New World Disorder – The Next 20 Years: Hope or Despair?

December 9th, 2017 by Graham Vanbergen

This article was originally published on Global Research on May 3, 2017.

There is no doubt that the world is facing a wave of unprecedented uncertainties from political and civil unrest, conflict and terrorism to seemingly never-ending financial turmoil, climate change, the struggle for resources and disruptive technologies. Like it or not, no matter where we are, we are living in a new world disorder.

But the big question is how will the world fare over the next twenty years or so amid a global environment that is changing and developing at an unrelenting pace. The greatest immediate tests are emerging from the transition of a disintegrating post-war political system that fostered a massively increased trade and cultural exchange system that is now driving change and increased tensions on the geo-political chessboard. At the same time we are distracted from the demise of our home planet, ravaged by the decades long effects of greed driven globalisation, the consequences yet to fully unfold.

Strategic Forecasting predicts that the European Union will not so much collapse but splinter into four distinct groups; Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and the British islands as relations break down and they become increasingly estranged from each other. It predicts that China will face political chaos as economic growth declines, that Russia will fall apart as it struggles to keep control of the worlds largest federation and that the U.S. will take a more isolationist stance.

I’ve spoken with some of the world’s foremost commentators as they reflect on the past and look forward on the current trajectory of political and economic fortunes for the next 20 years in the regions where they live or work in the Middle-East, America, Europe and Asia more widely and the results are more complex than Strategic Forecasting predicts.

First up is award winning British journalist Jonathan Cook  located in Nazareth, Israel. Known for his de-coding of official propaganda and outstanding analysis of events often obfuscated in the mainstream, which has made him one of the most reliable truth-tellers in the Middle East:

Newsweek headline: GAZA: One war, One family, five children, four dead.

“Our increasingly globalised world means it is difficult – and probably unrealistic – to disentangle geo-strategic problems. Can the Palestinians’ hopes of living in dignity really be separated from what happens in Syria, Washington, Europe and Iran?

Two conflicting global trends will intensify over the next 20 years, and the fates of Israelis and Palestinians – and the rest of us – will hinge on how they play out.

The first is what might be termed the evolution of the “fortress state”, or the “homeland security” syndrome.

The elites in the most powerful states are moving into survival mode: externally against rival states as key resources deplete, and internally as resource shortages and climate change risk turning their own publics against them.

This requires a mix of outward belligerence and inward repression in which Israel already excels. State elites are likely to look to Israel for solutions based on its long experience of destabilising neighbours and using Palestinian areas as laboratories for experimenting in methods of subjugation, surveillance and control. This expertise could, in the words of Israeli analyst Jeff Halper, make Israel “indispensable” and provide it with continuing diplomatic and financial cover.

A second trend cannot be discounted, however. A globalised, interconnected world is one where information is much harder to control or suppress. The evident power of social media to bypass traditional media gatekeepers is already worrying these same elites. They are reacting, claiming that new media – rather than corporate and state media – are the purveyors of “fake news”.

The democratising role of social media is awakening larger sections of the population, especially the young, to the neo-imperial role of the US and its allies, to the inability of capitalism to address its own internal contradictions, and to key injustices, such as the case of the Palestinians. This trend will be hard to stop without overt censorship and repression.

The fate of the Palestinians will depend on the outcome of this wider clash: of the elites v’s the people. We see the first signs of this coming confrontation in the rapid growth of the international grassroots BDS movement – boycott, divestment and sanctions – and the backlash from western governments. They have quickly jettisoned their supposed commitment to free speech (remember Charlie Hebdo?) in favour of measures to suppress support for boycotts of Israel. The polarisation between leaders and led will intensify.

Despite all the evidence, I remain optimistic – both because that is my nature, and because history, however fickle, has a habit of eventually favouring those with justice on their side.”

Next is Felicity Arbuthnot, a British freelance journalist who has visited, written and broadcasted widely on Iraq, one of the few journalists to cover Iraq extensively even in the mid-1990’s during the sanctions and reported on the devastating effects that took place prior to America’s attack that killed over one million civilians:

Tony Blair’s letters to George W Bush promising to back US President ‘whatever’ – that led to the destruction of the Middle-East

“It is impossible, given the level of heartbreak and destruction wrought on the Middle East, not to be beyond all shame and mired in pessimism. From the religious zealots in Europe who launched eight major invasions, the Crusades, in the region, between 1095 and 1291 to “liberate” the Holy Land from the majority Muslim inhabitants, to the religious zealots led by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, in a second declared “Crusade” in 2003. It seems the lands of such an eye watering history of humanity, beliefs and wonders are never to be left to flourish amid the beauty and culture.

Fast forward to Winston Churchill who said of the Kurds and the inhabitants of Northern Iraq: “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare…. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.” (War Office minute, 12th May 1919.)

Lawrence of Arabia meddled in the region on behalf of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Gertrude Bell, British spy amongst other things, it is forgotten, was busy creating the “New Iraq” after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. In August 1921 she wrote with supreme patronisation: “We have finally crowned our little King.” He was not, of course, an Iraqi. Sykes-Picot redrew the borders, severing families and ancients bonds.

Oil was discovered and fast forwarding again, the Project for the New American Century and all the indescribable horrors that have befallen the region since, with further threatened, based on lie after lie, with the UN either ignored or near mute.

But in spite of all, there is perhaps still hope in a region of towering pride, culture, spirit and ingenuity. It was Paul William Roberts who wrote of Iraq after the 1991 decimation, a haunting tribute that equally applies from Tehran in the East to Palestine’s Jerusalem in the West:

“But for all the horrors, illegality, destruction, shame on the invaders and collective shame shared by so many, there is something Iraq will never lose”… the old people with resignation stamped across their foreheads, who can’t go on yet will go on; the young married couples who still hope for a better life yet don’t hope too hard lest it break their hearts, the countless unremembered acts of kindness and of love that fill desolate days, and I realise I would far prefer to be here than in any house where this war is justified. For it cannot be justified. But this region has always led to somewhere worth going. Baghdad is just as glorious in its ruin as it was in its glory, for something noble crawls from the rubble to spread golden wings in the light of dawn. The Gate of God opens wider.”

John B. Cobb, Jr. is an American theologian, philosopher, and environmentalist described as one of the two most important North American theologians of the twentieth century:

Climate Science predicts that climate change threatens water supplies, food prices, health and global security. By 2030 water stress will affect 47 percent of humanity.

Currently the threat of war between the United States and Russia is high. Fortunately, the recognition of Mutual Assured Destruction may hold both powers back from the use of nuclear weapons unless one side thinks that some kind of first strike could prevent a response. From time to time, continuous U.S. provocations of North Korea could start a nuclear war there that would be hard to contain.  These are the most immediate threats to human survival.

 I find myself assuming, without much justification, that our species will avoid this ultimate insanity, and concentrating on the threats that follow from the now well-known fact that our collective behaviour on the planet is unsustainable. 

That means that if we continue in the deep ruts we are now in, our current global civilisations will collapse, if not in war, then by famine and disease.  We are poisoning the ocean, the land, and the atmosphere.  We are exhausting or destroying the sources of fresh water. 

The battle of biochemistry against the evolution of new plant and animal diseases will not always be won.  Much of the best farmland will be lost to rising sea levels and spreading deserts. Rising temperatures will make large parts of the planet uninhabitable. We will be more and more dependent on technology that will be more and more vulnerable. Meanwhile the middle class is already disappearing, and the rich and powerful will exploit the poor more and more ruthlessly.  The poor will be less passive than in the past. Their struggle to survive will include violent resistance to the violence of the powerful. Population will plummet. The remnant will fight over what is left. The technology available for this fighting grows more and more comprehensively destructive. Since we collectively have shown little willingness to change our ways radically, this seems to be the most probable scenario.

Accordingly, if I must choose between pessimism and optimism, I am a pessimist. But I stand in a tradition that calls for us to trump pessimism with what we call “theological virtues.” These are faith, hope, and love. I live in hope. Hope discerns hopeful developments here and there, new departures that, if pursued, could pull the world back from the brink. It delights in the emergence, now and again, of leaders who, if followed, would bring about the needed changes. It sees that history is unpredictable, full of surprises. To love in the context of hope is to care deeply about the whole and do what we can to participate in promising breakthroughs. It is also to generate what joy is possible in the here and now in acting for the flourishing of the whole.

Andre Vltchek is a political analyst, journalist, author and a filmmaker. He has reported and filmed armed conflicts in every corner of the world, served as a Senior Fellow at the Oakland Institute and is interviewed by major news and TV outlets across Asia for his incisive personal accounts:

Maintained since 1947 by the members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board, the Doomsday Clock is currently set at two and half minutes to midnight.

Where do we go from here? The world seems to be heading towards the final showdown between the reactionary forces of the Western imperialism and those countries/nations that are determined to defend their rights to maintain their independent course, to protect their cultures and preserve interests of their people.

In a long term I remain very optimistic. In a short term, the confrontation may be inevitable, even brutal, but for more than five centuries, the world has been shouting in horror and pain, tormented by the Western colonialism and neo-colonialism. Most of the victims used to be invisible; they were suffering “somewhere there”, far away, where they “belonged”. Now people are refusing to suffer and to die in silence. They’d rather die standing, struggling, than to live in permanent agony and on their knees.

Powerful new media outlets, in Russia, Latin America, the Middle East and China are now confronting all orthodox Western mass media channels, challenging with determination and courage all official imperialist propaganda dogmas, while unveiling the devastation and killings caused by the Western imperialism in all corners of the globe.

Resistance is growing and the new coalitions are being constantly forged. It is definitely not good news for the West and for its collaborators. But it gives new hope to the rest of the world. I strongly believe that if left alone, the rest of the world would easily and quickly find the way to coexist peacefully, even to find solutions to many urgent ecological problems.

Without imperialism and savage capitalism, we would be already, for many decades, living in much gentler, peaceful and optimistic world.

There may have to be one more battle – a battle for survival of our human race. I only hope that if there has to be one, it would be the very last one: decisive and brief, with as little casualties as possible.

Jeff J Brown lives in China, he has been a speaker at TEDx, the Bookworm and Capital M Literary Festivals, the Hutong, as well as being featured in an 18-part series of interviews on Radio Beijing AM774, with former BBC journalist, Bruce Connolly:

For the first time, the size of China’s middle class has overtaken America’s with 109 million which now accounts for a quarter of additional global consumption.

China’s long march to postwar prominence began with communist liberation in 1949. Previously, life expectancy was only 35 years and literacy was 20%. It was brutally colonised, exploited and addicted to opium, principally by Britain and America. By the end of the Mao Era in 1978, life expectancy for one-fourth of humanity skyrocketed to +65 years and literacy to +70%. The CPC had melded China into a formidable agricultural, industrial, technological and military powerhouse to be respected, in spite of inhumane, Cuba-esque sanctions.

While the economy grew over 6%/year, the population doubled, so per capita, China was still consumer poor. Deng’s 1978 reforms were designed to keep China on its path of socialism, while profiting from market methods, to create the wealth needed to eventually transition into being a rich communist country.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics has breathtakingly shattered almost every socioeconomic and trade record in the history of civilization. Over 90% of the world’s people brought out of poverty in the last 40 years are Chinese.

China is Earth’s biggest (PPP) economy, creditor, manufacturer, exporter and trader. There is no end in sight, as the CPC is on track to meet its 2049 centennial goal to be the rich, communist society the country’s constitution promises to deliver to its citizens. Unlike the West, China has done all this without occupying, colonizing and destroying other countries.

For 5,000 years, the Chinese have shown to have zero global imperialism in their DNA. For the sake of Earth’s survival into the 21 st century, we need to jettison 500 years of Western tyranny, war and genocide, for responsible and visionary global leadership. China’s proven record of win-win cooperation and social justice is a global model we can all benefit from. Time to jump aboard!

Nozomi Hayase Ph.D., is a former WikiLeaks Central contributing writer who has been covering issues of freedom of speech, transparency and the vital role of whistleblowers and cryptocurrencies.  She is also a member of the editorial board of The Indicter:

Noam Chomsky – “it’s disgraceful to keep Julian Assange holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy. I did visit him there once and in many ways it’s worse than imprisonment.”

I am optimistic about the next 20 years, because we live in a world where now there is true investigative journalism. WikiLeaks opened a door for a future that can be envisioned by everyday people. This whistleblowing site that rose to prominence in 2010 with the release of the Collateral Murder video, provided an avenue for those with conscience inside institutions to come forward and reveal fraud and abuse of the powerful without fear of political retaliation. Through the method of transparency, WikiLeaks brought a new form of scientific journalism. By employing cryptography and creating a technical infrastructure that is decentralized, they innovated journalism in the age of the Internet and became a global 4th estate resilient to censorship.

For so long, the press, purported watchdogs for power has been co-opted through media consolidation and acting as gatekeepers. In the last 10 years WikiLeaks, with its perfect record of document authentication, liberated free speech from institutions that failed to protect it. When people are informed about real actions of governments, they can withdraw consent and chart a path for self-determination.

Those in power work in secrecy, manipulating perception to engineer people’s consent. From Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond to Edward Snowden, we have seen waves of contagious courage. Despite coordinated attacks, WikiLeaks stays strong and keeps publishing. I see tremendous hope in this growing network of people who have begun taking the reins of their own destiny.

Graham Vanbergen – TruePublica Editor:

Since the signing of the Maastricht treaty in 1992, 65 parties in Europe rose to appose the union and the Euro, including UKIP who ultimately caused Brexit causing political chaos and fractured relationships in the 28 nation bloc. 

The transition from the evidently disintegrating post-war rules based system to a more complicated and international system that America and the West insist on leading will be messy – dangerous even in the years ahead. 

To date, the most powerful advocates and institutions to this system have made some disastrous decisions leading to increased tensions in almost every region of the world. The power brokers of the West are now facing an unprecedented challenge, particularly as rising discontent is gathering at an unstoppable pace within their own territories from disaffected but re-engaged citizens, much to the alarm of the ruling elite. Brexit, Trump, the elimination of the traditional establishment in the French elections and the rise of non establishment political  parties is evidence of the rapidly changing political environment we now face.

The globalisation project is facing off against nationalism and protectionism headed up by populist movements, whilst traditional political power is being replaced by transnational social movements who increasingly dominate global politics – all of which adds considerable pressure to an already weakened structure. 

The worry is that America and its Western allies could do the unthinkable in a desperate attempt to regain economic and political control and attack its perceived opponents in a typically aggressive show of force with catastrophic consequences.

The big problem is that the American policed security order and European inspired legal order have both fractured at the same time with no real candidates to replace them, thereby, creating a void that could be filled with dangerous ideologies pushed by dangerous individuals.

As Antonio Gramsci wrote from his Roman prison cell just before the last world war: “Disorder, war and even disease can flood into the vacuum that forms when the old is dying and the new cannot be born” – these words are truly relevant today.

The next 20 years will be more than just challenging but from this new world disorder, as we peer over the precipice, we may see the birth of new human collaboration and collective participation as technology combined with a more enlightened generation strive for global peace – an ideology not tried before.

Peoples across the world are trying to wrangle free of globalisation, colonialism, imperialism and the inequality it delivers. From the aforementioned collective commentary it is clear that the immediate future may well be confrontational and certainly testing, be it from political strife, conflict, famine, poverty, climate change and the like but there is considerable optimism that from the very edge, humanity may just come to its senses, and as Nozomi Hayase rightly observes that there is 

“tremendous hope in this growing network of people who have begun taking the reins of their own destiny.”

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VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

Trump’s pronouncement ended the longstanding charade of a peace process – dead-on-arrival each time initiated.

It stripped the mask off Washington as an honest broker on any issues. It showed unforgivable contempt for Palestinian rights – revealed for the whole world to see, no longer lurking in the shadows, no pretense otherwise.

It assured continued occupation harshness, apartheid viciousness, land theft, ethnic cleansing, and cold-blooded murder at Israel’s discretion, supported and encouraged by Washington.

It leaves Palestinians struggling for liberation alone, the world community dismissive of their longstanding suffering for failing to intervene on their behalf.

There’s no joy in Occupied Palestine this holiday season. There never was before, just lingering hope for something better one day, nothing ahead in prospect.

The statement by Jewish studies scholars said the following:

“We write as Jewish Studies scholars to express our dismay at the Trump administration’s decision to reverse decades of bipartisan US policy by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and authorizing the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv, outside of a negotiated political framework that ends the legal state of occupation and ensures respect for the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to Jerusalem.”

“Jerusalem is of immense religious and thus emotional significance to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. It is the focus of national aspirations for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

“We hope one day to see a world in which all inhabitants of the land enjoy equal access to the city’s cultural and material resources. Today, unfortunately, that is not the case.”

“As the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has documented, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem endure systematic inequalities, including an inequitable distribution of the city’s budget and municipal services, routine denial of building permits that are granted to Jewish residents, home demolitions, and legal confiscation of property for Jewish settlement.”

“In addition, Palestinians in the West Bank, unlike Jewish Israelis residents in that territory, require a special permit to visit Jerusalem’s holy sites.”

“In this context, a declaration from the United States government that appears to endorse sole Jewish proprietorship over Jerusalem adds insult to ongoing injury and is practically guaranteed to fan the flames of violence.”

“We therefore call on the US government to take immediate steps to deescalate the tensions resulting from the President’s declaration and to clarify Palestinians’ legitimate stake in the future of Jerusalem.”

Signatories include:

1. Beverly Bailis, Brooklyn College
2. Mark Baker, Monash University
3. Elissa Bemporad, Queens College and The CUNY Graduate Center
4. Mara Benjamin, Mount Holyoke College
5. Matthew Berkman, University of Pennsylvania
6. Joel Berkowitz, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
7. Lila Berman, Temple University
8. David Biale, University of California, Davis
9. Jeffrey Blutinger, California State University, Long Beach
10. Ra’anan Boustan, Princeton University
11. Zachary Braiterman, Syracuse University
12. Francesca Bregoli, Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
13. Emma Brodeur, Syracuse University
14. Samuel Brody, University of Kansas
15. Debra Caplan, Baruch College, CUNY
16. Jessica Carr, Lafayette College
17. Flora Cassen, UNC Chapel Hill
18. Geoffrey Claussen, Elon University
19. Aryeh Cohen, American Jewish University
20. Rebecca Davis, University of Delaware
21. Laura Duhan-Kaplan, Vancouver School of Theology
22. Barat Ellman, Fordham University
23. Barbara Epstein, University of California, Santa Cruz
24. Robert Erlewine, Illinois Wesleyan University
25. Sara Feldman, University of Illinois
26. Sandy Fox, New York University
27. Ben Freeman, Harvard Divinity School
28. Joshua Friedman, Duke University
29. Olga Gershenson, University of Massachusetts
30. Shai Ginsburg, Duke University
31. Evan Goldstein, Yale University
32. Andrew Gordon, University of Florida
33. Erin Graff Zivin, University of Southern California
34. Ronnie Grinberg, University of Oklahoma
35. Chaya Halberstam, Western University
36. Rachel Havrelock, University of Illinois Chicago
37. Elizabeth Heineman, University of Iowa
38. Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College
39. Jonathan Hess, UNC Chapel Hill
40. Curtis Hutt, University of Nebraska at Omaha
41. Claire Katz, Texas A&M
42. Gwynn Kessler, Swarthmore College
43. Rebekah Klein-Pejsova, Purdue University
44. Michal Kofman, University of Louisville
45. Rachel Kranson, University of Pittsburgh
46. Chana Kronfeld, University of California, Berkeley
47. Jacob Labendz, Youngstown State University
48. Yitz Landes, Princeton University
49. Timothy Langille, Arizona State University
50. Nitzan Lebovic, Lehigh University
51. Daniil Leiderman, Texas A&M
52. Brian Leonard, Boston College High School
53. Maggie Levantovskaya, Santa Clara University
54. Daniel Levine, University of Alabama
55. Laura Levitt, Temple University
56. Lital Levy, Princeton University
57. Andrea Lieber, Dickinson College
58. Ari Linden, University of Kansas
59. Joe Lockard, Arizona State University
60. Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania
61. Lindsay Macumber, Saint Mary’s University
62. Shaul Magid, Indiana University
63. Charles Manekin, University of Maryland
64. Barbara Mann, Jewish Theological Seminary
65. Ibrahim Miari, University of Pennsylvania
66. Michael Miller, Liverpool Hope university
67. Sarah Anne Minkin, UC Berkeley
68. Leslie Morris, University of Minnesota
69. Eva Mroczek, UC Davis
70. Rachel Neis, University of Michigan
71. Judith Newman, University of Toronto
72. Anita Norich, University of Michigan
73. Jess Olson, Yeshiva University
74. Ranen Omer-Sherman, University of Louisville
75. Riv-Ellen Prell, University of Minnesota
76. Vadim Putzu, Missouri State University
77. Shari Rabin, College of Charleston
78. Randi Rashkover, George Mason University
79. Elliot Ratzman, Lawrence University
80. Emily Rogal, Harvard Divinity School
81. Na’ama Rokem, University of Chicago
82. Kate Rosenblatt, Emory University
83. Jordan Rosenblum, University of Wisconsin-Madison
84. Bruce Rosenstock, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
85. Michael Rothberg, UCLA
86. Adam Rovner, University of Denver
87. Nora Rubel, University of Rochester
88. Elias Sacks, University of Colorado Boulder
89. Alison Schofield, University of Denver
90. Benjamin Schreier, Penn State University
91. Joshua Schwartz, New York University
92. Naomi Seidman, Graduate Theological Union
93. Sasha Senderovich, University of Washington, Seattle
94. Joshua Shanes, College of Charleston
95. Nathaniel Shils, University of Pennsylvania
96. Anne Shlay, Georgia State University
97. David Shneer, University of Colorado Boulder
98. Maeera Shreiber, University of Utah
99. Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania
100. Shana Sippy, Centre College
101. Andrew Sloin, Baruch College, CUNY
102. Rachel Smith, UCLA
103. Scott Spector, University of Michigan
104. Loren Spielman, Portland State University
105. Gregory Spinner, Skidmore College
106. Neta Stahl, Johns Hopkins University
107. Deborah Starr, Cornell University
108. Richard Steigmann-Gall, Kent State University
109. Mira Sucharov, Carleton University
110. David Teutsch, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
111. Irene Tucker, University of California, Irvine
112. Alana Vincent, University of Chester, UK
113. Burton Visotzky, Jewish Theological Seminary
114. Anika Walke, Washington University in St. Louis
115. Kerry Wallach, Gettysburg College
116. Mira Wasserman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
117. Dov Waxman, Northeastern University
118. Liliane Weissberg, University of Pennsylvania
119. Beth Wenger, University of Pennsylvania
120. Barry Wimpfheimer, Northwestern University
121. James Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst
122. Michael Zank, Boston University
123. Saul Zaritt, Harvard University
124. Sarah Zarrow, Western Washington University

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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The rumors of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s demise may finally not be greatly exaggerated.

A marked man, it was only about a month ago the media speculated on how soon United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley would replace Tillerson. Two weeks ago a trial balloon floated up with Mike Pompeo’s name in trail. But a burst of nearly-identical stories over the last few days, spearheaded by the New York Times, signals the end for Tillerson and names Pompeo, currently Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as his successor. What lies ahead?

The unique interplay between the Civil Service (non-diplomats largely stationed in Washington DC) and the Foreign Service (who have primary responsibility in Washington and who staff the embassies and consulates abroad) complicates Secretary of State transitions. Engaging both sides, with their different vested interests, can be tough. And unlike the military, where chains of command and internal procedures are written on checklists, State is a hybrid, half foreign and half domestic, with a structure that either conforms to a new Secretary or is conformed by a new Secretary. State is a vertically-oriented bureaucracy, with layers below the boss’ office waiting for bits of policy to fall so as to inform them of what their own opinions are. One academic referred to this as “neckless government,” a head and a body in need of an active connection.

A huge part of Tillerson’s failure was in missing that last point. The traditional way of engaging the bureaucracy is for a new Secretary to fill key positions with political appointees, who will shape the rank and file below them. Bonus points to the Secretary who can pluck out career Foreign Service people with the approved ideological bent to act as a virtual political appointees, a strong point of Hillary Clinton’s. Tillerson left too many slots vacant too long, and now finds himself without allies inside Foggy Bottom. Meanwhile, left on their own, his diplomats found ways to make trouble, including disclosing once-sacrosanct internal dissent memos. Soon after Tillerson took office his diplomats leaked a dissent memo opposing the State Department’s role in Trump’s immigration plans. Another dissent memo leaked some ten days ago, this time with Tillerson’s people claiming their own boss was in violation of the law.

Alongside building their version of the organization, it is incumbent on a new Secretary to aim the State Department at some goal. State is an agency without primary agency; under one administration it focuses on arms control. Under another, State tries to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently, the emphasis has been on “soft power,” programs to empower women, the use of social media, promoting democracy, and the growth LGBTQ rights. Tillerson never articulated much of a goal beyond some unfocused thoughts on structural reform that will never again see daylight. Though it is fashionable to label Tillerson as the worst Secretary of State of modern times, in reality Tillerson will be remembered as perhaps the most pointless of Secretaries.

Based on my conversations with former State Department colleagues (I served 24 years as a diplomat) Tillerson’s successor will encounter a mood inside the State Department reminiscent of a rescue dog kennel; over there are the mutts who feel abused, wary of any new human. Off to the side are the ones who have given up; the need to log a certain number of years of service to get their generous pensions will keep many technically on the books but a new Secretary can expect very little from them. The majority of dogs will be open and waiting to see what happens (“Can’t be much worse, right?” is something many at State are saying.) But watch out for a few who feel newly empowered, the ones who think they helped drive a bad Secretary out of office. They may still bite.

It is unclear Mike Pompeo, the heir apparent, will be able to succeed where Tillerson failed. The climate for political appointees in Washington today feels more like that of late in a moderately successful president’s second term; the good people have already been selected-served-moved on, many of the old standbys are not interested in signing up for what may turn out to be short-run jobs, and that leaves a small pool for Pompeo to fill State Department jobs from. Pompeo’s tenure at Central Intelligence was brief enough that he is unlikely to bring over many loyalists, and most at Langley see working for State as a kind of step down anyway (many at the Agency view themselves as the lacrosse team, with State as the nerd club.) Who will Pompeo staff with? And how can he do it quickly while the dogs are still weighing out their next moves?

There is also the issue of culture. Pompeo began his tenure at Central Intelligence on a relatively positive note. However, his hard line stances soon rubbed many the wrong way, leaving them wondering if the boss could navigate the nuances that drive good decision making. How poorly that will play out at the State Department, with its culture of discussion and deliberation, its love of what-ifs and may-be’s, is easy to imagine.

And there’s the record: Pompeo caught Trump’s eye in part for his tough stance on Iran. Inside the State Department, the Iran Nuclear Accords are seen as one of the institution’s modern-day signature accomplishments. Pompeo is a conservative, and State has always been the most “liberal,” as in committed to the global system of trade and democracy, part of modern administrations. Tillerson, weakly but in line with State-think, pushed for some sort of talks with North Korea and supported the Iran deal. Pompeo opposes both. That’s a big chip to have on your shoulder your first day at work.

But at the end of the day, the mismatch between State and Pompeo, or State and Haley, or State and Tillerson for that matter, is not really about who is Secretary of State, but who is president. A lot of the anger directed at Tillerson was actually using him as a stand-in for Trump. The primary driver of foreign policy remains the White House, and the White House appears to have little love for its diplomats. If as an establishment Republican Tillerson had within him a bit of divergent thinking from Trump on issues like Iran and North Korea, Pompeo as an old school hawk is nothing but a loyalist, with a personal connection to Trump. If the president’s intention is indeed to dismantle the State Department, it is hard to imagine a person better suited to the task than a guy like Mike Pompeo. As the New York Times editorial board has already accused Tillerson of “making war on diplomacy,” it will be interesting to see what words they have left to label Pompeo’s opening shots.

Rex Tillerson is still Secretary of State, even as people inside and outside of Foggy Bottom cheer his demise. The irony will be if in a few months from now some of those same people start wondering if they had not been better off under his leadership.

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Avi Shlaim, a Jewish scholar now based at Oxford’s St. Anthony’s College, was interviewed on BBC after President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was designating Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

Shlaim, who left Israel for a more open academic environment, calls the announcement by the President, “irresponsible and reckless”. (See full interview below.)

Trump has no right to set himself up as The Namer of capitals. But to him, he can do whatever he wants. Bibi Netanyahu knows that. Bibi got the Gift he has long coveted, his very own special electric train he can now send running around the floor, as he shouts, “Mine, mine, my precious Jerusalem is My capital.”

Standing in front of a Christmas tree as he gave Israel its capital, the President gave no indication he had considered, or cared, that Jerusalem is packed with meaning to Christians and Muslims, as well as Jews.

Palestinian American scholar Rashid Khalidi described this common connection to Jerusalem in The Guardian:

Jerusalem is undoubtedly the most important aspect of the entire Palestine question. It has been central to the identity of Palestinian Muslims and Christians as far back as the founding moments of both religions, and has become even more so as the conflict over Palestine has become fiercer.

The rivalry over this holy city is exacerbated by the fact that the same site – the Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, the Temple Mount to Jews – is sacred to both. Because of its explosive nature, this is an issue that no Palestinian politician, and few Arab leaders, would dare to trifle with.

For someone such as me, whose family has lived in Jerusalem for hundreds of years, Trump’s announcement does not just mean that the US has adopted the Israeli position that Jerusalem belongs exclusively to Israel.

He has also retroactively legitimised Israel’s seizure and military occupation of Arab East Jerusalem during the 1967 war, and its imposition of discriminatory laws on hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living there. The damage he has done will be permanent: the US cannot undo this recognition.

This act completely disqualifies the US from its longstanding role as broker, a position that Washington has monopolised for itself. So much for the pitiful “peace plan” that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was cooking up and hoping to impose on the Palestinians.

Khalidi is right, the “pitiful peace plan” was never serious. It was a holding pattern of pretension.

The Prime Minister and his predecessors, have had their way for decades with the city Trump thinks he just gave to Israel. Balderdash! Israel has treated Jerusalem as its kept capital since 1967. For six decades, IDF soldiers have roamed the city at will, arresting citizens like so many wayward children who skipped school to throw rocks.

Netanyahu and his right-wing government got what they wanted, a recognition that covers crimes of oppression.

What Trump has just done is far more significant than Naming. He has announced that Jerusalem is not open to negotiations. It is not a “contested” city in which Muslims, Christians and Jews live by an agreed-upon understanding.

It is now, named as such by the Grand Poobah across the great ocean, a Jewish city that is the capital of a Jewish nation.

It was this Grand Poobah who was given authority by voters of the United States, to not only give away electric trains, but to set up an oligarchy in the land of the free and the home of the brave, where freedom is defined by the Grand Poobah and bravery can be a ticket to jail.

Israel got more from the Namer than a new title for the Holy City. That new title is “capital”, which gives a permanent American blessing to a nation which has now been rewarded for its decades of occupation.

The Namer could care less what the world thinks. He is now the Man, who runs a nation through tweets. What are you gonna do about it? Wait until the next election to start cleaning up what’s left after the storms?

Our current U.S. Congress, created by gerrymandering, prepared for this theft of a Name by the Namer, with votes of its own, votes that revealed nothing more than the puppet strings that, when pulled in Tel Aviv, make Congress dance the Israeli way.

Stephen Zunes responded to Trump’s “big give away” in a piece for The Progressive.

Zunes, a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, describes the strings:

Trump’s announcement is actually the culmination of years of pressure by a large bipartisan majority of Congress and leaders of both political parties towards the White House. It represents the fulfillment of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which mandates that the United States move its embassy to Jerusalem, though the bill allows a president to waive that requirement every six months if deemed in the national interest.

In the Senate, the bill was cosponsored by such prominent Senate Democrats as Joe Biden and John Kerry and only one Democrat (the late Robert Byrd) voted no. On the House side, just thirty out of 204 Democrats voted no, along with the independent then-Congressman Bernie Sanders.

Since then, every President has taken advantage of the waiver to prevent such a provocative move, despite continued bipartisan pressure from Congress. As recently as this past June, just days after Trump issued his first waiver of the requirement, the Senate voted 90-0 in favor of a resolution re-affirming the 1995 law and calling on President Trump “to abide by its provisions.” Co-sponsors included such leading Democrats as minority leader Chuck Schumer and Ben Cardin, ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as Tammy Baldwin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden.

Schumer has openly encouraged Trump to move the embassy and previously criticized his “indecisiveness” on the issue.

Support by Congressional Democrats and party leaders for moving the embassy is not due to demand from their constituents. A recent poll shows that 81 percent of Democrats oppose moving the embassy while only 15 percent approve.

The Congress and the President are co-conspirators in the gift of Jerusalem to Israel. The blame is theirs to share. The response to the gift in the region and in the world will be far-reaching. The American public is not with them. Elections in 2018 and 2020 are near-at–hand.

Voters in those elections will need education. A good place to start is to listen to the quiet voice of Avi Shlaim in this seven-minute BBC interview. Click here.

From 1972 through 1999, James M. Wall was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, lllinois. He was a Contributing Editor of the Century from 1999 until July, 2017. He has written this blog, wall writings.me, since it was launched April 27, 2008.

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Christian Zionists in America

December 9th, 2017 by Hans Stehling

There are estimated, today, to be in excess of 40 million, mainly white, fundamentalist, Christian Zionists in America, primarily in the South. They believe that supporting Israel is a biblical issue, not a political one and they comprise the largest pro-Israel bloc in the United States which believes that God gave Israel to His ‘chosen people’, the Jews.

The Zionist evangelical faith is rooted in the belief that God keeps his promises.

“God gave the land of Israel to the Jews, forever and God blesses those who bless the Jews and God curses those who curse the Jews and if we want God to bless us and God wants us to bless America, then we have to bless the Jews.” 

It will be noted that the Zionist movement is not altruistic but self-serving. Its support for Israel is not based on any inherent liking for Jews or Jewish Israelis but rather upon the imperative to follow the words of the bible, which they hold to be sacrosanct.

That is, however, not the whole story. The Christian Zionist movement believes that the ‘Second Coming of Christ’ will only occur when all Jews have been gathered together in Israel and baptised into the Christian faith. This is an anachronistic belief of fundamentalist Christianity, long jettisoned by a majority of the Christian peoples of the world but retained by the Evangelical Christian minority, particularly in America.  To Jews, it is anathema – but they accept the concrete political benefits of such a fantasy for without the financial support of the fundamentalist Christian Zionist movement in America, there would be no state of Israel.

Evangelical Christian Zionists (in close association with Jewish Zionists) virtually control both Houses of Congress, and, therefore, the US Presidency.  They work not only through the powerful AIPAC lobby but through their political influence in the majority of the states of the Union. This means that they have gained an extraordinarily undue influence over US foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East.

And they are instrumental in ensuring that Congress provides the Israeli government with billions of dollars’ worth of planes, guns, bombs and other armaments, every 12 months, all paid for by the gullible American tax payer.

This latest act of stupidity by current US President Donald Trump, in declaring the UN-designated, international City of Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel is an act of futility that is ultra vires Trump’s authority as it violates international law, and is consequently void.  Furthermore, it is doubtful that any other state, (apart from the Philippines), would even consider moving diplomatic missions from Tel Aviv, Israel’s de facto capital

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America’s Iatrogenic Over-Vaccination Monster

December 9th, 2017 by Dr. Gary G. Kohls

Over the past several years I have spent many hours catching up on the voluminous research about vaccine dangers that my medical school professors never mentioned and that my continuing medical education lecturers never taught me later when I was in rural family practice. There was never any mention about adverse effects from vaccinations in the medical journals that I read.

Everything that I read misled me about the rapidly increasing vaccine injuries and deaths that paralleled the rapidly increasing incidence of autism spectrum disorders and the equally rapidly increasing incidence of childhood autoimmune disorders over the 40 years that I practiced medicine.

I know that the information I have gleaned over these years will be useful to the millions of increasingly frustrated and angry parents and grandparents of America’s fully vaccinated, over-vaccinated and therefore vaccine-injured children. These angry parents have seen their children injured and then, to add insult to injury, they have been cruelly ignored, cruelly silenced and often cruelly reviled by the physicians, clinics and hospitals that have been in the business of falsely reassuring parents about the safety of cocktails of vaccines that contain neurotoxic ingredients and that are simultaneously injected into immunologically-immature infants.

The “healthcare-providing” entities that I was once affiliated with, have tragically failed to emphasize or even mention – I suppose in the name of corporate profits or sheer ignorance – that the tiny bodies, tiny muscles and immature brains that are being targeted by Big Pharma to receive sublethal doses of a toxic brew of chemicals and other substances (particularly mercury, aluminum and live viruses). America’s over-vaccination agendas is making a lot of money for any number of compassionless corporate entities who never had to take – or don’t feel compelled to honor – the Hippocratic Oath.

Vaccine Injuries and Deaths are Iatrogenic Disorders

And thus those innocent babies and children, who are physically, neurologically and immunologically immature are a perfect set-up for serious, brain-damaging and other lethal complications that manifest in any number of chronic vaccine-induced (and thus iatrogenic) disorders that the guilty vaccine industries will go to any lengths to cover-up.

The parents of vaccine-injured or killed children are justifiably angry for a lot of reasons. Their demands for justice for their injured children are understandable and unquenchable. Just listen to the hundreds of testimonies from parents on the VAXXED YouTube channel.

These parents with horror stories about vaccine injuries are consistently stone-walled by those entities that recommended or administered the vaccines that caused their children’s wounded bodies and brains. Those responsible entities frequently went into denial or actually attacked the parent for being so bold as to even mention the possibility of an iatrogenic injury.

It was bad enough for parents to come to the logical conclusion that the potentially lethal vaccine ingredients had damaged their children, but they were often humiliated by their previously trusted physicians and clinics who refused to listen to their heart-felt testimony or to pay attention to the research they had done confirming their suspicions.

And then, adding more fuel to the fire, these newly-discovered-to-be-untrustworthy physicians and clinics sometimes had the audacity to fire those traumatized families and ban them from receiving future care! Those physicians and clinics had, to their eternal shame, forgotten about the truism that said: “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

For these traumatized parents, their hell began when they witnessed their previously developmentally well child become seriously ill with an illness that might continue for the remainder of their disabled lives. Most parents are dubious about allowing their children to be injected with 8 or 9 (untested for safety) intramuscularly-injected antigens at one setting, but no discussion about adverse effects is allowed. If there was an adverse effect many parents logically went searching for information about vaccine toxicity, which their physicians usually knew nothing about, refused to even check out the possibility and therefore were worse than useless in the search for an accurate diagnosis and thus an effective treatment.

Tragically, modern, over-busy, double-booked physicians can’t find the time or energy (or inclination) to read any medical journals other than the ubiquitous freebie journals and Big Pharma subsidized medical journals. Even previously prestigious journals like JAMA, NEJM, etc are allowing Big Pharma “mercenaries” to get their pseudoscience published. The money behind Big Pharma’s advertising gives for-profit corporate entities the influence to promote their toxic drugs and vaccines.

Sometimes vaccine injuries only became manifest in a delayed fashion months or years after the “mandatory” 2 month, 4 month, 6 month, 12 month, 15 month, and pre-school shots. Sometimes the injuries happen the same day or even in the doctor’s office immediately after the inoculations. When the adverse reaction happens quickly, parents resent the typical lame explanation of “that was just a coincidence” or “that is just normal reaction, nothing to worry about”.

Sometimes the adverse reactions from vaccine toxicity only manifests after the second or third Gardasil shot. Sometimes the adverse reactions happen within hours or days. There are many examples in the literature of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) that killed previously well babies within hours of the last batch of shots. There are also many examples of “near SIDS” episodes or new onset of a chronic seizure disorder soon after the last shot. Some SIDS episodes have been erroneously called “shaken baby syndrome” because the toxic vaccine ingredients cause chemical and inflammatory trauma to the brain that resembles cerebral contusions.

What has often been frustrating for parents of vaccine-injured children is the fact that the mainstream media – also seriously under the influence of Big Pharma’s wealthy and influential advertisers – have never allowed Big Pharma’s skeptics or Big Pharma’s victims to be heard. The media is naturally concerned about the money that could be lost when a big advertiser expresses discontent about news programming that could be critical to their products. That reality has silenced many journalists that ordinarily would love to do some real investigative journalism.

Power Tends to Corrupt and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Economically-powerful and politically-powerful entities like the multi-millionaires and corporations that are associated with Wall Street, Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Business, Big Agribusiness, Big Chemical, Big Insurance, Big Weapons, etc usually get whatever they want. The corporations represented in those categories have unlimited amounts of money and well-cultivated, albeit unholy relationships with easily-bribed state and federal legislators. That has resulted in a multitude of pro-corporate laws getting on the books which makes it too easy to commit crimes against humanity and then cover-up those crimes, with no attention from the equally corporate-controlled and deeply co-opted mainstream media that therefore black-lists anti-Big Pharma scholars.

There are unlimited numbers of minor mercenary entities beholden to Big Pharma that create the propagandistic televised drug commercials and the advertisements in popular medical journals that seem to be widely trusted by their target audiences. And then there are the dozens of powerful physician trade and lobbying groups, which includes the AAP, the AAFP, the AMA, ACOG, the APA, etc, etc, that are all subsidized and therefore influenced by Big Pharma money.

The Over-Vaccination Agenda of the Big Pharma-Controlled CDC and FDA

Much of the responsibility for the over-vaccination monster that the Big Pharma-controlled CDC and the Big Pharma-controlled FDA has created can be laid at the feet of two highly co-opted “advisory committees” composed largely of academic physicians who, by their nature, usually have some type of conflict of interest. It can be safely assumed that each member’s personal ethics is at potentially conflicted by their affiliations that could be either financial, academic, job security or professional. The two groups are

1) the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) information and

2) the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) information.

The membership list of the ACIP is printed in the appendix at the end of this column.

Each of these committees is made up of well-paid, un-elected, academic professionals, bureaucrats and, in in the case of the (VRBPAC) two non-voting members that are employed by two Big Vaccine corporations (Sanofi and GSK). Why they were ever appointed to the committee in the first place is undisclosed, but they surely try to be influential as they can for their industry.

These committee members have been, just like most physicians in the US, heavily indoctrinated in the belief that all vaccines are safe and effective. The more powerful members of the group may even become hostile when their dogmas of vaccine safety and effectiveness are challenged. The members would be expected to be unapologetic when faced with the truth that vaccines are “inherently unsafe” and can even be deadly.

Reagan and the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986

Many well-meaning physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and assorted health clinic employees have been equally bamboozled, and they may even be unwitting defenders of an over-vaccination schedule that has been gradually made to be “the new normal” by sociopathic corporate powers ever since Ronald Reagan signed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) on November 14, 1986.

Image result for National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA)

That law was essentially written by Big Pharma lobbyists, but it was promoted and passed by ignorant, perhaps well-meaning but likely bribed legislators and then signed into law by an equally ignorant puppet president. Each of the promoters of that law made the mistake of trusting scheming, untrustworthy lobbyists and their sociopathic corporations who have made out like bandits developing and marketing unsafe vaccines ever since.

Scandalously, the NCVIA made it unlawful for parents of vaccine-injured or vaccine-killed children to sue the responsible vaccine corporations or other vaccine promoters when their unsafe vaccines harmed their children (which was epidemic prior to 1986). And ever since 1986, when the autism and childhood autoimmunity epidemics began, Big Pharma hasn’t had to spend much money on research or expensive vaccine safety measures because the use of their sometimes lethal products no longer elicit any medico-legal consequences.

The CDC’s ACIP and the FDA’s VRBPAC advisory committee folks have the connections to into an attack and destroy mode similar to what has happened throughout the history of medical establishment hegemony. One only has to recall what the medical establishment has repeatedly done to altruistic, whistleblowing physicians such as Andrew Wakefield and Ignaz Semmelweis and the uncounted number of similar whistle-blowing physicians throughout history. Semmelweis proved to the world that physician hand-washing prior to obstetrical deliveries prevented the fatal childbed fever, much to the outrage of the cognitive dissonance-afflicted medical establishment who thought he was crazy and thus refused to even look at the evidence that everybody else could clearly see was revolutionary and truthful.

Semmelweis was thoroughly discredited by his physician colleagues and was later beaten to death in a hospital the end-result that was directly related for his discovery that challenged the establishment (that refused to believe that hygiene had anything to do with post-delivery infections).

Similarly, Andrew Wakefield was a victim of a cunningly well-planned smear campaign by the medical establishment that drummed him out of Britain when he proved that live viruses from GlaxoSmithKline’s MMR vaccine caused chronic viral bowel infections in a group of severely involved autistic children with chronic abdominal pain and diarrhea. Wakefield’s group discovery was bad news for the British vaccine giant Glaxo.

That well-done research – which has been replicated a handful of times elsewhere around the world – should have earned Wakefield and his group a Nobel prize for medicine. Instead, because his findings would surely have negatively impacted future profits for Glaxo and every vaccine corporation on the planet, Wakefield had to be falsely discredited and then made an example of, even though he had exposed an important, albeit unwelcome truth. Wealth is Power, and Power corrupts.

Parents of children who have not been vaccinated with intramuscularly-administered mercury, aluminum, live viruses and assorted vaccine contaminants have saved their kids from acquiring vaccine-induced autism spectrum disorders, vaccine-induced SIDS or vaccine-induced autoimmune disorders should be thankful, even if their children had a slightly increased risk of coming down with a case of measles, rubella, mumps, chicken pox, influenza or other childhood viral infection that any properly-nourished child will easily recover from. Another advantage of not being subjected to vaccination is that contracting usually benign viral infectious diseases of childhood means that the child will become immune for the rest of her life as opposed to the need to be given regular, potentially dangerous, potentially autoimmunity-inducing booster shots (that don’t always work anyway).

Behind the ACIP and VRBPAC advisory committee members there are likely to be found well-hidden puppet-master and paymaster organizations may be even more guilty of being responsible for America’s on-going over-vaccination disaster. The wealth of these hidden corporate entities comes from the marketing, sales, promotion and over-use of unsafe and often quasi-experimental vaccines that are never proven to be safe or even effective. They are ill-gotten gains.

Forced Vaccinations in the Military, Forced Vaccinations in the Hospital and Forced Vaccinations in the Well Baby Clinic

Most physicians haven’t heard the real stories about the horrific autoimmunity, neurological, physical, chronic fatigue syndrome and brain-disabling disorders that have been among the worst of the many unintended consequences of the Pentagon’s ill-conceived mass vaccination campaign. Hundreds of thousands of Gulf War-era soldiers were given injections of the (un-approved-by-the-FDA) neurotoxic aluminum-laden series of six anthrax vaccine inoculations whether they were being deployed to the Middle East war zone or not. Our unfortunate but obedient US soldiers were mandated to submit to the shots or be court-martialed. Gulf War soldiers were forced against their wills – without the benefit of informed consent – to take those experimental shots. It is hard not to notice some of the ethical similarities between the Gulf War soldiers being forced to take their shots – or else – and the current Essentia Health situation for hospital employees in Duluth, Minnesota.

Hundreds of thousands of mature soldiers getting sickened and/or neurologically disabled because of being injected with multiple neurotoxic vaccines is sad enough, but what about the hundreds of millions of immunologically immature babies and children that are being routinely inoculated (intramuscularly) by ever-enlarging numbers and combinations of cocktails that are often administered simultaneously with no proof of short-term or long-term safety?

We physicians, nurses and clinics (and hospital staff) often have no idea what are the ingredients in vaccines. We tend to not take the time to read the wordy product information sheet. Shame on us. But what should frighten us caregivers is the fact that many of those vaccines contain ingredients that are known neurotoxins, mitochondrial toxins, cytotoxins, genotoxins, teratogens and mutagens. There are also contaminants that are occasionally found in vaccines when independent testing is done. That reality adds to what should be everybody’s concern about vaccine safety.

What also frightens me is the fact that inoculation accidents can easily happen when the tip of the needle pierces and then inadvertently injects some of the vaccine directly into a small vein, where it is not supposed to go. The consequences of such accidents are not known but nothing good can happen when a toxic mix of chemicals – especially aluminum, mercury or live viruses – goes directly into the blood stream.

Some victims of vaccine accidents may faint, some may vomit, some may have cardiac rhythm problems, some babies may have their first vaccine-induced seizure, some babies may die of SIDS within a day or two. Some of the vaccine toxins may go directly to the central nervous system through a leaky or dysfunctional blood-brain barrier (BBB) – a likelihood made more likely in the cases of children or young adults who place their electromagnetic radiation-emitting cell phones next to their brains or are otherwise over-exposed to other sources of wireless microwave technology, all of which are known to be toxic to the BBB.

The power of the FDA, the CDC and their various subsidiaries has been acquired thanks to their cozy relationship with for-profit corporate entities that make up what is called Big Pharma, Big Vaccine and Big Medicine, whose directly- and indirectly-related entities have been largely responsible for the many vaccine-induced disorders in America.

Useful information about the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is available in the Reader’s archives.

***

Dr. Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic, non-drug, mental health care for the last decade of his forty-year family practice career. Prior to his retirement, he was a member of Mind Freedom International, the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Many of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived at

http://duluthreader.com/search?search_term=Duty+to+Warn&p=2;

http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/gary-g-kohls; or

https://www.transcend.org/tms/search/?q=gary+kohls+articles

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India Could Cordially Compete with China Through BRICS+

December 9th, 2017 by Andrew Korybko

Instead of stoking a strategic-security dilemma between the two Asian Great Powers that would only work out to the US’ ultimate benefit, India would do best to cordially compete with China through the BRICS+ format in order to incorporate an implicit rules-based structure to their rivalry and have a chance at reaping the advantages that Russia’s “balancing act” could provide in maintaining stability between them.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on Wednesday that China would “explore modalities for BRICS-plus, to hold outreach dialogues with other major developing countries” because “we hope to establish extensive partnerships and widen our circle of friends to turn it into the most impactful platform for South-South cooperation.”

BRICS+ is considered a “dirty word” by most Indians, especially their ultra-jingoistic Hindutva ruling class, because it’s understood as a euphemism for institutionalizing China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity that New Delhi has been vehemently opposed to since its inception. That’s unfortunate from the perspective of the emerging Multipolar World Order because it strongly suggests that India is predestined to become the US’ premier 21st-century partner in “containing China”, with destabilizing consequences for the two Asian Great Powers involved. This scenario is disadvantageous to Russia’s stated vision of a Greater Eurasian Partnership in the supercontinent because it challenges Moscow’s efforts to integrate the Eurasian Union, SCO, and OBOR, thereby presenting a large-scale strategic threat to its long-term interests.

Russia’s “Balancing” Role

Russia is uniquely positioned to function as the supreme “balancing” force in Eurasia for the entirety of this century, provided of course that can skillfully leverage its multi-vectored diplomacy to that end, and especially in Asia when it comes to preserving stability between its Chinese and Indian partners. It’s therefore of the highest importance that Russia convinces India that it has more to gain by joining BRICS+ in its own way than to avoid the initiative entirely, since India’s participation in this initiative is integral to Russia successfully pulling off its envisioned 21st-century “balancing” act in promoting multipolarity across Eurasia. This doesn’t just entail the two Asian Great Powers in question, but also has a lot to do with Russia’s fast-moving rapprochement with Pakistan and the need for Moscow to dispel India’s American-encouraged suspicions about its intent.

Another driving factor is the interest that Russia has in becoming the go-to “balancing” party for all of China’s Silk Road partners and adversaries, which in this context includes rival South Asian states Pakistan and India, respectively. Russia understands that the best way for it to attain a higher strategic value to China in its own partnership with the country, and therefore correct whatever real or perceived “lopsided” relations it may have with Beijing, is take on a greater degree of importance along the Silk Roads in becoming an indispensable force to its success and stability. Bearing this in mind, it’s most prudent for Russia’s diplomats to speak to their Indian counterparts in a “language that they know” so as to most effectively convince them of the self-interested benefits that they stand to gain by joining BRICS+, which can be summarized as participating in an implicit rules-based platform for competing with China and from where they can draw upon Russia’s “balancing” influence to their advantage.

To elaborate a bit more in depth, India should conceptualize BRICS+ as a vehicle for expanding its multidimensional partnership with Russia across the entire geographic space of “Greater South Asia”, with New Delhi inviting Moscow to participate in a wide array of joint projects so as to mitigate whatever unpleasant competitive perceptions Beijing may have of them. In addition, Russia could do the same with Indian involvement in its own territory in order to justify “internally balancing” foreign direct investment in strategic locations such as the Chinese-bordering Far East without fear of offending China. If the Russian-Indian bilateral relationship migrates to BRICS+ and accepts this new branding, then it would open up a previously untapped and wide array of mutually advantageous possibilities for each of them such as the proposals that will be discussed below.

Reconceptualizing The Chinese-Indian Competition In SAARC And BIMSTEC

India’s most immediate geopolitical concern is naturally its own neighborhood as institutionalized through the largely overlapping South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), both of which New Delhi believes Beijing is trying to “poach” away from its hoped-for hegemonic influence by using the allure of the New Silk Roads. The Chinese-Indian New Cold War has seen these two BRICS “frenemies” compete with one another all across these regional integration organizations in varying intensities and to different extents, but their rivalry could be managed if they each conducted it through the shared platform of BRICS+. While it might be impossible to dispel the “zero-sum” mentality guiding Indian decision makers at the moment, reconceptualizing their SAARC and BIMSTEC competitions with China as being part of BRICS+ could allow both parties to “save face” anytime they experience a subjective “loss” to the other since the end result would still nevertheless be a “BRICS victory”.

Advancing The “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor”

Opening up SAARC and BIMSTEC to BRICS+ could also allow India to call upon its Russian partner to more deeply involve itself in these regions through Indian-led joint projects that function as part of its “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor” (AAGC), which is being hyped up by the country’s media and their Western partners as New Delhi’s “response” to OBOR. While that appears to be a gross over-exaggeration of its future potential for self-serving domestic political purposes, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the idea itself does indeed have a certain degree of promise inherent to it, especially if it manages to develop “soft infrastructure” in the Greater Indian/African Ocean Region in parallel with the “hard infrastructure” that China is constructing through OBOR. An exciting detail about the AAGC is that it expects to rely on Japanese capital for most of its projects, though this is a double-edged sword of sorts because it invites China and others to frame the initiate as a unipolar-backed obstacle for obstructing the Silk Roads.

So long as the AAGC remains a mostly Indo-Japanese undertaking, then it will continue to be viewed with suspicion and inevitably contribute to the New Cold War between China and India. The entire paradigm could suddenly shift, however, if Russia was invited to participate in the AAGC and openly announced its support for endeavor, as Moscow’s multipolar credentials would lend a large degree of trustworthiness and credibility to its associated projects and could go a long way towards easing China’s suspicions. Moreover, just as China is expected to use BRICS+ to promote OBOR, so too could India do the same with the AAGC, possibly even double-branding its investments in Russia’s Far East as being under the banner of both BRICS+ and the AAGC. Not only that, but Moscow might finally have found its gateway for returning to the “Global South” in a tangible trade-worthy sense by carving out its own niche in the AAGC in cooperation with its Indo-Japanese partners, which would also strengthen its ongoing rapprochement with Tokyo too.

Bringing Shadow Partners Into BRICS+

As can be surmised from the above, India’s formal involvement in BRICS+ would allow it to indirectly incorporate shadow partners like Japan into the platform via their participation in the AAGC, thus enabling it to boost its competitive potential vis-à-vis China without openly drawing its consternation. Since the aforementioned section described Tokyo’s role in this structure, it won’t be redundantly reiterated in this part, with the focus instead shifting to how Iran and Israel could fit into this framework. Both entities are located in the Mideast and are accordingly included in India’s “Link West” policy of West Asian (“Mideast”) engagement, and each of them has their own special relationship with Russia. Iran is an important party to the Astana peace process while many Israelis share civic, linguistic, and/or ethnic ties with Russia. In consideration of this, Russia could help India make more pronounced and rapid inroads with each of them, possibly in exchange for New Delhi opening up the door to Moscow in the “Global South” regions of ASEAN and Africa via the AAGC.

Russia and India already cooperate with Iran through the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) that’s expected to one day facilitate South Asian and EU trade via Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia, but the inclusion of this project into BRICS+ as a signature undertaking of the AAGC could draw Tehran even closer into the multipolar institutional fold. Furthermore, since Russian businessmen could theoretically use the NSTC to trade with Pakistan just as much as with India, it’s to Moscow’s interests to convey to New Delhi that its nationals have no “zero-sum” intentions in doing so and are merely chasing their own “win-win” economic solutions, and this could best be achieved by integrating the NSTC into BRICS+. As for Israel, a joint report recently authored by some of Russia and India’s most prominent think tanks calls for them to commence trilateral relations with the Mideast entity that’s already one of Moscow’s closest regional allies. By utilizing the two-way patronage network that exists between Russia and Israel, Moscow could help New Delhi make lightning-fast progress in diversifying its partnership with Tel Aviv.

Concluding Thoughts

This policy proposal is intended to advance Russia’s grand strategic interests as they relate to its tacit desire to “balance” Eurasian affairs across the current century, taking into account the nuances of Moscow’s multidimensional relations with its partners in New Delhi and Beijing in order to craft the most realistic suggestions for how Russia could become the arbiter of the Chinese-Indian New Cold War. There is no state besides Russia that’s capable of managing the growing competition between these two Asian Great Powers, and it is absolutely imperative for Moscow to craft mechanisms for controlling their rivalry so as to guarantee the stability of the emerging Multipolar World Order. The best way to do this is by convincing India to join the BRICS+ platform after opening its eyes to the benefits that it stands to attain by doing so, speaking to its decision makers in a “zero-sum” language that they understand but recognizing that the end result would be to the “win-win” benefit of all Eurasian parties regardless, though so long as Russia successfully sustains the “balance” between them.

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.

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Avoiding Nuclear War Is Our First Priority

December 8th, 2017 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Michel Chossudovsky,  a distinguished professor in Canada, directs the Centre for Research on Globalization and the website Global Research, a font of important information unavailable from the presstitute Western media. In this article he tells us that if we do not focus on peace instead of war, we are all going to die.

Professor Chossudovsky makes an important point, made to me some years ago by my colleague Zbigniew Brzezinski and recently by former Secretary of Defense William Perry. Professor Chossudovsky reminds us to “bear in mind that mistakes are often what determine the course of world history.” A US attack on North Korea would be a mistake that could precipate a nuclear war.

There is no doubt that Chossudovsky is correct.

Additionally, the continued demonization of Russia, China, and Iran could precipate a nuclear war. In other words, we are surrounded by very real threats created by Washington that receive no attention from Western governments and the presstitute media. As I wrote on December 5, we are “walking into Armageddon.” 

Professor Chossudovsky has amassed a huge amount of information that makes clear the vast difference between the level-headed era of JFK/Khrushchev and the insanity of the post-Reagan era of the re-start of hostilities for the sake of the power and profit of the US military/security complex and the neoconservatives’ ideology of US world hegemony.

I am unsure that the peoples of the Western world can without violence against their governments do anything to prevent nuclear war, because the Western politicians are in the pay of the military/security complex and the financial and corporate interest groups that benefit from US hegemony. American hegemony produces profits, and for the sake of these profits Western leaders will risk the fate of the world.

As I have emphasized repeatedly, Americans as a result of their insouciance and patriotism live in a world in which the explanations they are given by government and the presstitutes are used to control what they think and believe. In this way, government and the interest groups that control government make their agendas independent of any control by the citizens. In the United States, and probably throughout the Western world, democracy simply does not exist. George Orwell predicted that this would be the case by 1984, but it took the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes to achieve it. Today in 2017 Big Brother does indeed rule the Western World.

To read the complete article on the Paul Craig Roberts Institute of Political Economy click here 

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Selected Articles: Deadlock for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process?

December 8th, 2017 by Global Research News

In view of Trump’s recent declaration of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, contesting reactions arose from different civil societies. This unlawful act resulted in mass protests in Palestine condemning Trump and his uninhibited decisions. Are we approaching a cul-de-sac in Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement?

Read our selection of articles below and share it far and wide, post it on your social media accounts and discuss with your cliques.

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Rage in Occupied Palestine

By Stephen Lendman, December 08, 2017

Incited by Trump declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital, protests erupted across the West Bank. Israel responded harshly, turning things violent.

After Trump’s announcement, a Palestinian national and Islamic forces joint statement announced three days of rage through Friday.

Trump’s “Jerusalem Promise” to AIPAC: Tillerson, Mattis Warned Trump Against Embassy Move

By Mark Perry, December 08, 2017

Trump made his Jerusalem promise back in March of 2016, during an address he gave to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It was an obvious attempt to convince skeptical Jewish leaders of his uncompromising support for Israel.

Trump’s Scheme to Carve Up Palestine

By Paul R. Pillar, December 08, 2017

President Trump’s big idea for Israeli-Palestinian peace was the “outside-in” plan in which Israel’s new Saudi allies would squeeze the Palestinians until they accepted a bogus “state,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli Capital Sparks Anger, Protests

By Bill Van Auken, December 07, 2017

The decision was met with near universal condemnation from Washington’s allies and foes alike, along with Palestinian demonstrations in the Israel-occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East.

Christian Community Responds: Open Letter to President Trump from Jerusalem’s Thirteen Heads of Churches

By Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem, December 07, 2017

US President Trump has officially declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While PM Netanyahu is rejoicing on this repugnant turnaround, the Christian community responds to Trump’s unlawful decision,  in the hope of maintaining Jerusalem in its rightful “international status”.

Muslim World Outrage While Trump Gloats over Jerusalem Decision

By Stephen Lendman, December 07, 2017

Palestinian rage followed his Wednesday announcement, well publicized in advance, coming as no surprise, especially from an Islamophobic warrior president hostile to peace and stability, one-sidedly backing Israel, partnering in its high crimes, spurning fundamental Palestinian rights.

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The Geopolitics of Poland’s “Three Seas Initiative”

December 8th, 2017 by F. William Engdahl

Poland’s Three Seas Initiative to date is a thinly-disguised geopolitical attempt to create a counter to the influence of both Russia to the east and of Germany to her west. Comparisons with Poland’s ill-fated Intermarium following World War I come to mind, not without reason. Following that war Poland’s leader Josef Pilsudski attempted to create a de facto union of states from the Black Sea to the Baltic to oppose both Soviet Russia and the German empire under the name Intermarium. If we superimpose the states geographically from the various configurations of Intermarium with that of today’s Three Seas Initiative we see a clear resemblance, if you will, a kind of demarcation line between Germany in the west and the Russian Federation in the east. The similarities do not end there.

The current Three Seas Initiative was formally founded in Dubrovnik in August 2016 and includes twelve central and eastern European states as members. Member countries span the space between the Baltic, the Adria and the Black Seas, hence the name. In addition to Poland and Croatia, members presently include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia. It’s second meeting in Warsaw in July 2017 was attended by the US President Trump, who gave the group his clear imprimatur.

The question is what political or economic notions are driving Poland’s Three Seas Initiative? If we look more closely at its initial focus on energy, much becomes clearer.

US Shale LNG

On July 6, 2017 en route to the Hamburg G20 Summit, US President Donald Trump made a high-profile stop in Warsaw to attend the second meeting of the Three Seas Initiative, a project first publicly proposed by Polish President Andrzej Duda.

While the prime actors, Poland and Croatia, insist that the Three Seas Initiative is not at all geopolitical, but rather a forum to better integrate common infrastructure projects north-south in the new EU states of central Europe, it’s clear that the opposite is the case, it’s geopolitics. The real driver of the initiative, Washington, is clearly opposed to the German-Russian undersea Baltic Nord Stream II gas pipeline. Poland for her part stands to lose gas transit fees as the present transit routes of Russian gas via Ukraine and Poland would be phased out, but that is not the major driver. For Germany and for Russia, since the US-initiated February 2014 Kiev coup d’etat broke Ukraine’s ties with Russia, Ukraine transit of Russian gas has been a highly explosive and uncertain issue.

In July in Warsaw Trump told his audience, “We are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.” The remarks were a not-so-veiled slap at Moscow where Washington alleged, falsely, in 2008 that Russia’s Gazprom cut gas supplies via Ukraine to western European consumers, something Moscow vehemently denied, stating it was done by Ukraine, with the almost certain backing of Washington. During the worst tensions of the Cold War Moscow never disrupted gas deliveries to Europe. They had no reason to do so in 2008, rather the opposite. However, US-backed President Viktor Yushchenko did.

A Polish Gas Hub

For their side Poland has dreams of using the Three Seas Initiative to make Poland into a new gas hub for the EU by importing US Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

To ship gas by LNG tanker is a costly process. It requires construction of special LNG terminals at both port of origin and of destination. The gas must first by transformed into a cold liquid state at about −260 °F, and loaded on the specially-made tankers. At destination a similar special LNG terminal is required where the gas can be again changed from liquid to gas state for ultimate consumption. All this is quite costly compared with pipeline gas routes.

By contrast, Russia today delivers most of its gas via pipeline to the EU market. The cost of Russian gas as a result of this and other factors is significantly lower. For Poland this seems not to matter. They dream of replacing Ukraine as the gas transit to the EU with gas from Norway and LNG gas from the USA and perhaps gas from Qatar if Washington does not manage to disrupt that via Saudi sanctions.

In late June, 2017 Poland’s new LNG terminal on the Baltic Sea at Swinoujscie received the first US LNG shipment from the Texas terminal of Cheniere Energy, currently the only US LNG terminal for export of LNG. During the Trump visit Poland’s president made clear he wanted long-term contracts with US LNG suppliers, ultimately to export to other countries of the Three Seas Initiative in place of Russian gas via Ukraine. In the process, Poland has dreams of replacing Russia also as supplier to Ukraine.

Commenting on the Polish wish, Trump declared that “many more” US LNG shipments will be coming to Poland, but added that the price might rise. “Maybe we get your price up a little bit, but that’s ok, tough negotiations,” Trump told his audience in Warsaw. “We are sitting on massive energy, we are now exporters of energy. Whenever you need energy, just give us a call.” Tough negotiations, to be sure.

Poland is building a strategy to make it the new energy hub of central Europe to replace Russian gas. This is at the heart of her Three Seas Initiative project. The new LNG terminal which was built at a cost of $ 1 billion can accept 5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, about one-third Poland’s nnual gas consumption. Poland is discussing doubling that.

But that’s only the first part of what in fact is a NATO strategy to drive Russian gas out of EU markets. The strategy calls for making Poland a natural gas hub for Central Europe by linking Poland with Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia and the Czech Republic through interconnectors.

Blocking Nord Stream II

The Polish Three Seas Initiative on energy infrastructure for importing US LNG is at one and the same time a strategy against German influence on EU energy markets and against Russia as major energy supplier. It is no wonder, given Poland’s gas hub ambitions that the country takes the lead in trying to block the German-Russian Nord Stream II under-Baltic gas pipeline.

On November 1, Krzysztof Szczerski, head of the Chancellery of the President of Poland, announced that Poland’s government will do everything possible to block Nord Stream II.

“We must be aware of the Nord Stream 2 issue, of what scale of interests we are facing,” he stated. “We are dealing with the interests of two large states (Germany and Russia-w.e.), which will launch significant resources for the implementation of this project. Nord Stream 2 is not a side project, but a foundation to their interests. Simultaneously, it has a deep anti-European character (sic!),” he said.

Blocking Nord Stream II is also a high Washington priority. In June, 2017 the US Congress passed and President Trump signed into law severe new anti-Russian sanctions that among other aims explicitly targeted investment in Nord Stream II. The latest US economic sanctions against Russia take direct aim at the companies involved in backing the German-Russian Nord Stream II pipeline expansion across the Baltic, independent of Poland transit. If activated by the US President it would impose severe economic sanctions on EU companies involved in energy projects with Russia, such as Nord Stream II.

The governments of Germany and Austria immediately registered vehement opposition to the latest possible US sanctions for obvious reasons. On June 15 the German and Austrian foreign ministers issued an unusually US-critical joint statement. They declared in very strong terms, “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, not the United States of America. We cannot accept … the threat of illegal extraterritorial sanctions against European companies that participate in the development of European energy supply.” Austria boycotted the Trump July 6 appearance before the Three Seas Initiative as well to signal its disapproval of the US gas talks.

Poland’s Costly US LNG

On November 21, 2017 Poland’s state gas firm PGNiG signed its first mid-term deal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries from the United States, as part of their plan to cut dependence on Russian supplies. PGNiG said that as part of the deal, signed with Centrica LNG Co. an Anglo-American energy group, it will receive nine LNG shipments in 2018-2022. The company has not revealed the volumes and prices agreed under the contract. Market indications are that the Polish government is paying a huge penalty for its Russo-phobia.

Estimates of Russia’s Gazprom suggest that Poland must pay for winter 2017-18 in the range of $265-$295/1,000 cubic meters. Russian gas via pipeline is being delivered for an average price of $190/1,000 cu m. If accurate, it suggests that Poland is paying up to 50% more for its US LNG deliveries. To deliver that US LNG further to other Three Seas Initiative partner countries implies far higher gas prices in central Europe.

What is developing are new major EU fault lines around the economic lifeline of energy, explicitly of natural gas energy. On the one side is the axis between especially Germany but also Austria, France and other EU states currently tied to major Russian gas supplies. Now emerges clearly the opposed axis of Poland allied with Washington.

Role of Atlantic Council

For Washington Poland’s Three Seas Initiative is a win-win situation. That should come as no surprise when we consider that the Atlanticist NATO think tank, Atlantic Council, is playing a shaping role behind formation of the Poland Three Seas Initiative.

The naming of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State was no accident. It is part of a longer-term Washington strategy to make the United States, particularly with its recent exploitation of unconventional shale gas and shale oil, to become the dominant global energy power. US actions in Syria and with Saudi Arabia against Iran and Qatar fit into that strategy. Elimination or sharp curtailing of Qatar LNG exports, including to Poland, stands to benefit US gas suppliers.

One reason for the Saudi sanctions on Qatar, imposed following the May 21 Trump meeting in Riyadh to discuss creation of an “Arab NATO,” had little to do with claims that Qatar supported the Muslim Brotherhood, something that had been true. Saudi Arabia for its part had spent billions backing every terror group in Syria from Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front, to ISIS, in its effort to dislodge Bashar al Assad. The real issue for the US-backed Saudi embargo of Qatar was the fact that Qatar had begun secret negotiations with Iran on joint development of their shared Persian Gulf gas fields, the largest known in the world. Were that Qatar-Iran cooperation to happen with Bashar al Assad firmly in power after Russia’s intervention in Syria, it would change the entire world energy geopolitics in Russia’s favor and against the US role.

In reality the Qatar blockade by the Saudis is aimed not at stopping radical terrorists. It is aimed at keeping Iranian and Qatari and, potentially, Syrian gas out of the EU gas market, estimated to become the world’s largest gas consumer in coming years. For Washington, Poland and their Three Seas Initiative are merely a chess play in a larger geopolitical game.

The creation of Poland’s costly LNG terminal and its strategy to become a central European gas hub via the Three Seas Initiative was not an idea born in Warsaw. It came from Washington, specifically from the geopolitical strategists of the Atlantic Council. The Atlantic Council, created by Washington during the height of the Cold War, today is a major think tank of NATO policy financed by the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies. Official donors include the US Department of the Air Force; Department of the Army; Department of the Navy and the US National Intelligence Council. As well the US State Department and Energy Department contribute to the Council, along with NATO itself.

In April, 2017 the Atlantic Council held a conference in Istanbul on the Three Seas strategy. The theme of the conference was “Making the Three Seas Initiative a Priority for Trump.” The keynote speech was made by General James L. Jones, chairman of the Atlantic Council, and former Obama National Security Advisor. The Atlantic Council was present in Warsaw in July for the Trump appearance at the three Seas Initiative meeting.

Jones remarked in his April remarks on the Three Seas Initiative, “This is a truly transatlantic project that has enormous geopolitical, geostrategic, and geo-economic ramifications.” Jones went on to confirm that the Three Seas Initiative is designed to “alleviate the Kremlin’s strong hand in the European energy sector.” Jones noted also that he had spoken with Secretary Tillerson about the importance of supporting the Three Seas Initiative: “He understands it. He understands the strategic interest; he understands the economic interest,” Jones noted.

Another Initiative Shows Limits of Three Seas

On November 27 a quite different forum assembled, hosted by a member country of the Three Seas Initiative. The China – Central and Eastern Europe summit in Budapest, hosted by Prime Minister Viktor Orban included all 12 members of the Three Seas Initiative as well as non-EU states Serbia, Bosnia Herzogovina, Macedonia and Albania. The China-CEE countries discussed participation in China’s vast One Belt, One Road infrastructure to increase European-Eurasian trade flows. They discussed creation of new infrastructure funds, of currency cooperation and much more. It was a far contrast to the prospects of the Three Seas Initiative to spend billions in risky US shale gas LNG projects in order to alienate Russia and Germany further.

The contrast of the China-CEE summit to that of the Three Seas Initiative couldn’t be more stark. It shows the geopolitical fault lines of what little positive Washington is able to offer its European NATO allies today in contrast with the possibilities to join with China and Russia in building a new Eurasian infrastructure to Europe.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published.

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What ramifications and when?  The recognition of Jerusalem as the natural capital for the State of Israel by US President Donald J. Trump was promised by the buffoonish steward of the empire.  Delivering on it was not necessarily expected – US presidents, keen on courting pro-Israeli groups, had been promising to do so for years.  

Overthrowing the shackles of convention is something Trump believes is a valuable substitute for good sense.  Ruffle feathers, dirty assumptions, and hope that it catches.  One such convention is the steadfast refusal on the part of states to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in any de jure sense. 

From the White House, Trump claimed he had “judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”  Such best interests evidently did not include Palestinians as such, but was “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality”. 

This is a reality born of brute force rather than guiding law.  In the case of the latter, it is without any distinct foundation, unless intangible spirits are accorded corporeal dimensions.  UN Resolution 181, passed by the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947, deemed the city “a corpus separatum under a special international regime”.  

Subsequent moves based around the force of arms were made in contravention of the resolution, though these never had the blessing of international law: Israel claimed West Jerusalem during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948; Jordan assumed control of East Jerusalem in 1950.  

The Six-Day War of 1967 saw Israel seize the eastern portion of the city, an act that generated a string of finger pointing resolutions from the UN Security Council.  Resolution 267 (Jul 3, 1969), confirming resolution 252 (May 21, 1968) reaffirmed the position that “acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible”. 

Since then, the internal assumptions of the Israeli state have been unmistakable: legalise domination and legitimise control over the Holy City.  The Knesset, in 1980, decided to treat Jerusalem’s status as an internal matter. “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”  The UN Security Council gave a different serve, calling on all states “that have established diplomatic missions” in Jerusalem to withdraw them.    

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had certainly scored a coup, calling the move a “genuine milestone in the glorious history of this city.”  The US Congress, heavily lobbied by AIPAC and then Israeli opposition leader Netanyahu, did much the same in 1995, passing legislation requiring the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.  This measure effectively compelled administrations to sign a waiver every six months delaying the move.  

Trump, in refusing to issue another waiver, delighted local political punters.  The Republican Jewish Coalition was so thrilled at the move from the White House, it took out an advertisement in the New York Times congratulating the President for “courageously recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Eternal Capital.” 

Such moves are given the deceptive, even dangerous clothing of spiritual, immutable eternity.  Ever ready for the pulp fiction narrative, Trump would tweet that the city “has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia.” 

In the at times unsteady world of international law and deliberation, the approach to Jerusalem has generally been stable: refuse to acknowledge any one claim to sovereignty over the city in favour of an international administration or accept an outcome drawn from a peace process. 

The tangible outcome of the declaration is hard to say, though its message is unmistakable, treading with disdain on Palestinian assumptions that East Jerusalem be the capital of any future state.  It accords primacy to Israeli supremacy, and, importantly, the status of Judaism.  The status of the city, intended to be the subject of future discussion as outlined in the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, is directly brought into question by Trump’s move.  This is the nature of unilateral punchiness writ large. 

Allies have been left stunned; Islamic states are waving their fists with threatening promise, more concerned with the reactions of their own populaces than anything else.  To predetermine the outcome of the fate of the Holy City, claims Mouin Rabbani with some colour, “would constitute an act of premeditated political pyromania with unforeseen local, regional and global consequences.”  

Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has been put in a particularly difficult situation, caught between having to take a frothily angered stand (Palestinian figures are clamouring for three days of rage), but also what can be made of an essentially moribund peace process.

“This,” he rightly notes, “is a reward to Israel.”  

Inflammatory outcomes are also promised with typical relish.  Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque, claimed Trump’s move would incite “the feelings of anger among all Muslims and threatens world peace.  The gates of hell will be opened in the West before the East.” 

Most strikingly is the notion that unilateralism is tolerable, even desirable, when it comes to matters Israeli.  When other states, without Israeli consultation, choose to recognise anything Palestinian, even in terms of a nominal status, unilateral conduct becomes a matter for abuse and derision. 

Short of not packing the diplomatic bags and upping stakes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, governments will maintain stony faces and deem such moves complicating, conditioned by a good degree of apocalyptic rhetoric against the US-Israel alliance. But over the years, the Palestinians have retreated into the recesses of a consciousness numbed by international rivalries among Muslim states.  They are no longer the poster boys and girls of revolutionary justice.  

From the war in Syria to the conflict in Yemen, states of various shades of Islam are shoring up allies and rivalries with murderous consistency.  Such continuing disunity is exactly what Israel, and its US backers, will be hoping for, letting the babble over Jerusalem slide into its own eternity.

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

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Initially, I planned to write a ‘regular’ review of this book, but by the time I finished reading it I realize that nothing short of a standing ovation would do justice to this absolutely remarkable book. Guy Mettan produced a masterpiece which ought to be on the “must read” list of every person interested in Russia. So let me tell you why this book is amazing.

For one thing, this is one of the best and clearest study of russophobia I have ever read. Second, it is one of the few studies of this topic written by a non-Russian (Guy Mettan is a Swiss author, reporter, editor and political figure). Last but not least, the book is very short, less than 500 pages, which for such a complex topic is truly remarkable.

Guy Mettan (image right) uses a very systematic, step by step, approach. He begins by giving a few examples of the incredibly anti-Russian way a few well-known incident have been covered in the western press: the crash of Überlingen, the Beslan hostagecrisis, the 2nd war in Ossetia and the Olympic Games in Sochi.  Mettan could have used another 500 or so examples, but with these four he makes an irrefutable case that the western media does not even try to report honestly from Russia and that all the western elites care about is Russia bashing. Mettan then uses the Ukrainian crisis as his strongest proof and lists numerous examples of, shall we say, deliberate western blindness. By the time you are done with the first part of this book you will see that russophobia is simply not a deniable phenomenon.

But Mettan does not stop there, however. He goes one step further at looks at the history of the various russophobias (plural).

Here is were Mettan is at his best and where he has the courage and intellectual precision to look as far back as the 9th century to look into the first and most important cause of all the russophobias in the West: the schism resulting from the attempted coup by the Franks in the West to first usurp the power inside the Western Roman Empire, here they succeeded, and then take control of the Eastern Roman Empire (incorrectly called “Byzantine Empire” in western parlance), here they failed.

Mettan speaks of the “soft power” (in English) of religion in the VIIIth century and compares the position of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation against the “Byzantine Empire” to the NATO stance against Russia today. And while this kind of insight will definitely earn Mettan many sneers, he is absolutely correct: as soon as the Frankish controlled Papacy broke away from the rest of the Christian world it became obsessed with subjugating, converting and destroying the Orthodox world.  You cannot understand modern Russia and her position in the world unless you understand the 1000 year old Papist hatred for the original Christian world.

Logically, Mettan begins by analyzing the cultural and philosophical roots of this earliest form of proto-russophobia, the Papist hatred for the original Christian world, but he soon switches to more recent forms of russophobia. They are the French russophobia, the English russophobia, the German russophobia and the American russophobia. Each of these empires hated Russia, much for the same reasons, but also in a different way and for unique reasons. And Mettan therefore logically concludes that the current American russophobia is really a combination of the other European russophobias.

Mettan concludes his book by a most interesting analysis of what he called a “russophobia how-to” in which he looks at how words are used, how topics are framed, how certain issues are simply never addressed and questions never asked. It is frankly a most discouraging and yet also most interesting read. Reading Mettan’s conclusions I was left wondering if this 1000 year old river of hate would ever dry up. On the one hand, as long as the West is under the influence of messianic ideologies, imperial delusions and racist views of the “other” I am not very optimistic (messianism, imperialism and racisms are all western creations). But on the other hand,  russophobias were always the product of Empire, be it the Papacy, or the modern Anglo-Zionist Empire. “Normal” countries really have not need for any russophobic ideology or worldview. And since the current US Anglo-Zionist Empire is probably the last western Empire of any kind, there is good hope that imperialism, as a phenomenon, will finally bite the dust. If that ever happens, and I believe that it will, russophobia will finally end up in the same trash heaps of history as all the other ideologies whose sole purpose was to rationalize and explain away western wars of conquest.

There is absolutely no objective reason whatsoever for Russia and Europe to be enemies. Guy Mettan’s book is a formidable deconstruction of the imperialist mindset and as such it is truly a “must read”. It is short, very well written and deserves to printed in million of copies. Alas, this is clearly not going to happen, at least not as long as the media is controlled by the Empire.His book, published in french in 2015, has been translated into italian, russian, swedish and serbian and must be published in chinese next year.. In the meantime, I want to thank Guy Mettan for his formidable contribution to the understanding of this important phenomenon and express my hopes that as many people as possible read his superb book.

(This article is a shorter review originally published by The Saker.)


Order Guy Mettan’s book directly from Clarity Press

TitleCreating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria

Author: Guy Mettan

Publisher: Clarity Press (June 15, 2017)

ISBN-10: 0997896523

ISBN-13: 978-0997896527

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Israel Uses Live Fire Against Palestinian Protesters

December 8th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

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Contact at [email protected].

On Thursday, armed only with stones and their indomitable spirit against longstanding injustice, ignited by Trump’s pronouncement for Israel, its soldiers and police used water cannons, toxic tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and live fire against them across the West Bank.

In response to a rocket from Gaza landing harmlessly in an open field, an Israel tank shelled the Strip. IDF warplanes terror-bombed Hamas targets, its government having nothing to do with the incident.

Scores of Palestinians were injured, at least nine from live fire, some hospitalized with serious wounds. Things are likely to be worse after Friday prayers, tens of thousands of Palestinians expected to protest.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) commented on Trump’s outrageous move, saying the following:

“…Jerusalem’s legal status (is) codified (under) international law according to (UN) resolutions, (an) International Court of Justice (ruling), and…154 (nations) vot(ing) in favor of recognizing the state of Palestine on the territory occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem.”

The PCHR called Trump’s move “a new Balfour Declaration,” 100 years after the first one by Britain, this one by America – both actions that will live in infamy.

The legal Palestinian right to East Jerusalem as its legitimate capital cannot be changed by Trump, Netanyahu or anyone else. Declaring it otherwise is a criminal act, flagrantly violating international law, including UN resolutions and Geneva Conventions.

PCHR director Raji Sourani said the following:

Trump’s “decision is an explicit call for imposing the rule of jungle and de facto policy in addition to completely flouting the international law and UN’s role.”

“This declaration also gives political legitimacy for the Israeli crimes and affects the history, present and future of the Palestinian people.”

A dozen Security Council resolutions call Jerusalem occupied territory. Eight stipulate the illegitimacy of actions attempting to change the legal status of the city.

Four demand Israel withdraw entirely from territory it illegally occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem – calling changes to the status of city invalid.

In December 2016, the Security Council voted 14 – 0, America abstaining, clearly stating Israeli settlements have “no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation under international law.”

It demanded “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”

It recognized no territorial changes “to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.”

It “(c)all(ed) upon all States, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”

It “(c)all(ed) for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard…”

Like dozens of other UN resolutions hostile to its interests, Israel ignored Res. 2334, continuing to do as it pleases, the Trump administration fully supportive, the world community taking no effective actions for its crimes against Palestinians and neighboring states

Trump’s declaration for Israel is the latest affront to their fundamental rights and dignity – stripping off the mask of America as a fair mediator on anything, exposing the peace process hoax.

On Thursday evening, Trump’s team and guests were drinking champagne at the White House – celebrating their betrayal of the Palestinian people at a Hanukkah reception, the president saying:

“…I know for a fact there are a lot of happy people in this room.”

Palestinians and the Arab street condemn his action. So do fair-minded Jews – in America and elsewhere, including in Israel.

Franklin Roosevelt called December 7 “a date which will live in infamy” – for a second reason following Trump’s Thursday pronouncement for Israel.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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

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The campaign over alleged “Russian meddling” in Britain’s 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union (EU) has now rumbled on for months. With little substance, the claim is regularly made that the Leave vote was the result of the Putin government in Moscow planting “fake news” to achieve a desired political objective.

Such allegations are the British corollary of the campaign initiated by the Democrats and sections of the military-intelligence establishment in the United States, which also finds an echo throughout Europe. The aim is to justify both accelerating war preparations against Russia and massive state censorship of social media.

A remarkable admission by former Conservative justice secretary, Ken Clarke, to a government committee, raises far more substantive evidence of an insidious, pervasive and systematic effort to subvert the democratic process, also centred on Brexit, and involving wholesale manipulation of the news.

In contrast to the campaign against Russia, this has gone largely without comment because it concerns Clarke’s suggestion that former Tory leader David Cameron struck a “deal” with Rupert Murdoch in the run-up to the 2010 general election.

The former cabinet minister made his comments before the non-ministerial Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), part of an investigation into a proposed £11.7 billion takeover of the UK TV company Sky by Murdoch and his 21st Century Fox.

The deal would give Murdoch just under 20 percent of the TV news market and 45 percent of the radio audience in the UK, making him the largest competitor to the British Broadcasting Corporation. However, Murdoch’s reach is far more extensive, as he already controls the largest circulation share of any newspaper group in Britain—including the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Times and the Sunday Times.

The Fox/Sky move comes just five years after Murdoch’s now defunct News of the World was accused of criminality on an “industrial” scale, involving widespread phone hacking. Since then, it has settled at least 1,000 cases.

A key element in the rehabilitation of the Murdoch empire was the whitewash inquiry into press standards, led by Lord Leveson. Clarke noted in his interview—the transcript of which just became available—that the second part of the inquiry was never held because the government was scared it would “upset Rupert.”

For more than a decade, and through three general elections, the oligarch had been a strident backer of Tony Blair and his New Labour government—so much so that Murdoch was described as an unofficial cabinet member.

This changed in the run-up to 2010. Clarke said “quite how” then Conservative Party leader Cameron had “got the Sun” away from Labour, “I shall never know.” Murdoch “would never let Tony down because Tony had backed the Iraq war,” he said, so “Maybe it was some sort of a deal. David would not tell me what it was. Suddenly we got the Murdoch empire on our side.”

Clarke said he assumed the appointment of Andy Coulson, former editor of News of the World between 2003 and 2007, as Cameron’s director of communications “was part of the deal.”

After the Tories’ surprise win in 2010, Clarke met with Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of Murdoch’s British arm, News International. Referring to Brooks’ law-and-order campaigns, Clarke said she “was instructing me on criminal justice policy… as I think she had instructed my predecessor…”

Brooks told Ken Clarke that she was “running the government now in partnership with David Cameron” and instructed him to buy “prison ships because she had got some more campaigns coming,” he relayed.

Coulson was forced to quit as Cameron’s communications director in January 2011, just before he was arrested, accused of conspiracy to intercept voicemails. In June 2014, he was found guilty. He served just five months of an 18-month sentence.

Brooks’ plea of incompetence—that she was unaware of the illegal activities of the newspaper she had edited for three years—was accepted. The following year, she was made CEO of News UK, the relaunched News International.

Clarke is not the first to suggest a deal. At the time of the 2010 election, Labour’s [Lord] Peter Mandelson said Murdoch had agreed a “contract” with Cameron. This was denounced as sour grapes by the Tories. Cameron categorically denied any agreement stating, “There was no overt deal for support, there was no covert deal, no nods and winks.” There was no “trading policies for that support.”

Clarke’s account of Brooks’ remarks suggest that the former prime minister perjured himself. At any rate, it is a matter of record that Cameron met with executives of Murdoch’s News Corp and its UK subsidiaries on more occasions than with all other media outlets combined over the same timeframe. Murdoch told a committee of MPs investigating the phone hacking scandal that he “often entered Downing Street by the back door.”

As the World Socialist Web Site commented following the conclusion of the Leveson Inquiry, successive Tory and Labour governments “bent their knee at Murdoch’s court,” as the media mogul exercised “close to veto power over state policy! Democracy is a façade behind which plutocrats and their political hirelings operate as a law unto themselves.”

Clarke’s remarks confirm this appraisal. And not only prison ships are involved.

In 2004, Blair infamously made a sudden reversal on Labour’s opposition to a referendum on EU membership. That year, the EU agreed to draw up a constitution. In response, the Tories forced a vote in parliament demanding a referendum to veto the move, which Labour opposed, and was lost. Murdoch’s press ran with denunciations of Blair and Labour for “treachery.”

Murdoch had long campaigned for a British exit from the EU, which he accused of imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens on big business. His titles functioned as the main outlet for the euro-sceptic wing of the bourgeoisie.

Within weeks, Blair had changed his position. After a holiday, in which he returned home by way of Washington and New York, Blair announced he would support a referendum—to the astonishment of his cabinet, many of whom had not been informed.

According to reports, Blair’s change of mind on a referendum came after a visit from Sunday Times columnist Irwin Stelzer, who informed him Murdoch’s media would come out against him unless he did so.

Blair gave himself wriggle room, however, stating that the referendum should be held only after a constitution was agreed. In the end, referendums in the Netherlands and France vetoed the planned draft. The EU simply moved ahead regardless under the guise of the Lisbon Treaty.

In 2009, Cameron committed an incoming Conservative government to support a referendum. Having won office in 2010, with Murdoch’s backing, he vacillated several times in implementing this pledge—not least because of concern at the possibility of a Leave vote—before officially committing in 2013 to hold a referendum by 2017.

The 2016 referendum vote narrowly went to Leave—heavily backed by Murdoch—and Cameron, who led the Remain campaign, was forced to quit as prime minister. He was replaced by Theresa May, also a Remain campaigner, but who leads a cabinet committed to Brexit.

Murdoch was one of the first people May met as prime minister, using a visit to New York in September 2016—where she was making her maiden speech to the United Nations—to hold a private audience with the oligarch.

It is suggested that it was Murdoch who instructed May to appoint arch-Brexiteer, Michael Gove, to her cabinet, despite him backing Boris Johnson against her in the post-referendum leadership contest. Gove returned in June.

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The 2018 Ontario provincial election will be fought over many issues. Liberal Kathleen Wynne’s unpopularity as Premier, Progressive Conservative Party Leader Patrick Brown’s flip-flopping on major issues, the election of Donald Trump in the United States and subsequent re-evaluation of NAFTA are all certainly to come up in coverage and debates. However, one of the biggest issues that will be fought next year is a struggle that activists have been working on for years, and one which opponents believe could derail Ontario’s entire economy: Bill 148. The minimum wage hike, and other labour reforms in the Bill, may be the most controversial public policy issue in Ontario right now. The effects of it will impact students, young workers and working class people for years to come.

Bill 148, known as the “Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017,” will make for many changes to Ontario labour policy, but the most significant and newsworthy of the changes is the minimum wage increase. According to Section 23.1 of this update of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, the provincial government will raise the hourly minimum wage for workers to $14 an hour in January of 2018, and $15 an hour the following year.

While the bill has passed the third reading in the House and will come into effect after the winter months, it has recently inspired a lot of debate. Activists and workers who support the law believe that it will lift people out of poverty, create stability in a difficult job market, and will benefit the economy and businesses. Opponents, however, see it as a job-killer which will hurt both the most vulnerable of the working population and small businesses. So, on which side of the argument does the evidence lay?

Experts Disagree

The debate has been fought not only between activists on either side, but also between academics, economists, businesses and banks. In an economic assessment of a minimum wage hike released in late September, TD Canada Trust, one of the largest financial institutions in the country, urged caution with the legislation. In their forecast, TD estimated a net reduction of between 80,000 to 90,000 jobs by 2020. It sounds doom-and-gloom, but even within TD’s own public release, the estimation still reveals that employment would continue to ‘expand’ in the next decade.

What does all that mean? Even if TD’s rather negative forecast of nearly 1,000 net lost jobs – the number of jobs lost subtracted from the number of jobs created – over the next four years due to the wage hike is true, employment in Ontario would still grow by 0.5 per cent a year. A common theme that can be interpreted from research into the topic is a simple one: the minimum wage is only one of perhaps thousands of factors that determine economic performance and employment.

In fact, many economists disagree about the economic implications of a minimum wage hike. Throughout the 20th century and into today, many empirical studies were conducted to determine the real effects of a wage hike. One of the most famous of these studies was conducted by economists David Card and Alan Krueger in 1992. The two conducted a comparative study between the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which border one another. The government in New Jersey raised the minimum wage by nearly 20 per cent, while Pennsylvania’s remained constant (before the hike in New Jersey, both states had the same minimum).

In their 1993 study “Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania” published in the American Economic Review, the authors found no negative correlation between a minimum wage increase and employment. In fact, a far more thorough study conducted by the Institute for Research on Labour and Employment from 1990 to 2006 found similar effects. By comparing “contiguous county pairs” on state borders, the study found no long-term negative effects of the minimum wage increases.

Social Justice Movement

Economists are far from the only concerned party with this issue. For years, activists with the labour movement and social justice organizations have been using their voices and platforms to promote a $15 minimum wage and other work reforms. One of the most notable, province-wide organizations involved in fighting for a ‘living wage’ is the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign.

The campaign, which considers itself part of a larger movement across North America to create better jobs, has fought for various provisions in Bill 148. Although the name of the campaign indicates a focus on increasing the living wage, the group has fought for other elements such as equal pay for equal work, fair scheduling and paid leave for workers facing sexual and domestic violence.

Their work has paid off. Bill 148 has nearly been sent through the full legislative process in the provincial House. There was an amendment in the original draft of the bill for equal pay between full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary workers. There was also language which closed a loophole in original text of the Employment Standards Act, which is intended to stop employers from using seniority to disadvantage part-time workers as opposed to full-time workers.

In terms of scheduling, there were some big gains for workers that activists fought for years. Three major changes were enacted into the legislation: pay for on-call employees who aren’t called, pay for employees who have their shifts cancelled (with less than 48 hours’ notice), and the right for employees to refuse shifts if they are given less than four days of notice.

The Political Parties

Organizations such as $15 and Fairness have also petitioned concerned citizens to get involved in political action. The campaign has come out strongly against the candidacy of Progressive Conservative (PC) leader Patrick Brown, who will be running in 2018 for Premier against NDP Andrea Horwath and the current Premier Kathleen Wynne.

And it’s true: the Ontario PC party has pledged that, given the opportunity to form government, would delay the increase until 2022. The PC and their elected MPPs have quoted a study by the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) that up to 50,000 workers could lose their jobs.

Brown has not come out fully against the idea of the minimum wage (as some right-wing politicians have), but has urged caution on what he considers a ‘dramatic’ raise to the wage. He made his thoughts clear in a statement to a media scrum outside Queen’s Park earlier this year in June.

“My concern is the speed that we’re going about this, the fact that there is no cost-benefit analysis… I’m not sure that’s giving proper notice to our job creators,” Brown told reporters.

Aside from politically interested parties, criticisms have been raised by other parties who claim they will be negatively affected by the hike. In one instance, many municipalities in North and Northwestern Ontario are considered that the increased minimum wages will affect budgeting for local services such as volunteer firefighting. In a statement to Thunder Bay News, the Fire Chief in the town of Shuniah is concerned that the town firefighting budget will increase exponentially following the wage increase, beyond what the municipality can afford. Shuniah and many other municipalities are currently pressuring the provincial government for an exemption.

But in the province as a whole, it appears that the majority of people would choose to err on the side of increasing the minimum, and of Bill 148’s provisions. A Forum Research survey, which asked respondents whether they supported a $15 minimum wage, showed that 53 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of the changes. Other provisions in Bill 148 were even more popular: 74 per cent were in favour of the vacation changes, 67 per cent supported equal pay amendments, and 57 per cent were on board for pay for on-call employees and canceled shifts.

Simon Black, an Associate Professor in the Department of Labour Studies at Brock University, voiced his support for Bill 148, based both on empirical evidence and the effects it could have on the lives of workers throughout the province.

“First thing’s first: whatever Bill 148’s deficiencies, it should not be seen as a gift bestowed on low-wage workers by a benevolent government. It should be seen as the product of social movement organizing and activism, petitions and protest, and persistence,” Black explained. “We should salute all those everyday working class folks, from child care workers to retail clerks, auto workers to adjunct professors, airport workers to the folks serving coffee at the local Tim Hortons, from trade unionists, to seniors to single moms – and especially, the amazing student activists – who have made this bill a reality.”

Black not only noted the work of organizers across the province who have fought for progressive reforms to labour law, but how the proposed reforms will help the working class people of our province who provide so many of our daily services.

“The bill is an important step toward ensuring equal pay and equal access to benefits for part-time, contract and temporary workers. It includes modest improvements to scheduling rules and the introduction of mandatory sick days,” Black stated. “It will also make it easier for workers, particularly in a few sectors, to join unions. Of course, the centerpiece of the bill is the $15 minimum wage. By raising the wage floor in the labour market, the $15 minimum will be of great benefit to students, who tend to be concentrated in low-wage work.”

The minimum wage has sparked controversy not only in Ontario, but across North America. In the province of Alberta, the provincial NDP government led by Premier Rachel Notley has increased the minimum wage twice during its time in power. The government, much like our Ontario Liberals, pledge to increase the wage to a total of $15 an hour by late 2018. Notley has made special note of how the law would disproportionately impact women and people of colour, who tend to be overrepresented in precarious work environments. This is true across the country, and shows how the Alberta NDP has made their promise to raise the wage in a way a commitment to the principles of social justice. Notley, like her counterpart Wynne, has also made the smart political move of cozying up to small business owners who pay a higher wage or support the increase, in an effort to make the hike palatable to economic conservatives and appear to be a best-of-both-worlds approach.

None of this is to say Notley has not faced opposition. The United Conservative Party, the Official Opposition in Alberta, has staunchly opposed Notley’s efforts and has claimed that the party is putting “ideology ahead of evidence.” As in the case in Ontario, economists from institutes and universities in Alberta have spent months fiercely debating the issue.

The debate over the minimum wage is also quite lively south of the border. Although the federal government only mandates a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for American workers, more than half American states have passed legislation to raise the minimum higher than the federal standard. Due to action by groups such as Fight for $15 in the United States, the Democratic Party, one of the two major political parties in the country, came out for a $15 minimum wage as part of their official policy platform in the 2016 presidential election. Polling conducted by the Pew Center in the U.S. in 2014 showed that a strong majority (73 per cent) of Americans favored the increase of the minimum wage to ten dollars an hour. In fact, 53 per cent of registered Republicans even favored the increase in the same poll. However, the administration of President Trump, as well as top Republican elected officials such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, adamantly opposes a higher wage.

While the debate is likely to rage on until even after the initial effects of the raised wage in the province are felt, for many activists who support a living wage, the incoming legislation feels like a victory. But that does not mean the battle is completely over.

In a packed house of living wage advocates at the University of Toronto, activist Deena Ladd let the audience know that a lot depends on the results of the upcoming election – and how much pressure activists are able to put on whoever is in power come the end of 2018.

“This is the time to get our communities organized,” Ladd stated to the crowd. “We need to be working every day, every weekend, until we win these changes.”

Quinton Ascah is a Board Member and News Editor for The Brock Press, where this article was first published.

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Site Considered for US Embassy in Jerusalem Is Stolen Palestinian Private Property

December 8th, 2017 by Institute for Palestine Studies

This article first published in December 2016 in the immediate wake of the US presidential elections sheds light on the ongoing crisis

Kellyanne Conway, President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign manager, has stated that relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a “a big priority” for the incoming administration. She added: “It is something that our friend in Israel, a great friend in the Middle East, would appreciate and something that a lot of Jewish-Americans have expressed their preference for.”

Meanwhile, in a passage that has since been removed from the online article, the Times of Israel has reported that the Trump transition team “has begun exploring the logistics of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, and checking into sites for its intended new location,” adding that the site being considered was formerly the location of the Allenby Barracks, the site of the British army’s Jerusalem garrison during the Mandate.

However, as is revealed by Walid Khalidi’s special report on the subject, originally published in the Journal of Palestine Studies, the site being considered is Palestinian private property stolen from its owners, including the waqf property of several families. He points out that the move would recklessly violate U.S. and international law and have the following impact:

  • The law of belligerent occupation applies to Jerusalem. Neither Israeli nor American laws have a bearing on the status of Jerusalem as an occupied city. Moving the embassy will not change the fact that Israel is the occupier, would contradict the stand taken by every US administration since 1967, and would violate international law and UN resolutions. These include 1980 UN Security Council resolution 478, which declared Israel’s announcement of Jerusalem as its capital “null and void.”
  • On 18 January 1989 a Land Lease and Purchase Agreement was signed between the Israel and U.S., for land serving as a US embassy site in what was known as the Allenby Barracks. Much of the land in this area belongs to Palestinian refugees, including privately owned and Waqf land. He notes: “with all that Jerusalem connotes, it is, to say the least, unbecoming for the United States’ future embassy in that city to be built on land that is stolen property.”
  • On 21 July 1989, Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois wrote a memorandum on the legal implications of the lease agreement, arguing that the expropriation of waqf or private property in Jerusalem was illegal; that the lease agreement itself was illegal; and that Congress is legally barred from providing funds for the implementation of the agreement.
  • Relocating the embassy means endorsing the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, and predetermining the fate of Jerusalem in a final status solution. This endorsement includes acceptance of Israel’s illegally built settlements and the wholesale confiscation of Palestinian refugee property.

For these reasons, moving the embassy would gravely undermine the American role in the Middle East, especially since it contradicts and repudiates the commitments and assurances of all previous U.S. administrations since 1967. The implications of such a move for the position of the United States in the Middle East will be grave, including its adverse impact on the numerous Arab regimes that turn a blind eye to all the US does in support of Israel.

The impact inside Palestine and on Palestinians elsewhere is also likely to be great, whether in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or among the 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel.  Finally, given how important the issue of Jerusalem is for Muslims around the world, and especially at a time when radical Islamist groups systematically exploit the Palestine issue, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem will constitute a potentially explosive provocation.

Read the full Walid Khalidi Special Report here.

Featured image is from Mondoweiss.

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Rage in Occupied Palestine

December 8th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

On September 28, 2000, the second intifada began, fueled by decades of repressive occupation, incited by Ariel Sharon’s provocative Haram al-Sharif visit before he was elected prime minister, protected by hundreds of Israeli security forces.

Palestinians were enraged over a dead-end peace process, inspired by Hezbollah forcing Israel’s May 2000 South Lebanon withdrawal.

On September 29, protests began. Israel responded harshly. A cycle of resistance and retaliation followed.

The five-year intifada took a terrible toll as follows:

  • 4,166 Palestinian deaths, including 886 children and 271 women;
  • 554 extrajudicial assassinations; 253 of them peaceful bystanders;
  • 3,530 Palestinians disabled or maimed;
  • 8,600 imprisoned, including 288 children and 115 women;
  • 576 students killed, including 199 university-level ones and 32 teachers;
  • another 4,713 students injured and 1,389 detained;
  • 2,329,659 dunums of confiscated Palestinian land;
  • another 73,613 dunums of razed land plus 1,355,290 uprooted trees; and
  • 7,761 demolished homes and another 93,842 damaged.

Under Netanyahu and other Ziofascists running Israel, conditions are worse than earlier. A new intifada could be as devastating as the last one, especially if Israel wages war on Gaza – a fourth one if launched since December 2008.

Incited by Trump declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital, protests erupted across the West Bank. Israel responded harshly, turning things violent.

After Trump’s announcement, a Palestinian national and Islamic forces joint statement announced three days of rage through Friday, saying:

“We call on all our people in Israel and around the world to gather in city centers and Israeli embassies and consulates, with the aim of bringing about general popular anger,” adding:

“A huge protest should be launched in order to reject out of hand the attempts of the US administration to transfer the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”

“The right of the people and the nation to act in all legal and diplomatic ways within the international community, the international law in the Hague, in order to torpedo this attempt.”

Palestinians called for an emergency meeting of Islamic country leaders and the Jerusalem Committee to highlight their rejection of Trump’s outrageous move.

Image result for “We call on all our people in Israel and around the world to gather in city centers and Israeli embassies and consulates, with the aim of bringing about general popular anger,”

Palestinian protesters burn pictures of US President Donald Trump at Bethlehem’s Manger Square on December 5 (Source: Beast Watch News)

On Thursday, Israeli police and soldiers attacked West Bank Palestinian demonstrators, numerous injuries reported, some seriously, including by live fire, others by rubber-coated steel bullets and toxic tear gas.

In Gaza, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported four protesters wounded by live fire, others injured. Photos of Trump along with Israeli and US flags were burned, demonstrators chanting “Death to America.” “Death to Israel.”

The PLO announced a general strike, closing schools and businesses across the West Bank.

Hezbollah spokesman Hassan Fadlallah called Trump’s move “treacherous and malicious aggression” against Palestinian rights, likely to have “catastrophic repercussions,” urging resistance, the only option.

Trump’s disgraceful action stripped the mask off Washington as an honest peace broker, something it never was, opening a hornet’s nest in Occupied Palestine. Things could stay ugly for some time.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Featured image: President visit the Western Wall, Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. (Source: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv)

Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. now recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and will eventually move its embassy there, might well be the most predictable decision of an otherwise unpredictable presidency.

Trump made his Jerusalem promise back in March of 2016, during an address he gave to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It was an obvious attempt to convince skeptical Jewish leaders of his uncompromising support for Israel.

But it’s not only that Trump was intent to fulfill a campaign promise: The Jerusalem initiative has been in the works since the day he took office, was coordinated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and is supported by influential voices in the administration—including Vice President Mike Pence, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Middle East envoy (and former Trump Organization lawyer) Jason Greenblatt, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The decision was all but finalized, The American Conservative has learned, during a late November meeting of Trump’s foreign policy advisors at the White House.

The November confab was well underway when Trump arrived to press his case. While the president was only expected to stay in the meeting for 15 to 20 minutes, he ended up staying for a full hour. Trump, TAC was told by a senior Pentagon officer with knowledge of the meeting, was adamant about keeping his campaign pledge, but was brought up short by warnings issued by Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Both officials argued that the move would endanger American diplomats serving in the region, undermine the administration’s efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and result in condemnations from both Arab countries and America’s most important allies in Europe. Trump could expect almost no support in the international community, they said. America would “have to go it alone.”

Trump listened closely to the warnings over the next hour (“it was a very intense exchange,” TAC was told by the senior Pentagon official, “but it certainly wasn’t heated”). But at the end of the discussion the president said that he would go ahead with his decision despite the difficulties it might cause. He also acknowledged concerns about possible threats to U.S. diplomats, and said that he would dampen them by repeating U.S. assurances that it was committed to a two-state solution. More so, he argued, the U.S. did not need to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem immediately—which would serve as a further reassurance.

Even so, Wednesday’s announcement about Jerusalem was tortured by a number of inherent contradictions, including the most prominent of all—the contention that the decision was not only in the “best interests of the United States,” but would actually enhance the prospects of a two-state solution and energize the peace process.

“We are not taking a position on any final status issues,” Trump added, “including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.”

The decision is “in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

In fact, it seems unlikely that this unseemly sleight-of-hand (of making dubious claims), will allay Arab fears that the U.S. continues to be “Israel’s lawyer” (to use a term coined by former U.S. Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller). Now it has also become Israel’s realtor. This seems not to bother the president, who is becoming known for playing a poor hand by throwing in more chips.

The strategy is almost perverse in its beauty, and was on full display among administration officials intent on selling the president’s Jerusalem initiative in the wake of his address. The Trump announcement, as one of them argued, doesn’t undermine the peace process—not because there isn’t one (as everyone suspects), but because there is, and it’s going swimmingly. Trump, this official added, was actually anxious to make Wednesday’s announcement because he was so encouraged by the progress made on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by Jared Kushner and his team. “I know a lot of that progress isn’t visible,” as this official was overheard saying to a prominent television reporter, “[but] it’s partly because that progress is not visible that they’ve been able to make so much progress.”

Domestically, it would seem Trump has little to worry about. The Democrats have spent the last 70 years (since 1948), fawning over Israel and defending it, while the Republicans’ Christian Evangelical base is in full-throated support of the embassy move. Furthermore, the GOP has been desperate to break into what was once a Democrat-only monopoly on Jewish-American political funding—and Jewish votes. In this sense, Mr. Trump’s Jerusalem announcement can be seen as a kind of coming out party—a celebration that the monopoly has been broken, that the Republicans have arrived. Then too, the bedrock of progressivism of American Jews (who supported any number of progressive movements over the last decades), has been overawed by concern that Israel can best be defended by backing pro-military conservative interventionists.

And so it is that President Trump’s Jerusalem announcement might well be seen as a significant and decisive victory—for Israel, for the Republican Party, and for those Jewish Americans who have had to choose between their progressive ideals and their support for a nation that is anything but. The result is stark, discomforting. It may be that the controversy will fade, that the Arab world will remain quiet, that the Trump administration will use the Jerusalem decision as a springboard to launch a creative and fair resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That Jared Kushner will succeed where George Mitchell did not. But that doesn’t seem likely.

Rather, it’s probable that the governments of Europe will remember the real import of this decision—that when asked to stand with our European allies and Arab friends, we chose Israel instead.

Pay attention: This is what it feels like to live in a nation whose moment has passed.

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst, a regular contributor to The American Conservative and the author of The Pentagon’s Wars, which was released in October. He tweets @markperrydc

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Video: I Believe in 9/11 Miracles

December 8th, 2017 by AE911Truth

“If journalists continue to endorse the official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center, they should begin their articles by saying: ‘I believe in miracles—lots of them.’” – David Ray Griffin, Author “Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World”

Learn about the evidence here.

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Bombing to Victory in Afghanistan?

December 8th, 2017 by Brian Cloughley

“The United States dropped a combined total of 7 million tons of bombs on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia . . . It didn’t work. America bombed Vietnam for six years longer than it bombed Japan — and it still lost.”
— The Atlantic, January 2016

“Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition, attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan…”
— Donald Trump, August 2017

Donald Trump has introduced a military policy aimed at winning the war in Afghanistan. So far, this has involved an increase in US combat troops and expansion of the aerial bombing campaign. According to the US Air Force, 3,554 bombs and rockets were directed at targets in the first ten months of 2017, including 653 in October, the greatest number since November 2010. Some of the most recent strikes were on 10 supposed drug-production facilities in Helmand Province, and the complexity and expense of the operation were considerable. (The number of airstrikes officially notified does not include those by US Army attack helicopters.)

The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, US General John Nicholsontold the media the attacks were “a demonstration of our new authorities . . . And specifically, in striking northern Helmand and the drug enterprises there, we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances.” Nicholson says there are 400-500 opium production facilities in Afghanistan, so there is some way to go before the drug evil is eradicated at the factory stage, and if the effort to destroy them is confined to air power, the cash cost is going to be prodigious.

The bombing included strikes by some Afghan air force Tucano aircraft, but the main assault was by the US Air Force which for the first time in Afghanistan used its F-22 Raptor aircraft, flown from the United Arab Emirates, and B-52 strategic nuclear bombers based in Qatar. F-16s joined in from the Bagram base near Kabul, and the operation also involved KC-10 and KC-135 refuelers, surveillance aircraft and command and control aircraft.

General Nicholson explained that the Raptor was used “because of its ability to deliver precision munitions, in this case a 250-pound bomb, small-diameter, that causes the minimum amount of collateral damage.”

It has been calculated that Raptors “cost $68,362 an hour to fly” and thus the expense of its mission, including tankers, “could have approached $400,000” exclusive of bombs. The Pentagon’s budget for 2015 shows that 246 of these bombs cost 219.1 million dollars. This means the US taxpayer pays $890,000 for each one, which makes the cost of the Raptor strike a remarkably expensive operation. Then General Nicholson said that one of his B-52s dropped “six 500-pound, low-collateral-damage, precision-guided munitions” in order “to keep the collateral damage to an absolute minimum, and we did.”

While it is laudable that General Nicholson wanted to minimize collateral damage by using 250 and 500 pound bombs, he then veered off course and showed a video of “another B-52 strike on another Taliban narcotics production facility. Now, this particular facility was the largest one we struck last night [November 19], with over 50 barrels of opium cooking at the time of the strike . . . So this was a B-52 strike, several 2,000-pound bombs, and it completely obliterated the facility.” Presumably the 2000 pound bombs were also precision-guided, in order to avoid collateral damage in accomplishment of complete obliteration.

The general noted that in Afghanistan “We’ve dropped more munitions this year than in any year since 2012. These new authorities give me the ability to go after the enemy in ways that I couldn’t before” and he intends to expand the bombing campaign next year. The “new authorities” are the orders of President Trump to increase the intensity of the war because “I took over a mess, and we’re going to make it a lot less messy,” and General Nicholson is pleased that “we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances,” although he did say “we are not going after the farmers that are growing the poppy.”

Of course the US Air Force should not target Afghan farmers — but bombing opium factories will not result in financial ruin of the Taliban. The heroin industry is extremely lucrative, and in Afghanistan the beneficiaries include very many more people other than Taliban adherents. It is, after all, the eighth most corrupt country in the world, and as noted by The Diplomat “many sub-national government officials, particularly law enforcement agents, in key strategic border provinces and border crossing points, are inextricably associated with drug trafficking networks and transnational criminals.”

After the Helmand blitz, Reuters reported a poppy farmer, Mohammad Nabi, as saying that

“The Taliban will not be affected by this as much as ordinary people. Farmers are not growing poppies for fun. If factories are closed and businesses are gone, then how will they provide food for their families?”

Has General Nicholson got an answer to that?

The Voice of America reported in May 2017 that “Since 2002, the US has spent more than $8.5 billion on counternarcotics in Afghanistan — about $1.5 million a day” while “only 13 of the country’s 34 provinces were reported poppy-free in 2016, and this number has dropped into single digits this year.” The UN Office on Drugs and Crime published its Afghanistan Opium Survey on November 15, and observed that “many elements continue to influence farmers’ decisions regarding opium poppy cultivation. Rule of law-related challenges, such as political instability, lack of government control and security, as well as corruption, have been found to be main drivers of illicit cultivation.”

What a shambles. And Washington’s solution is to bomb it.

Nicholson said that farmers “are largely compelled to grow the poppy and this is kind of a tragic part of the story.” Of course the farmers are “compelled to grow” a crop for sale. And it’s more than “kind of tragic.” It’s a catastrophe, because Afghanistan remains the world’s leading producer of opium.

The farmers would stop producing poppy if there were markets for other crops whose cultivation would provide them a decent living. As long ago as 2004 the US Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics, Robert Charlestold Congress that

“To destroy Afghanistan’s opium economy, alternatives to the pernicious cycle of opium credit, cultivation and harvest must be available to rural communities.”

So billions of dollars were poured into anti-narcotics campaigns and the result is that after twelve years “the level of opium poppy cultivation is a new record high.”

In March 2012 Donald Trump tweeted that

“Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don’t know what we are doing.”

Little has changed, except that 45 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are now controlled or contested by the Taliban, while General Nicholson acknowledges that “we are still in a stalemate.”

So Trump has declared that the US will “fight to win”, and the campaign of airstrikes will continue so that the United States can bomb its way to victory in Afghanistan.

Featured image is from the author.

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Trump’s Scheme to Carve Up Palestine

December 8th, 2017 by Paul R. Pillar

Featured image: President Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on Sept. 18, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

Donald Trump never has given evidence that he has new, fresh, and promising ideas to achieve his declared objective of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. His statements on the subject can more plausibly be interpreted as another piece of braggadocio about his self-declared deal-making ability.

The obstacles to an Israeli-Palestinian peace have long been painfully apparent, even if much discussion of the subject does not candidly acknowledge them. The contours of any fair and stable resolution of the conflict also have long been well known and have found expression in, for example, the “parameters” that Bill Clinton outlined.

Rather than offering anything that would be either fair or stable, the Trump White House has seized on the idea of outsiders imposing a formula on the Palestinians, with selected Arab governments to play a major role. This has become known as the “outside-in” approach. The approach fits well with some of the administration’s other inclinations that constitute what passes for a strategy toward the Middle East.

One of those inclinations is to go all in with the right-wing government of Israel. For Trump, this deference to the Netanyahu government has roots in his coming to terms during the presidential campaign with major donors who are allies of Netanyahu.

During the transition period, the deference was demonstrated by Michael Flynn’s appeal to Russia to flout the will of the rest of the international community (and an abstention by the incumbent U.S. administration) by vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution critical of Israel’s continued construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank. Although Flynn’s pre-inauguration machinations have been viewed mainly as part of the story of the influence in U.S. politics of Russia, the foreign country exerting influence in this case was not Russia (which voted for the resolution) but instead Israel.

Once in office, Trump appointed as ambassador to Israel his bankruptcy lawyer, who has been an advocate less for U.S. interests than for the Israeli right wing and has personally assisted construction of more settlements. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, to whom the President has given the Israeli-Palestinian peace portfolio, also has aided settlement construction, although we are only belatedly learning of the extent of his involvement because Kushner conveniently failed to disclose a major part of that involvement in his government ethics filing.

Only Lip Service

Given the all-too-obvious posture of Netanyahu’s government toward the Palestinians and the issue of making peace with them, the posture of a deferential Trump administration on the same subject also is obvious. Despite periodic lip service by Netanyahu toward a peace process, his government opposes the yielding of occupied territory or the creation of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu says so when speaking to his domestic base, and other senior members of his ruling coalition are even more direct than he is in saying so.

Ergo, for the deferential deal-maker in the White House, a deal for genuine peace is not on the agenda. His newest statements about Jerusalem’s status and a move of the U.S. embassy are just another facet of his deference to the government of Israel and its American backers.

The other inclination of the Trump administration that meshes well with the idea of outside-in is the going — well, if not all in, then mostly in — with the young de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). Kushner is a key figure in this relationship as well.  The two unelected thirty-somethings, with power handed to them through paternal favoritism, reportedly have become best buddies.

Here the U.S. deference has included Trump’s support for the Saudi-led effort to isolate Qatar, despite his own Secretary of State’s efforts to reconcile the disputatious Gulf Arabs. It also has included continued U.S. support for the Saudi military assault on Yemen, despite the resulting humanitarian catastrophe there.

The strengthening of the remaining link of this love triangle, with Israeli-Saudi cooperation becoming a more open and frequently discussed topic, also fits the outside-in notion. The Netanyahu government always has sought more salient ties with Arab governments as a demonstration that Israel need not resolve the Palestinian problem to avoid international isolation.

For MbS, developing a relationship with Israel is one form of getting help wherever he can get it amid the challenges of consolidating power internally after his coup and coping with a series of foreign policy setbacks involving Yemen, Qatar, and Lebanon, while staying in good graces with a U.S. administration that is in bed with the ruling Israeli right-wing.

All three points of the triangle are making their maneuvers to the drumbeat of Iran, Iran, Iran as a constant preoccupation and rationalization. For Netanyahu, the drumbeat continues to serve as an all-purpose distraction and blame-shifter. MbS has made opposition to Iran his rallying cry in trying to justify operations such as the calamity in Yemen and the attempts to strong-arm smaller states such as Qatar and Lebanon.

Iran-Bashing

And of course, anti-Iranism has been the one loud and consistent theme in a Trump Middle East policy in which many observers have a hard time discerning a clear strategy.

None of this has anything to do with the issues underlying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has involved a contest between two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, over the same land. Once again, Palestinians have become collateral damage of the pursuit of unrelated objectives by others.

Earlier in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this included the objective of atoning for the genocidal sins of Europeans. Now the objectives include a young Saudi prince trying to shore up his position and an unpopular U.S. president trying to score points with his political base.

With such dynamics driving the latest chapter in what is still called the “peace process,” it is no surprise to read reports that MbS has presented Palestinian leaders with a proposal that no Palestinian leader could ever accept. The proposal supposedly would create a Palestinian state, but one with only noncontiguous pieces of the West Bank, only limited sovereignty over even that territory, no East Jerusalem, and no right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The Saudi suggestion included naming Abu Dis, an Arab-inhabited suburb of Jerusalem, as the capital of the Palestinian entity — an idea that has been advanced before. Such a proposal being advanced now undermines the contention that Trump’s new declaration regarding Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has no implication for how Jerusalem will be handled in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

The history of Palestinian activism does not support the central concept of outside-in, which is that powerful Arab regimes will be able to impose their will on the Palestinians. The Arab League, with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt playing a leading role, did create the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1960s. But only a few years later, the PLO came under the control of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, which had originated before the PLO. Subsequent actions and postures repeatedly demonstrated that the PLO, despite its origin, was no tool of Arab regimes but more a reflection of popular Palestinian sentiment. Later history featured the rise of Hamas, which owed its existence to no regime and became such an expression of the frustration of Palestinians over Israeli occupation that Hamas even defeated Fatah in a free election.

There are strong reasons that the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict evokes strong sentiments, and will continue to do so until and unless a genuine resolution of the conflict — not an imposed substitute for such a resolution — is achieved. One thing Kushner got right was his recent public comment that “if we’re going to try and create more stability in the region as a whole, you have to solve this issue.”

Anger Over Injustice

Sheer anger over occupation and all of the injustices in daily life that are part of the occupation is an underlying driver of instability. Another is the strength of nationalism and the desire of any people for self-determination. Such sentiment, among Israeli Jews as well as Palestinian Arabs, is why a two-state solution, despite how much more difficult the half century of Israeli colonization of occupied territory has made it, still is an essential part of any resolution of the conflict.

Arab empathy with Palestinian brethren continues to be strong, despite much talk in recent years about all the other problems in the Middle East that are on Arab minds, and notwithstanding how much the Bibi-MbS-Trump triangle would like to think that the only thing anyone cares about is Iran.

The Jerusalem issue — the focus of Trump’s latest appeal to his base — is especially a hot button. As Shibley Telhami, who regularly uses polling to test Arab sentiment, observes, Jerusalem “remains a mobilizing issue even in a polarized environment: Even if Arabs don’t go out into the streets in consequential numbers, a declaration will play into the hands of those plotting in the basement.”

And Arabs do still go out in the streets. Telhami notes that they did so a few months ago in response to Israel’s installation of new security measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque, generating enough of an uproar to lead governments to intervene.

What the Trump administration is doing, in concert with the rightist Israeli government, can be interpreted as just another episode in stringing along a “peace process” while Israel unilaterally establishes still more facts on the ground that are difficult to reverse. It is that, but there probably also is some self-delusion involved, especially when coupled with the inexperience of Kushner and MbS.

Sometimes when a rhetorical theme is repeated as often and for as many purposes as the drumbeat of Iran, Iran, Iran has been repeated, the drummers start to believe their own rhetoric.

In his public remarks the other day, Kushner asserted,

“Israel is a much more natural ally today than they were 20 years ago because of Iran and ISIS extremism.”

No, it isn’t. The growing intolerance in a state defined by religious and ethnic discrimination, with the cementing of a system of apartheid with a large subjugated population lacking political and civil rights, has made Israel even less of a natural ally of the United States over the past 20 years.

As for Iran, Netanyahu’s political exploitation of that issue in a way that goes, with respect to the biggest Iran development in recent years — the agreement that restricts Iran’s nuclear program — against even Israel’s own security interests reflects how big the gap has become between Netanyahu’s policies and U.S. interests.

Saudi Arabia always has had interests significantly different from those of the United States, notwithstanding mutually beneficial cooperative arrangements involving oil and security. The differences have become even greater with the rise of a young prince preoccupied with his internal power and his troubled campaign to claim regional dominance.

By hitching his Middle East policy to these two wagons in the vain hope that Palestinians can be browbeaten into permanent subjugation, Donald Trump is doing no favors either to U.S. interests or to the cause of Middle Eastern peace.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is author most recently of Why America Misunderstands the World. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission.)

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The overland integration of the BRI, led by China and Russia, aims to create different transit routes for goods as well as different areas of economic development along the new Chinese Silk Road. A great opportunity is thereby opened up for Chinese banks and for private investors interested in creating infrastructure or developing potential industrial poles in the countries involved in this grand Chinese initiative.

Hong Qi, president of China Minsheng Bank, recently said during an economic forum held in Beijing regarding investments in the BRI that there is potentially about $10 trillion worth of investments in infrastructure in the countries that make up the BRI, such as in railways, urban development, logistics and cross-border e-commerce.

At this point, more than $10 billion has already been committed in investments, thanks to companies already present in over thirty countries and regions along the BRI, with the ongoing intention of financing these loans through China’s public and private sectors. According to data from the China Banking Regulatory Commission, a total of nine Chinese banks are involved in the financing of projects, with 62 branches having been opened in 26 countries. A further $10 billion could come from European countries as a result of investments stemming from the China-CEEC forum.

Despite a delay in investment, and especially in the development of such projects, analysts believe that the BRI is the ideal ground for making regional cooperation agreements based on trust and win-win prospects for future integration of the region. Thus, not only are public and private banks involved in investments but the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund are also part of the financial package that should lay the foundation for the accelerated development of the Chinese BRI. Confirming a new approach to the development of the BRI, Chinese investors during the first ten months of 2017 proposed projects totalling $11 billion in the 53 countries involved.

The effort is mainly focused on the development of railway networks, hospitals, and power plants. Such basic infrastructure will lay the groundwork for further development in countries involved in the BRI that otherwise have little capacity to invest in such projects themselves. According to Zhang Zansheng, an accredited researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, the first marker is set for 2020, the year that “further tangible progress” should be made in the development of the BRI, mainly referring to railway links between different Asian regions and the Mediterranean. Reflecting how things are already changing, dozens of trains leave monthly from European countries to reach China, the latest being one from Italy, leaving from the province of Pavia, a few kilometers from Milan.

Robin Xing, Chief China Economist for Morgan Stanley, echoed many analysts in predicting that 2018 and 2019 will be the two key years where tangible implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative will start to become apparent. These projects and investments will increase global trade with the countries involved in the BRI, which could see a 10% increase in their exports to China over the next 10 years, the practical results of the investments in ports, railways and industrial centers.

The People’s Republic of China continues to treat investments and risks with a pragmatic and realistic attitude. Accordingly, the main investors in the BRI comprise state-controlled industries and banks, which allows for sufficient control by the central authority in the event of major problems. With investments amounting to at least $60 billion per year, involving more than 1,676 projects, and representing about 0.5% of Chinese nominal GDP, for the moment Beijing wants to have full control over the whole project, a strategic interest that is perfectly understandable.

The BRI is generating many innovations, including a possible new sea route through the Arctic. Although the project is yet to be fully developed, China is beginning to invest in cooperation projects with Russia to exploit this new route. The Russian Federation is the only country to have nuclear-powered icebreakers. Beijing intends to follow its Russian partner in this project in order to pave the way for its freight containers. Cost savings in terms of transport from China to Europe would be in the region of 30-40%. The Northeast Passage can only be crossed during about four months of the year, due to thick ice and unfavorable weather conditions that otherwise exist. Experts forecast that this route will be increasingly free of ice in coming years, and therefore will become more passable. Given the enormous shipping times to be saved, China and Russia have already started cooperating in order to be ready to develop and exploit this new and strategic route.

Considering the great importance of shipping routes, the ability to reach the Mediterranean is of fundamental importance. As things stand now, China is hampered by several strategic vulnerabilities, such as the Strait of Malacca or the passage through the Suez Canal, two choke points that are susceptible to a naval blockade by the US in the unlikely event of war between these major powers. This is not to mention the Panama Canal, which guarantees transit from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and Gibraltar, which controls access to the Mediterranean Sea. Certainly with an Arctic route, passage would be much faster, as well as be free from the possibility of blockade.

At the moment, the land route to Europe represents a viable solution, but one that also brings with it continuous challenges and several possibilities. One involves transporting goods from the north through the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union. The second involves going through the south, with a passage through Turkey to arrive either at the Greek port of Piraeus or in Venice. Some sort of competition is bound to occur in the future within the European Union, with countries jostling to become the main transit hub between Europe and China. The link between China and the European Union represents a critical issue for the BRI, with a traffic of goods in the order of tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars. At the moment, all the parties involved are aware of a much wider problem for the BRI. Freight trains from Europe to China are often empty, without major exports to the People’s Republic of China, a problem that makes overland transport routes unprofitable. In this regard, the European Union must accelerate its economic recovery by aiming to exploit new trade routes that offer benefits for all countries involved. As usual, obstacles lie ahead, especially in the geopolitical arena, with the BRI representing a strategic challenge to American hegemony in Asia and Europe.

With this in mind, there is a need to move away from the dollar when it comes to loans and investments made to finance BRI infrastructure projects. This does not prevent the development of new projects for the time being. But China and other countries involved should pay more attention to this vulnerability that hangs over the whole project. Beijing should therefore accelerate use of an alternative currency in this grand project.

The economic power of the United States depends on the continued need for the rest of the world to have dollars available. This Chinese project aims to integrate countries such that Washington is denied it hegemony over Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For such reasons, it is fundamental that Beijing arms itself with every weapon available in its arsenal to defend itself from the sabotage that Washington will inevitably visit on the project. Avoiding a currency that the United States controls would be a good starting point.

Federico Pieraccini is an independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation.

Featured image is from the author.

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When Congress authorized Robert Mueller and his team of lawyers to investigate “links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump,” opponents of the president sensed that sooner or later, hard evidence of Trump’s collusion with the Russian government would emerge.

Seven months later, after three indictments that did little, if anything, to confirm the grand collusion narrative, Mueller had former National Security Council advisor Michael Flynn dragged before a federal court for lying to the FBI. The Russia probe had finally netted a big fish.

As the details of the Flynn indictment seeped out into the press, however, the bombshell was revealed as another dud. To the dismay of many Trump opponents, nothing in Flynn’s rap sheet demonstrated collusion with Russia. Instead, the indictment undermined the Russiagate narrative while implicating another, much more inconvenient foreign power in a plot to meddle in American politics.

According to plea agreement Flynn signed with Mueller, Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI about a phone call he placed to the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, during the transition period between the election and inauguration — not during the campaign. Flynn’s first order of business with the Russian diplomat was to beseech him not to retaliate for sanctions imposed by Obama on Russia for still-unproven allegations that Russian intelligence agencies hacked the Democratic National Committee. In other words, Flynn was caught trying to influence Russia, not the other way around.

The only area where Flynn proposed any form of coordination with Russia was in defeating ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria. The Trump administration’s attempts to collaborate with its Russian counterparts in Syria have been the target of relentless sabotage from an opportunistic media and Obama era national security officials who considered the catastrophic semi-covert operation to arm Syrian insurgents a part of their legacy. Thanks to stifling Cold War atmosphere these elements have cultivated in Washington, the US has been reduced to an impotent bystander while Russia, Iran, and Turkey have joined together to impose an end to the proxy war that has ravaged Syria for the past five years.

To be sure, Flynn indictment did contain a stunning revelation of collusion between Team Trump and a foreign state. But it was not the country that the national media has obsessed over for the past year.

Flynn was found by the FBI to have lobbied Kislyak to exercise Russia’s veto against the passage of a United Nations security council resolution condemning the growth of Israel’s illegal settlements. And he did so under orders from Jared Kushner, the presidential son-in-law and Middle East fixer, who was himself acting on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Thanks to Flynn’s indictment, we now know that the Israeli prime minister was able to transform the Trump administration into his own personal vehicle for undermining Obama’s lone effort to hold Israel accountable at the UN. A clearer example of a foreign power colluding with an American political operation against a sitting president has seldom, if ever, been exposed in such glaring fashion.

Kushner’s deep ties to the Israeli right-wing and ethical breaches

The day after Kushner was revealed as Flynn’s taskmaster, a team of researchers from the Democratic Super PAC American Bridge found that the presidential son-in-law had failed to disclose his role as a co-director of his family’s Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation during the years when his family’s charity funded the Israeli enterprise of illegal settlements. The embarrassing omission barely scratched the surface of Kushner’s decades long relationship with Israel’s Likud-led government.

During the 1990’s, a teenaged Jared Kushner was forced to vacate his own bedroom so Netanyahu had a place to stay when he was in New York City for business. Since at least 2006, the Kushners have donated at least $315,000 to the Friends of the IDF, the American fundraising arm of the Israeli military, and tens of thousands of dollars to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, from Beit El to Gush Etzion.

The Kushner family foundation has even donated to the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva, a West Bank-based Jewish religious institution that has served for a base of radical settler terror attacks against Palestinian villagers. The yeshiva has been led by a pair of rabbis who produced a genocidal tract that the Israeli newspaper Maariv described as “230 pages on the laws concerning the killing of non-Jews, a kind of guidebook for anyone who ponders the question of if and when it is permissible to take the life of a non-Jew.”

To orchestrate his futile attempt to scuttle a diplomatic imperative of the Obama administration, Netanyahu drew on these deep ties to the Kusher family. There are troubling indications that his intelligence agencies shared material that it gathered by spying on the US with Kushner and the Trump transitional team.

Eli Lake, a neoconservative columnist for Bloomberg who frequently relies on sources from both Trump and Netanyahu’s inner circles, reported that

Israel’s “envoys shared their own intelligence about the Obama administration’s lobbying efforts to get member states to support the [UN] resolution with the Trump transition team.”

The subtext here was clear: Israel, a country that surveilled American diplomats during Iran deal negotiations in 2015 and which is notorious for its espionage across the West, had spied on the Obama administration during the lead-up to the UN vote and shared its “intelligence” with the Trump team. Once again, collusion has seldom been demonstrated as clearly or disturbingly as this.

A Clinton mega-donor defends Kushner’s collusion

Haim Saban.jpg

Haim Saban (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

So why isn’t this angle of the Flynn indictment getting more attention? An easy explanation could be deduced from the stunning spectacle that unfolded this December 2 at the Brookings Institution, where the fresh-faced Kushner engaged in a “keynote conversation” with Israeli-American oligarch Haim Saban.

“You’ve been in the news the last few days, to say the least. But you’ve been in the news about an issue that I personally want to thank you for, because you and your team were taking steps to try and get the United Nations Security Council to not go along with what ended up being an abstention by the US,” Saban remarked to Kushner. “As far as I know there was nothing illegal there but I think that this crowd and myself want to thank you for making that effort.”

Kushner nervously scanned the room, mumbled “thank you” to his host and forced an uncomfortable smile.

Saban’s political background lent special significance to his robust defense of Trump’s son-in-law. Having earned his fortune in television and the Israeli telecom industry, he has become one of the Democratic Party’s most generous individual donors. Saban’s millions funded the construction of Democratic National Committee’s headquarters and filled the campaign coffers of Bill and Hillary Clinton. In 2012, as a reward for Saban’s handsome Super PAC donations to Obama, the president nominated the billionaire’s wife — a former Playboy “Disco Queens” model and children’s fashion designer with no diplomatic experience — as special US representative to the United Nations general assembly.

The spectacle of a top Democratic Party money man defending one of the Trump administration’s most influential figures was clearly intended to establish a patina of bipartisan normalcy around Kushner’s collusion with the Netanyahu government. Saban’s effort to protect the presidential son-in-law was supplemented by an op-ed in the Jewish Daily Forward headlined, “Jared Kushner Was Right To ‘Collude’ With Russia — Because He Did It For Israel.”

While the Israel lobby ran interference for Kushner, the favorite pundits of the liberal anti-Trump “Resistance” minimized the role of Israel in the Flynn saga. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who has devoted more content this year to Russia than to any other topic, appeared to entirely avoid the issue of Kushner’s collusion with Israel.

There is simply too much at stake for too many to allow any disruption in the preset narrative. From the journalist pack that followed the trail of Russiagate down a conspiracy infested rabbit hole to the Clintonites seeking excuses for their mind-boggling campaign failures to the Cold Warriors exploiting the panic over Russian meddling to drive an unprecedented arms build-up, the narrative must go on, regardless of the facts.

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and the award-winning author of GoliathRepublican Gomorrah, and The 51 Day War. He is the co-host of the podcast, Moderate Rebels. Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal.

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Video: Slavery and NATO’s Libya Legacy

December 8th, 2017 by Robin Philpot

Years after NATO’s scramble to play a part in the Arab Spring by helping oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the North African nation remains a failed state and now leads the world in a resurgent slave trade. How did a relatively successful developing country reach this point in history, why did it happen, and what part did the US-led alliance play in these developments? Author, publisher, and Africa expert Robin Philpot joins the show to explore these questions.

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The Assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Plot Against Cuba

December 8th, 2017 by Fabián Escalante Font

Fifty four years after the fact, the assassination of President Kennedy hasn’t been clarified and nothing about his direct and indirect killers is discoverable in reports that US government authorities periodically declassify. Nevertheless, media campaigns are orchestrated now and then that accuse Cuba, without any basis, of having taken part in the assassination. Suspiciously, they crop up every time an administration in power toughens its aggressive, inhumane policies against Cuba.

That’s why we think it’s necessary to clarify essential aspects of that trauma and put forth analyses and viewpoints from Cuban investigations and from North American scholars in this regard. They are revealing, and clearly so, as to the causes behind the murderous plot, and they point to its instigators and to those who eventually carried it out.

1. President Kennedy was assassinated in the middle of the day on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, just at the time when, in Cuba, his emissary, the French journalist Jean Daniel was talking with Fidel Castro about the extent and causes of existing conflict between both nations, and about eventual solutions.

2. What circumstances gave rise to these two occurrences?  Without a doubt, they were about changes in North American foreign policy toward Cuba just beginning to be delineated. These changes were a direct result of conflict that put the world on the brink of nuclear war following placement of Soviet missiles on the Island for “defensive reasons”. Cuba at that time was confronting an escalation of terrorist actions and aggressions from the United States that [we thought] had to end in a military invasion by the end of 1962.

As the crisis played out, Kennedy became aware that Pentagon hawks as well as the CIA were inclined, as long as their political-military doctrine prevailed, to envisage a nuclear holocaust. Because of this, he deliberated and then presented a new approach toward resolving the so-called “Cuban business.”

His speech on June 10, 1963 at the American University in Washington showed that to be the case.

“What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

3. At the beginning of 1963 a North American emissary, the lawyer James Donovan, visited our country and with his Cuban counterpart explored alternatives for a negotiated solution of the conflict. He returned again in April, this time with a North American journalist with ABC News, Lisa Howard. She carried out a long interview with Fidel Castro – shown on North American television – that addressed this theme. That leader took the occasion to outline Cuba’s inclination to find a political solution to the conflict, consistent with its principles.

Then in September their ambassadors at the United Nations, following guidelines from both governments, met in Washington in order to devise an agenda for eventual political negotiations. Consultation took place on all of this with Robert Kennedy with Ambassador William Atwood serving as intermediary. And, finally, in November, President Kennedy, aware that Jean Daniel was traveling to Cuba to interview Fidel Castro, met with that French journalist and asked that he use the interview to address the issue of relations between both countries and to elicit the Cuban leader’s opinions on that.

Image result for jean daniel + fidel castro

Jean Daniel and Fidel Castro (Source: Turning the Tide)

In other words, facts speak for themselves. A new atmosphere was being created for both countries that might have led – if Kennedy had not been assassinated – to a peaceful and political solution to the ongoing conflict.

4. But there were cross currents; subversive war against Cuba had escalated.  In that year alone, the CIA set in motion 17 murderous plots against Fidel, with one of them, with poisoned pills, on the verge of being carried out. Commandos originally from Cuba were training in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.  Some of them had ideas of attacking merchant ships and thereby shoring up the blockade. Others were carrying out guerrilla warfare in the eastern mountains of the country.

By then the CIA had created a subversive’s emporium in Miami, which we labeled the “CIA and Mafia’s Cuban-American machinery.”  Already at the time it operated quite on its own with respect to top CIA brass in Langley.

The operation could count on 4000 men already trained, 55 businesses providing support and logistics, planes and ships for war and transport, training camps, and an annual budget of $100 million. And that doesn’t take into account contributions from the Mafia and from companies like United Fruit and ITT, each with important longstanding interests in Cuba.

From Miami, dozens of armed groups, special-forces teams, planes, and speedboats continually carried out attacks against our fishermen and coastal populations. They were arming their agents inside the country with the most sophisticated explosives to sabotage everything they could and kill teachers and farmers. All the while, a brutal, psychological – warfare campaign was underway employing every means within reach in an attempt to soften up the consciousness of the Cuban people and turn them against the revolution.

Meanwhile in Paris, France, the CIA was finalizing its AM/Lash operation that was ready to assassinate Fidel and provoke a military coup inside the country that would quickly bring about a call for North American intervention.

Image result for lee harvey oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

5. That was the political – operative scenario back then and it was within the same scenario that JM/Wave – the “CIA and Mafia’s Cuban-American machinery” – decided to assassinate the President, or ordered it. They began to engineer the plot in May. There were two objectives: to assassinate JFK and to blame Cuba for the deed. That way, a military response would be possible on such a scale that it could overthrow the Revolution.

6. Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged solitary assassin, was the main focus of our investigations what with his background as a CIA agent, his “asylum in the USSR,” his return to the U.S. with all expenses paid by his embassy. There was also his activity as a FBI informant in Dallas, his sudden arrival in New Orleans, his behavior of faking sympathies for the Cuban revolution and becoming an organizer for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. We looked at his attempt to travel to Cuba and his comings and goings to and from the Soviet consulate [in Mexico City] on the pretense of documenting ties with both countries. And, finally, confronted with the impossibility of traveling to the Island, he returned to Dallas where his “managers” fashioned Option B. This involved documenting his relations with Cuba through “fabrication” of five letters sent from Havana to his mailbox in Dallas. They contained vague instructions as to assassinating the president.

We also took into account the investigative results from our archives regarding high-profile terrorists of Cuban origin who, according to various sources, were in Dallas on the eve of the assassination – this as per statements from Antonio Cuesta Valle. This important CIA agent, implicated in [terrorist] actions and on that account imprisoned in the Island, identified Herminio Díaz and Eladio del Valle as two of the sharpshooters in Dallas.  We undertook detailed analysis of all aspects of the official North American investigations, and also of contributions from other North American scholars (Jim Garrison, Gaeton Fonzi, etc.). We were aware, finally, of terrorist Antonio Veciana’s acknowledgement in his memoir that he met with Oswald and his CIA officer David A. Phillips in Dallas during the month of September, 1963. Their purpose there was to coordinate Oswald’s trip to Mexico, which was the key piece in the entire provocation they mounted.

Finally, we know by means of the Warren Commission and congressional investigations that in November 1963 the U.S. Secret Service had access to information about two significant plots to assassinate JFK, one in Chicago and the other in Miami, where CIA agents of Cuban origin were implicated. And it investigated nothing regarding that information, nor did so much as to merely reinforce security measures in Dallas.  Something really stunning!

7. We conclude from the information cited so far that JM/Wave, “the CIA and Mafia’s Cuban-American machinery,” provided brain power and implementation for the assassination and we regard its officers David A. Phillips, David Morales, Howard Hunt, George Ionides, William Harvey, Cord Meyer, and chiefs Richard Helms and Allen Dulles as the people responsible for originating and carrying out the operation that killed Kennedy. To them we add other elements who were associated, including: Joaquín Sanjenis, Félix Rodríguez, Luis Posada, Orlando Bosch, the Novo Sampol brothers, Herminio Díaz, Eladio del Valle – all members of so-called “Operation 40.”

8. From the items presented so far, it’s evident that North American authorities have shown no intention to clarify the facts. The recently declassified documents are a case in point. They only serve, one, to contribute new data as to the levels of aggression the anti-Cuban operation reached in those years and, two, to make use of the disinformation they elaborate to raise questions perhaps leading to Cuba eventually being accused of complicity in the assassination.

The CIA and its Miami unit JM/Wave were the ones who organized and carried out the crime. They had the motives, the means, and the opportunity to carry it out. That’s the truth!

9. Why 54 years without answers? Because those in the United States who arranged for the assassination, those who make up the real governing power in that country and who possess all information relating to the assassination, want it that way.

Then why the systematic blaming of Cuba? We remember the Goebbels principle that says a lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth. There’s no doubt that these periodic accusations are tied to escalation of North American aggressions against Cuba. Perhaps the current US government namely the Trump Administration  Trump wants to use them to strangle the Revolution, step up U.S. aggressions, and finally overthrow Cuba’s government. They have learned nothing from history and of the capacity of the Cuban people to overcome.

Fabian Escalante, born in 1941, joined Cuba’s Department of State Security in 1960, becoming its head in 1976. After 1993, Escalante headed the Cuban Security Studies Center where he re-examined the assassination of President Kennedy.  That year, on Cuban television, he named three Chicago gangsters and two Cuban exiles as gunmen involved in the killing.  His books include: The Secret War: CIA Covert Operations against Cuba, 1959-62, (1995), CIA Targets Fidel: The Secret Assassination Report (1996), and JFK: The Cuba Files (2006).

Translated from Spanish by W. T. Whitney Jr.

Link to spanish original below

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“Jango was very well physically, taking care, taking seriously his diet, and lively to celebrate Christmas and New Year with our children, João Vicente and Denize, in London,” Maria Theresa Goulart, Jango’s widow, told Global Research.

December 6 is one of the saddest anniversary for Brazilians, and the democratic world which fights for social justice and peace: on this day in 1976, former President João Goulart (1961-1964), overthrown by a military coup with more than 70 percent of an approval rating, passed away at 57 years old in his exile with family, in Argentina.

Jango’s Passing

Jango, as the most progressive president in Brazil’s history was popularly known, suffered from heart disease but his passing  has been kept in mystery even today, 41 years from his death. There is scanty and unconfirmed evidence that Jango could have been poisoned.

The more the family investigates, the more it becomes clear that secret agents, largely infiltrated in the Goularts house, changed Jango’s heart medicine for poison.

“It is a long, painful, painful process to undergo this kind of investigation, especially when we have a country [Brazil] subservient to the United States of America,” said João Vicente Goulart, Jango’s son, to Global Research.

“Documents prove the clandestine subtraction of my father’s personal documents inside our apartment in exile by an agent B of the room where he slept, according to a statement to our Federal Police of a Uruguayan secret agent, Mario Barreiro, who attended the meeting in August 1976 at the Uruguayan secret police headquarters in the presence of Fleury’s delegate [Sérgio Fernando Paranhos Fleury, a Brazilian police official who tortured in the years of dictatorship in the South American country], the CIA Chief Frederick Latrash, US Ambassador Slauderman, the head of the Uruguayan Armed Forces with Chilean agents who brought from Santiago the Operation Condor extermination poisons, commanded by the chemist of the DINA (Chilean secret police) Hermes Berríos and the agent Michael Townley, that lives under protection of the American State under another name,” Goulart added.

“There are so many indications, that the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rio Grande do Sul state [southern Brazil], conducted by prosecutor Suzete Bragagnolo, did not close the investigation even after the exhumation [in 2013] of the remains that have not yet been conclusive, for the time between death and exhumation,” regrets Goulart.

Maria Theresa, Jango’s widow, said that time is not enough to forget her husband, and everything he did to a better world. She has been seeking comfort in her family through the years.

“Nowadays I have the compensation of being always with my son and daughter, João Vicente and Denize, and of all my family who means the world to me.”

President Jango’s Years

“It was a brilliant period, where Cinema Novo [New Cinema], Bossa Nova, and Arena Theater in the cultural sector came up in Brazil,” remembers the 60’s João Vicente Goulart.

New social movements such as peasant leagues, industrial and rural syndicalism, the student movement that, in the fervor of the debate during the Jango administration, emerged as a nationalist nation in opposition to the internationalism of its opponents.

“The João Goulart government brought to the broad discussion of society the reform of the Brazilian State, through the ‘Basic Reforms’, a set of proposals aimed at the development of the internal market as a lever of development.”

“The agrarian, tributary, banking and university reforms, the National Literacy Plan, urban reform, the remittance law of multinational companies, the expropriation of oil refineries granting the monopoly not only of exploration, but also of refining to Petrobras [state oil company], were nationalistic measures that displeased the owners of the world, and the national elites.”

“In foreign policy, for the first time Brazil positioned itself internationally with absolute independence and sovereignty: Jango established the policy of self-determination of peoples. Brazil reestablished relations with the Soviet Union, voted against colonialism in the UN, moved forward with the reestablishment of relations with China and with the Asian and African peoples, in short, all these achievements were denied by the military dictators who, for years, tried to hide these proposals from the Brazilian people,” observed Goulart.

Goulart with U.S. President John F. Kennedy during a visit to the United States in April 1962. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Brazilian Historian Vitor Schincariol told Global Research:

“He was trying to continue Getúlio Varga’s efforts of building a sovereign and economically developed nation on capitalist grounds,” and added the researcher at University of ABC in São Paulo that “his presidential term was marked by a growing economic crisis caused by structural factors – foreign trade, financial crisis, cyclical downturn-, by wrong economic decisions such as former President Jânio Quadro‘s economic reform in the exchange rate system that, as the Brazilian Economist Celso Furtado (1920-2004) pointed out years ago, caused a loss of 30% of government’s revenues. Also by the economic terrorism by the domestic bourgeoisie and the international enterprises, that did not want a government that was supported by workers and that wanted to implement social reforms, which was not exactly socialist.”

Professor Doctor Schincariol pointed out that when the economic and social situation worsened, President João Goulart chose the path of a more radical policy, so

“the Army decided, side by side with the domestic elites and the United States, to implement a coup d’état.

“The United States, the domestic bourgeoisie, the ring wing forces in the Army could not tolerate Goulart, because of his honesty, his good relations with worker’s movements and his genuine will of transforming Brazil into a developed, just and sovereing nation.

“Goulart was genuinely compromised with democracy, and social peace,” stated Professor Doctor Vitor Schincariol.

Military Coup

Jango’s son said that the story told during the period of the dictatorship tried not only to erase President Goulart’s period of government from history, but also “to alienate two Brazilian generations from the banner of nationalism while giving the international capital the reaction capacity of a free people.”

Historian Schincariol pointed out to the same direction:

“Goulart’s and Varga’s legacy was erased, physically and ideologically, by the military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985. The economy was ‘globalised’; the case for a industrialization with national capitals, social justice and national independence was substituted by ‘dependence’, ‘fascist’ policies and censorship; the democratic and left wing forces were imprisoned, killed or left the nation.”

Goulart during a ticker tape parade in New York City, 1962. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Historian Peter Kuznick considered that the military coup against President Jango was a thoroughly deplorable period in U.S. history, and a tragic one for the people of Brazil.

“When Humberto Castelo Branco [a military official and first president of Brazil after the coup] seized power, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Lincoln Gordon cabled Washington that the generals had carried out a ‘democratic rebellion’, which was ‘a great victory for the free world’ that had prevented a ‘total loss… of all South American Republics’ and improved the climate for ‘private investments’,” the head of the Institute of Nuclear Studies of the American University in Washington told Global Research.

“U.S. President Lyndon Johnson sent “warmest good wishes” to Castelo Branco. Secretary of State Dean Rusk told the NSC and congressional leaders that the ‘United States did not engineer the revolt. It was an entirely indigenous effort’. Repression began immediately.

“Johnson told National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy that he wanted to send Castelo Branco a warm message on his inauguration. Bundy warned Johnson about the repression that was occurring. Johnson replied, ‘I know it. But I don’t give a damn. I think that… some people… need to be locked up here and there too’,”, pointed out Professor Doctor Kuznick.

“The new Brazilian regime complied, locking up more than 50,000 people the first month alone. U.S. aid flowed into the new government. A repressive military regime ruled for the next 20 years, leaving Brazil with the largest gap between rich and poor in the world. Equally bad, Brazil worked closely with U.S. leaders to defeat progressive movements throughout Latin America.”

The renowned Brazilian historian reminded that when the dictatorship ended, Brizola and other democratic political forces tried to implement some of Goulart’s ideas.

“But the international environment, ‘globalization’ in 1990’s, was still very hostile, and Brazilian left wing forces were more divided, with a new left-wing party, Workers’ Party, having no direct relation and in fact lack of will to discuss or remember Varga’s legacy, which they labelled ‘populist’.”

Goulart was incisive in comparing the 21 years of military dictatorship which murdered 455, left 155 “disappeared” and tortured more than 30,000 people, to today’s Brazil under President Michel Temer, a deeply corrupted politician who, as vice-president, colluded against former President Dilma Rousseff, overthrown through a parliamentary coup in 2016: “Any similarity with what we are experiencing today is not mere coincidence, it is the purest reality of those who cowardly sell the country, of an illicit government that has once again taken over Brazil.”

Exile

João Goulart, c. 1964 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Recently, João Vicente Goulart authored a book titled Jango e Eu, Memórias de um Exílio sem Volta (Jango and I, Memories of an Exile with No Return), reporting the period of the Goularts. Jango’s son told Pravda about the sufferings and persecutions in the exile, in Uruguay and Argentina.

“Exile brought not only to my father, but to every patriot from different nations that, at that time, fought in the exile to restore local  democracies and freedom, which dictatorships had imposed in Latin America.

Asked about how was feeling his father in his latter days, Goulart said: “Sad, very sad… but always thinking of returning to his land when Brazil and the suffering people could  finally get freedom, sovereignty and social justice.”

Goulart said that in exile the family had moments of hope and faith.

“Exile builds inside of us such an armor of resistence, based on faith that someone is fighting for your homeland which is not a bad luck for anyone.”

Legacy

“Jango, my father, undoubtedly brought within me teachings that I will take as an example until the end of my days,” Responded Goulart full of passion when asked about the legacy left by his father. “Growing up in exile with him built solid foundations. Today, are present among us his struggle and examples not only for granting rights to a more fair society, but also to a fraternal and more distributive system to Brazilian workers.

“It also built within us the certainty that social and collective goals should never be abandoned, in order to keep us alive and standing to face the resistance and tyranny of oppression.”

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First published in August 2008, this article is of utmost relevance to an understanding of the dramatic drop in the price of crude oil.

The oil market is rigged. Speculators push it up (as described in this article) and then push it down. The recent and abrupt downward movement of the price of oil is also motivated by geopolitical objectives. It is directed against Russia, Venezuela, Iran.

(M. Ch. GR Editor).

*      *      *

The price of crude oil today is not made according to any traditional relation of supply to demand. It’s controlled by an elaborate financial market system as well as by the four major Anglo-American oil companies. As much as 60% of today’s crude oil price is pure speculation driven by large trader banks and hedge funds. It has nothing to do with the convenient myths of Peak Oil. It has to do with control of oil and its price. How?

First, the crucial role of the international oil exchanges in London and New York is crucial to the game. Nymex in New York and the ICE Futures in London today control global benchmark oil prices which in turn set most of the freely traded oil cargo. They do so via oil futures contracts on two grades of crude oil—West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent.

A third rather new oil exchange, the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), trading Dubai crude, is more or less a daughter of Nymex, with Nymex President, James Newsome, sitting on the board of DME and most key personnel British or American citizens.

Brent is used in spot and long-term contracts to value as much of crude oil produced in global oil markets each day. The Brent price is published by a private oil industry publication, Platt’s. Major oil producers including Russia and Nigeria use Brent as a benchmark for pricing the crude they produce. Brent is a key crude blend for the European market and, to some extent, for Asia.

WTI has historically been more of a US crude oil basket. Not only is it used as the basis for US-traded oil futures, but it’s also a key benchmark for US production.

‘The tail that wags the dog’

All this is well and official. But how today’s oil prices are really determined is done by a process so opaque only a handful of major oil trading banks such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley have any idea who is buying and who selling oil futures or derivative contracts that set physical oil prices in this strange new world of “paper oil.”

With the development of unregulated international derivatives trading in oil futures over the past decade or more, the way has opened for the present speculative bubble in oil prices.

Since the advent of oil futures trading and the two major London and New York oil futures contracts, control of oil prices has left OPEC and gone to Wall Street. It is a classic case of the “tail that wags the dog.”

A June 2006 US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report on “The Role of Market Speculation in rising oil and gas prices,” noted, “…there is substantial evidence supporting the conclusion that the large amount of speculation in the current market has significantly increased prices.”

What the Senate committee staff documented in the report was a gaping loophole in US Government regulation of oil derivatives trading so huge a herd of elephants could walk through it. That seems precisely what they have been doing in ramping oil prices through the roof in recent months.

The Senate report was ignored in the media and in the Congress.

The report pointed out that the Commodity Futures Trading Trading Commission, a financial futures regulator, had been mandated by Congress to ensure that prices on the futures market reflect the laws of supply and demand rather than manipulative practices or excessive speculation. The US Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) states, “Excessive speculation in any commodity under contracts of sale of such commodity for future delivery . . . causing sudden or unreasonable fluctuations or unwarranted changes in the price of such commodity, is an undue and unnecessary burden on interstate commerce in such commodity.”

Further, the CEA directs the CFTC to establish such trading limits “as the Commission finds are necessary to diminish, eliminate, or prevent such burden.” Where is the CFTC now that we need such limits?

They seem to have deliberately walked away from their mandated oversight responsibilities in the world’s most important traded commodity, oil.

Enron has the last laugh…

As that US Senate report noted:

Until recently, US energy futures were traded exclusively on regulated exchanges within the United States, like the NYMEX, which are subject to extensive oversight by the CFTC, including ongoing monitoring to detect and prevent price manipulation or fraud. In recent years, however, there has been a tremendous growth in the trading of contracts that look and are structured just like futures contracts, but which are traded on unregulated OTC electronic markets. Because of their similarity to futures contracts they are often called “futures look-alikes.”

The only practical difference between futures look-alike contracts and futures contracts is that the look-alikes are traded in unregulated markets whereas futures are traded on regulated exchanges. The trading of energy commodities by large firms on OTC electronic exchanges was exempted from CFTC oversight by a provision inserted at the behest of Enron and other large energy traders into the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 in the waning hours of the 106th Congress.

The impact on market oversight has been substantial. NYMEX traders, for example, are required to keep records of all trades and report large trades to the CFTC. These Large Trader Reports, together with daily trading data providing price and volume information, are the CFTC’s primary tools to gauge the extent of speculation in the markets and to detect, prevent, and prosecute price manipulation. CFTC Chairman Reuben Jeffrey recently stated: “The Commission’s Large Trader information system is one of the cornerstones of our surveillance program and enables detection of concentrated and coordinated positions that might be used by one or more traders to attempt manipulation.”

In contrast to trades conducted on the NYMEX, traders on unregulated OTC electronic exchanges are not required to keep records or file Large Trader Reports with the CFTC, and these trades are exempt from routine CFTC oversight. In contrast to trades conducted on regulated futures exchanges, there is no limit on the number of contracts a speculator may hold on an unregulated OTC electronic exchange, no monitoring of trading by the exchange itself, and no reporting of the amount of outstanding contracts (“open interest”) at the end of each day.” 1

Then, apparently to make sure the way was opened really wide to potential market oil price manipulation, in January 2006, the Bush Administration’s CFTC permitted the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the leading operator of electronic energy exchanges, to use its trading terminals in the United States for the trading of US crude oil futures on the ICE futures exchange in London – called “ICE Futures.”

Previously, the ICE Futures exchange in London had traded only in European energy commodities – Brent crude oil and United Kingdom natural gas. As a United Kingdom futures market, the ICE Futures exchange is regulated solely by the UK Financial Services Authority. In 1999, the London exchange obtained the CFTC’s permission to install computer terminals in the United States to permit traders in New York and other US cities to trade European energy commodities through the ICE exchange.

The CFTC opens the door

Then, in January 2006, ICE Futures in London began trading a futures contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, a type of crude oil that is produced and delivered in the United States. ICE Futures also notified the CFTC that it would be permitting traders in the United States to use ICE terminals in the United States to trade its new WTI contract on the ICE Futures London exchange. ICE Futures as well allowed traders in the United States to trade US gasoline and heating oil futures on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Despite the use by US traders of trading terminals within the United States to trade US oil, gasoline, and heating oil futures contracts, the CFTC has until today refused to assert any jurisdiction over the trading of these contracts.

Persons within the United States seeking to trade key US energy commodities – US crude oil, gasoline, and heating oil futures – are able to avoid all US market oversight or reporting requirements by routing their trades through the ICE Futures exchange in London instead of the NYMEX in New York.

Is that not elegant? The US Government energy futures regulator, CFTC opened the way to the present unregulated and highly opaque oil futures speculation. It may just be coincidence that the present CEO of NYMEX, James Newsome, who also sits on the Dubai Exchange, is a former chairman of the US CFTC. In Washington doors revolve quite smoothly between private and public posts.

A glance at the price for Brent and WTI futures prices since January 2006 indicates the remarkable correlation between skyrocketing oil prices and the unregulated trade in ICE oil futures in US markets. Keep in mind that ICE Futures in London is owned and controlled by a USA company based in Atlanta Georgia.

In January 2006 when the CFTC allowed the ICE Futures the gaping exception, oil prices were trading in the range of $59-60 a barrel. Today some two years later we see prices tapping $120 and trend upwards. This is not an OPEC problem, it is a US Government regulatory problem of malign neglect.

By not requiring the ICE to file daily reports of large trades of energy commodities, it is not able to detect and deter price manipulation. As the Senate report noted, “The CFTC’s ability to detect and deter energy price manipulation is suffering from critical information gaps, because traders on OTC electronic exchanges and the London ICE Futures are currently exempt from CFTC reporting requirements. Large trader reporting is also essential to analyze the effect of speculation on energy prices.”

The report added, “ICE’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other evidence indicate that its over-the-counter electronic exchange performs a price discovery function — and thereby affects US energy prices — in the cash market for the energy commodities traded on that exchange.”

Hedge Funds and Banks driving oil prices

In the most recent sustained run-up in energy prices, large financial institutions, hedge funds, pension funds, and other investors have been pouring billions of dollars into the energy commodities markets to try to take advantage of price changes or hedge against them. Most of this additional investment has not come from producers or consumers of these commodities, but from speculators seeking to take advantage of these price changes. The CFTC defines a speculator as a person who “does not produce or use the commodity, but risks his or her own capital trading futures in that commodity in hopes of making a profit on price changes.”

The large purchases of crude oil futures contracts by speculators have, in effect, created an

additional demand for oil, driving up the price of oil for future delivery in the same manner that additional demand for contracts for the delivery of a physical barrel today drives up the price for oil on the spot market. As far as the market is concerned, the demand for a barrel of oil that results from the purchase of a futures contract by a speculator is just as real as the demand for a barrel that results from the purchase of a futures contract by a refiner or other user of petroleum.

Perhaps 60% of oil prices today pure speculation

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley today are the two leading energy trading firms in the United States. Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase are major players and fund numerous hedge funds as well who speculate.

In June 2006, oil traded in futures markets at some $60 a barrel and the Senate investigation estimated that some $25 of that was due to pure financial speculation. One analyst estimated in August 2005 that US oil inventory levels suggested WTI crude prices should be around $25 a barrel, and not $60.

That would mean today that at least $50 to $60 or more of today’s $115 a barrel price is due to pure hedge fund and financial institution speculation. However, given the unchanged equilibrium in global oil supply and demand over recent months amid the explosive rise in oil futures prices traded on Nymex and ICE exchanges in New York and London it is more likely that as much as 60% of the today oil price is pure speculation. No one knows officially except the tiny handful of energy trading banks in New York and London and they certainly aren’t talking.

By purchasing large numbers of futures contracts, and thereby pushing up futures

prices to even higher levels than current prices, speculators have provided a financial incentive for oil companies to buy even more oil and place it in storage. A refiner will purchase extra oil today, even if it costs $115 per barrel, if the futures price is even higher.

As a result, over the past two years crude oil inventories have been steadily growing, resulting in US crude oil inventories that are now higher than at any time in the previous eight years. The large influx of speculative investment into oil futures has led to a situation where we have both high supplies of crude oil and high crude oil prices.

Compelling evidence also suggests that the oft-cited geopolitical, economic, and natural factors do not explain the recent rise in energy prices can be seen in the actual data on crude oil supply and demand. Although demand has significantly increased over the past few years, so have supplies.

Over the past couple of years global crude oil production has increased along with the increases in demand; in fact, during this period global supplies have exceeded demand, according to the US Department of Energy. The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently forecast that in the next few years global surplus production capacity will continue to grow to between 3 and 5 million barrels per day by 2010, thereby “substantially thickening the surplus capacity cushion.”

Dollar and oil link

A common speculation strategy amid a declining USA economy and a falling US dollar is for speculators and ordinary investment funds desperate for more profitable investments amid the US securitization disaster, to take futures positions selling the dollar “short” and oil “long.”

For huge US or EU pension funds or banks desperate to get profits following the collapse in earnings since August 2007 and the US real estate crisis, oil is one of the best ways to get huge speculative gains. The backdrop that supports the current oil price bubble is continued unrest in the Middle East, in Sudan, in Venezuela and Pakistan and firm oil demand in China and most of the world outside the US. Speculators trade on rumor, not fact.

In turn, once major oil companies and refiners in North America and EU countries begin to hoard oil, supplies appear even tighter lending background support to present prices.

Because the over-the-counter (OTC) and London ICE Futures energy markets are unregulated, there are no precise or reliable figures as to the total dollar value of recent spending on investments in energy commodities, but the estimates are consistently in the range of tens of billions of dollars.

The increased speculative interest in commodities is also seen in the increasing popularity of commodity index funds, which are funds whose price is tied to the price of a basket of various commodity futures. Goldman Sachs estimates that pension funds and mutual funds have invested a total of approximately $85 billion in commodity index funds, and that investments in its own index, the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI), has tripled over the past few years. Notable is the fact that the US Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, is former Chairman of Goldman Sachs.

F. William Engdahl is an Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. He may be contacted at [email protected]

1 United States Senate Premanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 109th Congress 2nd Session, The Role of Market speculation in Rising Oil and Gas Prices: A Need to Put the Cop Back on the Beat; Staff Report, prepared by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, Washington D.C., June 27, 2006. p. 3.

 


 Seeds of Destruction  

original

The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

by F. William Engdahl

ORDER NOW

This skillfully 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.

Engdahl’s carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and World peace.

F. William Engdahl is a leading analyst of the New World Order, author of the best-selling book on oil and geopolitics, A Century of War: Anglo-American Politics and the New World Order,’ His writings have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

What is so frightening about Engdahl’s vision of the world is that it is so real. Although our civilization has been built on humanistic ideals, in this new age of “free markets”, everything– science, commerce, agriculture and even seeds– have become weapons in the hands of a few global corporation barons and their political fellow travelers. To achieve world domination, they no longer rely on bayonet-wielding soldiers. All they need is to control food production. (Dr. Arpad Pusztai, biochemist, formerly of the Rowett Research Institute Institute, Scotland)

If you want to learn about the socio-political agenda –why biotech corporations insist on spreading GMO seeds around the World– you should read this carefully researched book. You will learn how these corporations want to achieve control over all mankind, and why we must resist… (Marijan Jost, Professor of Genetics, Krizevci, Croatia)

The book reads like a murder mystery of an incredible dimension, in which four giant Anglo-American agribusiness conglomerates have no hesitation to use GMO to gain control over our very means of subsistence… (Anton Moser, Professor of Biotechnology, Graz, Austria).

This article was originally published on Global Research on January 2015.

Children who take mind-altering medications like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been shown in a new peer-reviewed study to perform worse in school than if they weren’t taking the substances at all.

Researchers from Princeton University, Cornell University and the University of Toronto found that the administration of these drugs to children, which is supposedly to help them remain calm and focus in class, actually leaves students at a deficit when it comes to paying attention and learning in a formal academic setting.

These shocking findings, which were published recently in the Journal of Health Economics, reveal that increasing the use of stimulants isn’t helping children any more than loading them up with anti-psychotic medications helps them think more rationally. Once again, pharmaceutical drugs are shown to harm the normal thought process and inhibit natural human cognition.

Back in 1997, some rules changed in the Canadian province of Quebec that made it easier for people to access prescription drugs. In the 10 years following this change, the number of children taking stimulants in Quebec more than doubled, with an astounding 44 percent of Canada’s ADHD prescriptions now going to the province.

This massive increase made for an easier time studying the outcomes of ADHD drugs in children, the results of which are sure to surprise many parents. Based on the researchers’ work, children on ADHD drugs fared slightly worse than other children and were far more likely not to finish school without having to first repeat a grade, suggesting added learning impairment.

“We find little evidence of improvement in either the medium or the long run” from the use of ADHD drugs in children, wrote the authors. “Our results… suggest that expanding medication in a community setting had little positive benefit and may have had harmful effects given the average way these drugs are used in the community.”

ADHD drugs aren’t safe, can cause permanent health damage

The obvious irony here is that many a parent has been hoodwinked into drugging his or her child into a state of statue-like docility with promises that doing so would lessen classroom outbursts and improve learning capacity. To the contrary, the effects of these mind-altering medications is proving to be disastrous, potentially causing long-term brain damage in the process.

Psychologist L. Alan Sroufe addressed this in a 2012 opinion piece for The New York Times, warning that the long-term use of ADHD medications in children inflicts more harm than good.

“Sadly, few physicians and parents seem to be aware of what we have been learning about the lack of effectiveness of these drugs,” wrote Sroufe. “[W]hen given to children over long periods of time, [ADHD drugs] neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavior problems. The drugs can also have serious side effects, including stunting growth.”

In his piece, Sroufe, who admittedly has been treating “troubled” children for more than 40 years, expresses doubt that ADHD even exists and requires drug treatment. The “father” of ADHD, Leon Eisenberg, actually admitted to this on his death bed as well.

“To date, no study has found any long-term benefit of attention-deficit medication on academic performance, peer relationships or behavior problems, the very things we would most want to improve,” added Sroufe. “Putting children on drugs does nothing to change the conditions that derail their development in the first place.”

Sources:

http://www.sciencedirect.com

http://www.dailynebraskan.com

http://www.cchrint.org

http://higherperspective.com

http://www.nytimes.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

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“In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.” –Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations

Following the highly acclaimed 2012 release of the latest book by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War“, this title is now available for purchase through the Amazon Kindle program! Now you can take this bestselling title wherever you go and access it through your portable reader.

This highly reviewed title is available to purchase through the Global Research Online Store:

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The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”.

While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality. The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace. “Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

Nuclear war has become a multibillion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims. Public opinion is misled.

Breaking the “big lie”, which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

The object of this book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

Editorial Reviews

Professor Chossudovsky’s hard-hitting and compelling book explains why and how we must immediately undertake a concerted and committed campaign to head off this impending cataclysmic demise of the human race and planet Earth. This book is required reading for everyone in the peace movement around the world.
–Francis A. Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law

This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of U.S. wars since 9-11 against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of “freedom and democracy”.
–John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University

WWIII Scenario

About the Author

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO’s war of aggression against Yugoslavia.

Featured image: Tortola, the capital of the British Virgin Islands, not listed in the EU tax haven blacklist but one of the global capitals of offshore finance and money laundering operations

The EU has just published its list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The list names just 17 countries. A further ‘grey-list’ of 47 countries has also been announced. These are countries which do not meet European Standards on tax and transparency, but have committed to improve. This is a politically motivated list and bears little resemblance to reality, proving that the EU is indeed an organisation of checks and balances – the corporations and crooked businessmen make out cheques, and the politicians and other compromised officials improve their bank balances.

Reading the 17 countries on the European list makes the more informed amongst us choke on the morning cornflakes because they are no less than; American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, St Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia and the UAE.

Notice any omissions?

Like EU countries and UK jurisdictions known to be listed as the highest risk to money laundering, tax evasion and the management of illicit cash in places like: Switzerland, Luxembourg, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Cyprus. Of course, you can’t really talk about money laundering without mentioning Her Majesty’s British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, of which, there are many such as Gibraltar, Isle of Man and Jersey to name just three.

Research published by the Tax Justice Network on the EU list found that 41 countries should be on the blacklist according to the EU’s own criteria. That research can be found here.

It is not known how much is stashed away in tax havens across the world as by its very nature, secrecy is the name of the game. As far back as 2012, Reuters published a report that accused rich individuals and their families as having as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens. This report did not include the tens of trillions stashed by corporations. That estimate is thought to be over $20 trillion, ensuring that the inequality divide that has come about through extreme neoliberal capitalism that continues to drive a wedge straight through the heart of civil society the world over.

Money due to national treasuries, lost to tax avoidance by multinational companies is thought to be $500 billion a year, but I would tend to suggest that this figure is very conservative at best. These multinational companies are, by their nature, household names such as Apple, Google, Facebook. But the situation is in fact much worse than that of first glance when just looking at Britain’s top corporations alone.

For instance, Research has found that 98 of the 100 companies in the FTSE 100 – the hundred biggest publicly listed UK corporations – had subsidiaries, associates, or joint ventures in countries defined as tax havens. In fact, the UK’s biggest public companies also have more than 8,000 subsidiaries or joint ventures in tax havens. These include well-known offshore tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. Indeed, none of the biggest British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories are mentioned, which are well known to be laundering and stashing something in the order of one quarter of the world’s illicit cash.

Needless to say, the very worst offenders in this elite list of tax haven chicanery are the banks in Britain, who between just four corporations have over 547 listings in tax havens. Updated research (of all the British corporations with tax haven listings) by development charity ActionAid can be seen HERE.

So whilst British corporations and foreign billionaires bask in the glory of unending austerity, a massively ramped up programme of selling off of state assets to the lowest bidder, privatisation continues in the background to drive standards down and prices up. This ludicrous politically sponsored concoction of illegality allows the most powerful and wealthy to continue to operate without making their fair contribution to the very society it attacks purely for profit – a bit like terminal bowel cancer. But that’s that neoliberal capitalism for you again – a self-defeating ideology designed for no-one but the few.

Alex Cobham, chief executive of the Tax Justice Network said:

“The EU has today missed a great opportunity to tackle the real issues lying behind the large-scale tax avoidance and tax evasion that is bleeding EU countries dry.

“Rather than have a list of tax havens based on an objective set of criteria, as originally envisaged, the list appears to be a political fix with EU members picking their least favourite countries to name and shame. The result of the flawed blacklisting process is a politically led list, that includes only the economically weak and politically unconnected.

“While EU members like the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg are the greatest procurers of global profit shifting but are excluded; and while the UK has sought to frustrate the blacklisting of its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories at every turn, the list is hard to take seriously.

“The public has had enough of governments saying they will do better. Real action is needed. It is completely pointless to have a blacklist with no sanctions. Tax avoiders, and the countries that sponsor them will all be letting out a sigh of relief today.

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Upending seven decades of US policy toward the Middle East, President Donald Trump Wednesday delivered a White House speech recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and vowing that the US would begin preparations to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv, becoming the first nation in the world to do so.

The decision was met with near universal condemnation from Washington’s allies and foes alike, along with Palestinian demonstrations in the Israel-occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East.

In a 12-minute speech, Trump cast the decision as a “new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians” and “a long overdue step to advance the peace process.”

In reality, the move represents a green light to the extreme right-wing Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accelerate the expansion and creation of new Zionist settlements and escalate the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.

At the same time, the American president engaged in his habitual self-aggrandizement, saying that while previous presidents had promised to move the embassy, they had “failed to deliver.” Suggesting that the issue was a lack of “courage,” he proclaimed, “Today, I’m delivering.”

During his 2016 election campaign, Trump had vowed to become the “most pro-Israel president” in US history and to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. This was part of a calculated bid to win the support of right-wing Christian Evangelicals as well as a far less numerous, but financially critical, sector of right-wing Zionists, most importantly casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who poured some $25 million into Trump’s campaign.

Under conditions in which his administration is in deepening crisis, and Trump’s own public approval ratings are falling to record lows, the announcement on Jerusalem, while threatening to unleash a new round of bloodshed in the Middle East and potentially beyond, provided a cheap means of solidifying his “base.”

The decision was reportedly opposed by both his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis. Trump’s action, however, was not merely–as it is widely being cast, particularly in Europe–an act of irresponsibility or even madness. Rather, it is bound up with broader aims of US imperialism to escalate its military intervention in the Middle East, particularly to roll back the growth of Iranian influence in the wake of the successive debacles suffered by Washington in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Formally, Trump has based his shift on Jerusalem on a law enacted in 1995, the so-called Jerusalem Embassy Act, which was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support. Included in the legislation, however, was a waiver allowing the US president to put off moving the American embassy on the grounds of national security. Every American president since Bill Clinton–including until now Trump–has invoked this waiver every six months as required by the law.

Trump’s action was praised by leading members of both parties in Congress.

“Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel,” Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.

The leading Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, Ben Cardin of Maryland, responded,

“Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and the location of the US Embassy should reflect this fact.”

While some Democrats expressed reservations about the timing of Trump’s action, these were undercut by the fact that just last June the US Senate approved, without a single opposing vote, a resolution reaffirming the demand for moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

This bipartisan policy represents a naked repudiation of international law, endorsing Israel’s illegal annexation of territories, including most of the current city of Jerusalem, that it militarily occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Such annexations were declared illegal under the Geneva Conventions enacted in the wake of the Second World War to prevent the repetition of similar actions carried out by Germany’s Nazi regime.

Thousands of Palestinians protested in Gaza Wednesday in anticipation of Trump’s speech. There were also protests reported at schools in the West Bank. On Wednesday night, large numbers of Palestinian youth poured into the streets of the Jordanian capital of Amman, one of the major centers of Palestinian refugees. Chanting “Down with America! America is the mother of terror!” they called upon King Abdullah’s Hashemite monarchy to break its peace treaty with Israel. Palestinians also took to the streets across Lebanon. Several hundred protesters also gathered outside the American consulate in Istanbul, throwing coins and other objects at the building.

Palestinian organizations have called for three “Days of Rage,” culminating on Friday, when Muslim religious services are held. Attempts by Israeli security forces to prevent access by Palestinians to the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem have repeatedly served to provoke violent clashes. In 2000, a visit to the site by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon provoked an intifada, or Palestinian uprising, and violence was also ignited in 2015 by attempts of right-wing Zionist settlers to storm the Islamic holy site.

Trump’s reaction was roundly condemned by both Arab regimes and Washington’s erstwhile allies in Western Europe.

Among the most telling reactions came from Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who on the eve of the announcement said that Trump’s decision was indicative of why the alliance between Washington and Europe had begun to “crumble.” He added, that the determination of Jerusalem’s status had to be the product of “direct negotiations between both parties,” and that “Everything which worsens the crisis is counterproductive.” Trump’s decision has been invoked by the German ruling establishment to promote the country’s rearmament and more aggressive pursuit of its great power interests on the world stage.

Challenged in Parliament over Trump’s action, British Prime Minister Theresa May described it as “unhelpful” and vowed to speak to the US president about the matter. French President Emmanuel Macron called the US action “regrettable.” Both reiterated the position that Jerusalem’s status could only be settled through negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The principal concern of both the European powers, the Arab regimes and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority is that Trump’s action has pulled the last rug out from underneath the so-called “peace process,” a diplomatic fiction that has limped along for over a quarter century as the Israeli regime has steadily expanded its grip over occupied Palestinian territories.

The prospect of a “two-state solution,” which Trump said the US would support “if agreed to by both sides,” has already been rejected by the ruling layers within the Israeli government and made unrealizable by the continuous encroachment upon and division of Palestinian land into a patchwork of noncontiguous territories. This has only been further confirmed by the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, denying the Palestinian claim that the same city would be the capital of any Palestinian state.

The monarchical, autocratic and dictatorial Arab bourgeois regimes, all of which had been consulted in advance by the Trump administration, issued their pro-forma condemnations of the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Egypt’s dictator, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, warned that Trump’s actions would “undermine the chances of peace in the Middle East.”

Similarly, Saudi King Salman declared that the shift on Jerusalem would “”harm peace talks and increase tensions in the area.”

According to multiple media reports, however, Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince and soon-to-be king, summoned Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to Riyadh last month to inform him of Trump’s terms and order him to accept them or face a cutoff of Saudi funding.

Following Trump’s speech, Abbas released a prerecorded response warning that, as a result of the American president’s actions,

“the extremist groups which try to turn the conflict in our region into a religious war that will drag the region…into international conflicts and endless wars.”

The leader of the Palestinian Authority, which functions as an adjunct security force for the Israeli occupation and a means of enrichment for a thin layer of the Palestinian bourgeoisie, is concerned that the Trump administration’s scuttling of any pretense that essential issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be left to negotiation will make its position untenable.

This pathetic appeal will find no sympathy in Washington. The prospect that the provocation over Jerusalem will fuel Islamist terrorism is no doubt already factored into Washington’s calculations. Terrorist attacks serve as useful pretexts for war abroad and repression at home.

At the same time, the Trump administration is clearly calculating that Saudi Arabia, the other Gulf oil monarchies and the autocratic Sunni regimes in the region will not let any concern for the fate of the Palestinians interfere with their determination to cement an anti-Iranian axis together with the US and Israel.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu broadcast his own prerecorded statement hailing the US move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as “historic” and praising Trump for his “courageous decision.”

The reality, however, is that this recognition represents one more nail in the coffin of the so-called “two-state solution,” further dispelling any lingering illusions that an end to the oppression of the Palestinian masses will be found through diplomatic deals and negotiations between imperialism and the Arab bourgeois regimes. The only alternative left is that of revolutionary struggle, uniting Arab and Jewish workers in a common fight for a socialist solution to the scourges of war, inequality and exploitation produced by the capitalist system.

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Humankind, being an inherently tool-making species, has always been in a relationship with technology. Our tools, weapons, machines, and appliances are crucial to forging the cultural criteria of human life. At present, amid the technology created phantomscape of mass media’s lurid — yet somehow sterile — imagery, one can feel as if one’s mind is in danger of being churned to spittle. 

On a personal note, an informal consensus has formed among my friends who share a passion for reading: We read far fewer books since the time we became enmeshed with the internet. Worse, we find the feelings of isolation that we have attempted to mitigate by an immersion in online activity, at best, provides only a palliative effect. Yet, in the manner of addiction — or a hopeless love affair —  we are prone to trudge deeper into the psychical morass by further immersion into the very source that is exacerbating our feelings of unease and ennui.

Yet we insist on remaining mentally epoxied to electronic appliances, as the oceans of our technology besieged planet die, as the atmosphere is choked with heat-holding greenhouse gas emissions, and, as a result, exquisite, living things disappear forever.

Therefore, it is crucial to explore why we are so isolated from each other but so connected to our devices, and are married to the belief system that misinforms us, technology can and will lift us from our increasingly perilous predicament. When reality dictates, if the past remains prologue, a fetishising of technology will further enslave us in a de facto techno-dystopia. A reassessment, for numerous reasons, of the relationship between humankind and technology must come to pass. 

Moreover, the reevaluation must include machines, at present and in the future, we have created in our own image. For example, those such as AI technologies, that on an increasing basis, will cause a significant number of the workforce to be rendered idle.

Of course, it is a given, bottomline obsessives that they are, capitalists crave to replace workers with an automated labor force. The parasitic breed has always viewed workers as flesh machines, of whom, they were inconvenienced by having to pay wages. Capitalism is, by its very nature, dehumanising. From the advent of the industrial/capitalist epoch, the system has inflicted mass alienation, societal atomisation, and anomie. Moreover, the vast wealth inequity inherent to the system allows the capitalist elite to own the political class — a mindless clutch of flunkies who might as well be robots programmed by the capitalist order to serve their agendas.  

The question is, what effect will the nature of being rendered superfluous to the prevailing order have on the powerless masses — who have, up until now, been kept in line by economic coercion, by meretricious, debt-incurring consumer bribes, and by mass media indoctrination and pop culture anaesthesia? Will consumers continue to insist that their mental chains are the very wings of freedom?

Yet the Age Of Mass Mechanisation carries the potential to bestow an era of liberty, artistic exploration, scientific inquiry, intellectual fervour, the pursuit of soul-making, and inspired leisure. Or the polar shift in cultural raison d’etre might inflict a crisis of identity so harrowing that demagogues rise and despots promise to seed a new order but harvest the corpses of dissidents and outsiders.

A couple of weeks back, during a visit to a neighbourhood playground with my four year old, I had a conversation with an executive on voluntary leave from her management position at BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke). She was grousing about a infestation of seaweed choking the beaches of the Florida Keys she had encountered on a recent excursion to the US. When I averred the phenomenon of the warming oceans of the planet, the progenitor of the exponential growth of the sea flora she had been troubled by, was caused, in large measure, by the very socio-economic-cultural dynamic that financed her trip to Florida in the first place…well, it put a crimp in the conversation.

It can be unsettling to be confronted with one’s complicity in the ills of a system that, by its very nature, provides camouflage to its perpetrators — the big bosses, down to its functionaries, and foot soldiers. Soon, she, by a series of subtle moves, extricated herself from the conversation — and I cannot say I blame her. I myself experienced discomfort by the thought of the discomfort I inflicted on her. Therefore, as a general rule, under the tyranny of amiability, which is the rule of the day of the present order, one is tempted to avoid trespassing into the comfort zones that aid in enabling the status quo.  

Yet we are faced with the following imperative: The system and its machines must begin to serve humanity, as opposed to what has been the case since the advent of the industrial/technological age: the mass of humanity serving the machine. Therefore, there must arrive a paradigmatic shift in metaphors and the ethos of the era e.g., a renunciation of the soul-decimating concept of human beings as flesh machines — who must, for the sake of monomaniacal profiteering, divorce themselves from human feeling, as well as, must forgo exploration, enthusiasm, and craft in the pursuit of expediency. 

We do have a choice in the matter, all indications to the contrary. Yet, in the prevailing confusion regarding what ethos should guide our relationship to technology, we are confronted with phenomenon such as the situation chronicled in a recent article in The Guardian. Headlined: “The Sex Robots Are Coming: seedy, sordid – but mainly just sad”

Regarding the supercilious nature of the headline, wouldn’t it be more propitious for all concerned to ask and explore why, under the present order, men are so alienated, socially awkward and lonely, as opposed to lapsing into all the predictable moral panic, wit-deficient snark, and supercilious value judgments these sorts of stories evoke?  

Isn’t being attracted to consumer goods what it is all about, identity-wise, under the present order? Don’t customers demand that the de facto slaves of the service industry evince the demeanour of compliant androids? Isn’t it a given that the underclass workforce, holders of service industry jobs, will soon be replaced by robots? Do we not worship and are ruled by the gospel of the cult of efficiency?

Withal, for the present order to be maintained, it is crucial for the general public to remain both alienated thus using consumerism as a palliative, and that includes the production and retailing of sexualised, simulacrum appliances that mimic sex partners and the psychical release valve of finger-wagging, easy virtue and shallow vitriol aimed at the poor sods who seek comfort from them.

Addendum: I’m much more mortified by robotics designed for surveillance and war than for one’s designed for simulacrumatic sex. I’m simply beastly that way.

Robots can be programmed to simulate copulation but it is doubtful that machines can be tuned and tweaked to experience the manifold, complex states of being that define human consciousness and its innate ability for self expression, for example, the ability to express themselves by means of spontaneous generated metaphors. While it is true, AI technologies can mimic forms of poetic and artistic expression but, in any honest account of the processes they utilise, machines engage in the activity sans a depth of feeling, the facility to evince empathy and the ability to access imagination i.e., the phenomenon we human beings term soulfulness. Sans the ineffable quality of soul, AI entities, as is the case with our present information technology, will contribute the palliative, yet inherently alienating, effects inherent to our hyper-commodified era. 

In contrast, writers/artists/activists must proceed to dangerous places. It is imperative that they descend into the danger zone known as the soul. The soul is not a realm inhabited by weightless beings radiating beatific light. Rather, it is a landscape of broken, wounded wanderers; inchoate longing; searing lamentation; the confabulations of imperfect memory; of rutting and rage; transgression; depression; fragmented language; and devouring darkness.

The reductionist metaphors inherent to the age of mechanisation — which limn human beings in mechanised, commodified terms — as opposed to the organic, unfolding pantheon composed of needs, longings and desires we are — inflicts not only alienation from our fellow human beings but from our essential natures. In our misery and confusion, we have bloated our bodies, maimed and poisoned the earth, and scoured the hours of our lives of meaning by the compulsive commodification of all things. Therefore it should not come as a surprise when alienated, lonely men become enamoured of glambots. 

We have delivered insult after insult to the soul of the world, and yet it loves us with an abiding and bitter grace. The question remains, do we love it in turn, and deeply enough, to mount a resistance to the present order thus turn the tide against the love-bereft forces responsible for the wholesale destruction of both landscape and soulscape. 

Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living, now, in Munich, Germany. He may be contacted: [email protected] and at FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/phil.rockstroh

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Canada’s terrorist proxies in Syria — all of them al Qaeda, or al Qaeda affiliated, including Daesh – murder civilians as policy.  During their reign of terror in Aleppo, for example, NATO terrorists murdered about 11,000 civilians.[1]

More recently, terrorists murdered about 8 civilians, including these university students. This is part of the disappeared reality.[2]

The dark reality of what is really happening in Syria is suppressed beneath the lies of the Qaeda-affiliated “White Helmets”[3], the fake tweets from Bana Alabed’s al Qaeda parents[4], and a myriad other deceptions – all war propaganda.  But the reality exists nonetheless.

Yet after seven years of the dirty war on Syria, even as the NATO terrorists are being destroyed, the “accepted truth”, which is a Big Lie, prevails.  Despite the abundance of empirical evidence that contradicts the mainstream stories, Canadians still think that we are fighting terrorism, they still think that “Bana’s tweets” represent reality, and they still think that the White Helmets are saviours.

Canadians still think that these wars are waged for “humanitarian” purposes,despite the proven lies that paved the way for the destruction of Libya, Iraq, and countless other countries, and the fact that “Assad must go!” regime change wars are entirely illegal. Canadians still think that Assad is the monster and that we and our al Qaeda proxies are the saviors. This is the “accepted truth”, and it must not be violated.

Strange world that we live in. The truth can be turned upside down time and time again, and the war lies are accepted again and again, as if the historical record and critical thinking didn’t exist.

As we prepare for another Christmas and congratulate ourselves for our generosity of spirit and deed and the “accepted truth” that we are a civilized country and wouldn’t it be wonderful if other peoples were as civilized as us, there still lingers the dark reality.

Our terrorists commit genocide. They target and murder Christians and countless others, as policy.  Our governments are entirely responsible for this barbarity, and our “accepted truths” are black lies.

Notes

[1] “UK taxpayers hand £200mn to Syrian opposition & White Helmets, journalist tells RT (VIDEO).” RT. 17 October, 2017. (https://www.rt.com/uk/406974-syria-white-helmet-taxpayer/) Accessed December 6, 2017.

[2] “Update-Death toll of Ekrema terrorist explosion rise to 8 people in addition to 18 others injured – VIDEO.” SANA News. 5 December, 2017. (http://sana.sy/en/?p=120151) Accessed 7 December, 2017.

[3] “Vanessa Beeley Presents Exposé on White Helmets at Swiss Press Club in Geneva.” 21st Century Wire. 28 November, 2017. (http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/11/28/vanessa-beeley-presents-new-white-helmets-expose-to-swiss-press-club-geneva/) Accessed 7 December, 2017.

[4] Press TV’s interview with Carla Ortiz.” 6 December, 2017.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=890XAqJ0A3Y). Accessed 7 December, 2017.


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. I had studied and written about Syria for years, so I was not entirely surprised by what I saw.

(Excerpt from Preface, Mark Taliano’s book “Voices from Syria“, Global Research, Montreal, 2017)

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Voices from Syria

Mark Taliano

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Can the American Left be Resurrected?

December 7th, 2017 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Readers:  if your website dies it won’t be resurrected.  Come to its support.

“Where is the leftwing when we need it” is a question I have asked at times.  Some of my readers who confuse the left with Antifa and Identity politics have been confused by my question.  Why, they ask, do I want more Antifa thugs and Identity Politics hatred of white people?   

The answer is that Antifa and Identity Politics are the antithesis of the left.  The real left is pro-working class, pro all of the working class, all races, genders, sexual preferences.  Identity Politics splinters the working class and destroys the cohesiveness of the working class, thereby making it easier for exploiters to exploit.  Antifa aids in this process by focusing hatred on whites by accusing only whites of racism.  

It was Karl Marx who said:

“Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.”  

It is Identity Politics that says,

“Workers of the world disunite, splinter into victim groups and hate white males.”

In other words, Identity Politics is the worst enemy the working class has ever had. Capitalist exploitation unifies the working class, but Identity Politics divides the working class and makes it easier for capitalists to exploit and for politicians to ignore.

Does my call for a resurrected leftwing mean that I am a Marxist?

No.  It means I agree with John Kenneth Galbraith that without countervailing power, the economic-social-political system goes out of balance, as the United States clearly has.  In a short period of time the distribution of income and wealth in the US has gone from reasonable to unreasonable.  Working and middle class wages, salaries, and job opportunities have declined.  But irresponsible corporate jobs offshoring and irresponsible Federal Reserve inflation of the prices of financial assets have caused the income and wealth of the One Percent to reach fantastic levels. A handful of people have more wealth than 100 million Americans.

Democracy is forfeited as Congress responds to a handful of people and to a handful of powerful organized interest groups. A tax cut designed to increase the inequality has just passed Congress at a time of the worst income and wealth distribution in our history. (See this for example) Instead of addressing the dire situation, Identity Politics goes after white people and President Trump for being allegedly elected by the white working class.  

When I read in CounterPunch the attack by CounterPunch’s radio host Eric Draitser on the white working class “Trump deplorables,” I thought Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch’s founder, must be rolling over in his grave. With CounterPunch degenerating into Identity Politics, the working class was without an advocate except for the World Socialist Web Site.

It is possible that Identity Politics has condemned the world to nuclear Armageddon by lining up the liberal-progressive-left with the military/security complex’s “Russiagate” attack on President Trump.  As I have explained, the purpose of Russiagate is to prevent Trump from normalizing relations with nuclear superpower Russia and defusing the dangerous tensions that have been built up by reckless and irresponsible US government actions against Russia.  On many occasions I have explained the world threatening consequences of Washington’s demonization of Russia and its leadership. (See this for example)

Yesterday my despair over the demise of the American leftwing lifted a little when I read in CounterPunch Michael K. Smith’s attack on Identity Politics for what it is: a despicable intent to destroy the working class by destroying its unity.  You can read Smith here. Maybe this is CounterPunch’s opening gun in bringing the American leftwing back to life.  

Without a strong and united working class there is nothing to balance corporate power. Capitalist greed ends up destroying itself by destroying working class income and consumer purchasing power.  Greed then turns on public assets demanding that they be privatized or opened for looting as is now happening to protected national monuments and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

With the working class marginalized, now it is the influence of the environmental movement that is being rolled back.  Next it will be Social Security and Medicare as the ruling oligarchy pushes the social system back to the era before the New Deal.  In the absence of countervailing power, there is no limit to the unwinding of the reforms that made capitalist America a liveable society.

To prevent this we all have a stake in the resurrection of the American left.

This article was originally published by Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

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GOP Plan to Destroy Social Justice in America

December 7th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

Republican neocons long yearned to end progressive New Deal and Great Society programs, especially Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security by privatizing them, handing them to Wall Street as lucrative investment opportunities, harming beneficiaries in the process.

The tax cut heist they hope to present to Trump for a signing ceremony before Christmas is much more than transferring more wealth from ordinary Americans to corporate predators and super-rich ones.

A complementary goal is eroding social justice more than already, ultimately wanting it eliminated altogether, returning America to 19th century harshness – class warfare worse than now.

The scheme includes cutting, then ending welfare for impoverished households, restricting then eliminating food stamps and housing assistance, destroying the remnants of collective bargaining, turning workplaces into sweatshops, paying workers poverty wages, abolishing benefits, allowing child labor, agricultural and other slave labor more than already, along with other dystopian aims.

Neocon House Speaker Paul Ryan said “(w)e’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” adding:

“Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements – because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”

Medicare and Social Security aren’t entitlements. They’re federal insurance programs, not welfare, funded by worker-employer payroll tax deductions – contractual government obligations to eligible recipients.

Ryan and other congressional hardliners want maximum federal revenues freed up for militarism, warmaking, and tax cuts for the rich, the nation’s most vulnerable left increasingly on their own, the middle class fast disappearing, poverty America’s leading growth industry.

In 2009, the Wall Street Journal claimed Medicare would be “depleted by 2017,” Social Security by “2037.”

Neither program is endangered, both fiscally sound, needing only modest adjustments at times, threatened only by congressional hardliners wanting them weakened and ended.

Candidate Trump pledged no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The GOP tax cut heist takes dead aim at the first two, slashing them, the latter one coming later.

Following passage of the Senate tax cut bill, Trump urged Congress to cut welfare spending. He wants it ended, deep cuts coming next year.

Welfare benefits already are minimal, way below what’s needed. Further cuts will cause more harm than already to America’s most vulnerable.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Orin Hatch wants “liberal programs” for the poor ended, saying:

“We’re spending ourselves into bankruptcy. Now, let’s just be honest about it. We’re in trouble. This country is in deep debt.”

“You don’t help the poor by not solving the problems of debt, and you don’t help the poor by continually pushing more and more liberal programs through.”

Ryan deplorably claimed welfare “trap(s) people in poverty and effectively pay(s) people not to work.”

Real unemployment is 22%, not the phony Labor Department’s 4.1%. Millions of Americans can’t employment. Most available jobs are rotten ones, millions of others offshored to low-wage countries, not coming back as Trump claimed he’d do.

Protracted Main Street Depression conditions exist for ordinary Americans while rich ones never had things better, the nation transformed into a banana republic run by dark forces and oligarchs.

GOP hardliners favor policies making things tougher than already, calling for deficit reduction on the backs of ordinary people, harming them while deficit spending increases.

Things ahead look bleak for the nation’s most vulnerable – so its privileged class can benefit more than already.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Christian Community Responds: Open Letter to President Trump from Jerusalem’s Thirteen Heads of Churches

December 7th, 2017 by Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem

US President Trump has officially declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While PM Netanyahu is rejoicing on this repugnant turnaround, the Christian community responds to Trump’s unlawful decision,  in the hope of maintaining Jerusalem in its rightful “international status”. 

Below is the open letter addressed to the US president provided by the heads and patriarchs of churches in Jerusalem.

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Honduras in Flames

December 7th, 2017 by Prof. Aaron Schneider

Ten days after Honduras’ presidential elections, results have not been announced and Honduras is in flames. Thousands of demonstrators have been battling gas bombs and bullets in the streets of Tegucigalpa, leaving at least 11 dead. After initially taking the streets, the country’s U.S.-trained and financed armed forces have refused to follow the president’s orders to enforce a hastily imposed curfew. Despite the government’s violence, students and members of various social movements continue to risk their lives demanding democracy, jeopardized by the current regime of president Juan Orlando Hernández of the right-wing National Party. The National Party has been in power since a coup removed former President Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

Zelaya’s ouster—eventually accepted by the Obama administration despite widespread regional condemnation—hinged on his plans to consult the electorate about the possibility of running for a Constitutionally prohibited second term. It is painfully ironic, then, that Honduras’ current president Hernández upended the constitution by appealing to a Supreme Court he had packed to grant him the right to run for reelection, four years after his first election in 2014 was tainted by a scandal that revealed his campaign had stolen funding from national social security accounts.

And yet, against all odds for the firmly entrenched regime, initial electoral returns indicated a seemingly insurmountable advantage for the opposition candidate and political novice Salvador Nasralla, whose political coalition is backed by Zelaya. The Electoral Courts (TSE) were then suspended for 72 hours, and when they resumed releasing results, Hernández was in the lead with a 1% margin. The clear lack of transparency and evidence of vote tampering was too much even for a country with a much weaker Left than most of its regional neighbors. People took to the streets. At this point, a peaceful solution seems less and less likely.

The government has indicated a plan to recount about 1% of votes, the EU and the OAS have called for a recount of all disputed votes, and the opposition is increasingly calling for new elections or at least to review all ballot boxes opened since the TSE’s blackout during the original count.

The events over the last ten days symptomize a growing consolidation of power by a new kind of right-wing alliance in Honduras and across Latin America: an alliance that brings together the power of the traditional landed elites and that of the financial elites who have benefited more recently from globalized neoliberalism. This alliance emerged amid the ashes of the Cold War and the dawn of the Washington Consensus—and can help explain some of the dynamics of the current electoral crisis in Honduras as well as recent events across the region.

At the end of the 1980s, three political and economic shifts opened the path for the rise of a neoliberal elite in Latin America. First, a decade of Central American revolutions and regional debt crises delegitimized both oligarchies and economic nationalism, as political actors seemed incapable of resolving the multiple crises they faced. At the same time, the fall of the Soviet Union removed the ideological threats that had animated the Cold War. This coincided with a new era of U.S. international influence as it turned toward neoliberal globalization policies exemplified by the bipartisan Washington Consensus. In Honduras and across the region, such policies took shape in the removal of trade barriers, privatization of state-owned enterprises, liberalization of banking and services, austere fiscal policies that slashed public programs, and a general removal of the state from economic planning.

Throughout the 1990s, those intent on advancing a neoliberal, globalized regime dominated the region, forming new parties that captured power in places like El Salvador, working through traditional parties in places like Mexico, and handing over the reigns on public policy to technocratic elites in places like Honduras. Neoliberal policies temporarily resolved inflationary crises, but they did little to include long excluded sectors or advance equitable development.

In the 2000s, a wave of Left and Center-Left governments won electoral power by rejecting the Washington Consensus. The U.S. appeared to have no recourse, until Honduras in 2009. Traditional oligarchic interests and newly wealthy elites who had embraced neoliberalism made common cause with an uninterested U.S. embassy to remove a president who threatened a shift to the left. Since the coup, the coalition has brought together traditional oligarchs and neoliberals, with U.S. support.

In Honduras, both old and new elites benefited from the National Party’s ascension to power in 2009. To the benefit of the new neoliberal elite, Honduras has ceded territory to boards of international and local businesspeople with power to set regulations and laws for investment in so-called Charter Cities.  To the benefit of the land-owning oligarchy, clientelist politicians, and the military, Honduras has undertaken large-scale infrastructure projects and mining. The violence inherent in this oligarchic-neoliberal alliance is best exemplified by the 2016 murder of indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres. Cáceres was an obstacle to the building of a hydro-electric dam that she and her community opposed. In the wake of her death, a former soldier revealed the Cáceres had appeared on a military “hit list.”

The illegitimate election in Honduras currently taking shape will consolidate the undemocratic alliance between oligarchs and neoliberals across the region. Such a coalition appeared in Haiti in 2004, mounted the 2009 coup in Honduras, staged a 24-hour impeachment in Paraguay in 2012, and removed a president in Brazil in 2016. Similar coalitions have attempted and failed to remove presidents in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

Though events are still unfolding, some lessons are already evident. First, in some places, it appears the oligarchic-neoliberal alliance can win elections and govern, as occurred in 2016 Argentina, and in Chile in 2010 and perhaps again this year. In other places, such alliances can wrest power through undemocratic manipulations or “constitutional coups,” as in Honduras in 2009, Haiti in 2010, Paraguay in 2012, and last year in Brazil. Second, in many places the Left is weak, and only remains in power where oligarchs and neoliberals cannot unite, like El Salvador, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. And these Left forces are not blameless themselves, in some cases tragically treating democratic institutions with the same Machiavellian disdain as the Right, though for different reasons.

Third, the U.S. is influential—but not sufficient—to determine political outcomes in the region. Again and again, the U.S. selectively opposes democratic manipulations when the Left governs, and turns a blind eye when the Right enacts similar machinations. This fails in two ways. First, U.S. support rarely unites neoliberals and oligarchs. Second, acquiescence to and support for anti-democratic manipulations where the Right governs bolsters the exclusionary oligarchic-neoliberal alliance and hollows any U.S. claim to defend democracy elsewhere.

Finally, it is worth considering the Honduran elections in the context of the Trump administration. Throughout the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations, the State Department acted to advance its vision of neoliberal globalization and appeared to grudgingly follow along with the oligarchic-neoliberal alliance when it appeared. Now, Trump has hollowed out the State Department and made support for the new rightwing alliance overt.

On Monday, Reuters reported that Honduras will receive its full aid package—parts of which were contingent on the country showing significant progress on certain human rights outcomes—despite its clear failure to do so. Moreover, Trump’s antagonism to free trade and support for militarized extractivism raises the oligarchy to a dominant position in the alliance.

Almost as if by design, this takes us back to Trump’s 1950s idyll of international relations, when U.S.-backed oligarchic elites won elections when possible, overturned them when necessary, and manipulated institutions to ensure their ongoing grasp of power. If history is any indication, such a trend should give us pause. In the ‘60s and early ‘70s, oligarchic-led alliances eventually closed democratic options entirely, enacting long periods of repressive military rule across the hemisphere. The U.S., more fearful of popular sectors than the oligarchs, either supported such dictatorial turns or allowed them to occur. Allowing the alliance between landed oligarchs and neoliberal elites to steal an election in Honduras tragically signals that we are eager to repeat our past mistakes.

Aaron Schneider is Leo Block Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Denver.

Rafael R. Ioris is Associate Professor of Latin American History and Politics at the University of Denver.

Featured image is from the authors.

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Featured image: Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

Trump’s tenure in office has been pockmarked by numerous reckless and irresponsible actions – recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and intending to move America’s embassy there his latest outrage, thumbing his nose at Palestinian rights.

His motivation wasn’t about wanting Israeli/Palestinian conflict resolution – just the opposite, his action likely to incite greater violence and instability.

Palestinian rage followed his Wednesday announcement, well publicized in advance, coming as no surprise, especially from an Islamophobic  warrior president hostile to peace and stability, one-sidedly backing Israel, partnering in its high crimes, spurning fundamental Palestinian rights.

Commenting on Trump’s pronouncement, Mahmoud Abbas said his action “constitutes a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts.”

“(T)he United States has withdrawn from playing” in peace talks. Trump “violat(ed) international resolutions and bilateral agreements (notably Oslo), reward(ing) Israel for denying agreements and defying international legitimacy that encourages it to continue the policy of occupation, settlement, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”

Abbas called for an “emergency meeting of the PLO’s Central Committee to create a “unified national position” against Trump’s move.

His “decision tonight will not change the reality of the city of Jerusalem, nor will it give any legitimacy to Israel in this regard, because it is an Arab Christian and Arab Muslim city, the capital of the eternal state of Palestine,” he added.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for challenging Trump’s move, saying:

“We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy.”

“We call on all the free people of Palestine to participate in a day of rage on Friday, and make it the beginning of a new intifada. Tomorrow, our people will launch an intifada against the occupation, and we are confident that we will achieve a victory and liberate our sacred land.”

“…(T)he peace process between Palestinians and Israelis was sacrificed, and there will be no ‘deal of the century.’ ”

From the Vatican, Pope Francis said

“I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days.”

“Jerusalem is a unique city,” sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the holy places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace.”

Oslo is dead. Since agreed on, it solely served Israeli interests. An emergency Security Council was called for Thursday at the request of eight member states – Bolivia, Britain, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden and Uruguay, deputy Swedish UN ambassador Carl Skau, saying:

“The UN has given Jerusalem a special legal and political status, which the Security Council has called upon the international community to respect. That is why we believe the Council needs to address this issue with urgency.”

Bolivian UN ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz called Trump’s move “a reckless and a dangerous decision which violates international law and the resolutions of the Security Council.”

In November 1947, UN Resolution 181 gave Jews 56% of historic Palestine, Palestinians 42%, 2% (including Jerusalem) kept under world body trusteeship.

In December 1948, UN Resolution 194 mandated free access to Jerusalem, other holy places, along with granting diaspora Palestinians the right of return to their homeland – Israel to pay compensation for lost property to families or individuals choosing not to return.

In May 1949, UN Resolution 273 gave Israel UN membership, conditional on it accepting resolutions 181 and 194, along with “unreservedly (agreeing to honor) the obligations of the United Nations Charter.”

Israel flagrantly violated them throughout its history, inflicting nearly 70 years of state-terror on defenseless Palestinians.

Francis Boyle believes Trump’s pronouncement may disrupt US relations with Arab countries, likely provoking West Bank and Gaza protests against Israel’s illegal occupation, possibly causing an upsurge in regional violence.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU leaders expressed opposition to the move.

Iran denounced it, a Foreign Ministry statement saying

“(t)he Islamic Republic…always stressed that the most important reason behind instability and insecurity in the Middle East is (Israel’s) continued occupation, the US’ relentless support for the Zionist regime, and denying the oppressed Palestinian nation the right to establish an independent state with al-Quds (Jerusalem) as it capital.”

Trump’s move was recklessly irresponsible, regional instability already apparent, angering the Arab street, showing Palestinians they have no friend in Washington.

Nothing good will come from his outrageous action.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Current US ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, recently congratulated the Philippines’ armed forces and the US military for their successful completion of KAMANDAG, a joint military exercise held for the first time this year.

The US embassy in the Philippines on its website noted that:

KAMANDAG, which will run until October 11, is an acronym for the Filipino phrase “Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat,” or “Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea,” emphasizing the close partnership between the Philippine and United States militaries. KAMANDAG will increase overall U.S. and Philippine readiness, improve bilateral responsiveness to crises in the region, and further reinforce our illustrious decades-long alliance. Leading up to the commencement of KAMANDAG, AFP and U.S. forces completed bilateral humanitarian and civic assistance projects at schools earlier this month in Casiguran, Aurora.

The embassy also made particular note that the exercise would “increase counterterrorism capabilities,” which is particularly convenient considering the current crisis Manila faces on its southern island of Mindanao, where parts of the city of Marawi are still being held by militants linked to the Islamic State.

News outlets including across the United States and Europe, have noted that fighting in Marawi is backed by foreign interests and includes foreign fighters. Reuters in an article titled, “ISIS-Linked Mmilitants Fighting in Marawi City are ‘Paralysed’: Philippine Army,” would report:

The battle for Marawi has raised concern that ISIS, on a back foot in Syria and Iraq, is building a regional base on the Philippine island of Mindanao that could pose a threat to neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore too. 

Officials have said that, among the several hundred militants who seized the town, there were about 40 foreigners from Indonesia and Malaysia but also fighters from India, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Chechnya. 

The strike on Marawi City suggested to many that pro-Islamic State factions wanted to establish it as a Southeast Asian “wilayat” – or governorate – for the radical group, a view reinforced by video footage the military found last week showing the fighters plotting to cut the town off completely.

With militants in Syria and Iraq clearly the recipients of extensive state sponsorship, particularly from the United States and its closest regional allies, it stands to reason that their ambitions thousands of miles away in the Philippines are likewise state-sponsored.

As to why the US and its allies would sponsor terrorism in the Philippines, the answer is surprisingly simple and straight forward.

US Seeks to Keep Its Foot in the Door

With the election of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, US-Philippine relations became increasingly strained. Beyond the political leadership in Manila, overall pragmatic considerations regarding Washington’s waning influence in Asia Pacific and Beijing’s rise have put increasing distance between the United States and its former colonial holdings in the Philippines.

Manila’s unwillingness to help Washington leverage tensions in the South China Sea against Beijing have become a particular point of contention, hindering Washington’s attempts to use the Philippine armed forces as a proxy to hem in Chinese interests across the region.

Increasing political pressure to end America’s military presence in the Southeast Asian state has left Washington searching for reasons to remain.

In 2014, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was signed between the Philippines and the US. Reuters would describe the defence pact in its January 2017 article, “Philippines says U.S. military to upgrade bases, defense deal intact,” which claimed:

EDCA allows the expansion of rotational deployment of U.S. ships, aircraft and troops at five bases in the Philippines as well as the storage of equipment for humanitarian and maritime security operations. 

Lorenzana said Washington had committed to build warehouses, barracks and runways in the five agreed locations and Duterte was aware of projects and had promised to honor all existing agreements with the United States.

The article also made mention of strained relations between Washington and Manila as well as the inroads Beijing was making in terms of defence cooperation with the Philippines.

Barring any crisis, it would have appeared that geopolitical momentum was working in Bejing’s favour, while irreversibly eroding US influence both in the Philippines and across the region.

Then, in May of 2017, Islamic State-linked militants stormed the city of Marawi, tipping off full-scale military operations including airstrikes conducted by Philippine warplanes.

The BBC would quickly summarise the US problem, its reaction and an all-too-convenient solution in its article, “Marawi siege: US special forces aiding Philippine army,” which stated:

US special forces are helping the Philippine military retake the southern city of Marawi from IS-linked militants, the Philippine army says. 

The forces are providing technical help and are not fighting, it said. 

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier threatened to throw out US troops amid strained relations since taking office.

The US military was threatened with eviction, US-allied state sponsored terrorism appeared suddenly on the Philippines’ shores and now the US finds itself with a new purpose for its otherwise unwelcome, unwarranted military presence within the Southeast Asian archipelago nation state.

Why Might KAMANDAG be Significant?

President Duterte had cancelled other joint US-Philippine military exercises in an overall process of downgrading US-Philippine defence relations, according to The Diplomat in its article, “How Much Will Duterte Wreck the US-Philippines Military Alliance?

The article also seems to suggest that while the US military may not be able to enjoy wider access and use of the Philippines to forward-deploy vis-à-vis Beijing during President Duterte’s term in office, in the future this might change.

And while this would have seemed unlikely as Beijing moved closer regarding economic and military cooperation with Manila, with the sudden and overwhelming presence of the Islamic State in the Philippines, the US finds itself already in position to “assist” and with a new justification to propose an expanded military presence there, including reinstating or implementing new joint-military exercises like KAMANDAG.

It is unlikely that this has gone completely unnoticed by policymakers in Manila, and whatever short-term achievements Washington may have gained by this disturbing and intentional use of terrorism as a tool of geopolitical coercion, it will likely lose in the long-term not only in regards to Manila, but regarding Washington’s relations with other capitals across Southeast Asia.

Attempts to use terrorism sponsored by Washington’s closest Persian Gulf allies in Myanmar also appear to be a means of introducing a US military presence there, a nation that borders China directly. Just as in the Philippines, the US will propose a military presence predicated on counterterrorism. It has also tried to utilise this pretext in neighbouring Thailand, but with little success.

And while the Islamic State claims it intends to build a global caliphate built on a foundation of Saudi-centred Wahhabism, it appears to be doing more in helping the United States build a global order built on a foundation of perpetually “fighting terrorism” its own allies are underwriting with impunity. How long this rouse can sustain US influence globally and within Southeast Asia regionally versus the more constructive alternatives offered by Beijing, including infrastructure and economic opportunities remains to be seen.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

All images in this article are from NEO.

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Current US ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, recently congratulated the Philippines’ armed forces and the US military for their successful completion of KAMANDAG, a joint military exercise held for the first time this year.

The US embassy in the Philippines on its website noted that:

KAMANDAG, which will run until October 11, is an acronym for the Filipino phrase “Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat,” or “Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea,” emphasizing the close partnership between the Philippine and United States militaries. KAMANDAG will increase overall U.S. and Philippine readiness, improve bilateral responsiveness to crises in the region, and further reinforce our illustrious decades-long alliance. Leading up to the commencement of KAMANDAG, AFP and U.S. forces completed bilateral humanitarian and civic assistance projects at schools earlier this month in Casiguran, Aurora.

The embassy also made particular note that the exercise would “increase counterterrorism capabilities,” which is particularly convenient considering the current crisis Manila faces on its southern island of Mindanao, where parts of the city of Marawi are still being held by militants linked to the Islamic State.

News outlets including across the United States and Europe, have noted that fighting in Marawi is backed by foreign interests and includes foreign fighters. Reuters in an article titled, “ISIS-Linked Mmilitants Fighting in Marawi City are ‘Paralysed’: Philippine Army,” would report:

The battle for Marawi has raised concern that ISIS, on a back foot in Syria and Iraq, is building a regional base on the Philippine island of Mindanao that could pose a threat to neighboring Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore too. 

Officials have said that, among the several hundred militants who seized the town, there were about 40 foreigners from Indonesia and Malaysia but also fighters from India, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Chechnya. 

The strike on Marawi City suggested to many that pro-Islamic State factions wanted to establish it as a Southeast Asian “wilayat” – or governorate – for the radical group, a view reinforced by video footage the military found last week showing the fighters plotting to cut the town off completely.

With militants in Syria and Iraq clearly the recipients of extensive state sponsorship, particularly from the United States and its closest regional allies, it stands to reason that their ambitions thousands of miles away in the Philippines are likewise state-sponsored.

As to why the US and its allies would sponsor terrorism in the Philippines, the answer is surprisingly simple and straight forward.

US Seeks to Keep Its Foot in the Door

With the election of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, US-Philippine relations became increasingly strained. Beyond the political leadership in Manila, overall pragmatic considerations regarding Washington’s waning influence in Asia Pacific and Beijing’s rise have put increasing distance between the United States and its former colonial holdings in the Philippines.

Manila’s unwillingness to help Washington leverage tensions in the South China Sea against Beijing have become a particular point of contention, hindering Washington’s attempts to use the Philippine armed forces as a proxy to hem in Chinese interests across the region.

Increasing political pressure to end America’s military presence in the Southeast Asian state has left Washington searching for reasons to remain.

In 2014, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) was signed between the Philippines and the US. Reuters would describe the defence pact in its January 2017 article, “Philippines says U.S. military to upgrade bases, defense deal intact,” which claimed:

EDCA allows the expansion of rotational deployment of U.S. ships, aircraft and troops at five bases in the Philippines as well as the storage of equipment for humanitarian and maritime security operations. 

Lorenzana said Washington had committed to build warehouses, barracks and runways in the five agreed locations and Duterte was aware of projects and had promised to honor all existing agreements with the United States.

The article also made mention of strained relations between Washington and Manila as well as the inroads Beijing was making in terms of defence cooperation with the Philippines.

Barring any crisis, it would have appeared that geopolitical momentum was working in Bejing’s favour, while irreversibly eroding US influence both in the Philippines and across the region.

Then, in May of 2017, Islamic State-linked militants stormed the city of Marawi, tipping off full-scale military operations including airstrikes conducted by Philippine warplanes.

The BBC would quickly summarise the US problem, its reaction and an all-too-convenient solution in its article, “Marawi siege: US special forces aiding Philippine army,” which stated:

US special forces are helping the Philippine military retake the southern city of Marawi from IS-linked militants, the Philippine army says. 

The forces are providing technical help and are not fighting, it said. 

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier threatened to throw out US troops amid strained relations since taking office.

The US military was threatened with eviction, US-allied state sponsored terrorism appeared suddenly on the Philippines’ shores and now the US finds itself with a new purpose for its otherwise unwelcome, unwarranted military presence within the Southeast Asian archipelago nation state.

Why Might KAMANDAG be Significant?

President Duterte had cancelled other joint US-Philippine military exercises in an overall process of downgrading US-Philippine defence relations, according to The Diplomat in its article, “How Much Will Duterte Wreck the US-Philippines Military Alliance?

The article also seems to suggest that while the US military may not be able to enjoy wider access and use of the Philippines to forward-deploy vis-à-vis Beijing during President Duterte’s term in office, in the future this might change.

And while this would have seemed unlikely as Beijing moved closer regarding economic and military cooperation with Manila, with the sudden and overwhelming presence of the Islamic State in the Philippines, the US finds itself already in position to “assist” and with a new justification to propose an expanded military presence there, including reinstating or implementing new joint-military exercises like KAMANDAG.

It is unlikely that this has gone completely unnoticed by policymakers in Manila, and whatever short-term achievements Washington may have gained by this disturbing and intentional use of terrorism as a tool of geopolitical coercion, it will likely lose in the long-term not only in regards to Manila, but regarding Washington’s relations with other capitals across Southeast Asia.

Attempts to use terrorism sponsored by Washington’s closest Persian Gulf allies in Myanmar also appear to be a means of introducing a US military presence there, a nation that borders China directly. Just as in the Philippines, the US will propose a military presence predicated on counterterrorism. It has also tried to utilise this pretext in neighbouring Thailand, but with little success.

And while the Islamic State claims it intends to build a global caliphate built on a foundation of Saudi-centred Wahhabism, it appears to be doing more in helping the United States build a global order built on a foundation of perpetually “fighting terrorism” its own allies are underwriting with impunity. How long this rouse can sustain US influence globally and within Southeast Asia regionally versus the more constructive alternatives offered by Beijing, including infrastructure and economic opportunities remains to be seen.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

All images in this article are from NEO.

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Grandi opere sul nostro territorio, da nord a sud. Non sono quelle del Ministero delle infrastrutture e dei trasporti, di cui tutti discutono, ma quelle del Pentagono di cui nessuno discute. Eppure sono in gran parte pagate con i nostri soldi e comportano, per noi italiani, crescenti rischi.

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Daniel Ellsberg – America’s most famous whistleblower, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers which helped end the Vietnam war – has just published a book revealing that he was also one of the main nuclear war planners for the United States in the 1960s.

Ellsberg said in an interview this morning  on Democracy Now that the U.S.  had plans for a first strike on every city in Russia and China … and that numerous field-level commanders had the power to start nuclear Armageddon:

[Interviewer] So, you made copies of top-secret reports for plans about nuclear war years before you copied the Pentagon Papers—

DANIEL ELLSBERG: That’s right.

[Interviewer] —and released them to the press?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: Essentially, my notes, and sometimes verbatim excerpts, not the entire plans themselves, but on plans that were then unknown to the president, to begin with, to President Kennedy. I briefed his aide, McGeorge Bundy, in his first month in office on the nature of the plans and some of the other problems, like the delegation of authority to theater commanders for nuclear war by President Eisenhower, which was fairly shocking to McGeorge Bundy, even though Kennedy chose to renew that delegation, as other presidents have. [This confirms what Michel Chossudovsky alleged in Towards a World War III Scenario: that the U.S. is so enamored with nuclear weapons that it has authorized low-level field commanders to use them in the heat of battle in their sole discretion … without any approval from civilian leaders.]

But I was given the job of improving the Eisenhower plans, which was not a very high bar, actually, at that time, because they were, on their face, the worst plans in the history of warfare. A number of people who saw them, but very few civilians ever got a look at them. In fact, the joint chiefs couldn’t really get the targets out of General LeMay at the Strategic Air Command.

And there was a good reason for that: They were insane. They called for first-strike plans, which was by order of President Eisenhower. He didn’t want any plan for limited war of any kind with the Soviet Union, under any circumstances, because that would enable the Army to ask for enormous numbers of divisions or even tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the Soviets. So he required that the only plan for fighting Soviets, under any circumstances, such as an encounter in the Berlin corridor, the access to West Berlin, or over Iran, which was already a flashpoint at that point, or Yugoslavia, if they had gone in—however the war started—with an uprising in East Germany, for example—however it got started, Eisenhower’s directed plan was for all-out war, in a first initiation of nuclear war, assuming the Soviets had not used nuclear weapons.

And that plan called, in our first strike, for hitting every city—actually, every town over 25,000—in the USSR and every city in China. [Ellsberg isn’t the first to discuss U.S. plans for a nuclear first strike.  In the 1986 book To Win a Nuclear War: The Pentagon’s Secret War Plans, one of the world’s leading physicists – Michio Kaku – revealed declassified plans for the U.S. to launch a first-strike nuclear war against Russia.  The forward was written by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clarke.]  A war with Russia would inevitably involve immediate attacks on every city in China. In the course of doing this—pardon me—there were no reserves. Everything was to be thrown as soon as it was available—it was a vast trucking operation of thermonuclear weapons—over to the USSR, but not only the USSR. The captive nations, the East Europe satellites in the Warsaw Pact, were to be hit in their air defenses, which were all near cities, their transport points, their communications of any kind. So they were to be annihilated, as well.

***

The weapons, the machinery that will carry this out, this was no hypothetical plan, like Herman Kahn might have conceived at the doomsday machine that he thought up at the RAND Corporation as my colleague. This was an actual war plan for how we would use the existing weapons, many of which I had seen already that time.

***

Every president has delegated. I don’t know the details of what President Trump has done or since the Cold War. Every president in the Cold War, right through Carter and Reagan, had delegated, in fact, to theater commanders in case communications were cut off. That means that the idea that the president is the only one with sole power to issue an order that will be recognized as an authentic authorized order is totally false.

How many fingers are on buttons? Probably no president has ever really known the details of that. I knew, in ’61, for example, that Admiral Harry D. Felt in CINCPAC, commander-in-chief of Pacific, for whom I worked as a researcher, had delegated that to 7th Fleet, down to various commanders, and they, in turn, had delegated down to people. So when you say, “How many altogether feel authorized?” if their communications are cut off—and that happened part of every day in the Pacific when I was there—communications got better, but the delegations never changed.

****

Generally, they allow for lower-level majors, colonels to decide, “The time has come. We’ve lost our commanders. The time has come to go.”

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Confirmed: Trump to Declare Jerusalem Israel’s Capital

December 7th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

Declaring it will flagrantly violate international law. Jerusalem is an international city under a UN protectorate. Israel wants it entirely Judaized for its exclusive capital, Palestinians shut out.

For Zionists, the city is politically important, calling it the historic Jewish capital, its national and religious center, as well as the symbol of Judaism’s revival and prominence.

For Christians, it’s where Jesus lived and died. For Muslims, it’s their third holiest site (the Al-Aqsa Mosque) after Mecca’s Sacred Mosque and the Mosque of the Prophet in Madina.

Candidate Trump disgracefully pledged recognizing the city as Israel’s capital. On Wednesday, he’ll deliver, a White House statement saying he’ll “make a major announcement on Jerusalem” at 1:00PM EST – infuriating Palestinians, the Arab street and world community.

According to unnamed White House officials, he’ll sign a waiver, delaying the move of America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by six months for “logistical reasons,” a US consulate maintained in the city.

He may delay it again, an administration official saying it could “take years” before completing the move. His address later on Wednesday will exclude a timeline.

His decision is further proof of the peace process hoax, the latest chapter dead before initiated. East Jerusalem as Palestine’s exclusive capital is fundamental for Palestinians. The issue is nonnegotiable.

Without it, peace is unattainable – precisely what Washington and Israel want, pretending otherwise. A legitimate peace process never existed, for sure not now with Ziofascists infesting the Trump administration.

Claiming to seek regional peace is a useful fiction, giving Israel maximum time to steal all valued Judea and Samaria land for exclusive Jewish development.

Palestinians are increasingly confined to isolated cantons, their fundamental rights denied, Gazans besieged by suffocating blockade, the Strip invaded and terror-bombed at Israel’s discretion.

The world community largely ignores a decade-long Israeli atrocity, two million Gazans victimized by its ruthlessness. So are all Palestinians, including diaspora ones, denied their fundamental right of return.

In his Wednesday address, Trump is expected to express support for Palestinian statehood. So have previous US presidents, saying one thing, delivering nothing but endless pain and suffering for millions of Palestinians – viciously oppressed by a ruthless occupying power, its high crimes supported by Washington.

Other than Saudi Arabia and perhaps a few other despotic states, the world community strongly opposes Trump’s move.

Reportedly, he and Netanyahu conspired in advance, other leaders he spoke to not informed until Tuesday.

Following his announcement on Wednesday, Netanyahu will deliver an address on the move – two bad actors plotting against fundamental Palestinian rights, pretending to want peace, undermining it by their actions.

PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi blasted Trump, saying

he’s “hell-bent on annihilating the chances of peace and destroying the stability and security of the entire region and beyond, provoking violence and playing into the hands of extremists and terrorists around the world.”

His action is “illegal (and) designed to inflame religious and spiritual sentiments…raising the specter of sectarianism and religious strife.”

Oslo promised Palestinians East Jerusalem as their exclusive capital. No country has its embassy in the city, America the sole outlier if Trump makes the move.

Americans for Peace Now called the plan “pyromaniacal,” a gift to Zionist extremists, wanting “to blow up (the latest chapter of the) peace process before it begins.”

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Abbas said recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving America’s embassy there “would end the peace process.”

Fire and fury Trump warned North Korea about could erupt in Occupied Palestine and the Arab street.

Israel’s claim of the city as its exclusive capital has no validity. Nor does Trump’s action, aimed at inciting conflict, not resolving it.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Global Research: The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

December 7th, 2017 by Global Research News

The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) is an independent research and media organization based in Montreal.  The CRG is a registered non-profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada.

In addition to the Global Research websites, the Centre is involved in book publishing, audiovisual production, research projects, support to humanitarian endeavors, as well as educational outreach activities including the organization of public conferences and lectures. The Centre also acts as a think tank on crucial  economic and geopolitical issues.

The Global Research website at www.globalresearch.ca publishes news articles, commentary, background research and analysis on a broad range of issues, focusing on social, economic, geopolitical and environmental issues.

The Global Research website was established on the 9th of September 2001, two days before the tragic events of September 11. Barely a few days later, Global Research had become a major news source on the New World Order and Washington’s “war on terrorism”.

Since September 2001, we have established an extensive archive of news articles, in-depth reports and analysis on issues which are barely covered by the mainstream media.

In an era of media disinformation, our focus has essentially been to center on the “unspoken truth”.

During the invasion of Iraq (March-April 2003), Global Research published, on a daily basis, independent reports from the Middle East, which provided an alternative to the news emanating from the “embedded” journalists reporting from the war theater.

Since 2004, Global Research has provided detailed analysis and coverage of US-NATO-Israel preparations to wage a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran.

Starting in 2011, GR has developed dossiers on the US-NATO led wars on Libya and Syria, the Arab Protest movement, the environmental impacts of the Fukushima disaster, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the crisis on the Korean peninsula, the Saudi-US led war on Yemen, the militarization of the African continent, the development of the police state in North America and Western Europe, the devastating impacts of biotechnology and GMO among other important topics.

In early 2006, Global Research established a separate French language website:

www.mondialisation.ca

In 2007, we launched Spanish (Español), Portuguese (Português), and German (Deutsch) language pages, which contain translations of Global Research articles. Arabic العربية, Italian, (Italiano) language pages.

In 2016, the CRG Launched the Asia Pacific Research website at asia-pacificresearch.com

In 2017,  we launched a separate Spanish website globalizacion.ca, which operates out of Mexico City.

Global Research TV (GRTV)

In June 2010, we launched The Global Research TV (GRTV) website, which features selected videos as well as commentary, analysis and news coverage

The articles in French are contained in a separate www.Mondialisation.ca archive. Those in other languages are contained in the main Globalresearch.ca archive.

Global Research articles are used as source material by college and university students. Moreover, numerous universities, libraries and research institutions have established a link to Global Research on their respective web sites.

Global Research has also become a source of specialized information and analysis for journalists, senior government officials, financial analysts and non-governmental organizations.

GR Radio: The Global Research News Hour (GRNH)

In November 2012, we launched our Radio program: produced by Michael Welch in collaboration with CKUW 95.9 FM (University of Winnipeg, Manitoba).

The Global Research News Hour also airs on university campus, college and community radio stations in Canada and the US. Click here for details

Click Here To Consult the Complete Archive of Global Research News Hour Radio Program

Global Research Authors

Since 2001, Global Research has established an international network of authors, scholars and investigative journalists. Global Research counts among its regular contributors prominent writers, researchers  and academics as well as several promising young authors.  The underlying concept is the “democratization” of research and media reporting, while maintaining high standards of investigation and analysis.

Many Global Research authors have developed their own blog sites. Our focus has been to acknowledge and support our authors’ blog sites, while also promoting several partner alternative and independent media websites. In turn, Global Research articles are widely cross-posted by the independent online media.

Emphasis has been placed on establishing a comprehensive archive of Global Research articles and audio-visual material.

The Global Research archive (2001-2017) includes more than 70,000 articles and news reports.

The Mondialisation.ca archive contains more than 17,000 articles in French.

More than 10,000 authors have contributed to Global Research.

In 2008, Global Research and Professor Chossudovsky were awarded The First National Prize of the Mexican Press Club, for the “Best Research Website” at the international level.

In the course of the last few years, several Global Research authors have received awards for their writings.

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Trump Expected to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

December 6th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: 

stephenlendman.org 

(Home – Stephen Lendman). 

Contact at [email protected].

Rumors have been circulating for weeks. In late November, Mike Pence said he’s “actively considering” recognition.

He commented at an event, marking the 70th anniversary of the UN vote, partitioning Palestine, Jerusalem declared an international city under a world body protectorate – its current status.

According to the New York Times last Friday, Trump intends recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital short of moving America’s embassy there – for now, maybe later, trying to have things both ways, satisfying no one, offending everyone, tiptoeing toward flagrantly violating international law, continuing breaches since taking office.

Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah refuted the Times, saying Trump told Abbas he intends recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, along with moving America’s embassy to the city without naming a date for the move.

According to Abu Rhainah, Abbas warned of the dangerous consequences this decision “would have to the peace process and to the peace, security and stability of the region and of the world.”

White House press secretary Sanders said Trump spoke to or intends speaking to Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah ahead of his formal announcement.

Apparently it’s coming, fraught with dangers, an unacceptable action if he follows through as expected, flagrantly violating international law, infuriating Palestinians and the Muslim world.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag warned against the move.

Taking it would be a “major catastrophe…completely destroy(ing) the fragile peace process in the region, and lead to new conflicts, new disputes and new unrest,” he said.

Abbas reportedly told Trump there’s no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital.

On Monday, Trump delayed announcing his position on Jerusalem, likely waiting for his Wednesday’s address to declare his intention.

Abbas advisor Nabil Shaath said recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “totally destroys any chance that he will play a role as an honest broker,” adding:

“(T)he mother of all the deals dies here on the rocks in Jerusalem if he says tomorrow that he recognizes a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Hamas called for an uprising to counter what it called a “conspiracy” against Palestinians and the Muslim world.

Ahead of Trump’s expected announcement, Jewish Voices for Peace executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson said the following:

“For 70 years, the US has given Israel tacit approval to steal Palestinian land, build illegal Jewish settlements, and deny Palestinians in East Jerusalem and elsewhere their rights.”

“Trump’s decision takes these ongoing policies to the next level and is reckless, irresponsible and endangers the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.”

JVP’s deputy director Rabbi Alissa Wise added:

“Jerusalem is a symbol of holiness and hope for many people of many religions the world over.”

“We want there to be a shared and peaceful Jerusalem. Moving the US embassy there not only flies in the face of the international legal consensus, but also furthers the agenda of those who seek to re-cast a struggle for land, rights and sovereignty into a religious conflict.”

I was interviewed twice today on this topic – suggesting from reports that the move is coming, likely when Trump delivers his Wednesday address.

The world community, Arab street and Palestinians will be listening, reacting sharply if he announces what’s expected.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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

Featured image is from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr.

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Walking into Armageddon

December 6th, 2017 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

From time to time some of you admonish me for describing our plight without providing a solution. Possibly, there is no solution. If there is a solution, it won’t be found until enough Americans arise from insouciance and escape from the Matrix to be concerned.

My job is to inform. In my column below, I cite former Defense Secretary William Perry who says,

“If we are to prevent this catastrophe, the public must understand what is happening.”

First comes the understanding part. Then the solution part. We are far from sufficient understanding, and we might be prevented from achieving an understanding. When the Clinton regime concentrated 90 percent of the US media in six mega-corporations, it gave the ruling elite control over explanations. The only information diversity that we have is provided via the Internet, and there is plenty of unreliable information on Internet sites. It is a big effort and takes time to learn what sites are trustworthy.

Moreover, the elites are now moving against the Internet. One effort was to create the anonymous PropOrNot site and to use it to brand this one and 200 others “Russian agent/dupe.” But the elites have moved far beyond going after individual sites into controlling the Internet overall. The plan that is unfolding is to destroy “net-neutrality.” If you don’t know what that means, look it up. What they intend to do is to make it difficult to use google to find disapproved articles and sites such as this one. If you do find the sites, they will open very slowly. They will discredit legitimate news sources, such as RT, by branding them “foreign propaganda” and forcing them to register as “foreign agents.” They can intimidate sites and push them in a “mainstream” direction. They can intimidate readers who persist in searching for truthful explanations. Once the ruling elite takes control of the Internet, they will control all explanations.

Most readers think this site should be free provided at my expense. The monetary expense of the site is the least expense. A site such as this one makes me a target. Sites that repost my columns and have comment sections expose me to slander by trolls hired to discredit me as a conspiracy theorist, a Russian agent, an anti-semite, an anti-American, a Reaganite servant of the One Percent. Social media is used for the same purpose.

For someone who could be walking on the beach with a lovely woman or enjoying a week-end on the track in a sports car, serving this site is not an enjoyable use of my remaining time on earth.

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Walking into Armageddon

The orchestrated hostility toward Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea protects the $1,000 billion annual budget of the military/security complex by convincing the American public that the US is threatened by enemies. It also keeps alive Democratic Party hopes that Trump can be removed from office, and it has prevented President Trump from normalizing relations with Russia. I have emphasized for some time that Washington’s gratuitous and aggressive actions against Russia and the constant barrage of false accusations against Russia and its government have convinced Russia that Washington is planning a military attack. There is nothing more reckless and irresponsible than to convince a nuclear superpower that you are preparing an attack on them.

One would think that such irresponsible and reckless behavior would have the citizenry aroused and the media reporting the risk. Yet, there is only silence. It is more important to the media whether NFL players stand for the national anthem and that some male politicians show sexual interest in women in inappropriate ways. Insouciant America is walking into Armageddon.

A few days ago former US Secretary of Defense William J. Perry added his voice to mine and to those of the few who understand the danger. Perry said:

“When the Cold War ended, I believed that we no longer had to take that risk [nuclear annihilation] so I put all my energy into efforts to dismantle the deadly nuclear legacy of the Cold War. During my period as the Secretary of Defense in the 90s, I oversaw the dismantlement of 8,000 nuclear weapons evenly divided between the United States and the former Soviet Union. And I thought then that we were well on our way to putting behind us this deadly existential threat, But that was not to be. Today, inexplicably to me, we’re recreating the geopolitical hostility of the Cold War, and we’re rebuilding the nuclear dangers. … We are doing this without any serious public discussion or any real understanding of the consequences of these actions. We are sleepwalking into a new Cold War, and there’s very real danger that we will blunder into a nuclear war. If we are to prevent this catastrophe, the public must understand what is happening.”

How can the American public understand when they do not know, because the few voices telling them are not reported. Indeed, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby and the lobby’s American agents among the neoconservatives are actively working to discredit those who are aware of the dangerous situation.

The power of the military/security complex and the Israel Lobby, the two prime war-mongers of the 21st century, have immobilized the President of the United States. Trump is helpless in the face of a special prosecutor who is “investigating Russiagate,” a hoax created for the express purpose of preventing President Trump from restoring normal relations with a nuclear superpower.

Experts including William Binney, who developed the universal spy program for NSA thinking mistakenly that it would not be used against American citizens, have stated publicly that, if Russiagate were real and not an orchestrated hoax, the NSA would have all the evidence, making special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s “investigation” completely pointless.

One would think that even those who comprise the presstitute media would be able to figure out that NSA has the evidence if it exists. Instead, the presstitutes cooperate with Mueller in creating a fake news story, one that has been kept alive for over a year.

A country in which the media lack integrity cannot be a democracy as the people have no accurate information with which to make decisions and hold government accountable. The American presstitute media functions as a control arm for the powerful vested interests that are turning the United States into a police state that serves only a few hundredths of One Percent.

Americans have been lied to about everything. I agree that the lies go back a long way. To keep this column to a readable length, we can start with the many lies of the Clinton regime. The war on Serbia was done in order to humiliate Russia by proving that Russia was helpless in the face of American might to come to the aid of its ally, and it was done to establish the use of NATO as an arm of, and cover for, US military aggression.

Then we come to 9/11, the official explanation of which is rejected not only by Osama bin Laden but also by every expert unafraid to open his/her mouth.

Then we have the fake reason for the US invasion of Afghanistan, a disaster for America as it was for the Soviets. A handful of lightly armed Afghans defeated “the world’s only superpower,” just as they defeated the powerful Soviet army.

Then we have the fake charges of Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” hyped to the heavens by the corrupt American presstitutes. This amazing lie, disavowed by the UN weapons inspectors, was used despite the evidence to the contrary to invade Iraq and to destroy a country. This lie was later repudiated by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who regretted the stain on his reputation caused by the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney regime’s misuse of his credibility before the UN.

Then we have the fake charges against Libya’s Gaddafi that were used to murder Gadaffi, to Hillary’s great delight, and to destroy the most successful country in Africa.

The ISIS mercenaries that Hillary and Obama used to destroy Libya were sent to destroy Syria when Russia and the British Parliament blocked Obama’s plan to send American troops to invade Syria. We have been subjected to years of lies from Washington and the presstitutes that Washington is fighting ISIS, when Washington sent ISIS to Syria to destroy Assad and the Syrian government.

And there is Somalia, another packet of Washington/presstitute lies. And the violation of Pakistan with the bombing of tribal areas falsely claimed to be al-Qaeda or Taliban supporters.

And there is Yemen devastated by Washington’s puppet Saudi Arabia.

And there are the false news reports of “Iranian nukes” and Iranian belligerent actions against Israel.

And “Russia invaded Ukraine” when in fact Washington overthrew with its financed NGOs the democratically elected Ukrainian government.

And now we hear that those who dare to tell the truth to Americans are “Russian agents” and “fake news purveyors.”

When a country’s government and media do nothing but lie 24/7, how can democracy exist. Clearly, it cannot.

Environmental organizations are reporting that President Trump intends to abolish two national monuments by executive order in order to open protected lands to rape, ravage, and ruin by corporations. The two national monuments are Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

If Trump has the power to turn national monuments over to corporate campaign donors, he most certainly can have his Attorney General open an investigation of Hillary Clinton or even indict her on the already known evidence. He can issue a pre-emptive pardon of General Flynn, who is being framed on charges that do not relate to Russian influence in the presidential election. Indeed, he can have the Attorney General investigate or arrest Mueller for sedition and an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. These charges are far more realistic than the charge Mueller has brought against Flynn.

But what does President Trump do? He twitters, complaining that Gen. Flynn’s life is being destroyed while “Crooked Hillary Clinton” walks around free.

Trump is correct, so why doesn’t he do something about it? What Flynn did was to ask the Russians not to over-react to the new sanctions that Obama placed on Russia in an effort to create such bad relations between the US and Russia that Trump would be unable to normalize them. What Flynn did was entirely appropriate and has nothing to do with the hoax story of Russiagate. The real reason that the military/security complex is after Gen. Flynn is that he is the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and he said on a TV news show that the decision by the Obama regime to send ISIS to overthrow Syria was a “willful decision” that went against his recommendation.

In other words, Flynn let the cat out of the bag that ISIS was not an independently formed organization but a tool of US policy.

The presstitutes, of course, ignored Gen. Flynn’s statement. The only effect of Flynn’s statement was to set him up for retaliation, and that is what Mueller is doing.

What Mueller is doing is so corrupt that he really should be arrested and renditioned to Egypt.

Private interests and agendas have control over the US government.The people have no control. Washington works by selling legislation to the interest groups in exchange for campaign contributions. The private interests that provide the money that elects politicians get the laws that they want. For example, President Trump is giving the environmental despoilers two protected national monuments, but he is powerless to protect himself and has advisers.

The ruling oligarchy is making an example of Trump in order to ensure that no future presidential candidate makes a direct appeal to the people. When Trump said that he was going to govern in the interest of the people by bringing the offshored jobs home, he attacked the profits of the global corporations, and when he said he was going to normalize relations with Russia, he attacked the power and profit of the military/security complex. He is now paying the price for his rashness.

The larger question is: what price will the American people and the rest of the world pay for the constraints the military/security complex has placed on Trump’s ability to normalize relations with Russia?

This article was originally published by Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

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Those who want to impeach Trump say his contacts (through Flynn and others) with high-level Russians, such as Russian Ambassador Kislyak, was treason … or at the very least an impeachable offense.

Others – without any proof – say that the president-elect’s team contacting foreign leaders is normal.

Who’s right?

The New York Times reports:

It is common and not improper for transition officials to meet with foreign officials.

Jack Matlock, the 4-year U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987-1991, at the time that the USSR fell, writes:

Our press seems to be in a feeding frenzy regarding contacts that President Trump’s supporters had with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and with other Russian diplomats. The assumption seems to be that there was something sinister about these contacts, just because they were with Russian diplomats. As one who spent a 35-year diplomatic career working to open up the Soviet Union and to make communication between our diplomats and ordinary citizens a normal practice, I find the attitude of much of our political establishment and of some of our once respected media outlets quite incomprehensible. What in the world is wrong with consulting a foreign embassy about ways to improve relations? Anyone who aspires to advise an American president should do just that.

***

Anyone interested in improving relations with Russia and avoiding another nuclear arms race—which is a vital interest of the United States—should discuss current issues with him and members of his staff. To consider him “toxic” is ridiculous. I understand that Michael Flynn resigned because he failed to inform the vice president of the full content of his conversation. I have no idea why that happened, but see nothing wrong with [Michael Flynn’s] contact with Ambassador Kislyak so long as it was authorized by the president-elect. Certainly, Ambassador Kislyak did nothing wrong.

***

If you want to understand the policy of another country, you need to consult that country’s representatives. It is quite common for foreign diplomats to cultivate candidates and their staffs. That is part of their job. If Americans plan to advise the president on policy issues, they would be wise to maintain contact with the foreign embassy in question to understand that country’s attitude toward the issues involved. Certainly, both Democrats and Republicans would contact Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin during the Cold War and discuss the issues with him. As the person in charge of our embassy in Moscow during several political campaigns, I would often set up meetings of candidates and their staffs with Soviet officials. Such contacts are certainly ethical so long as they do not involve disclosure of classified information or attempts to negotiate specific issues. In fact, I would say that any person who presumes to advise an incoming president on vital policy issues needs to understand the approach of the country in question and therefore is remiss if he or she does not consult with the embassy in question.

***

The whole brou-ha-ha over contacts with Russian diplomats has taken on all the earmarks of a witch hunt. President Trump is right to make that charge …. We have leaks that imply that any conversation with a Russian embassy official is suspect. That is the attitude of a police state, and leaking such allegations violates every normal rule regarding FBI investigations. President Trump is right to be upset, though it is not helpful for him to lash out at the media in general.

Finding a way to improve relations with Russia is in the vital interest of the United States. Nuclear weapons constitute an existential threat to our nation, and indeed to humanity. We are on the brink of another nuclear arms race which would be not only dangerous in itself, but would make cooperation with Russia on many other important issues virtually impossible. Those who are trying to find a way to improve relations with Russia should be praised, not scapegoated.

Michael McFaul, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia under President Obama, also confirms  that the Russian Ambassador’s contacts with U.S. officials under an incoming administration are not unusual, and that accusing the Russian Ambassador of being a “spymaster” flies in the face of reality.

ABC News reports:

CNN cited anonymous current and former U.S. intelligence officials on Thursday as saying they believed Kislyak was a top spy and recruiter of spies. But former U.S. ambassadors, as well as analysts that know Kislyak, expressed strong skepticism about the claim, cautioning that besides Sessions’ failure to acknowledge it there was little unusual that he had met with Kislyak.

“If he’s a spy then all ambassadors are spies,” said the former ambassador, Beyrle [John Beyrle, U.S. ambassador to Russia between 2008 and 2012]. “He’s not a spy. To call him a spy is to misunderstand what a diplomat, even a Russian diplomat, does.”

Steven Pifer, an expert at the Brookings Institution and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said he also thought Kislyak’s meeting with Sessions was more likely standard ambassadorial work.

“Short take: he was doing his job and trying to talk to someone who might give a sense of Trump’s policy leanings,” Pifer wrote in an email reply to ABC News.

Kislyak’s meeting with Sessions would be standard work for any ambassador, Beyrle said, saying it is the job of ambassadors to seek meetings with high-level officials in order to convey their government’s position, as well as trying to glean that of the U.S.

“Kislyak is doing what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s out there talking to as many influential Americans as he can. That’s his job,” Beyrle said. “It’s frankly not odd in the least for him to have met Jeff Sessions, a senior senator on the Armed Services Committee, up on Capitol Hill.”

Foreign Policy writes:

Is it normal for presidential candidates to insert themselves into global events by dialing up heads of state? In fact, Obama did pretty much the same thing — multiple times, no less — as a candidate during the 2008 campaign.

Obama, like Romney, embarked on a foreign trip as a candidate, meeting face-to-face with leaders such as Afghan President Hamid Karzai, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (headline: “Obama Talks Tough About Iran During Visit to Israel”). But he also placed several phone calls.

In January 2008, for example, Obama reached out to the two leaders at the center of a bitterly disputed election in Kenya, his father’s homeland. “What I urged was that all the leaders there, regardless of their position on the election, tell their supporters to stand down,” Obama explained at the time. The Bush-era State Department, which coordinated the calls with Obama, praised the effort. “Any time you have a person of stature … who is pushing for a peaceful, political resolution, that’s a positive thing,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

Then, after hostilities erupted between Georgia and Russia in August 2008, both Obama and Republican challenger John McCain phoned Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, while condemning Russia for violating Georgia’s sovereignty. In fact, the candidates called Saakashvili so frequently — the Georgian leader said he heard from them “pretty often” — that it became a bit of a contest; when pressed by Fox News, Saakashvili conceded that McCain had called first but that Obama was “very supportive.” In September, the prime minister requested a call with Obama to thank him for mentioning Georgia in his convention speech.

The campaign-trail diplomacy didn’t stop at phone calls. McCain sent two of his allies in the Senate — Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — to Georgia at the height of the conflict, while Joe Biden, then a leading contender to be Obama’s running mate, made the trip himself.

And see this.

Former National Defense University and Marine Corps University instructor, and special assistant to the secretary of Defense, James Robbins writes:

There was ample precedent for the president-elect to put out feelers to foreign leaders.

  • A memo from the Podesta files released by WikiLeaks shows that the Obama team had planned for the “president-elect and senior officials (to) begin confidential policy consultations with key actors in U.S. and abroad” between Thanksgiving and Inauguration Day.
  • Obama also openly used emissaries and go-betweens to meet with foreign leadersduring his transition.
  • And for overwrought members of “the resistance” who think the unenforceable Logan Act is suddenly in play, recall that in 2008 then-candidate Obama arranged substantive foreign policy discussions with numerous foreign dignitaries and leaders during an overseas campaign trip before the election.

Slate notes:

In a 2008 article on President-elect Obama’s reluctance to meet personally with foreign leaders during the transition, the New York Times noted that “the Obama team is scrambling to arrange for surrogates to meet with visiting foreign officials.” During Ronald Reagan’s transition, Vice President-elect George H.W. Bush, a former CIA director, was delegated with taking most of the calls from foreign ambassadors.

Foreign governments are always interested in feeling out the incoming administration and it’s certainly not uncommon for representatives of the president-elect to have discussions with representatives of foreign powers just as an informational exercise to allow each side to get to know each other,” says David Clinton, chair of the political science department at Baylor University and co-author of Presidential Transitions and American Foreign Policy. “Such exchanges are part of modern day transitions.”

Peter Feaver, a National Security Council staffer in Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations who is now a professor at Duke, says this type of meeting “would be done quietly, it would be done without giving away any policy positions, binding the administration in any way or undercutting the current administration.”

***

Conversations that actively contradict the current administration’s foreign policy are problematic, but not unprecedented. The most famous example of this took place before an election, when Richard Nixon’s team reportedly urged South Vietnamese officials to scuttle peace talks organized by the Johnson administration, promising them a better deal under the new administration. And in 1980, the Washington Post reported that Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to El Salvador criticized President-elect Ronald Reagan’s advisers for undermining him by promising a shift in U.S. policy toward the country, then sliding into civil war.

***

The Verdict

Meetings between the president-elect’s team and foreign officials are Normal.

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GR Editor’s Note

Moscow was accused of doping as part of a US dirty tricks campaign to prevent Russia from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. And now, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee and has banned Russia from participating in the Winter 2018 games in South Korea.

This action of the IOC is part of Russiagate: it is a politically slanted smear operation emanating from Washington.

It is a clear case of double standards.  

What is the record of  the U.S. with regard to doping?  

The main sports organizations including the NFL, MLB, and NBA have allowed unusually relaxed policies for performance-enhancing drug testing and punishment.  The USADA is the US government agency responsible for the implementation in the United States of the World Anti-Doping Code,

Yet, the record suggests in this 2014 Global Research article by Sami Aziz that the USDA does not actively intervene in “big money sports” and often turns a blind eye to American athletes using performance-enhancing drugs

Michel Chossudovsky, December 6, 2017

*       *       *

There is a doping double standard in American sports. The “big money” sports – football, baseball, and basketball – turn a blind eye to their athletes using performance-enhancing drugs while track – a “poor” sport – does not. This double standard is particularly harmful to track because strict testing procedures and subsequent doping scandals have led to a general decline of faith in the sport.

Mainstream American sports have long allowed their athletes to get away with something considered immoral for the sake of their popularity. This is an inadequate justification. In the case of track, a sport Americans really only pay attention to during Olympic years, anti-doping is something that now creates almost as many headlines as the sport itself.

If for every great race there is a headline about yet another runner getting busted for doping, the sport will never see the increased public interest or ratings that it would benefit so greatly from. Meanwhile, ratings have never been as pressing an issue for America’s mainstream sports. If the public continues to ignore this disconnect, the popular will only continue to get more popular while the unpopular will continue to get less popular.

This past summer, Tyson Gay, the fastest American sprinter in history, tested positive for a banned substance. The American governing body for track and field (USATF) punished him with a two-year ban from competition and his sponsorship deals will be terminated in the next few months. The fastest American in history. Track’s version of Michael Jordan. Done. At 31, he will probably never compete again. Even if he does, it won’t be at the same level.

For the past few decades, track governing bodies have dealt with doping by punishing athletes who test positive with a two-year ban from competition for a first offense and a lifetime ban from competition for a second offense. Next year, the punishment for a first-time offense will be extended from a two-year ban to a four-year ban from competition. Either way, these punishments are disproportionately harsh when compared to, say, the NFL’s 4-game suspension (basically 30 days) for a first offense, 8-game suspension (basically 60 days) for a second offense and year suspension for a third offense. A third offense in the NFL is less than a first offense in track. To make matters even more unequal, testing procedures in the NFL are, just like their punishments, more relaxed than those in track. The NFL doesn’t even test players for human growth hormone (HGH), one of the most widely used performance-enhancing substances in sports.

Tyson Gay would still be smiling if he was in the NFL as he’d already be back competing

The lack of transparency in the NFL is also worth noting. The players union is so protective that it doesn’t even allow the specific results of a positive test to be public, which means that players can be caught using steroids and publicly claim otherwise, with no repercussions. NFL testing and punishment procedures are so flawed that the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), David Howman, publicly criticized them last year (2013).

Returning to Tyson Gay, his story would have ended much differently if he were a football player. In addition to being a lot richer, he’d already be back to competition. Specifically considering his positive test for steroids on May 16th, if he were competing under guidelines as relaxed as those in the NFL, he would have been amazingly allowed to return to competition in time for the August World Championships after serving a 30-day suspension for his first doping offense.

Here’s my fuss: I think that it is unfair for the NFL, MLB, and NBA to allow such relaxed policies for performance-enhancing drug testing and punishment, especially when compared to the policies in track. If these “big money” sports were to implement drug-testing policies as rigorous and transparent as those in track, the public would see a significant increase of doping scandals in them. The public would collectively realize that doping is more an industry wide problem than a problem specific to a “poor” sport.

Doping is an issue that needs to be tackled – no pun intended – from the top-down. The NFL is a $9.5 billion/year industry. MLB, $7.5 billion. NBA, $4.0 billion. Because the policies in these sports make it easy for players to get away with using performance-enhancing substances, they are responsible for funneling the most money into America’s performance enhancing substance black market! But, instead, the spotlight is constantly shined on track, a sport whose governing body in the US (USATF) has a $24 million yearly budget. That was not a typo. You read right. USATF’s entire yearly budget is less than what some individual football, baseball, and basketball players, including steroid cheats like Alex Rodriguez ($28 million in 2013).

It may seem like a fair doping crackdown would never happen because there’s so much money involved. Still, doping should be regarded as harshly for high-grossing sports as it is for such a low-grossing sport. The American sports doping double standard must go.

Sami Aziz is a student at Columbia University where he is on the cross country and track and field teams. In high school, he was an individual qualifier for NXN and ran 9:14 for 3200.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to “like” his Facebook page, Sami’s Stream. He’s not really big into twitter quite yet but we told him journalists should be so follow him at @SamiAzizsWorld. Comments? Email him or LetsRun.com.

 Works Cited

1. Ingle, Sean. “NFL Faces Battle with Wada over Transparency of Drug-Testing.” The Guardian 27 Sept. 2013, Sport: 11. The Guardian. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.
<http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/sep/27/nfl-wada-drugs-testing>.
2. Isidore, Chris. “Why Football Is Still a Money Machine.” CNN. Time Warner, 1 Feb. 2013. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. <http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/01/news/companies/nfl-moneysuper-bowl/>.
3. “2012 Budget.” USATF. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2013. <http://www.usatf.org/About/Financials/Approved-Budgets/2012.aspx>.

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“He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.” – President Trump re Vladimir Putin after their meeting in Vietnam.

Putin later added that he knew “absolutely nothing” about Russian contacts with Trump campaign officials. “They can do what they want, looking for some sensation. But there are no sensations.”

Numerous US intelligence agencies have said otherwise. Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, responded to Trump’s remarks by declaring:

“The president was given clear and indisputable evidence that Russia interfered in the election.”

As we’ll see below, there isn’t too much of the “clear and indisputable” stuff. And this of course is the same James Clapper who made an admittedly false statement to Congress in March 2013, when he responded, “No, sir” and “not wittingly” to a question about whether the National Security Agency was collecting “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans. Lies don’t usually come in any size larger than that.

Virtually every member of Congress who has publicly stated a position on the issue has criticized Russia for interfering in the 2016 American presidential election. And it would be very difficult to find a member of the mainstream media which has questioned this thesis.

What is the poor consumer of news to make of these gross contradictions? Here are some things to keep in mind:

How do we know that the tweets and advertisements “sent by Russians” -– those presented as attempts to sway the vote -– were actually sent by Russians? The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), composed of National Security Agency and CIA veterans, recently declared that the CIA knows how to disguise the origin of emails and tweets. The Washington Post has as well reported that Twitter “makes it easy for users to hide their true identities.” Even if these communications were actually sent from Russia, how do we know that they came from the Russian government, and not from any of the other 144.3 million residents of Russia?

Screengrab from The Washington Post 

Even if they were sent by the Russian government, we have to ask: Why would they do that? Do the Russians think the United States is a Third World, under-developed, backward Banana Republic easily influenced and moved by a bunch of simple condemnations of the plight of blacks in America and the Clinton “dynasty”? Or clichéd statements about other controversial issues, such as gun rights and immigration? If so, many Democratic and Republican officials would love to know the secret of the Russians’ method. Consider also that Facebook has stated that 90 percent of the alleged-Russian-bought content that ran on its network did not even mention Trump or Clinton.

On top of all this is the complete absence of even the charge, much less with any supporting evidence, of Russian interference in the actual voting or counting of votes.

After his remark suggesting he believed Putin’s assertion that there had been no Russian meddling in the election, Trump – of course, as usual – attempted to backtrack and distant himself from his words after drawing criticism at home; while James Clapper declared:

“The fact the president of the United States would take Putin at his word over that of the intelligence community is quite simply unconscionable.”

Given Clapper’s large-size lie referred to above, can Trump be faulted for being skeptical of the intelligence community’s Holy Writ? Purposeful lies of the intelligence community during the first Cold War were legendary, many hailed as brilliant tactics when later revealed. The CIA, for example, had phony articles and editorials planted in foreign newspapers (real Fake News), made sex films of target subjects caught in flagrante delicto who had been lured to Agency safe houses by female agents, had Communist embassy personnel expelled because of phony CIA documents, and much more.

The Post recently published an article entitled “How did Russian trolls get into your Facebook feed? Silicon Valley made it easy.” In the midst of this “exposé,” The Post stated:

“There’s no way to tell if you personally saw a Russian post or tweet.”

So … Do the Cold Warriors have a case to make or do they not? Or do they just want us to remember that the Russkis are bad? So it goes.

An organization in Czechoslovakia with the self-appointed name of European Values has produced a lengthy report entitled “The Kremlin’s Platform for ‘Useful Idiots’ in the West: An Overview of RT’s Editorial Strategy and Evidence of Impact”. It includes a long list of people who have appeared on the Russian-owned TV station RT (formerly Russia Today), which can be seen in the US, the UK and other countries. Those who’ve been guests on RT are the “idiots” useful to Moscow. (The list is not complete. I’ve been on RT about five times, but I’m not listed. Where is my Idiot Badge?)

RT’s YouTube channel has more than two million followers and claims to be the “most-watched news network” on the video site. Its Facebook page has more than 4 million likes and followers. Can this explain why the powers-that-be forget about a thing called freedom-of-speech and treat the station like an enemy? The US government recently forced RT America to register as a foreign agent and has cut off the station’s Congressional press credentials.

The Cold War strategist, George Kennan, wrote prophetically:

“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”

Writer John Wight has described the new Cold War as being “in response to Russia’s recovery from the demise of the Soviet Union and the failed attempt to turn the country into a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington via the imposition of free market economic shock treatment thereafter.”

So let’s see what other brilliance the New Cold War brings us. … Ah yes, another headline in the Post (November 18, 2017): “British alarm rising over possible Russian meddling in Brexit”. Of course, why else would the British people have voted to leave the European Union? But wait a moment, again, one of the British researchers behind the report “said that the accounts they analyzed – which claimed Russian as their language when they were set up but tweeted in English – posted a mixture of pro-‘leave’ and pro-‘remain’ messages regarding Brexit. Commentators have said that the goal may simply have been to sow discord and division in society.”

Was there ever a time when the Post would have been embarrassed to be so openly, amateurishly biased about Russia? Perhaps during the few years between the two Cold Wars.

In case you don’t remember how stupid Cold War Number One was …

  • 1948: The Pittsburgh Press published the names, addresses, and places of employment of about 1,000 citizens who had signed presidential-nominating petitions for former Vice President Henry Wallace, running under the Progressive Party. This, and a number of other lists of “communists”, published in the mainstream media, resulted in people losing their jobs, being expelled from unions, having their children abused, being denied state welfare benefits, and suffering various other punishments.
  • Around 1950: The House Committee on Un-American Activities published a pamphlet, “100 Things You Should Know About Communism in the U.S.A.” This included information about what a communist takeover of the United States would mean:Q: What would happen to my insurance?

    A: It would go to the Communists.

    Q: Would communism give me something better than I have now?

    A: Not unless you are in a penitentiary serving a life sentence at hard labor.

  • 1950s: Mrs. Ada White, member of the Indiana State Textbook Commission, believed that Robin Hood was a Communist and urged that books that told the Robin Hood story be banned from Indiana schools.
  • As evidence that anti-communist mania was not limited to the lunatic fringe or conservative newspaper publishers, here is Clark Kerr, president of the University of California at Berkeley in a 1959 speech: “Perhaps 2 or even 20 million people have been killed in China by the new [communist] regime.” One person wrote to Kerr: “I am wondering how you would judge a person who estimates the age of a passerby on the street as being ‘perhaps 2 or even 20 years old.’ Or what would you think of a physician who tells you to take ‘perhaps 2 or even twenty teaspoonsful of a remedy’?”
  • Throughout the cold war, traffic in phony Lenin quotes was brisk, each one passed around from one publication or speaker to another for years. Here’s U.S. News and World Report in 1958 demonstrating communist duplicity by quoting Lenin: “Promises are like pie crusts, made to be broken.” Secretary of State John Foster Dulles used it in a speech shortly afterward, one of many to do so during the cold war. Lenin actually did use a very similar line, but he explicitly stated that he was quoting an English proverb (it comes from Jonathan Swift) and his purpose was to show the unreliability of the bourgeoisie, not of communists.“First we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, then we will encircle the United States, which will be the last bastion of capitalism. We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands.” This Lenin “quotation” had the usual wide circulation, even winding up in the Congressional Record in 1962. This was not simply a careless attribution; this was an out-and-out fabrication; an extensive search, including by the Library of Congress and the United States Information Agency failed to find its origin.
  • A favorite theme of the anti-communists was that a principal force behind drug trafficking was a communist plot to demoralize the United States. Here’s a small sample:Don Keller, District Attorney for San Diego County, California in 1953: “We know that more heroin is being produced south of the border than ever before and we are beginning to hear stories of financial backing by big shot Communists operating out of Mexico City.”

    Henry Giordano, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1964, interviewed in the American Legion Magazine: Interviewer: “I’ve been told that the communists are trying to flood our country with narcotics to weaken our moral and physical stamina. Is that true?”

    Giordano: “As far as the drugs are concerned, it’s true. There’s a terrific flow of drugs coming out of Yunnan Province of China. … There’s no question that in that particular area this is the aim of the Red Chinese. It should be apparent that if you could addict a population you would degrade a nation’s moral fiber.”

    Fulton Lewis, Jr., prominent conservative radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist, 1965: “Narcotics of Cuban origin – marijuana, cocaine, opium, and heroin – are now peddled in big cities and tiny hamlets throughout this country. Several Cubans arrested by the Los Angeles police have boasted they are communists.”

    We were also told that along with drugs another tool of the commies to undermine America’s spirit was fluoridation of the water.

  • Mickey Spillane was one of the most successful writers of the 1950s, selling millions of his anti-communist thriller mysteries. Here is his hero, Mike Hammer, in “One Lonely Night”, boasting of his delight in the grisly murders he commits, all in the name of destroying a communist plot to steal atomic secrets. After a night of carnage, the triumphant Hammer gloats, “I shot them in cold blood and enjoyed every minute of it. I pumped slugs into the nastiest bunch of bastards you ever saw. … They were Commies. … Pretty soon what’s left of Russia and the slime that breeds there won’t be worth mentioning and I’m glad because I had a part in the killing. God, but it was fun!”
  • 1952: A campaign against the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) because it was tainted with “atheism and communism”, and was “subversive” because it preached internationalism. Any attempt to introduce an international point of view in the schools was seen as undermining patriotism and loyalty to the United States. A bill in the US Senate, clearly aimed at UNESCO, called for a ban on the funding of “any international agency that directly or indirectly promoted one-world government or world citizenship.” There was also opposition to UNESCO’s association with the UN Declaration of Human Rights on the grounds that it was trying to replace the American Bill of Rights with a less liberty-giving covenant of human rights.
  • 1955: A US Army 6-page pamphlet, “How to Spot a Communist”, informed us that a communist could be spotted by his predisposition to discuss civil rights, racial and religious discrimination, the immigration laws, anti-subversive legislation, curbs on unions, and peace. Good Americans were advised to keep their ears stretched for such give-away terms as “chauvinism”, “book-burning”, “colonialism”, “demagogy”, “witch hunt”, “reactionary”, “progressive”, and “exploitation”. Another “distinguishing mark” of “Communist language” was a “preference for long sentences.” After some ridicule, the Army rescinded the pamphlet.
  • 1958: The noted sportscaster Bill Stern (one of the heroes of my innocent youth) observed on the radio that the lack of interest in “big time” football at New York University, City College of New York, Chicago, and Harvard “is due to the widespread acceptance of Communism at the universities.”
  • 1960: US General Thomas Power speaking about nuclear war or a first strike by the US: “The whole idea is to kill the bastards! At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win!” The response from one of those present was: “Well, you’d better make sure that they’re a man and a woman.”
  • 1966: The Boys Club of America is of course wholesome and patriotic. Imagine their horror when they were confused with the Dubois Clubs. (W.E.B. Du Bois had been a very prominent civil rights activist.) When the Justice Department required the DuBois Clubs to register as a Communist front group, good loyal Americans knew what to do. They called up the Boys Club to announce that they would no longer contribute any money, or to threaten violence against them; and sure enough an explosion damaged the national headquarters of the youth group in San Francisco. Then former Vice President Richard Nixon, who was national board chairman of the Boys Club, declared: “This is an almost classic example of Communist deception and duplicity. The ‘DuBois Clubs’ are not unaware of the confusion they are causing among our supporters and among many other good citizens.”
  • 1966: “Rhythm, Riots and Revolution: An Analysis of the Communist Use of Music, The Communist Master Music Plan”, by David A. Noebel, published by Christian Crusade Publications, (expanded version of 1965 pamphlet: “Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles”). Some chapters: Communist Use of Mind Warfare … Nature of Red Record Companies … Destructive Nature of Beatle Music … Communist Subversion of Folk Music … Folk Music and the Negro Revolution … Folk Music and the College Revolution
  • 1968: William Calley, US Army Lieutenant, charged with overseeing the massacre of more than 100 Vietnamese civilians in My Lai in 1968, said some years later: “In all my years in the Army I was never taught that communists were human beings. We were there to kill ideology carried by – I don’t know – pawns, blobs, pieces of flesh. I was there to destroy communism. We never conceived of old people, men, women, children, babies.”
  • 1977: Scientists theorized that the earth’s protective ozone layer was being damaged by synthetic chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons. The manufacturers and users of CFCs were not happy. They made life difficult for the lead scientist. The president of one aerosol manufacturing firm suggested that criticism of CFCs was “orchestrated by the Ministry of Disinformation of the KGB.”
  • 1978: Life inside a California youth camp of the ultra anti-communist John Birch Society: Five hours each day of lectures on communism, Americanism and “The Conspiracy”; campers learned that the Soviet government had created a famine and spread a virus to kill a large number of citizens and make the rest of them more manageable; the famine led starving adults to eat their children; communist guerrillas in Southeast Asia jammed chopsticks into children’s ears, piercing their eardrums; American movies are all under the control of the Communists; the theme is always that capitalism is no better than communism; you can’t find a dictionary now that isn’t under communist influence; the communists are also taking over the Bibles.
  • The Reagan administration declared that the Russians were spraying toxic chemicals over Laos, Cambodia and Afghanistan – the so-called “yellow rain” – and had caused more than ten thousand deaths by 1982 alone, (including, in Afghanistan, 3,042 deaths attributed to 47 separate incidents between the summer of 1979 and the summer of 1981, so precise was the information). Secretary of State Alexander Haig was a prime dispenser of such stories, and President Reagan himself denounced the Soviet Union thusly more than 15 times in documents and speeches. The “yellow rain”, it turned out, was pollen-laden feces dropped by huge swarms of honeybees flying far overhead.
  • 1982: In commenting about sexual harassment in the Army, General John Crosby stated that the Army doesn’t care about soldiers’ social lives – “The basic purpose of the United States Army is to kill Russians,” he said.
  • 1983: The US invasion of Grenada, the home of the Cuban ambassador is damaged and looted by American soldiers; on one wall is written “AA”, symbol of the 82nd Airborne Division; beside it the message: “Eat shit, commie faggot.” … “I want to fuck communism out of this little island,” says a marine, “and fuck it right back to Moscow.”
  • 1984: During a sound check just before his weekly broadcast, President Reagan spoke these words into the microphone: “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I have signed legislation to outlaw Russia, forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” His words were picked up by at least two radio networks.
  • 1985: October 29 BBC interview with Ronald Reagan: asked about the differences he saw between the US and Russia, the president replied: “I’m no linguist, but I’ve been told that in the Russian language there isn’t even a word for freedom.” (The word is “svoboda”.)
  • 1986: Soviet artists and cultural officials criticized Rambo-like American films as an expression of “anti-Russian phobia even more pathological than in the days of McCarthyism”. Russian film-maker Stanislav Rostofsky claimed that on one visit to an American school “a young girl trembled with fury when she heard I was from the Soviet Union, and said she hated Russians.”
  • 1986: Roy Cohn, who achieved considerable fame and notoriety in the 1950s as an assistant to the communist-witch-hunting Senator Joseph McCarthy, died, reportedly of AIDS. Cohn, though homosexual, had denied that he was and had denounced such rumors as communist smears.
  • 1986: After American journalist Nicholas Daniloff was arrested in Moscow for “spying” and held in custody for two weeks, New York Mayor Edward Koch sent a group of 10 visiting Soviet students storming out of City Hall in fury. “The Soviet government is the pits,” said Koch, visibly shocking the students, ranging in age from 10 to 18 years. One 14-year-old student was so outraged he declared: “I don’t want to stay in this house. I want to go to the bus and go far away from this place. The mayor is very rude. We never had a worse welcome anywhere.” As matters turned out, it appeared that Daniloff had not been completely pure when it came to his news gathering.
  • 1989: After the infamous Chinese crackdown on dissenters in Tiananmen Square in June, the US news media was replete with reports that the governments of Nicaragua, Vietnam and Cuba had expressed their support of the Chinese leadership. Said the Wall Street Journal: “Nicaragua, with Cuba and Vietnam, constituted the only countries in the world to approve the Chinese Communists’ slaughter of the students in Tiananmen Square.” But it was all someone’s fabrication; no such support had been expressed by any of the three governments. At that time, as now, there were few, if any, organizations other than the CIA which could manipulate major Western media in such a manner.

NOTE: It should be remembered that the worst consequences of anti-communism were not those discussed above. The worst consequences, the ultra-criminal consequences, were the abominable death, destruction, and violation of human rights that we know under various names: Vietnam, Chile, Korea, Guatemala, Cambodia, Indonesia, Brazil, Greece, Afghanistan, El Salvador, and many others.

Al Franken

Image result for al franken

Al Franken (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Poor Al, who made us laugh for years on Saturday Night Live, is now disgraced as a woman molester – not one of the worst of the current pathetic crop, but he still looks bad. However, everything is relative, and it must be pointed out that the Senator is guilty of a worse moral transgression.

The erstwhile comedian would like you to believe that he was against the war in Iraq since it began. But he went to that sad country at least four times to entertain American troops. Does that make sense? Why does the Defense Department bring entertainers to military bases? To lift the soldiers’ spirits of course. And why does the military want to lift the soldiers’ spirits? Because a happier soldier does his job better. And what is the soldier’s job? For example, all the charming war crimes and human-rights violations in Iraq that have been documented in great detail for many years. Didn’t Franken know what American soldiers do for a living?

Country singer Darryl Worley, who leans “a lot to the right,” as he puts it, said he was far from pleased that Franken was coming along on the tour to Iraq.

“You know, I just don’t understand – why would somebody be on this tour if they’re not supportive of the war? If he decides to play politics, I’m not gonna put up with it.”

A year after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Franken criticized the Bush administration because they “failed to send enough troops to do the job right.” What “job” did the man think the troops were sent to do that had not been performed to his standards because of lack of manpower? Did he want them to be more efficient at killing Iraqis who resisted the occupation? The volunteer American troops in Iraq did not even have the defense of having been drafted against their wishes.

Franken has been lifting soldiers’ spirits for a long time. In 2009 he was honored by the United Service Organization (USO) for his ten years of entertaining troops abroad. That includes Kosovo in 1999, as imperialist an occupation as you’ll ever want to see. He called his USO experience “one of the best things I’ve ever done.” Franken has also spoken at West Point (2005), encouraging the next generation of imperialist warriors. Is this a man to challenge the militarization of America at home and abroad?

Tom Hayden wrote this about Franken in 2005 when Franken had a regular program on the Air America radio network: “Is anyone else disappointed with Al Franken’s daily defense of the continued war in Iraq? Not Bush’s version of the war, because that would undermine Air America’s laudable purpose of rallying an anti-Bush audience. But, well, Kerry’s version of the war, one that can be better managed and won, somehow with better body armor and fewer torture cells.”

While in Iraq to entertain the troops, Franken declared that the Bush administration “blew the diplomacy so we didn’t have a real coalition,” then failed to send enough troops to do the job right. “Out of sheer hubris, they have put the lives of these guys in jeopardy.”

Franken was implying that if the United States had been more successful in bribing and threatening other countries to lend their name to the coalition fighting the war in Iraq the United States would have had a better chance of WINNING the war.

Is this the sentiment of someone opposed to the war? Or in support of it? It is actually the mind of an American liberal in all its depressing mushiness.

To be put on the tombstone of Western civilization

On November 15, 2017, at Christie’s auction house in New York City, a painting was sold for $450,312,500.

Sources

Washington Post, November 12, 2017

Washington Post, October 10, 2017

Washington Post, November 15, 2017

Reuters, November 12, 2017

Washington Post, November 2, 2017

Wikipedia entry for George Kennan

Sources for almost all of this section can be found in William Blum, “Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire” (2005), chapter 12; or the author can be queried at [email protected]

Washington Post, February 16, 2004

Ibid.

Star Tribune, Minneapolis, March 26, 2009

Huffington Post, June 2005

Washington Post, February 16, 2004

This article was originally published by William Blum.

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Tom and Bill met daily during their lunch break at a nearby café. One day, Tom took out a colorful plastic key chain from his pocket and showed it to Bill, explaining that he had just purchased it at the flea market for $ 2. Bill was instantly taken by its beauty and insisted on buying it. Tom shrugged and asked for $ 5, which Bill happily paid and took the key chain. 

The next day, Tom missed his key chain and asked to buy it back. But shrewd Bill, asked for $ 10 and, with a bit of grumbling, Tom paid $ 10 and got his beloved key chain back.

The following day, Bill offered to buy it at $ 15. Tom agreed and, for the second time, parted with his key chain. But the day after, He bought it back for $ 20. This went on for over month until the price of the key chain rose to $ 170! Then, one fine day, when Bill asked to buy the key chain, Tom declined, explaining that he had sold it 10 minutes earlier at $ 180 , to a stranger at the café.

Bill slapped his forehead and woefully wailed: “You fool, what will we trade in now? We were latched onto a perfect scheme that guaranteed us daily profits; one day for you, and the next day for me. Now, with your stupidity, we have lost a lucrative side income! Quick, go look for the man you sold it to, and let us get it back.”

Tom jumped up and roamed up and down the café aisles, but couldn’t find the stranger he sold the key chain to. He came back slumped in his chair, downcast but deep in thought. Suddenly, his eyes brightened, he smiled and yelled: “Bill, I got it. Let me go and buy another key chain at the flea market for $ 2 and we can restart our trading rounds.”

Bill smiled and whispered conspiratorially: “Fantastic. But lower your voice, we don’t want the other café clients to eavesdrop on our money-making scheme!”

Sequel One

And so, Tom and Bill restarted their daily trading activity using a newly purchased plastic key chain. But after a week of mutually satisfactory transacting, the stranger appeared and angrily threw his key chain at them claiming that he had been cheated and duped to pay $ 180 for a cheap $2 key chain, and asked for his money back.

Tom looked up nonchalantly, and replied: “This is a free market. The going price was $ 180 when you bought the key chain. Todays’ price is $ 35 , we would be happy to buy it from you at that price, or sell you our other key chain at $ 35”.

Fuming, the stranger realized that he had no choice, and to cut his loses, he reluctantly sold them his key chain for $ 35 and walked away. However, he returned after a few minutes, smiled apologetically said: “I have given the matter some thought, and since I have lost money in this transaction, I figured that I may be able to recoup some of my losses by joining your trading group. Can I? Please?” And thus, Jim (the stranger) became the third member of the group and they happily traded the two key chains amongst themselves.

Sequel Two

In a couple of weeks, the café clients on the nearby tables got wind of the booming mini trading market next to them, and asked to join in on the action. A month later, not only were all the café’s customers trading, but others from nearby cafés and shops had joined in.

With so many people trading only two key chains, hundreds of daily transactions took place. And at a markup of $5 per transaction, the market price rose rapidly reaching, within a week, to $4600 per key chain!

Then, one fateful day, a new customer walked in for a quiet cup of coffee, but soon noticed the bustle and din arising from the ‘trading floor” and asked what they were trading. He digested the information, paid for his coffee and left. He returned an hour later with 200 key chains and sold them to the hungry investors. Of course, dumping 200 key chains in the span of a few minutes, forced him to lower the price for each sale, reaching $ 400 for the last key chain sold. Nevertheless, he walked away a rich man.

Suddenly, the market was flooded with key chains and that no one wanted to buy, and the price crashed to $ 2 with no bids. Of course, like a pyramid scheme, the latecomers to the group were hit with huge losses and threatened to sue Tom and Bill, who had already hightailed it out of the café and were never to be seen again in that neighborhood.

A few days later, a local newspaper reporter found the last trader who had dumped the 200 key chains and asked him to explain his ingenious trading philosophy that made him so rich. He shrugged his shoulders and replied: “Basic economics. The traded product had no intrinsic value or use that justified a price above $ 2. The shortage of supply faced with a rapidly growing demand fueled by greed rather than utility, pushed the price sky-high. It was only logical to grab the opportunity and quickly increase supply and rake in the profits”.

Marwan Salamah is a Kuwaiti economic consultant and publishes articles on his blog: marsalpost.com 

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The Qatar Crisis in an Age of Alternative Facts

December 6th, 2017 by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) holds its annual Summit in Kuwait City this week, exactly six months since three of the six GCC states—Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—cut diplomatic relations and imposed economic sanctions on a fourth, Qatar. From the start, the so-called Anti-Terror Quartet (the three GCC states plus Egypt) has pursued a disinformation campaign that portrayed Qatar as a reckless threat to regional security. The media war has sought to secure the support of the neophyte political and foreign policy operators in the White House in the first international crisis of the era of alternative facts. This attempt to drag the US government into a dispute that has pitted core regional political and security partners against one another has highlighted the dangers of picking sides in a clash in which—from an American perspective—there can be no clear winners or losers.

The Qatar crisis originated in a hack of the Qatar News Agency and creation of a fake-news account of a speech in which Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani allegedly praised Iran and Hamas and criticized the Trump administration. Media outlets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE seized on these fabricated remarks in a two-week onslaught that preceded the actual diplomatic rupture on June 5. Significantly, the hack came just two days after the Saudi leadership at the Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh feted President Trump and when he called on Sunni Arab states to rally against terrorism and extremism. Subsequent tweets by President Trump in June and comments in October by Stephen Bannon, by then the former White House chief strategist, drew a direct line between their talks in Riyadh on May 21 and the later action taken against Qatar on June 5, and implied a degree of forewarning and tacit approval.

After years of tense relations with the Obama administration, not least over its secret negotiations with Iran that culminated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015, Saudi and Emirati leaders reached out quickly to senior figures in the incoming Trump presidency. Fortified by the expectation that the administration would follow policies on Islamism and Iran that aligned closely with their own hawkish approaches, the then-Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, and the influential UAE Ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaibaestablished a close rapport with Jared Kushner. Their efforts to woo the inner circle paid off in May when Trump made his first international visit as president to Saudi Arabia – rather than to Canada or Mexico, as his five immediate predecessors had done – and the State Department was said to be cut out of much planning for the Riyadh Summit, which was handled instead by the White House and the Royal Courts in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

President Trump initially tweeted his support for the Saudi and Emirati embargo of Qatar on June 6, giving hope to the Saudis and Emiratis that the US government would turn against one of its closest security partners in the region. However, policymakers in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi failed to foresee the resistance from the Departments of State and Defense to any fundamental reassessment of ties with Qatar. Having observed that the personalized decision-making process in the Trump White House was somewhat akin to their own Royal Courts, the Saudis and Emiratis appeared to assume that the whole of government would fall into line once the White House made a decision on Qatar. Responding to objections from the-then Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Stuart Jones that the initial move against Qatar in June was unwise, Otaiba apparently responded, “Have you spoken to the White House?”

Although President Trump reportedly was unaware of the extent of US military and security cooperation with Qatar, it was Doha’s good fortune that both Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were acutely aware of the strategic and commercial value of the Qatar partnership to US interests. Mattis served as head of US Central Command—whose forward operating headquarters has been based in Qatar since 2003—between 2010 and 2013. Meanwhile ExxonMobil—where Tillerson spent his 41-year career prior to his appointment as secretary of state—was instrumental in developing the liquefied natural gas infrastructure that propelled Qatar to regional and international prominence in the 1990s and 2000s. Both men pushed back forcefully on the White House during the initial stages of the Gulf crisis.

There are signs that the initial move against Qatar in June may have been intended as the prelude to further and more forceful action against the leadership in Doha. In his remarks alongside President Trump at the White House in September, Emir Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah of Kuwait stated that

“what is important is that we have stopped any military action,”

without giving any further detail. Leaked emails from UAE Ambassador al-Otaiba suggest that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had come “pretty close to doing something in Qatar” during a previous iteration of the diplomatic spat in 2014. Al-Otaiba called also for the US to leave its bases in Qatar in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in July 2017 that some in the defense policy community regarded as an unacceptable foreign intrusion into US security considerations. His comments were amplified by conferences held in DC think tanks in May and October and by a spate of opinion pieces that have argued that the US could withdraw from Qatar with fairly minimal disruption.

The two Qatari military facilities Al-Udaid and As-Sayliyah constitute the nerve center of American power projection in the broader Middle East and host more than 10,000 personnel. Al-Udaid is the largest overseas airbase used by the US and the only one in the Gulf able to handle every type of aircraft in the US Air Force while As-Sayliyah is a forward logistics camp capable of servicing an entire armored brigade. After the US troop presence in Saudi Arabia became the focus of mounting dissent, not least by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda prior to 9/11, the George W. Bush administration relocated the forward headquarters of Central Command from Prince Sultan Airbase in Saudi Arabia to Al-Udaid in Qatar in 2003. As former senior Pentagon official David Des Roches has noted, the US military cannot currently replicate elsewhere in the Gulf the military and logistical infrastructure it uses in Qatar, and no other Gulf country has yet offered to build (and pay for) a comparable base for the US, as Qatar did in the 1990s.

From a US national security perspective, there are no good or bad sides in the Qatar dispute and attempts by the Quartet and their supporters to paint Qatar as a negative regional actor do not serve US interests. In July 2017, Qatar became the first country in the Gulf to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the US on counterterrorism and in November held the first US-Qatar counterterrorism dialogue in Washington, DC. These are tangible developments that build upon (and implement) President Trump’s call at the Riyadh Summit for closer defense and security ties between the Gulf States and the US. They also contrast with the vague and sweeping allegations that formed the basis for the derided 13 conditions the Quartet tried to impose on Qatar in June, as well as the spurious and historically revisionist content of some of the more outlandish attacks in the media. Such attempts by Qatar’s detractors, and their supporters in the Beltway echo chamber, continue to challenge a White House inexperienced in foreign policy and open to alternative narratives that deviate, in some cases sharply, from core U.S. interests.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen is a Fellow for the Middle East at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. 

Featured image is from the author.

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Trafficking In Desperate Black Africans: Israel, Rwanda, and Libya

December 6th, 2017 by Bénédicte Kumbi Ndjoko

On November 14 CNN shocked the world with its video news report of Black African migrants being sold into slavery in Libya. Eight days later the Rwandan government issued a press release headlined “Rwanda’s door is open for migrants held captive in Libya.” The day after that, the New York Times reported that Rwanda would welcome their “African brothers and sisters still held in captivity” and quoted African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat praising Rwanda’s offer “to resettle up to 30,000 African migrants languishing in Libya.”

The same story was reported across the Internet and in daily newspapers in the metropolitan US, Europe, and Africa. Rwandan President Paul Kagame is grandstanding as Papa Africa on the world stage, but nothing could be further from the truth or more preposterous than his proposal. Here are four reasons why:

Rwanda is a brutal totalitarian surveillance state

President Kagame and his ruling party run a brutal, totalitarian, US-backed regime with the ninth highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. Many Rwandan prisoners are convicted of speech crime—daring to disagree with the government’s legally enforced description of Rwanda’s 1994 massacres as “genocide against the Tutsi.” Victoire Ingabire, who attempted to run for president against Kagame in 2010, is instead serving 15 years for saying that “before, during, and after the genocide, other Rwandan people were killed. Hutus and Tutsis were killed.”

The African Court of Human and People’s Rights recently ruled that Ingabire’s free speech rights were denied and that she did not receive a fair trial, but Rwanda hasn’t even acknowledged the ruling much less released her.

In “Bad News: Last Journalist in a Dictatorship,” Anjan Sundaram describes extreme poverty among Rwanda’s rural majority and a surveillance state so pervasive that Rwandans fear to trust their own family and neighbors. Does this sound like a government ready to open its arms to its “African brothers and sisters”?

Rwanda is already densely populated and “food insecure”

Rwanda is the second most densely populated nation in Africa and the second poorest in East Africa. Land is scarce. In July 2016, a headline in The East African read “Famine hits over 100,000 Rwandan families in Eastern province.” The report said that rural Rwandans were fleeing famine across the Ugandan border. Howard Buffett, multibillionaire, agribusinessman, and friend of President Kagame, has displaced many of them to grow export crops on land they need to grow food.

President Kagame is a war criminal

President Kagame is a war criminal with the blood of millions of his “African brothers and sisters” in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on his hands.

In October 1990, he led Ugandan troops invading Rwanda. Many of them were the children of the Rwandan Tutsi minority who had fled the country during the 1960s after the Hutu majority came to power. After a four-year war and the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, Kagame’s army overthrew the Rwandan government and established a de facto Tutsi dictatorship, which falsely claims to have ended competition between the Hutu and Tutsi. The last 100 days of the war included the massacres of half a million or more Rwandans that came to be known as the Rwandan Genocide. Most of the world has never heard of the invasion and four-year war, only the last 100 days depicted in the oversimplified, decontextualized story told in the movie “Hotel Rwanda.”

In 1996, and then again in 1998, Rwanda and Uganda invaded the vastly resource-rich Democratic Republic of the Congo, enabled by US weapons, logistics, and intelligence. They massacred hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees, expelled one president, assassinated another, massacred Congolese people and drove them from their homes to plunder their resources. Today, after the death of more than six million Congolese, parts of the country remain under de facto occupation by Rwanda. Rwandans have become officers in the Congolese army and many Congolese believe that the Congo’s President Joseph Kabila is himself a Rwandan Tutsi.

The “2012 UN Group of Experts Report on the Democratic Republic of the Congo” reported that the Rwandan Minister of Defense, who answers to President Kagame, commanded the M23 militia then rampaging through Congo’s North Kivu Province bordering Rwanda. This week Human Rights Watch reported that Kabila had recruited former M23 militia men from Rwanda to suppress Congolese protests of his refusal to hold an election and relinquish power. Sixty-four protesters have been killed and many more injured.

African migrants have already been severely abused in Rwanda

The most immediate argument against sending 30,000 African migrants from Libya to Rwanda is that migrants deported from Israel to Rwanda in 2014 and 2015 have not found a home there and have instead been horrifically abused and trafficked back to the Mediterranean.

Upon their arrival in Rwanda, they are deprived of their papers, which means they cannot seek political asylum or legally cross borders no matter what happens to them. Then they’re trafficked through a smuggling network from Rwanda to Uganda, Uganda to South Sudan, South Sudan to Sudan, Sudan to Libya, and Libya to Italy or other European shores if they make it that far, but many don’t. Traffickers all along the smuggling route know that they arrive in Rwanda with $3500 that the Israeli government paid them to leave, and each takes a cut for their leg of the smuggling route if they don’t take it all.

Journalists for the Israeli publication Haaretz have completed two investigative reports about this with the help of the Fund for Investigative Journalism and The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, an NGO. Haaretz published the first, “Asylum Seekers Who Left Israel for Rwanda Describe a Hopeless Journey,” in May 2015, and the second, “Theft, Extortion and Death: The Agonizing Stories of Refugees Israel Deported to Africa,” in November 2017.

Haaretz journalists are also campaigning to stop Israel from deporting another 10,000 Eritrean and Sudanese migrants to Rwanda. Israel proposes to pay the Rwandan government $5000 per migrant—for a total of $50 million—for welcoming and settling them. Had Haaretz not investigated the fate of migrants deported earlier, the world might believe they’re all alive and well in Rwanda.

Anyone who still imagines that Rwanda will welcome 30,000 African migrants from Libya with open arms should read the Haaretz reports.

Migrants who survived the entire treacherous route and reached safety in Europe saw many die or disappear along the way. They were beaten, robbed, raped, and barely fed by their smugglers. They tell their migrant friends still in Israel that they’re better off going to prison—their other option as unwanted migrants in Israel— than going to Rwanda.

Ann Garrison is a radio producer for Pacifica’s KPFA-Berkeley and WBAI-NYC, and a regular contributor to the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Counterpunch, Global Research, and Pambazuka News.

Bénédicte Kumbi Ndjoko is a Congolese Swiss history teacher, writer, and PanAfricanist justice activist. In March 2013, she disrupted a UN conference in Geneva about the sham Congo peace agreement, and interrupted Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon till the gendarmes threw her out. Her intervention was captured on video: “Free Congo: Face to Face with Ban Ki Moon, Geneva March 1, 2013.”

Ann Garrison and Bénédicte Kumbi Ndjoko are both recipients of the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize

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According to a spring 2017 poll, nearly three-fourths of Turks see Washington as a threat to Ankara’s security.

Bilateral relations are the lowest depth in decades. Most Turks believe the Obama administration was behind the aborted July 2016 coup attempt against President Erdogan.

He’s outraged over Washington’s support for Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria, supplying them with heavy weapons.

He’s reconsidering Turkey’s NATO membership, increasingly shifting his allegiance East. Allying more with Russia harms Washington’s imperial agenda.

Following the arrest of US Istanbul consulate employee Metin Topuz by Turkish authorities, Washington suspended all non-immigrant visas from Turkey indefinitely.

He was charged with ties to US-domiciled opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen Erdogan wants extradited. Washington refuses.

If Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, rumored to be coming, Erdogan will cut diplomatic ties to the Jewish state in retaliation, he said.

After the May 2010 Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara humanitarian ship to Gaza, killing Turkish nationals, he cut relations with Israel, later restored them.

Cutting ties with Washington, along with opposing its imperial agenda would be far more significant.

He won’t go this far, despite saying US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a “red line” for Muslims.

In response if it happens, he’ll also convene the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul to discuss what further steps to take.

“Has the US completed everything and only this is left,” he asked?

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon responded, falsely calling Jerusalem “Israel’s capital for 70 years” – recognized by no other countries, America the first if Trump acts in flagrant violation of international law.

Israeli intelligence minister Israel Katz tweeted:

We don’t take orders or accept threats from the president of Turkey,” repeating the long ago discredited canard about Jerusalem being “the Jewish people’s capital for the past 3,000 years…”

Erdogan blasted Washington for continuing to arm Kurdish YPG fighters, asking:

“Against whom will the US use the truckloads of weapons massed on our borders. Against (ISIS)? There is no (ISIS) there anymore. Against Syria?”

“No, they are now in the same coalition. Iraq? No, they have already invaded there. They will use them against Iran, Turkey or Russia if they dare,” adding:

“No one can lecture Turkey on the war against (ISIS) because Turkey is the only NATO member directly fighting the terrorist group.”

“ISIS terrorists that were set free in the Raqqa operation will be deployed in the deserts of Sinai in Egypt. They will serve there from now on, and we will be monitoring this.”

According to White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, Trump was “clear on this issue. (Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is) not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.”

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh Malki called for an emergency Arab League meeting on this issue.

On Sunday, Arab League secretary-general Ahmed Abul Gheit said the move, if taken, will foster regional “fanaticism and violence. (It’ll) benefit the anti-peace Israeli” regime.

It’ll intensify the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, maybe ignite another intifada, causing considerable bloodshed like two previous times.

It’ll be more proof that Washington can never be trusted as an impartial broker, especially when it comes to long denied Palestinian rights and anything to do with Russia.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the Russian Olympic Committee. It banned Russian athletes from participating under their nation’s flag – both disgraceful actions.

An IOC statement lied claiming

“systematic (Russian) manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved.”

The IOC acted despite no credible evidence of Russian state-sponsored doping. The practice exists in many sports, athletes deciding on their own to use performance-enhancing drugs.

It’s a little publicized issue in America, notably in baseball, football, basketball and hockey, including athletes taking anabolic steroids to build strength and endurance.

Reportedly, over half of NFL football players use opiates at times. In 2007, a report to the commissioner of major league baseball named 86 players using some kind of anabolic steroids, elite athletes among them.

In an earlier survey of retired NFL players, around 10% admitted to using performance enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids – maybe many others as well, reluctant to admit it.

Should baseball, football and other sports teams be banned from league competition because some of their players used these drugs?

Sound absurd? Banning Russia from next year’s winter olympics amounts to the same thing.

Individual athletes should be held accountable for their actions, along with personal trainers or others if found to be complicit – not entire teams or nations without what’s known as evidentiary standards and burdens of proof required in credible legal proceedings.

These standards require “clear and convincing evidence,” beyond a reasonable doubt the highest evidentiary standard – due process clauses in America’s 5th and 14th amendments.

No one should be declared guilty of a crime short of adhering to this standard.

Arbitrarily banning Russia from participating in next year’s winter Olympics falls woefully short – a politicized move, unrelated to legal standards.

It has everything to do with irresponsible Russia bashing, sponsored by Washington.

Were dark US forces behind imposing collective punishment on Moscow – exceeding the banning of many of its athletes from the 2016 summer Rio games, including its entire Paralympic team?

Was the action warranted because of doping violations by a few athletes? Of course not!

Actions against Russia last year re the Rio games were illegal, immoral and unethical, flagrantly violating the letter and principles of the Olympic Charter, stating:

The IOC’s mission “is to promote Olympism throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement.”

It’s about “encourag(ing) and support(ing) the organization, (including) development and coordination of sport
and sports competitions.”

It oppose(s) any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes.”

The Charter’s high-minded laundry list conceals Olympism reality. The Olympic movement is more about big business, profiteering, corruption, politics, spectacle, and exploitation than amateur athletics at their best – unrelated to good will, open competition and fair play.

It features scandalous wheeling, dealing, collusion, and bribery, turning sport into a commercial grab-bag free-for-all, along with unprincipled politicization – dark forces in Washington pulling the strings behind the scenes, supported by other Western states, partners in crimes, including the corruption of Olympism.

Last year ahead of the Rio games, a well-orchestrated anti-Russia campaign preceded competition, America’s dirty hands involved, repeated again to ban Russia from next year’s winter games – sinking Olympism to a new low, delegitimizing the movement.

What amateur athletics should be all about is absent. When politics and profiteering override sports, legitimate competition no longer exists – politicized tragedy, farce and disgrace replacing it.

Note: Russian athletes proving they’re “clean” from doping may compete next year – not under the Russian flag, not as a Russian team member, banned from representing their country.

Noted figure skating trainer Tatyana Tarasova called the IOC’s decision “the murder of our national sport.”

It exposed Olympism’s dark side, its debauched state.

A Final Comment

Александр Жуков.jpeg

Alexander Zhukov (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Along with designated Russian athletes barred from Olympic competition in 2018 or for life, Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko and his deputy Yuri Nagornykh were banned for life.

Russian Olympic Committee president Alexander Zhukov was suspended as an IOC member.

Former Russian Sochi Olympics CEO Dmitry Chernyshenk was removed from the commission coordinating the 2022 Beijing games.

Russian officials won’t receive accreditation for the 2018 winter Olympics.

Moscow was ordered to reimburse the IOC for its witch-hunt investigation into alleged doping of its athletes.

In 2016, a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report claimed over 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in state-sponsored doping – credible evidence proving the allegation not provided.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Hours before US President Donald Trump is expected to announce his decision to move the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the Israeli-occupied city as the official capital of Israel, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, in a last-ditch-effort, is reportedly pleading to the United Nations (UN) to stop the move. 

Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that Abbas sent an urgent letter to the Secretary-General of the UN demanding the intervention of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to stop Trump for making the declaration.

In his letter, Abbas said that “this would end the peace process,” which Trump and his administration have attempted to revive in the first year of his presidency, with reports in recent weeks suggesting that the “ultimate peace plan” would be announced soon.

After days of speculation over whether the US would be moving its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump called Abbas on Tuesday and confirmed his intentions to move the embassy.

Israeli news daily Haaretz quoted Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official, as saying that

“the mother of all the [peace] deals dies here on the rocks in Jerusalem if he says tomorrow that he recognizes a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Abbas, the King of Jordan, and several other world leaders warned of dangerous consequences and instability in the region if Trump follows through with the announcement.

While many countries have consulates in Jerusalem that cater to citizens residing in the occupied Palestinian territory, the majority of embassies to Israel are located in the Tel Aviv area, which is recognized by the international community as Israel’s capital.

Despite repeatedly making the promise to move the embassy throughout his presidential campaign, in June, Trump signed a temporary order to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv, a renewable six-month waiver that has been signed by every US President for the past two decades.

If implemented, the move would be seen as the first step to a drastic abdication of longstanding US policy that has largely adhered to international standards on Israel-Palestine, which maintains that East Jerusalem is an intricate part of occupied Palestinian territory and the capital of any future Palestinian state, despite Israel’s annexation of the territory.

The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.

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The national bird of the United States is the bald eagle, because it represents freedom and independence. Rather ironically, bald eagles are disappearing everywhere and nobody is even saying anything about it.

Bald eagles are close to facing extinction because their food sources are being poisoned by US manufacturers. Dangerous chemicals are released into bald eagle habitats and causes them to get sick and slowly die off. In the 1950’s they started using pesticides such as DDT.This is infecting their natural habitats, and it isn’t just the eagles that are affected. Fish are also taking a heavy hit from this toxic chemical. Thankfully, DDT is now illegal in the United States. However, eagles are still declining.

Lynn Tompkins, executive director of Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center has been studying the decline of these majestic birds for over 30 years. One eagle was brought into their rehabilitation center that could barely even hold his head up. He was lethally poisoned with chemicals, but the rescuers cleansed them from his blood.

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“His head was upside down when we got him,” Tompkins told The Dodo. “Lead affects the nerves, so that’s your brain, your use of muscles, all parts of the body. The birds often cannot stand … They usually have difficulty breathing. They cannot even open their beaks.” However, this bird was poisoned with lead.

Led poisoning is prevalent among bald eagles. Tompkins says that she tested 160 birds for traces of lead.

“We’re finding it in more and more species,” she said. “We started off with eagles but now we’re also testing hawks, owls and other birds.”

Tompkins found that 80 percent of eagles, 30 percent of hawks and 25 percent of great horned owls had lead in their blood.

All images in this article are from The Indigenous American.

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Featured image: Mikheil Saakashvili

Today a slapstick comedy played out in Kiev. It’s background though is mysterious.

In 2015 the billionaire currently ruling the Ukraine by the grace of Washington, Petro Poroshenko, invited the disgraced former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, to run the city and region of Odessa. Saakashvili is charged in is home country Georgia with abuse of office and he has lost his Georgian citizenship.

The administration of Odessa is as corrupt as any other in the Ukraine but the money was flowing into the wrong pockets. Saakashvili set out to change that. He soon stepped on the sensible toes of some mighty people. After a year Poroshenko dismissed him. Saakashvili moved to the capital Kiev and started a ruckus against his former benefactor. Soon he was under investigation and accused of this or that criminal deed. When as he traveled outside of the country his Ukrainian passport was revoked and his reentry into the Ukraine was prohibited. Saakashvili entered anyway under the protection of some mysteriously paid supporters and moved back to Kiev. He recently led several protests marches against Poroshenko. Saakashvili was again indicted, this time for allegedly being paid by Moscow to arrange for a “Russian winter” coup against Poroshenko in Ukraine. Today the police went to arrest him at his apartment in Kiev.

When the police arrived Saakashvili fled onto the roof of the eight story house where he was caught (vid) by the police.

He was brought to the ground and pushed into a police van.

His supporters, who somehow had arrived in mass, blocked the road. After an hour and some clashes with the police they freed him (video) from the vehicle.

Saakashvili and his supporters went to hold a protest in front of the parliament. At the same time the Ukrainian Prosecutor General reported inside the parliament of tapped phone-calls in which some Russian middleman agrees to pay Saakashvili half a million for running more protests. Local TV transmitted a split-screen live stream of both.

One wonders what this really is about.

Who pays Saakashvili and his “protesters”?

What does Saakashvili, or the people behind him, want?

Why doesn’t Poroshenko arrest Saakashvili in some unsuspicious moment?

Why not deport him to Georgia where he would likely go to jail?

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Selected Articles: Crisis in the Middle East, Change of Alliances?

December 6th, 2017 by Global Research News

We bring to the attention of Global Research readers a selection of articles focusing on the geopolitical crisis prevalent in the Middle East today. 

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Trump Gives Away Jerusalem to Settle $100m Campaign Debt

By Hans Stehling, December 06, 2017

In a politically motivated move the repercussions of which will incite anger throughout the world, Donald Trump the elected President of the United States has made a dangerous decision, so stupidly inept as to be unbelievable, that could ignite the entire Middle East, including Turkey, Africa and Europe.

Video: War in Yemen and Geopolitical Standoff in the Middle East

By South Front, December 06, 2017

Yemen’s Houthis fired a cruise missile toward a nuclear power plant under construction in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on December 3.

The Row over Jerusalem Gives American Jews a Tough Choice

By Jonathan Cook, December 05, 2017

For decades most American Jews have claimed an “Israel exemption”: resolutely progressive on domestic issues, they are hawks on their cherished cause. Racism they would vigorously oppose if applied in the United States is welcomed in Israel.

Havoc in Middle East Geopolitical Alliances over US Decision to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem: Trump calls Abbas over Jerusalem as Turkey Threatens Break with Israel

By Middle East Eye, December 05, 2017

Donald Trump reaffirmed to Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday that he intends to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, as regional and world leaders sought to reiterate the dangers of the vow, a decision on which is expected in the coming days.

Former Yemeni President Killed: The Price of Betrayal

By Stephen Lendman, December 05, 2017

Ali Abdullah Saleh ruled Yemen despotically from May 1990 until ousted in February 2012 – earlier ruling North Yemen from 1978 to 1990.

He sided with Houthi fighters against Saudi Arabia until betraying them – shifting his allegiance to the kingdom.

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Trump Tax Cut Plan Will Devastate Public Education

December 6th, 2017 by Patrick Martin

The tax cut legislation backed by the Trump White House is more than just a trillion-dollar windfall for the super-rich. The bills passed by the House and Senate in different forms will now be reconciled in a special conference, but both versions contain provisions that will devastate public education while promoting the growth of private and religious schools.

The largest single impact will come from eliminating the deduction for state and local income taxes, as proposed in both the House and Senate versions of the tax overhaul. Both versions also put a $10,000 cap on the deduction for state and local property taxes. These two forms of taxation supply the bulk of the funds for public education.

School districts across the country have warned that without the federal deductions to cushion the impact, it will be much harder to maintain existing state and local taxes to support public schools, let alone win the approval of millage increases. If state and local taxes are lowered to offset the loss of the federal deduction (or simply frozen at present levels, which means a reduction over time in real terms), the result would be a sharp fall in funding for public schools.

According to the National Education Association (NEA), the largest US teachers’ union, the House bill would threaten $250 billion in funding over 10 years, the Senate bill would threaten $370 billion in funding over the same period. At an average cost of $100,000 per employee, counting wages, health care, taxes and pension contributions, that means 250,000 to 370,000 school jobs would be at risk.

In other words, the Trump tax cut could have as devastating an impact on education as the 2008 Wall Street crash. The deep recession that followed the crash led to huge spending cuts by state and local government, resulting in the elimination of 366,000 school jobs during the ensuing six years. The Obama administration’s “stimulus” program did little or nothing to offset these drastic cuts.

The NEA released last month a state-by-state analysis of the prospective cuts in school spending, which would see the biggest impact in a handful of states with higher local and state tax rates: California ($63 billion), Georgia ($12.5 billion), Illinois ($14.3 billion), New Jersey ($22.2 billion), New York ($34.4 billion), Pennsylvania ($12.6 billion), Texas ($22.1 billion) and Virginia ($13.5 billion).

The tax bill also prohibits a form of local school funding: tax-free “advance refund bonds,” which allow school districts to refinance debt when interest rates are low, as they are now. This is simply a handout to bondholders, most of whom are wealthy investors, at the expense of the public schools.

The political goal of undermining and ultimately destroying public education was reflected in the passage of an amendment to the Senate bill, sponsored by ultra-right Texas Republican Ted Cruz, which allows holders of tax-free 529 accounts, originally set up to provide for college education, to use the money for private and religious elementary and secondary schools.

This is both a boon to the wealthy and a blow to public education: those who can afford to contribute up to $10,000 a year to 529 accounts will be able to use the money tax-free for private and religious school tuition. At the same time, working people who pay state and local taxes to support public schools will not be able to take a tax deduction on those payments.

In a statement to the press, Sasha Pudelski, assistant director for policy and advocacy at the American Association of School Administrators, said,

“It’s crazy that we’re eliminating the ability of people to deduct their state and local taxes that go directly to local services, including schools… while at the same time providing a $10,000 incentive for folks to send their kids to private schools.”

What seems obviously crazy to school professionals, however, is perfectly logical to millionaire senators who represent the interests of the financial aristocracy. In the wake of the passage of the tax bill through the Senate, there have been a number of statements of open class hatred spewing from the mouths of top Republican leaders.

Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, defended the sharp reduction—or outright elimination—of the estate tax on inherited wealth.

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” he told the Des Moines Register. “As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who played a central role in drafting the tax legislation, made similar comments defending the Senate’s failure to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which extends Medicaid coverage to 9 million children in low-income families.

“I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything,” he said, referring to poor children, not the idle rich.

The attack on public education is veiled and not explicit in the language of both the House and Senate versions of the tax legislation. But the next round of congressional action will include public and open attacks on critical domestic social programs, justified, according to Trump and the congressional Republicans, by the very deficits they have aggravated through tax cuts for the wealthy.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, in a headline Tuesday, “After Push on Taxes, Republicans Line Up Welfare Revamp Next.” Trump signaled this shift in his appearance last week in Missouri at a campaign-style rally for the tax bill, which included a vicious denunciation of those who need social programs to survive in an attempt to pit low-paid workers against low-income welfare recipients in a race to the bottom.

“I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn’t work at all,” he declared. “And the person who is not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing better than the person that’s working his and her ass off… So we’re going to go into welfare reform.”

The Democratic Party offers no alternative to this reactionary, ultra-right populism, because, like the Republicans, it is a political servant of the financial elite. The Democrats will offer different political rhetoric, with appeals to identity politics and even, in the form of Bernie Sanders, a claim to defend working people against the “millionaires and billionaires.”

But the Democratic Party also supports a major reduction in the corporate tax rate, the centerpiece of the Trump-Republican plan. Democratic-controlled state governments, as in California and New York, have pursued austerity policies just as ruthlessly as their Republican counterparts. And the Obama administration, in eight years in office, presided over the greatest transfer of wealth from the working class to the financial aristocracy in history. It is that experience that disillusioned millions of working people with the Democrats and created the conditions for the victory of Trump in 2016.

It is up to the working class to carry out an independent political struggle to defend public education and all basic social services, jobs, decent living standards and democratic rights. This requires a political break with the capitalist two-party system and the building of an independent party of the working class, based on a socialist program.

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Uzbekistan – A Voice from Eurasia

December 6th, 2017 by Peter Koenig

Uzbekistan is a peaceful friendly country, smiling faces, many of them struggling to make a living, but still smiling. Uzbekistan is a double landlocked nation, meaning she is surrounded by other landlocked countries, i.e. Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

Landlocked countries have no access to the sea. They are economically more challenged than are those with access to the seas. Exports to and from distant destinations are more complicated and more expensive.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Uzbeks are trying to find their bearings in defining and paying for their own social services, health, education, water and sanitation, as well as for a rapidly decaying infrastructure. But they are doing what they can, exporting labor to Russia and western Europe (receiving transfer payments); young people leaving their families behind, send money home, come back for a vacation, once, twice – then, many start new families in their host countries and leave their wives and children behind. A classic for Gastarbeiter, or guest workers, throughout the world.

But lately Uzbekistan, like other Central Asian countries, are experiencing a mini-boom – a boom thanks to the sanctions imposed on Russia by Washington and through extension by its European vassals. Her exports of vegetables, fruit, other agricultural and industrial goods to Russia are skyrocketing. Mr. Putin already said two years ago, the sanctions were the best thing that ever happened to Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. They forced Russia to develop their agriculture again and bring her defunct industrial apparatus with science and research up to cutting edge technology, at par or above that of the west. They have certainly succeeded and by association, the sanctions have benefitted Uzbeks and other Central-Asians by improving their standards of living by supplying goods and services to Russia, while Russia’s capacity is growing stronger. Together with her Eurasian partners they are gradually achieving full self-reliance, independence from the blackmailing “sanctions” of the western economies.

There is also the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which most of Central Asia, plus Russia and China are members. The SCO is a huge block for trade, economic, defense, and strategic thinking, comprising half of the globe’s population and one third the world’s GDP. In short, the day of total decoupling from the western fraudulent dollar-euro system is clearly visible on the horizon. – All that thanks to abject, arrogant and inhuman behavior, beset by greed for power and monetary gains by the west. The west is constantly shooting itself in the foot. Soon it will have no more feet to walk on. Then it will shoot higher not realizing that the ricochets will eventually kill it. The west is committing willy-nilly suicide by greed for money and power.

Is that good? – Difficult to say. For many common people, lower middle-class and poor people, in Europe and elsewhere, it may mean at least temporary hardship, until the world recovers from two centuries-plus of western made wars, conflicts and oppression, claiming tens of millions of deaths and untold misery around the world. But recover we will – unless, yes unless – a Zion-western prompted nuclear madness against Iran, North Korea, Syria, or even Russia and China devastates us all.

This message comes from Ferghana, the capital of Uzbek’s Ferghana Province, embracing a vast, large, flat valley that stretches to the north-east into Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, a transit point of the old Silk Road. Today the Ferghana Valley is a fertile agricultural area, the home of many cotton growers and exporters to Russia and China – and other SCO countries. It is trade outside of the dollar dominion.

And of course, Uzbekistan like the rest of Eurasia is part of China’s President Xi’s NEW Silk Road project, the One Belt Initiative, or OBI, a multi-trillion-dollar endeavor of infrastructure, industry, science and technology development that is meant to eventually embrace all of Europe, Asia and even Africa.

OBI is to become a multi-pole of economic development outside of the current western dollar dominion, but its doors are open for any nation that dares to join and detach from the stranglehold of the Washington dominated military and financial power grip – a clear and present danger for Washington’s objective of full spectrum dominance. OBI is the future for economic growth and development, job creation, science, education, culture. Therefore, the East, where undoubtedly the future lays, has to be denigrated by any means the western mainstream presstitute has at its disposal – disparaging lies and slander, including constant accusations of human rights abuses.

OBI, a humane approach to prospering life in peace, has become the west’s new economic axis of evil that has to be defeated by any means. While western aggressors, the US, the ridiculously defunct NATO and its many vassal-proxies in Europe and the Middle East are on their last breath, they are seeking to pull the world with them into a nuclear abyss of total destruction. NATO is even prospecting for new clients in South America – a contract of collaboration with Columbia which may spread like brushfire throughout Latin America – their leaders are not careful. That is the zion-western thought process – its US or NOBODY; its profit über alles.

Uzbekistan being part of the New East, thus, has to be smeared, for example with human rights abuses. Western drip-by-steady-drip propaganda is such that it escapes common people’s perception and becomes reality. A friend, knowing of my stay in Uzbekistan, recently wrote to me, ‘how are human rights in Uzbekistan?’ – inferring that they are disastrous. They are certainly not.

The western populace lives in a bubble in which their values are enshrined as the truth – all the wars and conflicts started by the west, the so called war on terror, based on a ‘false flag’ 9/11, is justifying any human rights abuse, wars, CIA assassinations, drone killings, financial strangulations by ‘sanctions’ abject torture, raping and slaughtering entire countries, like the central African countries, for natural resources, rare earths used for the military-security industrial complex that needs an ever-mounting spiral of wars and conflicts for ever more and higher profits by an economy of death and destruction – which is what we have become in the west. ‘Fake news’ also makes Uzbekistan a country that allegedly supplies terrorists, like the recent downtown Manhattan sidewalk rampage, supposedly carried out by an Uzbek national.

Yet, hardly anybody in the west sees the context of western aggression, when they launch accusations of human rights abuse against Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Uzbekistan – and the list goes on. It is beyond comprehension how blind our media have made us in the west – to the point that truth seeking media, like Russia Today (RT), Sputnik, TeleSur – are shunned, if not outright banned in the west, i.e. in the US of A and its European puppets and in some of the newly converted neoliberal Latin American countries.

Uzbekistan, China, Russia and the entire East is doing great as far as human rights are concerned – there is not even a shred of comparison with the abusive, murderous west.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 21st Century (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

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