameroon1, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi. Beyond the primary concern for all the people in national groups, a pattern is emerging globally which should remind North Americans of past genocides against native American peoples: the masses of people forced from their homelands, the refugee camps which are meant to both save and contain the displaced, the senseless killing of civilians, the slaughter by hunger, arms and disease which lower the population numbers, and the relentless attack on native cultures to incapacitate the will to resist. The inability to recognize genocide at home limits the ability to understand other contemporary genocides in progress.

After a massive loss of life in Rwanda, Libya, and Ivory Coast where the old leadership was removed by war and these were wars won by forces with Euro-American support, there’s an increased sensitivity to the early warnings of war such as destabilization. These population losses in Africa have followed the extreme example presented by the destruction of Iraq and its infrastructure by bombs and missiles. The process of replacing uncooperative government leaders with tractable puppets was and is a disaster for each person of the millions displaced, forced into exile, in mourning for all those lost whether to armed violence, or sickness and hunger.

In areas of Africa with increasingly high numbers of displaced persons we’re likely to find the covert hand of colonialism reasserting its need for corporate profits. The current news from Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi, lends insight into how and why genocides do occur or could occur., while the challenge of understanding is to stop them.

1. Cameroon2

Concerned with the increasing violence and repression in Cameroon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet visited the country last May to meet with government ministers, opposition leaders, and Cameroon’s President Biya who assured full cooperation with the UN on issues of Human Rights.

To summarize the situation: 20% of the French speaking country is Anglophone, and the sparse public services are particularly diminished for the English-speaking areas. A portion of Anglophone leaders support secession of an English speaking region, of an Anglophone state, Ambazonia, abutting Nigeria. Not far from the inland portion of Ambazonia, in Nigeria, begins Boko Haram territory. Since about 2009 Boko Haram, a Sunni Muslim fundamentalist group, worked northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon and Chad.

A Boko Haram military tactic was and is, reprisal, answering occasional military defeats with wiping out rural Christian villages in Cameroon. In Cameroon the government responded with an ongoing low intensity conflict to protect the area’s Muslim and Christian population. Cameroon’s forces became veterans of war against a military known for atrocities and kidnapping young women and entire schools.

In 2015 Boko Haram pledged allegiance to a larger Sunni Muslim fundamentalist group, ISIS, known for its atrocities in Syria and Iraq.

In 2016 Cameroon’s Anglophone lawyers whose rights were not well-respected, chose to go on strike. The nonviolent strike was joined by Anglophone teachers and students. Responding with military force and arrests the government imprisoned a number of lawyers to try for treason, which led to more violence. When forced to extremes the struggle for Anglophone rights made people choose sides. The result suggests it’s better not to force language struggles to extremes.

In 2017 Ambazonia declared itself a separate Anglophone country which initiated its own defense forces, militias etc. The region’s educational system was / is periodically shut down with threats effected against those who try to teach or attend school. The Cameroon government’s police stations are burned, government police dismembered, government forces engaged. Human rights violations by government forces were / are brutal and recurring. The separatist Ambazonian leader, Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe was recently sentenced to life in prison which occasioned more violence and military reprisal. About half a million people have left their homes in Cameroon.

On August 26th 2019, Lawyers Rights Watch Canadawith the support of two human rights NGOs, presented a statement4 to the United Nations Human Rights Council noting crimes by Cameroon’s government against the country’s Anglophone minority, as well as responsive “violent acts” against the government. The statement requests international concern and encourages international action to prevent “further mass atrocities.” It asks the Government of Cameroon to end its violence and investigate the human rights abuses. The statement relies on and furthers the evidence and guide supplied by the report, “Cameroon’s Unfolding Catastrophe: Evidence of Human Rights Violations and Crimes against Humanity,”5 authored by the two NGOs supporting the statement.

What can be said for Paul Biya’s dictatorial democracy and rule for 36 years, is that in 2018 he was supported by 70% of the voters (Anglophone parties refused to vote). UN News reports “Cameroon is also hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Central African Republic and Nigeria,”6 And Paul Biya has allowed Cameroon to survive without the epidemics, starvation, aggressions, war, massacres or genocide, which have tormented many African countries since their Independences from colonial rule in the 1960s.

Until 2016 found the government’s military forces suddenly engaged on two fronts – against ISIS in the far North and Anglophone militias in the West. Few journalists or reports mention both fronts in the same article and for example, LRWC’s multi NGO statement to the Human Rights Council addresses only the Anglophone problem. This is also true of the NGO jointly authored “Report.” Neither mentions that the country is engaged in a war.

There is no mention at all in the LRWC statement or the “Report,” of Northern Cameroon’s Christian communities. When these are targeted by Boko Haram / ISIS they’re wiped out. Fulani tribesmen are also blamed for the attacks. With last July’s attacks on villages 1100 additional families were displaced.7 A Bible translator was killed, his wife’s left hand cut off. The rainy season until October makes it hard for government troops to deploy to villages. Christian sources note that across the border in Nigeria “Tens of thousands have died over the last 20 years.”8 Last November in Bamenda 80 students were kidnapped from the Presbyterian school, not by ISIS but Ambazonian separatists.9 Generally the region’s Muslims and Christians get along. In mid-August Bishop George Nkuo of Kumbo in the northwest made a plea to end the conflict and within hours two priests were kidnapped.10

The U.S. which provided military aid to Cameroon’s fight against ISIS has reacted to reports of the military’s human rights violations by withdrawing aid. The rights violations against Anglophones receive international coverage. Cameroon is only twenty percent Anglophone so Anglophone and Ambazonian leaders have encouraged intervention by outside forces.

Is Anglophone strategy to initiate conflict that would require outside intervention? This pattern of gaining outside support and cutting in foreign interests was followed in Cote d’Ivoire and led to the current head of state Alassane Ouattara ‘s victory. The Christian group revolutionary leader was replaced with a Muslim group’s former World Bank employee and friend of France’s Nicholas Sarkozy more friendly to French business interests.

Since LRWC, CHRDA and RWCHR are lobbying the UN Human Rights Council to encourage intervention in Cameroon, shouldn’t we know more about them?

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada affirms the rights of lawyers globally and addresses points of international law. Logically it would have to address Anglophone lawyers’ evidence of their government’s persecution.

LRWC is joined by the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA)11 with offices in Cameroon and the U.S. CHRDA was founded in 2017 by the Cameroon Anglophone attorney, Felix Agbor Anyior Nkongo, who has studied at universities in Cameroon, Nigeria, the U.S. (Notre Dame), Brussells and Leipzig. He has worked in human rights for the U.N.. When imprisoned for treason during the 2016 lawyers’ strike in Cameroon, the Ontario Bar and the U.S. RFK Human Rights NGO and his former professor at Notre Dame among others, protested until he was released. An eloquent lobbyist for the Anglophone cause in Cameroon his NGO encourages “democracy” for all African peoples. He’s among the original lawyers who misjudged the regime’s response which resulted in Cameroon’s 2016 destabilization.

The third NGO presenting the UN with encouragement to intervene is the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR) founded by former Canadian Minister of Parliament / Minister of Justice, expert on international law, Professor Irwin Cotler. Both Cotler and Nkongo introduce the “Report” on Cameroon.

With its roots in WWII’s Holocaust of European Jewry RWCHR is a heavy hitter for human rights. And like many Canadian human rights NGOs it is…sanctified. But it takes political rather than moral stands. For example this NGO has declared the BDS movement anti-Semitic and it generally supports Israel politically. According to Wikipedia RWCHR recently advised Canada’s government that Venezuela’s President Maduro is responsible for war crimes. RWCHR attempted to persuade European Parliament to take the Venezuelan government to International Criminal Court. RWCHR is providing legal representation for Venezuela’s opposition leader, Leopoldo Eduardo López Mendoza. And the NGO was very supportive in the referral of Venezuela to the International Criminal Court made by members of the Organization of American States. In any case, RWCHR’s position aligns with U.S. and Canadian government policy in the attempt to take over a sovereign nation, Venezuela. The NGO is apparently not against aggressive Euro-American takeover of a sovereign state.

To consider Cameroon then, the media haven’t noticed that the Boko Haram / ISIS attacks on Cameroon complement the interests of the Ambazonia secessionists, and vice versa. Both destabilize the State and so encourage outside intervention. A supplier of Ambazonian arms is found to be an Anglophone leader (Marshall Foncha, chair of the Ambazonia Military Council) living in the United States12. Other Ambazonian arms are sourced from English speaking Nigeria. Boko Haram / ISIS is said to steal its sometimes advanced weaponry from Nigerian military and security forces. But there’s also verified evidence that ISIS is supported in Yemen by both the U.S. and Israel.13 Is Boko Haram /ISIS at the service of foreign interests in the destabilization of Nigeria and Cameroon?

Why did the leaders of the Anglophone movement initiate strikes and secession at a time when the country’s resources were strained by refugees, and when villagers of Cameroon were beng massacred by foreign forces? The more uncompromising Anglophone leadership is, the more inevitable the armed conflict in a country where 41% of the population has malaria14 and Médecins Sans Frontières has warned of a cholera epidemic in the north.15

On September 10th President Biya ordered his government to start a “national dialogue” to resolve the language conflict and he asked foreign nations to stop Cameroon’s diaspora from furthering the violence which is increasing in his country.16

2. The Democratic Republic of Congo17

Neo-colonial inroads in the Democratic Republic of Congo are seen in the overt resource exploitation of the country’s East and terrible cost in human lives and displaced people, refugees and exiles. Death toll from the First and Second Congo Wars (1996-2003) could be as high as 6.2 million people. UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency in 2017 estimated 4.5 million displaced people within the country and in 2019, 856,043 hosted in other African countries.

Currently18 the DRC is suffering an Ebola epidemic which continues the depopulation of a resource rich region. The epidemic demands cooperation with countries which are otherwise stripping the country’s resources and with the United Nations World Health Organization. WHO has become entirely necessary globally to counter epidemics, plagues and biological warfare. It also provides and distributes pharmaceuticals.

As the number of Ebola cases passes 3000 (2000 deaths) two new pharmaceutical treatments for Ebola are being applied in the Congo without massive pre-testing: REGN-EB3 and mAb114. These are proving at least 90% effective on application19. Fears of the lack of containment of Ebola in the city of Goma were eased by the announcement of success in the trials of new drugs. The new drugs use monoclonal antibodies to directly attack the Ebola virus. Testing of two less successful drugs was dropped. The difference in fatalities among various drug testing programs may have added to the anxiety of those withholding their trust in the doctors administering products of different pharmaceutical companies. Uganda is testing another drug (Jansen pharmaceuticals) on 685 Ugandans and expects the results to show them how long the drug’s effectiveness will last. A follow-up study for those receiving anti-Ebola medication during the West African epidemic in 2013-2016 found an abnormally high rate of subsequent kidney disease, re-hospitalization and death.20

As of September the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has 30 responders working in the DRC. The CDC is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) which is providing the pharmaceutical producer Merck 23 million dollars (in addition to the 176 million already invested in the inoculative drug), toward doses of an Ebola vaccine it hopes will obtain licensing.21

Unlike the Ebola epidemic the efforts to combat measles have received only 2.5 million dollars of the 8.9 million required.22 In the world’s largest outbreak of measles currently, from January through August 2019, the disease killed 2700 children in the DRC, among the 145,000 infected. Médecins Sans Frontières has been able to vaccinate 474,863 children.

Faced with terrifying biological challenges endangered countries could become entirely reliant on the Euro-American pharmaceutical companies which can provide the cures, or lose portions of their populations.

The purpose of the Euro-American corporations is profit. Curative drugs and vaccines can be extremely expensive or withheld. Historically, disease (smallpox and tuberculosis) was used in North America in the genocide of North Americans. Slow to admit the practice of genocide at home, North Americans are reluctant to question the possibilities of contemporary application.

Corporate and government agency transparency is necessary. Information about contemporary U.S. biological warfare and disease experiments rarely reaches the public. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention monitored the Tuskegee syphilis experiment from 1957 until 1972 when a whistleblower exposed it to the newspapers. The experiment studied impoverished African American sharecroppers with syphilis who weren’t told they had the disease and were denied treatment. During the Vietnam war the U.S. Army experimented with release of bacteria in the New York City subways as one of 239 biological warfare experiments nationally in its covert testing from 1949 to 1969.

Ebola was first recognized in 1976, in South Sudan and in the same year, in the Congo Belge / Zaire / DRC. It is a hemorrhagic fever virus extremely similar to the Marburg virus and the CDC considers both Category A Bioterrorism Agents. The Marburg virus first appeared in a Marburg German laboratory in 1967.23

3. Burundi24

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi has issued a report25 which states conditions exist in Burundi which lead to genocide. Conditions weren’t good last year and are worse now. As many as 400,000 have fled into exile.The UN has suspected the possibility of genocide occurring in Burundi for several years now. The Government of Burundi doesn’t agree.

In a health emergency not noted by the world’s press the Voice of America reported in 2017 that according to the WHO in 2016, 73 percent of Burundians were affected by malaria.26 Others say at least half the 11 million population of Burundi has malaria which is the leading cause of death. The disease is usually countered with pharmaceuticals but Burundi is the 2nd poorest country in the world.

The Voice of America blames Burundi’s violence and unrest on President Nkurunziza’s decision in 2015 to run for a third term which may have countered the country’s constitutional law. A similar instance of President Kagame’s third term in Rwanda didn’t bother the U.S.. Burundi’s government tends to blame the unrest on Kagame and Tutsi controlled Rwanda. Hutu controlled Burundi shows a Hutu / Tutsi ratio of 85% / 15%. Rwanda thinks Burundi is hiding Hutu participants in Rwanda’s genocide.

Burundi’s government isn’t convinced by the UN’s good intentions and has denied UN investigators access. Burundi does have a history of events which could be defined as tribal warfare, civil wars, or genocides. If the incipient divisions are forced to extremes as they were in Rwanda it would likely be caused by exterior destabilization.

It could be argued that outside pressures forced the destabilization of Rwanda to the point of genocide in 1994. These should be noted by any monitoring of Burundi. Both Rwanda and Burundi of similar culture and language have dealt with the simplicities of tribal difference for over 500 years. One could argue that the responsibility for any contemporary genocide could only rest with “First World” interference, supplying armaments and taking sides to its own advantage. Burundi’s national language is African, Kirundi.

US / UN support for the Kagame Tutsi government’s official narrative of the Rwandan Genocide has both ignored and denied the genocide of Hutu during the recognized genocide of Tutsi at Kagame’s takeover of Rwanda, to the point of imprisoning those who have attempted to memorialize Hutu victims.

The UN report on Burundi includes without specifically identifying covert programs, the threat of foreign attempts to intervene in the country’s politics and elections. With elections approaching next year the foreign media has stepped up its attacks on the present government. The BBC and Voice of America are no longer licensed to operate in Burundi. Since 2015 the European Union and US have applied selective sanctions to the country so Burundi has closed down all foreign NGOs. The Anglican Church of Burundi at work in the region since the 1930s is still able to provide its health, educational, environmental, community and religious services and programs.

International pressure for intervention in Burundi began as early as November 2016.27 By January 11, 2017 Night’s Lantern notes:28 : “the government cabinet Minister of the Environment has been assassinated. This continues a lethal back and forth between the government and its opposition, which threatens the region with a lapse into violence. Euro-American policies suggest military intervention to preclude the possibility of a genocide (see previous), an intervention likely to lead to corporatization of the country’s assets. This is a strong factor encouraging a genocide. Calls for intervention have coincided with major mining contracts gained by Russian and Chinese companies. Destabilization is encouraged by the privatization of Burundi’s coffee industry at the insistence of the World Bank; private interests have delayed delivery of pesticides and fertilizers; the crop and industry have been damaged. The Parliament of Burundi has had to place controls on international NGO’s in Burundi who are considered to support rebels against Burundi’s President Nikurunziza. Burundi has also withdrawn from the International Criminal Court so the Euro-American human rights industry is not well disposed toward President Nikurunziza and any non-African reporting on Burundi should require multiple verification. The attempt to wrest political power from African leaders who are uncooperative with US/NATO corporate takeovers is familiar.”

Night’s Lantern has noted Burundi’s people as a national group under genocide warning since 2015. The UN report’s conclusion places an additional genocide warning for the people. To avoid interference by corporate interests Burundi’s government will have to be angelic in resisting attempts to subvert it. If the society continues to break down and a genocide is initiated will it be Burundians who are responsible?

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Notes

1 Although a Francophone country, “La république du Cameroun,” Western institutions, media and NGOs insist on the English spelling -“Cameroon.”

2 The author’s previous considerations of Cameroon are linked from Night’s Lantern “Genocide warnings,” http://www.nightslantern.ca/02.htm#cam.

3 To maintain transparency: although not involved with its response to this issue the author is a non-lawyer member of LRWC and supports many of LRWC’s statements and position papers for the Human Rights Council.

4 “Human rights Catastrophe in Cameroon.” “Written statement* submitted by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status,” A/HRC/42/Ngo/1, Aug. 21, 2019. Human Rights Council 42nd Session 9-27September 2019.

5 “Cameroon’s Unfolding Catastrophe” Evidence of Human Rights Violations and Crimes against Humanity,” June 3, 2019, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa & Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.

6 “Cameroon: Clear ‘window of opportunity’ to solve crises rooted in violence – Bachelet,” May 6, 2019, UN News.

7 “Boko Haram displaces Thousands in Northern Cameroon,” July 23, 2019, Persecution.

8 “Nigeria is the biggest killing ground of Christians today,” current / Sept. 14, 2019, Persecution.

9 “The political conflict in Cameroon threatens the freedom of Christians,” Jonatán Soriano, Dec. 5, 2018, Evangelical Focus.

10 “Cameroon bishop: ‘I am not safe; after speaking out against conflict,” Crux staff, Aug. 20, 2019, Crux.

11 This should not be confused with the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (CHRDCA) – headquartered in Cameroon’s capital, which is the regional office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

12 “Cameroon’s Separatist Movement Is Going International,” Gareth Browne, May 13, 2019, Foreign Policy.

13 “The Smoking Gun in the Islamic State Conspiracy: Documents Prove US Arming Islamic State,” Gearóid Ó Colmáin, Sept. 5, 2019, American Herald Tribune.

14 “Chinese Mosquito Coils Breaking Grounds in Malaria Control in Cameroon,” Sept. 15, 2019, Journal du Cameroun.com.

15 “Project Update,” Aug. 21, 2019, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

16 “Cameroon: Biya Orders Immediate Dialogue to Solve Cameroon’s Problems,” Moki Edwin Kindzeka, Sept. 11, 2019, Voice of America.

17 The author’s previous considerations of the Democratic Republic of Congo are linked from Night’s Lantern “Genocide Warnings,” http://www.nightslantern.ca/02.htm#co

18 Suppressed News: Democratic Republic of Congo, July 17, 2019, Night’s Lantern   http://www.nightslantern.ca/2019bulletin.htm#jul17drc.

19 “New Ebola Drugs Show Exciting Promise With Up to 90 Percent Cure Rate,” Global Information Network, Aug. 14, 2019, Black Agenda Report.

20 “Ebola survivors may face increased risk of death after hospitalization,” Chris Galford, Sept. 6, 2019, Home Preparedness News.

21 “DRC Ebola outbreak reaches deadly milestone,” Chris Galford, Sept. 3, 2019, Homeland Preparedness News.

22 “Democratic Republic of Congo,” Eric Oteng (AFP), Sept. 15, 2019, africa news.

23 “Zaire ebolavirus,” current, Wikipedia; Marburg Virus, current, Wikipedia.

24 The author’s previous considerations of Burundi are linked from Night’s Lantern “Genocide Warnings,” http://www.nightslantern.ca/02.htm#bu.

25 “Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi,” A/HRC/42/49. Aug. 6, 2019. Human Rights Council Forty-second session 9-27 September 2019.

26 “Burundi Says Malaria Reaches Epic Proportions,” Edward Rwema, March 14, 2017, VOA.

27 “2016 Suppressed News,” November 18, 2016, Burundi, Night’s Lantern   http://www.nightslantern.ca/2016bulletin.htm#18novbu.

28 “2017 Suppressed News,” January 11, 2017, Burundi, Night’s Lantern   http://www.nightslantern.ca/2017bulletin.htm#jan11bu.

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On Saturday, September 14th, two oil refineries and other oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia were hit and set ablaze by 18 drones and 7 cruise missiles, dramatically slashing Saudi Arabia’s oil production by half, from about ten million to five million barrels per day. On September 18, the Trump administration, blaming Iran, announced it was imposing more sanctions on Iran and voices close to Donald Trump are calling for military action. But this attack should lead to just the opposite response: urgent calls for an immediate end to the war in Yemen and an end to US economic warfare against Iran.

The question of the origin of the attack is still under dispute. The Houthi government in Yemen immediately took responsibility. This is not the first time the Houthis have brought the conflict directly onto Saudi soil as they resist the constant Saudi bombardment of Yemen. Last year, Saudi officials said they had intercepted more than 100 missiles fired from Yemen.

This is, however, the most spectacular and sophisticated attack to date. The Houthis claim they got help from within Saudi Arabia itself, stating that this operation “came after an accurate intelligence operation and advance monitoring and cooperation of honorable and free men within the Kingdom.”

This most likely refers to Shia Saudis in the Eastern Province, where the bulk of Saudi oil facilities are located. Shia Muslims, who make up an estimated 15-20 percent of the population in this Sunni-dominated country, have faced discrimination for decades and have a history of uprisings against the regime. So it is plausible that some members of the Shia community inside the kingdom may have provided intelligence or logistical support for the Houthi attack, or even helped Houthi forces to launch missiles or drones from inside Saudi Arabia.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, immediately blamed Iran, noting that that the air strikes hit the west and north-west sides of the oil facilities, not the the south side that faces toward Yemen. But Iran is not to the west or northwest either – it is to the northeast. In any case, which part of the facilities were hit does not necessarily have any bearing on which direction the missiles or drones were launched from. Iran strongly denies conducting the attack.

CNN reported that Saudi and US investigators claim “with very high probability” that the attack was launched from an Iranian base in Iran close to the border with Iraq, but that neither the U.S. nor Saudi Arabia has produced any evidence to support these claims.

But in the same report, CNN reported that missile fragments found at the scene appeared to be from Quds-1 missiles, an Iranian model that the Houthis unveiled in July under the slogan, “The Coming Period of Surprises,” and which they may have used in a strike on Abha Airport in southern Saudi Arabia in June.

A Saudi Defence Ministry press briefing on Wednesday, September 18th, told the world’s press that the wreckage of missiles based on Iranian designs proves Iranian involvement in the attack, and that the cruise missiles flew from the north, but the Saudis could not yet give details of where they were launched from.

Also on Wednesday, President Trump announced that he has ordered the U.S. Treasury Department to “substantially” increase its sanctions against Iran. But existing U.S. sanctions already place such huge obstacles in the way of Iranian oil exports and imports of food, medicine and other consumer products that it is hard to imagine what further pain these new sanctions can possibly inflict on the besieged people of Iran.

U.S. allies have been slow to accept the U.S. claims that Iran launched the attack. Japan’s Defense Minister told reporters “we believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.” The United Arab Emirates (UAE) expressed frustration that the U.S. was so quick to point its finger at Iran.

Tragically, this is how U.S. administrations of both parties have responded to such incidents in recent years, seizing any pretext to demonize and threaten their enemies and keep the American public psychologically prepared for war.

If Iran provided the Houthis with weapons or logistical support for this attack, this would represent but a tiny fraction of the bottomless supply of weapons and logistical support that the U.S. and its European allies have provided to Saudi Arabia. In 2018 alone, the Saudi military budget was $67.6 billion, making it the world’s third-highest spender on weapons and military forces after the U.S. and China.

Under the laws of war, the Yemenis are perfectly entitled to defend themselves. That would include striking back at the oil facilities that produce the fuel for Saudi warplanes that have conducted over 17,000 air raids, dropping at least 50,000 mostly U.S.-made bombs and missiles, throughout more than four long years of war on Yemen. The resulting humanitarian crisis also kills a Yemeni child every 10 minutes from preventable diseases, starvation and malnutrition.

The Yemen Data Project has classified nearly a third of the Saudi air strikes as attacks on non-military sites, which ensure that a large proportion of at least 90,000 Yemenis reported killed in the war have been civilians. This makes the Saudi-led air campaign a flagrant and systematic war crime for which Saudi leaders and senior officials of every country in their “coalition” should be held criminally accountable.

That would include President Obama, who led the U.S. into the war in 2015, and President Trump, who has kept the U.S. in this coalition even as its systematic atrocities have been exposed and shocked the whole world.

The Houthis’ newfound ability to strike back at the heart of Saudi Arabia could be a catalyst for peace, if the world can seize this opportunity to convince the Saudis and the Trump administration that their horrific, failed war is not worth the price they will have to pay to keep fighting it. But if we fail to seize this moment, it could instead be the prelude to a much wider war.

So, for the sake of the starving and dying people of Yemen and the people of Iran suffering under the “maximum pressure” of U.S. economic sanctions, as well as the future of our own country and the world, this is a pivotal moment.

If the U.S. military, or Israel or Saudi Arabia, had a viable plan to attack Iran without triggering a wider war, they would have done so long ago. We must tell Trump, Congressional leaders and all our elected representatives that we reject another war and that we understand how easily any U.S. attack on Iran could quickly spiral into an uncontainable and catastrophic regional or world war.

President Trump has said he is waiting for the Saudis to tell him who they hold responsible for these strikes, effectively placing the U.S. armed forces at the command of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Throughout his presidency, Trump has conducted U.S. foreign policy as a puppet of both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, making a mockery of his “America First” political rhetoric. As Rep. Tulsi Gabbard quipped,

“Having our country act as Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not ‘America First.’”

Senator Bernie Sanders has issued a statement that Trump has no authorization from Congress for an attack on Iran and at least 14 other Members of Congress have made similar statements, including his fellow presidential candidates Senator Warren and Congresswoman Gabbard.

Congress already passed a War Powers Resolution to end U.S. complicity in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, but Trump vetoed it. The House has revived the resolution and attached it as an amendment to the FY2020 NDAA military budget bill. If the Senate agrees to keep that provision in the final bill, it will present Trump with a choice between ending the U.S. role in the war in Yemen or vetoing the entire 2020 U.S. military budget.

If Congress successfully reclaims its constitutional authority over the US role in this conflict, it could be a critical turning point in ending the state of permanent war that the U.S. has inflicted on itself and the world since 2001.

If Americans fail to speak out now, we may discover too late that our failure to rein in our venal, warmongering ruling class has led us to the brink of World War III. We hope this crisis will instead awaken the sleeping giant, the too silent majority of peace-loving Americans, to speak up decisively for peace and force Trump to put the interests and the will of the American people above those of his unscrupulous allies.

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Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher with CODEPINK and the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.

We are the Houthis and we’re coming to town. With the spectacular attack on Abqaiq, Yemen’s Houthis have overturned the geopolitical chessboard in Southwest Asia – going as far as introducing a whole new dimension: the distinct possibility of investing in a push to drive the House of Saud out of power.

Blowback is a bitch. Houthis – Zaidi Shiites from northern Yemen – and Wahhabis have been at each other’s throats for ages. This book is absolutely essential to understand the mind-boggling complexity of Houthi tribes; as a bonus, it places the turmoil in southern Arabian lands way beyond a mere Iran-Saudi proxy war.

Still, it’s always important to consider that Arab Shiites in the Eastern province – working in Saudi oil installations – have got to be natural allies of the Houthis fighting against Riyadh.

Houthi striking capability – from drone swarms to ballistic missile attacks – has been improving remarkably for the past year or so. It’s not by accident that the UAE saw which way the geopolitical and geoeconomic winds were blowing: Abu Dhabi withdrew from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s vicious war against Yemen and now is engaged in what it describes as a  “peace-first” strategy.

Even before Abqaiq, the Houthis had already engineered quite a few attacks against Saudi oil installations as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports. In early July, Yemen’s Operations Command Center staged an exhibition in full regalia in Sana’a featuring their whole range of ballistic and winged missiles and drones.

The Saudi Ministry of Defense displays drones and parts from missiles used in the refinery attack.

The situation has now reached a point where there’s plenty of chatter across the Persian Gulf about a spectacular scenario: the Houthis investing in a mad dash across the Arabian desert to capture Mecca and Medina in conjunction with a mass Shiite uprising in the Eastern oil belt. That’s not far-fetched anymore. Stranger things have happened in the Middle East. After all, the Saudis can’t even win a bar brawl – that’s why they rely on mercenaries.

Orientalism strikes again

The US intel refrain that the Houthis are incapable of such a sophisticated attack betrays the worst strands of orientalism and white man’s burden/superiority complex.

The only missile parts shown by the Saudis so far come from a Yemeni Quds 1 cruise missile. According to Brigadier General Yahya Saree, spokesman for the Sana’a-based Yemeni Armed Forces,

“the Quds system proved its great ability to hit its targets and to bypass enemy interceptor systems.”

This satellite overview handout image from the US government shows damage to oil/gas infrastructure from weekend drone attacks at Abqaiq.

Houthi armed forces duly claimed responsibility for Abqaiq:

“This operation is one of the largest operations carried out by our forces in the depth of Saudi Arabia, and came after an accurate intelligence operation and advance monitoring and cooperation of honorable and free men within the Kingdom.”

Notice the key concept: “cooperation” from inside Saudi Arabia – which could include the whole spectrum from Yemenis to that Eastern province Shiites.

Even more relevant is the fact that massive American hardware deployed in Saudi Arabia inside out and outside in – satellites, AWACS, Patriot missiles, drones, battleships, jet fighters – didn’t see a thing, or certainly not in time. The sighting of three “loitering” drones by a Kuwaiti bird hunter arguably heading towards Saudi Arabia is being invoked as “evidence”. Cue to the embarrassing picture of a drone swarm – wherever it came from – flying undisturbed for hours over Saudi territory.

UN officials openly admit that now everything that matters is within the 1,500 km range of the Houthis’ new UAV-X drone: oil fields in Saudi Arabia, a still-under-construction nuclear power plant in the Emirates and Dubai’s mega-airport.

My conversations with sources in Tehran over the past two years have ascertained that the Houthis’ new drones and missiles are essentially copies of Iranian designs assembled in Yemen itself with crucial help from Hezbollah engineers.

US intel insists that 17 drones and cruise missiles were launched in combination from southern Iran. In theory, Patriot radar would have picked that up and knocked the drones/missiles from the sky. So far, absolutely no record of this trajectory has been revealed. Military experts generally agree that the radar on the Patriot missile is good, but its success rate is “disputed” – to say the least. What’s important, once again, is that the Houthis do have advanced offensive missiles. And their pinpoint accuracy at Abqaiq was uncanny.

This satellite overview handout image shows damage to oil/gas infrastructure from weekend drone attacks at Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia. Courtesy of Planet Labs Inc

For now, it appears that the winner of the US/UK-supported House of One Saudi war on the civilian Yemeni population, which started in March 2015 and generated a humanitarian crisis the UN regards as having been of biblical proportions, is certainly not the crown prince, widely known as MBS.

Listen to the general

Crude oil stabilization towers – several of them – at Abqaiq were specifically targeted, along with natural gas storage tanks. Persian Gulf energy sources have been telling me repairs and/or rebuilding could last months. Even Riyadh  admitted as much.

Blindly blaming Iran, with no evidence, does not cut it. Tehran can count on swarms of top strategic thinkers. They do not need or want to blow up Southwest Asia, which is something they could do, by the way: Revolutionary Guards generals have already said many times on the record that they are ready for war.

Professor Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran, who has very close relations with the Foreign Ministry, is adamant: “It didn’t come from Iran. If it did, it would be very embarrassing for the Americans, showing they are unable to detect a large number of Iranian drones and missiles. That doesn’t make sense.”

Marandi additionally stresses, “Saudi air defenses are not equipped to defend the country from Yemen but from Iran. The Yemenis have been striking against the Saudis, they are getting better and better, developing drone and missile technology for four and a half years, and this was a very soft target.”

A soft – and unprotected – target: the US PAC-2 and PAC-3 systems in place are all oriented towards the east, in the direction of Iran. Neither Washington nor Riyadh knows for sure where the drone swarm/missiles really came from.

Readers should pay close attention to this groundbreaking interview with General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force. The interview, in Farsi (with English subtitles), was conducted by US-sanctioned Iranian intellectual Nader Talebzadeh and includes questions forwarded by my US analyst friends Phil Giraldi and Michael Maloof and myself.

Explaining Iranian self-sufficiency in its defense capabilities, Hajizadeh sounds like a very rational actor. The bottom line: “Our view is that neither American politicians nor our officials want a war. If an incident like the one with the drone [the RQ-4N shot down by Iran in June] happens or a misunderstanding happens, and that develops into a larger war, that’s a different matter. Therefore we are always ready for a big war.”

In response to one of my questions, on what message the Revolutionary Guards want to convey, especially to the US, Hajizadeh does not mince his words: “In addition to the US bases in various regions like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Emirates and Qatar, we have targeted all naval vessels up to a distance of 2,000 kilometers and we are constantly monitoring them. They think that if they go to a distance of 400 km, they are out of our firing range. Wherever they are, it only takes one spark, we hit their vessels, their airbases, their troops.”

Get your S-400s or else

On the energy front, Tehran has been playing a very precise game under pressure – selling loads of oil by turning off the transponders of their tankers as they leave Iran and transferring the oil at sea, tanker to tanker, at night, and relabeling their cargo as originating at other producers for a price. I have been checking this for weeks with my trusted Persian Gulf traders – and they all confirm it. Iran could go on doing it forever.

Of course, the Trump administration knows it. But the fact is they are looking the other way. To state it as concisely as possible: they are caught in a trap by the absolute folly of ditching the JCPOA, and they are looking for a face-saving way out. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned the administration in so many words: the US should return to the agreement it reneged on before it’s too late.

And now for the really hair-raising part.

The strike at Abqaiq shows that the entire Middle East production of over 18 million barrels of oil a day – including Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – can be easily knocked out. There is zero adequate defense against these drones and missiles.

Well, there’s always Russia.

Here’s what happened at the press conference after the Ankara summit this week on Syria, uniting Presidents Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan.

Question: Will Russia provide Saudi Arabia with any help or support in restoring its infrastructure?

President Putin: As for assisting Saudi Arabia, it is also written in the Quran that violence of any kind is illegitimate except when protecting one’s people. In order to protect them and the country, we are ready to provide the necessary assistance to Saudi Arabia. All the political leaders of Saudi Arabia have to do is take a wise decision, as Iran did by buying the S-300 missile system, and as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did when he bought Russia’s latest S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft system. They would offer reliable protection for any Saudi infrastructure facilities.

President Hassan Rouhani: So do they need to buy the S-300 or the S-400?

President Vladimir Putin: It is up to them to decide [laughs].

In The Transformation of War, Martin van Creveld actually predicted that the whole industrial-military-security complex would come crumbling down when it was exposed that most of its weapons are useless against fourth-generation asymmetrical opponents. There’s no question the whole Global South is watching – and will have gotten the message.

Hybrid war, reloaded

Now we are entering a whole new dimension in asymmetric hybrid war.

In the – horrendous – event that Washington would decide to attack Iran, egged on by the usual neocon suspects, the Pentagon could never hope to hit and disable all the Iranian and/or Yemeni drones. The US could expect, for sure, all-out war. And then no ships would sail through the Strait of Hormuz. We all know the consequences of that.

Which brings us to The Big Surprise. The real reason there would be no ships traversing the Strait of Hormuz is that there would be no oil in the Gulf left to pump. The oil fields, having been bombed, would be burning.

So we’re back to the realistic bottom line, which has been stressed by not only Moscow and Beijing but also Paris and Berlin: US President Donald Trump gambled big time, and he lost. Now he must find a face-saving way out. If the War Party allows it.

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This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

All images in this article are from Asia Times unless otherwise stated

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”, 

“The more things change, the more they stay the same”, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, (Les Guêpes, July 1848)

***

President Donald Trump’s acting national security adviser, former Reagan administration official Charles Kupperman, made an extraordinary and controversial claim in the early 1980s: nuclear conflict with the USSR was winnable and that “nuclear war is a destructive thing but still in large part a physics problem.”

Kupperman’s suggestion that the U.S. could triumph in a nuclear war went against dominant theories of mutually assured destruction and ignored the long-term destabilizing effects that such hostilities would have on the planet’s health and global politics.

Kupperman, appointed to his new post on Tuesday after Trump fired his John Bolton from the job, argued it was possible to win a nuclear war “in the classical sense,” and that the notion of total destruction stemming from such a superpower conflict was inaccurate. He said that in a scenario in which 20 million people died in the U.S. as opposed to 150 million, the nation could then emerge as the stronger side and prevail in its objectives.

His argument was that with enough planning and civil defense measures, such as “a certain layer of dirt and some reinforced construction materials,” the effects of a nuclear war could be limited and that U.S. would be able to fairly quickly rebuild itself after an all-out conflict with the then-Soviet Union.

“It may take 15 years, but geez, look how long it took Europe to recover after the Second World War,” Kupperman said.

Referring to the Japanese city on which the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb in 1945, he also claimed that

“Hiroshima, after it was bombed, was back and operating three days later.”

At the time, Kupperman was executive director of President Ronald Reagan’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament. He made the comments during an interview with Robert Scheer for the journalist’s 1982 book, “With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush, and Nuclear War.”

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to questions on whether Kupperman, 68, still holds the same views of nuclear conflict as he did in the early 1980s. Kupperman’s seemingly cavalier attitude toward the potential death of millions of people was criticized at the time both by Democratic politicians and arms control experts.

“It seems reasonable to suggest the crazies are in charge of the nukes,” Jeremy Stone, president of the Federation of American Scientists, wrote about Kupperman and his colleagues in 1984.

Contemporary nuclear experts similarly criticize Kupperman’s beliefs as wrongheaded and dangerous.

“Kupperman’s comments might as well have come straight from the script of (the film) ‘Dr. Strangelove.’ He was part of a group of defense analysts at the time who weren’t shy about sharing such views,” said Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Washington-based Arms Control Association, who first noted Kupperman’s views in a Twitter post in January when Kupperman was hired as the deputy national security adviser.

“The simple fact is that a nuclear war can’t be won and must never be fought,” Reif said.

“Kupperman’s comments might as well have come straight from the script of ‘Dr. Strangelove.’”

But rather than being sidelined as a relic of Cold War hubris, Kupperman now holds one of the most powerful positions in the White House. Although his role is temporary, civil rights groups have also already called on him to resign over his extensive ties to the Center for Security Policy, an anti-Muslim think tank founded by conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney.

Gaffney is a prominent anti-Muslim activist who repeatedly promoted the conspiracy theories that members of President Barack Obama’s administration were working to enforce Islamic law in the U.S., that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated top levels of government and that Obama was secretly Muslim himself. Kupperman served on the board of directors for Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy between 2001-2010.

“CSP has continuously promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories, and anyone, like Mr. Kupperman, who has so closely associated with them for so long is ― at the very least ― complicit in their brand of anti-Muslim bigotry and should not be entrusted with one of the highest-ranking security roles in the United States,” Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad Awad said Tuesday.

Before joining the NSA, Kupperman served as an informal adviser to Bolton and worked as a defense industry executive at Boeing and Lockheed Martin. He was a critic of the Iranian nuclear deal and in 2017 co-signed a letter to Trump backing Bolton’s plan to withdraw from the agreement.

Here are excerpts of Kupperman’s comments from his interview with Scheer:

On what kind of life we could visualize after a nuclear attack:

It means that, you know, it would be tough. It would be a struggle to reconstitute the society that we have. It certainly wouldn’t be the same society [as] prior to an exchange, there is no question about that. But in terms of having an organized nation, and having enough means left after the war to reconstitute itself, I think that is entirely possible. It may take 15 years, but geez, look how long it took Europe to recover after the Second World War.

On disagreeing with the Physicians for Social Responsibility organization’s view of nuclear war:

Scheer: But in terms of nuclear war, do you factor in what those doctors were saying?

Kupperman: Yes, that is why I want to have a civil defense system, because it can be very effective in reducing casualties. That is my point. If doctors are so concerned about it, the answer isn’t necessarily disarming the United States or cutting our weapons programs. … it might be having a civil defense program. You can make a very good case that is exactly what those doctors ought to be shouting for.

Scheer: But they say that it is impossible to protect the population from nuclear attack.

Kupperman: Yes, but the thing is, nuclear weapons have certain effects and if you take steps to deny those effects, you save a lot of people. And unless you are right in the middle of ground zero, you are not going to have a lot of burn victims if you take those steps. And if you evacuate these people out of the targeted areas, or what you think are targeted areas, they are not going to get burned or destroyed.

On society surviving nuclear war:

Scheer: Is it possible to survive it with your civilization intact?

Kupperman: Well, it is possible to survive it with a certain amount of society intact, it depends on what steps we take to ensure that survivability. It certainly won’t be the same as before the war. But generally societies have been intact ― like Germany and Japan and Western Europe in the Second World War weren’t the same after the war as they were before. But generally societies have been intact. The question really gets down to political credibility in the conduct of your foriegn policy. If you look like you are serious about defending yourself and your allies with real civil defense programs and other measures, I think that has political credibility with the adversary. An adversary isn’t going to take somebody seriously if they don’t take steps to protect themselves. Nuclear war is a destructive thing, but it is still in large part a physics problem.

Scheer: What do you mean?

Kupperman: Well, sheltering yourself against nuclear effects can be done, it just depends on how much effort and money one wants to spend on it, but a certain layer of dirt and some reinforced construction materials can assure the survivability of somebody, assuming they aren’t at ground zero of a detonation. Hiroshima, after it was bombed, was back and operating three days later. So it is certainly a destructive weapon, and nobody wants a nuclear war, but I don’t think the United States in the past has been serious enough about planning for its survival in the event of a nuclear war…

On winning nuclear war “in a classical sense”: 

Kupperman: It depends on what one considers all-out. If the objective in a war is to try to destroy as many Soviet civilians and as many American civilians as is feasible, and the casualty levels approached 150 million on each side, then it’s going to be tough to say you have a surviving nation after that. But depending on how the nuclear war is fought, it could mean the difference between 150 casualties and 20 million casualties. I think that is a significant difference, and if the country loses 20 million people, you may have a chance of surviving after that.

Scheer: Would that mean the other nation would survive as well? You’re not talking about winning a nuclear war, you’re talking about a stalemate of some kind.

Kupperman: It may or may not be a stalemate, depending on who had more surviving national power and military power.

Scheer: So you think it is possible to win?

Kupperman: I think it is possible to win, in the classical sense.

Scheer: What does that mean, “in the classical sense”?

Kupperman: It means that it is clear after the war that one side is stronger than the other side, the weaker side is going to accede to the demands of the stronger side.

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Nick Robins-Early is a Senior World News Reporter, HuffPost.

U.S. and Russia Battle It Out over this Huge Iraqi Gas Field

September 18th, 2019 by Simon Watkins

With the U.S, Russia, and China all jostling for position in Iraq’s oil and gas industry both north and south, Iraq’s oil ministry last week reiterated its desire to have one or more foreign partners in the Mansuriya gas field. Situated in Diyala province, close to the Iran border, Mansuriya is estimated to hold around 4.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, with plateau production projected at about 325 million standard cubic feet per day.

For the U.S., encouraging Iraq to optimise its gas flows so that it reduces its dependency for power from Iran is the key consideration. For Russia, Rosneft essentially bought control of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq in November 2017, so power in southern Iraq figuratively will complete the set.

Securing oil and gas contracts across all of Iraq will allow Russia to establish an unassailable political sway across the entire Shia crescent of power in the Middle East, stretching from Syria through Lebanon (by dint of Iran), Jordan, Iraq (also helped by Iran), Iran itself, and Yemen (via Iran). From this base, it can effectively challenge the U.S.’s vital oil, gas, and political ally in the region – Saudi Arabia. China, in the meantime, is operating to its own agenda in South Pars Phase 11 and its West Karoun holdings.

Iraq, like Turkey, is still – nominally at least – not committing to either the Russia or the U.S., preferring to play each off against the other for whatever they can get, and the same applies in microcosm to the field of Mansuriya. Turkey itself was a key player in this gas field through its national oil company Turkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortakligi (TPAO) until the middle of last year – holding a 37.5 per cent stake – along with the Oil Exploration Company (25 per cent), Kuwait Energy (22.5 per cent), and South Korea’s KOGAS (15 per cent).

TPAO had signed the original development deal for Mansuriya back in 2011, promising Iraq’s oil ministry that it could be trusted to reach plateau production within 10 years at most,

a senior figure in the ministry told OilPrice.com last week. This was not an unreasonable schedule, for which TPAO would be remunerated US$7.00-7.50 per barrel of oil equivalent, a relatively generous amount compared to many of the previous awards from the ministry. TPAO agreed that the first phase would mean production of at least 100 million cubic feet a day within 12 months from the signing date.

Unsurprisingly, given the rise of Islamic State at the time, TPAO suspended all operations on Mansuriya in 2014, but more surprisingly was that it refused to resume development work in September 2017 when asked to do so by then-oil minister, Jabar al-Luaibi. There were many subsequent requests from the ministry to TPAO to resume work before the ministry rescinded the contract last July.

As it stands, Iraq’s oil ministry has made it clear that it needs Mansuriya to be properly up and running and gradually increasing production towards the 325 million standard cubic feet per day figure so that it can be used as a feedstock for the country’s calamitous power sector. Peak summer power demand every year exceeds domestic generation capacity, frequently leading to up to 20 hours per day of blackouts in many areas. Without Mansuriya and similar gas fields coming online, this will get worse, as Iraq’s population is growing at a rate of over one million per year, with electricity demand set to double by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.

This supply-demand imbalance has resulted in Iraq’s being dependent on neighbouring Iran for a considerable amount of gas and electricity imports – around one third of its total energy supplies, in fact. Specifically, Iraq pipes in up to 28 million cubic metres of Iranian gas a day for power generation and also directly imports up to 1,300 megawatts of Iranian electricity. Even the U.S. has been forced to grant waivers for Iraq to continue to do this, given the absence of other options currently.

Playing the game of pitting one side against the other for optimal gain, the Secretary General of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber, Seyed Hamid Hosseini, stated recently that Iran’s gas and electricity exports to Iraq are expected to reach US$5 billion by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, ending on 21 March 2020. This comment was made at the same time as a U.S. consortium led by Honeywell signed a memorandum of understanding for a deal that would reduce the country’s current level of gas flaring by nearly 20%. Part of this deal included processing associated gas at the Siba gas field, the original deal for which was also done in 2011 and also with TPAO.

In the running at the time for both fields was Russia. So interested is it in securing gas sites in north and south Iraq, which it will eventually be able to move via its vast pipeline capabilities and networks, that even before the latest announcement on Mansuriya’s availability was made public, Gazprom Neft (the oil arm of Russia’s gas giant, Gazprom) communicated to Iraq’s current oil minister, Thamir Ghadhban, that it was ‘very interested’ in taking a role in the Mansuriya field.

“Gazprom Neft often acts as the point man for Gazprom in initial conversations, as it is a slick, well-run, Western-style company, whereas Gazprom is a bit more old-style Soviet,” said the Iraq source. “It [Gazprom Neft] also made it clear that it would be interested in other sites, such as Siba,” he added. “It should be remembered that Gazprom was in the prime position to develop the other key gas fields of North Pars, Kish, and Farzad A and B before the U.S. withdrew from the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] last year,” he concluded.

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Simon Watkins is a former senior FX trader and salesman, financial journalist, and best-selling author.

A psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins University has slammed the medical and psychiatric industries for what he says is reckless and irresponsible treatment of patients who claim to be transgender.

Paul McHugh, a renowned psychiatrist from Johns Hopkins University, told The College Fix he believes transgender people are being experimented on because the doctors treating transgender patients with hormones “don’t have evidence that (the treatment) will be the right one.” He also criticized the manner of treatment given to many children who claim to be transgender.

“Many people are doing what amounts to an experiment on these young people without telling them it’s an experiment,” he told The Fix via phone.

“You need evidence for that and this is a very serious treatment. It is comparable to doing frontal lobotomies.”

Vast majority of gender minorities report mental health issues

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that 80 percent of gender minority students report having mental health problems, nearly double the rate of “cisgender” students. McHugh believes that in many cases the patient’s gender dysphoria is precipitated by mental illness.

“I think their mental problems, often depression, discouragement are the things that need treatment,” not gender dysphoria, he argued.

“I’m not positive about this. It’s a hypothesis, but it is a very plausible hypothesis, and it would explain why many of the people who go on to have treatment of their body discover they are just as depressed, discouraged and live just as problematic lives as they did before because they did not address the primary problem,” he added.

Possible ‘contagion effect’

“I believe that these gender confusions are mostly being driven by psychological and psychosocial problems these people have. That explains the rapid onset gender dysphoria Lisa Littman has spelled out,” McHugh said.

The Lisa Littman to whom the professor referred is a researcher at Brown University, who last year published a bombshell report suggesting that some transgender-identified children might suffer from “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” a phenomenon in which “one, multiple, or even all of the friends [in a group] have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe.”

There was significant backlash following Littman’s publication of the study, after which Brown censored the report. The study was eventually validated with its results unchanged.

Long-term effects of child transgender treatment

Asked about the possible long-term consequences of the growing practice of helping children develop transgender identities, including with hormones, McHugh expressed pessimism.

“They’re going to be in the hands of doctors for the rest of their lives, many of them are going to be sterilized not able to have their own children, and many will regret this,” McHugh said.

“Can you imagine having a life where you need to seek doctors all the time, for everything, just to live? Getting your hormones checked, getting everything checked. That is something doctors should like to spare people of,” he added.

McHugh thinks that eventually our society will look back on this craze as something of an historical shame.

“I believe it will be something like how we think of eugenics now. We will come to regret it when we discover how many of the young people that were injured regret it themselves,” he told The Fix.

The doctor stressed that medical professionals should stick to a higher standard of evidence when considering treatment for individuals who claim a transgender identity.

“You can think whatever you want without proof. Be my guest. You can think anything you want, if you like it that way. But don’t ask me as a doctor to prescribe hormones or operate on you when I try to do things which are for your benefit,” he said.

“My aim isn’t to stop people. It’s when they draw medical people in. That’s when I insist on evidence and what makes more sense.”

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Maria is a sophomore at Franciscan University of Steubenville, double majoring in political science and communication arts. She enjoys being active in her church by being a cantor and volunteers at her local hospital and soup kitchen.

Featured image is from Niyazz / Shutterstock.com

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Brazil’s Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

September 18th, 2019 by Benjamin R. Evans

According to an incisive report by Deutsche Welle, “genetically modified mosquitoes are currently breeding in Brazil”. 

Under the  researchers’ original plan, “all released mosquitoes and their offspring should have died.” But that did not happen.

” An attempt to contain the populations of the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti in Brazil may have failed. It appears that gene mutations have been transferred to the local population.” 

The British company Oxitec had released about 450,000 male mosquitoes every week in the city of Jacobina in the Bahia region with official permission over a period of 27 weeks. The experiment was designed to control the infectious diseases dengue, zika and yellow fever.

The gene modification called OX513A in the mosquitoes was designed in such a way that the first descendant generation of the mosquitoes, known as F1, would not reach the adult stage and thus not be able to reproduce.

The gene modification of the released mosquitoes also produced a fluorescent protein that made it possible to distinguish the first F1 generation from other mosquitoes.

Researchers at Yale University have examined the mosquitoes found in the region for their genetic alterations one year after the release, as well as 27 to 30 months after the release.

They came to the conclusion that parts of the gene alteration had unexpectedly migrated into the target population of local mosquitoes.  Deutsche Welle

Was it “unexpected”?

The gene modification was in theory intended to contain the yellow fever Aedes aegypti mosquito as well as the transmission of dengue, yellow fever and zika.

In some regards it had exactly the opposite results. The process of gene modification was passed on to the broader aegypti target mosquito population.

Below are excerpts from the study  published in Nature: Scientific Reports on September 10.

***

Transgenic Aedes Aegypti Mosquitoes Transfer Genes into a Natural Population

Abstract

In an attempt to control the mosquito-borne diseases yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika fevers, a strain of transgenically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes containing a dominant lethal gene has been developed by a commercial company, Oxitec Ltd.

If lethality is complete, releasing this strain should only reduce population size and not affect the genetics of the target populations.

Approximately 450 thousand males of this strain were released each week for 27 months in Jacobina, Bahia, Brazil.

We genotyped the release strain and the target Jacobina population before releases began for >21,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Genetic sampling from the target population six, 12, and 27–30 months after releases commenced provides clear evidence that portions of the transgenic strain genome have been incorporated into the target population.

Evidently, rare viable hybrid offspring between the release strain and the Jacobina population are sufficiently robust to be able to reproduce in nature. The release strain was developed using a strain originally from Cuba, then outcrossed to a Mexican population.

Thus, Jacobina Ae. aegypti are now a mix of three populations. It is unclear how this may affect disease transmission or affect other efforts to control these dangerous vectors. These results highlight the importance of having in place a genetic monitoring program during such releases to detect un-anticipated outcomes.

Introduction

Mosquito-borne diseases take a tremendous toll on human health and economies especially in Third World countries. Effective vaccines and drugs are available for only a few so the major means of controlling these diseases is to control the mosquitoes that transmit them. As traditional methods of control, such as insecticides, have become less effective and acceptable, alternative methods have been sought1. Methods based on genetic manipulations are among the most appealing and actively pursued2. One such genetic-based program has involved releasing a strain of Aedes aegypti (OX513A) that was transgenically modified to be homozygous for a conditional dominant lethal3,4.

This strain also carries a fluorescent protein gene that allows detection of OX513A X wild type F1offspring. Release of this strain in large numbers has been effective in reducing populations of Ae. aegypti by up to 85%5. The largest such releases to date have been carried out in the city of Jacobina in Bahia, Brazil6. We monitored the Jacobina Ae. aegypti population to determine if the releases have affected the genetics of the natural population by transferring genes, introgressing.

If lethality is complete, such releases should result only in population reduction and not affect the genetics of the target population. However, it is known that, under laboratory conditions, 3–4% of the offspring from matings of OX513A with wild type do survive to adulthood although they are weak and it is not known if they are fertile4.

Read the full report here.

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Nothing happened on September 2 in central London. Roger Waters, co-founder of Pink Floyd, did not initiate a protest outside the Home Office. He did not sing and play the Floyd classic ‘Wish You Were Here’, or say:

‘Julian Assange, we are with you. Free Julian Assange!’

The renowned journalist and film-maker John Pilger did not say:

‘The behaviour of the British government towards Julian Assange is a disgrace – a profanity on the very notion of human rights.

‘It’s no exaggeration to say that the persecution of Julian Assange is the way dictatorships treat a political prisoner.’

None of this happened for any major UK or US newspaper, which made no mention of these events at all. Readers of Prensa Latina, Havana, were more fortunate with two articles before and after the event, as were readers of Asian News International in New Delhi. Coverage was also provided by Ireland’s Irish Examiner (circulation 25,419) in Cork, which published a Press Association piece that was available to the innumerable other outlets that all chose to ignore it.

Four months after he was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange is still locked up in solitary confinement for 21 hours a day or more. He is still being denied the basic tools to prepare his case against a demand for extradition to the United States where he faces incarceration and torture. He is not allowed to call his US lawyers, is not allowed access to vital documents, or even a computer. He is confined to a single cell in the hospital wing, where he is isolated from other people. Pilger commented at the protest:

‘There is one reason for this. Julian and WikiLeaks have performed an historic public service by giving millions of people facts on why and how their governments deceive them, secretly and often illegally: why they invade countries, why they spy on us.

‘Julian is singled out for special treatment for one reason only: he is a truth-teller. His case is meant to send a warning to every journalist and every publisher, the kind of warning that has no place in a democracy.’

On the Sydney Criminal Lawyers website, journalist Paul Gregoire discussed Assange’s declining health with his father, John Shipton, who said:

‘His health is not good. He’s lost about 15 kilos in weight now – five since I last saw him. And he’s in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day, in the hospital ward of the gaol.’

Gregoire responded:

‘As you’ve just explained, Julian is being held in quite extreme conditions. He’s isolated from other inmates. And as well, his visits are restricted and so are his communications with his legal representation. Yet, he’s only being held for breach of bail, which is a rather minor charge.’

‘Yes, very minor.’

‘How are the UK authorities justifying the restrictions around his imprisonment seeing he’s being incarcerated on such a minor offence?’

‘I don’t know if they feel the necessity to justify these decisions. Their decisions are arbitrary.’

‘So, they’re giving no explanation as to his treatment.’

‘No.’

It does seem extraordinary, in fact medieval, for such brutal treatment to be meted out to someone for merely breaching bail, with almost zero ‘mainstream’ political or media protest. This is only one reason, of course, why the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, penned an article titled, ‘Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange’. Melzer commented:

‘What may look like mere mudslinging in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.’

Investigative journalist Peter Oborne courageously challenged conventional wisdom on Assange this month in a British Journalism Review piece titled, ‘He is a hero, not a villain’. Oborne described how, in July, the Mail on Sunday had published a front-page story revealing the contents of diplomatic telegrams – ‘DipTels’ – sent to London by the British ambassador to the US. The memos described President Trump’s administration as ‘inept’ and Trump himself as ‘uniquely dysfunctional’.

‘All hell broke loose. The May government announced an official leak inquiry. The Metropolitan Police launched a criminal investigation. The intelligence services got involved.

‘The Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu warned the press not to publish any further documents as this could “constitute a criminal offence”. The Mail on Sunday paid no attention. It published further leaks and other papers came to its support. So did politicians. Tory leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were among those who criticised Basu’s comments.

‘Hunt, who was then foreign secretary, said: “I defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks if they receive them and judge them to be in the public interest…’

‘Meanwhile, that leaker-in-chief Julian Assange continued to languish in Belmarsh prison, where he is serving 50 weeks for skipping bail…

‘Julian Assange is a controversial figure, to be sure. Many of those who have dealt with him have found him difficult. But I find myself wondering what exactly the difference is between his alleged crime of publishing leaked US diplomatic cables and the Mail on Sunday’s offence of publishing leaked Foreign Office cables.

‘Why is Assange treated by the bulk of the British media as a pariah? And the Mail on Sunday as a doughty defender of press freedom? After all, Julian Assange is responsible for breaking more stories than all the rest of us put together.’

Oborne commented:

‘This looks to me like a monstrous case of double standards, even by the ocean-going standards of Britain’s media/political class.’

Focusing On Other Issues

Assange was offered rare ‘mainstream’ support on September 12 when Guardian columnist George Monbiot tweeted:

‘Never forget: #JulianAssange is still in Belmarsh prison, facing the prospect of extradition and life imprisonment in the US, for the “crime” of releasing information that governments have withheld from us. This is not justice.’

Tweeter jaraparilla was quick to spot what happened next:

‘George Monbiot just posted this tweet supporting Julian Assange then deleted it within minutes (before I could respond).’

We asked Monbiot what had happened. He replied:

‘I realised that the US extradition issue was tangled up with the Swedish one, and that I don’t yet know enough about Assange’s legal situation, exactly what he is awaiting and why. I will read up and return to the issue.’

In response, we recommended Melzer’s superb work in challenging the establishment smear campaign. Monbiot replied:

‘Thank you. Has he written a paper on the subject? I find it much easier to absorb information in writing.’

We answered:

‘Amazed you need to ask, have you really not been following his interviews and written pieces? Mind you, according to ProQuest, @NilsMelzer has been mentioned twice in the Guardian this year – so maybe it’s not so strange. See here, for example’

Monbiot tweeted: ‘No, I’ve been focusing on other issues.’

We commented again:

‘True enough. According to the ProQuest newspaper database, you’ve never mentioned Assange in your Guardian column. Is that right?’

Monbiot confirmed: ‘Yes, that is correct.’

It was curious that Monbiot felt the need to ‘read up and return to the issue’. After all, as jaraparilla noted, Monbiot has tweeted about Assange and WikiLeaks dozens of times. Many of these comments make for grim reading. For example:

‘Moral line on #Assange is crystal clear: we shld support qu-ning on rape charges & oppose any extrad attempt by US. #wikileaks’

In his latest piece on Assange, Oborne discussed this egregious error:

‘His critics attach special weight to rape charges laid against Assange in Sweden. But it’s important to remember there have never been any “charges” in Sweden.

‘This is a myth reported literally hundreds of times. There has only ever been a “preliminary investigation” in Sweden looking into allegations of rape.’

In 2011, Monbiot tweeted:

‘To me Assange looks unaccountable, paranoid, controlling and prone to blame others for his mistakes. #wikileaks’

As we now know, Assange’s ‘paranoia’ was actually astute awareness that ‘they’ really were out to get him.

And: ‘Why does Assange still have so much uncritical support? Seems to me he’s acting like a tinpot dictator.’

And: ‘#JulianAssange takes Kremlin’s dollar, reversing all he claimed to stand for: bit.ly/wT4PoO Love #wikileaks, not Assange’

To his credit, Monbiot subsequently tweeted the deleted tweet defending Assange a second time.

In April 2019, Monbiot won huge applause for using harsh language and calling for the overthrow of capitalism. He insisted that, to save the planet, we need to forget ‘pathetic, micro-consumerist bollocks’:

‘We have to overthrow this system which is eating the planet with perpetual growth…. We can’t do it by just pissing around at the margins of the problem; we’ve got to go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it.’

And yet, as Oborne noted, Assange is ‘responsible for breaking more stories than all the rest of us put together’, ‘each and every one in the public interest’, ‘which any self-respecting reporter would sell his or her grandmother to obtain’. One could hardly think of a more powerful example of someone not ‘pissing around at the margins of the problem’.

Monbiot is hardly alone in ‘focusing on other issues’, year after year, while Assange rots. Fellow Guardian great white leftist hope, Owen Jones, last mentioned Assange in his Guardian column in 2014. In fact, this was his only ever mention in the paper, a single comment in passing focused on then Respect MP George Galloway:

‘his past praise for dictators and appalling comments about rape following allegations against Julian Assange have left him largely isolated’.

Like Monbiot, Paul Mason – a former BBC and Channel 4 broadcaster who has somehow reinvented himself as a war-supporting, NATO-loving, Trident-renewing ‘man of the people’ (with 618,000 followers on Twitter) – has never mentioned Assange in the Guardian.

It seems likely that Guardian columnists have felt under increasing pressure to back off from supporting Assange over the last five years. As Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis reported this month:

‘The Guardian has lost many of its top investigative reporters who had covered national security issues… The few journalists who were replaced were succeeded by less experienced reporters with apparently less commitment to exposing the security state. The current defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, started at The Guardian as head of media and technology and has no history of covering national security.

‘”It seems they’ve got rid of everyone who seemed to cover the security services and military in an adversarial way,” one current Guardian journalist told us.’

Kennard and Curtis concluded:

‘The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further.’

Venezuela, Gaza And Yemen

This pattern of sparse, or non-existent commentary extends to other issues. In 2018, Monbiot tweeted of the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro:

‘Just because Maduro claims to be on the left does not mean we should support him. There are far better ways of breaking the power of the old elites. #Venezuela’

Monbiot thus simply wrote off the democratically elected President of Venezuela who had won entirely credible elections after the death of Hugo Chavez. Because Monbiot is respected by many readers as an honest, principled progressive, this will have looked to many like the final nail in the coffin of Maduro’s credibility. Many doubtless assumed that Monbiot knows and cares a great deal about Venezuela, that he has strongly supported the Bolivarian revolution. And in 2015, Monbiot did write this in the Guardian:

‘Between 1989 and 1991 I worked with movements representing landless rural workers in Brazil. As they sought to reclaim their land, thousands were arrested; many were tortured; some were killed…

‘In Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay and Chile, similar movements transformed political life. They have evicted governments opposed to their interests and held to account those who claim to represent them. Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain have been inspired, directly or indirectly, by the Latin American experience.’

Many readers will have hailed these comments as evidence that Monbiot is an outspoken leftist. After all, in 2003 he had written in the Guardian:

‘While younger activists are eager to absorb the experience of people like Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Lula, Victor Chavez, Michael Albert and Arundhati Roy, all of whom are speaking in Porto Alegre [the World Social Forum], our movement is, as yet, more eager than wise, fired by passions we have yet to master.’ (Our emphasis)

But according to the ProQuest media database, the single sentence from 2015 contains Monbiot’s only mention of Venezuela in his Guardian column in the last ten years. Monbiot has mentioned Hugo Chavez’s name exactly twice, in passing, in two articles. He has mentioned Maduro – who is facing relentless internal and external state-corporate attempts at regime change, not least by means of US sanctions – once, in passing, in July 2019. Monbiot has said not a word to challenge the military, economic and propaganda campaign to overthrow Maduro.

According to ProQuest, Owen Jones has never mentioned the Venezuelan President in his Guardian column. Paul Mason’s only mention of Maduro in the Guardian damned Maduro’s use of the ‘repertoire of autocratic rule’ in his supposed ‘crackdown’, being ‘clearly engaged in a rapid, purposive and common project to hollow out democracy’.

Ironically, corporate dissidents like Monbiot, Jones and Mason benefit enormously from the fact that they are published by tyrannical, monopolistic, unaccountable, power-friendly media that filter ‘all the news fit to print’. How so?

It is precisely because these systems of power function as such forensic, long-armed Thought Police that even tiny crumbs of compromised dissent – a single sentence on ‘landless rural workers’ here, a four-letter word on the need for revolution there – elicit pitiful shrieks of delight and admiration from corporately incarcerated consumers who need to believe that ‘mainstream’ media are not that bad, not that destructive. In other words, public awareness is heavily skewed by a version of ‘Stockholm syndrome’.

Consider Gaza as a further example. Again, we can find this dissenting comment from Monbiot in the Guardian in 2006:

‘I agree that Hizbullah fired the first shots. But out of the blue? Israel’s earlier occupation of southern Lebanon; its continued occupation of the Golan Heights; its occupation and partial settlement of the West Bank and gradual clearance of Jerusalem; its shelling of civilians, power plants, bridges and pipelines in Gaza; its beating and shooting of children; its imprisonment or assassination of Palestinian political leaders; its bulldozing of homes; its humiliating and often lethal checkpoints: all these are, in Bush’s mind, either fictional or carry no political consequences.’

Again, leftists will have lapped up this rare supportive comment in a major UK newspaper. A search for further comments finds this sentence from Monbiot in November 2007:

‘In February 2001, according to the BBC, it [Israel] used chemical weapons in Gaza: 180 people were admitted to hospital with severe convulsions.’

And a sentence from September 2013, when Monbiot wrote in passing of how Israel ‘refuses to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention’ having ‘used white phosphorus as a weapon in Gaza’. A further sentence appeared in September 2014:

‘In Gaza this year, 2,100 Palestinians were massacred: including people taking shelter in schools and hospitals.’

Monbiot wrote again one month later:

‘Israeli military commanders described the massacre of 2,100 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians (including 500 children), in Gaza this summer as “mowing the lawn”.’

But, remarkably, these are the only substantive comments Monbiot has made about one of the great crimes and tragedies of our time. The last quote above, his most recent, was published nearly five years ago, in October 2014.

While other progressives like Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Norman Finkelstein, Jonathan Cook and others have written whole books, made whole films, and written reams of articles about the catastrophe being inflicted on the people of Gaza, Monbiot has said virtually nothing.

According to ProQuest, Owen Jones’ sole, substantive article devoted to Israel’s assault on Gaza came in July 2014. Even this was a philosophical piece on the ‘moral corruption that comes with any occupation’, with few details about the suffering in Gaza. Stockholm syndrome ensured that the title alone, ‘How the occupation of Gaza corrupts the occupier’, persuaded many readers that here was a stellar example of a principled journalist who really cared about Gaza, who was shouting the truth from the rooftops. Jones’ last mention of Gaza in the Guardian was also five years ago, a mention in passing in August 2014.

Paul Mason’s last substantive mention of Gaza was, again, five years ago, in November 2014, an emotive reference to a harrowing report he made from Gaza while working for Channel 4 News, with little detail on conditions. Mason referenced the same Channel 4 coverage in August 2014.

Or consider Yemen – how much have Monbiot, Jones and Mason written about the blood-drenched, UK-backed Saudi Arabian war that began in 2015? Monbiot wrote in June 2017 of then Prime Minister Theresa May:

‘She won’t confront Saudi Arabia over terrorism or Yemen or anything else.’

Ironic words, given that, according to ProQuest, this is Monbiot’s only meaningful comment on the Yemen war (in April 2019, he noted in passing that climate change ‘has contributed to civil war’ in Yemen). In the Morning Star, Ian Sinclair reported that the editor of the Interventions Watch website had conducted a search of Monbiot’s Twitter timeline in December 2017:

‘He found Monbiot had mentioned “Syria” in 91 tweets and “Yemen” in just three tweets.’

To his credit, Owen Jones has written several substantial pieces focused on the war in Yemen here, here and here. In June 2017, Paul Mason wrote one substantial paragraph on the conflict:

‘Saudi Arabia is meanwhile prosecuting a war on Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, using more than £3bn worth of British kit sold to it since the bombing campaign began. In return, it has lavished gifts on Theresa May’s ministers: Philip Hammond got a watch worth £1,950 when he visited in 2015. In turn, Tory advisers are picking up lucrative consultancy work with the Saudi government.’

Again, we can celebrate an example of superficial dissent, or reflect on the fact that this is Mason’s onlycomment on the Yemen war in the Guardian.

It is important to remember that the most popular and revered British dissidents – including radical comedians like Russell Brand, Frankie Boyle and Eddie Izzard – were made famous by corporate media. The difference between a ‘cult’ following and national fame is often the difference between popular and ‘mainstream’ support. People willing to compromise from the start, to jump through the required corporate hoops to achieve fame, are (often unwittingly) stooges of a system that must allow glimpses of dissent, a semblance of free and open discussion.

The system needs an occasional honest paragraph on Gaza from a Monbiot, a comment on Yemen from a Mason, if it is to retain credibility. Nobody is fooled by total silence, by a complete lie – a half-lie is far more potent. We are complicit in this charade when we make dissident mountains out of molehills, loaves out of corporate crumbs, and keep buying the product.

Update – 17 September 2019

A reader has reminded us that Owen Jones also mentioned Julian Assange in an online, April 2019 article in the Guardian opposing his extradition to the US.

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The United States and Russia have quite the bumpy relationship. Talk of war between the two powerful countries isn’t anything new, and anyone who is paying attention knows that such a war would be devastating for much of the world.

Two recent research projects show just how bad things would be if the US and Russia unleashed their nuclear arsenals on each other.

A war between the US and Russia would cause a global nuclear winter.

Several months ago, researchers from Rutgers University, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research ran a simulation to see what a nuclear war between the US and Russia would do, and the findings were not pretty: Such a war would plunge the planet into a nuclear winter, with clouds of soot and smoke covering the planet. The study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheresfound that the nuclear detonations would inject about 147 million tons of soot into the atmosphere. That soot would then spread around the stratosphere, blanketing the Earth in darkness:

Current nuclear arsenals used in a war between the United States and Russia could inject 150 Tg of soot from fires ignited by nuclear explosions into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere. We simulate the climate response using the Community Earth System Model‐Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model version 4 (WACCM4), run at 2° horizontal resolution with 66 layers from the surface to 140 km, with full stratospheric chemistry and with aerosols from the Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmospheres allowing for particle growth.

We compare the results to an older simulation conducted in 2007 with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies ModelE run at 4° × 5° horizontal resolution with 23 levels up to 80 km and constant specified aerosol properties and ozone. These are the only two comprehensive climate model simulations of this scenario. Despite having different features and capabilities, both models produce similar results. Nuclear winter, with below freezing temperatures over much of the Northern Hemisphere during summer, occurs because of a reduction of surface solar radiation due to smoke lofted into the stratosphere. WACCM4’s more sophisticated aerosol representation removes smoke more quickly, but the magnitude of the climate response is not reduced. In fact, the higher‐resolution WACCM4 simulates larger temperature and precipitation reductions than ModelE in the first few years following a 150‐Tg soot injection. A strengthening of the northern polar vortex occurs during winter in both simulations in the first year, contributing to above normal, but still below freezing, temperatures in the Arctic and northern Eurasia.

Read full article from Wiley Online Library here.

Not only would explosions, fires, and radiation exposure kill millions in targeted cities, but the resulting nuclear winter – which could last many years- would drastically alter the Earth’s climate. The growing season would be slashed by nearly 90 percent in some areas, and death by famine would threaten nearly all of the Earth’s 7.7 billion people.

According to the model, the soot would not visibly clear for around seven years. Temperatures would drop by an average of 9 degrees Celsius (16 degrees Fahrenheit) across the globe, the researchers wrote, and it would take around three years for surface light to return to 40 percent of its pre-attack level.

More than 90 million immediate casualties would result.

Researchers at Princeton University created a simulation to see just how bad a nuclear war between the US and Russia would be for humanity, and the picture they paint is terrifying. The team used the Pentagon’s own plans (which were recently leaked) to “highlight the potentially catastrophic consequences of current US and Russian nuclear war plans,”

Screenshot at Vice.com

press release states.

The risk of nuclear war has increased dramatically in the past two years as the United States and Russia have abandoned long-standing nuclear arms control treaties, started to develop new kinds of nuclear weapons and expanded the circumstances in which they might use nuclear weapons. (source)

Researchers at Princeton’s Science and Global Security Lab created this video, which shows just how widespread the devastation from a nuclear war would be.

Does that simulation remind anyone else of the 1983 movie War Games? In that film, a young hacker accidentally accesses a US military supercomputer system called War Operation Plan Response (WOPR). Believing it is a video game, the hacker gets WOPR to run a nuclear war simulation – and the computer nearly starts World War III.

At the end of the movie, the computer tells Professor Falken, who is attempting to stop the WOPR from launching war, that nuclear war is “a strange game” in which “the only winning move is not to play.”

How many nuclear weapons are there?

Nine countries together possess nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons. The US and Russia have the most (6185 and 6500, respectively).

According to ICAN, “The United States and Russia maintain roughly 1,800 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status – ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.”

If all of the nuclear weapons in the world were detonated at once, what would happen? The YouTube channel Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell attempts to demonstrate the aftermath in this video.

Is nuclear war between the US and Russia inevitable?

Such a war would be suicide for both countries, so why either would resort to such a thing baffles the mind. Earlier today, CNBC reported that Russia is conducting massive military drills with China, India, and Pakistan, in what experts say could be Moscow “sending a powerful message to the West.” Some sourcesreport that tensions between the US and Russia are escalating to “new Cold War” levels. Others believe that the ousting of war hawk John Bolton might be a sign of the potential for a Russia-China-US alliance.

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Dagny Taggart is the pseudonym of an experienced journalist who needs to maintain anonymity to keep her job in the public eye. Dagny is non-partisan and aims to expose the half-truths, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the MSM.

As NATO media are currently mourning the departure of  Neocon, John Bolton, and incited support for US bombing of Iran because Yemeni patriots engaged in a retaliatory bombing of an oil refinery in Saudi occupied Arabia, no attention is given to ongoing war crimes by the Trump and Erdogan regimes, against Syria, nor of the continuing terror attacks, including the bombing of a real hospital.

On 15 September, illicit US forces brought a convoy of dozens of military vehicles from Iraq into Syria, turning them over to the SDF separatist terrorists to strengthen them in al-Jazira, northeast of the country near Qamishli. The SDF terrorists continue to engage in attempted ethnic cleansing of Syrians, murdering, kidnapping boys for war criminal military training camps, blocking roads, stealing or destroying homes.

Two brothers, aged 12 and 13, were injured by landmines left behind by terrorists in Mrat Village, Deir Ezzor countryside, on 15 September. They were rushed to the al-Assad Hospital, where one was reported in serious condition.

Also on Sunday, terrorists attempted to blow up the al Rahi Hospital, in northeastern Aleppo countryside, by remote detonation of a nearby parked truck, filled with explosives. The savages succeeded in destroying part of the facility, and in martyring an undisclosed number of Syrian civilians, in addition to wounding others.

Sunday was a busy day for the NATO-armed terrorists, as they also fired rockets into al-Rassif village in northwest Hama countryside. One young girl was injured, and several homes and businesses damaged.

Deadly infighting among various terrorist gangs in Idlib did not stop al-Nusra Front armed terrorists from blocking the Abu al Duhour corridor in southeastern Idlib countryside, which was prepared to receive civilians wishing to leave takfiri-occupied areas of the governate.

Syrian authorities found another huge depot of weapons and telecommunications devices left behind by the criminally insane gangs in the liberated area of Daraa.

On 17 September, three civilians were injured and a father and son martyred in al-Bowaida village, northern Hama countryside, in yet another mine blast. The deranged human garbage, armed and funded by NATO and their Gulfies underlings, continue to bury landmines and other explosive devices in agricultural fields to maximize the most brutality in liberated areas. Despite the signing of an MoU between the Syrian government and the UN Mine Action Service in mid-2018, the United Nations group has done little to assist in clearing the destructive weapons provided by many of its member states.

The injured were rushed to the Hama National Hospital for treatment.

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First published on April 24, 2016

“Why do people continue to believe that NGOs such as 350.org/1Sky that are initiated and funded by Rockefeller Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Ford, Gates, etc. would exist to serve the people rather than the entities that create and fund them? Since when do these powerful entities invest in ventures that will negatively impact their ability to maintain power, privilege and wealth? Indeed, the oligarchs play the “environmental movement” and its mostly well-meaning citizens like a game of cards.” -Cory Morningstar, Keystone XL: The Art of NGO Discourse

“If activists fail to address the crucial issue of liberal philanthropy now this will no doubt have dire consequences for the future of progressive activism – and democracy more generally – and it is important to recognize that liberal foundations are not all powerful and that the future, as always, lies in our hands and not theirs.” — Michael Barker Do Capitalists Fund Revolutions?

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April 22nd , when this episode first went to air, was Earth Day, an occasion when ecologically conscious community members around the globe attempt to channel their energies toward protection of our natural world. [1]

Human generated climate change, of course, is very much top of mind at this time in human history. Indeed, the twenty-first century climate movement has been compared to the anti-war, civil rights, gay rights, and women’s liberation movement in terms of its dynamism and its presentation as a political force to be reckoned with. [2]

Spearheading this movement have been the big environmental Non-Governmental Organizations, including Greenpeace, The Sierra Club and most notably the group 350.org. Tactics employed by these NGOs have involved the mobilization of people in New York City and around the world for the Peoples Climate March in September of 2014, direct actions frustrating attempts to build TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, petitions, divestment campaigns and a 40,000 person protest outside the White House in February of 2013. [3][4][5][6]

It is widely believed that the movement is enjoying success in terms of fundamentally shifting the priorities of political leaders like US President Barrack Obama. We are presented then with a classic ‘David vs. Goliath’ narrative where grassroots activists are pushing the Powers That Be into compliance with the demands of the world’s peoples for a secure future for our children and grandchildren.

But to borrow a term from Al Gore, there is at least one “inconvenient truth” complicating this heroic story-line. Elite funders like the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill Gates, and the Clintons finance and foster these NGOs; or so argues Cory Morningstar.

Cory Morningstar has written extensively on the role of these NGOs in playing into the hands of their Wall Street benefactors.

Morningstar attended the COP15 UN Climate Conference and was on hand to video-record the following press conference by Lamimba Di-Aping, the chief negotiator for the G77 bloc of developing countries. In this conference, Di-Aping blasts the international NGO community for not embracing the ambitious (science-based) reduction targets favoured by the G77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, in favour of the compromise targets restricting global temperature rise above pre-industrial levels to (as much as) 2 degrees Celsius. This goal would mean, in Di-Aping’s words, “certain death for Africa” and “certain devastation of small island states.”

 “…and I will say this to our colleagues from Western civil society — you have definitely sided with a small group of industrialists and their representatives and your representative branches. Nothing more than that. You have become an instrument of your governments.”   -Lamumba Di-Aping

Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of what she calls the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Political Context, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. She is also a frequent guest on the Nature Bats Last podcast on the Progressive Radio Network.

On the Earth Day edition of the Global Research News Hour, Morningstar talks about fossil fuel divestment as a flawed climate strategy, the failure of climate activists to address imperialism, a critical UN Advisory Group report which environmental groups conspired to keep buried from public view, and other inconvenient truths plaguing the non-profit industrial complex.

This episode also includes a brief clip from a 2016 Winnipeg talk by celebrated author, journalist, and 350.org Board member Naomi Klein.

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

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

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

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

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

Notes:

  1. http://www.earthday.org/earth-day/
  2. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26591-a-change-in-the-climate-the-climate-movement-steps-up
  3. http://2014.peoplesclimate.org/
  4. Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson (February 13, 2013), Washington Post, “Activists arrested at White House protesting Keystone pipeline”; https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/activists-arrested-at-white-house-protesting-keystone-pipeline/2013/02/13/8f0f1066-75fa-11e2-aa12-e6cf1d31106b_story.html
  5. Naomi Klein (2014), “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate”, (pg.302-303) Alfres & Knopf Canada
  6. http://350.org/campaigns/

For as close as Russia has once again become to India following its support of the latter’s “Israeli”-like unilateral moves in Kashmir and the restoration of their unofficial alliance after the recent Eastern Economic Forum, its flagship international media outlet RT proved that it still retains some degree of editorial balance by interviewing both the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (PMIK) and the Taliban within the past week, signaling that Moscow still has an intent (however vague at this point and imperfectly practiced) to “balance” regional affairs.

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Russian-Indian relations have returned to the unofficial alliance that used to characterize their ties during the Old Cold War following Moscow’s support of its partner’s “Israeli”-like unilateral moves in Kashmir and the successful outcome of the recent Eastern Economic Forum, but that doesn’t mean that Russia has given up on its 21st-century grand strategy of becoming the supreme “balancing” force in Afro-Eurasia.

The “Multilateral Strategic Stability” (MSS) proposal that some of its experts made last week to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly hints that there’s a desire among certain figures who contribute to formulating foreign policy to see to it that their country retains as much strategic autonomy as possible despite the rapidly changing global situation, something that isn’t always messaged by its publicly financed international media which have more or less taken India’s side when reporting on regional issues.

That’s why it’s all the more commendable that Russia’s flagship international media outlet RT recently aired exclusive interviews with the Pakistani Prime Minster and the Taliban, both of which India is adamantly opposed to, thus showing that that the company still retains some degree of editorial balance in spite of the enormous strides that Indian influence has made in Russia since this summer. Coupled with the recent MSS proposal that interestingly coincided with these interviews, it’s clear that Moscow is signaling that it still has an intent (however vague at this point and imperfectly practiced) to “balance” regional affairs. India might have thought that it had succeeded in “buying off” Russia after Modi clinched billions of dollars’ worth of deals at the Eastern Economic Forum the week prior, so it must have been extremely surprising for observers from that country to all of a sudden see RT of all outlets making very unexpected editorial decisions.

That doesn’t mean that the outlet’s traditional bias in favor of India is going to immediately disappear, but just that its executives clearly made the choice to “balance” that out a bit with the two interviews that they just conducted despite India officially being against both of their guests.

It should be noted that these interviews were extremely high-level ones that couldn’t have taken place without approval from the company’s leadership, especially in the case of the Taliban since they’re still formally designated as a terrorist group per Russian legislation, but an exception must have been made owing to the unique circumstances of their political representatives’ arrival in Russia following the abrupt collapse of the US’ promising peace talks with the group. Through this publicly financed entity’s actions, Russia was able to indirectly send the message to India that its foreign policy won’t be “bought off” no matter how many billions of dollars its partner pours into the country.

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This article was originally published on Global Village Space.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is a screenshot from the interview

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Latest Astana Peace Process Summit Highlights U.S. and Israel’s Role in Prolonging Syrian Conflict

By Sarah Abed, September 18, 2019

The focus of this particular summit was on restoring peace and stability in Syria by forming a committee to draft a new Syrian constitution, as well as defeating terrorist factions in Idlib.

Will the US Use Greece to Block Russia in the Black Sea?

By Paul Antonopoulos, September 18, 2019

The Trump administration last week made its first major step to create a Greek-centric NATO corridor following United States Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, announcement that his country intends to acquire the strategic port of Alexandroupoli.

Turkey’s “Refugee City” Proposal for Syria Amounts to Demographic Engineering

By Andrew Korybko, September 18, 2019

Turkish President Erdogan’s recently announced proposal to build a “refugee city” in Northern Syria amounts to demographic engineering intended to stop the creation of a “Kurdish Corridor” there and also prevent the region from fully reintegrating into Damascus’ fold after the war.

China-Thailand Military Cooperation. Shifting Global Balance of Power

By Joseph Thomas, September 18, 2019

Recent news of Bangkok signing a 6.5 billion Thai Baht deal with China to procure a naval landing ship (a landing platform dock or LPD) further illustrates growing ties between Beijing and Bangkok in the sphere of military matters.

Boris Johnson Government, Accused of “Misleading” the Queen, Goes on Trial

By Johanna Ross, September 18, 2019

The UK government’s decision to prorogue parliament till 14th October is to be scrutinised by the highest court in the land on Tuesday, after it was ruled by a Scottish court last week that it ‘misled the Queen’ by suspending parliament.

The Magnitskiy Myth Exploded

By Craig Murray, September 17, 2019

Magnitskiy did not uncover corruption then get arrested on false charges of tax evasion. He was arrested on credible charges of tax evasion, and subsequently started alleging corruption. That does not mean his accusations were unfounded. It does however cast his arrest in a very different light.

Will the US Farming Crisis Determine the Next President?

By F. William Engdahl, September 17, 2019

At a time when farm income has fallen dramatically over the past several years, the Trump Environmental Protection Administration just dealt a further severe blow to the market for corn used to produce ethanol for E10 fuels.

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The fifth Syria-focused Astana process summit took place in Turkey’s capital, Ankara on Monday. Since the summit’s inception in 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have engaged in trilateral discussions regarding resolving the Syrian conflict. The focus of this particular summit was on restoring peace and stability in Syria by forming a committee to draft a new Syrian constitution, as well as defeating terrorist factions in Idlib. 

Immediately prior to the summit in Ankara, President Rouhani blamed Israel and the United States for tensions in the Middle East. He stated,

“Today, what is taking place in this region and has concerned many countries of the world is the result of erroneous plans and conspiracies of the United States,” he also said, “We have declared time and again that regional issues must be resolved by regional countries and through dialogue.”

President Rouhani said,

“If we want the establishment of real security in this region, a full stop must be put to acts of aggression by the US and provocative interventions by the Zionist regime. Otherwise we will witness the continuation of insecurity.”

President Rouhani also stated that weapons and intelligence are being provided to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by the United States and Israel to carry out military activities in Yemen.

Since last year when US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 JCPOA agreement also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, relations between Washington and Tehran have steadily devolved and worsened.

Over the weekend, Washington blamed an attack on Saudi oil fields on Iran even though Yemen’s Houthis claimed full responsibility. On Monday, in a national security meeting, U.S. military leaders provided President Trump with several possible actions that can be taken against Iran, including a cyber-attack or physical strike on Iranian oil facilities or on the Revolutionary guard assets.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated in a tweet,

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.  There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

He also tweeted,

“We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”

In the Syrian war, Iran and Russia are staunch supporters of the Syrian government whereas Turkey and the United States have called for President Bashar’s ouster and supported opposition factions including terrorist groups.

During the Ankara summit, Iranian President Rouhani stressed that constitutional reform and elections will naturally take place once security concerns are dealt with, he also made note of the United States negative role in the conflict.

President Rouhani said,

“We all support the unity of Syria and its territorial integrity, and we are all against the presence of foreign forces in … this country, who came here without any invitation by the lawful government of Syria,” criticizing the United States for their hand in prolonging the war and complicating the peace process.

President Erdogan said prior to the meeting that the three leaders will discuss the latest developments in Syria as well as “ensuring the necessary conditions for the voluntary return of refugees and discussing the joint step to be taken in the period ahead with the aim of achieving a lasting political solution.”

President Erdogan urged for the creation of a “peace corridor” for the return of refugees from Turkey back to Syria and insisted that the US backed Kurdish militias not be allowed to exist there, referring to them as terrorist groups. He also spoke against the separation of Syria.

In line with President Rouhani’s take President Erdogan noted the absence of positive steps taken by the United States in Syria, and that the countries participating in the trilateral talks would proceed in their efforts.

President Putin mentioned that diplomats from all three countries have worked on facilitating an agreement for forming Syria’s constitution with the involvement of both Syrian government and opposition representatives.

President Putin added that establishing a new political process would “contribute to security” not only in Syria but in the entire Middle Eastern region and made note of the importance and major concern of “fighting terrorism” in terrorist held Idlib province. “We agreed to continue our joint efforts to eradicate the terrorist hotbed,” in Idlib, Putin said, “and Russia is ready to support the Syrian army in launching local operations directed at rooting out the terrorist threat, wherever it appears.”

The irony of Turkey (much like the United States), allegedly fighting terrorism while simultaneously supporting terrorist organizations is a blatant contradiction and cannot be under-stated, both nations have neither the legal nor moral right to make decisions or impose their will on the sovereign Syrian nation and its people.

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Will the US Use Greece to Block Russia in the Black Sea?

September 18th, 2019 by Paul Antonopoulos

The Trump administration last week made its first major step to create a Greek-centric NATO corridor following United States Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, announcement that his country intends to acquire the strategic port of Alexandroupoli. If Athens is to accept such a proposal, the country would be contributing to a geopolitical escalation. The US is attempting to push Greece, a traditional rival to Turkey, closer to them at a time when Ankara continues to defy NATO by strengthening its relations with Russia.

The port of Alexandroupoli is of particular importance to US policy in not only the Balkans, but especially to Russia. It is also an important energy route as the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) pipeline and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is in the region. The port is also important for transportation as it is strategically located close to the Turkish-controlled Dardanelles that connects the Aegean/Mediterranean Seas with the Black Sea, and therefore Russia.

With the acquisition of this port, NATO and US forces may be in the Balkans in only a few hours and can easily stop Russian trade with the world via the Black Sea by blockading the Dardanelles. With Turkey increasingly defying NATO – in which Greece is also a member state of – by improving relations with Russia and buying the S-400, the US can make Greece more aligned with it under the guise of ensuring Greece’s security.

Turkey violates Greece’s maritime and air space on a daily basis, Erdogan makes continued threats to invade the rest of Cyprus. Only weeks ago he made a speech in front of a map that shows Greece’s eastern Mediterranean islands occupied by Turkey, and days ago Turkey removed the inhabited Greek island of Kastellorizo from online maps to claim sovereignty over oil and gas reserves, while continuing threats to flood Greece again with illegal immigrants, among others. Greece undoubtably has an extremely aggressive neighbour.

With Turkey illegally occupying large areas of northern Syria and Cyprus, and illegally intervening in Iraq, Greece must deal with an extremely provocative and expansionist-driven neighbour. With Russia traditionally remaining silent on Turkish provocations towards Greece, it is unlikely that Moscow will stop doing so now that relations are flourishing between the two Black Sea neighbours.

The US are trying to capitalize on Erdogan’s aggression towards Greece by attempting to pivot Athens towards them. If the Greek leadership decide to accept the US offer, it will be a powerful blow towards Turkish expansionism in the Aegean and will create a major security threat for Russia. As Greece is a rival of Turkey, the fact it prioritized creating a powerful navy and air force that could block the Dardanelles if needed, might embolden Greece to take direct actions against Turkey’s continued aggressions and threats.

Despite Greece being an economically ruined country today with a demographic crisis, it still maintains high military standards. This is reflected with Greece having the best pilots in NATO, in which Turkey is also a member of. In maritime matters, Greece has a far superior navy and experience in the Aegean. The Greek Navy has a long tradition and has never been defeated in combat. For this reason, Greece’s navy is one of the most important world naval powers today, at a military and commercial level. Although Turkey’s army makes it one of the largest in the world, it is rendered useless in any war with Greece. Although Greece has a significant maritime border with Turkey, the land border is only 200km long, making it easy to fortify.

With security against Turkey’s continued aggression being a major priority for Greece, the US ambassador is trying to woo the country into allowing the privatization of the port of Alexandroupoli. He stated: “Alexandroupoli is a crucial link to European energy security, regional stability, and economic growth, so it makes sense that the United States and Greece have chosen here to work together to advance our shared security and economic interests.”

With his emphasis on security, it will likely spark huge debates in Athens as it needs security assurances but will also not want to provoke Russia, a country that Greeks see with fraternity when remembering their shared Christian Orthodox faith and Russia’s military and diplomatic role in securing Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. Although Russia is unlikely to back one side or another, a US-controlled port in Alexandroupoli can significantly weaken Russia’s Black Sea capabilities.

If comments by the National Defense Minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, of the newly elected neoliberal government is anything to go by, it can be expected that Athens will allow Alexandroupoli to become a US-controlled port. He said that the “use of the port by the US Armed Forces” will be allowed “when there is [certainly] a need” for it, especially as Greece’s current “strategic defense relationship with the US and cooperation” are strengthened, “thereby contributing to regional stability and security.” In direct reference to Turkey, he also said “Greece is ready at any time and moment to defend and safeguard in full its sovereign rights.”

In order to avoid a US naval base on the other side of the Dardanelles, Russia should take a position it has proven to be capable of, and something the US lacks experience in- peacebuilding. If Russia can act as a mediator between Greek and Turkey, it might be enough to avoid Athens pivoting towards the US so that it can ensure its security. Russia has proven in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere that it is willing to serve as a mediator in international affairs. With Moscow currently having amicable relations with Ankara, Russia being viewed positively by the majority of Greeks, being a regional country to both Greece and Turkey, and having its owned vested interests in the region, Russia is in a unique position to be able to mediate mutually to find a lasting peace between Greece and Turkey, and to prevent the US acquiring the port of Alexandroupoli.

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Paul Antonopoulos is director of the Multipolarity research centre.

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‘It’s My Party….’

September 18th, 2019 by Philip A Farruggio

Borrowing from the 1963 Lesley Gore song I’ll Cry If I Want to: “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, you would cry too if it happened to you.” Well, if you still subscribe to this phony Two Party/One Party system, as they say in the world of commerce ‘ Buyer beware!’. It is no coincidence that for as long as many of we baby boomers can remember, our nation has been controlled by this phony adversarial  political system. Yes, as we can see in 2019 that the current party in power, the Republicans, have moved completely off the charts with their ultra right, Neo Fascist agenda. So much so that even socialists like yours truly are actually contemplating voting this one time (especially for those of us in Florida), for the ‘lesser of two evils’ Democrats. This violent, racist white supremacist mindset is becoming contagious and must be pushed back… finally!

Trump and his backers, the true ‘Deep State Military Industrial Empire’, have succeeded in sucking in millions of blue collar and white collar Americans. They play upon the covert and sometimes overt racism that many white citizens have.

The Republicans, for generations, have used the tactic of ‘Keep the black and brown skins away from our neighborhood and our schools… and our children’ to get the votes needed.

Of course, along with that undertone of rhetoric, they also played the Fear Card of terrorism, both overseas and of course right here at home. It was they who concocted the use of the word Homeland to mirror what Goebbels used (Fatherland) to trumpet German ethnocentrism.

The Republicans always celebrated America having a strong military. How many times has this writer have had to hear ‘Thank you for your service’ when the embedded mainstream media interviews a military person? Did they ever consider doing the same for a sanitation worker who picks up and carries the nasty garbage away from our homes? Or to a teacher, earning 10% of the pay that military contractors AKA mercenaries earn? Of course , the real tragedy is when the Republicans, now under Trump and his super rich cabinet, peel away most of the regulations and safety net that the majority of his ‘Base’ need. It is tragic to see millions of Amerikan workers, continually screwed by Trump and Co.’s corporate pals, wearing those silly red hats as they  scream and yell in joy at his rallies. Why? Well, what has always been the only alternative, according to the empire’s rulebook, that some of Trump’s base can turn to is…

The ‘lesser of two evils’ Democrats. This is the party, the national party, that made sure that Bernie Sanders was sabotaged in 2016. They wanted Neo Con Miss Hillary to assume the mantle that Neo Con Obama carried for this empire, after having it passed to him by Neo Cons Junior Bush & Cheney, who received it from Neo Con Bill Clinton.

As is the case today, when Sanders has to face a slew of middle of the road presidential hopefuls, with just about all of them marginalizing his ideas. They want him OUT! Why? Even though Sanders waited until just recently to really go after one of the two major roots of our nation’s demise, the obscene military spending and militaristic mindset, he has always and relentlessly gone after the other one. For years Sanders has explained how the super rich are getting a free ride on the backs of we working stiffs, many of whom are part of Trump’s base. Sanders wants to tax them accordingly and stifle the bountiful profits the corporate megaliths are earning.

He wants the ‘less than 1%’ to pay more to help subsidize a comprehensive Medicare for All, and not the watered down versions many in his own party are seeking. Sanders understands that tens of millions of working stiffs cannot afford the housing prices that this predatory absentee landlord culture is billing them. When his newest plan to protect renters and create millions of government run affordable housing units was just announced, all the hacks in the embedded media sang the usual tune.

They, along with Sanders’ own party members, will sing ‘How can we afford it?’ Well, if only Sanders and anyone else with even half a conscience would answer: Tax the super rich and drastically cut the military spending! Why is it that you never hear, even from so called ‘Progressive Democrats, that over HALF of our federal  income tax revenues goes down that Pentagon created rabbit hole? Sanders occasionally  does ‘dance around’ that, but it is taboo most of the time. HIs compatriots, (excluding Ms. Gabbard), and Sanders himself play that stupid ‘Russia did it’ card along with vitriol for Socialist run Venezuela.

Sadly, there is no hope for us within this Two Party/One Party con. Yet, for the time being, as Noam Chomsky has said on many electoral cycles: “Hold your nose and vote out the Republicans!”

And then, once we can see the racist, white supremacist anti LBGT rhetoric off of the mainstream, we true Socialists can begin speaking truth to the Democrats we helped place into power. We will need to educate our neighbors, especially the youth of this nation, to focus on curtailing this empire , the super rich and the two parties they control.

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Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He has been a free lance columnist since 2001, with over 400 of his work posted on sites like Global Research, Greanville Post, Off Guardian, Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op Ed News, Dissident Voice, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust, whereupon he writes a great deal on the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has a internet interview show, ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid’ with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at [email protected].

Recent news of Bangkok signing a 6.5 billion Thai Baht deal with China to procure a naval landing ship (a landing platform dock or LPD) further illustrates growing ties between Beijing and Bangkok in the sphere of military matters.

The Thai Royal Navy’s only other ship of similar capabilities is the HTMS Angthong, built by Singapore, Bangkok Post reported.

The deal comes in the wake of several other significant arms acquisitions made by Bangkok in recent years including 39 Chinese-built VT-4 main battle tanks (with another batch of 14 being planned), China’s Type-85 armoured personnel carriers and even the nation’s first modern submarine made by China expected to be in service by 2023.

These are more than merely arms deals. The purchasing of sophisticated weapons systems like submarines and ships will require closer military cooperation between Beijing and Bangkok in order to properly train crews, transfer critical knowledge of maintaining the vessels and operate them at sea.

There are also joint Thai-Chinese weapon development programmes such as the DTI-1 multiple rocket launcher system.

The interoperability that is being created between Thai and Chinese armed forces (and arms industries) ensures ample opportunity for joint training exercises and weapon development programmes in the future, several of which have already been organised, with many more on the horizon.

The Myth of Thai Subservience to Washington 

Thailand is often labeled a close “non-NATO ally” of the United States by both the United States itself and many analysts still clinging to Cold War rhetoric.

However, today’s Thailand is a nation that has significantly expanded its cooperation with China and not only in military matters, but across economic spheres as well.

Thailand’s lengthy history of weathering Western colonisation that otherwise consumed its neighbours is a story of adeptly playing great powers against one another and ensuring no single nation held enough power or influence over Thailand to endanger its sovereignty. This is a balancing act that continues today, with Thailand avoiding major confrontations and overdependence on outsiders by attempting to cultivate a diversity of ties with nations abroad.

Thai cooperation with nations like the United States, particularly now, is done cynically and as a means to keep the US from investing too deeply in the disruptive regime-change methods it has aimed at other nations including neighbouring Myanmar but also distant nations like Syria and Libya ravaged by US meddling.

Despite these efforts to appease Washington, the US still backs opposition parties determined to overthrow the current Thai political order and replace it with one openly intent on rolling back progress between Thailand and its growing list of Eurasian partners, especially China.

What little the US has to offer has been reduced to deals bordering bribery, such as offering free military hardware.

A recent deal included Thailand buying discounted, refurbished Stryker armoured vehicles under the condition that the US would provide 40 more for free.

However the Stryker is not a particularly sophisticated weapon system and will do little to bolster fading Thai-US military cooperation and interoperability. The Stryker system will likely be absorbed into Thailand’s own growing domestic defence industry which is already manufacturing wheeled armoured vehicles.

Blurring of Lines between Military and Economic Cooperation 

So far has the balance of power shifted in Asia, that demands by the US for its “allies” to boycott China’s telecom giant Huawei have gone ignored. Thailand, as well as Malaysia and the Philippines, have included Huawei in their efforts to develop national 5G infrastructure.

While something like telecom appears to be more a matter of economics than of national defence, so entwined recently has telecom and information technology become with national security that choosing partners for developing telecom infrastructure really is a matter of defence.

How far will this peripheral cooperation go? The US is still using its control of Thai information space, particularly through Facebook’s primacy across Thai social media, to influence public opinion and sow political instability across Thai society.

The idea of Thailand cooperating further with China to develop domestic social media networks to regain control over this aspect of Thailand’s information space seems plausible. Thai cooperation with Russia for similar reasons has already been openly discussed by Thai policymakers.

A Shifting Global Balance of Power 

Many analysts have tried to reduce growing cooperation between Thailand and China as a temporary trend spurred by the Thai military’s 2014 ousting of a US-backed government and the US decision to reduce ties with Bangkok.

However, Thailand’s pivot eastward is one made with the rest of Southeast Asia and in fact, with much of the non-Western world. It is part of the wider trend away from Western-dominated unilateralism and toward greater mulipolarism. It is also a process that began long before 2014.

The ability for Thailand to move its dependence away from US markets and financial systems dominated by Washington will be key in avoiding more aggressive attempts by the US to coerce Thailand politically or economically in the future as it is nations like North Korea, Iran, Syria, Russia and now even China today.

Thailand is a relatively large Southeast Asian state with ASEAN’s second largest economy. What it does in regards to building military ties with China and strengthening its economic and political resilience against US “soft power” may set trends that are followed by others in ASEAN, opening up opportunities not only for China, but other Eurasian powers like Russia who can fulfill the role of balancing power not only against America’s dominant position in the region, but also against China from acquiring too much power and influence once US primacy collapses.

Expanding Thai-Chinese military cooperation is a sign of the times. It is a sign of US primacy fading, of China’s rise and of a shifting balance of power. It is a time when nations must carefully execute this shift, ensuring the threat the US poses to regional peace and prosperity is reduced but also that China is never tempted with the opportunity to simply replace the US as a regional and global menace.

So far, mulipolarism has shaped China’s policies in a much different manner than those pursued by the US over the past half century. Only time will tell of the success of multipolarism, but it is important to understand that Thai-Chinese cooperation is not a temporary trend. It is a new reality and one that reflects a fundamental shift in geopolitics from the Atlantic consensus to a much more global one.

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Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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Turkish President Erdogan’s recently announced proposal to build a “refugee city” in Northern Syria amounts to demographic engineering intended to stop the creation of a “Kurdish Corridor” there and also prevent the region from fully reintegrating into Damascus’ fold after the war.

Turkish President Erdogan proposed the building of a “refugee city” in Northern Syria after the latest trilateral talks with his Russian and Iranian counterparts in Ankara, declaring that

“for the refugees there (on the Syrian border), it is necessary to create a city for them to participate in agriculture. I explained to my colleagues that it is necessary to build infrastructure for them. It is necessary to prevent the formation of a terrorist corridor.”

The stated intention of his plans makes no secret of the fact that they’re supposed to thwart the creation of a “Kurdish Corridor” and therefore reinforce Turkey’s national security through the nascent “buffer zone” that it’s carving out there, which also implies that more than one “refugee city” would have to eventually be established in order to sustainably accomplish this. On the surface, this proposal is being portrayed in such a way as to maximize the support that it receives from the International Community, but it’s actually not as “purely” intended as it may seem.

Turkey’s self-interested reasons in massively returning the millions of refugees that came to its territory during the war do indeed overlap with some of the multilateral interests shared by the International Community, but the means through which they’re being pursued are a lot less noble. It’s true that the US-backed Syrian Kurds have conquered territory beyond their traditional regions in the country (where they only rarely constituted a majority in just a few local communities anyhow) and that there are credible reasons for believing that they’ve carried out ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Arab and “Turkmen” (a trendy term for simply referring to Syrian Turks) populations there, but it’s equally true that Turkey’s “refugee city” proposal also amounts to a form of demographic engineering too, and not just in the sense of returning Northern Syria back to its pre-war status (which is practically impossible to ever do anyhow). Only a fraction of the refugees and other Syrians that came to Turkey since 2011 are from that region, so literal “outsiders” would end up being relocated there.

They, however, aren’t being considered by Turkey as such because of their nationality as Syrians and their ethnicity as either Arabs or “Turkmen”, with the unstated notion being that citizens of the same country should have the right to move anywhere within its territory that they’d like. While that approach is generally the legal standard in most states, it’s clearly being exploited in this case for self-interested demographic but also geopolitical reasons. About the first-mentioned and going beyond the obvious intent of stopping the creation of a “Kurdish Corridor”, Turkey wants to populate this sparely inhabited region with non-Kurds in order to prevent the latter from ever reviving their expansionist dreams in the future, which they’ve since “moderated” by attempting to become “more inclusive” by emphasizing their political goal of “autonomy” instead of the blatant ethnic chauvinism that used to characterize their movement. To assist with Ankara’s ambitions, it’s likely going to rely on anti-government Syrians (both Arabs and “Turkmen” alike), which conforms with its geopolitical goals.

Although no universally accepted figures have ever been released, it’s widely thought that the majority of Syrians who moved to Turkey after 2011 are opposed to their country’s democratically elected and legitimate government, and this group of people regularly claims that they don’t feel safe returning back to their homes in the now-liberated majority of the country where they used to reside because they don’t trust the authorities to guarantee their well-being and truly ensure that no legal or other consequences befall them. For the record, the Syrian government has invited them to return and even recently issued a broad amnesty, though those folks still refuse to come back for whatever their personal and/or political reasons may be. Nevertheless, Turkey also doesn’t want to continue indefinitely hosting them, especially if there’s another influx of incomers in the event that the situation deteriorates even more around Idlib, hence why it wants to relocate all of them (both the minority of those originally from the North and everyone else from elsewhere alike) to Northern Syria.

Should this plan even partially succeed, then it would create a major stumbling block to Damascus’ drive to reintegrate that part of the country into the national fold without granting it special status like its future inhabitants might demand in exchange. Furthermore, that “refugee city” (or very likely “cities”) will probably be defended by the Turkish military for at least a transitional period and then secured through pro-Turkish armed proxies, thus making it even more difficult for Damascus to reintegrate with that region and its possibly significantly sized population without making political “concessions” such as the granting of autonomy whether for the whole region or just specific municipalities. All told, it’s understandable why Turkey is pushing for the implementation of its “refugee city” proposal because it strongly advances its strategic interests in Syria, though the most responsible members of the International Community should ask themselves if the end truly justifies the means, and if not, whether they’re even capable of modifying these plans or if they’re already a fait accompli.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

The UK government’s decision to prorogue parliament till 14th October is to be scrutinised by the highest court in the land on Tuesday, after it was ruled by a Scottish court last week that it ‘misled the Queen’ by suspending parliament. Two cases are to be examined by the Supreme Court in London; the first being the one brought by activist Gina Miller, that Boris Johnson had no right to shut down parliament, and another will be the government’s appeal against the Scottish ruling that the suspension was unlawful.

Various scenarios are possible – the government could be vindicated by the court upholding the government’s appeal against the Scottish verdict and dismissing Gina Miller’s case (it could argue that the matter is a political one and not one for the courts). Or it could rule in favour of the Scottish court whilst ruling against Gina Miller. In this instance, because it upheld the Scottish verdict, the court would have to rule that it was unlawful overall. (It’s a complicated business in the UK as Scotland and England have their own separate legal systems; however the Supreme Court deals with both.) In any case, if either ruling does go against the government it will be extremely damaging for the government and in particular for Boris Johnson and his Brexit strategy.

Gina Miller’s lawyer today is to argue that if the courts do indeed ‘wash their hands’ of this case then it is setting a dangerous precedent for future governments to dismiss parliament as they please for any length of time required, without fear of the repercussions. Last week the Scottish court ruled:

“It was to be inferred that the principal reasons for the prorogation were to prevent or impede Parliament holding the executive to account and legislating with regard to Brexit, and to allow the executive to pursue a policy of a no-deal Brexit without further Parliamentary interference.”

The judges highlighted in particular the length of the suspension which they said was indicative that this was a deliberate tactic to avoid parliamentary scrutiny of Johnson’s Brexit plans.

Such an avoidance tactic is typical however of Prime Minister Johnson. When faced with an awkward situation, his instinct is to run a mile. One only has to recall how he avoided protestors during his visit to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in July, when he left via the back door. Or more recently on Monday during his visit to Luxembourg, when he refrained from taking part in an outdoor press conference with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg for fear of being heckled by the angry anti-Brexit mob nearby. So the prorogation of parliament can equally be seen as Johnson’s bid to find an escape route: an easy way out, by which he doesn’t have to face any questions and can hide away from opposition.

The flippant way in which the lives of UK citizens are being played with during this Brexit saga was revealed in an interview with former Prime Minister David Cameron for ITV aired on Monday night. Cameron said that on the eve of his declaration that he would campaign to Leave the EU, Boris Johnson sent Cameron a text stating that he thought the Vote Leave campaign would be ‘crushed like a toad under the harrow’.  Cameron elaborated by saying he thought Johnson simply wanted to be on the ‘romantic, patriotic, nationalistic, side of Brexit’ but never really expected his side would win.

Such a revelation only further indicates that Boris Johnson is currently a Prime Minister playing a game; and it wasn’t one he ever expected to be allowed to play. The fact that millions of citizens put their faith in this campaign – one built around mistruths and exaggerations – and voted to Leave does not likely perturb the PM however. Johnson is willing to push his party, country and own reputation to the brink for the sake of the Brexit experiment.

27 days ago when Boris Johnson met Angela Merkel to discuss a future deal, she gave him 30 days to do so. That time is almost up and European leaders have seen no fresh proposals from the UK government that would suggest it is serious about getting a deal. This, together, with the fiasco created by suspending parliament have only caused more concern in Europe about the UK’s intentions, expressed by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg on Tuesday when he said that EU leaders do not want to be blamed for the current ‘nightmare’ as he put it.

The Luxembourg meeting was supposed to be a key event in the Brexit calendar, but as one could have expected, with no new propositions from the UK government, it proved to be just another part of Boris Johnson’s charade. Still intent on pursuing a No Deal Brexit, he is simply going through the motions when it comes to persuading the world that he wants a withdrawal agreement.

Within several days we should have the verdict of the Supreme Court regarding both cases, a ruling which will have consequences of historical significance.  With Britain’s future hanging in the balance, the stakes could not be higher…

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On September 16, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) warned of more strikes on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure. Brigadier General Yahya Sare’e advised foreigners to avoid the areas of Bqaiq and Khurais because they could be attacked again. He also said that Houthi forces will expand their operations against Saudi Arabia until the aggression against Yemen is stopped.

In own turn, Saudi Arabia claimed that Iranian weapons were used in aerial strikes over the weekend that interrupted much of the kingdom’s oil production, and that the attacks were not launched from Yemen. Saudi Arabia provided no evidence to confirm these claims. However, they clearly went in the framework of the US approach of directly blaming Iran.

Earlier, speculations appeared that the attacks on targets in eastern Saudi Arabia may have been launched not from Yemen. The first version of this speculations suggested that drones may have been launched by Iran-allied units of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units. Nonetheless, on September 16, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that Iraq’s “territory was not used to carry out this attack”.

Watch the video here.

Mainstream media outlets, with help of various ‘anonymous sources’, are now pushing an idea that the strike was delivered by Iran. For instance, ABC News claimed citing “a senior Trump administration official” that “Iran launched nearly a dozen cruise missiles and over 20 drones from its territory”.

The level of tensions came to the level when US President Donald Trump said that the US is “locked and loaded” to respond with a force, waiting for verification of who was responsible and for word from Saudi Arabia on how to proceed.

The Trump administration has previously blamed Iran for the actions of the Houthis. However, so far, satellite images of the strike impact have been the only evidence that the US has released. This barely can serve as a confirmation of the Iranian involvement.

In this light, it would be interesting to look at this situation from another direction. Saudi Arabia currently has very complicated relations with the UAE and Qatar, located much closer to Buqayq and Khurais than Iran or any position of Iranian-backed forces. Furthermore, tensions between the UAE and Saudi Arabia grew to the level when UAE-backed and Saudi-backed forces openly clash in southern Yemen. The Qatari-Saudi relations have also been in a deep crisis since 2017. Therefore, these states have a direct interest in assisting to such a strike or, if we believe in the version that the Houthis were not involved, even delivering it by themselves.

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Hong Kong – regressa o “Tratado de Nanquim”

September 17th, 2019 by Manlio Dinucci

Centenas de jovens chineses, em frente ao Consulado Britânico, em Hong Kong, cantam “Deus Salve a Rainha” e gritam “Grã-Bretanha, salva Hong Kong”, apelo reunido em Londres por 130 parlamentares, que pedem para dar a cidadania britânica aos moradores da antiga colónia. Assim, a Grã-Bretanha é apresentada à opinião pública mundial, especialmente aos jovens, como garantia da legalidade e dos direitos humanos. Para fazê-lo, elimina-se a História. Portanto, é necessário, antes de outras considerações, o conhecimento dos acontecimentos históricos que, na primeira metade do século XIX, conduzem o território chinês de Hong Kong ao domínio britânico

Para penetrar na China, então governada pela dinastia Qing, a Grã-Bretanha recorreu à venda de ópio, que transporta por via marítima da Índia, onde detém o monopólio. O mercado de drogas espalha-se rapidamente no país, provocando graves danos económicos, físicos, morais e sociais que suscitam a reacção das autoridades chinesas. Mas quando elas confiscam, em Cantão, o ópio armazenado e o queimam, as tropas britânicas ocupam,  com a primeira Guerra do Ópio, esta e outras cidades costeiras, constrangendo a China a assinar, em 1842, o Tratado de Nanquim.

No artigo 3 estabelece: “Como é obviamente necessário e desejável que os súbditos britânicos disponham de portos para os seus navios e para os seus armazens, a China cede para sempre a ilha de Hong Kong a Sua Majestade, a Rainha da Grã-Bretanha e aos seus herdeiros”.

No artigo 6 o Tratado estabelece: “Como o Governo de Sua Majestade Britânica foi forçado a enviar um corpo de expedição para obter uma indemnização pelos danos causados pelo procedimento violento e injusto das autoridades chinesas, a China concorda em pagar a sua Majestade Britânica, a quantia de 12 milhões de dólares pelas despesas envolvidas”.

O Tratado de Naquim é o primeiro dos tratados desiguais através dos quais as potências europeias (Grã-Bretanha, Alemanha, França, Bélgica, Áustria e Itália), a Rússia czarista, o Japão e os Estados Unidos asseguram na China, pela força das armas, uma série de privilégios: a transferência de Hong Kong para a Grã-Bretanha, em 1843, a forte redução de impostos sobre mercadorias estrangeiras (assim como os governos europeus estabeleceram barreiras alfandegárias para proteger as suas indústrias), a abertura dos portos principais a navios estrangeiros e o direito de ter áreas urbanas sob a sua administração (as “concessões”) subtraídas à autoridade chinesa.

Em 1898, a Grã-Bretanha anexou a Hong Kong, a península de Kowloon e os designados New Territories (Novos Territórios), concedidos pela China “por aluguer”, durante 99 anos. O descontentamento generalizado sobre estas imposições fez explodir uma revolta popular, no final do século XIX – a Revolta dos Boxers – contra a qual interveio um corpo expedicionário internacional de 16 mil homens sob comando britânico, no qual a Itália também participou.

Desembarcou em Tianjin, em Agosto de 1900, saqueia Pequim e outras cidades, destruindo numerosas aldeias e massacrando a população. Posteriormente, a Grã-Bretanha assume o controlo do Tibete, em 1903, enquanto a Rússia czarista e o Japão dividiram a Manchúria, em 1907.

Na China reduzida a condições coloniais e semi-coloniais, Hong Kong torna-se o principal porto de comércio baseado na pilhagem dos recursos e na exploração esclavagista da população. Uma massa enorme de chineses é forçada a emigrar, sobretudo para os Estados Unidos, Austrália e Sudeste Asiático, onde é coagida a condições semelhantes de exploração e discriminação.

Surge, espontaneamente, uma pergunta: em que livros de História estudam os jovens que pedem à Grã-Bretanha para “salvar Hong Kong”?

Manlio Dinucci

 

Artigo original em italiano :

Hong Kong, torna il «Trattato di Nanchino»

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Tradutora : Maria Luisa de Vasconcellos

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“The primary purpose of gathering and distributing news and opinion is to serve the general welfare by informing the people and enabling them to make judgments on the issues of the time.”1 — Statement of Principles by the American Society of Newspaper Editors

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What is wrong with the Western media? Why have they not jumped at the opportunity to cover the scoop of the century — the wealth of crystal-clear evidence that proves the government has been lying about the attacks of September 11, 2001, for the past sixteen years?

That’s a question many of us in the 9/11 Truth community have wrestled with — even agonized over — ever since that world-changing, tragic day.

Consider, then, how much more investigative journalists, who are trained to delve for truth and adhere to the above-cited principles of their profession, have been agonizing — not just since 9/11, but for decades — over the disastrous breakdown of the press. Some of them have written volumes about their frustration and disillusionment, and in those volumes they have analyzed the causes of that breakdown.

Now that I’ve read their plethora of analyses probing what has gone wrong with the Western press, how can I possibly summarize these investigative journalists’ conclusions so that my readers will understand the enormity of the problem?

British journalist and media critic Nick Davies sums up my dilemma with this astute observation:

. . . there is a deeper difficulty that, since we are talking about the failure of the media on a global scale, the problem is simply too big to be measured with any accuracy. It is like an ant trying to measure an elephant.2

Precisely.

Nonetheless, because the role of the media is arguably the most powerful reason why good people become silent — or worse — about 9/11, I will do my best to measure and describe this elephant.

I will approach the subject as if we — my readers and I — are attending a courtroom hearing, listening to the testimony of one witness after another. In this courtroom, all of our witnesses are award-winning journalists and/or whistleblowers-turned-journalists. Each of them has a distinguished track record of truth-telling. After we listen to them present their evidence, which they have laid out in numerous books, articles, and interviews, I will attempt to distill this testimony into a simple summary of the key reasons for the media censorship we observe today.

Then, based on this summary, I will explain why there has been no serious truth-seeking in the mainstream media’s coverage of the September 11, 2001, events. The same case can be made, unfortunately, for the absence of truth-telling in much of the alternative media. My focus will be on the American media, but there will be occasional references to the international media, which likewise have refused to violate the taboo against questioning the official account of 9/11.

The next four installments — or “acts” — of this series will focus on the media. (The terms “media” and “press” will be used interchangeably throughout.) I will explore such topics as:

  • Who and what are the obstacles to reporting on the most critical story of the 21st century?
  • Is there any chance the topic of 9/11 will ever be seriously broached and honestly investigated by the media anytime soon?
  • What is the history of the media?
  • How have the institutions charged with delivering the news changed over time?
  • How do we recognize propaganda and disinformation?
  • How do we ferret out the truth in a world where mendacity and calumny are the norm?
  • Finally, what are the solutions to this dismal failure of the media to fulfill its primary duty — namely, to report the truth — so that citizens can make informed decisions?

To illustrate the depth of the problem, I will tell a story about my encounter with a well-socialized American who holds a firm faith in the unfettered freedom of this country’s press.

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An urbane American on the patio

It was a gorgeous summer day in 2005. I was at a housewarming party in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Denver, Colorado, chatting amicably with an urbane man I had just met on the red-flagstone patio of my friend’s lovely home. Between bites of appetizers and sips of drinks, we inadvertently found ourselves on the sensitive subject of 9/11. So I mentioned that I was reading an article indicating that elements within our government may have at least cooperated with those who attacked us.

His eyes widened as he retorted without hesitation: “I’ve neverheard of this and I read The New York Times! Surely if there were anything to this accusation, we would have heard of it from our liberal media. The Times is constantly Bush-bashing, so that liberal rag would have certainly reported such evidence, if it were credible.”

At the time I was fairly naïve about our media but was at least aware that it was anything but “liberal.”3 Had it been, we would have seen political pundits at least questioning the sanity of bombing and invading Iraq. Instead, columnists and reporters had militantly cheered the upcoming invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq.

I responded to his remark by describing the stunning evidence of air defense failure that I had learned from watching Barrie Zwicker’s DVD, The Great Conspiracy: The 9/11 News Special You Never Saw.4 I also mentioned the intelligence breakdown described in Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed’s book, The War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked, September 11, 2001.5 Then I concluded, in a matter-of-fact tone, that there seemed to be a media blackout on evidence that contradicted the official story.

Hearing me question the media’s integrity, my acquaintance’s eyes now narrowed with suspicion. His body language let me know that he was unwilling to give me any more of his precious time on this beautiful, sunny afternoon. He abruptly headed toward the snack tray on the far side of the patio, leaving me standing there quite alone. Clearly, his faith in America’s “free press” was unshakeable.

We skeptics of the official story of 9/11 are painfully aware of the mythological nature of our “free and liberal press.” This awareness, however, is not unique to us. Nor do we have the distinction of being the lone recipients of silent treatment and ridicule by the mainstream — as well as much of the so-called alternative — media, as will be seen by the following accounts from our “witnesses.” Similar censorship was imposed on the early opponents of slavery and on the suffragettes. By studying these historical examples, we can be encouraged that the media’s mockery cannot prevent the ultimate success of those who endeavor to reverse egregious policies and practices.6

Stepping back

But let’s step back for a moment. A reader brand new to this subject may be wondering if journalists should publish material that contradicts the official 9/11 narrative. After all, is there really strong enough evidence to warrant their deviating from the authorized version of these catastrophic events?

My answer is an unqualified “yes.” For one thing, many of the 9/11 victims’ relatives posed questions that were never answered by the 9/11 Commission, despite its promise to these grieving families. For another, a plethora of books, DVDs, and websites have already addressed the contradictory evidence, which is voluminous. One book that ably refutes the party line on 9/11 is Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11, written by Canadian journalist and media critic Barrie Zwicker. He devotes a full chapter to listing 26 “exhibits” from 9/11 that he contends warranted articles by investigative journalists. Had these articles been allowed to be penned and published, Zwicker observes, the newspapers in which they appeared would have sold like hotcakes.7 I’ll refer readers to several handy “cliff-notes” studies in the endnotes.8

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The most powerful reason good people become silent

To reiterate, the role of the media is the primary reason why good people become silent — or worse — about 9/11. The media’s prominence is so embedded in our culture that its influence must not be underestimated. As noted in Part 2, the “early adopters” in any society influence the population to consider — or not consider — the reality of a new idea. In ours, it is neither the shaman, nor the tribal chieftain, nor the wise elder whose edicts, opinions, and ideas we hold in such high regard.

Rather, in modern Western societies, if a new idea is covered in a serious way on television or in the newspaper, then, and only then, is it considered “real.” Well, at least it becomes discussable in polite company.

But, at the time of this writing, 16 years after 9/11, the idea that elements within the United States government could pull off such a massive false flag operation as 9/11 is still not discussable in polite company. For many Americans, the very notion is shocking and disgusting, or at least discomfiting. It brings a pall to any party.

Let’s imagine that, soon after 9/11, some of the mainstream media had even begun to research and carefully question aspects of the official account of the day’s events. It’s fair to say that readers and listeners would have realized that they, too, had permission to question the government-sanctioned narrative — even in polite company. The official story would not have garnered such a unified consensus.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, the media became loyal stenographers of the government’s account, resulting in the official story becoming solidly anchored in the public mind.9

In other words, if, early on, the media had honestly investigated and questioned the official pronouncements about 9/11, and had continued being honest, many of us would not have been as thoroughly caught in the trap of the psychological dynamics that are explained in the earlier installments of this series.

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Polls and third rails

For a wider perspective, let’s explore for a moment two institutions Americans are trained to trust: the media and our leaders whom we’ve elected to be our protectors. Both are authority figures, and in Part 3 of this series, we learned that fully two-thirds of us believe and obey authorities, even when doing so betrays some of our most sacred values.

But in recent years the edges of that trust have been fraying. The Gallup Poll has been assessing respondents’ feelings about the media since 1972. In 2016, pollsters found that “Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media ‘to report the news fully, accurately and fairly’ [had] . . . dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.”10 That nadir compares to a 1976 peak of 72% in the wake of news coverage of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, when Americans clearly appreciated the media’s honest reporting and high professional standards.11

Dissecting the 2016 poll results, we learn that trust in the media plummeted among younger voters and Republicans — likely spurred by the contentious presidential election. In the same polls, there was only a marginal decline in trust in the media among older voters and Democrats. That gap should not be surprising, considering that for the past 20 years, Democrats’ confidence in the fourth estate has consistently exceeded that of Republicans.12

According to Gallup, “Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.”13

In 2016 the print media fared even worse than the overall media. As Gallup put it: “The 20% of Americans who are confident in newspapers as a U.S. institution hit an all-time low this year, marking the 10th consecutive year that more Americans express little or no, rather than high, confidence in the institution.”14

Gallup has been checking on Americans’ confidence level in 14 institutions for more than three decades. It found that between 2006 and 2016, trust in banks, organized religion, media, and Congress dropped more precipitously than in the other 10 institutions — and more than in the previous two decades. Winning the trust of only 9% of the public in 2016, “Congress has the ignominious distinction of being the only institution sparking little or no confidence in a majority of Americans,” declared Gallup. In fact, the polling firm asserted, “Even as Americans regain confidence in the economy . . . they remain reluctant to put much faith in [most of these 14] institutions at the core of American society.”15

Confidence in the executive branch of the federal government fluctuates greatly, depending on circumstances. In times of war, the Commander in Chief generally receives high ratings. For example, in March 1991, shortly after Iraq was pushed out of Kuwait in the Gulf War, George H. W. Bush enjoyed the highest confidence rating any president has ever received — 72%. Similarly, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 in 2001, George W. Bush’s ratings increased — to 58% — before diving to 25% in his seventh year of office — an all-time record low for any U.S. president.16 Weekly “job-approval” polls indicate, however, that by the end of his tenure in office, President Donald Trump might set a new low for Americans’ trust in the executive branch.17

So, which institutions do Americans trust the most? Well, the mass media and Congress both rate at the bottom of the barrel, but the real answer depends upon circumstances as well as upon which Americans are being asked. For example, an older person who votes the Democratic ticket when a Republican is president will likely trust the media more during those years. A Republican who supports Donald Trump, on the other hand, likely has a very low view of the media, which have scorned him, but a high degree of trust in the president.18

Like citizens of other countries, citizens of the United States want to believe that their leaders are trustworthy. After all, they are ostensibly there to protect and represent us. This could be one reason why, in wartime, a majority of Americans across the board rally around the Commander in Chief.

Despite their paltry confidence in the media, consumers of news still seem to be swayed by that institution’s monolithic decision to air or not to air. Have you ever noticed that only when a recognizable news source publishes a story on an issue do you feel you have, in a sense, been given permission to safely discuss the topic? If, on the other hand, a story is suppressed by the mainstream media, are you reluctant to discuss it for fear of being shunned? And if that story is also suppressed by the alternative media, are you even more reluctant to share it — except with like-minded colleagues?

I see first-hand evidence of that phenomenon when I participate in street actions in Colorado. When the subject of 9/11 comes up with visitors at our People’s Fair booth, for example, it’s no surprise to hear them exclaim, “Oh, yes, I saw something about that on TV!” The reference they’re making is to one of the several programs aired in recent years on Colorado Public Television’s Channel 12 (CPT12) — perhaps 9/11: Blueprint for Truth or 9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out. My point: The topic had become discussible thanks to the station’s courageous decision to touch the highly charged “third rail” topic of 9/11.

The term “third rail” is a metaphor referring to the high-voltage third rail in some electric railway systems. Stepping on this rail would usually result in electrocution.19 Thus, political third rail issues are those that are considered “charged” and “untouchable,” promising that any public official or media outlet that dares seriously broach these topics will suffer. This is a lesson the courageous former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) learned the hard way when she questioned the official 9/11 narrative in Congress. Her outspokenness on the sensitive subject was political suicide.20 Theoretically, a dedicated group of politicians could nonetheless escape “electrocution” if they worked together, especially if they were to receive even minimal serious reporting from the press.

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Returning to and wrapping up our discussion of the Gallup Poll results, confidence in media is steadily declining, yet one-third of Americans continue to hold the mainstream media in esteem, despite the painfully obvious deterioration in journalism’s standards in recent decades. They cling to the traditional notion that the media are training their ever-watchful eyes on — and directing their ever-skeptical questions to — all branches and layers of government in order to keep our leaders in line. Such sacred myths and outworn beliefs have enormous inertia, as we witnessed with the urbane man at the housewarming party. They die a protracted death, as we discovered in Part 8 on brain research. But at least they do eventually die, as the Gallup polls confirm — sometimes when people change their views to fit new facts, and other times, unfortunately, by the death of members of the current older generation. Younger people are not as calcified in their worldview, so change can often occur when they take their place as adults in society — a fact also reflected by these surveys.

The foregoing goes to show that if the media were to expose government shenanigans, stand on the side of truth, and thus regain the admiration it earned in the mid-1970s, the public would once again trust investigations conducted by respected journalists at prestigious publications. Why, the public would even trust news stories that actually challenge presidential pronouncements — were any investigative reporter bold enough to write them.

Some of us remember the days when gumshoe journalists were once allowed by their bosses to seek, find, and share truth, no matter how inconvenient. They wore the mantle of this terrible and wonderful responsibility with pride. What has happened to those esteemed members of the fourth estate?

Warriors for truth

They are still in our midst, though they must remain silent to keep their jobs. Despite the prima facie evidence that today’s media are censoring truth, there are in fact reporters who are chomping at the bit to expose the mounds of evidence that clearly contradict the official tale of 9/11. They are eager to interview insiders and whistleblowers, to follow the evidence trail, to connect the dots, and to provide the context.21

The truth about 9/11 — and the chance to tell it to an audience that hungers for honesty — would be the blockbuster story of the 21stcentury. It would far surpass in substance, scope, and significance the 20th century’s publicly perceived iconic journalism — Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s exposé of the Watergate burglary.

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What’s that? “Publicly perceived” iconic journalism? Meaning not actually iconic? Yes, I am afraid so. For many years I was as fooled as the average citizen about this so-called epitome of investigative journalism. Then I read about a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) document that was released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch in July 2016.22

Well before that FOIA request was granted, though, several journalists were painstakingly researching and writing books about the deeper politics of Watergate. Russ Baker is one such muckraker. His page-turner, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years,23chronicles the convoluted intrigue that wormed its way through the halls of power during the Nixon years. According to Baker’s analysis of the conspiracy, the Watergate debacle was an elaborate clandestine affair orchestrated by the CIA, in which Nixon was the target of a plot rather than the planner of the break-in. It appears that the CIA’s goal was to rout President Nixon out of the White House. In other words, Watergate was a soft coup, and one that could not succeed without the CIA having its tentacles deeply embedded in The Washington Post, the employer of Woodward and Bernstein. To keep Woodward off the trail of the agency, CIA agents fed him only the information they wanted him to know.

The reason for the soft coup? As Baker tells it, Nixon was playing fast and loose with the oil depletion allowance, a tax break for investors in exhaustible mineral deposits24 that costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. In so doing, the President was seen as disloyal by those who brought him into power — the Bush family and other oil-baron elites.

Here we have two perfect examples of deep state actions: (1) the CIA illegally embedding itself within media organizations and (2) the CIA illegally and deceptively meddling in U.S. political affairs. Both are indicative of a corrupt agency responsive to wealthy individuals who operate behind the scenes in Washington politics — that is, outside normal democratic processes — for the purpose of shaping public policy to benefit themselves.25 (For further reading on the deep state, see Part 13 of this series.)

Later, we shall learn that Watergate was not an isolated deception by the CIA involving the press — but that, in fact, the CIA has long been secretly embedded in the media for the purpose of doing the bidding of behind-the-scenes powerful individuals.

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Idealistic investigative journalists enter their profession because they are attracted to the heroic job of delving into and exposing crimes. Their motivation appears to be a desire to make the world a better place to live. I am in awe of these warriors for truth.

So why haven’t even a handful of our journalist watchdogs — especially those who still work for establishment media outlets — reported on the story of the 21st century? A story that would likely reverse the United States’ inexorable march toward a closed society.26 A story that could halt the misdirected, perpetually warring course upon which our country is dangerously careening in its imperialistic pursuit of the planet’s resources. A story that could stop the murder and devastation of the lives of millions of the men, women, and children who just happen to reside in oil-rich nations.

For an answer, we need look no further than the “Great Game for Oil,” which investigative reporter Charlotte Dennett calls “the missing context” so essential to a comprehensive discussion of 9/11.27 She observes that in their coverage of the seemingly endless Middle East wars sparked by 9/11, the mainstream media — and even much of the alternative press — avoid mentioning oil as a key reason for the fighting.

Why the reluctance? Because oil, which the military of each country relies upon to transport troops and weapons, is deemed a national security issue. Very succinctly, here’s the background: In 1911, Winston Churchill concluded, in his role as First Lord of the Admiralty, that if the British Empire were to retain its position as a preeminent world power, its Navy would need to be modernized by converting its fuel source from coal (of which Britain had plentiful supplies) to cheaper and more efficient oil (of which Britain had none). Quoting Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Churchill declared that if the Empire were to “take arms against a sea of troubles,” oil was required to maintain economic might and military mastery. Thus, by the time World War I started in 1914, the “Great Game for Oil” was off and running, with every world power scouring the globe to locate — then gain access to and control over — this prize resource. But if a journalist were to explain this race for oil and link it to wars, such honest reporting would be deemed a threat to national security and would thus cost him his job.28

Below, we shall delve into the miserable mismatch of journalist detectives and the corporate entities for which they work — or for which they once worked. We shall also discover how investigations crucial to an open and democratic society are, across the board, being thoroughly censored by editors, by media’s corporate owners, and by intelligence agencies. And we shall see that this censorship is not unique to the topic of 9/11 — not by a long shot.

In former CBS reporter and freelance journalist Kristina Borjesson’s award-winning anthology, Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myths of a Free Press,29 highly acclaimed journalists tell their stories — how their well-researched, well-documented exposés of high crimes by officials were thwarted from making it into print or broadcast news. They explain how, even if their stories did make the news, editors had rendered them into watered-down, impotent versions, unrecognizable to the authors.

With four case histories — three from Borjesson’s remarkable anthology and one from a 9/11 whistleblower — I will demonstrate the extent to which the holders of power and the owners of media institutions will go to censor stories that, by any rational standard of truth-telling, should have been reported.

Michael Levine

Take, for example, Michael Levine’s story, “Mainstream Media: The Drug War’s Shills.”30

A “shill,” according to Merriam-Webster, is a person who is paid to describe someone or something in a favorable light. Levine describes a shill as a con man who entices suckers (that’s most of us) into a phony game to convince those watching the game that it is being played fair and square. In this way, the mainstream media shill for the official line of the “War on Drugs” — a war first declared in 1971 by President Nixon — yet they remain dead silent about CIA drug trafficking.

A twenty-five-year veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and now a whistleblower and journalist, Levine narrates, in what reads like a murder mystery novel, his personal experiences with the mainstream media — a media that became strangely silent about the CIA’s drug running. Not once, but time after time.

Composed of undercover DEA agents who were honestly trying to prevent illegal drugs from entering America’s streets, Levine’s unit was charged with investigating all heroin and cocaine smuggling through the Port of New York. This meant scrutinizing every major smuggling operation known to law enforcement.

Witnessing CIA protection of major drug traffickers around the world, therefore, became unavoidable.

These traffickers, writes Levine, included “the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, the Bolivian cocaine cartels, the top levels of the Mexican government, top Panama-based money launderers, the Nicaraguan Contras, right-wing Colombian drug dealers and politicians, and others.”31

In every case, just as a sting was about to succeed, the CIA stoppedLevine and his DEA agents! On those occasions when the CIA did not manage to stop the bust and the cases warranted investigation, the media cooperated with the con game, presenting the CIA in a favorable light. Levine explains:

It was also clear to us that CIA protection of international narcotics traffickers depended heavily on the active collaboration of the mainstream media as shills. Media’s shill duties, as I experienced them firsthand, were twofold: first, to keep quiet about the gush of drugs that was allowed to flow unimpeded into the United States; second, to divert the public’s attention by shilling them into believing the drug war was legitimate by falsely presenting the few trickles we were permitted to interdict as though they were major “victories” when in fact we were doing nothing more than getting rid of the inefficient competitors of CIA assets.32 [Emphasis added.]

What Levine came to realize is that the mainstream media and the CIA are not entirely separate entities.

He also learned that the CIA, to avoid having to account to the U.S. Congress for its every action and expenditure, has made drug trafficking a major source of funding for covert operations. This is the realpolitik, the underlying reality, Levine tells us. The con game is the illusion propagated by the media that the “War on Drugs” is a reality and that it is succeeding.33

Similarly, those of us who are suspicious of the official 9/11 account are sorely aware that the mainstream media and many of the alternative news outlets shill for the government’s version of the events surrounding 9/11. When we credibly question this official version, we are met with silence or scorn. It’s fair to observe that, except for a few independent news sources, the “War on Terror,” designed to rise from the ashes of 9/11, is presented unanimously by media outlets as a necessary response to a real attack by dangerous outside enemies.

It is worth noting that, in a court of law, shills are considered co-conspirators of the con men.34

Michael Levine surely must be one of those warriors for truth who would love to expose the crime of the 21st century. Why do I say that? Listen to Levine’s parting missive in his superb exposé:

If you go back to the beginning of this chapter and substitute “World Trade Center” for “Drug War,” perhaps you’ll come to realize how very dangerous a shill game is being run on us right now.35

So the longer “we the people” buy into the con games and the shilling, the more emboldened become the cons and shills. Doubters of the official line on 9/11 intuit that we have come to a crossroads. We still have a choice to return to our roots — a constitutional republic, or what I call a “constitutional democratic republic”36 — rather than remain the imperialistic, relatively closed society our country has become. If we do not act now, at this 9/11 crossroads, will the con men and con women in power up the ante of violence, domination, and deception in the near future — to a point of no return?

Kristina Borjesson

On July 17, 1996, twelve minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, TWA Flight 800 exploded over the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 230 people aboard.

Investigative journalist and news producer Kristina Borjesson was assigned to look into the story by the executive director of CBS television.

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After months of probing and analysis by the FBI, the CIA, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the official investigation ended with the NTSB’s final report determining that the “probable” cause of the accident was an explosion inside the center wing fuel tank, sparked by faulty wiring.

One of the problems with this account is that many of the eyewitnesses reported seeing a streak of light that shot up and exploded upon intersecting with the plane. “For instance, 94 percent of the witnesses who saw the streak early enough to note its origin, said it rose from the ocean’s surface,” writes Borjesson. “Of the 134 witnesses who provided information related to the rising streak’s trajectory, 116 are inconsistent with the official (CIA video) explanation for the streak.”37

The CIA became involved in this case because the eyewitness reports suggested that TWA Flight 800 may have been downed by a terrorist missile.38 What’s interesting, though, is that the same intelligence agency then put together a team that produced a patently false, invalid animation designed to debunk the eyewitness accounts. How so? The narrator in the video tells the witnesses that the surface-to-air streak they saw was simply an optical illusion — that what they actually saw was “jet fuel streaming down from the crippled craft after it had exploded.”39

Needless to say, the CIA’s video did not go over well with the eyewitnesses. Yet because the media, including The New York Times,unquestioningly accept the CIA as a credible official source, they regurgitated its bogus analysis and assessment without even talking to the witnesses.40 Is it possible that the elaborately contrived video was really meant for the media? That is, did the CIA intend for the media to buy into its concocted theory and then churn out a tale that would persuade the public it was true? I strongly suspect so.

But this contradiction of the witnesses was only one of many problems with the official account, as Borjesson discovered.

Within her anthology Into the Buzzsaw, Kristina Borjesson’s article of the same name41 describes her punishing ordeal as she tried to report evidence contrary to the official assertions about the demise of Flight 800.

She opens her account with:

I had no idea that my life would be turned upside down and inside out — that I’d been assigned to walk into what I now call “the buzzsaw.” The buzzsaw is what can rip through you when you try to investigate or expose anything this country’s large institutions — be they corporate or government — want kept under wraps. The system fights back with official lies, disinformation, and stonewalling.42

Those of us who have innocently walked into the 9/11 Truth buzzsaw can easily relate to her chilling description, which continues:

You feel like you’re being followed everywhere you go. You feel like you’ve been sucked into a game of Dungeons and Dragons. It gets harder and harder to distinguish truth and reality from falsehood and fiction. The sense of fear and paranoia is, at times, overwhelming. Walk into the buzzsaw and you’ll cut right to this layer of reality. You will feel a deep sense of loss and betrayal. A shocking shift in paradigm. Anyone who hasn’t experienced it will call you crazy. Those who don’t know the truth, or are covering it up, will call you a conspiracy nut.43

Borjesson’s page-turner reveals what happened to her as she followed the evidence trail that strongly suggested TWA Flight 800 was destroyed by a missile. The extent that officials went to conceal this forbidden trail and the extent to which the media went in faithfully parroting the official account will remind those readers who’ve seen the impossibilities of the official 9/11 account of their own frustrating, futile efforts to interest politicians and journalists in the evidence and facts that clearly contradict the government’s explanation of what happened before, during, and after September 11, 2001 — the ill-fated day that changed the world.

As a seasoned investigative journalist, Kristina Borjesson understood that on sensitive stories such as the demise of TWA 800, she would need to be especially leery of official government sources. She knew she could inch closer to the truth by asking questions of the people who were not allowed to talk to the press — those, for example, who worked at the crash site recovering the debris. “One of my rules of investigative reporting is: The more sensitive the investigation, the more you avoid ‘official’ sources and the harder you try to get to the firsthand people.”44

The plethora of parallels between the evidence undermining the official account of the TWA explosion and the evidence undermining the official account of the 9/11 attacks five years later is uncanny. A few examples will suffice to make the point:

1. Flight 800: Metal from the plane recrystallized, indicating the existence of higher temperatures than jet fuel could have delivered.
9/11: Huge steel beams from the World Trade Center (WTC) Twin Towers were bent smoothly, without cracks; molten metal was seen flowing from the South Tower and running beneath the debris pile; and meteorite-like fusion of concrete and other debris all indicated higher temperatures than jet fuel could have delivered.

2. Flight 800: Traces of PETN and RDX (explosives used in missiles) were found in the wreckage.
9/11: Red/gray chips were found in the WTC dust, determined by independent researchers to be nano-thermite, but explained away by officials as primer paint chips.45 Also, iron-rich microspheres, which are a byproduct of thermitic reactions, were found in the WTC dust.

3. Flight 800: The NTSB ordered NASA to test red residue found on the top surface of the fuel tank, but NASA was prohibited from doing the very tests that would have discovered if the red material contained explosives.
9/11: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) refused to test for explosives in the WTC dust.

4. Flight 800: Based on a report that included a provably false story about how weeks before Flight 800 blew up in the sky, explosive residue had been left inside the plane after a bomb-sniffing dog training exercise, the FBI explained away evidence of explosive residue found both inside and outside the aircraft.
9/11: NIST has no explanation for the red/gray chips or the iron-rich microspheres found in the WTC dust — and apparently does not acknowledge their existence.46

5. Flight 800: Attempts were made to shame independent investigators for their efforts to uncover the truth. They were accused of preventing the victims’ families from finding peace of mind and closure.
9/11: Ditto.

6. Flight 800: Data concerning the investigation into the demise of the carrier was falsified by officials.
9/11: Analyses show NIST’s report on the destruction of WTC 7 to be fraudulent, leading to the suspicion that its omissions and distortions served a political purpose rather than a scientific one.47

7. Flight 800: Physical evidence from the wreckage was confiscated by officials.
9/11: The physical evidence at both the WTC and the Pentagon was illegally removed by officials.

8. Flight 800: Independent investigators and even the NTSB’s own crash investigators, who said that the physical evidence did not support government conclusions, wanted access to physical evidence and information that the CIA, FBI, and other government agencies refused share.
9/11: To this day, NIST refuses to release the input data for its computer models of WTC 7’s collapse. NIST explained, not facetiously, that release of the data might jeopardize public safety.48

9. Flight 800: Independent journalists — as well as film director Oliver Stone, who attempted to do an episode on the TV series Declassified about the TWA tragedy — were disparaged as “conspiracy theorists,” “conspiracists,” or “bottomfeeders” by official government sources and other journalists.
9/11: Activists and researchers for 9/11 Truth are commonly referred to as “conspiracy theorists,” among other derogatory terms.

10. Flight 800Initial news coverage about the plane’s demise reported observable evidence that pointed to a bomb or a missile, but later reports conformed to the government line, no questions asked.
9/11Initial news coverage of the demise of the three WTC buildings and Flight 93 reported observable evidence, such as:

  • secondary explosions;
  • the destruction of the three WTC buildings appearing to be controlled demolitions; and
  • the absence of any evidence of an airliner at the alleged crash site in the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, field.

Later reports avoided all of these initial observations and adhered closely to the official line about these events, no questions asked.

11. Flight 800: Ad hominem hit pieces were published by mainstream media about reporters who dared question the official account.
9/11: When Colorado Public Television’s Channel 12 (CPT12) aired 9/11 documentaries featuring evidence that exposed the lies of officialdom, The Denver Post printed two hit pieces smearing the station.49

Since there is an unwritten code among media outlets not to criticize each other, such attacks as the one leveled at CPT12 are rare, except when one media competitor is determined to silence the dissenting voice of another — or when powerful entities such as the CIA are part of the investigation, as in Michael Levine’s narrative. Additionally, journalists who step outside the echo chamber of an official account tend to be shunned by their peers at social or work functions. As I mentioned in the Introduction to this series, humans’ greatest fear may be social ostracism or even physical banishment. At a primal level, we’re aware of our dependence upon one another for survival as well as our strong need to belong and to connect with our fellow beings. Thus, there can be devastating psychological effects on reporters who are shunned or avoided in social or business functions.

Why did Kristina Borjesson’s investigative work not air on CBS — or any other mainstream station, for that matter? Her own employer plus other media giants turned a blind eye to the documented facts and physical evidence she had unearthed, and instead faithfully bolstered the statements emanating from the FBI and NTSB. After a heroic struggle, Borjesson finally realized that “there was no way CBS was going to air a story that would rile the Pentagon. Silly me.”50

So, my dear, “silly” 9/11 Truth activists, one of my reasons for providing lengthy summaries of these accounts by Michael Levine and Kristina Borjesson is to demonstrate that idealistic journalists with integrity do exist. In order that humanity may benefit from their commitment to transparency, these two have answered the clarion call to expose high crimes — also known as State Crimes Against Democracy.51

This commitment to truth can be seen as one manifestation of the “hero’s journey”52 popularized by comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell. When individuals accept the call of the hero’s journey, no matter its nature, they tread an arduous path of personal growth that transforms them in unpredictable but positive ways. As difficult as these journeys can be, they take us in the direction of increased integrity and to a meaningful life in which one’s destiny is fulfilled. Refusing to accept the hero’s mantle tends to take us in the opposite direction — toward becoming a villain or else a victim in need of rescue or even a bored person living a life devoid of enthusiasm and meaning.

My other reason for summarizing these stories is to inspire fellow 9/11 skeptics to hang in there. We are in very good company indeed — the company of these dedicated detectives who did not throw in the towel, despite unrelenting and daunting obstacles. When higher-ups rejected their stories, they wrote books and articles, gave lectures and interviews, and/or made documentaries. In other words, they themselves became the media so they could share their hard-won, immensely valuable information with the public.

Soul-tired from the ripping of the “buzzsaw,” at one point Kristina wanted to throw in the towel, to abort this unborn story. She tried to do just that, but perhaps fate did not want to cooperate with her longing for respite. Indeed, one step led to another, and she found herself writing and directing a documentary, TWA Flight 800,53with scientific help from physicist Tom Stalcup. The film features six former members of the official crash investigation breaking their silence to refute the official account and expose how the investigation was systematically undermined.

Thus, on June 20, 2013 — 17 years, nearly to the day, after the explosion of Flight 800 — the production of the film was completed and promoted on Democracy Now!, with Borjesson and Stalcup as guests.54

I am reminded of the locust that emerges from underground, after metamorphosing for 17 long years in the dark, to finally fly.

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Monika Jensen-Stevenson

Another powerfully moving account in Borjesson’s anthology is “Verdict First, Evidence Later: The Case for Bobby Garwood,”55 by former Emmy-winning 60 Minutes producer Monika Jensen-Stevenson.

Jensen-Stevenson trod where other journalists refused to tread when she exposed the U.S. government’s pitiless persecution of Marine Private First Class (Pfc.) Robert R. (Bobby) Garwood and the cover-up of 3,500 prisoners of war (POWs) left behind in Vietnam and Laos.

The forsaken Garwood cunningly transmitted word of his status to a Finnish diplomat, who was savvy enough to take Bobby’s note to the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) rather than to U.S. authorities. As a result, after 14 years in the brutal Vietnamese penal system, Garwood was finally released in 1979.

But why would his release be problematic for U.S. authorities?

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Monika Jensen-Stevenson

When the Vietnam War ended in 1973, the government had declared that all troops missing in action (MIA) had been accounted for and that all POWs had been returned. Garwood’s sudden appearance was a glaring and embarrassing exposure of this lie. How would the U.S. government cover for itself?

Thinking he was returning a free man in 1979, the Marine was instead summarily met on his home soil with charges of desertion.

At the time, Garwood estimated that there were still 200 POWs still left in Vietnam. Yet, the media sat on this statement and continued to regurgitate the government’s assertions that he was a deserter and traitor, not a prisoner.

Why did both the U.S. and Vietnamese governments, former enemies, cooperate in creating this monstrous deception? The North Vietnamese communists initially held the POWs to ensure that the U.S. would fulfill its secret promise, made by Nixon, to pay more than $3 billion in reparation monies. But the U.S. did not pay and had no intention of paying. Therefore, by 1979 the American POWs had become worthless pawns. Washington convinced the poverty-stricken Vietnamese not to reveal the existence of the prisoners if they wanted to exchange ambassadors and establish trade relations.56

After all, abandonment of war prisoners was the kind of mistake that could destroy not only careers, but entire political administrations. No amount of effort or money was spared in preventing that from happening . . . . Garwood’s court-martial ended up being the longest in U.S. history.57

Although Garwood was cleared of desertion charges, he was found guilty of collaborating with the enemy. The media ignored the lackof evidence backing up this charge.

Then, to add horrific insult to injury, early in the court-martial, “headlines shrieked from every supermarket tabloid: ‘Garwood Accused of Child Molestation.’”58 Even though he was thoroughly cleared of this specious charge in a separate trial, the original tabloid slur “festered on.” Obviously, character assassination was the strategy of both the military and the cooperating media against Garwood, thus to ensure that in the public mind he was crucified, one way or another.

As Jensen-Stevenson continued to follow the Bobby Garwood story, she was also working on a 60 Minutes program, “Dead or Alive?” on the general issue of POWs and MIAs. Despite continuing pressure and threats that Jensen-Stevenson received from intelligence agencies — particularly the National Security Council and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) — and despite pressure put on CBS’s news correspondents and the CBS president by the head of Pentagon covert operations, urging the station to drop the story due to “sensitive matters of national security,” 60 Minutesnevertheless aired Jensen-Stevenson’s “Dead or Alive?” in December 1985.59

Yet despite her best efforts, CBS would not allow Jensen-Stevenson to do a full story on television about Pfc. Garwood, not even after she got film footage of him in Vietnam that proved his prisoner status. His court-martial conviction, coupled with the ongoing government propaganda against him, made networks unwilling to tell his story.60

Jensen-Stevenson’s book, Spite House: The Last Secret of the War in Vietnam,61 was published in 1997, exposing the full story of Bobby Garwood’s ordeal. Learning of his story, veterans invited Garwood to speak to more than 200,000 Vietnam veterans near the Vietnam Memorial. When he came to the stage, they erupted into wild cheers of “Welcome home,” and “We love you, Bobby!”62

Filled with emotion, Garwood could not speak. One highly decorated soldier and then two more jumped to the stage to prop him up. In this soldier’s embrace, he finally began to speak. A hush settled over the crowd as Bobby spoke only of the country he loved and of the darkness he felt in his heart, knowing that his brothers, both dead and alive, were left behind.63

Garwood suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which could only have been exacerbated by his government’s and its puppet media’s brutal betrayal. So it was an especially touching moment when his stateside military mates finally gave him the welcome home and tribute he so richly deserved.

Due to the participation in “Dead or Alive?” by Lieutenant General Eugene F. Tighe, Jr., who headed the DIA from 1978 to 1981 and who had a worldwide reputation as one of the finest intelligence professionals ever in the U.S., Congress screened this program several times. These screenings resulted in the formation of a DIA commission on MIAs and POWs chaired by General Tighe. The Tighe Commission concluded in 1986 that prisoners had been left behind and that there was strong evidence many were still alive. Nevertheless, the report was immediately classified, without public explanation.64

From 1991 to 1993, U.S. Senator John Kerry chaired a Senate select committee on POWs, which exposed explosive scandals on the issue. The “committee established one indisputable fact: American prisoners were left behind in Vietnam and other countries where we fought secret wars.”65 Yet the media provided no coverage of this shocking finding.

From these three examples, as well as from most of the other stories in Buzzsaw, emerges an obvious pattern: A story screams to be told in the mainstream media, yet the media do nothing but avoid the evidence and bolster the official account received from intelligence agencies, the military, and the White House. It’s a media that, except for the 60 Minutes “Dead or Alive?” exposé, feed the American public whatever story line the military and government want us to believe.

I am unavoidably reminded of the words of former CIA Director William Casey, who remarked in early February 1981 to then-incoming President Ronald Reagan: “We’ll know our disinformation program is a success when everything the American public believes is false.”66

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So, once again, we see that big media, the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, and big business are all tightly intertwined.

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Sibel Edmonds: A 9/11 story offered on a silver platter

The stories investigated by Levine, Borjesson, and Jensen-Stevenson are highly sensitive issues — issues that, had the truth about them been laid bare, would have seriously threatened key figures in the U.S. power structure during those years. As sensitive as they are, however, the evidence that disproves the official 9/11 story surely surpasses them as an intolerable threat to those in power.

The forensic facts of 9/11 are a peril to the powerful, in part because they are being kept alive by an international truth movement. That movement has persevered and grown over the past 16 years. Its researchers, analysts, and activists continue to exert pressure on the media to report the facts that question the official proclamation.

Will 9/11, therefore, eventually be treated seriously by the media? Health sciences librarian and author Elizabeth Woodworth has written a three-part series, “The Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9 /11 Truth Movement,”67 in which she surveyed media coverage of 9/11 from 2009 through 2014. She found that recent reporting, especially in Europe and Canada, has been more balanced than was the news coverage in the years closer to the tragedy. We may hope this trend will persist, but there are further facts about the media that we should also take into consideration.

It makes sense that on the heels of the devastating 9/11 attacks, journalistic questioning of the official account would have been sparse. After the initial shock was over, however, when family members of the 9/11 victims and independent researchers were digging for answers to anomalies, the press should have begun seriously scrutinizing the official story — and would have, if it had been open-minded, inquisitive, and functioning as a true fourth-estate force to check government assertions.

No such response, however, was forthcoming. And to this day, mainstream media and the “foundation-funded alternative media”68 have still refused to treat this subject with any seriousness or depth — even when an explosive story was offered to them on a silver platter.

Sibel Edmonds blew the whistle when, as a translator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), she discovered and reported malfeasance by the department. Some of these allegations include information that could blow wide open the official 9/11 story.

Dubbed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) “the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America,” Edmonds was subject to the rarely applied “State Secrets Privilege” law. Violating it would mean facing prison. Nevertheless, she argues, this privilege cannot be used to cover up illegal activities that have consequences to public health, security, safety, and welfare.

So in spite of the gag orders, Edmonds offered to go public on any mainstream media outlet — print or broadcast — that would fullycover her story.69 “This is criminal activity. That’s why I went to Congress, to the Courts, to the IG [Inspector General of the FBI]. I am obligated to do so. And that’s what I’ve been doing since 2002.”70

But is Edmonds credible? Let’s see: Her allegations have been confirmed by none other than the “FBI Inspector General, several sitting Senators, both Republican and Democratic, several senior FBI agents, the 9/11 Commission, and dozens of national security and whistleblower advocacy groups.”71 One might conclude, therefore, that any rational media owner would consider her information a safe topic for coverage.

What’s going on, then? In an interview on the subject, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg put the situation in perspective:

I’d say what she has is far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers . . . . in that it deals directly with criminal activity that may involve impeachable offenses . . . . There will be phone calls going out to the media saying “don’t even think of touching it, you will be prosecuted for violating national security.”72

Ellsberg further explained that Edmonds’ story will stay off the radar without mainstream corporate media attention. Thus, her damaging contentions will never be allowed to do harm to the powers that be. Besides, Ellsberg reasoned, Bush, Congress, and the media are all incapable of shame. In his words:

She’s not going to shame the media, unless the public are aware that there is a conflict going on. And only the blog-reading public is aware of that. It’s a fairly large audience, but it’s a small segment of the populace at large. As long as they [the media] hold a united front on this, they don’t run the risk of being shamed.73

Even more perplexing, Sibel Edmonds claims that many of the major publications already have in their hands the information she would reveal. How does she know this?

I know they have it because people from the FBI have come in and given it to them. They’ve given them the documents and specific case-numbers on my case. These are agents that have said to me, “if you can get Congress to subpoena me I’ll come in and tell it under oath.” 74

Apparently, there are honest employees in the FBI who would very much like this evidence to see the light of day.

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Power and structure

So, who and what has censored the truth about crucial stories that we need to know in order to make better decisions in open societies?

What we know from Michael Levine’s experiences is that the infamous CIA itself thwarted his story of high crimes from being reported to the public. From Kristina Borjesson, we learn that the FBI, NTSB, and the Pentagon did everything possible to stop her investigation and to cover up the probable accidental shoot down of TWA 800. Monika Jensen-Stevenson’s investigation of Bobby Garwood’s ordeal was blocked by the intelligence community and the Pentagon. As for the gagging of Sibel Edmonds, we find the FBI and the Department of Justice at the top of the culprit list.75

As though in a legal hearing, these four journalists and whistleblowers are our witnesses, testifying to us of their experiences — experiences that patently demonstrate how our corporate-owned media and much of the alternative media have become controlled. Unlike the officially managed media in closed societies, such as the state-operated radio, television, and print press in the former Soviet Union, media control in relatively open Western societies is invisible to ordinary citizens. Ironically, then, the Western media, covertly directed from behind the scenes, has become an even more effective tool for disseminating propaganda.

Award-winning Australian journalist John Pilger pungently observes:

Long before the Soviet Union broke up, a group of Russian writers touring the United States were astonished to find, after reading the newspapers and watching television, that almost all the opinions on all the vital issues were the same. “In our country,” said one of them, “to get that result we have a dictatorship. We imprison people. We tear out their fingernails. Here you have none of that. How do you do it? What’s the secret?”

The secret is a form of censorship more insidious than a totalitarian state could ever hope to achieve. The myth is the opposite. Constitutional freedoms unmatched anywhere else guard against censorship; the press is a “fourth estate,” a watchdog on democracy. The journalism schools boast this reputation, the influential East Coast press is especially proud of it, epitomised by the liberal paper of record, The New York Times, with its masthead slogan: “All the news that’s fit to print.”

It takes only a day or two back in the US to be reminded of how deep state censorship runs. It is censorship by omission, and voluntary.76

Of course, in each of the four cases presented, the corporate-owned media and the foundation-funded alternative media became the shills, enabling the cover-ups of these State Crimes Against Democracy by loyally reporting only what those in charge wanted them to report.77

When one analyzes all of the 19 stories in Buzzsaw, a more complete list emerges of the entities that censor information from being given to or shared by the broadcast or print media. When the curtain is pulled back, we discover powerful puppeteers such as the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, military intelligence, media owners with conflicting political agendas, the White House, advertisers, powerful family dynasties, and extremely wealthy individuals pulling the strings of the marionette media.

To summarize: The press, an institution that should be the preeminent truth-teller in a democratic society, is thoroughly corrupt because of the inordinate influence wielded by hidden heavy-hitters. We can call this the “influence of the powerful.”

But that’s not the full picture.

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Further analysis of Buzzsaw narratives — as well as accounts in many other books and films by media critics78 — reveals that the rest of the story of news suppression and journalist co-option involves the corporate structure itself. Our global media have become subsidiaries of massive corporate conglomerates that do business in many other industries, including the manufacture of weapons for the military. These mega-corporations, in turn, contribute huge sums of money to members of Congress as well as enormous research grants to universities. In his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex.79But he surely knew that, in reality, the U.S. is saddled with the military-industrial-congressional-academic-media complex that is working overtime to achieve its own narrow goals, not for the benefit for the majority of citizens, not for the country as a whole.

But why is there an inherent conflict of interest between the corporate structure of the news media and truth-telling? In a nutshell, corporations must meet stringent requirements to be publicly traded on a stock exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ. With their financial and reporting requirements, stock exchanges — and the institutional investors that own the stocks traded on them — pressure these mega-conglomerates to grow profits from one quarter to the next, one year to the next. Moreover, the news portion of the conglomerate is expected to generate the same financial results as its non-news counterparts. Therefore, profit-making, not truth-telling, necessarily becomes the bottom line for a publicly traded corporation. The primary aim of earning profits, accomplished through both cutting costs and boosting revenues, exerts tremendous pressure on news budgets. The effect of this facet of Wall Street on media conglomerates will be fleshed out in Part 22.

This media corporate structure is, of course, tightly tied to the previously discussed influence of the powerful. Just as bones and muscles seamlessly work together as a unit to control our physical actions, these two aspects of media — its structure and the influence of the powerful — seamlessly work together to control media’s actions. But in this case, regrettably, they cooperate for the exclusive benefit of the mega-conglomerates and the special interests of individuals holding positions of undue power. Obviously, this structure stunts the media’s ability and willingness to tell the truth — a key requirement for a healthy nation.

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Pressure on the media to conform to a “consensus”80 view of the world, therefore, comes from both powerful entities and from the corporate structure itself. Pressure produces fear, and, not surprisingly, fears abound in the “news factories”:81

  • Fear of not meeting financial analysts’ expectations for the next quarter’s increase in profits.
  • Fear of low TV news ratings.
  • Fear of litigation by powerful corporations such as Phillip Morris and Monsanto or by other non-corporate but equally powerful entities.
  • Fear of the withdrawal of ads by Madison Avenue’s mega advertisers.
  • Fear of attacks by other media outlets if reporters or editors veer from a “consensus” viewpoint.
  • Fear of persecution by an employer if the reporter refuses to toe that media outlet’s party line.
  • Fear of the consequences of not telling a story that other media are telling, even if it is not a credible story.
  • Fear of offending influential local public figures or groups.

And so on. The stress resulting from those fears is enormous. Fear and stress, as we know, are anathema to truth-telling.82

Conclusion

At this point, we may be wondering: “Where are the truth-warrior journalists whose bread is not buttered by the media mega-corporations and who could therefore bring the 9/11 issue to the public’s attention?”

More specifically, we may be asking: Why do Amy Goodman, Chris Hedges, John Nichols, Matt Taibbi, Greg Palast, Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, Bill Moyers (one of my heroes), Robert Parry,83 Seymour Hersh, and others who speak up courageously and cogently on controversial issues — even Wikileaks founder Julian Assange — become strangely silent or else erupt in defensive anger or ridicule when questioned about 9/11 evidence that refutes the official account? There appears to be a 9/11 threshold over which none of them dare cross. They don’t need a degree in structural engineering to understand the obvious signature of controlled demolition of the three World Trade Center buildings — and, more importantly, the dire implications of that evidence. Nor do they need to be aerospace experts to understand 9/11’s air defense failures or spooks to grasp the intelligence agency failures. In short, each of them is intelligent enough to reach the conclusion that there’s something terribly amiss with the story we have been told by authorities.

So what gives?

Along with hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of other 9/11 skeptics, I’m dying to know, but can only speculate. I seriously doubt that any of these journalists, who are surely educated about the dark side of U.S. history — including the fact that false flag operations are routinely staged as pretexts for wars — are prone to denial as a means of avoiding cognitive dissonance. But I could be wrong.

Obviously, though, they’re savvy enough to realize that the subject is taboo. Several of my friends and I have speculated more than once about their motives. Are they worried about being blacklisted from reporting on the issues that are especially important to them? Afraid of relinquishing their bully pulpit? Dreading loss of funding from foundations that support them?84 Anxious at the thought of imperiling their lives or the lives of family members? Distrustful that telling the truth about 9/11 — a conspiracy that implies unprecedented perfidy by elements within our government — could eventually result in a healthier nation and world?

I finally decided to reach out to Kristina Borjesson with this question. After all, she’s been deeply entrenched in the profession, is well-known and respected as a truth-teller, and has suffered the consequences of attempting to report the facts about the controversial TWA 800 story. Her insider analysis certainly holds more weight than my outsider surmisings, so I share her answer with you:

They are talented journalists and have worked hard to navigate between reporting that goes right up to the line of what is acceptable to the powers-that-be and reporting that goes over the line and would cost them everything. It took Parry years to get over being blackballed for his Newsweek reporting on Iran-Contra. When he was at The New York Times, Hedges was reprimanded by his bosses after he criticized what was happening in Iraq while giving a commencement address in 2003. These individuals would immediately become targets for marginalization, loss of funding, and/or outlets for their work, or even worse forms of retaliation if they crossed the line, because they have achieved a “critical mass” audience — i.e., a big enough audience to create problems for the powers-that-be if used to counter official narratives on third rail issues. If they did that they would attract dangerous if not fatal attention from powers-that-be. The fact that they are widely viewed as good journalists not beholden to the powers-that-be makes them dangerous, but not too dangerous. They would only become dispensable if they invested that credibility in scrutinizing the ultimate third rail issue — 9/11. They’re doing a lot of good carefully hoeing the rows they’re hoeing now, and that would all go down the tubes if they turned their attention to looking into whether or not the official narrative about 9/11 is true. [My emphasis.]

Another exemplary investigative journalist — one who wishes to remain anonymous — had this to say:

Brave reporters know just how far they can go before risking their lives. Some have taken risks regardless, perhaps naïvely, perhaps not, and their “suicides” [or “accidents”] have sent a clear message. Gary Webb and Michael Hastings come to mind.85

Before I cease speculating, let me for one moment assume that I’m wrong — that at least some of these journalists are literally incapable of conceiving that criminal elements are embedded in our government. Were that the case, it is understandable that they would be in deep denial. For, as Graeme MacQueen writes in an article whose title includes the words “beyond their wildest dreams,” one must first be able to imagine — to conceive — that officials could have orchestrated the attacks of 9/11. “Once the imagination stops filtering out a hypothesis and allows it into the realm of the possible,” then the hypothesis, the Canadian 9/11 researcher explains, “can be put to the test. Evidence and reason must now do the job.”86

Alternatively, it is possible that some of these relatively independent journalists are not in denial at all, but rather that their clear grasp of the implications of the 9/11 evidence has them shaking in their boots at the thought of challenging fundamental beliefs about their own country. Gary Sick, President Carter’s National Security Council liaison, elucidates this phenomenon in his book, The October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan:

We in Washington are accustomed to the petty scandals of Washington politics. However, there is another category of offenses, described by the French poet Andre Chenier as “les crimes puissants qui font trembler les lois,” crimes so great that they make the laws themselves tremble. . . . For example, when the Iran-Contra scandal exploded in 1986, both the Congress and the national mainstream media pulled up short. . . . The laws trembled at the prospect of a political trial that threatened to shatter the compact of trust between the rulers and the ruled, a compact that was the foundation upon which the very law itself rested. . . . . The lesson was clear: accountability declines as the magnitude of the crime and the power of those charged increase.87

Similar to Sick’s description is this revelation by former Pentagon official and retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski of what journalists have confided to her:

I have been told by reporters that they will not report their own insights or contrary evaluations of the official 9/11 story, because to question the government story about 9/11 is to question the very foundations of our entire modern belief system regarding our government, our country, and our way of life. To be charged with questioning these foundations is far more serious than being labeled a disgruntled conspiracy nut or anti-government traitor, or even being sidelined or marginalized within an academic, government service, or literary career. To question the official 9/11 story is simply and fundamentally revolutionary. In this way, of course, questioning the official story is also simply and fundamentally American.88

Whatever the reason each of the aforementioned journalists — and their other brave and gifted colleagues — have for their tomb-like silence about 9/11, I hold out the hope that one day we will hear their confessions — genuine, penitent confessions, not simply face-saving excuses.

Some Americans may fear that a real investigation into the events surrounding 9/11 could challenge our entire political system to the point of paralysis. But this is fear of fear itself and is a ruse of the mind. A real investigation would actually put our system to work as the framers of this country’s founding documents intended — preventing the further encroachment of tyranny.

Think of the alternative: If 9/11 is never officially uncovered as the cruel false flag that it was, more such monstrosities will surely be perpetrated by such conscience-less criminals. The results would include millions more deaths, many millions more refugees, even more extensive pollution and the ensuing illnesses engendered by massive military conflicts, and the exponential expansion of worldwide chaos. Which option would you choose: more false flags and other treacherous deceptions — with their accompanying fallout — or the righting of our government so it will operate by the people and for the people?

If we decided, as a nation, to shine light into the cave of corruption underlying 9/11, what would be required to expose the wrongdoing and the wrongdoers? Congress would have to find within itself the fortitude to commence an unbiased investigation or, better yet, to authorize an independent investigation with subpoena power and a mandate to grant immunity to insiders who tell all they know. These subpoena and immunity provisions would enable the independent prosecutor to convict and sentence 9/11’s key perpetrators.

That’s what would happen in a corruption-free system. And that’s what the 9/11 Truth Movement is demanding. In theory, our political system should already have brought us that official, impartial investigation. In practice, though, we find a different political reality.

A massive unearthing of the facts of this shockingly treacherous deed — a deed almost certainly planned and executed by U.S. political figures, military brass, intelligence operatives, corporate elites, and others (including foreign parties) — would allow us to peer into the inner workings of the minds, the values, and the system that have spawned and sustained our currently corrupted institutions. One would hope that, as part of this unearthing, the names of complicit members of the media who shilled for, ignored, or concealed the corruption would also be dredged up and exposed to the light. Perhaps this excavation of 9/11 will one day come to pass, as most of us believe was the case with World War II by way of the Nuremburg Trials,89 so that humanity can move beyond the inhumane, unjust, unsustainable conditions in which we now live, and toward the peaceful and sustainable world most of us can envision.

In the meantime, let’s be clear that our mainstream media and much of the so-called alternative media are simply extensions of our corporatized, crooked political system.

Yet to some, such as my urbane acquaintance on the patio in the foothills above Denver, The New York Times appears liberal and independent. Why?

One reason is that there are two types of political issues — with overlap, of course. On social issues such as abortion, race, gender, and immigration, the media have been given leeway to be liberal, even when this stance contradicts a conservative president or Congress. But with third rail issues such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, big-business profits, war, or the false flag nature of 9/11, mainstream media march in lockstep with their government and corporate news sources, repeating their narratives ad nauseam. Official suppression of the truth, journalists’ self-censorship, and prosecution of whistleblowers regularly accompany these third rail issues.90 As a journalist friend tersely remarked, “It’s okay to be liberal with domestic issues, but don’t mess with the empire.”

A side note: Occasionally, reports on third rail issues unexpectedly pop up in the corporate-owned press, but these online reports can be “disappeared” in a flash, since many mainstream media outlets do not allow their articles to be archived on the Internet. One example of this censorship is The New York Times’ threat in 2006 to sue WanttoKnow.info for posting a December 25, 2001, Times article that actually questioned the collapses of the Twin Towers on 9/11!91

Fortunately, some of the alternative media push boundaries and cross into these third rail territories. But, unfortunately, few of them dare cross the threshold of acceptability into the 9/11 issue.92

The preponderance of evidence we gathered from our exploration of the cases of Michael Levine, Kristina Borjesson, Monika Jensen-Stevenson, and Sibel Edmonds demonstrates that the corporate-owned media, by and large, remain loyal stenographers of those in power. Thus, I won’t hold my breath that they will address 9/11 seriously, honestly, or with any profundity. Rather, I predict they will not attempt to connect dots and draw a picture of reality — not as long as that reality differs from the contrived news that the holders of power insist we swallow. Nor will they report on the context of the 9/11 wars — though they ought to follow up on Charlotte Dennett’s marvelous, must-read article, “The Global War on Terror and the Great Game for Oil: How the Media Missed the Context.”93 They most likely will do none of these things, at least not in my lifetime.

In summary, my study of the modern-day media has revealed that the active censoring parties are powerful institutions and individuals working seamlessly with the corporate media structure.But a critical, as-yet-unexamined piece of the puzzle is the self-censorship that naturally arises from the culture within the media monoliths. Indeed, it doesn’t take long for an astute journalist to learn to self-censor if he or she hopes to remain employed.

Former Federal Communications commissioner Nicholas Johnson (1966 – 1973) succinctly describes the process of self-censorship:

A reporter . . . first comes up with an investigative story idea, writes it up and submits it to the editor and is told the story is not going to run. He wonders why, but the next time he is cautious enough to check with the editor first. He is told by the editor that it would be better not to write that story. The third time he thinks of an investigative story idea but doesn’t bother the editor with it because he knows it’s silly. The fourth time he doesn’t even think of the idea anymore.94

“One might add a fifth time,” writes historian Michael Parenti, “when the reporter bristles with indignation at the suggestion that he is on an ideological leash and is not part of a free and democratic press.”95

As for the question I posed, “Whatever happened to investigative journalists?”: If my conclusion seems too conspiratorial, I urge you to examine the nineteen accounts of insider journalists in Buzzsaw.They are essential reading for anyone seeking to understand what happens to journalists when they attempt to report on issues inconvenient to power brokers or various elements within the corporate structure. From these accounts we learn how investigative reporters are ground up by the system that controls, suppresses, manipulates, and distorts the very facts we require to be informed and functioning citizens of a free society.

I trust you’ll also read the works of other insider journalists whom I will be citing in these four segments. Plus, you’ll probably find still other sources on your own. If you come to a conclusion that differs from mine, I hope you will contact me in the spirit of continuing this crucial conversation.

On a positive note, let me say that we 9/11 Truth activists have done exactly what Michael Levine, Kristina Borjesson, Monika Jensen-Stevenson, and Sibel Edmonds have done: We’ve become the media. Observe the research being undertaken; the books and films and articles and online blogs being written; the array of videos, from pithy to lengthy, that are being produced. Witness the perseverance and passion of 9/11 victims’ family members, who are intent on winning a real investigation into the greatest crime of the 21st century. All around me, I see warriors for truth who are refusing to let information be stifled and are mounting vigorous grassroots media efforts that, according to many polls,96 have successfully challenged the mainstream media’s repetition of the official 9/11 account.

My curiosity now takes me in a different direction and wonders, “Was the press always so intertwined with those in power? Were the media always such efficient transcribers of the “leaks” and press releases from the Pentagon, from the so-called intelligence community, and from the executive branch? How exactly does the organizational structure of the mainstream media promote censorship? What happened to the laudable goal of reporting the truth? In sum, what happened to our “free press” — our cherished fourth estate?

In the next installment, I will answer these questions by briefly chronicling the history of the American press. Then I’ll delve into more detail regarding the causes of censorship. First, though, to demonstrate the depth of denial — or perhaps vehement avoidance — that journalists are apt to display when confronted with questions about significant outside influences (notably the CIA) that dominate today’s news organizations, I’ll tell a personal story about a public altercation I had with a 40-year journalist from The New York Times.

Notes

1 See “ASNE Statement of Principles,” http://asne.org/content.asp?pl=24&sl=171&contentid=171.

Also see Elizabeth Woodworth, “Ethical Reflections on the 9/11 Controversy: The Responsibility of the Media to Tell the Truth,” https://www.globalresearch.ca/ethical-reflections-on-the-9-11-controversy-the-responsibility-of-the-media-to-to-tell-the-truth/21156.

2 Nick Davies, Flat Earth News: An award-winning reporter exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media (Vintage, 2009), 32.

3 Edward S. Herman, The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward S. Herman Reader (Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers, November 1999).

Also, see the documentary “The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News.” For a summary of the points made in this documentary, see http://hope.journ.wwu.edu/tpilgrim/j190/mythlibmediavidsum.html.

4 This DVD can be found within the covers of Canadian journalist and media-critic Barrie Zwicker’s seminal book Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11 (New Society Publishers, 2006). Towers of Deception remains at the time of this writing the only book dedicated to analyzing the media cover-up of evidence that challenges the official 9/11 account. Find more information about this DVD at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrie_Zwicker or at https://www.amazon.com/Towers-Deception-Media-Cover-up-11/dp/0865715734.

5 Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, The War on Freedom: How and Why America Was Attacked on September 11, 2001 (Tree of Life Publications, 2002).

6 For an example, see J. R. Thorpe, “How Were Suffragettes Treated by the Media?” at https://www.bustle.com/p/how-were-suffragettes-treated-by-the-media-55319.

7 Barrie Zwicker, Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11(New Society Publishers, 2006), chap. 2.

8 Be aware that there are many websites, books, and DVDs that, while glitzy in their appearance and seductive in their allure, appear to be misinformation or disinformation, disseminated perhaps malevolently, perhaps innocently. The following are a few of the credible resources for your perusal and further study. The information contained in them is accessible to a wide range of readers, from the layperson to the scientifically minded:

9 The “anchoring effect” refers to the common human proclivity to rely heavily on the first piece of information offered (“the anchor”) when making a decision or judgment. There is a cognitive bias toward interpreting other information in relation to the anchor.

10 See http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx.

11 For research on what makes people trust and rely on news, see https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/trust-news/single-page.

12 See http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx.

13 Ibid.

14 See http://www.gallup.com/poll/192665/americans-confidence-newspapers-new-low.aspx?g_source=position2&g_medium=related&g_campaign=tiles.

15 See http://www.gallup.com/poll/192581/americans-confidence-institutions-stays-low.aspx?g_source=position1&g_medium=related&g_campaign=tiles.

16 See http://www.gallup.com/poll/183605/confidence-branches-government-remains-low.aspx?g_source=position3&g_medium=related&g_campaign=tiles.

17 See http://www.gallup.com/poll/203207/trump-job-approval-weekly.aspx and http://www.gallup.com/poll/202811/trump-sets-new-low-point-inaugural-approval-rating.aspx.

18 See https://www.forbes.com/sites/brettedkins/2017/02/23/poll-finds-that-more-americans-trust-the-media-than-donald-trump/#1cf5af01105d.

19 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_rail_of_politics.

20 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_McKinney.

21 This eagerness has been reported to me by key 9/11 activists who have told me of their conversations with reporters working for mainstream news corporations. These journalists are keenly aware that any story they might write that contradicts the official 9/11 account would not be published. Furthermore, they would likely be terminated from their jobs or at least sidelined into meaningless positions within the company. So this situation is a “Catch-22,” in that if they were to slip the bonds of silence imposed on them and run with a verboten story, they would be silenced!

22 James Rosen, “Watergate: CIA withheld data on double agent” (FoxNews.com, August 30, 2016) http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/08/30/watergate-cia-withheld-data-on-double-agent.html.

The CIA document titled “Working Draft—CIA Watergate History” can be found at http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/jw-v-cia-watergate-cia-report-00146.

23 Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years(Bloomsbury Press, New York, 2009) chapters 9–11. Note: Speculation on the motivation for ousting President Nixon from the White House varies from author to author.

24 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_depletion_allowance.

25 Peter Dale Scott, in The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (University of California Press, 2007). Scott defines the term “deep state” as the covert parts of government that respond to wealthy private influences as those influences shape government policy outside of normal democratic processes

26 A “closed society” is synonymous with a totalitarian one, in which there is no freedom of thought and expression without punishment by the state apparatus. For descriptions of both open and closed societies, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_society.

Naomi Wolf, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot(Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007). Wolf shows ten steps that dictators or would-be dictators always take when they wish to close down an open society. She describes how each of those steps is being implemented in the U.S. today.

27 Charlotte Dennett, “The War on Terror and the Great Game for Oil: How the Media Missed the Context,” Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, ed. Kristina Borjesson (Promethius Books, 2004).

28 Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power(Simon & Schuster; 1st edition, January 1991).

29 Kristina Borjesson, ed., Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press (Promethius Books, 2004).

For short summaries of some Buzzaw stories, see http://www.wanttoknow.info/massmedia.

30 Michael Levine, “Mainstream Media: The Drug War’s Shills,” Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, ed. Kristina Borjesson (Promethius Books, 2004).

31 Levine, “Mainstream Media,” 166.

32 Levine, “Mainstream Media,” 167.

33 A few exceptions appear to prove the rule that CIA involvement in drug running receives a stunning silence from the media.

An early exception to the media silence was a Frontline program first aired May 17, 1988. See transcript: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/archive/gunsdrugscia.html.

A later one was this 1993 New York Times article: “The CIA Drug Connection is as Old as the Agency”: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/03/opinion/03iht-edlarry.html.

More recently, on October 10, 2014, The Huffington Post broached this topic. See “Key Figures in CIA-Crack Cocaine Scandal Begin to Come Forward” at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/gary-webb-dark-alliance_n_5961748.html. This article vindicates Gary Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The San Jose Mercury News, the paper that published his 1996 “Dark Alliance” series on the CIA/crack cocaine/Contra alliance, an exposé for which Webb was smeared by the mainstream media (via the hidden hand of the CIA) and for which he lost his job and perhaps his life. Webb’s story, featured in Into the Buzzsaw, and his supposed “suicide” are told in the 2014 movie Kill the Messenger.

Even more recently, in June 2017, to my astonishment, A&E Networks, via its History channel, aired “America’s War on Drugs,” an eight-hour series in four episodes, which actually tells the truth about the CIA’s overarching control of the worldwide drug trade. I say “actually” because let’s not forget that in these last 16 years, the History channel has played a major role in supporting the official 9/11 story and obfuscating facts that contradict that narrative. Since the drug war was declared 44 years ago by Nixon, does this mean that we will have to wait until 2045 — 44 years from September 11, 2001 — for the History channel to tell us the real story about 9/11? Maybe. But let’s hope that revelations of truth — on all fronts — will come at a much faster pace in today’s world.

Toward the end of the first episode of “America’s War on Drugs,” there is a taped conversation between John Ehrlichman, counsel and chief domestic advisor under President Nixon, and a Harper’s Magazine journalist, which took place decades after the “war on drugs” was declared. Here is Ehrlichman’s chilling admission of deep politics at play:

“The Nixon campaign had two enemies, the antiwar left and Black people,” Ehrlichman said. “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and the Blacks with heroin and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

To watch this series, see http://www.history.com/shows/americas-war-on-drugs.

34 In Britain, the Serious Crime Act is a law that designates enablers of crime (such as solicitors, accountants, and other professionals) to be as guilty as those who actively commit the crime. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serious_Crime_Act_2014 and https://www.palmerslaw.co.uk/articles/law-body-concerned-over-professional-enabler-offence.

35 Levine, “Mainstream Media,” 192.

36 Some people call our system of government a democracy, but this is not technically correct. According to the founders, we have a republic (“if you can keep it,” quipped Benjamin Franklin). I prefer to use the term “constitutional democratic republic” because while our republican system of government is based in the U.S. Constitution, we use democratic processes for choosing our representatives.

37 Kristina Borjesson, “Into the Buzzsaw,” Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, ed. Kristina Borjesson (Promethius Books, 2004), 318.

Watch this video to see how the CIA team built a false narrative to discredit the eyewitnesses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyluFVxqBlo.

38 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWA_Flight_800.

39 Borjesson, “Buzzsaw,” 317.

40 Ibid.

41 Kristina Borjesson, “Into the Buzzsaw,” Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, ed. Kristina Borjesson (Promethius Books, 2004).

42 Borjesson, “Buzzsaw,” 284.

43 Ibid.

44 Borjesson, “Buzzsaw,” 286–287.

45 See http://www1.ae911truth.org/downloads/documents/primer_paint_Niels_Harrit.pdf.

46 See NIST’s “Frequently Asked Questions” about the collapses of WTC 7 and the Twin Towers: https://www.nist.gov/pba/questions-and-answers-about-nist-wtc-7-investigation and https://www.nist.gov/el/faqs-nist-wtc-towers-investigation.

47 David Ray Griffin, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False (Olive Branch Press, 2010) chapters 7–10.

Chris Sarns, “Fraud Exposed in NIST WTC 7 Reports,” Parts 1–5:
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/317-news-media-events-fraud-exposed-in-nist-wtc-7-reports-part-1.html
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/318-news-media-events-fraud-exposed-in-nist-wtc-7-reports-part-2.html
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/319-news-media-events-fraud-exposed-in-nist-wtc-7-reports-part-3.html
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/320-news-media-events-fraud-exposed-in-nist-wtc-7-reports-part-4.html
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/321-news-media-events-fraud-exposed-in-nist-wtc-7-reports-part-5.html

Simon Falkner and Chris Sarns, “NIST’s WTC 7 Reports: Filled with Fantasy, Fiction and Fraud,” Parts 1–6:
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/186-news-media-events-1-of-6-nist-fraud.html
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/190-news-media-events-2-of-6-nist-fraud.html
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/197-news-media-events-3-of-6-nist-fraud-3.html
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/206-news-media-events-4-of-6-nist-fraud-4.html
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/215-news-media-events-5-of-6-nist-fraud-5.html
http://www.ae911truth.org/news/217-news-media-events-6-of-6-nist-fraud-6.html

48 See http://cryptome.org/nist070709.pdf.

49 See http://www.denverpost.com/2009/09/25/carroll-public-tv-and-the-truthers and http://colorado911truth.org/2009/08/denver-post-publishes-hit-piece-on-kbdi-and-9-11-truth. See Denver Postarticle: http://www.denverpost.com/2009/08/19/kbdi-pushes-limits-on-controversial-pledge-tie-ins.

See the response by Colorado 9/11 Truth and friends to these two hit pieces: http://colorado911truth.org/2009/10/open-letter-to-the-denver-post.

50 Borjesson, “Buzzsaw,” 304.

51 See Lance deHaven-Smith, “Frequently Asked Questions about State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADs)”: http://dehaven-smith.com/faq/default.html.

52 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero%27s_journey and http://www.mythologyteacher.com/documents/TheHeroJourney.pdf.

53 See https://www.amazon.com/Twa-Flight-800-Kristina-Borjesson/dp/B00GDIHO5M.

54 See http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/20/did_us_govt_lie_about_twa.

55 Monika Jensen-Stevenson, “Verdict First, Evidence Later: The Case for Bobby Garwood,” Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, ed. Kristina Borjesson (Promethius Books, 2004).

56 Jensen-Stevenson, “Verdict First,” 263 and 278.

57 Jensen-Stevenson, “Verdict First,” 263–264.

58 Jensen-Stevenson, “Verdict First,” 271.

59 Jensen-Stevenson, “Verdict First,” 260.

60 Ibid.

61 Monika Jensen-Stevenson, Spite House: The Last Secret of the War in Vietnam (W W Norton & Co Inc; 1st ed. edition, March 1997).

62 Jensen-Stevenson, “Verdict First,” 275–276.

63 Ibid.

64 Jensen-Stevenson, “Verdict First,” 260.

65 Jensen-Stevenson, “Verdict First,” 277.

66 In a personal e-mail to me, Barbara Honegger confirmed that she was the source of this quote, having been in attendance as the then-White House Policy Analyst at the February 1981 meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room with President Reagan and his new cabinet secretaries and agency heads. New CIA Director William Casey spoke these words in response to a question the President put to all of the cabinet secretaries and agency heads: “What are your main goals for your department or agency?” Having worked with radio show host Mae Brussell upon returning to California from the White House, Honegger was also the source for Brussell’s second-hand report about Casey’s words. Honegger also said she recalls Casey saying “. . . program is a success . . .,” rather than “. . . program is complete.” For further detail on Honegger’s account of this quote, see http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2015/01/15/did-cia-director-william-casey-really-say-well-know-our-disinformation-program-is-complete-when-everything-the-american-public-believes-is-false.

67 Elizabeth Woodworth, “The Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9/11 Truth Movement.” See especially Parts II and III: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-media-response-to-the-growing-influence-of-the-9-11-truth-movement-2/17624 and http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-911-attacks-keeping-the-lid-on-the-lie-media-response-to-the-growing-influence-of-the-911-truth-movement/5373217.

68 I have borrowed this term from Dr. Kevin Barrett, who has observed that the alternative media that receive major funding from foundations are the ones that refuse to report on evidence that contradicts the official 9/11 narrative, implying that they would lose their funding if they step over the 9/11 threshold. I cannot say with any certainty why these particular alternative media will not address 9/11 with any seriousness or depth, but I suspect his analysis is largely correct.

69 “Exclusive: Daniel Ellsberg Says Sibel Edmonds Case ‘Far More Explosive Than Pentagon Papers,’” http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5260.

70 “Exclusive: FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is Ready to Talk!” http://www.bradblog.com/?p=2498. This article contains a general list of Edmonds’ allegations.

71 “Exclusive: Daniel Ellsberg Says,” http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5260.

72 Ibid.

73 Ibid.

74 Ibid.

75 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sibel_Edmonds.

76 John Pilger, “In the freest press on earth, humanity is reported in terms of its usefulness to US power,” February 20, 2001. See http://web.archive.org/web/20050307033903/http://pilger.carlton.com/print/47638.

77 For a thumbnail sketch of why the true events of 9/11 — as well as other issues that threaten powerful interests, our political system, or U.S. foreign policy — are not covered in the media, see Washington’s Blog, “7 Reasons that the Corporate Media Is Pro-War”: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/12/7-reasons-corporate-media-pro-war.html.

78 Here are a few books (besides Kristina Borjesson’s Into the Buzzsaw) illuminating how press censorship occurs, via both the influence of the powerful and the corporate structure:

  • Ben H. Bagdikian, The New Media Monopoly (Beacon Press, 2004).
  • Kristina Borjesson, Editor, Feet to the Fire: The Media After 9/11—Top Journalists Speak Out (Prometheus Books, 2005).
  • Robert Cirino, Don’t Blame the People (Random House; First Vintage Books Edition, 1972).
  • Alex Constantine, Virtual Government (Feral House, 1997).
  • Deborah Davis, Katharine The Great: Katharine Graham And Her Washington Post Empire (Sheridan Square Press, 1991).
  • Lance deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America(University of Texas Press, 2013).
  • Edward S.Herman, The Myth of the Liberal Media: An Edward S. Herman Reader (Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers, November 1999).
  • Yahya R. Kamalipour and Nancy Snow, eds., War, Media, and Propaganda: A Global Perspective (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2004).
  • Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect — Revised and Updated Third Edition (Three Rivers Press, 2014).
  • Robert W. McChesney, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy (The New Press, 2013).
  • Robert W. McChesney, Our Unfree Press (The New Press, 2004).
  • Robert W. McChesney, Rich Media, Poor Democracy (The New Press; new edition June 2, 2015).
  • Michael Parenti, Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media(St. Martin’s Press, 1993).
  • Nancy Snow, Information War: American Propaganda, Free Speech an Opinion Control Since 9-11 (Hushion House, Toronto, 2003).
  • Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (Harvard University Press, 2008).
  • Barrie Zwicker, Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11 (New Society Publishers, 2006).

And here are a few films about press censorship, each of which can be found by an Internet search: “The War You Don’t See” (John Pilger); “Buying the War” (Bill Moyers); “The Myth of the Liberal Media” (Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky); “Fear and Favor in the Newsroom”; “Who’s Afraid of Rupert Murdoch?” (by Jim Gilmore on Frontline); and “Psywar” and “The Power Principle—Part 2: Propaganda” (two Metanoia Films by Scott Noble).

79 See https://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/farewell_address/Reading_Copy.pdfand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY.

80 The term “consensus” has different meanings depending on the context. In this context, the term refers to the media echo chamber, which begins with some reporters parroting an official account and others jumping on the bandwagon without deeper investigation or analysis.

81 “News factories” is a descriptive term from Davies’ Flat Earth News.

82 This information is a compilation from Borjesson’s Into the Buzzsaw and Davies’ Flat Earth News. It is also found in dozens of media critics’ books, DVDs, and articles, some listed in endnote 78.

83 See “9/11: Why Do Bill Moyers and Robert Parry Accept Miracles?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKJGsCPrdfw.

84 For compelling information on funding and relationships of some of the Left alternative media, which have been censoring 9/11 Truth, see “Norman Solomon: FAIR/Institute for Public Accuracy” at http://www.oilempire.us/solomon.html.

85 Regarding the controversy of Michael Hastings’ death by accident, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hastings_(journalist).

Regarding the controversy of Gary Webb’s death by suicide, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb.

Also see Ryan Devereaux, “Managing a Nightmare: How the CIA Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb,” at https://theintercept.com/2014/09/25/managing-nightmare-cia-media-destruction-gary-webb.

Whether these deaths were murders or not, the psychological agony, even terror, that intelligence agencies can inflict on reporters serves as a warning to other journalists to watch their step. Simply the controversy surrounding these deaths has an unmistakably chilling effect on any journalist who may be considering stepping into third rail territory.

86 Graeme MacQueen, “The ‘Inside Job’ Hypothesis of the 9/11 Attacks: JFK, 9/11 and the American Left: Beyond Their Wildest Dreams,” https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-inside-job-hypothesis-of-the-911-attacks-911-and-the-american-left/5579911; https://truthandshadows.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/911-and-american-left/#more-4073.

87 From Russ Baker’s article “Why We Don’t Get—And Don’t Want to Hear—the Truth,” April 4, 2014, https://whowhatwhy.org/2014/04/04/dont-get-dont-want-hear-truth.

88 David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott, eds., 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (Olive Branch Press, 2007), 26.

89 Many weaknesses purportedly plagued the Nuremberg trials, making them a less-than-ideal standard for future trials. Critics cite the double standard that exempted the Allies from being charged with crimes similar to those of the Nazis. Other faults may have existed, but this vast subject is beyond the scope of my essay. In the final analysis, though, these historic trials became the model and impetus for the Genocide Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Nuremberg Principles, the Convention on the Abolition of the Statute of Limitations on War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, and the Geneva Convention.

To understand the roadblocks to indicting today’s U.S. war criminals, see an interview with Rebecca Gordon, Ph.D., regarding her book, American Nuremberg, on RT’s “Watching the Hawks,” April 6, 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcRNhg-R4Sg.

90 My thanks to Kristina Borjesson for the information in this paragraph and for educating me about the distinction between social issues and third rail issues and how they are each treated by the press.

91 See https://www.wanttoknow.info/011225nytimes. For other examples of media cover-ups, see https://www.wanttoknow.info/massmedianewsarticles.

92 Exemplary independent news sources on the subject of 9/11 include Global Research (http://www.globalresearch.ca); The Corbett Report (https://www.corbettreport.com); and Sibel Edmonds’ Newsbud (https://www.newsbud.com).

93 Charlotte Dennett, “The War on Terror and the Great Game for Oil: How the Media Missed the Context,” Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, ed. Kristina Borjesson (Promethius Books, 2004).

94 Quote found in Michael Parenti’s Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media, Second Ed. (St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1993) 41.

95 Ibid.

96 See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polls_about_9/11_conspiracy_theories. Also, http://rethink911.org/news/new-poll-finds-most-americans-open-to-alternative-911-theories.

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Hong Kong, torna il «Trattato di Nanchino»

September 17th, 2019 by Manlio Dinucci

Centinaia di giovani cinesi, davanti al Consolato britannico a Hong Kong, cantano «Dio Salvi la Regina» e gridano «Gran Bretagna salva Hong Kong», appello raccolto a Londra da 130 parlamentari che chiedono di dare la cittadinanza britannica ai residenti dell’ex colonia. La Gran Bretagna viene fatta apparire così all’opinione pubblica mondiale, specie ai giovani, quale garante di legalità e diritti umani. Per farlo si cancella la Storia. E’ quindi necessaria, prima di altre considerazioni, la conoscenza delle vicende storiche che, nella prima metà dell’Ottocento, portano il territorio cinese di Hong Kong sotto dominio britannico.

Per penetrare in Cina, governata allora dalla dinastia Qing, la Gran Bretagna ricorre allo smercio di oppio, che trasporta via mare dall’India dove ne detiene il monopolio. Il mercato della droga si diffonde rapidamente nel paese, provocando gravi danni economici, fisici, morali e sociali che suscitano la reazione delle autorità cinesi. Ma quando esse confiscano a Canton l’oppio immagazzinato e lo bruciano, le truppe britanniche occupano con la prima Guerra dell’Oppio questa e altre città costiere, costringendo la Cina a firmare nel 1842 il Trattato di Nanchino. 

All’Articolo 3 esso stabilisce: «Poiché è ovviamente necessario e desiderabile che sudditi britannici dispongano di porti per le loro navi e i loro magazzini, la Cina cede per sempre l’isola di Hong Kong a Sua Maestà la Regina di Gran Bretagna e ai suoi eredi».

All’Articolo 6 il Trattato stabilisce: «Poiché il Governo di Sua Maestà Britannica è stato costretto a inviare un corpo di spedizione  per ottenere il risarcimento dei danni provocati dalla violenta e ingiusta procedura delle autorità cinesi, la Cina acconsente a pagare a Sua Maestà Britannica la somma di 12 milioni di dollari per le spese sostenute».

Il Trattato di Nanchino è il primo dei trattati ineguali attraverso cui le potenze europee (Gran Bretagna, Germania, Francia, Belgio, Austria e Italia), la Russia zarista, il Giappone e gli Stati Uniti si assicurano in Cina, con la forza delle armi, una serie di privilegi: la cessione di Hong Kong alla Gran Bretagna nel 1843, la forte riduzione dei dazi sulle merci straniere (proprio mentre i governi europei erigono barriere doganali a protezione delle proprie industrie), l’apertura dei principali porti alle navi straniere e il diritto di avere aree urbane sotto propria amministrazione (le «concessioni») sottratte all’autorità cinese.

Nel 1898 la Gran Bretagna annette a Hong Kong la penisola di Kowloon e i cosiddetti New Territories, concessi dalla Cina «in affitto» per 99 anni. Il vasto malcontento per tali imposizioni fa esplodere verso la fine dell’Ottocento una rivolta popolare – quella dei Boxer – contro cui interviene un corpo di spedizione internazionale di 16 mila uomini sotto comando britannico, al quale partecipa anche l’Italia.

Sbarcato a Tianjin nell’agosto 1900, esso saccheggia Pechino e altre città, distruggendo numerosi villaggi e massacrandone la popolazione. Successivamente, la Gran Bretagna assume nel 1903 il controllo del Tibet, mentre la Russia zarista e il Giappone si spartiscono la Manciuria nel 1907.

Nella Cina ridotta in condizione coloniale e semicoloniale, Hong Kong diviene la principale porta dei traffici basati sul saccheggio delle risorse e sullo sfruttamento schiavistico della popolazione. Una massa enorme di cinesi è costretta ad emigrare soprattutto verso Stati Uniti, Australia e Sud-Est asiatico, dove è sottoposta a condizioni analoghe di sfruttamento e discriminazione.

Sorge spontanea una domanda: su quali libri di storia studiano i giovani che chiedono alla Gran Bretagna di «salvare Hong Kong»?

Manlio Dinucci

 

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Selected Articles: Drone Attack on Saudi Oil

September 17th, 2019 by Global Research News

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Will Trump Take Neocon Bait and Attack Iran over Saudi Strike?

By Rep. Ron Paul, September 17, 2019

The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback.

Trump Awaits Orders from Saudis; and Why the Houthis Could Have Done It

By Juan Cole, September 17, 2019

Trump’s bizarre infatuation with strongmen and dictators was on full display in his response to Saturday’s drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

Aramco IPO

Impact of Yemeni Attack on Saudi ARAMCO Oil Facilities

By Peter Koenig and Press TV, September 17, 2019

When the Saudis agreed in the early 1970’s as head of OPEC and on behalf of OPEC, to sell crude only in US-dollars, the US Administration offered them in turn – “forever” military protection, in the form of multiple military bases in the Saudi territories.

Trump: Saudi Arabia’s Bitch

By Kurt Nimmo, September 17, 2019

“Saudi Arabia’s Bitch”. That’s what Democrat candidate Tulsi Gabbard calls President Trump for his slavish reliance on Saudi Arabia to declare Iran responsible for last weekend’s attack on Saudi oil resources. 

Sanders Warns Trump Against Illegal Iran Strike

By Bryant Harris, September 17, 2019

The attack on the Saudi Aramco oil facility over the weekend and President Donald Trump’s subsequent tweet that the United States is “locked and loaded” immediately prompted presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to fire back.

The Ansarullah’s Drone Strike against Saudi Arabia’s Oil Facilities Was a Classic “David vs. Goliath” Moment?

By Andrew Korybko, September 16, 2019

This weekend’s massive drone strike by Yemen’s Ansarullah rebels against the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia was a classic David vs. Goliath moment where a smaller force inflicted a devastating blow against their much larger opponent, one which even surpasses its legendary predecessor because of its potential global consequences.

“Drone Attack” on Saudi Oil – Who Benefits?

By Tony Cartalucci, September 16, 2019

Following an ambiguous and evidence-free description of the supposed attacks, the BBC even included an entire section titled, “Who could be behind the attacks?” dedicated to politically expedient speculation aimed ultimately at Tehran.

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Featured image: A fire boke out at the Saudi Aramco facility in the eastern city of Abqaiq on Saturday after a drone attack by Houthi rebels from Yemen. | Reuters

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