New World Order Profit Maximization Is Easy: Invest in Violence

September 10th, 2017 by Robert J. Burrowes

For those of us committed to systematically reducing and, one day, ending human violence, it is vital to understand what is causing and driving it so that effective strategies can be developed for dealing with violence in its myriad contexts. For an understanding of the fundamental cause of violence, see ‘Why Violence?’

However, while we can tackle violence at its source by each of us making and implementing ‘My Promise to Children’, the widespread violence in our world is driven by just one factor: fear or, more accurately, terror. And I am not talking about jihadist terror or even the terror caused by US warmaking. Let me explain, starting from the beginning.

The person who is fearless has no use for violence and has no trouble achieving their goals, including their own defence, without it. But fearlessness is a state that few humans would claim. Hence violence is rampant.

Moreover, once someone is afraid, they will be less likely to perceive the truth behind the delusions with which they are presented. They will also be less able to access and rely on other mental functions, such as conscience and intelligence, to decide their course of action in any context. Worse still, the range of their possible responses to perceived threats will be extremely limited. And they will be more easily mobilised to support or even participate in violence, in the delusional belief that this will make them safe.

For reasons such as these, it is useful for political and corporate elites to keep us in a state of fear: social control is much easier in this context. But so is profit maximization. And the most profitable enterprise on the planet is violence. In essence then: more violence leads to more fear making it easier to gain greater social control to inflict more violence… And starting early, by terrorizing children, is the most efficient way to initiate and maintain this cycle. See ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

So, for example, if you think the massive number of police killings of innocent civilians in the United States – see ‘Killed by Police’ and ‘The Counted: People killed by police in the US’ – is a problem, you are not considering it from the perspective of maintaining elite social control and maximizing corporate profit. Police killings of innocent civilians is just one (necessary) part of the formula for maintaining control and maximising profit.

This is because if you want to make a lot of money in this world, then killing or exploiting fellow human beings and destroying the natural world are the three most lucrative business enterprises on the planet. And we are now very good at it, as the record shows, with the planetary death toll from violence and exploitation now well over 100,000 human beings each day, 200 species driven to extinction each day and ecological destruction so advanced that the end of all life (not just human life) on Earth is postulated to occur within decades, if not sooner, depending on the scenario. See, for example, ‘The End of Being: Abrupt Climate Change One of Many Ecological Crises Threatening to Collapse the Biosphere’.

So what forms does this violence take? Here is a daily accounting.

Corporate capitalist control of national economies, held in place by military violence, kills vast numbers of people (nearly one million each week) by starving them to death in Africa, Asia and Central/South America. This is because this ‘economic’ system is designed and managed to allocate resources for military weapons and corporate profits for the wealthy, instead of resources for living.

Wars kill, wound and incapacitate a substantial number of civilians, mostly women and children, as do genocidal assaults, on a daily basis, in countries all over the planet. Wars also kill some soldiers and mercenaries.

Apart from those people we kill every day, we sell many women and children into sexual slavery, we kidnap children to terrorise them into becoming child soldiers and force men, women and children to work as slave labourers, in horrific conditions, in fields and factories (and buy the cheap products of their exploited labour as our latest ‘bargain’).

We condemn millions of people to live in poverty, homelessness and misery, even in industrialized countries where the refugees of western-instigated wars and climate-destroying policies are often treated with contempt. We cause many children to be born with grotesque genetic deformities because we use horrific weapons, like those with depleted uranium, on their parents. We also inflict violence on women and children in many other forms, ranging from ‘ordinary’ domestic violence to genital mutilation.

We ensnare and imprison vast numbers of people in the police-legal-prison complex. See ‘The Rule of Law: Unjust and Violent’. We pay the pharmaceutical industry and its handmaiden, psychiatry, to destroy our minds with drugs and electro-shocking. See ‘Defeating the Violence of Psychiatry’.We imprison vast numbers of children in school in the delusional belief that this is good for them. See ‘Do We Want School or Education?’And we kill or otherwise exploit animals, mostly for human consumption, in numbers so vast the death toll is probably beyond calculation.

We also engage in an endless assault on the Earth’s biosphere. Apart from the phenomenal damage done to the environment and climate by military violence: we emit gases and pollutants to heat and destroy the atmosphere and destroy its oxygen content. We cut down and burn rainforests. We cut down mangroves and woodlands and pave grasslands. We poison the soil with herbicides and pesticides. We pollute the waterways and oceans with everything from carbon and nitrogenous fertilizers to plastic, as well as the radioactive contamination from Fukushima. And delude ourselves that our token gestures to remedy this destruction constitutes ‘conservation’.

So if you are seeking work, whether as a recent graduate or long-term unemployed person, then the most readily available form of work, where you will undoubtedly be exploited as well, is a government bureaucracy or large corporation that inflicts violence on life itself. Whether it is the military, the police, legal or prison system, a weapons, fossil fuel, banking, pharmaceutical, media, agricultural, logging, food or water corporation, a farm that exploits animals or even a retail outlet that sells poisonous, processed and often genetically-mutilated substances under the label ‘food’ – see ‘Defeating the Violence in Our Food and Medicine’ – you will have many options to help add to the profits of those corporations and government ‘services’ that exist to inflict violence on you, your family and every other living being that shares this biosphere.

Tragically, genuinely ethical employment is a rarity because most industries, even those that seem benign like the education, finance, information technology and electronics industries, usually end up providing skilled personnel, finance, services or components that are used to inflict violence. And other industries such as those in insurance and superannuation, like the corporate banks, usually invest in violence (such as the military and fossil fuel industries): it is the most profitable.

So while many government bureaucracies and corporate industries exist to inflict violence, in one form or another, they can only do so because we are too scared to insist on seeking out ethical employment. In the end, we will take a job as a teacher, corporate journalist or pharmaceutical drug pusher, serve junk food, work in a bank, join the police or military, work in the legal system, assemble a weapons component… rather than ask ourselves the frightening questions ‘Is this nonviolent? Is this ethical? Does it enhance life?’

And yes, I know about structural violence and the way it limits options and opportunities for those of particular classes, races, genders…. But if ordinary people like us don’t consider moral issues and make moral choices, why should governments and corporations?

Moral choices? you might ask in confusion. In this day and age? Well, it might seem old-fashioned but, in fact, while most of us have been drawn along by the events in our life to make choices based on such considerations as self-interest, personal gain and ‘financial security’, there is a deeper path. Remember Gandhi? ‘True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding the true path for ourselves, and fearlessly following it.’

Strange words they no doubt sound in this world where our attention is endlessly taken by all of those high-tech devices. But Gandhi’s words remind us that there is something deeper in life that the violence we have suffered throughout our lives has taken from us. The courage to be ourselves and to seek our own unique destiny.

Do you have this courage? To be yourself, rather than a cog in someone else’s machine? To refuse to submit to the violence that surrounds and overwhelms us on a daily basis?

If you are inclined to ponder these questions, you might also consider making moral choices that work systematically to end the violence in our world: consider participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’, signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ and/or helping to develop and implement an effective strategy to resist one or the other of the many threats to our survival using the strategic framework explained in Nonviolent Campaign Strategy.

Of course, these choices aren’t for everyone. As Gandhi observed: ‘Cowards can never be moral.’

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

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Donald Trump isn’t going to start a war with North Korea. That’s just not going to happen.

Not only does the United States not have the ground forces for such a massive operation but, more important, a war with the North would serve no strategic purpose at all. The US already has the arrangement it wants on the Peninsula. The South remains under US military occupation, the economic and banking systems have been successfully integrated into the US-dominated western system, and the strategically-located landmass in northeast Asia provides an essential platform for critical weapons systems that will be used to encircle and control fast-emerging rivals, China and Russia.

So what would a war accomplish?

Nothing. As far as Washington is concerned, the status quo is just dandy.

And, yes, I realize that many people think Trump is calling the shots and that he is an impulsive amateur who might do something erratic that would trigger a nuclear conflagration with the North. That could happen, but I think the possibility is extremely remote. As you might have noticed, Trump has effectively handed over foreign policy to his generals, and those generals are closely aligned to powerful members of the foreign policy establishment who are using Trump’s reputation as a loose cannon to great effect. For example, by ratchetting up the rhetoric, (“fire and fury”, “locked and loaded”, etc) Trump has managed to stifle some of the public opposition to the deployment of the THAAD missile system which features “powerful AN/TPY-2 radar, that can be used to spy on Chinese territory, and the interceptors are designed to protect US bases and troops in the event of nuclear war with China or Russia.”

THAAD is clearly not aimed at North Korea which is small potatoes as far as Washington is concerned. It’s an essential part of the military buildup the US is stealthily carrying out to implement its “pivot to Asia” strategy.

Trump’s belligerence has also prompted a response from the North which has accelerated it ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing.  The North’s reaction has stirred up traditional antagonisms which has helped to undermine the conciliatory efforts of  liberal President Moon Jae-in. At the same time, the North’s behavior has strengthened far-right groups that –among other things– want to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the South. By playing to the right wing and exacerbating hostilities between North and South, Trump has helped to fend off efforts to reunify the country while creating a justification for continued US military occupation. In other words.

The crisis has clearly tightened Washington’s grip on the peninsula while advancing the interests of America’s elite powerbrokers. I seriously doubt that Trump conjured up this plan by himself. This is the work of his deep state handlers who have figured out how to use his mercurial personality to their advantage.

A Word About North Korea’s Nukes

Leaders in North Korea don’t want to blow their money on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles when their people are on the brink of starvation. But what choice do they have? The primary responsibility of every government is to provide security for their people. That’s hard to do when the nation is still technically at war with a country that has toppled or tried to topple 50 sovereign governments in the last 70 years. The Korean War did not end with a treaty, it ended with an armistice which means the war is ongoing and could flare up at any time. And Washington won’t sign a treaty with the North because it despises their form of government, and is just waiting for the opportunity to force them from power. Trump is no different from most of his predecessors in this regard. He hates the leadership in Pyongyang and makes no bones about it.

Bottom line: The US refuses to provide the North with any written guarantees that it won’t resume hostilities, kill its people and blow their cities to smithereens. So, naturally, the North has taken steps to defend itself. And, yes, Kim Jong-un fully realizes that if he ever used his nukes in an act of aggression, the United States would –as Colin Powell breezily opined– “turn the North into a charcoal briquette.” But Kim is not going to use his nukes because he has no territorial ambitions nor does he have any driving desire to be subsumed into a fiery ball of ash.  His nukes are merely bargaining chits for future negotiations with Washington. The only problem is that Trump doesn’t  want to bargain because US geopolitical interests are better served by transforming a few pathetic missile tests into an Armageddon-type drama. No one knows how to exploit a crisis better than Washington.

Does Trump know anything about the history of the current crisis?  Does he know that North Korea agreed to end its nuclear weapons program in 1994 if the US met its modest demands?  Does he know that the US agreed to those terms but then failed to hold up its end of the bargain?   Does he know that the North honored its commitments under the agreement but eventually got tired of being double-crossed by the US so they resumed their plutonium enrichment program?  Does he know that that’s why the North has nuclear weapons today, because the United States broke its word and scotched the agreement?

That’s not conjecture. That’s history.

Here’s a clip from an article in the Independent that provides a brief outline of the so called  Framework Agreement:

“Under the terms of the 1994 framework, North Korea agreed to freeze and ultimately dismantle its nuclear programme in exchange for “the full normalisation of political and economic relations with the United States”. This meant four things:

By 2003, a US-led consortium would build two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea to compensate for the loss of nuclear power.

Until then, the US would supply the north with 500,000 tons per year of heavy fuel.

The US would lift sanctions, remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, and – perhaps most importantly – normalise the political relationship, which is still subject to the terms of the 1953 Korean War armistice.

Finally, both sides would provide “formal assurances” against the threat or use of nuclear weapons.” (“Why America’s 1994 deal with North Korea failed – and what Trump can learn from it”, The Independent)

It was a totally straightforward agreement that met the requirements of both parties. The North got a few economic perks along with the security assurances they desperately wanted and, in return, the US got to monitor any and all nuclear sites, thus, preventing the development of weapons of mass destruction.  Everyone got exactly what they wanted, right? There was only one glitch: The US started foot-dragging from Day 1. The lightwater reactors never got beyond the foundation stage and the heavy fuel deliveries got more and more infrequent. In contrast, the North Koreans stuck religiously to the letter of the agreement. They did everything that was expected of them and more. In fact, according to the same article, four years after the agreement went into effect:

 “both the US and the international atomic energy agency were satisfied that there had been ‘no fundamental violation of any aspect of the framework agreement’ by North Korea. But on its own pledges, Washington failed to follow through.” (Independent)

There you have it: The North kept its word, but the US didn’t. It’s that simple.

This is an important point given the fact that the media typically mischaracterizes what actually took place and who should be held responsible. The onus does not fall on Pyongyang, it falls on Washington. Here’s more from the same article:

“On its own pledges, Washington failed to follow through. The light-water reactors were never built. …Heavy fuel shipments were often delayed….North Korea was not removed from the state department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism until 2008, though it had long met the criteria for removal….Most importantly, no action was taken to formally end the Korean War – which was never technically ended – by replacing the 1953 ceasefire with a peace treaty. The “formal assurances” that the US would not attack North Korea were not provided until six years after the framework was signed.”  (Independent)

When Bush was elected in 2000,  things got much worse. The North was included in Bush’s the Axis of Evil speech, it was also listed as  a “rogue regime against which the US should be prepared to use force”, and the Pentagon stepped up its joint-military drills in the South which just added more gas to the fire. Eventually, Bush abandoned the agreement altogether and the North went back to building nukes.

Then came Obama who wasn’t much better than Bush, except for the public relations, of course.  As Tim Shorrock points out in his excellent article at The Nation,  Obama sabotaged the Six-Party Talks, suspended energy assistance to pressure the North to accept harsher “verification plans”,  “abandoned the idea of direct talks” with Pyongyang, and “embarked on a series of military exercises with South Korea that increased in size and tempo over the course of his administration and are now at the heart of the tension with Kim Jong-un.”

So although Obama was able to conceal his cruelty and aggression behind the image of “peacemaker”, relations with the North continued to deteriorate and the situation got progressively worse.

Check out these brief excerpts from Shorrock’s article which help to provide a thumbnail sketch of what really happened and who is responsible:

“The Agreed Framework led North Korea to halt its plutonium-based nuclear-weapons program for over a decade, forgoing enough enrichment to make over 100 nuclear bombs. “What people don’t know is that North Korea made no fissile material whatsoever from 1991 to 2003.”

“…the framework remained in effect well into the Bush administration. In 1998, the State Department’s Rust Deming testified to Congress that  “there is no fundamental violation of any aspect of the framework agreement.”

“…Pyongyang was prepared to shut down its development, testing, and deployment of all medium- and long-range missiles.”

“By 1997…the North Koreans were complaining bitterly that the United States was slow to deliver its promised oil and stalling on its pledge to end its hostile policies…”

“It was against this backdrop—Pyongyang’s growing conviction the US was not living up to its commitments—that the North in 1998 began to explore” other military options.”

“Bush tore up the framework agreement, exacerbating the deterioration in relations he had sparked a year earlier when he named North Korea part of his “axis of evil” in January 2002. In response, the North kicked out the IAEA inspectors and began building what would become its first bomb, in 2006, triggering a second nuclear crisis that continues to this day.”  (“Diplomacy With North Korea Has Worked Before, and Can Work Again”, Tim Shorrock, The Nation)

Now the North has hydrogen bombs and Washington is still playing its stupid games. This whole fake crisis is a big smokescreen designed to conceal Washington’s imperial machinations. Trump is using Kim’s missile tests as a pretext to extend the Pentagon’s military tentacles deeper into Asia so the US can assume a dominant role in the world’s fastest growing region. It’s the same game Washington has been playing for the last hundred years.  Unfortunately, they’re pretty good at it.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday that Venezuela will be looking to “free” itself from the U.S. dollar next week, Reuters reports. According to the outlet, Maduro will look to use the weakest of two official foreign exchange regimes (essentially the way Venezuela will manage its currency in relation to other currencies and the foreign exchange market), along with a basket of currencies.

According to Reuters, Maduro was referring to Venezuela’s current official exchange rate, known as DICOM, in which the dollar can be exchanged for 3,345 bolivars. At the strongest official rate, one dollar buys only 10 bolivars, which may be one of the reasons why Maduro wants to opt for some of the weaker exchange rates.

“Venezuela is going to implement a new system of international payments and will create a basket of currencies to free us from the dollar,” Maduro said in a multi-hour address to a new legislative “superbody.” He reportedly did not provide details of this new proposal.

Maduro hinted that the South American country would look to using the yuan instead, among other currencies.

“If they pursue us with the dollar, we’ll use the Russian ruble, the yuan, yen, the Indian rupee, the euro,” Maduro also said.

Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves but has been undergoing a major crisis, with millions of people going hungry inside the country which has been plagued with rampant, increasing inflation. In that context, the recently established economic blockade by the Trump administration only adds to the suffering of ordinary Venezuelans rather than helping their plight.

According to Reuters, a thousand dollars’ worth of local currency obtained when Maduro came to power in 2013 is now be worth little over one dollar.

A theory advanced in William R. Clark’s book Petrodollar Warfare – and largely ignored by the mainstream media – essentially asserts that Washington-led interventions in the Middle East and beyond are fueled by the direct effect on the U.S. dollar that can result if oil-exporting countries opt to sell oil in alternative currencies. For example, in 2000, Iraq announced it would no longer use U.S. dollars to sell oil on the global market. It adopted the euro, instead.

By February 2003, the Guardian reported that Iraq had netted a “handsome profit” after making this policy change. Despite this, the U.S. invaded not long after and immediately switched the sale of oil back to the U.S. dollar.

In Libya, Muammar Gaddafi was punished for a similar proposal to create a unified African currency backed by gold, which would be used to buy and sell African oil. Though it sounds like a ludicrous reason to overthrow a sovereign government and plunge the country into a humanitarian crisis, Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails confirmed this was the main reason Gaddafi was overthrown. The French were especially concerned by Gaddafi’s proposal and, unsurprisingly, became one of the war’s main contributors. (It was a French Rafaele jet that struck Gaddafi’s motorcade, ultimately leading to his death).

Iran has been using alternative currencies like the yuan for some time now and shares a lucrative gas field with Qatar, which may ultimately be days away from doing the same. Both countries have been vilified on the international stage, particularly under the Trump administration.

Nuclear giants China and Russia have been slowly but surely abandoning the U.S. dollar, as well, and the U.S. establishment has a long history of painting these two countries as hostile adversaries.

Now Venezuela may ultimately join the bandwagon, all the while cozying up to Russia, as well (unsurprisingly, Venezuela and Iran were identified in William R. Clark’s book as attracting particular geostrategic tensions with the United States). The CIA’s admission that it intends to interfere inside Venezuela to exact a change of government — combined with Trump’s recent threat of military intervention in Venezuela and Vice President Mike Pence’s warning that the U.S. will not “stand by” and watch Venezuela deteriorate — all start to make a lot more sense when viewed through this geopolitical lens.

What initially sounded like a conspiracy theory seems to be a more plausible reality as countries that begin dropping the U.S. dollar and opting for alternative currencies continuously — and without exception — end up targeted for regime change.

If the U.S. steps up its involvement in Venezuela, the reasons why should be clear to those who have been paying attention.

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Renewal of the so-called Trident nuclear deterrent is a political decision not a military one and is being driven by political considerations rather than the actual requirement of Britain’s national defence. Furthermore, any actual deployment of ICBMs would, in practice, require the approval of the US president i.e. currently Donald Trump, his family and his Likud-leaning Congress.  Britain would require prior authority from Washington who in turn would probably seek advice from non-NATO member, Israel.

As the UK becomes increasingly vulnerable [allegedly] to threat from international terrorism, the so-called Trident [submarine-launched], nuclear deterrent should now be scrapped and replaced with 21st century, NATO sourced, military technology to defend our people and our shores – technology that is not dependent on the political agenda of a foreign state, either across the Atlantic or the Red Sea.

Unfortunately, European security has already been dangerously compromised by German Chancellor Merkel’s unilateral decision to supply Israel with a nuclear-ready submarine fleet having a second-strike capability but the European Parliament and Commission were never consulted. Furthermore, the state of Israel is not a party to the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions that banned the use of such weapons more than 20 years ago.

Netanyahu’s brand of Revisionist Zionism treats Chancellor Merkel and all Evangelical Christians as ‘useful idiots’ to be exploited for Israel’s political and military purposes. As a consequence, the evangelical German Chancellor and the allegedly corrupt Israeli prime minister have managed to irrevocably alter the global balance of power to satisfy their own political and religious agendas.

Britain’s national defence now needs to be put in the sole hands of our own elected Parliament as opposed to the US Congress or other foreign legislature.

Note: Angela Merkel was born nine years after WW2, on 17 July 1954, and has been German Chancellor since 2005. Being of Polish Lutheran ancestry she is a staunch member of the Evangelical Church of Berlin. 

In a speech to the Knesset in 2008, she declared that:

“Israel’s security was and Is a very important matter for every German Chancellor – and so it will be in the future, too. My statement must be understood in a very comprehensive way. It is frequently reduced to the military aspect, but it refers to an entirely fundamental commitment to Israel’s security. We are certainly not neutral.”

However, Merkel’s political agenda is based on her evangelical religious belief that requires all Jews to be baptised into the Church of Christ. It is, of course, a dangerous nonsense into which Britain should never have allowed itself to be drawn.

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Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prizes and the Rohingyas

September 10th, 2017 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Scratch the skin of a saint, claimed George Orwell, and you are bound to find a sinner with an extensive resume. Such resumes are evaluated in these modern times by accolades, awards, and summits. The Noble Peace Prize tends to be crowning affirmation that somewhere along the line, you sufficiently fouled up to merit it.

The calls, some even shrill, to have the Nobel Prize taken off Aung San Suu Kyi, are distressed lamentations of misplaced loyalties, even love. The de facto leader of Myanmar is showing what others have in the past: partiality, a harsh streak, and a cold blooded instinct. The saint, in other words, has been scratched, and the unquestioning followers are startled.

When asked to respond to the arrival in Bangladesh of almost 150,000 stateless Muslim Rohingyas since August, the result of violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, the leader sternly rebuked suggestions that there was a problem. After all, the initial violence had been perpetrated by assaults on an army base and police posts by Rohingya insurgents since October.

The problem she sought to address was that others were faking the record to advance the interests of terrorists, supplying the world with “a huge iceberg of misinformation”. (How delightful is Trumpland, with its tentacles so global and extensive they have found themselves in the speeches and opinions of a secularly ordained saint.)

Faking the fleeing of tens of thousands of persecuted souls would surely be a challenge. The response from Suu Kyi is a salutary reminder that genocides, atrocities and historical cruelties can be often denied with untroubled ease. Her statement in response to the crisis was one of conscious omission: the Rohingyas barely warranted a mention, except as a security challenge.

The statement issued from her office on Facebook claimed that the government had “already started defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible.” The misinformation campaign, she insisted, was coming from such individuals as the Turkish deputy prime minister, who deleted images of killings on Twitter after discovering they were not, in fact, from Myanmar.

The approach to misinformation taken by the government has been one of silence and containment. National security advisor Thaung Tun has made it clear that China and Russia will be wooed in efforts to frustrate any resolution that might make its way to the UN Security Council.

“China is our friend and we have a similar relationship with Russia, so it will not be possible for that issue to go forward.”

As for calls of terrorists sowing discord, Suu Kyi may well get her wish. Protests organised in Muslim regional powers are already pressing for the cutting of ties with Myanmar. Turkey is pressing for answers. The Islamist tide, should it duly affect the Rohingyas, will itself become a retaliatory reality.

This sting of crisis and realpolitik was all too much for certain members of the Suu Kyi fan club. It certainly was for veteran Guardian columnist George Monbiot. He, along with others, had looked to her when jailed (house arrest or otherwise) as pristine, the model prisoner, the ideal pro-democracy figure. When held captive, the purity was unquestioned.

Hopes were entrusted, and not counterfeit ones.

“To mention her was to invoke patience and resilience in the face of suffering, courage and determination in the unyielding struggle for freedom. She was an inspiration to us all.”[1]

Not so now. Crimes documented by the UN human rights report of February have been ignored. The deliberate destruction of crops, avoided. Humanitarian aid has been obstructed. The military, praised. When violence has been acknowledged, it has only been to blame insurgents who represent, in any case, an interloping people who are denied their ethnicity by the 1982 Citizenship Law.

“I believe,” writes Monbiot, “the Nobel Committee should retain responsibility for the prizes it awards, and withdraw them if its laureates later violate the principles for which they were recognised.”

How often has history shown that the prison is merely the prelude to a recurring nastiness, political calculation, and revenge? Far from enlightening the mind and restoring faith, it destroys optimism and vests the inmate with those survival skills that, when resorted to, can result in carnage and misery. Suu Kyi, in other words, is behaving politically, fearing the loss of her position, aware that behind her is a military that needs to be kept, at least partly, in clover.

Other Nobel Laureates have also added their voices to the roll call of concern, less of condemnation than encouragement. One is Professor Muhammed Yunus.

“These are her own people. She says ‘these are not my people, someone else’s people’, I would say she has completely departed from her original role which brought her the Nobel Prize.”[2]

Yunus, however, is more optimistic that the selfish, distancing leader will return to her peaceful credentials. From a dark sleep, she will rise.

“I still think she is the same Aung San Suu Kyi that won the Nobel Peace Prize; she will wake up to that person.”

Another is Desmond Tutu, who took the route of an open letter:

“My dear sister: If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep… We pray for you to speak out for justice, human rights and the unity of our people. We pray for you to intervene.”

The Nobel Institute, obviously moved by a sufficient number of calls to comment on the status of the award for the 1991 recipient, deemed the decision immutable.

“Neither Alfred Nobel’s will nor the statutes of the Nobel Foundation,” confirmed its head Olav Njølstad, “provide the possibility that a Nobel Prize – whether for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature or peace – can be revoked.”[3]

As for the prize itself, it is long axiomatic that persons who tend to get it have blood on their hands. The terrorist, reborn, is feted by the Nobel Prize Committee. Before ploughshares came swords. Before peace, there was the shedding of blood. But, in some cases, it may well be the reverse: from the ploughshares come the swords, and the Rohingyas are tasting that awful fact.

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

Notes

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U.S. Congress and Media Push for War Against Russia

September 10th, 2017 by Eric Zuesse

On Wednesday, September 6th, Reuters bannered “Facebook says likely Russian-based operation funded U.S. ads with political message”, and reported:

“Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it had found that an operation likely based in Russia spent $100,000 on thousands of U.S. ads promoting divisive social and political messages in a two-year-period through May.

Facebook, the dominant social media network, said 3,000 ads and 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages spread polarizing views on topics including immigration, race and gay rights. …

Facebook briefed members of both the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees on Wednesday about the suspected Russia advertising, according to a congressional source familiar with the matter. Both committees are conducting probes into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, including potential collusion between the campaign of President Donald Trump and Moscow.

Facebook also gave its findings to Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of investigating alleged Russian interference in last year’s presidential election, a source familiar with the matter said. The company produced copies of advertisements as well as data about the buyers, the source said.

Mueller’s office declined to comment.

Facebook said it found no link between the Russian-purchased advertising and any specific presidential campaign. The ads were mostly national in their focus and did not appear to reflect targeting of political swing-states, the company said.

Even if no laws were violated, Facebook said the 470 accounts and pages associated with the ads ran afoul of the social network’s requirements for authenticity and have since been suspended. …

Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called the Facebook report “deeply disturbing and yet fully consistent with the unclassified assessment of the intelligence community.” …

Facebook’s disclosure may be the first time a private entity has pointed to receiving Russian money related to U.S. elections, said Brendan Fischer, a program director at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington nonprofit that advocates for more transparency.”

These ads were alleged (and Facebook refuses to provide documentation of them) to have consisted of ‘3,000 ads and 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages’ that were ‘likely based in Russia’, and which were allegedly issued ‘in a two-year period through May’. Three thousand online ads over a two-year period would probably fail to sway an election in any town, much less in an entire nation — anywhere (especially since Facebook grossly overstates its effectiveness). This entire alleged program had cost ‘$100,000’ out of Facebook’s reported $66 billion in total revenue during 2016, and that’s the same ratio as one dollar out of $66,000,000 dollars; so, one might wonder: “What votes, and where, were even possibly decided, by such a tiny alleged advertising campaign, on just this single advertising-medium (Facebook)? Was that an alleged advertising-campaign which is even worthy of making national (and international) ‘news’?” (Furthermore, that $66 billion was being spent only in 2016, and therefore was spent during one year, but the alleged $100,000 was being spent during a two-year period; so, the ratio here is even tinier than one dollar out of 66 billion.) 

But, that’s not the only reason to question the massive attention this matter has been receiving in the U.S. Congress and in the Western press.

Should any of these entirely unsubstantiated allegations even be published, at all; or, perhaps, are they instead more like the unsubstantiated allegations that the U.S. Government and the Western press spread against Iraq and used in 2003, as the ‘justification’ for invading it (destroying it) — i.e., are they actually nothing more than propaganda for war?

And, since these alleged 3,000 ads were allegedly “promoting divisive social and political messages,” were all (or even just some) of these ads promoting any particular political candidates? Or, perhaps, not? The reports don’t even provide examples of the types of ‘political messages’ here, other than ‘divisive’ (and, perhaps that term would more accurately have been “controversial,” or maybe even “constructive” — without typical examples, no one can reasonably say).

And, if this “operation likely based in Russia” existed at all, then was it being done by private persons in Russia who weren’t, in any way, being directed by the Russian Government — or was the alleged operation instead directed by the Russian Government, such as the U.S. Congress and the Western press are strongly implying

Moreover, there is a broader context to this, than merely the invasion of Iraq. Ever since the U.S. coup in February 2014 overthrew the democratically elected President of Ukraine and thus caused two regions of Ukraine (Crimea and Donbass, both of which had voted more than 75% for him) to break away from Ukraine, and Obama then slapped sanctions against Russia for supporting the two breakaway regions on its doorstep, the U.S. Congress and the U.S. (and allied foreign) ‘news’media have been trying to build up a case to overthrow Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, if not to force him to war with NATO. 

This Ukrainian coup started being planned inside Obama’s U.S. State Department, and with the heavy top-level involvement of Google Inc., in 2011, during U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s time heading the Department. The decline in approval of Russia by Americans, as measured by Gallup, started becoming clear in February 2013, when the 50% favorable and 44% unfavorable rating of Russia the prior February (2012), reversed into 50% unfavorable and 44% favorable (2013).

Then, the unfavorable rating soared: to 60% in February 2014 (versus 34% favorable), 70% unfavorable (and 24% favorable) in February 2015, and then stable thereafter, till at least February 2017. During this period — basically the second Presidential term of Obama — some of the ‘news’ stories against Russia were justifiable on the basis of the facts (especially the performance-drug doping of Russia’s Olympic athletes), but most (and especially regarding both Ukraine and Syria) were more like the opposite of the truth than the truth. As a consequence, most Americans are so misinformed, by now, so that only few are aware that even Western polling shows that if given a free and fair opportunity to choose their national leader today, Russians would overwhelmingly choose Putin, Assad would win strongly in Syria, and Yanukovych would win strongly if all of the Ukrainians in 2013 were to vote in an election between him and (America’s regime) Poroshenko (whose votes even outside of the two breakaway regions might still be fewer than Yanukovych’s). Furthermore, in the American ‘democracy’, the public’s approval of almost all elected national officials — President, and Congress — is below their disapproval-numbers, and, so, there’s only a choice here between uglies (except in a few states such as Vermont, where the public’s approval of the state’s congressional delegation is very high).

CNN, on September 7th, quoted the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner

“It appeared to me that the very social media sites that we rely on for virtually everything — our Facebooks, Googles and Twitters — it was my belief the Russians were using those sites to intervene in our elections,” Warner said Thursday, speaking at the Intelligence & National Security Summit in Washington. “And the first reaction from Facebook was: ‘Well you’re crazy, there’s nothing going on’ — well, we find yesterday there actually was something going on.”

Also on September 7th, the New York Times headlined “The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election”, and reported “The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.” Their report was full of vague allegations, except that it said specifically that an alleged “Melvin Redick of Harrisburg, Pa.” had been on Facebook as early as June 2016, with pro-Russian and Anti-Hillary-Clinton links, but “No Melvin Redick appears in Pennsylvania records, and his photos seem to be borrowed from an unsuspecting Brazilian. … The Redick profile lists Central High School in Philadelphia and Indiana University of Pennsylvania as his alma maters; neither has any record of his attendance. In one of his photos, this purported Pennsylvania lifer is sitting in a restaurant in Brazil — and in another, his daughter’s bedroom appears to have a Brazilian-style electrical outlet. His posts were never personal, just news articles reflecting a pro-Russian worldview.” Not made clear in this article is the question of precisely why the only specific instance that the Times cited here of “Russian meddling” in the U.S. Presidential election, happened to be, apparently, a Brazilian (or was it only someone who had “borrowed from an unsuspecting Brazilian”, and, if so, then who had “borrowed” these things from him — these and other important questions went unanswered in this ‘news’-report, which otherwise blathered with vagueries). Of course, maybe someone in Brazil did hate Clinton enough to pretend to be an American and to promote on Facebook “news articles reflecting a pro-Russian worldview,” but that’s no evidence of “Russian meddling” in anything.

Furthermore, the way that Obama overthrew Yanukovich in Ukraine by means of a coup, was that, starting in 2011, Eric Schmidt of Google and Jared Cohen of Hillary Clinton’s State Department began planning a social-media campaign to stir up and organize racist anti-Russians in Ukraine to be trained militarily in how to perform a coup, and the money then started flowing to enable them to provide the muscle to carry out their plan. These initial training sessions were called “Tech Camps.” All of this was the culminating part of what had been a $5 billion decades-long U.S. Government plan to take over Ukraine for the U.S. Nothing that the Russian Government is alleged by the U.S. Government to have done to “meddle” in any U.S. election is even nearly as barbaric an intrusion into U.S. elections as what the U.S. Government has been caught red-handed (just keep clinking through to all the source documents and evidence there, to see and hear that evidence) as having done, to end Ukraine’s struggling democracy, force the country’s break-up, and operate an ethnic-cleansing campaign in Ukraine’s former Donbass region, in order to kill the people who had voted for Yanukovych. How much of this has been reported in the American press?

Americans used to trust the U.S. ‘news’-media before America invaded Iraq in 2003 on the basis of lies, and some still do, but there is no more reason to trust them now than there was in 2003. 

On September 8th, National Public Radio headlined “Facebook Acknowledges Russian Ads In 2016 Election. Will Investigations Follow?” and reported that,

“Common Cause has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that some of the ads violated federal laws that bar foreign interference in U.S. campaigns. In a second request, for investigations by the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller, Common Cause says the ads ‘pose a direct threat to democracy and national security.’”

Of course, NPR, like the rest of America’s ‘news’media, had never reported the U.S. coup in Ukraine, but instead reported only the Obama regime’s propaganda, about the ‘democratic revolution’ that overthrew Yanukovych. In fact, even within just months of Yanukovych’s election in 2010 as Ukraine’s President, NPR was campaigning for him to be overthrown in a ‘democratic revolution’. The CIA-edited Wikipedia also doesn’t report that there was a coup in Ukraine in 2014; instead, they call it the “2014 Ukrainian revolution”. They call this a ‘revolution’, instead of a “coup”.

Might America’s politicians and press be lying so much about international affairs in order to make Americans loathe foreigners (especially the ones that the U.S. aristocracy want to conquer) even more than Americans already — and with good reason — loathe America’s own politicians and press?

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Israel Campaigns Against Palestine Joining UN Tourism Body

September 10th, 2017 by Middle East Monitor

Featured image: Palestinians shop at the market in preparation for Eid. Sellers and vendors have seen a decrease in customers due to the austerity Palestinians are facing due to PA’s policies. [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israel is attempting to thwart a Palestinian bid to join the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), arguing that the “State of Palestine” does not exist, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Ministry of Tourism applied for membership into the organisation last year, and the issue is on the meeting agenda of the UNWTO General Assembly in China, which begins on Monday and runs through Saturday.

The UNWTO is based in Madrid, and describes itself as “responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism”.

Israel has endeavoured to block the move by appealing to the outgoing WTO Secretary-General, Jordanian diplomat Taleb Rifai, and China where the conference is being held.

Tel Aviv has also involved the US, which has reportedly asked PA President Mahmoud Abbas to refrain from engaging in international organisations until the US releases its updated peace plan, warning that to act otherwise could damage their bilateral relations.

“Israel has taken all diplomatic measures to block the request,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “We are not expecting any negative impact on Israel or its continued activity in the organisation – the expected damage will be to the organisation itself.”

If the bid is successful, it would be the second UN organisation, after UNESCO, to which the Palestinians have full membership. Human rights groups and Palestinian officials have regularly called on the UN to condemn the crimes of the Israeli occupation. Israel has ignored all resolutions contrary to their favour, and denounces the UN’s limited recognition of Palestine.

Israel was also angered in July following UNESCO rulings that condemned the continued occupation of Jerusalem and recognised Hebron as a Palestinian Heritage Site under threat from Israel. In response, Israel cut its funding to the international organisation by $1 million, with Defence Minister Avigdor Lierberman labelling the UN branch “anti-Semitic”.

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The “Race for Raqqa” might have long been over ever since the Kurdish-led “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) reached the northern edge of Daesh’s so-called “capital” a few months ago, but that didn’t mean that the battle for northeastern Syria was anywhere close to finished. So long as the besieged desert town of Deir ez-Zor remained under the terrorists’ occupation and the small contingent of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops heroically held out there for the past couple of years, then Damascus always had a shot at regaining most of its sovereignty in this corner of the country. Even so, none of this could have been taken for granted, as the Kurds have been racing through the desert to attack this town just as they’ve done with Raqqa, all with the intent of capturing it so as to increase the odds that they can either annex it into their self-declared “federation” or “trade” it back to Damascus in exchange for the central government recognizing their autonomy.

Now, though, that plan has been dealt a major blow ever since the SAA beat the Kurds to Deir ez-Zor, though there is the possibility that the Kurds might still launch their own uncoordinated operation against it from the north. Either way, however, the point is that Damascus stopped the Kurdish advance south and beyond the Euphrates, and that it now has a chance to even cross the mighty river downstream in achieving a bridgehead that could later be used for liberating the Kurdish-occupied territories if the order was ever given. That’s what the “Dash for Deir ez-Zor” was always about, determining the post-Daesh battle lines between Damascus and the Kurds, and whether it would be the “natural border” of the Euphrates or if one side could get a cross-river advantage against the other like how the Kurds did with Manbij and Tabqa further upstream. The reason why all of this is important is because it will play a role in deciding Syria’s internal political arrangement after the war.

To elaborate a bit on this, the Kurds want to create a de-facto independent sub-state “federalized”, or internally partitioned, political entity all to their own, which perfectly overlaps with the US’ plans for entrenching its existing military presence in the heart of the Mideast via a proxy entity such as this one. If the so-called “Rojava” of northeastern Syria could be strategically linked with a newly independent “Kurdistan” in northern Iraq, then the US would succeed in its quest to establish a wide belt of forward-operating bases at the pivotal crossroads between Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, which in turn would enable it to indefinitely continue functioning as the most destabilizing divide-and-rule actor in this crucial region through the consecration of the “second geopolitical ‘Israel’” of “Kurdistan”. However, if Damascus emerges victorious in the “Dash for Deir ez-Zor”, then it has a chance to dismantle the illegal pro-American “federalized” entity on its territory so long as it can acquire a beachhead presence on the other side of the Euphrates River further downstream afterwards.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Sept 8, 2017:

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 global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare.

Featured image is from the author.


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

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Google forced Forbes magazine to remove a story documenting the tech giant’s manipulation of search results to promote Google Plus, its social media network, according to a former writer for the magazine.

Kashmir Hill, a longtime technology reporter for Forbes and current contributor to Gizmodo, went public with the revelation last Thursday in a post titled, “Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me”

In 2011, Hill participated in a meeting between Google salespeople and Forbes employees, in which representatives of the search giant sought to encourage Forbes to integrate its web site with Google Plus, Google’s failed competitor to Facebook.

The salespeople told her that adding a “share” button for Google Plus would boost their domain’s results in search rankings. Hill wrote,

“This sounded like a news story to me. Google’s dominance in search and news gives it tremendous power over publishers. By tying search results to the use of Plus, Google was using that muscle to force people to promote its social network.”

“I asked the Google people if I understood correctly: If a publisher didn’t put a +1 button on the page, its search results would suffer? The answer was yes.”

Hill then asked Google’s press office, explicitly identifying herself as a reporter, to confirm what she had heard in the sales meeting.

“They didn’t deny what their sales people told me: If you don’t feature the +1 button, your stories will be harder to find with Google,” she wrote.

Google responded to the publication of the story by demanding that Hill withdraw it, saying that the sales meeting was covered under a non-disclosure agreement. This was despite the fact, Hill said, that

“I had signed no such agreement, hadn’t been told the meeting was confidential, and had identified myself as a journalist.”

Google officials demanded that the article be removed, implying that Google might demote Forbes in search results if the magazine did not do what it wanted.

“The implication was that it might have consequences for Forbes, a troubling possibility given how much traffic came through Google searches and Google News,” Hill wrote.

Hill eventually agreed under pressure from Forbes to remove the article. Even more surprisingly, all cached versions of the article were almost immediately removed from Google’s servers, a phenomenon that other technology writers commented on at the time, with some implying that Google deliberately deleted the cached versions.

Initially, Google’s PR team told Hill

“there was no way to know whether Google was responsible for deleting the cache,” and declared that the story was removed because it was “not reported responsibly.”

Google’s vice president of global communications, Rob Shilkin, then gave her a different story, explicitly telling her

“we had nothing to do with removing the article from the cache.”

While whether the meeting was actually covered under a non-disclosure agreement is an issue of legal controversy, Google’s demand that the story be removed in its entirety (instead of being amended), and Forbes’ compliance, points to the degree of monopolistic power wielded by the search giant over not just its clients and competitors, but the press.

Hill’s account is just one of many similar reports of Google using its weight and influence to intimidate public discourse.

Hill’s revelation followed less than two weeks after press reports documented the fact that Google pressured the New America Foundation to fire its Open Markets team after they posted a statement supporting anti-trust action against the technology giant.

Even more significant is the ongoing efforts by Google to block access to political views it sees as antithetical to the interests of its billionaire shareholders and their political allies.

Beginning last month, the WSWS extensively documented the fact that changes to Google’s search algorithms, justified on the basis of promoting “authoritative” content, led search traffic to left-wing and anti-war sites to plummet, with search traffic to the World Socialist Web Site falling by over two thirds.

Google’s attempt to censor the WSWS and other left-wing sites has led to a broad international response. So far, the WSWS’s petition calling for Google to end its censorship of the Internet has received over 3,400 submissions from more than 80 countries.

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The Disintegration of the American Body Politic

September 10th, 2017 by Craig Murray

These are extremely dangerous times for the world. North Korea is exposing the futility of deterrence theory and causing nuclear weapons all over the world to be dusted down, at a time when a maverick outsider in the White House has been captured by a bunch of Generals who make Dr Strangelove look rational. Anybody who thinks sending occupying troops into Afghanistan is ever going to work is clearly certifiable.

The febrile state of the American political system has resulted in a peculiar McCarthyist witch-hunt against Russia, in which people who you would presume must have some capacity for rational thought, such as the editors of the Washington Post and New York Times, have abandoned that rationality in favour of anti-Russian hysteria.

As a British diplomat I cultivated contacts with Ken Saro Wiwa and his circle in Nigeria as they pushed against the tyrannical regime of President Abacha and the environmental destruction of their region, most notably by Shell. I cultivated Alexander Kwasniewski as a young opposition leader who eventually defeated the great Lech Walesa. I cultivated John Kufuor, opposition leader in Ghana, who like Kwasniewski went on to be President. I cultivated Mohammed Solih’s people in Uzbekistan. The later stages of all this are covered in my books The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Murder in Samarkand.

As a diplomat it is your job to have relations not only with those in government, but to prepare in case the government changes. It is also your job, where you can get away with it, to push the political landscape in the direction your own government wishes. That is of the very essence of diplomacy.

If the Russians – and every other major government – had not been putting work into cultivating Trump and his circle, they would not have been carrying out the functions of diplomacy in the way they are carried on by every single country in the world – and by none more than the United States. For every contact between any Russian and anyone connected to Trump’s circle, now to be dredged up one after another and conflated into some master plot by Putin to take over the whole world, is complete nonsense. It is not just nonsense but dangerous nonsense because it is pumping up international tension between nuclear powers beyond cold war levels, and there is no shortage of potential flashpoints where things could go horribly wrong.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both reflected disillusionment at the massive exploitation of ordinary people by the ruling Establishment, though unfortunately the American people were cheated – most instrumentally by Clinton, the DNC and the rigged primary contest – into getting Trump rather than Sanders. The political system has still not adjusted to a new reality. Radical change is coming in both the US and the UK, but in both countries the Establishment for now still controls enough of the legislature and judiciary to hold the line. But I do not anticipate the demand for greater social justice will die down. The successful diversion of the revolutionary impulse by the Establishment media to the cause of the alt right in the United States and of racist Brexit in the UK, I believe will prove a temporary phenomenon.

But when so much bad blood is rushing around the body politic, the odd boil will erupt through the skin. One such boil is Louise Mensch, the former British Tory MP and multi-millionaire now recast as anti-Russian cheerleader in the United States, where she is given an astonishing amount of mainstream media space for her crazed theories.

Yesterday I got Louise Mensch all excited:

The tweet that made her say “On my God” was this one. We got not just an “Oh my God” out of Louise but also a “Christ!”:

Precisely what Mensch’s new God-fearing chums make of her choice of expletives I know not. But a rational person may wonder what about these tweets could cause such ecstasy in Ms Mensch.

Louise has taken up online with one of the crazed self-styled security experts who is jumping on the anti-Russian bandwagon in the United States, named Chris Nethery. Mr Nethery believes and has convinced Ms Mensch (so far as I can judge) that Sarah Kendzior, Uzbek opposition leader Mohammed Solih and I are members of a Russian intelligence cell which is undermining America. Those tweets appear to the rather strange mind of Ms Mensch to prove compelling evidence of this.

Ms Kendzior is a journalist. About seven or eight years ago she did some excellent academic work on Uzbekistan which I praised on this blog. I may have met her at that time but do not recall doing so. I have certainly not heard from her since. I have no emails from her. But still more hilarious is Nethery’s evidence that Mohammed Solih is a Russian agent. Mohammed is in exile in Turkey and like many opposition figures would be rather likely to be handed over for execution to the Uzbek regime should he come into Putin’s clutches. The Russian “expert” Nethery’s evidence of Solih being a Russian agent is that “Solih participated in the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968”.

It is not a secret that Uzbekistan was part of the Soviet Union. In 1968 Mohammed Solih was 18 years old and would have been compulsorily conscripted into the Soviet armed forces. Nethery’s accusation is ludicrous. It is like blaming the vets for the Vietnam war.

The Trump White House is dysfunctional and that clearly indicates the rottenness of the American political system. Xenophobia has become the rule. The anti-immigrant xenophobia of Trump’s supporters is mirrored by the equally irrational anti-Russian xenophobia of Trump’s opponents. Laughable figures like Mensch get to write columns in formerly great newspapers. I did not expect to see the United States decline so quickly.

SAVE CRAIG MURRAY

I face a libel suit in the High Court in England brought by Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of the Daily Mail Online, and his lawyer Mark Lewis. The judge has approved over £100,000 in costs for Mr Lewis and £40,000 damages are sought in addition. I have been directly threatened with bankruptcy. All help against England’s draconian anti-free speech laws is much appreciated.

DONATE TO THE CRAIG MURRAY DEFENCE FUND

Featured image is from the author.

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Instead of unvarnished truth-telling crucial for global risk management in the face of existential nuclear, poverty and climate threats, humanity is fed fake news through lies of omission and commission by the Mainstream Yellow Press and effective free speech is only granted to dissenters who provide an acceptably soft version of the Awful Truth (e.g. corporate-backed, climate-lite 350.org that wants to reduce atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm from the present disastrous 405 ppm CO2, as compared to 300.org that has a science-informed target of the pre-Industrial Revolution circa 300 ppm CO2).

“Inglorious Empire. What the British did to India” by Shashi Tharoor is a must-read and powerful but flawed and iconoclast-lite excoriation of 2 centuries of deadly British rule over India [my additions within square brackets]:

“[In 1947] The British left a society with 16 per cent literacy, a life expectancy of 27, practically no domestic industry and over 90 per cent living below what today we would call the poverty line. Today, the literacy rate is up to 72 per cent [74%], average life expectancy [68 years] is nearing the Biblical three score and ten, and 280 million people have been pulled out of poverty in the twenty-first century [30% of 1,324 million Indians or about 400 million are below the $1.90 per day poverty line]”.

By way of comparison, China has 95% literacy, a life expectancy of 76 years, and (unreported by Mainstream media) has eradicated deadly endemic poverty so that annual avoidable deaths from deprivation are zero (0) for socialist China as compared to 4.5 million for neoliberal India.

History is written by the victors, and even dissenting writers like Tharoor are only granted effective free speech by the Establishment because they wittingly or unwittingly soften the Awful Truth and “don’t frighten the horses”. Thus Tharoor variously totally ignored or hugely underestimated the 10 million Indian deaths in the 1769-1770 Great Bengal Famine; 10 million Indian deaths in a decade of British reprisals after the 1857 Rebellion; scores of Indian famine locations in a 2-century Indian Holocaust in which 1,800 million Indians died avoidably from imposed deprivation; 6-7 million Indian deaths in the UK-imposed and Australia-complicit WW2 Bengal Famine (i.e. not just the 4 million perishing in Bengal but also those in the neighbouring provinces of Assam, Bihar and Orissa); the 2-century British policy of subjugating several hundred million Indians by keeping them on the edge of starvation under the heel of well-fed British and “native” troops; and massive white-washing of the Indian Holocaust in part or in whole by generations of mendacious Mainstream journalists, writers, politicians and academics in the English-speaking world.

History ignored yields history repeated. Thus ignoring the ongoing Indian Holocaust (holocaust ignoring is far, far worse than repugnant holocaust denial that at least admits refutation and debate) means continuing annual avoidable deaths from deprivation totalling 4.5 million for neoliberal India as compared to zero (0) for socialist China; a continuing Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust in which presently 17 million people die avoidably from deprivation each year on Spaceship Earth with neoliberal One Percenters in charge of the flight deck; and a worsening Climate Genocide in which an estimated 10 billion people will die this century unless requisite action is taken against man-made climate change, this predicted carnage including 2 billion Indians, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis (global warming increases sea level, precipitation and hurricane intensity – one third of Bangladesh, population 165 million, is presently under water, the Caribbean is presently being devastated by 3 variously massive hurricanes, and the Paris Agreement upper target of a catastrophic 2 degrees Centigrade average temperature rise is now unavoidable in a worsening Climate Emergency, Climate Holocaust and Climate Genocide…

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Instead of unvarnished truth-telling crucial for global risk management in the face of existential nuclear, poverty and climate threats, humanity is fed fake news through lies of omission and commission by the Mainstream Yellow Press and effective free speech is only granted to dissenters who provide an acceptably soft version of the Awful Truth (e.g. corporate-backed, climate-lite 350.org that wants to reduce atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm from the present disastrous 405 ppm CO2, as compared to 300.org that has a science-informed target of the pre-Industrial Revolution circa 300 ppm CO2).

“Inglorious Empire. What the British did to India” by Shashi Tharoor is a must-read and powerful but flawed and iconoclast-lite excoriation of 2 centuries of deadly British rule over India [my additions within square brackets]:

“[In 1947] The British left a society with 16 per cent literacy, a life expectancy of 27, practically no domestic industry and over 90 per cent living below what today we would call the poverty line. Today, the literacy rate is up to 72 per cent [74%], average life expectancy [68 years] is nearing the Biblical three score and ten, and 280 million people have been pulled out of poverty in the twenty-first century [30% of 1,324 million Indians or about 400 million are below the $1.90 per day poverty line]”.

By way of comparison, China has 95% literacy, a life expectancy of 76 years, and (unreported by Mainstream media) has eradicated deadly endemic poverty so that annual avoidable deaths from deprivation are zero (0) for socialist China as compared to 4.5 million for neoliberal India.

History is written by the victors, and even dissenting writers like Tharoor are only granted effective free speech by the Establishment because they wittingly or unwittingly soften the Awful Truth and “don’t frighten the horses”. Thus Tharoor variously totally ignored or hugely underestimated the 10 million Indian deaths in the 1769-1770 Great Bengal Famine; 10 million Indian deaths in a decade of British reprisals after the 1857 Rebellion; scores of Indian famine locations in a 2-century Indian Holocaust in which 1,800 million Indians died avoidably from imposed deprivation; 6-7 million Indian deaths in the UK-imposed and Australia-complicit WW2 Bengal Famine (i.e. not just the 4 million perishing in Bengal but also those in the neighbouring provinces of Assam, Bihar and Orissa); the 2-century British policy of subjugating several hundred million Indians by keeping them on the edge of starvation under the heel of well-fed British and “native” troops; and massive white-washing of the Indian Holocaust in part or in whole by generations of mendacious Mainstream journalists, writers, politicians and academics in the English-speaking world.

History ignored yields history repeated. Thus ignoring the ongoing Indian Holocaust (holocaust ignoring is far, far worse than repugnant holocaust denial that at least admits refutation and debate) means continuing annual avoidable deaths from deprivation totalling 4.5 million for neoliberal India as compared to zero (0) for socialist China; a continuing Global Avoidable Mortality Holocaust in which presently 17 million people die avoidably from deprivation each year on Spaceship Earth with neoliberal One Percenters in charge of the flight deck; and a worsening Climate Genocide in which an estimated 10 billion people will die this century unless requisite action is taken against man-made climate change, this predicted carnage including 2 billion Indians, 0.5 billion Bengalis, 0.3 billion Pakistanis and 0.3 billion Bangladeshis (global warming increases sea level, precipitation and hurricane intensity – one third of Bangladesh, population 165 million, is presently under water, the Caribbean is presently being devastated by 3 variously massive hurricanes, and the Paris Agreement upper target of a catastrophic 2 degrees Centigrade average temperature rise is now unavoidable in a worsening Climate Emergency, Climate Holocaust and Climate Genocide…

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In order to understand how effective Daesh’s propaganda campaign has been, it’s important to analyze the plethora of information included in this compilation article. This extensive article discusses many different aspects of the Daesh propaganda machine. It also discusses the US/NATO narrative which it preaches in hopes that the public will sheepishly believe and support their “fight” against Daesh. As well as explaining how Daesh is actually a US/NATO invention to further allow foreign intervention under the pretentious guise of “protecting itself” in a fight against terrorism.

Daesh narratives can be divided into three main themes: Political, Religious, and Social. The main efforts of the information strategy can be divided into four types of messages or Lines of Effort (LOE)—to Unite, Frighten, Support, and Inform.

IS/Daesh is using social media platforms such as Twitter (primarily), Facebook, and YouTube to recruit, inform (or rather misinform) potential recruits and gain supporters for their devious and deadly “cause”.  These social media platforms play a vital role in Daesh’s information campaign, especially in reaching young people susceptible to recruitment and radicalization. The NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence(NATO StratCom COE)  conducted research into ‘Daesh’s detrimental use of social media and specifically from an information warfare perspective’ to show how Daesh is using adaptive networks to respond to allied efforts of curbing propaganda dissemination worldwide.

“This report provides a short history of the development of the terrorist organisation and its various names, its present structure, at both the global and provincial levels, and a short description of its objectives. An analysis of the Daesh information strategy; its core message, narrative themes, lines of effort, and target audiences follow. The report further describes the communication tools and influence techniques Daesh uses regionally and globally”.

In a debate/poll on debated.org the question was asked: Did the United States support ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria? 71% of participants answered yes.

Obama is Protecting the Terrorists, America to the Rescue of ISIS-ISIL-Daesh. Per Testimonies of Syrian Soldiers Who Witnessed the US Airstrikes. 

In this article by Prof Michel Chossudovsky he explains why “The United States of America is not fighting the terrorists in Syria. The Obama administration, with the support of its allies including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, is supporting the Islamic State (ISIS Daesh)”. 

And then they tell us (i.e the Western media) that the Islamic State is threatening the Western World, that ISIS-Daesh cells are responsible for the terror attacks in Europe and the US. “The US homeland is under attack and we must defend ourselves.” Nonsense! Washington and its allies are the State Sponsors of Terrorism. The various jihadist organizations including ISIS-Daesh and al Nusra are supported and funded by the Western military alliance. In the words of Oliver StoneWe’re Not under Threat. We Are the Threat.

The image above shows child Daesh soliders right before they executed Kurdish prisoners in Syria, from left to right the children are Uzbekistani, Kurdish, Tunisian, British, and Egyptian, here is an article that includes a video of the execution. 

The Salafi terrorist organization Daesh, also known as the ‘Islamic State/IS/ISIS/ISIL’, is currently engaged in direct military actions in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, has announced that it wants to establish a global Caliphate and annihilate all opposition. Daesh has launched an extremely sophisticated information campaign targeting a wide range of audiences around the world to gain support for its expansion in the Middle East. The NATO StratCom COE was asked to conduct research into Daesh’s information strategy in order to gain a better understanding of how the Daesh information campaign is managed and to propose practical solutions concerning the situation in the Middle East.

On 18 December 2014, Army Lt Gen James L. Terry used the name ‘Daesh’ repeatedly during a 30-minute news conference. When asked why he was no longer using the name ‘Islamic State’ he explained that partner nations in the Middle East had asked him not to use that name or any of its related acronyms, ISIS and ISIL, out of concern that doing so legitimises the militants’ aspiration to establish a caliphate, a sovereign Islamic sphere that would replace existing governments and borders. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also made an announcement about the name and concluded, ‘This is a terrorist group and not a state… the term Islamic State blurs the lines between Islam, Muslims, and Islamists.’ The minister was amongst the first few who avoided calling the group with the name ‘Islamic State’ and put effort on calling them the acronym ‘Daesh’.  Read More.

Read the article about Brian McCarty’s surprise discovery that his photo was stolen and used as propaganda by Daesh.

Daesh Propaganda Videos – Warning very graphic and real executions, beheadings etc.

ISIS propaganda alive and kicking, as Amaq publishes new images from frontlines

“Despite desperate situation on several fronts in Syria and Iraq, media wing of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS), Amaq agency, keeps regularly publishing images and video materials intended to demonstrate military victories of the designated terror group, no matter how much significance these victories bear”. – AMN May 29th, 2017

War Propaganda: Syria’s Destruction by the Lies of the Western Media “Washington will Never let Go, Their Target is World Hegemony”

“The propaganda coming out of the Western mass media outlets and indoctrination-spreading institutions are so thorough, so professional, that to most of the people all over the world everything related to Syria appears to be blurry, murky, and incredibly complex. President al-Assad is demonized on a daily basis. Heroic resistance is called the “regime’s brutal actions”, pro-western terror groups are described as “moderate opposition.– Global Research

INSIDE THE ISIS SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN

The study estimates that between September and December 2014, there were at least 46,000 ISIS-supporting Twitter accounts, though not all were active at once. In fact, the authors found that a minimum of 1,000 ISIS-supporting accounts were suspended during that time frame. One reason for the suspensions is that ISIS’s social media strategy is known for its violent content. – Newsweek

CONFRONTING THE ‘CALIPHATE’ This is part of an occasional series about the rise of the Islamic State militant group, its implications for the Middle East, and efforts by the U.S. government and others to undermine it.

National Security By Greg Miller and Souad Mekhennet November 20, 2015 (I’ve included the complete article below as it might not be accessible to all viewers by clicking on the source)

RABAT, MOROCCO — The assignments arrive on slips of paper, each bearing the black flag of the Islamic State, the seal of the terrorist group’s media emir, and the site of that day’s shoot. “The paper just gives you the location,” never the details said Abu Hajer al-Maghribi, who spent nearly a year as a cameraman for the Islamic State.

Sometimes the job was to film prayers at a mosque, he said, or militants exchanging fire. But, inevitably, a slip would come with the coordinates to an unfolding bloodbath. For Abu Hajer, that card told him to drive two hours southwest of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the caliphate, or Islamic realm, declared by the militant group.

There, he discovered that he was among 10 cameramen sent to record the final hours of more than 160 Syrian soldiers captured in 2014. “I held my Canon camera,” he said, as the soldiers were stripped to their underwear, marched into the desert, forced to their knees and massacred with automatic rifles. His footage quickly found a global audience, released online in an Islamic State video that spread on social media and appeared in mainstream news coverage on Al Jazeera and other networks.

Why the Islamic State propaganda arm is more important than its fighters

Abu Hajer, who is now in prison in Morocco, is among more than a dozen Islamic State defectors or members in several countries who provided detailed accounts to The Washington Post of their involvement in, or exposure to, the most potent propaganda machine ever assembled by a terrorist group.

What they described resembles a medieval reality show. Camera crews fan out across the caliphate every day, their ubiquitous presence distorting the events they purportedly document. Battle scenes and public beheadings are so scripted and staged that fighters and executioners often perform multiple takes and read their lines from cue cards.

Cameras, computers and other video equipment arrive in regular shipments from Turkey. They are delivered to a media division dominated by foreigners — including at least one American, according to those interviewed — whose production skills often stem from previous jobs they held at news channels or technology companies.

In a propaganda war against ISIS, the U.S. tried to play by the enemy’s rules

Senior media operatives are treated as “emirs” of equal rank to their military counterparts. They are directly involved in decisions on strategy and territory. They preside over hundreds of videographers, producers, and editors who form a privileged, professional class with status, salaries and living arrangements that are the envy of ordinary fighters.

“It is a whole army of media personnel,” said Abu Abdullah al-Maghribi, a second defector who served in the Islamic State’s security ranks but had extensive involvement with its propaganda teams.

The media people are more important than the soldiers,” he said. “Their monthly income is higher. They have better cars. They have the power to encourage those inside to fight and the power to bring more recruits to the Islamic State.

Increasingly, that power extends beyond the borders of the caliphate. The attacks in Paris were carried out by militants who belonged to a floating population of Islamic State followers, subjects who are scattered among dozens of countries and whose attachments to the group exist mainly online.

Abdel­hamid Abaaoud, the alleged architect of the attacks who was killed in a raid in France, had appeared repeatedly in Islamic State recruiting materials. The barrage of videos and statements released afterward made clear that the overriding goal of the Islamic State is not merely to inflict terror on an adversary but also to command a global audience. The United States and its allies have found no meaningful answer to this propaganda avalanche.

A State Department program to counter the caliphates messaging has cycled through a series of initiatives with minimal effect. Islamic State supporters online have repeatedly slipped around efforts to block them on Twitter and Facebook.

The Propaganda Wars since 9/11

Overmatched online, the United States has turned to lethal force. Recent U.S. airstrikes have killed several high-level operatives in the Islamic State’s media division, including Junaid Hussain, a British computer expert. FBI Director James B. Comey recently described the propaganda units of the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS, as military targets.

“I am optimistic that the actions of our colleagues in the military to reduce the supply of ISIL tweeters will have an impact,” Comey said at an event last month in Washington. “But we’ll have to watch that space and see.”

Research for this article involved interviews with Islamic State defectors and members, as well as security officials and counter-terrorism experts in six countries on three continents. The most authoritative accounts came from seven Islamic State defectors who were either in prison in Morocco or recently released after facing terrorism charges upon their return from Syria. All spoke on the condition that they be identified only by the adopted names that they used in Syria.

Why the Islamic State leaves tech companies torn between free speech and security

Those interviews were conducted with the permission of the Moroccan government in the administrative wing of a prison complex near the nation’s capital. The prisoners said they spoke voluntarily after being approached by Moroccan authorities on behalf of The Post. Other prisoners declined. Most of the interviews took place in the presence of security officials, an arrangement that probably led participants to play down their roles in the Islamic State but seemed to have little effect on their candor in describing the caliphate’s media division.

The Camera Man

Abu Hajer, a soft-spoken Moroccan with a thin beard and lean physique, said he had been active in jihadist media circles for more than a decade before he entered Syria in 2013. He began participating in online Islamist forums after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, he said, and later became an administrator of an influential site known as Shamukh, giving him authority to admit new members and monitor the material other militants posted.

Those credentials cleared his path to coveted assignments within the Islamic State, a group that began as al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq before splitting off from that terrorist network in an ideological rupture two years ago.

The group has an elaborate system for evaluating and training new arrivals. Abu Hajer said that shortly after entering Syria he was groomed to be part of the Islamic State’s media team. He spent two months undergoing basic military training before he was admitted to a special, month-long program for media operatives.

The program “specializes in how to do the filming. How to mix footage. How to get the right voice and tone” in interviews, he said. After completing the course, he was given a Canon camera, a Samsung Galaxy smartphone and an assignment with the caliphate’s media unit in Raqqa.

Why did victims in Islamic State beheading videos look so calm? They didn’t know it was real.

Abu Hajer, who is in his mid-30s, had come from an impoverished corner of Morocco. Now that he is in prison, his wife and children have returned to the encampment where they lived before departing, a shanty village of corrugated tin and plywood with no running water near a cement plant on the outskirts of Rabat.

In Syria, they were given a villa with a garden. Abu Hajer was issued a car, a Toyota Hilux with four-wheel drive to enable him to reach remote assignments. He was also paid a salary of $700 a month — seven times the sum paid to typical fighters — plus money for food, clothes, and equipment. He said he was also excused from the taxes that the Islamic State imposes on most of its subjects.

He quickly settled into a routine that involved getting his work assignments each morning on pieces of paper that also served as travel documents enabling him to pass Islamic State checkpoints. Most jobs were mundane, such as capturing scenes from markets or celebrations of Muslim holidays.

Abu Hajer said he encountered only one Western hostage, John Cantlie, a British war correspondent who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012. Cantlie was cast by his captors in a series of BBC-style news reports that touted the caliphate’s bustling economies and adherence to Islamic law while mocking Western governments.

Abu Hajer said he filmed Cantlie in Mosul in 2014, and he said that by then the British broadcaster was no longer wearing an orange jumpsuit or confined to a darkened room and was allowed to wander among the markets and streets of Mosul for camera crews.

“I cannot tell you whether he was coerced or threatened. He was walking freely,” Abu Hajer said, an assertion that is at odds with what is known about Cantlie’s captivity.

A video released in January shows Cantlie in multiple locations in Mosul, including one in which he is riding a motorcycle with an armed militant seated behind him. It was among his final appearances before the series was halted with no explanation or subsequent indication of Cantlie’s fate, although articles attributed to him have since appeared in the caliphate’s magazine.

One of Abu Hajer’s next assignments took him to an elaborately staged scene of carnage, a mass execution-style killing choreographed for cameras in a way that has become an Islamic State signature. After arriving at the site, he said that he and the other camera operators gathered to “organize ourselves so that we wouldn’t all film [from] the same perspective.”

Abu Hajer said he had grave objections to what happened to the Syrian soldiers in the massacre that he filmed in the desert near Tabqa air base. But he acknowledged that his misgivings had more to do with how the soldiers were treated — and whether that comported with Islamic law — than any concern for their fates.

Islamic State video shows British hostage John Cantlie

As the soldiers were stripped and marched into the desert, Abu Hajer said he filmed from the window of his car as an Egyptian assistant drove alongside the parade of condemned men.

“When the group stopped, I got out,” he said. “They were told to kneel down. Some soldiers got shot. Others were beheaded.”

The video, still available online, shows multiple camera operators moving in and out of view as Islamic State operatives fire hundreds of rounds.

“It wasn’t the killing of soldiers that I was against,” Abu Hajer said. “They were Syrian soldiers, Nusairis,” he said, referring to the religious sect to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his closest supporters belong. “I thought they deserved to get shot.” “What I didn’t like was that they were stripped to their underwear,” he said, an indignity that he considered an affront to Islamic law.

Abu Hajer also said he kept his lens aimed away from the beheadings because of his objections to the practice. But asked whether he considered refusing to record the massacre, he said he feared that would consign him to the fate of those he filmed.“You don’t want to do it,” he said, “but you know that you cannot say, ‘No.’ ”

The Machine
The contradictions of the Islamic State’s propaganda apparatus can make its structure and strategy seem incoherent. The group exerts extraordinarily tight control over the production of its videos and messages but relies on the chaos of the Internet and social media to disseminate them. Its releases cluster around seemingly incompatible themes: sometimes depicting the caliphate as a peaceful and idyllic domain, other times as a society awash in apocalyptic violence.

Life in the ‘Islamic State’: Spoils for the rulers, terror for the ruled

The dual messages are designed to influence a divided audience. The beheadings, immolations and other spectacles are employed both to menace Western adversaries and to appeal to disenfranchised Muslim males weighing a leap into the Islamist fray.

A separate collection depicts the Islamic State as a livable destination, a benevolent state committed to public works. Videos show the construction of public markets, smiling religious police on neighborhood patrols and residents leisurely fishing on the banks of the Euphrates.

Even the concept of the caliphate has a dual aspect. The terrorist group’s rise is a result mainly of its demonstrated military power and the tangible territory it has seized. But a remarkable amount of its energy is devoted to creating an alternative, idealized version of itself online and shaping how that virtual empire is perceived.

That project has been entrusted to a media division that was operational well before the Caliphate was formally declared in 2014. U.S. intelligence officials said they have little insight into who controls the Islamic State’s propaganda strategy, although it is presumed to be led by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the caliphate’s main spokesman.

The media wing has relied on veterans of al-Qaeda media teams, young recruits fluent in social media platforms, and a bureaucratic discipline reminiscent of totalitarian regimes. Defectors and current members said that phones and cameras they brought to Syria were impounded upon arrival by the Islamic State to prevent unauthorized and potentially unflattering images from finding their way online.

Only sanctioned crew members were allowed to carry cameras, and even they were to follow strict guidelines on the handling of their material. Once finished with a day’s shooting, the crews were to load their recordings onto laptops, transfer the footage to memory sticks, then deliver those to designated drop sites.

In an Islamic State enclave near Aleppo, the media division’s headquarters was a two-story home in a residential neighborhood, defectors said. The site was protected by armed guards, and only those with permission from the regional emir were allowed to enter.

Each floor had four rooms packed with cameras, computers and other high-end equipment, said Abu Abdullah, 37, who made occasional visits to the site as a security and logistics operative. Internet access went through a Turkish wireless service. The house served as an editorial office of Dabiq, the Islamic State’s glossy online magazine. Some also worked for al-Furqan, the terrorist group’s main media wing, which accounts for the majority of its videos and mass-audience statements. Overall, there were more than 100 media operatives assigned to the unit, Abu Abdullah said. “Some of them were hackers; some were engineers.

Images from the Islamic State media obtained by The Washington Post are seen in screen grabs taken from the mobile messaging service Telegram, a promotional and recruitment platform for Islamic State.

Abu Abdullah had no affiliation with the media arm, but he often did its bidding. At one point he was tapped to install a generator at the media headquarters so that it would not lose power when the electricity went down.

Another assignment involved recovering corpses from battle scenes and arranging them to be photographed for propaganda videos exalting their sacrifice. He would wash away dried blood, lift the corners of dead fighters’ mouths into beatific smiles, and raise their index fingers in a gesture adopted by the Islamic State as a symbol of its cause.

Many in the American public were introduced to the Islamic State through wrenching videos in which Mohammed Emwazi — a masked, knife-wielding militant with a British accent known as “Jihadi John” — slit the throats of Western hostages, including Americans James Foley and Steve Sotloff.

‘Jihadi John’: Islamic State killer is identified as Londoner Mohammed Emwazi

Scrutiny of those and other videos revealed an extraordinary level of choreography. Discrepancies among frames showed that scenes had been rehearsed and shot in multiple takes over many hours.

The releases showed professional-caliber attention to lighting, sound and camera positioning. Certain videos, including one showing a decapitated American Peter Kassig, appear to have employed special effects software to digitally impose images of Kassig and his killer against a dramatic backdrop.

Those production efforts were reserved for videos aimed at mass Western audiences and were addressed explicitly to President Obama. But defectors said that even internal events not intended for a global viewership were similarly staged.

Abu Abdullah said he had witnessed a public execution-style killing in the city of Bab in which a propaganda team presided over almost every detail. They brought a whiteboard scrawled with Arabic script to serve as an off-camera cue card for the public official charged with reciting the condemned man’s alleged crimes. The hooded executioner raised and lowered his sword repeatedly so that crews could catch the blade from multiple angles.

The beheading took place only when the camera crew’s director said it was time to proceed. The execution wasn’t run by the executioner, Abu Abdullah said.

“It’s the media guy who says when they are ready.”

The Brand

For two decades, the dominant brand in militant Islam was al-Qaeda. But the Islamic State has eclipsed it in the span of two years by turning the older network’s propaganda playbook on its head.

Al-Qaeda’s releases always exalted its leaders, particularly Osama bin Laden. But the Islamic State’s propaganda is generally focused on its fighters and followers. Appearances by leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or his senior lieutenants have been rare.

Rejecting the lecture format employed by al-Qaeda, the Islamic State’s videos are cinematic, emphasizing dramatic scenes, stylized transitions and special effects.

“The group is very image-conscious, much like a corporation,” said a U.S. intelligence official involved in monitoring the Islamic State’s media operations. Its approach to building its brand is so disciplined, the official said, “that it’s very much like saying ‘This is Coca-Cola’ or ‘This is Nike.’”

The propaganda competition with al-Qaeda is a high priority, defectors said. One former Islamic State fighter said that he came under enormous pressure from the organization after it learned that his father had been a high-ranking al-Qaeda operative killed in Pakistan in a CIA drone strike.

The Islamic State was dumped by al-Qaeda a year ago. Look where it is now

Islamic State media figures pushed the recruit to appear in a video renouncing his father’s organization, said the son, who spoke on the condition that neither he nor his father be identified. His refusal, and reluctance to fight al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, damaged his standing in the Islamic State, and he said he fled in fear for his life.Al-Qaeda has typically required extraordinary patience from its audience. Even its most media-savvy affiliate, the al-Qaeda branch in Yemen, often takes months to release new issues of its online magazine, Inspire.

The frequency and volume of releases by the Islamic State are staggering by comparison. The group has produced hundreds of videos in more than a half-dozen languages, puts out daily radio broadcasts and garners as many as 2 million mentions per month on Twitter.

Twitter and Facebook have moved to shut down accounts associated with the Islamic State and ban the distribution of its messages, but users have found ways to resurface. Thousands of loyalists have also flocked to new services that are less vulnerable to government scrutiny, including Telegram, a messaging application created by a Russian software entrepreneur, although Telegram began shutting down Islamic State channels after the Paris attacks.

The Islamic State has also exploited apparent connections to news organizations in the Middle East. A video that surfaced in 2013 appeared to show an Al Jazeera correspondent working with a cameraman, Reda Seyam, a militant who had been linked to terrorist plots and is a senior figure in the Islamic State.

In a comprehensive examination of the terrorist group’s media releases in the summer, Charlie Winter, until recently an analyst at the Quilliam Group in the United Kingdom, identified 1,146 distinct pieces of propaganda, including photos, videos, and audio releases, during a single month-long stretch.Winter counted as many as 36 separate media offices that answer to the Islamic State’s headquarters in Raqqa — including affiliates in Libya, Afghanistan, and West Africa — and saw evidence of extraordinary coordination across the network.

At one point during his study, on July 19, he noticed that every affiliate had simultaneously shifted to a new logo with the same stylized Arabic script. The icon appeared in the same location on every image and in the initial frame of every video release.

The highly-stylized Islamic State logo is yet another example of the group’s propaganda machine

This logo plays before most Islamic State videos as the group is “very image conscious, much like a corporation,” according to a U.S. Intelligence official. (TWP)

“There was clearly a communique issued,” Winter said in an interview. “The Islamic State is constantly striving to be as formalized, as bureaucratic-seeming as possible, to keep up the appearance of being a state.”

That effort to simulate legitimacy is particularly pervasive inside the caliphate. The same videos employed to shock outsiders are used internally to cow the group’s less enthusiastic subjects. A constant stream of utopian messages is designed to convince residents, in Soviet-style fashion, of the superiority of the Islamic State.

While Internet access is often restricted to the public, propaganda units set up giant viewing screens in neighborhoods where residents come out in the evenings to watch approved videos streamed from laptops.

“It’s like a movie theater,” said Abu Hourraira al-Maghribi, a 23-year-old with a shaved head who wore an Adidas hoodie when he met with reporters in prison. The videos are drawn from the Islamic State’s expanding film library, he said, depicting “daily life, [military] training and beheadings.”

The Islamic State’s most notorious videos — including those showing the beheadings of Western hostages and the burning of a caged Jordanian fighter pilot — were shown over and over, he said, long after their audiences beyond the caliphate dissipated.

Abu Hourraira said he attended one screening on a street near the University of Mosul that attracted about 160 people, including at least 10 women and 15 children. One of the videos showed an execution by Emwazi, who is believed to have been killed this month in a U.S. drone strike.

The kids, they are not looking away — they are fascinated by it,” Abu Hourraira said. Jihadi John became a subject of such fascination that some children started to mimic his uniform, he said, wearing all “black and a belt with a little knife.”

The Americans

The Islamic State maintains strict bureaucratic boundaries within its media wing. Camera crews were kept separate from the teams of producers and editors who stitched the raw footage together, adding titles, effects, and soundtracks. Real names were almost never exchanged. But Abu Hajer and two other defectors said that an American in his late 30s with white skin and dark-but-graying hair was a key player in some of the Islamic State’s most ambitious videos. “The American does the editing,” Abu Hajer said, and was the creative force behind a 55-minute documentary called “Flames of War” that was released in late 2014. The film strives to create a mythology surrounding the Islamic State’s origin and connection to the historic Muslim caliphate.

5 stories you should read to really understand the Islamic State

It culminates with scenes of Syrian soldiers digging their own graves while a masked fighter, speaking English with a North American accent, warns that “the flames of war are only beginning to intensify.”

Another American-sounding figure surfaced more recently, delivering daily news broadcasts that appear to emanate from a radio station that the Islamic State overran last year in Mosul. After the attacks in Paris, his voice was the one that most English-speaking audiences heard describing France as “the capital of prostitution and vice” and warning that governments involved in strikes in Syria “will continue to be at the top of the target list.

”U.S. officials said they have been unable to determine the identity of that speaker or others with North American accents. The militant who appeared in the “Flames of War” film remains the subject of an entry on the FBI’s Web site appealing to the public for help identifying him.

The Defectors

The Islamic State’s relentless media campaign has fueled a global migration of militants. More than 30,000 foreign fighters from more than 115 countries have flooded into Syria since the start of that country’s “civil” war. At least a third arrived within the past year, the vast majority of them to join the Islamic State, according to U.S. intelligence estimates.

Of the defectors interviewed by The Post, all but one said their decisions to leave for Syria could be traced to videos they saw online or encounters on social media, that ignited a jihadist impulse. The only outlier said that he had been prodded by a friend to come to Syria and was promptly imprisoned for refusing to fight.

Foreign fighters flow to Syria

Abu Hourraira, who spent months fighting in Iraq, said he began searching online for material about the Islamic State as the group began to dominate headlines about the war in Syria. He decided to abandon his job at a dry-cleaning business in Casablanca only after watching the group’s emotionally charged videos.

“Some were like Van Damme movies,” he said, referring to Jean-Claude Van Damme, the Hollywood action star. “You see these men fighting, and you want to be one of these brave heroes.”

Like many countries in the region, Morocco has struggled to offset that pull. Moroccan security officials said that more than 1,500 men had left the country to fight in Iraq and Syria, plus more than 500 women and children, many of them seeking to join their spouses, sons or fathers.

Several of the attackers in Paris, including the alleged architect, were of Moroccan descent, but were born and grew up in Europe.

“The fight now is with the propaganda because it plays a very big role in these numbers,” said a senior Moroccan security official who spoke on the condition that neither he nor his agency be identified. Al-Qaeda recruitment relied almost exclusively on direct contact in mosques or other settings, he said, but “now, 90 percent are being recruited online.”

Defectors offered conflicting views on whether the Islamic State would endure. Some said that a cohort of young males in Iraq and Syria are already coming of age immersed in the group’s propaganda and ideology and that a generation of children was being raised to idealize its masked militants.

But all attributed their decisions to leave Iraq and Syria to a combination of factors, including not only fears for their safety but also a disenchantment that set in when the reality of the caliphate failed to match the version they had encountered online.

Some said they were haunted by scenes of cruelty they saw firsthand but that Islamic State propaganda teams edited out. Abu Abdullah, who wore a hood to disguise his identity during an interview, said he witnessed a mass killing near Aleppo in which Islamic State fighters fired into a crowd of Alawites including women and children.

When a 10-year-old boy emerged alive, the highest-ranking militant on hand “pulled out a gun and shot him,” Abu Abdullah said. The slaying was recorded by the ever-present camera crews, he said, but the footage “was never aired.”

Abu Hajer, the former cameraman, said his standing with the group began to slip when he became involved in helping to administer the Islamic State’s religious courts. After sharing views that he said were at odds with his superiors, the perks of his media position were withdrawn.

Military, Defense and Security at Home and Abroad

“They took away my weapons, my monthly income,” as well as his villa and car, he said.

A relative told a Post reporter that Abu Hajer finally pulled his family out of Syria after he had received a warning in which an Islamic State militant dragged a finger across his throat. A sympathetic colleague gave Abu Hajer the paperwork he needed to pass Islamic State checkpoints on the way out of Syria, he said. Another friend gave him cash to put his family on a flight out of Turkey. Moroccan authorities were waiting for him at the Casablanca airport. He now shares a crowded cell with other militants in a high-walled Moroccan prison, with two years remaining on a three-year sentence. Asked whether he worries that his work will induce others to join the Islamic State, he gave an equivocal answer.

“To a certain extent I feel responsible,” he said. “But I am not the main reason”.

His videos continue to circulate online.

What can you do? 

Now, you might be wondering what you can do to anonymously report Daesh activity on social media.  Here is an article that explains “How to report Daesh’s terrorist propaganda“.

Obama’s “Fake War” against the Islamic State (ISIS). The Islamic State is Protected by the US and its Allies by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

According to figures released by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), 

“the U.S. and its coalition partners have struck 10,684 targets including 3,262 [so-called] ISIS buildings, 119 commandeered tanks, 1,202 vehicles and 2,577 fighting positions.”

The term “ISIS buildings” is a fake concept. Those buildings (including residential areas) are part of the civilian infrastructure of Iraq and Syria. The number of  targets struck suggests an intense carpet bombing campaign geared towards the destruction of both Iraq and Syria.

The ISIS-US Empire – Their Unholy Alliance Fully Exposed by Joachim Hagopian

For over three and a half decades the US has been funding mostly Saudi stooges to do its dirty bidding in proxy wars around the world, beginning in Afghanistan in the 1980’s to fight the Soviets with the mujahedeen-turned al Qaeda that later would mutate into ISIS. Reagan and Bush senior gave Osama bin Laden his first terrorist gig. Our mercenary “Islamic extremists” for-hire were then on the CIA payroll employed in the Balkans during the 1990’s to kill fellow Moslem Serbs in Kosovo and Bosnia. For a long time now Washington’s been relying on the royal Saudi family as its chief headhunters supplying the United States with as needed terrorists on demand in order to wage its geopolitics chessboard game of global hegemony, otherwise known by the central banking cabal as global “Theft-R-Us.”

As recently as a month ago it was reported that an Islamic State operative claimed that funding for ISIS had been funneled through the US. Of course another “staunch” US-NATO ally Turkey has historically allowed its territory to be a safe staging ground as well as a training area for ISIS. It additionally allows jihadist leaders to move freely in and out of Syria through Turkey. Along with Israel and all of US Empire’s Moslem nation states as our strategic friends in the Middle East, together they have been arming, financing and training al Qaeda/ISIS to do its double bidding, fighting enemies like Gaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria while also posing as global terrorist boogie men threatening the security of the entire world. Again, Washington cannot continue to double speak its lies from both sides of its mouth and then expect to continue having it both ways and expect the world to still be buying it.

Disclaimer from The Rabbit Hole & Sarah Abed: I understand that there is some objection to the term “Islamic State” being used in reference to Daesh. This is a legitimate concern, Daesh is anti-Islamic and has killed more Muslims than non-Muslims. However, they do refer to themselves as such and some of the sources above refer to them as such. I apologize in advance. I however prefer the derogatory term Daesh when referring to them. 

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Back in September 2015, ISIS had been rampaging across Syria, slaughtering civilians and destroying towns and cities, for about 4 years. At that time, there was good reason to believe that the Syrian Arab Army would soon be defeated by ISIS and ‘rebel’ forces, and the Syrian government ousted. This was despite the fact that a US-led coalition had allegedly been ‘bombing ISIS’ for almost a year, with the strange effect that the jihadis had steadily increased their territory across Syria and Iraq. Obviously, at this point, it’s pretty clear that the only reason that band of paid mercenaries called ‘ISIS’ was ever in a position to threaten Syria was because it was receiving massive funding, weapons and training from the USA and its Gulf Allies. 

Once the Russian military intervened on September 30th 2015, however, ISIS and the assorted other jihadi ‘rebel’ groups saw their territory and numbers rapidly reduced, US government aid and support for ISIS and the rebels notwithstanding. After the liberation of Aleppo by Russian forces late last year, several more dramatic victories by the Syrian Army (backed by the Russian air force) have followed with the most recent, and perhaps definitive, victory coming in this week’s liberation of the Syrian city of Deir ez Zor.

It may have escaped your notice, but over the course of the last two years, the Western media and Western governments have consistently ignored or criticized the victories of the Syrian Army backed by the Russian air campaign. This is, of course, not surprising given that ISIS is nothing more than a US and Gulf State proxy army, specifically designed to wage war on the Syrian people, destroy Syria as a nation and remake it in the West’s image of a vassal of Empire. On the occasions that the Western press saw fit to comment on the achievements of the Syrian and Russian militaries, they chose to cynically condemn them as ‘Russian aggression’ or ‘Assad killing his own people’.

This week’s liberation of Deir ez Zor is a case in point. While there have been no specific condemnations, you’ll find it difficult to find even one American mainstream media outlet report on the most recent news that a Russian air strike on an underground command center near the city killed 40 ISIS members, including four field commanders. Among the senior militants killed is internationally wanted Abu-Muhammad al-Shimali, the self-proclaimed “emir of Deir ez-Zor.”

An Iraqi-born Saudi citizen (surprise, surprise!) and a former Al-Qaeda member, al-Shimali pledged his allegiance to ISIS in 2015 (in return for a fat check) and became notorious for smuggling terrorists into Syria (on behalf of the USA and Saudi Arabia). But just to keep the charade going, Al-Shamali was designated a ‘high profile target’ by the US State Department, which offered a bounty of up to $5 million for information leading to his capture in 2015. Several European intelligence agencies also claimed that Al-Shimali was involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks. Now you might think that, with the news that this brutal killer responsible for so much carnage in Syria and France has been taken out of action, the US State Dept. and the French government might put aside their ridiculous anti-Russian ideology and make a public statement of congratulations to the Russian and Syrian militaries and governments for this admirable achievement. But you’d be wrong. They have nothing to say; in fact, they are probably having a hard time controlling their urge to scream bloody murder that Russia just killed some of their favorite assets.

Gulmurod Khalimov, the Pentagon’s ISIS man in Syria, or Russia, or wherever they plant him

But hold their tongues they will, and for good reason, lest the name of another ‘ISIS commander’ killed in the same compound gets too much attention: Gulmurod Khalimov, a Tajik and Islamist military commander who ‘defected to ISIS’ in 2015 after he had received years of training in the USA through the US State Dept.’s Diplomatic Security/Anti-Terrorism Assistance program. After ‘defecting’, Khalimov said that he planned to return home to establish Sharia Law in his Central Asian nation and to take jihad to Russia. What a coincidence. Of course, the Pentagon and CIA are no strangers to spending $$billions of US taxpayers’ money on training and arming jihadis.

There is also the little matter of the claim by an unnamed ‘diplomatic source’ that at least a dozen ISIS field commanders, including two of ‘European origin’ were evacuated from Deir ez Zor by a US Air Force plane at the end of August when it became clear the city would fall to the Syrian army. I’m usually skeptical of claims by ‘unnamed diplomatic sources’, but on this occasion the allegation is credible given what is known about US direct support to jihadis in Syria. In June this year, the commander of Russian forces in Syria, Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin, said that ISIS fighters were allowed to leave two villages southwest of Raqqa and move toward Palmyra. Surovikin said that the U.S. coalition, along with allied Kurds, “collude with the leaders of ISIS, who surrender the areas under their control and head to provinces where Syrian government forces operate.”

But I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much, or expect too much from the psycho warmongers in the Pentagon and the CIA, their disgusting headchopper friends in Saudi Arabia, and the Western media that is a propaganda arm of all three. Their little plan for phony civil war-induced regime change in Syria has fallen flat on its face thanks to the Russian military under the stewardship of Vladimir Putin and the stellar efforts of Lebanese Hizb’allah and the Iranian militias. Nothing can change that now, not even the US’ ‘plan b’ to carve out a Kurdish state in northern Syria.

While the reality-creators in Washington might like to think that a US-allied Kurdish enclave in northern Syria and Iraq can secure continued American ‘ownership’ of the Middle East and prevent the rise of Russia and Iran as the dominant powers in the region, this is a literal and figurative pipe dream. If a Kurdistan is cut out of Syria and Iraq, it will only be with the consent of Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, all of whom have very good reasons (and effective means) to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish homeland. Both the geopolitical and geographic reality of the situation therefore means that an official Kurdish state would be allied with its immediate neighbors, not imperial warmongers and blow-in headchoppers.

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

All images in this article are from the author.


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

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Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

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Immediately after Israel’s latest unprovoked strike on Syria we posed the question, did Benjamin Netanyahu just panic? The answer is yes, Israel is now acting from a position of desperation as it has failed in its goal of regime change in Syria. Overnight (Wed. evening/Thursday early morning), Israel attacked a Syrian military base near the town of Masyaf at about 3:00 a.m. which Syria has now confirmed in a statement that warns of “serious repercussions”. Syria reported two troop deaths in the attack. It appears to have been a massive strike – grainy photos show a large fireball lighting up the night sky outside of Masyaf.

Israel appears to have timed its attack to occur on the very night a controversial U.N. report was released earlier in the day (Wednesday) which blames the Assad government for using chemical weapons against civilians at Khan Sheikhoun in April. A number of Israeli analysts and media reports purport the Masyaf base to be a site for chemical and non-conventional weapons storage (such as “barrel bombs”) while claiming the attack was motivated by “humanitarian” concern for Syrian civilians.

First image produced from Israeli strike on Al-Tala’i facility near Masyaf. Via Twitter.

But this is the reason for Israeli media and defense officials quickly claiming that the strike at Masyaf was on a chemical weapons facility: they know the “humanitarian” angle sells in the West, especially when coupled with allegations of civilians being gassed. Currently, this is putting the dubious and contested claim that the Syrian government attacked Khan Sheikhoun with sarin gas back in the spotlight at a time when Israel is eager to sell war for regime change while casting its actions in terms of protecting and defending civilians from a brutal dictator. In typical fashion the big newsrooms, which rarely report from inside Syria but instead opt for the comfort of Beirut, are uncritically echoing the “humanitarian airstrike” narrative. The New York Times, in a report filed from Jerusalem, narrates the attack as follows while relying on unnamed “former Israeli officials” and a single Syrian pro-opposition outlet:

Israeli officials did not comment on the strike, but a Syrian monitoring group and two former Israeli officials said it had targeted an installation of a government agency that produced chemical weapons and a military base that produced advanced missiles.

The strike came a day after a United Nations commission accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in an attack in April that killed dozens in the town of Khan Sheikhoun and flooded clinics with victims gasping for breath.

Initially some Syria observers questioned how the Israeli Air Force could strike so deep inside Syria with no response from the country’s advanced Russian made S-400 anti-aircraft system. But it appears Syrian airspace was never violated as the Israeli jets reportedly fired from over Lebanon. Masyaf lies west of Hama and just north of the Lebanese border. While Israel’s incursion into sovereign Lebanese airspace is illegal according to international law, Lebanon cannot respond as it has no air force nor does it possess adequate anti-aircraft missiles.

Close-up of the Israeli airstrike aftermath. Image source: Al-Masdar News

It is further significant that Israel chose to fire from over Lebanon (not for the first time) even though it has routinely violated Syrian air space in previous attacks. It appears that Israel calculated it’s strike position to be in the vicinity of Russian military presence yet without forcing a Russian response by directly violating air space. The attack comes just over two weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Vladimir Putin in Sochi. By many accounts the meeting was contentious as Netanyahu warned Putin that Israel would not tolerate Iranian presence in Syria. It was further revealed that a senior Israeli official accompanying Netanyahu on the trip threatened to assassinate Syrian President Assad by bombing his palace in Damascus, while further adding that Israel will seek to derail the US-Russia brokered de-escalation deal reached in Astana, Kazakhstan earlier this summer.

Russia’s Pravda described a frantic and upset Netanyahu at the Sochi talks with the following: “according to eyewitnesses of the open part of the talks, the Israeli prime minister was too emotional and at times even close to panic. He described a picture of the apocalypse to the Russian president that the world may see, if no efforts are taken to contain Iran, which, as Netanyahu believes, is determined to destroy Israel.”

At first glance it does appear that Netanyahu is now making good on his threats, but is this latest flagrant aggression against Syria a sign of more attacks to come? Will Netanyahu pursue escalation in the hope of dragging the US and other allies into war? It’s not likely. Realistically that possibility ended when Syria retook Aleppo and with the US-Russia Astana ‘de-escalation’ deal which tacitly legitimized Iranian presence in Syria. Even some within the pro-opposition regime change crowd took to social media after the strike to say “too little, too late”. Simply put, Israel lost the covert war and is now left “holding the bag” while its more powerful allies pull out of the full push for regime change.

But what is clear is that Israel remains deeply uncomfortable with the Syrian Army’s overwhelming momentum of late (just this week the army initiated the liberation of Deir Ezzor from ISIS) and seeks to keep the fires burning in Syria, at least enough to bog down Assad and Iran. Worse for Netanyahu, Hezbollah seems stronger than ever, along with the so-called ‘resistance axis’ that stretches from Tehran to South Lebanon.

Israeli officials have gone so far as to declare their preference for Islamic State terrorists on their border rather than allies of Iran. But as we’ve repeatedly pointed out, Israel is acting from a position of weakness and desperation. All that Netanyahu can hope for now is that an Israeli provocation leads to a direct Syrian military response, but it appears that Assad is not taking the bait.

In 2013 when Israel launched a massive missile attack against a Syrian defense technology facility in Jamraya outside of Damascus, it claimed to be attacking a parked Hezbollah weapons convoy. Perhaps more brazen was the 2016 attack targeting Damascus International Airport, which killed a well-known Hezbollah commander. And in a significant admission earlier this month, the head of Israel’s air force acknowledged nearly one hundred IDF attacks on convoys inside Syria over the course of the past 5 years.

Netanyahu himself was recently caught on a hot mic bragging that Israel had struck Syrian targets at least “a dozen times”. And this is to say nothing of Israel’s covert support to al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria’s south, which has reportedly involved weapons transfers and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops involving Netanyahu himself. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli public, Israel’s “dangerous game” in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran.

Indeed Assad has not taken the bait for years now. While pro-government Syrians have themselves at times complained about Israel’s seeming ability to strike inside sovereign Syrian territory with impunity, Assad has the long-game in mind of “survival now, retaliation later”. It was clear from the start that Israel’s attacks on largely non-strategic targets were more about provocation: should Damascus lob missiles back in Israel’s direction Netanyahu would launch an all-out assault while Syria was at its weakest in the midst of a grinding and externally funded al-Qaeda insurgency.

Israel has also been careful to frame its actions in terms of counter-terror strikes on Hezbollah targets for the sake of maintaining an air of legitimacy to its aggression. But as the Astana agreement demonstrates (a strategic victory for Russia-Iran-Syria),  Syria’s ability to absorb Israel’s repeat provocations seems to be part of a strategic “waiting game” born of an accurate self assessment of past and current vulnerabilities. As The Century Foundation concludes:

Syria’s contemporary leaders seem to have adopted a simplified version of the “long breath strategy” of the former president—and father of Syria’s current leader—Hafez al AssadThis strategy was named for Syria’s ability to draw a deep breath and weather short-term pain and setbacks in pursuit of a better deal.

And this strategy seems to be working, resulting in a shift in perspective which is even beginning to permeate at least part of the Israeli defense establishment:

A formerly very high-placed source in Israel’s security system spoke to Al-Monitor last week. He said on condition of anonymity, “It’s high time to admit that perhaps all our assessments were erroneous. The prevailing consensus of the last five years was that Syria will never return to its former state. We thought that however this turns out, the Syrian state as we knew it had passed from the world. But evidently we were wrong.”

Israel’s top decision-makers have not changed course, but it is likely that such arguments are heard in private discussions, and top-secret intelligence assessments see it as a real possibility that Assad is capable of outsmarting those who prematurely eulogized him and Syria as we knew it.

Syria is returning, that is clear now,” said the source. “It’s not about the quantity of territory, it’s about central rule. If nothing unexpected happens, in the near future, Assad will be declared the final, unequivocal winner of this war. Following that, the path to Syria’s rebuilding and reconstruction will be short.”

Concerning Israel’s adventurist military action this week, contrary to the claims of unnamed “Israeli officials” who say the latest attack was against a branch of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), it is likely that this week’s air strike was yet another “routine” attack on a Hezbollah weapons depot.

According to Elijah Magnier – a veteran Kuwait-based Middle East journalist, fluent Arabic speaker, and one who reports from on the ground in Syria (and has done so for years) – Israel in truth hit another Hezbollah weapons storehouse (not a chemical weapons production facility). But with renewed claims that Syrian government possesses and has used sarin gas, Israel is seeking to maximize the propaganda value of the strike. After all, the world’s attention now seems far away from Syria and the Israeli gloves are off. Israel will do and say whatever it can to get the wheels of internationally backed regime change in motion again.

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U.N. Enablers of ‘Aggressive War’

September 10th, 2017 by Robert Parry

Many people still want to believe that the United Nations engages in impartial investigations and thus is more trustworthy than, say, self-interested governments, whether Russia or the United States. But trust in U.N. agencies is no longer well placed; whatever independence they may have once had has been broken, a reality relevant to recent “investigations” of Syrian chemical weapons use.

There is also the larger issue of the United Nations’ peculiar silence about one of its primary and original responsibilities, shouldered after the horrors of World War II – to stop wars of aggression, which today include “regime change” wars organized, funded and armed by the United States and other Western powers, such as the Iraq invasion in 2003, the overthrow of the Libyan government in 2011, and a series of proxy wars including the ongoing Syrian conflict.

After World War II, the Nuremberg Tribunals declared that a “war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

That recognition became a guiding principle of the United Nations Charter, which specifically prohibits aggression or even threats of aggression against sovereign states.

The Charter declares in Article One that it is a chief U.N. purpose “to take effective collective measures … for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace.” Article Two, which defines the appropriate behavior of U.N. members, adds that

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…”

However, instead of enforcing this fundamental rule, the United Nations has, in effect, caved in to the political and financial pressure brought to bear by the United States and its allies. A similar disregard for international law also pervades the U.S. mainstream media and much of the European and Israeli press as well.

There is an assumption that the United States and its allies have the right to intervene militarily anywhere in the world at anytime solely at their own discretion. Though U.S. diplomats and mainstream journalists still voice outrage when adversaries deviate from international law – such as denunciations of Russia over Ukraine’s civil war – there is silence or support when a U.S. president or, say, an Israeli prime minister orders military strikes inside another country. Then, we hear only justifications for these attacks.

Shielding Israel

For instance, on Friday, The New York Times published an article about Israel conducting a bombing raid inside Syria that reportedly killed two Syrians. The article is notable because it contains not a single reference to international law and Israel’s clear-cut violation of it. Instead, the article amounts to a lengthy rationalization for Israel’s aggression, framing the attacks as Israeli self-defense or, as the Times put it,

“an escalation of Israel’s efforts to prevent its enemies from gaining access to sophisticated weapons.”

The article also contains no reference to the fact that Israel maintains a sophisticated nuclear arsenal and is known to possess chemical and biological weapons as well. Implicit in the Times article is that the U.S. and Israel live under one set of rules while countries on the U.S.-Israeli enemies list must abide by another. Not to state the obvious but this is a clear violation of the journalistic principle of objectivity.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own “red line” on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

But the Times is far from alone in applying endless double standards. Hypocrisy now permeates international agencies, including the United Nations, which instead of pressing for accountability in cases of U.S. or Israeli aggression has become an aider and abettor, issuing one-sided reports that justify further aggression while doing little or nothing to stop U.S.-backed acts of aggression.

For instance, there was no serious demand that U.S. and British leaders who organized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, should face any accountability for committing the “supreme international crime” of an aggressive war. As far as the U.N. is concerned, war-crimes tribunals are for the little guys.

This breakdown in the integrity of the U.N. and related agencies has developed over the past few decades as one U.S. administration after another has exploited U.S. clout as the world’s “unipolar power” to ensure that international bureaucrats conform to U.S. interests. Any U.N. official who deviates from this unwritten rule can expect to have his or her reputation besmirched and career truncated.

So, while harshly critical of alleged abuses by the Syrian military, U.N. officials are notoriously silent when it comes to condemning the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Israel and other countries that have been “covertly” backing anti-government “rebels” who have engaged in grave crimes against humanity in Syria.

The U.S. and its allies have even mounted overt military operations inside Syrian territory, including airstrikes against the Syrian military and its allies, without permission of the internationally recognized government in Damascus. Yet, the U.N. does nothing to curtail or condemn these clear violations of its own Charter.

Breaking the Independence

The reason is that, for much of this century, the U.S. government has worked to bring key agencies, such as the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), under U.S. control and domination.

This drive to neutralize the U.N.’s independence gained powerful momentum after the 9/11 attacks and President George W. Bush’s launching of his “global war on terror.” But this effort continued under President Obama and now under President Trump.

In 2002, after opening the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and effectively waiving the Geneva Convention’s protections for prisoners of war, Bush bristled at criticism from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary C. Robinson.

Soon, Robinson was targeted for removal. Her fierce independence, which also included criticism of Israel, was unacceptable. The Bush administration lobbied hard against her reappointment, leading to her retirement in 2002.

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

Also, in 2002, the Bush administration engineered the firing of OPCW’s Director General Jose Mauricio Bustani who was viewed as an obstacle to the U.S. plans for invading Iraq.

Bustani, who had been reelected unanimously to the post less than a year earlier, described his removal in a 2013 interview with Marlise Simons of The New York Times, citing how Bush’s emissary, Under-Secretary of State John Bolton, marched into Bustani’s office and announced that he (Bustani) would be fired.

“The story behind [Bustani’s] ouster has been the subject of interpretation and speculation for years, and Mr. Bustani, a Brazilian diplomat, has kept a low profile since then,” wrote Simons. “But with the agency [OPCW] thrust into the spotlight with news of the Nobel [Peace] Prize [in October 2013], Mr. Bustani agreed to discuss what he said was the real reason: the Bush administration’s fear that chemical weapons inspections in Iraq would conflict with Washington’s rationale for invading it. Several officials involved in the events, some speaking publicly about them for the first time, confirmed his account.”

The official U.S. explanation for getting rid of Bustani was incompetence, but Bustani and the other diplomats close to the case reported that Bustani’s real offense was drawing Iraq into acceptance of the OPCW’s conventions for eliminating chemical weapons, just as the Bush administration was planning to pin its propaganda campaign for invading Iraq on the country’s alleged secret stockpile of WMD.

Bustani’s ouster gave President Bush a clearer path to the invasion by letting him frighten Americans with the prospect of Iraq sharing its chemical weapons and possibly a nuclear bomb with Al Qaeda terrorists.

Dismissing Iraq’s insistence that it had destroyed its chemical weapons and didn’t have a nuclear weapons project, Bush launched the invasion in March 2003, only for the world to discover later that the Iraqi government was telling the truth.

Compliant Replacements

In comparison to the independent-minded Bustani, the biography of the current OPCW director general, Ahmet Uzumcu, a career Turkish diplomat, suggests that the OPCW could be expected to slant its case against the Syrian government in the current Syrian conflict.

Not only has Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, been a key player in supporting the proxy war to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Uzumcu also served as Turkey’s ambassador to Israel, which has long sought regime change in Syria and has publicly come out in favor of the anti-government rebels.

Another one-time thorn in the side of the U.S. “unipolar power” was the IAEA when it was under the control of Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian. The IAEA challenged the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq having a nuclear program, when one really didn’t exist.

Yukiya Amano, a Japanese diplomat and director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

However, being right is no protection when U.S. officials want to bring an agency into line with U.S. policy and propaganda. So, early in the Obama administration – as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pushing for a hardline on Iran over its nascent nuclear program – the U.S. government engineered the insertion of a pliable Japanese diplomat, Yukiya Amano, into the IAEA’s top job.

Before his appointment, Amano had portrayed himself as an independent-minded fellow who was resisting U.S.-Israeli propaganda about the Iranian nuclear program. Yet behind the scenes, he was meeting with U.S. and Israeli officials to coordinate on how to serve their interests (even though Israel is an actual rogue nuclear state, not a hypothetical or fictional one).

Amano’s professed doubts about an Iranian nuclear-bomb project, which even the U.S. intelligence community agreed no longer existed, was just a theatrical device to intensify the later impact if he were to declare that Iran indeed was building a secret nuke, thus justifying the desire of Israeli leaders and American neoconservatives to “bomb-bomb-bomb” Iran.

But this U.S. ploy was spoiled by Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning’s leaking of hundreds of thousands of pages of U.S. diplomatic cables. Among them were reports on Amano’s hidden collaboration with U.S. and Israeli officials; his agreement with U.S. emissaries on who to fire and who to retain among IAEA officials; and even Amano’s request for additional U.S. financial contributions.

The U.S. embassy cables revealing the truth about Amano were published by the U.K. Guardian in 2011 (although ignored by The New York Times, The Washington Post and other mainstream U.S. news outlets). Despite the silence of the major U.S. news media, Internet outlets, such as Consortiumnews.com, highlighted the Amano cables, meaning that enough Americans knew the facts not to be fooled again. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Did Manning Help Avert War with Iran?”]

A Collective Collapse

So, over the years, there has been a collective collapse of the independence at U.N.-related agencies. An international bureaucrat who gets on the wrong side of the United States or Israel can expect to be fired and humiliated, while those who play ball can be assured of a comfortable life as a “respected” diplomat.

But this reality is little known to most Americans so they are still inclined to be influenced when a “U.N. investigation” reaches some conclusion condemning some country that already is on the receiving end of negative U.S. propaganda.

The New York Times, CNN and other major U.S. news outlets are sure to trumpet these “findings” with great seriousness and respect and to treat any remaining doubters as outside the mainstream. Of course, there’s an entirely different response on the rare occasion when some brave or foolhardy human rights bureaucrat criticizes Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Then, the U.N. finding is just a sign of anti-Israeli bias and should be discounted.

In the far more frequent cases when a U.N. report is in line with U.S. propaganda, American journalists almost never turn a critical eye toward the quality of the evidence or the leaps of logic. We saw that happen this week with a thinly sourced and highly dubious U.N. report blaming the Syrian government for an alleged sarin incident on April 4. A major contradiction in the evidence – testimony given to OPCW investigators undercutting the conclusion that a Syrian warplane could have dropped a sarin bomb – was brushed aside by the U.N. human rights investigators and was ignored by the Times and other major U.S. news outlets.

But what is perhaps most troubling is that these biased U.N. reports are now used to justify continued wars of aggression by stronger countries against weaker ones. So, instead of acting as a bulwark to protect the powerless from the powerful as the U.N. Charter intended, the U.N. bureaucracy has turned the original noble purpose of the institution on its head by becoming an enabler of the “supreme international crime,” wars of aggression.

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

All images in this article are from the author.

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Introduction

As shown in the previous Point (“The Claim that the Hijackers Were Devout Muslims”), the alleged 9/11 hijackers did not live up to the 9/11 Commission’s description of them as devout Muslims – especially Mohamed Atta, said to have become fanatically religious after going to Germany. [1] The present Point provides an explanation of how Mohamed Atta could have been very devout while in Germany, even though Mohamed Atta’s behavior in America suggested that he was not.

The Official Account

The 9/11 airliners were hijacked by devout Muslims, ready to die for a cause. In the words of The 9/11 Commission Report, the hijackers had become a “cadre of trained operatives willing to die.” [2] The Report also said that Mohamed Atta, called the ringleader, had by 1998 become very religious, even “fanatically so.” [3]

The Best Evidence

In addition to the media stories about the hijackers in general, discussed in Point H-3, suggesting that they were not really devout Muslims, there were many stories about Atta in particular.

For example, stories in newspapers in Venice, Florida, reported that Atta had lived there for several months. Investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker went to Venice, where he learned that Atta and a young woman named Amanda Keller had taken a trip to Key West with a few other people, during which they drank heavily and used cocaine. [4]

Another example involves one of the best-known stories about Atta’s non-Muslim behavior. This episode involved a restaurant named “Shuckums” in Hollywood, Florida. According to a Florida newspaper, two of the hijackers were “knocking back glasses of Stolichnaya and rum and Coke at a fish joint in Hollywood the weekend before [9/11].” [5] According to the restaurant’s manager, “The guy Mohamed was drunk [and] his voice was slurred.” [6] According to the bartender, Atta and his companion “were wasted.” [7]

According to a third story:

In Florida, several of the hijackers – including reputed ringleader Mohamed Atta – spent $200 to $300 each on lap dances in the Pink Pony strip club. [8]

At the first hearing of the 9/11 Commission (March 31 – April 1 2003), a member of the press asked Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste:

“If Atta belonged to the fundamentalist Muslim group, why was he snorting cocaine and frequenting strip bars?”

Ben-Veniste replied: “You know, that’s a heck of a question.” [9]

But it was a question that the 9/11 Commission never addressed.

How could Atta’s behavior as reported in the press be reconciled with the portrait of him as very devout? The two views of Atta could be explained if the man the world came to know as Mohamed Atta was not the original Mohamed Atta. There is good evidence, moreover, that this is the case.

Two Attas?

A young Egyptian man whose full name was Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta had studied urban planning at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg in the 1990s. As reported by researcher [9a] Elias Davidsson,

“His friends in Hamburg knew him as Mohamed el-Amir, not as Mohamed Atta.” [10]

In fact, Professor Dittmar Machule, who was Mohamed el-Amir’s tutor and thesis advisor, said:

“I do not know the name Mohamed Atta,” until “after the 11th of September.”

Professor Machule said that this student was “very religious,” prayed regularly, and never touched alcohol.

“I would put my hand in the fire,” said the professor, “that this Mohamed El-Amir I know will never taste or touch alcohol.”

Also, by contrast with the man known as Mohamed Atta in America, the student the professor knew as Mohamed El-Amir Atta would not even shake hands with a woman on being introduced to her. [11]

A German urban planner named Ralph Bodenstein, who worked with Mohamed in 1995 studying traffic patterns in Cairo’s historic part, said:

“[H]e was a very religious person. He was growing a beard, he had just come back from a small hajj. He did pray five times a day. On the other hand, he was very full of idealism and he was a humanist. He was very much interested in social work.” [12]

Volker Hauth, an architect who knew Mohamed el-Amir while he studied in Hamburg, and who went with him on trips to the Middle East, said:

“The religious convictions of both of us – his Islamic and mine Protestant – were a kind of bonding for us. In Germany at that time, there were a lot of students from East Germany with no religion, and this was something difficult for Mohamed.” [13]

In addition to the fact that Mohamed el-Amir was reportedly very devout, whereas the reported behavior of the man known as Mohamed Atta in America indicated that he was not, very different adjectives were commonly used to describe the two men’s character traits.

According to Elias Davidsson, those who described Mohamed el-Amir commonly used terms such as “reserved, introvert, polite, intelligent, very nice.” For example:

Professor Machule said Mohamed “was a very nice young man, polite, very religious, and with highly developed critical faculties, alert and observant.” [14]

Abdullah Bozkurt, a dealer who knew el-Amir from a car market in Hamburg, where both traded, said: “He made such a friendly impression. He easily got in contact with everybody, was always smiling and never in a bad mood.” [15]

Bechir Bejaoui, who had been a friend of el-Amir, declared under oath in a deposition made at the German Federal Criminal Agency in Hamburg that el-Amir was “friendly, pleasant, mild … so delicate and reasonable. … He was never aggressive. He was, as I said, always delicate and relaxed and friendly.” [16]

On the other hand, said Davidsson, those who said anything about the character of the man known in America as Mohamed Atta “described him as an unpleasant, arrogant and obnoxious man.”

Rudy Dekkers, President of Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida, where Atta went to flight school, said Atta “was very arrogant. … [H]e had a bad attitude and we just didn’t like him.” [17]

Atta, along with a man going by the name Marwan al-Shehhi, also applied to enroll at Jones Aviation in Sarasota, Florida. “According to the instructor at Jones,” said The 9/11 Commission Report, “the two were aggressive, rude, and sometimes even fought with him to take over the controls.” [18]

Gary Jones, the vice president of Jones Aviation, said: “We told them we wouldn’t teach them anymore. We told them, one, they couldn’t speak English and, two, they had bad attitudes.” [19]

Moreover, the contrast was not simply behavioral but also physical. The American Atta was described as 5’8″ and sometimes as 5’10” tall. [20] By contrast, Professor Machule, said of his former student that he was not a “bodyguard type” but “more a girl looking type,” [21] and described him as “very small,” being “one meter sixty-two” in height, which means slightly under 5’4″.

Conclusion

Defenders of the official story might claim that radical transformations do occur. But it would be very unlikely that a young man who would not touch alcohol would turn into a man who would use cocaine and become drunk regularly; that a young man who would not shake hands with women would turn into one who spent time with strippers and prostitutes; and that a young man described as polite and very nice would turn into one described as arrogant, aggressive, and rude. It would especially be unlikely that a young man described by his professor as very small, being one meter sixty-two (5’4″) in height, would in a few years be described as 5’8″ or even 5’10”.

It is much more likely – given the assumption that the 9/11 planes were hijacked by Muslims – that the image of their “ringleader” was based on a truly devout young man from Egypt named Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta, to which the 9/11 Commission added the claim that he had become fanatically religious. The 9/11 Commission then simply ignored all reports of the behavior of the American Mohamed Atta that did not fit the image of a devout Muslim.

This Point can explain why the man known to Americans as Mohamed Atta reportedly did not behave like a devout Muslim, even though Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta, who studied at Hamburg, was a genuinely devout Muslim. This Point also reinforces the conclusion of the previous Point, that claims about Mohamed Atta and the other alleged hijackers should not have provided any basis for a war on Islam.

Notes

1. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, authorized edition (W. W. Norton, 2004), 160. (pdf: 177)

2. Ibid., 154 (pdf: 171).

3. Ibid., 160 (pdf: 177). The text says: “When Atta arrived in Germany, he appeared religious, but not fanatically so. This would change … ”

4. Daniel Hopsicker, “The Secret World of Mohamed Atta: An Interview With Atta’s American Girlfriend,” InformationLiberation, 20 August 2006.

5. Jody A. Benjamin, “Suspects’ Actions Don’t Add Up,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 16 September 2001.

6. Ken Thomas, “Feds Investigating Possible Terrorist-Attack Links in Florida,” Associated Press, 12 September 2001.

7. Barry Klein et al., “FBI Seizes Records of Students at Flight Schools,” St. Petersburg Times, 13 September 2001.

8. David Wedge, “Terrorists Partied with Hooker at Hub-Area Hotel,” Boston Herald, 10 October 2001.

9. Sander Hicks, “No Easy Answer: Heroin, Al Qaeda and the Florida Flight School,” Long Island Press, 26 February 2004.

9a. Elias Davidsson … musician and human rights activist, programmer (at IBM, in the 60s) and author of, i.a., Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11: Counterfeiting Evidence (2013) andPsychologische Kriegsführung und gesellschaftliche Leugnung: Die Legende des 9/11 und die Fiktion der Terrorbedrohung (2017) – editor’s note]

10. Elias Davidsson, “The Atta Mystery: Double Agent or Multiple Attas?” Aldeilis.net, 5 October 2011.

11. “Professor Dittmar Machule,” Interview by Liz Jackson, A Mission to Die For, Four Corners, 18 October 2001.

12. Carol J. Williams et al., “Mainly, They Just Waited,” Los Angeles Times, 27 September 2001.

13. Ibid.

14. Peter Finn, “Suspects Used German Rental As Headquarters,” Washington Post, 15 September 2001.

15. Ibid.

16. Bundeskriminalamt, Zeugenvernehmung von Bejaoui, Bechir, Hamburg, 5.10.2001.

17. Interview of Quentin McDermott with Rudy DekkersABC Australia, 21 October 2001.

18. The 9/11 Commission Report, 224 (pdf: 241).

19. Stephen J. Hedges and Jeff Zeleny, “Hijacker Eluded Security Net,” Chicago Tribune, 16 September 2001.

20. Elaine Allen-Emrich and Jann Baty, “Hunt for Terrorists Reaches North Port,” Charlotte Sun, 14 September 2001.

21. “Professor Dittmar Machule,” Interview by Liz Jackson, A Mission to Die For, Four Corners, 18 October 2001.

Featured image is from Snopes.com


waronterrorism.jpgby Michel Chossudovsky
ISBN Number: 9780973714715
List Price: $24.95
click here to order

Special Price: $18.00

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

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

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

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

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Featured image: Mohamed Atta al-Sayed, an Egyptian who allegedly led the September 11 attacks. Picture from his Florida driver’s license. It appeared on the FBI’s website shortly after the attacks. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Official Account

The four 9/11 planes were hijacked by devout Muslims. According to The 9/11 Commission Report, Mohamed Atta, the ringleader, had “adopted fundamentalism.” [1] The hijackers, by virtue of their beliefs, had become a “cadre of trained operatives willing to die.” [2]

The Best Evidence

The official account depends on the idea that the 9/11 planes were hijacked by devout Muslims – devout enough to die for the cause. And yet the mainstream media contained many stories contradicting the claim that the alleged hijackers were devout Muslims.

Five days after 9/11, a story in London’s Daily Mail contained this report:

At the Palm Beach bar Sunrise 251, [Mohamed] Atta and [Marwan] Al Shehhi spent $1,000 in 45 minutes on Krug and Perrier-Jouet champagne. … Atta was with a 6ft. busty brunette in her late twenties; the other man was with a shortish blonde. Both women were known locally as regular companions of high-rollers. [3]

One month after 9/11, a Boston Herald story, entitled “Terrorists Partied with Hooker at Hub-Area Hotel,” reported:

A driver for a pair of local escort services told the Herald yesterday that he drove a call girl to the Park Inn in Chestnut Hill on Sept. 9 around 10:30 p.m. where she bedded down with one of the mass murderers. It was her second trip to the terrorist’s room that day. Two of the hijackers aboard Flight 11 that crashed into the World Trade Center – Waleed M. Alshehri and Wail Alshehri – spent Sept. 9 in the Route 9 hotel, sources said. … The dirty Hub dalliances of the terrorists is just the latest link between the Koran-toting killers and America’s seedy sex scene. [4]

A week earlier, a San Francisco Chronicle article, “Agents of Terror Leave Their Mark on Sin City,” reported that at least five of the “self-styled warriors for Allah,” including Mohamed Atta, had “engaged in some decidedly un-Islamic sampling of prohibited pleasures [including lap dances] in America’s reputed capital of moral corrosion,” Las Vegas. The group, investigators said, had “made at least six trips here.” The story then quoted Dr. Osama Haikal, president of the board of directors of the Islamic Foundation of Nevada, as saying:

“True Muslims don’t drink, don’t gamble, don’t go to clubs.” [5]

On October 10, the Wall Street Journal summarized these stories in an editorial entitled “Terrorist Stag Parties.” [6] Whereas the Journal’s editorial pointed to the contradiction only implicitly, by means of its ironic title, the problem had already been drawn out explicitly, five days after 9/11, by a story in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel entitled “Suspects’ Actions Don’t Add Up.”

Three guys cavorting with lap dancers at the Pink Pony Nude Theater. Two others knocking back glasses of Stolichnaya and rum and Coke at a fish joint in Hollywood the weekend before committing suicide and mass murder. … [This] is not a picture of devout Muslims, experts say. Let alone that of religious zealots in their final days on Earth. … [A] devout Muslim [cannot] drink booze or party at a strip club and expect to reach heaven, said Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub, a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. …

“It is incomprehensible that a person could drink and go to a strip bar one night, then kill themselves the next day in the name of Islam. … Something here does not add up.” [7]

The 9/11 Commission did not explain how its characterization of the hijackers as devout Muslims was consistent with these press stories. It simply ignored them. For example, referring to a trip to Las Vegas by Atta and two other hijackers roughly a month before 9/11, the Commission wrote:

“Beyond Las Vegas’s reputation for welcoming tourists, we have seen no credible evidence explaining why, on this occasion and others, the operatives flew to or met in Las Vegas.” [8]

Conclusion

The reported behavior of the men said to have hijacked the 9/11 planes cannot be reconciled with the claim that they were devout Muslims.

The 9/11 Commission made no effort to reconcile the contradiction. It simply claimed that the men were devout, with their leader having become a fundamentalist, while simply ignoring all the reports that contradict that claim.

Had the mainstream media drawn out the implications of its own stories, which contradict the 9/11 Commission’s claims about devout Muslims, the American public would have been made aware that the 9/11 attacks could have provided no pretext for attacks on Muslim countries.

Notes

1. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, authorized edition (W. W. Norton, 2004), 160 (pdf: 177). The text says: “When Atta arrived in Germany, he appeared religious, but not fanatically so. This would change … ”

2. Ibid., 154.

3. Eric Bailey, “It Was a Little Strange. Most People Want to Do Take-Offs and Landings. All They Did Was Turns,” Daily Mail, 16 September 2001.

4. David Wedge, “Terrorists Partied with Hooker at Hub-Area Hotel,” Boston Herald, 10 October 2001.

5. Kevin Fagan, “Agents of Terror Leave Their Mark on Sin City,” San Francisco Chronicle, 4 October 2001.

6. “Terrorist Stag Parties,” Wall Street Journal, 10 October 2001.

7. Jody A. Benjamin, “Suspects’ Actions Don’t Add Up,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 16 September 2001.

8. The 9/11 Commission Report, 248 (pdf: 265).


waronterrorism.jpgby Michel Chossudovsky
ISBN Number: 9780973714715
List Price: $24.95
click here to order

Special Price: $18.00

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

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

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

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

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  • Comments Off on 9/11 Lies and Fabrications: The Claim that 9/11 Hijackers Were “Devout Muslims”

UPDATE [8.09.2017 23:24 CEST]: Dear friends, few moments ago Youtube removed one of the two “Community Guidelines strikes” from SouthFront’s channel and restored our video “Syrian War Report – September 8, 2017: US-led Coalition Rescues ISIS Commanders From Deir Ezzor?”.  This means that SouthFront is now able again to upload new videos to our Youtube channel.

However, the Community Guidelines strike that was added to the channel on September 6 remained. (You can find more about it in the text below)

The remaining strike directly impacts SouthFront’s ability to provide exclusive content. We cannot more host live streams because our Youtube channel has a Community Guidelines strike.

Furthermore, it’s clear that a threat that SouthFront’s YouTube channel might be closed down or once again frozen (as a result of false flagging by the project’s ill-wishers or by ‘mistake’ of the Youtube system) remains while the channel still has one Community Guidelines strike.

Original Post:

The project’s YouTube channel received two community guidelines strikes over the past 48 hours. With two community guidelines strikes, SouthFront cannot upload new videos on YouTube. Work on YouTube is now fully blocked.

URGENT: SouthFront's Work Is Fully Blocked On Youtube (UPDATED)

This is a clear violation of the freedom of speech and an attempt to eliminate an independent media.

On September 8, 2017, SouthFront’s war report video “Syrian War Report – September 8, 2017: US-led Coalition Rescues ISIS Commanders From Deir Ezzor?” (You can watch the deleted video here) was removed because it allegedly violated “YouTube Community Guidelines”. The video included no graphic content, but was nevertheless flagged and deleted.

URGENT: SouthFront's Work Is Fully Blocked On Youtube (UPDATED)

On September 6, 2017, SouthFront’s Youtube channel received a community guidelines strike when Youtube deleted our video “Foreign Policy Diary ‘War on Terror’ [remastered]” that was already reviewed by Youtube on February 15, 2016. (You can find more about the previous case HERE [strike added] and HERE [strike removed])

URGENT: SouthFront's Work Is Fully Blocked On Youtube (UPDATED)

In February 2016, the system deleted the video and the project channel received a community guidelines strike. However, the strike was removed after SouthFront’s appeal. The video remained deleted. SouthFront didn’t re-uplad the video.

Now, it seems that the video “Foreign Policy Diary ‘War on Terror’ [remastered]” was somehow restored (automatically? when?) and deleted again because it allegedly violated “YouTube Community Guidelines” and SouthFront’s YouTube channel received a community guidelines strike.

All SouthFront content is produced with informational purpose in mind and is aimed to provide an independent coverage of the threats of international terrorism as well as the geo-political, military and security issues of our time.

SouthFront faces systematic ‘false flagging’ on YouTube.

The project faced previous attempt to censor our YouTube channel on August 17, 2017 when our video analysis “The Battle for Mosul: Concept Versus Reality” released on December 12, 2016 was deleted because it allegedly included some content violating “YouTube Community Guidelines”.

URGENT: SouthFront's Work Is Fully Blocked On Youtube (UPDATED)

However, as a result of SouthFront’s appeal and thanks to your support, YouTube removed a “Community Guidelines strike” from SouthFront’s channel and restored the video. (You can find more info HERE)

This series of hostile and disingenuous actions, as well as YouTube’s prejudicial treatment against SouthFront poses a real threat that SouthFront’s YouTube channel might soon be closed down. In this case, SouthFront informs that you can watch all SouthFront videos at the projectwebsite, http://southfront.org

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With the recent attack on police in Myanmar by terrorists described by Reuters as “Muslim insurgents,” and ongoing terrorism plaguing the Philippines where forces are engaged with militants from the so-called “Islamic State,” it would appear that terrorism has spread into Southeast Asia with no signs of waning. 

However, the sudden uptick in violence comes at a time when America’s so-called “pivot to Asia” has ground to a complete halt, providing the United States with an all-too-convenient pretext to reengage and establish itself across the region in a much more insidious manner. 

US Sought Military Presence in Southeast Asia for Decades but Lacked a Pretext, Until Now 

The United States has openly conspired to establish and expand a permanent military presence in Southeast Asia as a means to confront, encircle, and contain China for decades.

As early as the Vietnam War, with the so-called “Pentagon Papers” released in 1969, it was revealed that the conflict was simply one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

Three important quotes from these papers reveal this strategy. It states first that:

“…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.”

It also claims:

“China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.” 

Finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating: 

“there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.” 

While the US would ultimately lose the Vietnam War and any chance of using the Vietnamese as a proxy force against Beijing, the long war against Beijing would continue elsewhere. 

More recently, an American policy think tank, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in a 2000 paper titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (PDF) would unabashedly declare its intentions to establish a wider, permanent military presence in Southeast Asia.

The report would state explicitly that: 

…it is time to increase the presence of American forces in Southeast Asia.

It would elaborate in detail, stating:

In Southeast Asia, American forces are too sparse to adequately address rising security requirements. Since its withdrawal from the Philippines in 1992, the United States has not had a significant permanent military presence in Southeast Asia. Nor can U.S. forces in Northeast Asia easily operate in or rapidly deploy to Southeast Asia – and certainly not without placing their commitments in Korea at risk. Except for routine patrols by naval and Marine forces, the security of this strategically significant and increasingly tumultuous region has suffered from American neglect. 

Noting the difficultly of placing US troops where they are not wanted, the PNAC paper notes:

This will be a difficult task requiring sensitivity to diverse national sentiments, but it is made all the more compelling by the emergence of new democratic governments in the region. By guaranteeing the security of our current allies and newly democratic nations in East Asia, the United States can help ensure that the rise of China is a peaceful one. Indeed, in time, American and allied power in the region may provide a spur to the process of democratization inside China itself.

It should be noted that the paper’s reference to “the emergence of new democratic governments in the region” is a reference to client states created by the United States on behalf of its own interests and in no way constituted actual “democratic governments” which would otherwise infer they represented the interests of the very people possessing the “national sentiments” that opposed US military presence in the region in the first place.

It should also be noted that in 2000, the United States was cultivating a number of such proxy governments across Southeast Asia including Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy in Myanmar, Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand, and Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia.

Since 2000, all but one of these proxies have been removed from power with Anwar Ibrahim residing in prison and Thaksin Shinawatra fleeing Thailand to evade a 2 year jail term.

Only Suu Kyi managed to ascend to power as a result of billions spent by her US and European sponsors via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its numerous subsidiaries and affiliates. One of these affiliates – The US Institute of Peace – has openly enumerated how the US on virtually every imaginable level is now dictating the outcome of Myanmar’s development from directing its political processes to organizing its economy. It is also providing “technical assistance” on “counter-terrorism.”

In the Philippines, attempts by the US to reestablish its military presence and use the nation in its self-serving, elective conflict with Beijing has suffered many setbacks.

US to Fight US-Saudi Sponsored Terrorism in Asia

Most recently Washington found its relationship with Manila unraveling irrevocably in favor of Manila’s increasing ties with Beijing. This was until the fortuitous arrival of militants from the so-called “Islamic State” on the nation’s shores, overwhelming an entire city in the nation’s southern region.

In Myanmar, terrorists have likewise – suddenly – appeared and are operating on unprecedented levels just in time for another push by the United States to establish a permanent military presence in the country to provide “technical assistance” on “counter-terrorism.”

Such terrorists – however – have not simply sprung from oblivion. Such organizations conducting operations on the scale seen in the Philippines, southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar require immense sums of money, organizational capacity, logistical, and political support.

And indeed, it is confirmed that not only does such support exist, it flows from a very logical and familiar source of state-sponsored terrorism – America’s oldest and closest ally in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia.

The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “Asia’s New Insurgency Burma’s abuse of the Rohingya Muslims creates violent backlash.” reports in regards to terrorism in Myanmar that (emphasis added):

Now this immoral policy has created a violent backlash. The world’s newest Muslim insurgency pits Saudi-backed Rohingya militants against Burmese security forces. As government troops take revenge on civilians, they risk inspiring more Rohingya to join the fight.

The Wall Street Journal elaborates, stating (emphasis added):

Called Harakah al-Yaqin, Arabic for “the Faith Movement,” the group answers to a committee of Rohingya emigres in Mecca and a cadre of local commanders with experience fighting as guerrillas overseas. Its recent campaign—which continued into November with IED attacks and raids that killed several more security agents—has been endorsed by fatwas from clerics in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the Emirates and elsewhere. 

Rohingyas have “never been a radicalized population,” ICG notes, “and the majority of the community, its elders and religious leaders have previously eschewed violence as counterproductive.” But that is changing fast. Harakah al-Yaqin was established in 2012 after ethnic riots in Rakhine killed some 200 Rohingyas and is now estimated to have hundreds of trained fighters.

The foreign-baked terrorism sponsored by Saudi Arabia and literally directed from within its own borders all-too-conveniently creates a pretext for US military presence in Myanmar it otherwise could not justify or in any shape, form, or way pursue.

A similar superhighway of cash and weapons flows from terrorists operating in the Philippines to Riyadh and its partners in Washington, resulting in a similar opportunity for the US to establish a permanent military presence there in reaction to a crisis of its own intentional engineering. 

While the US proposes an expansive US military presence across Southeast Asia for “counter-terrorism” assistance, it is clear that it is Washington’s own aid and support to Riyadh that is at the very source of the security crisis and that simply withdrawing aid and penalizing this state sponsor of terrorism is the solution. 

Yet the United States is not making this most logical of conclusions, nor is it taking this most obvious course of action – indicating full complicity with Saudi state-sponsorship of terrorism and placing responsibility for the death and destruction sown by terrorism across Southeast Asia squarely on Washington.

While the US frames its military presence in Southeast Asia as a cornerstone of peace and stability, it is in fact a policy representing a symptom of the sort of very real instability and chaos the United States and its self-proclaimed “international order” represents. It is particularly ironic that not only is the increasingly rampant terrorism across Southeast Asia a result of intentional Washington policy, it is being used as a pretext for setting the stage of a greater and potentially more devastating regional conflict with China.

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

This article was originally published by New Eastern Outlook.

All images in this article are from the author.

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The United States shows the world such a ridiculous face that the world laughs at us. 

The latest spin on “Russia stole the election” is that Russia used Facebook to influence the election. The NPR women yesterday were breathless about it. 

We have been subjected to ten months of propaganda about Trump/Putin election interference and still not a scrap of evidence. It is past time to ask an unasked question: If there were evidence, what is the big deal? All sorts of interest groups try to influence election outcomes including foreign governments. Why is it OK for Israel to influence US elections but not for Russia to do so? Why do you think the armament industry, the energy industry, agribusiness, Wall Street and the banks, pharmaceutical companies, etc., etc., supply the huge sum of money to finance election campaigns if their intent is not to influence the election? Why do editorial boards write editorials endorsing one candidate and damning another if they are not influencing the election?

What is the difference between influencing the election and influencing the government? Washington is full of lobbyists of all descriptions, including lobbyists for foreign governments, working round the clock to influence the US government. It is safe to say that the least represented in the government are the citizens themselves who don’t have any lobbyists working for them.

The orchestrated hysteria over “Russian influence” is even more absurd considering the reason Russia allegedly interfered in the election. Russia favored Trump because he was the peace candidate who promised to reduce the high tensions with Russia created by the Obama regime and its neocon nazis—Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. What’s wrong with Russia preferring a peace candidate over a war candidate? The American people themselves preferred the peace candidate. So Russia agreed with the electorate.  

Those who don’t agree with the electorate are the warmongers—the military/security complex and the neocon nazis. These are democracy’s enemies who are trying to overturn the choice of the American people. It is not Russia that disrespects the choice of the American people; it is the utterly corrupt Democratic National Committee and its divisive Identity Politics, the military/security complex, and the presstitute media who are undermining democracy.

I believe it is time to change the subject. The important question is who is it that is trying so hard to convince Americans that Russian influence prevails over us?

Do the idiots pushing this line realize how impotent this makes an alleged “superpower” look. How can we be the hegemonic power that the Zionist neocons say we are when Russia can decide who is the president of the United States?

The US has a massive spy state that even intercepts the private cell phone conversations of the Chancellor of Germany, but his massive spy organization is unable to produce one scrap of evidence that the Russians conspired with Trump to steal the presidential election from Hillary. When will the imbeciles realize that when they make charges for which no evidence can be produced they make the United States look silly, foolish, incompetent, stupid beyond all belief? 

Countries are supposed to be scared of America’s threat that “we will bomb you into the stone age,” but the President of Russia laughs at us. Putin recently described the complete absence of any competence in Washington:

“It is difficult to talk to people who confuse Austria and Australia. But there is nothing we can do about this; this is the level of political culture among the American establishment. As for the American people, America is truly a great nation if the Americans can put up with so many politically uncivilized people in their government.”

These words from Putin were devastating, because the world understands that they are accurate. 

Consider the idiot Nikki Haley, appointed by Trump in a fit of mindlessness as US Ambassador to the United Nations. This stupid person is forever shaking her fist at the Russians while mouthing yet another improbable accusation. She might want to read Mario Puzo’s book, The Godfather. Everyone knows the movie, but if memory serves somewhere in the book Puzo reflects on the practice of the irate American motorist who shakes a fist and gives the bird to other drivers. What if the driver receiving the insult is a Mafia capo? Does the idiot shaking his fist know who he is accosting? No. Does the moron know that the result might be a brutal beating or death? No.

Does the imbecile Nikki Haley understand what can be the result of her inability to control herself? No. Every knowledgeable person I know wonders if Trump appointed the imbecile Nikki Haley US ambassador to the world for the purpose of infuriating the Russians. 

Ask Napoleon and the German Wehrmacht the consequence of infuriating the Russians. 

After 16 years the US “superpower” has been unable to defeat a few thousand lightly armed Taliban, who have no air force, no Panzer divisions, no worldwide intelligence service, and the crazed US government in Washington is courting war with Russia and China and North Korea and Iran.

The American people are clearly out to lunch in their insouciance. Americans are fighting among themselves over “civil war” statues, while “their’ government invites nuclear armageddon.

The United States has an ambassador to the world who shows no signs of intelligence, who behaves as if she is Mike Tyson or Bruce Lee to the 5th power, and  who is the total antithesis of a diplomat. What does this tell about the United States?

It reveals that the US is in the Roman collapse stage when the emperor appoints horses to the Senate.

The United States has a horse, an uncivilized horse, as its diplomat to the world. The Congress and executive branch are also full of horses and horse excrement. The US government is completely devoid of intelligence. There is no sign of intelligence anywhere in the U.S. government. Of or morality. As Hugo Chavez said:

Satan is there; you can smell the sulphur.

America is a joke with nuclear weapons, the prime danger to life on earth.

How can this danger be corralled?

The American people would have to realize that they are being led to their deaths by the Zionist neocon nazis who, together with the military/security complex and Wall Street, control US foreign policy, by the complicity of Europe and Great Britain desperate to retain their CIA subsidies, and by the harlots that comprise the Western media.

Are Americans capable of comprehending this? Only a few have escaped The Matrix.

The consequence is that America is being locked into conflict with Russia and China. There is no possibility whatsoever of Washington invading either country, much less both, so war would be nuclear.  

Do the American people want Washington to bring us this result? If not, why are the American people sitting there sucking their thumbs, doing nothing? Why are Europe and Great Britain sitting there permitting the unfolding of nuclear armageddon? Who murdered the peace movement?

The World and the American people need desperately to rein in the warmonger United States, or the world will cease to exist.

An International Court To Preserve Life On Earth needs to be assembled. The US government and the war interests it serves need to be indicted and prosecuted and disarmed before their evil destroys life on earth.  

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Sixteen years ago this week, people in the United States got jolted out of their complacency and sense of security when two airplanes struck the Twin Towers, resulting in the collapse of those buildings, the deaths of nearly 3000 innocents, and the start of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).

The ‘new normal’ was ushered in on September 11, 2001. Americans, suddenly realizing how vulnerable they were to attack from this outside enemy, backed their president’s plan to reek vengeance on the ‘evildoers’ who ‘hate us for our freedoms.’ Americans also seemed to invite the ‘necessary’ steps of enhancing state surveillance powers, and liberty undermining ‘anti-terrorism’ measures like the PATRIOT Act as a safeguard against the terrorist menace lurking under their beds.

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But a skepticism about the official story began to emerge as President Bush and his administration began building the case for the Global War on Terrorism. Questions about insider trading in the stocks belonging to the airlines of the hijacked aircraft, Osama Bin Laden’s documented links with US Intelligence, the failure to scramble military aircraft to intercept the hijacked planes, and the unusually fast collapses of the World Trade Centre towers all provoked theories that the 9/11 attacks constituted a ‘false flag’ or ‘inside job.’

We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.”  – US President George W Bush (November 10, 2001)

Authorities appear to have closed the books on all such inquiries following the release of the Official 9/11 Commission Report in 2004, but stubborn researchers and activists have continued to question and challenge the pre-text of the war Vice President Dick Cheney said “will not end in our lifetimes.”

Today, we live in an era when the majority of post secondary students remember 9/11 vaguely, if at all.

The general public is greeted to a host of other concerns, including monster hurricanes, fall-out from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the racially charged clashes in Charlottesville and other cities, the deterioration of relations between the US and Russia, and the sabre-rattling currently directed at the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea. One wonders, in the face of these clear and present dangers, whether exposing the 9/11 legend can have much of an impact on world affairs in 2017.

To address this subject, the Global Research News Hour has sought out two individuals whose dedication to 9/11 Truth research and education has become legendary.

Richard Gage AIA is a San Francisco Bay Area architect, a member of the American Institute of Architects and the founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. In the first part of our program Gage discusses current 9/11 Truth activities. These include a supposedly groundbreaking professional study into the September 11 collapse of World Trade Centre 7, and the involvement of members of Congress in tabling of legislation mandating a renewed investigation into 9/11. Gage expresses his conviction that 9/11 Truth and Justice can and will prevail!

Michel Chossudovsky is professor (emeritus) of Economics at the University of Ottawa, an award- winning author of 11 books, and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, whose website globalresearch.ca launched just two days before 9/11. With the publication of his September 12, 2001 article “Who is Osama Bin Laden” he became among the first people in the world to publicly question the official 9/11 narrative. In the final half of the program, Chossudovsky maintains that even 16 years later, debunking the official 9/11 narrative is critical. He also elaborates on the geopolitical context of the War on Terrorism, including the actual motives behind US military operations in Afghanistan then and today.

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in everyThursday at 6pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

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

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

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

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia, Canada. – Tune in  at its new time – Wednesdays at 4pm PT.

Radio station CFUV 101.9FM based at the University of Victoria airs the Global Research News Hour every Sunday from 7 to 8am PT.

CORTES COMMUNITY RADIO CKTZ  89.5 out of Manson’s Landing, B.C airs the show Tuesday mornings at 10am Pacific time.

Cowichan Valley Community Radio CICV 98.7 FM serving the Cowichan Lake area of Vancouver Island, BC airs the program Thursdays at 6am pacific time.

Campus and community radio CFMH 107.3fm in  Saint John, N.B. airs the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 10am.

Caper Radio CJBU 107.3FM in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia airs the Global Research News Hour starting Wednesday Morning from 8:00 to 9:00am. Find more details at www.caperradio.ca

Notes:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dPvjvhXSZ0

Billions More for Crony Capitalist Insurance or Improved Medicare for All

This week we attended a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee where there was broad bi-partisan support for giving billions more to the insurance industry to “stabilize the market.” The government already gives for-profit insurance $300 billion annually and their stock values have risen dramatically since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so the rush to give them more was disheartening.

That was contrasted with a meeting with the staff of Senator Bernie Sanders about the improved Medicare for all bill he plans to introduce on September 13. Sanders, along with other Senators, is seriously trying to figure out how to transform health care from being a profit center for big business to being a public good that serves the people. That means doing away with the health insurance industry, not giving them billions of public dollars.

The contrast reinforced the need to advocate for improved Medicare for all and push for the best healthcare system we can create.

Healthcare a Commodity or a Human Right?

Senators are back from their long summer recess, and they started off with health care back at the top of the agenda. The Senate HELP committee held its first of four hearings on September 6, and Senator Bernie Sanders is preparing to introduce a Medicare for All bill on September 13. The two efforts are a clear example of the underlying dilemma that we have faced in the United States for the past 100 years: Is health care a commodity or a public good? It can’t be both.

The failed efforts to repeal and replace the ACA took up a lot of time and energy this year and left the country in no better position to deal with the ongoing healthcare crisis. Now, time is really short because private health insurers are announcing their rates for 2018, and they are, not surprisingly, screaming for more money because they have to (*gasp*) pay for health care.

A group of us attended the first Senate HELP committee hearing to convey the message that the people are ready to undertake the serious work of creating a National Improved Medicare for All. Typically, before and sometimes during a hearing, attendees are allowed to hold signs as long as they are not disruptive. On that day, the committee chair, Senator Lamar Alexander, ordered that signs be put away before the hearing even began. He told Dr. Carol Paris, a steering committee member of the Health Over Profit for Everyone campaign, that “we are not talking about improved Medicare for All now.”

Instead, the entire hearing focused on “stabilizing the insurance market,” even though their stock values have quadrupled since 2010. Five health insurance commissioners from different states testified before the senators and answered questions. It appeared that all had been well-prepped by the health insurance industry. The committee members patted each other on the back for being bi-partisan, unfortunately they were working together for the insurance industry, not for the people.

The bi-partisan hearing discussed three main points: making sure that public dollars were available to subsidize insurance costs, reinsuring private health insurers so they would be protected if they had to spend ‘too much’ money on health care and incentives to entice private insurers back into areas that are not profitable. Coincidentally, these were the same points raised in the bi-partisan proposal published this year by the Center for American Progress, a Democratic Party think tank financed in part by health insurance lobbyists. Both parties are clearly on the side of health care as a commodity.

Not one person participating in the hearing questioned whether health care belonged in the market. At least one Senator, Rand Paul, complained about Big Insurance coming to Washington with their hands out and said he would rather pay directly for health care than give the money to Big Insurance. His ideology is far from supporting Improved Medicare for All, but he did call out the corruption.

Perhaps the most disappointing of the day was Senator Al Franken, who has completely bought into the ‘health care is a commodity’ camp. Not only did he advocate for subsidizing and reinsuring private insurers, but he called for a federal reinsurance program to cover the costs of people who need health care, at least after Big Insurance takes their cut. And Franken, who tried to make jokes about the hearing, called for more money to advertise and lure youth into the insurance market, which is about as unethical as pushing cigarettes or candy, and wants heavier enforcement of mandates to purchase health insurance. Franken touted a ‘virtuous cycle’ of giving more money to health insurers so that they lower premiums and more people buy insurance. The problem is that there is nothing very virtuous about spending billions to subsidize an industry that has a greater responsibility to pay its Wall Street investors than to pay for necessary health care. The insurance industry has shown itself to be insatiable, and ready to use their power to extort Congress because they hold people’s lives in their hands.

It was a difficult hearing to attend. The whole time we wanted to stand up and ask whether they could possibly see how ridiculous this all appeared and whether they thought private health insurers added any benefit. But, the Capitol Police made it clear from the start that they would arrest anyone who disrupted without warning, and we had a meeting scheduled with Senator Sanders’ staff after the hearing. We did manage to squeeze out a few “Medicare for All’s” during the hearing.

Healthcare Without the For-Profit Insurance Industry

The meeting with Senator Sanders’ staff was like night and day. We began from the premise that health care is a human right and had a frank discussion of how that could be achieved. The text of his upcoming bill was not available, but for 90 minutes we discussed many of the details of the bill. This meeting was scheduled because of a letter that the Health Over Profit for Everyone steering committee sent to the Senator’s health staffers raising concerns about what was reported to be in the bill. An initial response was lacking, but once the letter was widely circulated in progressive blogs, the staff were ready to meet.

There has been a movement for National Improved Medicare for All in the United States for a long time. People in the movement have debated and reached consensus about how an improved Medicare for all system ought to be structured. Much of that is embodied in John Conyers’ legislation, HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which has 118 co-sponsors. Senator Sanders and his group, Our Revolution, are raising funds and working to build more support for Improved Medicare for All, but they still need to cooperate with those who have been advocating for this if they want full support.

Fortunately, Senator Sanders has demonstrated that he is responsive to public pressure. He started the year off not intending to introduce Medicare for all legislation, but he received push back and changed his mind. Then he started talking about fixing the ACA and introducing a public option, and there was pushback against that. There has also been pressure about the contents of the bill. When it was learned that there would be co-pays, many organizations, including Physicians for a National Health Program, contacted his office to say that co-pays add more complexity to the system and cause people to delay or avoid necessary health care. His staff reported that co-pays have been removed in the bill except for purchasing drugs, in order to encourage the use of generic drugs.

In the process of winning a single payer healthcare system, the movement for National Improved Medicare for All has the role of being the watchdog to make sure that we create the best system we can. We want this system to work for everyone and to be a system that improves health, a system that the United States can be proud of. This is a role that will be ongoing even after we win because we will have to improve the system and constantly guard against those who would try to privatize it so they can profit.

After meeting with Senator Sanders’ staff, we felt more reassured that his intention is to ultimately create a strong National Improved Medicare for All system. There are many provisions in the bill that are to be applauded – providing care to every person in the United States and offering fairly comprehensive coverage – and a few that we will have to work on – such as including long term care, abolishing investor-owned health facilities and a more rapid transition period. On September 13, if all goes well, the text of the bill will be released and we will assess it.

The People Can Win Improved Medicare for All

All in all, we are in a strong position. The Senate HELP committee hearing showed how out of touch many of our legislators are with the people, who favor Improved Medicare for All or are just yearning for affordable health care no matter what form that takes.

Senate Debates Billions for Insurers while Public Demands Medicare for All

Source: Health Over Profit

And, we know members of Congress can be moved, some more easily than others. This week the architect of the ACA in Congress, former Senator Max Baucus, who had us arrested with six others in 2009 when we stood up and called for single payer to be included in the debate, joined the choir. Baucus said single payer is the answer, commenting “we’re getting there, it’s going to happen.” We were arrested demanding that he put single payer on the table and he refused, calling for more police instead. Now, more than 100,000 preventable deaths later, he supports it. The ACA was born out of the corruption by healthcare profiteers and everyone involved from Obama to Baucus knew it, and everyone from Alexander to Franken knows that remains true today.

The tide is shifting in the United States. After a century of what Professor David Barton Smith, a health historian calls, “more palatable approaches” that have each “self-destructed,” we are clear that health care is a public service, not a financial profit center. We are ready to do the work to make what was once considered impossible, National Improved Medicare for All, become inevitable. Each week, new support for single payer arises. The other surprise this week was the support of centrist Democrat, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, who explained that his farmer parents never had insurance until they were old enough for Medicare.

Hopefully, more legislators will arrive at the wisdom that, as Professor Smith describes:

“The practical mechanics of how to make such a universal health insurance system work are a lot easier than patching together the existing hopelessly fragmented private-public health insurance system. The Medicare program actually does this quite well and the cry of Medicare for all has never been silenced. Indeed, no one has ever objected to their ‘mandated’ coverage under Medicare.”

The people have the power to finally make the government do the right thing. No more compromises. No more false solutions. Onward to National Improved Medicare for All.

Featured image is from HuffPost.

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A recent report by the U.N Commission of Inquiry[1] on Syria, fruit of terrorist- perpetrated false flag attacks, such as the incident at Khan Shaykhun, in Idlib province, is yet another example of the U.S Empire’s corrosive influence in world affairs.

Circumstances surrounding the incident at Khan Shaykhun are the rule, rather than the exception.

The U.N Commission’s findings are clearly flawed since they rely on al Qaeda terrorists as witnesses, since the chain of custody for evidence was not secured, and for numerous other well-documented reasons. But the report will nonetheless have some (limited) traction because it serves criminal propaganda agendas of those who still seek to expand the war, to destroy the forces of international law and order, to empower terrorism, and to force duly-elected and much-loved President Assad “to go”.

Washington regularly uses fake intelligence to provide fake pretexts for war and more war. Time and again, we see that policies are first established (i.e the invasion of any number of countries), and then intelligence is “fixed” around the previously established policy to “justify” that which is not justifiable.

Author David Ray Griffin, demonstrates in Bush and Cheney|How They Ruined America And The World that “(e)very claim made by the Bush-Cheney administration about WMD (in Iraq) proved to be false.” In reaching this conclusion, Griffin shows that in every instance where solid intelligence did not support invasion plans, fake/corrupt “intelligence” was used instead.  Intelligence was “fixed” around policy.[2]

NATO terrorists have used “fixed” intelligence for all of their false flag terror incidents in Syria, and the incident at Khan Shaykhun[3] is no exception.

The U.N has proven itself, yet again, to be an agency for corruption and imperialism rather than as an agency for peace and the rule of law.

Notes

[1] Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

(http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/IICISyria/Pages/IndependentInternationalCommission.aspx) Accessed September 8, 2017.

[2] David Ray Griffin, Bush and Cheney|How They Ruined America And The World (Northampton, Olive Branch Press, 2017), 57.

[3] Mark Taliano, “Syria Chemical Weapons Red Flags and False Flags.” Global

Research, April 6, 2017.

(http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-chemical-weapons-red-flags-and-false-flags/5583616) Accessed September 8, 2017.

Featured image is from honestreporting.com


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

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Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

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China recently announced they will trade oil for yuan “backed” by gold. The story has gotten some press (none of it mainstream mind you), and many have questions as to what it really means. While quite complicated as a whole, when you break this down into pieces I believe it is a quite simple and logical end to Bretton Woods.

For a background, China has had an exchange open for about a year where gold can be purchased with yuan, though the volumes so far have been miniscule to this point.

China has also been all over the world inking trade deals (in yuan) and investing in all sorts of resources from oil to gold to grains, they have made no secret about this.

With the most recent example here. They have trade arrangements and treaties with Russia, Iran and many other non Western nations. They have also “courted” many Western nations privately (remember their meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia?) and actually lured many with their “Silk Road” plans via the AIIB which was huge news last year (but nearly forgotten by Americans at this point?).

We also know China has been a huge importer of gold for the last 4-5 years and done so publicly via Shanghai receipts and deliveries.

So what exactly does “oil for yuan” mean? In my opinion, China is basically leading a “mutiny FOR the bounty” (we’ll explain this shortly). The only things holding the dollar up from outright death for many years has been the oil trade (and other trade commerce) between nations and settled in dollars. Anyone wanting to buy oil had to first buy dollars in order to pay for the trade. Anyone getting out of step and suggesting they would accept currency other than dollars was dealt with swiftly and harshly (think Saddam and Mohamar). In other words, the U.S. military “enforced” the deal Henry Kissinger made with the Middle East (lead by Saudi Arabia) where ALL oil was settled in dollars. International trade settlement alone supported the dollar after the Nixon administration defaulted on its promise to exchange one ounce of gold for $35.

China is now suggesting THEY will be the ones to trade oil and not use the dollar for settlement. Instead, settlement will be in yuan. But why now?

I believe for one of two reasons or more likely both. First, and as we have recently spoken about, it very well may be that the US military technology has been cracked or leap frogged. It is looking like a distinct possibility and if so, China/Russia now have less fear of U.S. military “retribution”.

The other possibility pertains to gold. We have no way of knowing whether or not the “bottom of the barrel” as far as gold reserves is in sight but we can have a pretty good idea.

Physical demand for gold has exceeded mine supply by some 1,500 tons for the last 20 years, “Scrap” supply can not have made up the shortfall. The only place the gold to supply for delivery can have come from are Western (think Ft. Knox) vaults. If the Chinese know their “supplier” of gold is at or near zero, this could also explain “why now”. My bet is both, military technology AND lack of gold supply are at work here.

The next question is this, does China want to become the world’s reserve currency? I do not think so as they have seen economies of the issuers of the reserve currency destroyed time after time throughout history. Rather, China wants to lead the parade away from the dollar or at least steer it. Whether via a larger slice of the SDR pie, or another as yet to be introduced currency I do not know.

What we do know: the U.S. is broke and very likely nearly out of gold. The U.S. has “led” the world with an iron fist and trampled many in its wake …pissing off nations all the while over the last 20+ years in particular. China knows this and also knows the rest of the world will follow them just as school kids will follow the one who stands up to the school bully. Besides, on the surface it certainly looks like better (more fair) trade and settlement terms for anyone who goes along.

Wrapping this up, we need to know “what” all this means? Most importantly it means the world will have an alternative to settling in dollars …which means less overall demand for dollars. This alone will weaken the dollar much further than the huge move we have already seen. A weaker dollar will mean much higher prices (inflation) for the imported goods we no longer manufacture at home.

There is a bigger problem here that few are thinking of yet. How will the U.S. settle trade if the dollar becomes so weak it becomes shunned …AND we have no gold for international settlement left? This is a very serious question and one pertaining directly to the standard of living for Americans.

Answering the question as to the meaning of “mutiny for the bounty”, this is simple. You can think of “bounty” as “prosperity” if you will. Prosperity in today’s world means you produce goods and trade, trade, trade! By and large I believe the world wants peace and prosperity …which go hand in hand and are not mutually exclusive. If the world is offered a “more fair” way to settle trade, will they go for it? You bet! Especially if they are offered “cover” or protection from the U.S. military …for trading in a currency they deem more fair than dollars!

So it seems to me, China is leading a world that is ready to follow in a direction away from dollars. As for gold, it will explode in price in terms of a weakening dollar but there is potentially more. China without ANY DOUBT is THE largest holder of gold on the planet. It is for this reason China now has the ability to “price” gold wherever they want to. In other words, China can mark the price of gold to the moon which will do several things. It will make them the wealthiest nation on the planet while at the same time making it extremely expensive and difficult for anyone to catch up by amassing their own gold horde.

As to the yuan becoming gold backed, I doubt it in reality. I highly doubt they will ever “exchange” their current gold horde. It is more likely they will only exchange further gold accumulated from this point forward but that is a story for another day.

We have speculated for several years that China might try to supplant the dollar. It now makes sense and one would have to wonder why they wouldn’t lead the mutiny if they were to become the new captain?

This article was originally published by Jim Sinclair’s MineSet.

Featured image is from King World News.

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China recently announced they will trade oil for yuan “backed” by gold. The story has gotten some press (none of it mainstream mind you), and many have questions as to what it really means. While quite complicated as a whole, when you break this down into pieces I believe it is a quite simple and logical end to Bretton Woods.

For a background, China has had an exchange open for about a year where gold can be purchased with yuan, though the volumes so far have been miniscule to this point.

China has also been all over the world inking trade deals (in yuan) and investing in all sorts of resources from oil to gold to grains, they have made no secret about this.

With the most recent example here. They have trade arrangements and treaties with Russia, Iran and many other non Western nations. They have also “courted” many Western nations privately (remember their meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia?) and actually lured many with their “Silk Road” plans via the AIIB which was huge news last year (but nearly forgotten by Americans at this point?).

We also know China has been a huge importer of gold for the last 4-5 years and done so publicly via Shanghai receipts and deliveries.

So what exactly does “oil for yuan” mean? In my opinion, China is basically leading a “mutiny FOR the bounty” (we’ll explain this shortly). The only things holding the dollar up from outright death for many years has been the oil trade (and other trade commerce) between nations and settled in dollars. Anyone wanting to buy oil had to first buy dollars in order to pay for the trade. Anyone getting out of step and suggesting they would accept currency other than dollars was dealt with swiftly and harshly (think Saddam and Mohamar). In other words, the U.S. military “enforced” the deal Henry Kissinger made with the Middle East (lead by Saudi Arabia) where ALL oil was settled in dollars. International trade settlement alone supported the dollar after the Nixon administration defaulted on its promise to exchange one ounce of gold for $35.

China is now suggesting THEY will be the ones to trade oil and not use the dollar for settlement. Instead, settlement will be in yuan. But why now?

I believe for one of two reasons or more likely both. First, and as we have recently spoken about, it very well may be that the US military technology has been cracked or leap frogged. It is looking like a distinct possibility and if so, China/Russia now have less fear of U.S. military “retribution”.

The other possibility pertains to gold. We have no way of knowing whether or not the “bottom of the barrel” as far as gold reserves is in sight but we can have a pretty good idea.

Physical demand for gold has exceeded mine supply by some 1,500 tons for the last 20 years, “Scrap” supply can not have made up the shortfall. The only place the gold to supply for delivery can have come from are Western (think Ft. Knox) vaults. If the Chinese know their “supplier” of gold is at or near zero, this could also explain “why now”. My bet is both, military technology AND lack of gold supply are at work here.

The next question is this, does China want to become the world’s reserve currency? I do not think so as they have seen economies of the issuers of the reserve currency destroyed time after time throughout history. Rather, China wants to lead the parade away from the dollar or at least steer it. Whether via a larger slice of the SDR pie, or another as yet to be introduced currency I do not know.

What we do know: the U.S. is broke and very likely nearly out of gold. The U.S. has “led” the world with an iron fist and trampled many in its wake …pissing off nations all the while over the last 20+ years in particular. China knows this and also knows the rest of the world will follow them just as school kids will follow the one who stands up to the school bully. Besides, on the surface it certainly looks like better (more fair) trade and settlement terms for anyone who goes along.

Wrapping this up, we need to know “what” all this means? Most importantly it means the world will have an alternative to settling in dollars …which means less overall demand for dollars. This alone will weaken the dollar much further than the huge move we have already seen. A weaker dollar will mean much higher prices (inflation) for the imported goods we no longer manufacture at home.

There is a bigger problem here that few are thinking of yet. How will the U.S. settle trade if the dollar becomes so weak it becomes shunned …AND we have no gold for international settlement left? This is a very serious question and one pertaining directly to the standard of living for Americans.

Answering the question as to the meaning of “mutiny for the bounty”, this is simple. You can think of “bounty” as “prosperity” if you will. Prosperity in today’s world means you produce goods and trade, trade, trade! By and large I believe the world wants peace and prosperity …which go hand in hand and are not mutually exclusive. If the world is offered a “more fair” way to settle trade, will they go for it? You bet! Especially if they are offered “cover” or protection from the U.S. military …for trading in a currency they deem more fair than dollars!

So it seems to me, China is leading a world that is ready to follow in a direction away from dollars. As for gold, it will explode in price in terms of a weakening dollar but there is potentially more. China without ANY DOUBT is THE largest holder of gold on the planet. It is for this reason China now has the ability to “price” gold wherever they want to. In other words, China can mark the price of gold to the moon which will do several things. It will make them the wealthiest nation on the planet while at the same time making it extremely expensive and difficult for anyone to catch up by amassing their own gold horde.

As to the yuan becoming gold backed, I doubt it in reality. I highly doubt they will ever “exchange” their current gold horde. It is more likely they will only exchange further gold accumulated from this point forward but that is a story for another day.

We have speculated for several years that China might try to supplant the dollar. It now makes sense and one would have to wonder why they wouldn’t lead the mutiny if they were to become the new captain?

This article was originally published by Jim Sinclair’s MineSet.

Featured image is from King World News.

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This CBS Report suggests that Osama bin Laden had been admitted to a Pakistani Military hospital in Rawalpindi on the 10th local time, less than 24 hours before the terrorist attacks.

The report does not mention when he was actually released. 

Nonetheless, this report casts doubt on the official narrative to the effect that Osama bin Laden was responsible for coordinating the 9/11 attacks.

From where? From his hospital bed? From his laptop or his cell phone?  

The Pakistani military headquarters located in Rawalpindi is integrated by resident US military and intelligence advisers working with their Pakistani colleagues, who routinely report to Washington. It would be impossible for Osama bin Laden to enter a Pakistani military hospital unnoticed. Osama is a CIA “intelligence asset”. His whereabouts are known.

If this CBS report is correct, this confirms that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden on September 10 were known to the Bush Administration.

Did “intelligence asset” Osama bin Laden have a GPS “Embedded Locator Chip”  within his body, or a GPS in his laptop or cell phone which would have enabled US intelligence to establish his precise location in real time? (That GPS technology including the embedded locator chip was readily available to US intelligence and law enforcement well before 2001).

Osama could have been arrested on the 10th of September 2001. But that did not happen.

Donald Rumsfeld repeatedly claimed that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown: “It is like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.   It’s an outright lie.  Needless to say, “Going after bin Laden” in the wake of 9/11 has served to sustain the legend of the “world’s most wanted terrorist”.

The complete transcript of the CBS report is given below (emphasis). The original CBS video is also provided.

Excerpt from Michel Chossudovsky’s presentation to McMaster University, Ontario in 2002.

Bin Laden Whereabouts Before 9/11

CBS Evening News with Dan Rather; Author: Dan Rather, Barry Petersen

CBS, 28 January 2002

Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),  globalresearch.ca ,  28  March 2002

DAN RATHER, CBS ANCHOR: As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.

This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into this military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. On that night, says this medical worker who wanted her identity protected, they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them. She says it was treatment for a very special person. The special team was obviously up to no good.

“The military had him surrounded,” says this hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he says, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.” Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments, back and stomach problems. Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, says the military was often there to help before 9/11.

AHMED RASHID, TALIBAN EXPERT: There were reports that Pakistani intelligence had helped the Taliban buy dialysis machines. And the rumor was that these were wanted for Osama bin Laden.

PETERSEN (on camera): Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they refused our request to see any records. Government officials tonight denied that bin Laden had any medical treatment on that night.

(voice-over): But it was Pakistan`s President Musharraf who said in public what many suspected, that bin Laden suffers from kidney disease, saying he thinks bin Laden may be near death. His evidence, watching this most recent video, showing a pale and haggard bin Laden, his left hand never moving. Bush administration officials admit they don`t know if bin Laden is sick or even dead.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: With respect to the issue of Osama bin Laden`s health, I just am — don`t have any knowledge.

PETERSEN: The United States has no way of knowing who in Pakistan`s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Laden maybe up to the night before 9/11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the United States may not know if those same people might help him again perhaps to freedom.

Barry Petersen, CBS News, Islamabad.


 

waronterrorism.jpg

by Michel Chossudovsky

ISBN Number: 9780973714715
List Price: $24.95
click here to order

Special Price: $18.00

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

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

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

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

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Managing the decline of coal dependent cities will be a tricky balancing act for the government.

Between 2008 and 2010 the government identified 69 “resource depleted cities” of which 19 – more than one quarter – are in the northeastern provinces of Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang. Once the heart of China’s heavy industry, the country’s northeast is in trouble; its oil fields and steel mills are struggling, and its coal mining sector is in chronic decline.This article originated as part of a Special Report on economic decline and rejuvenation in China’s former coal belt. In part two photographer Stam Lee explores Fuxin, a hollowed out pit town pinning its hopes on wind power in photo essay, accompanied by a report co-authored with chinadialogue reporter Feng Hao who expanded it for the Asia-Pacific Journal.In old mining villages near the pits of Fuxin in Liaoning Province in China’s northeast you can still find former miners like Huang Anyuan (above), who worked in coal mines for 30 years (Image: Stam Lee)

Most of these 19 cities primarily mined coal, but with the sector in decline, an urgent search is on for new economic opportunities. Many of the problems faced by the northeast reflect the broader need for China to shift to more sustainable economic development as environmental pressures force it to restore the environment and reduce carbon emissions in the context of a drive to promote renewable energy.

Resource depletion

It is getting harder to mine coal in China’s northeast. Most seams have been mined too extensively, with some pits descending over a kilometre down into the earth.

At those depths, the temperature and humidity become problematic for large machinery so more labour intensive methods are used. But higher labour costs mean that the cost of coal mining has rocketed to unsustainable levels.

According to a recent report, jointly published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Urban and Environmental Studies and the Research Institute for Global Value Chains at the University of International Business and Economics, coal companies nationwide employ on average 11 people per 10,000 tonnes of coal output. However, industry leaders such as Shenhua and the China National Coal Group have reduced this to 4-5 people. In contrast, older northeast companies such as the Jilin Coal Group and Shenyang Coal Group employ around 21, and the Heilongjiang Coal Group employs 48 – more than four times the national average.

The additional labour increases costs. The Heilongjiang Coal Group pays 451 yuan to extract one tonne of coal, with labour costs accounting for 215 yuan. This compares to less than 200 yuan for one tonne of coal for Shenhua.

The government has also put pressure on the coal sector in the northeast through policies to reduce coal power generation and steel output, aimed at improving air quality. In 2016, China reduced coal consumption for the third consecutive year, leading many to believe that the country’s coal consumption had already peaked. In 2016, the industry was instructed to reduce coal output by about 500 million tonnes over the next three to five years from the current level of 3.8 billion tonnes per year as China sought to become a world leader in solar and wind power.

New jobs needed

The report estimates that by 2020 the coal sector will employ less than three million people, down from 5.29 million in 2013. This means that within seven years approximately 2.3 million miners will require reemployment.

Already during coal’s golden decade between 2004 and 2013, efficiency improvements reduced the need for labour. Between 2000 and 2012 the average number of employees per 10,000 tonnes of coal produced was reduced by more than half, from 29 to 14. Even without resource depletion and reductions in output, coal jobs in the northeast would have gradually been lost.

Gao Jinxue, party secretary of the Hengda Mining Group in Liaoning province told Xinhua that labor cost accounts for 45% of the company’s total cost. “It is not affordable”, said Gao. “This means we have to lay off some workers”. As far as the differences between state-owned enterprises and private enterprises, some hold the view that the state continues to “protect its own children”.

According to China’s State Administration of Work Safety, 14 large coal bases account for 92.3% of the country’s total output. The construction of these large coal bases was put forward by the State Council in 2014. There are 102 mining areas, mainly owned by large state-owned coal enterprises and local state-owned enterprises. Yet, in proportion to their volume and output, SOEs’ commitment to cut excess capacity appears to be low. For example, China’s 14 central enterprises’ original design capacity is 846 million tons, which should be reduced by 135 million tons. However, the target set by SASAC was only 31 million tons. In short, large state-owned mines will continue to dominate coal even as the sector shrinks.

The falling profitability of coal mining firms

 ​Source: ​International Institute for Sustainable Development

Looking for work

Former miners find it hard to find new jobs. Jiang Zhimin, deputy head of the China Coal Industry Association, said at the start of this year that in 2016 posts had been found for some by letting temporary workers go and moving others to new work. But as reduction in output continues, the coal industry is less able to find an alternative to making miners redundant.

With half of all miners over 45 years old and six out of ten educated to junior middle school level or less, finding new work is particularly challenging.

China’s large state-owned enterprises (SOE) are regarded as an extension of government, and a major SOE may have its own hospitals, schools, retirement homes and post office – it is a major part of life not just of its employees but for their children, too. The large state-owned coal mines of the north-east are a classic example of this.

“Only SOE or government jobs are regarded as real work,” says Wang Miao, an assistant researcher with the Research Institute for Global Value Chains. She has found that some miners prefer to stay in mines facing imminent closure, earning just 800 yuan a month, rather than try to find more lucrative work elsewhere.

Some miners, despite being forced to look for new jobs, keep their shovels and other mining implements at home, in the hope that one day they can return to mining. Wang Miao explained that the hope the industry will one day recover keeps many from leaving the sector altogether.

No way back

According to a report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) there are countless global examples showing how reduced employment due to macro-level industrial policies can have profound social impacts – especially in subsidised industries. The dilemma for government to deal with the coal mining cities is that if changes are not made then the financial costs and environmental risks can be enormous, but if changes are rapid and drastic, a range of social problems may arise.

And once a transition is underway, it cannot be reversed. In this, China’s policy makers appear to have accepted that a transition is inevitable, unlike in the US where the Trump administration is looking to revive the flagging coal sector while ignoring environmental concerns.

There appears to be little hope for a revival of the coal industry, which must contest with China’s changing economic structure, the rise of service industries, and the development of new energy sources, says Huo Jingdong, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Institute for Economic and Social Development.

A hard road ahead

In the short term, SOEs can be subsidised while they operate at a loss and reduce costs by cutting working hours and salaries, says Richard Bridle, senior policy advisor at IISD. But such fixes are not long-term solutions.

Cutting workers is the only option, argues Bridle, but it must go hand in hand with an effort to create new employment opportunities elsewhere so that miners can be reemployed. Fuxin, a coal city in Liaoning, is developing wind power generation and manufacturing. In 2016, the city had 1.89 gigawatts of installed wind power, accounting for 30% of the province’s total wind power generation. Fuxin now gets half of its power from the wind.

Commenting on this, Zhang Ying, an assistant researcher with the Institute of Urban and Environmental Studies, said that such efforts to replace jobs in mining cities are just getting underway and there are significant uncertainties over future funding and market prospects. Also, most of the replacement industries are in technology or capital intensive sectors so they won’t provide as many jobs as the labour intensive coal sector.

There appear to be few good examples to emulate internationally. The IISD notes in its report that Asturias in Spain offered early retirement to miners facing similar issues. This resolved short and medium term issuesm but meant there was little impetus for long term development.

There is one ray of hope though for the north-east’s mining cities in the form of regional transport projects. Liu Qiang, head of the Energy Research Office at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Quantitative and Technical Economics, says efforts to prop up failing cities should in some cases be abandoned in favour of developing city clusters around major regional cities such as Harbin, Changchun, Shenyang and Dalian. The good rail networks can be further developed, along with other types of communications infrastructure. He suggests that cities within a half-hour train journey should “huddle together for warmth.”

Waiting for the wind of fortune: Photo Essay on the transformation of Fuxin, once perhaps Asia’s largest open cast coal mine

Photographs by Stam Lee, text by Hao Feng

As the coal economy collapses, China’s first “resource drained” city is pinning its hopes of revival on wind power

Up on the hill you can hear the new turbines spinning in the strong breeze. Chen Fang, from the village of Taizigou, hopes the wind will bring rain so she can plant her seeds.

The Fuxin Haizhou Open-cast Mine, allegedly Asia’s largest open cast mine, was once the pride of the people of Fuxin. Despite being closed for many years, small fires can still be seen along in the 6-kilometre pit, spontaneously igniting in the coal layer. On December 28, 2001, Fuxin was officially designated as a resource-drained city by the State Council – the first such city.

Locals and tourists come in a steady stream to visit a memorial to coal miners who died in the mines between 1914 and 1946. Fuxin was founded and flourished on the coal economy, and was one of the first centres of energy production set up by the People’s Republic of China.

A model of the old mining area in the mining museum. In over half a century, 530 million tonnes of coal were extracted in Fuxin – loaded into 60-tonne trucks that cumulatively would circle the globe 4.3 times.

In the old mining villages near the pits you can still find some former miners living there. Huang Anyuan is one of them. He worked in the mines for 30 years before retiring. Five years ago the government offered him new accommodation available to those affected by subsidence but he gave this to his son while he and his wife stayed put.

Most of the buildings nearby were demolished last year. The water’s been cut-off so people have to fetch it themselves.

A pile of rubble now stands on the site of the old dormitory buildings. Like Huang Anyuan, many former residents have chosen to give their allocated new homes to their children, while they rent tiny rooms elsewhere.

As former mining villages have been demolished, one collector has been gathering old millstones.

In the 1980s and 90s depletion of coal seams and increasing extraction costs meant that the city’s coal-led economy started to fail – and with it the city. The Fuxin Mining Group closed 23 mines and laid off 129,000 workers, 28.8% of all its employees. 198,000 residents of the city, a quarter of the total, receive welfare payments designed to ensure a minimum standard of living.

In the areas populated by former miners there are many middle aged people with little to do. In some Fuxin households, a miner’s pension may be the only income for three generations.

As the coal industry collapsed, finding new jobs for those laid off became more urgent. But finding work for so many manual workers in such a short time and when there were no major employers or industries available was impossible. Some have opened small shops or other small businesses to earn spending money.

There are lots of barbecue stalls on the streets of Fuxin, more than other north-eastern cities. The locals say it’s partly because they love barbecue in the north-east, but also because this is the cheapest way to set yourself up in business after being laid off.

On a sunny weekend both banks of this river would be lined with middle-aged fishermen. Former city Party secretary Wang Qiong summarised the city’s economic transition plan as one of self-reliance supported by strong market and technology-led private firms.

If you want a seat on the train between Fuxin and Shenyang you need to book two days in advance. The city is finally recovering after 15 years of transition, and people are starting to come back.

Here in the transition zone between the Mongolian plateau and the plains west of the Liao river, the trees in the villages around Fuxin bend in the wind.

Over the past 15 years it is that wind that has provided the city with an alternative to coal energy.

The wind turbines offer a new view from the top of Tashan. By 2015 the city had 3.6 gigawatts of wind power capacity installed. The city’s leaders are keen for the sector to replace coal.

Fuxin has transitioned to an era of wind power. By the end of 2016 the city was supplying 1.89 gigawatts to the grid – 30% of Liaoning’s wind power generation.

In a new village built for coal miners in the Fuxin district of Xinqiu, Gao Yuan sells silk scarves. She is also waiting for the wind having tied a line between two trees and hung her scarves from it. The one yuan scarves flutter more in the wind, which is good for sales.

Fuxin has built a new industrial zone to the west. As of the end of 2015, Fuxin’s wind power manufacturers were producing output worth 20.1 billion yuan – 8.5 billion yuan in turbines, 9 billion in components, 1.5 billion in services, and 1.1 billion in materials.

The new energy sector has created over 5,500 jobs in Fuxin. One single wind power firm, Huaneng, pays almost 200 million yuan in taxes in the city – and this is while still entitled to tax reductions.

At 7’o’clock in the morning in Tazigou, a village in northeast China, the sky is dark, the wind strong, and you can hear the new turbines up on the hill spinning. “With this wind…”, Chen Fang forecasts a rainstorm, picks up her hoe and corn seeds and heads up the hillside from her home.

By 5’o’clock that afternoon she’s turned the earth and cleared rocks on her family’s one mu (670 square metres) of land underneath the turbines. The clouds have dispersed and the four turbines have stopped turning.

“Waited for nothing!” she sighs, muttering to herself. This is the fourth time this month she’s come up here, hoping the wind will bring rain so she can plant the spring corn. The wind comes and goes but the rain never falls. She’s starting to get anxious.

This hill, known as Tashan, lies to the southeast of Fuxin town in Liaoning province, about 5 kilometres from the city. Since March, when the snow melted, to now in early May there hasn’t been a single decent rain storm here on the transition zone between the Inner Mongolian plateau and the Liaohe plains (a farming area in Manchuria in northeast China).

Rain is precious in these parts, particularly for fields like this that have no irrigation. And it’s not just farmer Chen Fang who is waiting for wind.

Once Asia’s largest open-cast mine, the Fuxin Haizhou mine closed many years ago. But small fires can still be seen spontaneously igniting in the coal layer in pits for 6 kilometres. With no wind, the smoke and ash hang in the air and have become the main cause of complaint for residents in nearby Fuxin.

In a new village, built for coal miners in the Fuxin district of Xinqiu, Gao Yuan, a silk scarf seller, is also waiting for the wind – she’s tied a line between two trees to hang her wares from it. The windier it is the more the 1 yuan (US$0.15) scarves flutter and the more she sells.

From Tashan in Fuxin to the vast new windfarms in Inner Mongolia’s Hure Banner, everyone’s waiting for the wind.

Over the last fifty years Fuxin has provided the nation with 700 million tonnes of coal and 250 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. But the city, which was founded and flourished on the profits of coal power, is struggling as the coal runs out and is in dire need of an alternative source of growth.

The first resource-drained city

On December 28, 2001, Fuxin was officially designated as a resource-exhausted city by the State Council – the first city to have been designated so.

“Fuxin was founded because of coal, it flourished because of coal; it was one of the first centres of energy production set up by the People’s Republic of China. To develop the nation we tried to be number one, to mine more coal. Now, we’re the first resource-drained city.” Yang Zhonglin worked in Fuxin for 13 years between 2003 and 2016 and has been the city’s deputy Party secretary and Mayor. He has seen the city through its toughest decade.

Fuxin is a classic example of China’s mining cities. In the 1980s and 1990s depletion of coal seams and increasing costs meant that the city’s coal-led economy started to fail – and the city’s prosperity went down with it.

As the open-cast mine became stripped bare, so the miners dug their pits, deeper and deeper. Subsidence affects 101 square kilometres of land in Fuxin, where the miners’ huts only occupy 5 square kilometres. In 2000 over one third of local industrial firms were either closed or operating at half-capacity. The Fuxin Mining Group closed 23 mines and laid off 129,000 workers, 28.8% of its employees. A quarter of the city’s residents, 198,000 people, were on welfare payments available to ensure a minimum standard of living was met.

Subsidence is a common problem in mining areas and Xinqiu is one of the worst affected areas. Local media referred to two particularly shocking cases; in 1999, a vehicle travelling on a road in the south of the district, near Pit 8, was swallowed by a sink hole, disappearing as if by magic; and in 2000 a child named Huang Kai met a similar fate, falling “like a stone” into a disused mine when a sinkhole opened up beneath him.

Subsidence has caused Fuxin direct and indirect losses estimated at 1.5 billion yuan (US$223 million) but its also a daily hazard for residents who complain of entire buildings sinking without warning.

Walk into any as-yet undemolished buildings in an old mining dormitory complex and you can see the cracks in the walls. You can hear the wind howl through.

When Fuxin was designated as a resource-drained city, the economic commission’s transition office calculated that 28,000 homes had been damaged by subsidence to some degree across thirteen different affected areas.

A long and painful transition

Fuxin’s open-cast mine, supposedly Asia’s largest, is 4-kilometres long, 2-kilometresacross, and 350-metres deep. Send a drone 500-metres up and look down with a 120 degree lens and you can still only see a third of it. It’s a huge and spectacular sight, and once a source of great pride for Fuxin.

Over more than half a century, 530 million tonnes of coal were mined in Fuxin; loaded into 60-tonne trucks that travelled a distance equivalent to circling the globe 4.3 times. The Haizhou mine alone employed over 30,000 workers at its peak.

But those glories are passed now and what was once a source of pride has become a scar.

On March 30, 2001, the Dongliang and Ping’an mines, and the Xinqiu opencast mine, were shut down with State Council approval.

In April 2002 the Haizhou opencast mine, Asia’s largest, applied for bankruptcy due to depletion.

In June 2002 several other mines, run by the Fuxin Mining Bureau, also applied for bankruptcy.

Figures show that between 1996 and 2000 the city’s GDP grew by only 2.1% a year, 6.2 percentage points below the national average. Fuxin was also entirely reliant on one sector; with coal power accounting for 76% of its economy.

By the end of 2000, 25.3% of the city’s population had a monthly income below the minimum level set for living standards welfare (156 yuan, or US$23). An estimated 156,000 residents, 36.7% of the total, were out of work, and unemployed rates were higher than any other city in Liaoning province.

As the coal industry collapsed, finding new jobs for those laid off became more urgent. But to find work for so many manual workers in such a short space of time, when there were no major employers or industries available, was virtually impossible.

In the old mining villages near the pits you can still find some former miners – Huang Anyuan is one of them. He worked in the mines for 30 years and has now retired on a pension of 2,000 yuan (US$300) a month.

Five years ago the government tried to move him to new accommodation designated for those affected by subsidence, but he gave that new home to his son’s family, saying “there’s no factories here to work at, so my son was struggling, particularly when it came to buying a home.”

He and his wife continue to live in their two oft-repaired rooms. Most of the buildings nearby were demolished last year, and now that the water’s been cut off each day they must walk to fetch supplies.

Many others have also given the homes they’ve been allocated to their children. As their original homes have been demolished they are forced to rent tiny rooms elsewhere.

In some households a miner’s pension is the main income supporting three generations. Some former miners are in poor health and need to be cared for by their children. This means the young can’t travel to find work. As there aren’t suitable jobs close to home, they find themselves both caring for the elderly and living off them.

There are lots of barbecue stalls on the streets of Fuxin, more than in other northeastern cities, some reckon. A quick count in certain districts found up to 21 stalls or barbecue restaurants on a 500 metre street, and never less than five.

In the evening even more appear, rolled out on the back of three-wheel carts. The locals say it’s partly because of the love of barbecue in the northeast, but also because this is the cheapest way to set yourself up in business after being laid off.

Money blows in

Mr. Zhang (who prefers not to use his real name because of the sensitivity surrounding this issue) worked down in the mines for thirty years – now he works on top of a hill.

In the hills to the east of Fuxin, rows of turbine blades whirr round. Looking back towards the city from below the turbines you see the vast Haizhou opencast mine, a reminder of the city’s past.

Mr. Zhang works as a guard at the gate to the Huaneng Gaoshanzi Wind Power Farm. He’d worked in the mines since he was 18, so even this job, which is not particularly well paid, was hard to get. When asked about the change, he laughs openly: “I suppose the wind just blew me some money!”

Construction of the wind farm started in 2007, one of the first in Fuxin. Covering about 20 square kilometres, there are 67 turbines along the ridge, generating 100 megawatts of power. Mr Zhang is one of 20 employees, but he is only a temporary employee. Those (with permanent contracts) who run and maintain the turbines are all engineers with technical skills.

Those engineering jobs have been created by the wind power sector, and represent a change that has come to Fuxin with the new century – the arrival of wind power. By the end of 2016 the city was supplying 1.89 gigawatts to the grid, 30% of Liaoning’s total wind power generation.

The city’s leaders are keen to make use of this sector to replace coal, both as a source of energy and as an economic driver. According to the China Energy News the new energy sector has created over 5,500 jobs in Fuxin. One single wind power firm, Huaneng, pays almost 200 million yuan (US$30 million) in taxes in the city – and this is while still entitled to tax reductions.

And it isn’t just the power companies that are here, turbine manufacturers have also found a home in Fuxin.

As wind power has expanded, Dajin Heavy Industries has become one of the leading manufacturers of turbines, and one of the three such firms with a market listing. It has factories around the country and employs over 500 people in Fuxin alone.

Dajin originally made equipment for the coal power industry. In 2008 it set records when it built the steel structure for a 670 megawatt furnace for the Huaneng Group – the biggest, heaviest and most complex such structure ever built in China. It now builds the towers for turbines, and has recently added four more production lines.

As of the end of 2015, Fuxin’s wind power manufacturers were producing output worth 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion) — 8.5 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) of turbines, 9 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) of components, 1.5 billion yuan of services, and 1.1 billion yuan (US$223 million) of materials.

One insider in the city’s wind power manufacturing sector said that the only technically demanding part of the process is the welding, and that most miners could do this work after some simple training.

“Looking back over the last 15 years, we’ve made the right choices,” said Chen Zhihong, head of the city’s Development and Reform Commission in an interview with the Xinhua Daily Telegraph, adding that although these companies are small they are still growing. He thinks these companies need the resources that Fuxin has, and that there are good prospects for future growth.

He offered some data on the city’s economic transition. Compared with 2001, average disposable income in the city has gone from 4,300 yuan (US$ 630) to over 22,000 yuan (US$ 3,274). The percentage of total income derived from the coal sector has dropped from 49.8% to 16.9%, whereas for manufacturing it has risen from 4.8% to 23%, according to Chen.

“The biggest success is that we’ve brought people out of a slump, we’ve given them hope for growth,” Chen said.

In 2016, as coal mining output declined the need to find new jobs surged.

Will the emerging wind power sector be able to offer enough reemployment opportunities?

Running a wind farm isn’t labour intensive. And with slowing demand for electricity across China, could turbine manufacturing, which is heavily reliant on expansion of wind power, be able to keep growing? These aren’t just questions for Fuxin but for all China.

On May 7, as we left Fuxin, the wind was blowing again and the turbines spinning. And at 4’o’clock in the afternoon, the rain finally came. Only a light rain, but we hoped Chen Fang would, after a month of waiting below the turbines, be able to plant her corn.

Feng Hao is a researcher at chinadialogue.

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Managing the decline of coal dependent cities will be a tricky balancing act for the government.

Between 2008 and 2010 the government identified 69 “resource depleted cities” of which 19 – more than one quarter – are in the northeastern provinces of Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang. Once the heart of China’s heavy industry, the country’s northeast is in trouble; its oil fields and steel mills are struggling, and its coal mining sector is in chronic decline.This article originated as part of a Special Report on economic decline and rejuvenation in China’s former coal belt. In part two photographer Stam Lee explores Fuxin, a hollowed out pit town pinning its hopes on wind power in photo essay, accompanied by a report co-authored with chinadialogue reporter Feng Hao who expanded it for the Asia-Pacific Journal.In old mining villages near the pits of Fuxin in Liaoning Province in China’s northeast you can still find former miners like Huang Anyuan (above), who worked in coal mines for 30 years (Image: Stam Lee)

Most of these 19 cities primarily mined coal, but with the sector in decline, an urgent search is on for new economic opportunities. Many of the problems faced by the northeast reflect the broader need for China to shift to more sustainable economic development as environmental pressures force it to restore the environment and reduce carbon emissions in the context of a drive to promote renewable energy.

Resource depletion

It is getting harder to mine coal in China’s northeast. Most seams have been mined too extensively, with some pits descending over a kilometre down into the earth.

At those depths, the temperature and humidity become problematic for large machinery so more labour intensive methods are used. But higher labour costs mean that the cost of coal mining has rocketed to unsustainable levels.

According to a recent report, jointly published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Urban and Environmental Studies and the Research Institute for Global Value Chains at the University of International Business and Economics, coal companies nationwide employ on average 11 people per 10,000 tonnes of coal output. However, industry leaders such as Shenhua and the China National Coal Group have reduced this to 4-5 people. In contrast, older northeast companies such as the Jilin Coal Group and Shenyang Coal Group employ around 21, and the Heilongjiang Coal Group employs 48 – more than four times the national average.

The additional labour increases costs. The Heilongjiang Coal Group pays 451 yuan to extract one tonne of coal, with labour costs accounting for 215 yuan. This compares to less than 200 yuan for one tonne of coal for Shenhua.

The government has also put pressure on the coal sector in the northeast through policies to reduce coal power generation and steel output, aimed at improving air quality. In 2016, China reduced coal consumption for the third consecutive year, leading many to believe that the country’s coal consumption had already peaked. In 2016, the industry was instructed to reduce coal output by about 500 million tonnes over the next three to five years from the current level of 3.8 billion tonnes per year as China sought to become a world leader in solar and wind power.

New jobs needed

The report estimates that by 2020 the coal sector will employ less than three million people, down from 5.29 million in 2013. This means that within seven years approximately 2.3 million miners will require reemployment.

Already during coal’s golden decade between 2004 and 2013, efficiency improvements reduced the need for labour. Between 2000 and 2012 the average number of employees per 10,000 tonnes of coal produced was reduced by more than half, from 29 to 14. Even without resource depletion and reductions in output, coal jobs in the northeast would have gradually been lost.

Gao Jinxue, party secretary of the Hengda Mining Group in Liaoning province told Xinhua that labor cost accounts for 45% of the company’s total cost. “It is not affordable”, said Gao. “This means we have to lay off some workers”. As far as the differences between state-owned enterprises and private enterprises, some hold the view that the state continues to “protect its own children”.

According to China’s State Administration of Work Safety, 14 large coal bases account for 92.3% of the country’s total output. The construction of these large coal bases was put forward by the State Council in 2014. There are 102 mining areas, mainly owned by large state-owned coal enterprises and local state-owned enterprises. Yet, in proportion to their volume and output, SOEs’ commitment to cut excess capacity appears to be low. For example, China’s 14 central enterprises’ original design capacity is 846 million tons, which should be reduced by 135 million tons. However, the target set by SASAC was only 31 million tons. In short, large state-owned mines will continue to dominate coal even as the sector shrinks.

The falling profitability of coal mining firms

 ​Source: ​International Institute for Sustainable Development

Looking for work

Former miners find it hard to find new jobs. Jiang Zhimin, deputy head of the China Coal Industry Association, said at the start of this year that in 2016 posts had been found for some by letting temporary workers go and moving others to new work. But as reduction in output continues, the coal industry is less able to find an alternative to making miners redundant.

With half of all miners over 45 years old and six out of ten educated to junior middle school level or less, finding new work is particularly challenging.

China’s large state-owned enterprises (SOE) are regarded as an extension of government, and a major SOE may have its own hospitals, schools, retirement homes and post office – it is a major part of life not just of its employees but for their children, too. The large state-owned coal mines of the north-east are a classic example of this.

“Only SOE or government jobs are regarded as real work,” says Wang Miao, an assistant researcher with the Research Institute for Global Value Chains. She has found that some miners prefer to stay in mines facing imminent closure, earning just 800 yuan a month, rather than try to find more lucrative work elsewhere.

Some miners, despite being forced to look for new jobs, keep their shovels and other mining implements at home, in the hope that one day they can return to mining. Wang Miao explained that the hope the industry will one day recover keeps many from leaving the sector altogether.

No way back

According to a report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) there are countless global examples showing how reduced employment due to macro-level industrial policies can have profound social impacts – especially in subsidised industries. The dilemma for government to deal with the coal mining cities is that if changes are not made then the financial costs and environmental risks can be enormous, but if changes are rapid and drastic, a range of social problems may arise.

And once a transition is underway, it cannot be reversed. In this, China’s policy makers appear to have accepted that a transition is inevitable, unlike in the US where the Trump administration is looking to revive the flagging coal sector while ignoring environmental concerns.

There appears to be little hope for a revival of the coal industry, which must contest with China’s changing economic structure, the rise of service industries, and the development of new energy sources, says Huo Jingdong, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Institute for Economic and Social Development.

A hard road ahead

In the short term, SOEs can be subsidised while they operate at a loss and reduce costs by cutting working hours and salaries, says Richard Bridle, senior policy advisor at IISD. But such fixes are not long-term solutions.

Cutting workers is the only option, argues Bridle, but it must go hand in hand with an effort to create new employment opportunities elsewhere so that miners can be reemployed. Fuxin, a coal city in Liaoning, is developing wind power generation and manufacturing. In 2016, the city had 1.89 gigawatts of installed wind power, accounting for 30% of the province’s total wind power generation. Fuxin now gets half of its power from the wind.

Commenting on this, Zhang Ying, an assistant researcher with the Institute of Urban and Environmental Studies, said that such efforts to replace jobs in mining cities are just getting underway and there are significant uncertainties over future funding and market prospects. Also, most of the replacement industries are in technology or capital intensive sectors so they won’t provide as many jobs as the labour intensive coal sector.

There appear to be few good examples to emulate internationally. The IISD notes in its report that Asturias in Spain offered early retirement to miners facing similar issues. This resolved short and medium term issuesm but meant there was little impetus for long term development.

There is one ray of hope though for the north-east’s mining cities in the form of regional transport projects. Liu Qiang, head of the Energy Research Office at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Quantitative and Technical Economics, says efforts to prop up failing cities should in some cases be abandoned in favour of developing city clusters around major regional cities such as Harbin, Changchun, Shenyang and Dalian. The good rail networks can be further developed, along with other types of communications infrastructure. He suggests that cities within a half-hour train journey should “huddle together for warmth.”

Waiting for the wind of fortune: Photo Essay on the transformation of Fuxin, once perhaps Asia’s largest open cast coal mine

Photographs by Stam Lee, text by Hao Feng

As the coal economy collapses, China’s first “resource drained” city is pinning its hopes of revival on wind power

Up on the hill you can hear the new turbines spinning in the strong breeze. Chen Fang, from the village of Taizigou, hopes the wind will bring rain so she can plant her seeds.

The Fuxin Haizhou Open-cast Mine, allegedly Asia’s largest open cast mine, was once the pride of the people of Fuxin. Despite being closed for many years, small fires can still be seen along in the 6-kilometre pit, spontaneously igniting in the coal layer. On December 28, 2001, Fuxin was officially designated as a resource-drained city by the State Council – the first such city.

Locals and tourists come in a steady stream to visit a memorial to coal miners who died in the mines between 1914 and 1946. Fuxin was founded and flourished on the coal economy, and was one of the first centres of energy production set up by the People’s Republic of China.

A model of the old mining area in the mining museum. In over half a century, 530 million tonnes of coal were extracted in Fuxin – loaded into 60-tonne trucks that cumulatively would circle the globe 4.3 times.

In the old mining villages near the pits you can still find some former miners living there. Huang Anyuan is one of them. He worked in the mines for 30 years before retiring. Five years ago the government offered him new accommodation available to those affected by subsidence but he gave this to his son while he and his wife stayed put.

Most of the buildings nearby were demolished last year. The water’s been cut-off so people have to fetch it themselves.

A pile of rubble now stands on the site of the old dormitory buildings. Like Huang Anyuan, many former residents have chosen to give their allocated new homes to their children, while they rent tiny rooms elsewhere.

As former mining villages have been demolished, one collector has been gathering old millstones.

In the 1980s and 90s depletion of coal seams and increasing extraction costs meant that the city’s coal-led economy started to fail – and with it the city. The Fuxin Mining Group closed 23 mines and laid off 129,000 workers, 28.8% of all its employees. 198,000 residents of the city, a quarter of the total, receive welfare payments designed to ensure a minimum standard of living.

In the areas populated by former miners there are many middle aged people with little to do. In some Fuxin households, a miner’s pension may be the only income for three generations.

As the coal industry collapsed, finding new jobs for those laid off became more urgent. But finding work for so many manual workers in such a short time and when there were no major employers or industries available was impossible. Some have opened small shops or other small businesses to earn spending money.

There are lots of barbecue stalls on the streets of Fuxin, more than other north-eastern cities. The locals say it’s partly because they love barbecue in the north-east, but also because this is the cheapest way to set yourself up in business after being laid off.

On a sunny weekend both banks of this river would be lined with middle-aged fishermen. Former city Party secretary Wang Qiong summarised the city’s economic transition plan as one of self-reliance supported by strong market and technology-led private firms.

If you want a seat on the train between Fuxin and Shenyang you need to book two days in advance. The city is finally recovering after 15 years of transition, and people are starting to come back.

Here in the transition zone between the Mongolian plateau and the plains west of the Liao river, the trees in the villages around Fuxin bend in the wind.

Over the past 15 years it is that wind that has provided the city with an alternative to coal energy.

The wind turbines offer a new view from the top of Tashan. By 2015 the city had 3.6 gigawatts of wind power capacity installed. The city’s leaders are keen for the sector to replace coal.

Fuxin has transitioned to an era of wind power. By the end of 2016 the city was supplying 1.89 gigawatts to the grid – 30% of Liaoning’s wind power generation.

In a new village built for coal miners in the Fuxin district of Xinqiu, Gao Yuan sells silk scarves. She is also waiting for the wind having tied a line between two trees and hung her scarves from it. The one yuan scarves flutter more in the wind, which is good for sales.

Fuxin has built a new industrial zone to the west. As of the end of 2015, Fuxin’s wind power manufacturers were producing output worth 20.1 billion yuan – 8.5 billion yuan in turbines, 9 billion in components, 1.5 billion in services, and 1.1 billion in materials.

The new energy sector has created over 5,500 jobs in Fuxin. One single wind power firm, Huaneng, pays almost 200 million yuan in taxes in the city – and this is while still entitled to tax reductions.

At 7’o’clock in the morning in Tazigou, a village in northeast China, the sky is dark, the wind strong, and you can hear the new turbines up on the hill spinning. “With this wind…”, Chen Fang forecasts a rainstorm, picks up her hoe and corn seeds and heads up the hillside from her home.

By 5’o’clock that afternoon she’s turned the earth and cleared rocks on her family’s one mu (670 square metres) of land underneath the turbines. The clouds have dispersed and the four turbines have stopped turning.

“Waited for nothing!” she sighs, muttering to herself. This is the fourth time this month she’s come up here, hoping the wind will bring rain so she can plant the spring corn. The wind comes and goes but the rain never falls. She’s starting to get anxious.

This hill, known as Tashan, lies to the southeast of Fuxin town in Liaoning province, about 5 kilometres from the city. Since March, when the snow melted, to now in early May there hasn’t been a single decent rain storm here on the transition zone between the Inner Mongolian plateau and the Liaohe plains (a farming area in Manchuria in northeast China).

Rain is precious in these parts, particularly for fields like this that have no irrigation. And it’s not just farmer Chen Fang who is waiting for wind.

Once Asia’s largest open-cast mine, the Fuxin Haizhou mine closed many years ago. But small fires can still be seen spontaneously igniting in the coal layer in pits for 6 kilometres. With no wind, the smoke and ash hang in the air and have become the main cause of complaint for residents in nearby Fuxin.

In a new village, built for coal miners in the Fuxin district of Xinqiu, Gao Yuan, a silk scarf seller, is also waiting for the wind – she’s tied a line between two trees to hang her wares from it. The windier it is the more the 1 yuan (US$0.15) scarves flutter and the more she sells.

From Tashan in Fuxin to the vast new windfarms in Inner Mongolia’s Hure Banner, everyone’s waiting for the wind.

Over the last fifty years Fuxin has provided the nation with 700 million tonnes of coal and 250 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. But the city, which was founded and flourished on the profits of coal power, is struggling as the coal runs out and is in dire need of an alternative source of growth.

The first resource-drained city

On December 28, 2001, Fuxin was officially designated as a resource-exhausted city by the State Council – the first city to have been designated so.

“Fuxin was founded because of coal, it flourished because of coal; it was one of the first centres of energy production set up by the People’s Republic of China. To develop the nation we tried to be number one, to mine more coal. Now, we’re the first resource-drained city.” Yang Zhonglin worked in Fuxin for 13 years between 2003 and 2016 and has been the city’s deputy Party secretary and Mayor. He has seen the city through its toughest decade.

Fuxin is a classic example of China’s mining cities. In the 1980s and 1990s depletion of coal seams and increasing costs meant that the city’s coal-led economy started to fail – and the city’s prosperity went down with it.

As the open-cast mine became stripped bare, so the miners dug their pits, deeper and deeper. Subsidence affects 101 square kilometres of land in Fuxin, where the miners’ huts only occupy 5 square kilometres. In 2000 over one third of local industrial firms were either closed or operating at half-capacity. The Fuxin Mining Group closed 23 mines and laid off 129,000 workers, 28.8% of its employees. A quarter of the city’s residents, 198,000 people, were on welfare payments available to ensure a minimum standard of living was met.

Subsidence is a common problem in mining areas and Xinqiu is one of the worst affected areas. Local media referred to two particularly shocking cases; in 1999, a vehicle travelling on a road in the south of the district, near Pit 8, was swallowed by a sink hole, disappearing as if by magic; and in 2000 a child named Huang Kai met a similar fate, falling “like a stone” into a disused mine when a sinkhole opened up beneath him.

Subsidence has caused Fuxin direct and indirect losses estimated at 1.5 billion yuan (US$223 million) but its also a daily hazard for residents who complain of entire buildings sinking without warning.

Walk into any as-yet undemolished buildings in an old mining dormitory complex and you can see the cracks in the walls. You can hear the wind howl through.

When Fuxin was designated as a resource-drained city, the economic commission’s transition office calculated that 28,000 homes had been damaged by subsidence to some degree across thirteen different affected areas.

A long and painful transition

Fuxin’s open-cast mine, supposedly Asia’s largest, is 4-kilometres long, 2-kilometresacross, and 350-metres deep. Send a drone 500-metres up and look down with a 120 degree lens and you can still only see a third of it. It’s a huge and spectacular sight, and once a source of great pride for Fuxin.

Over more than half a century, 530 million tonnes of coal were mined in Fuxin; loaded into 60-tonne trucks that travelled a distance equivalent to circling the globe 4.3 times. The Haizhou mine alone employed over 30,000 workers at its peak.

But those glories are passed now and what was once a source of pride has become a scar.

On March 30, 2001, the Dongliang and Ping’an mines, and the Xinqiu opencast mine, were shut down with State Council approval.

In April 2002 the Haizhou opencast mine, Asia’s largest, applied for bankruptcy due to depletion.

In June 2002 several other mines, run by the Fuxin Mining Bureau, also applied for bankruptcy.

Figures show that between 1996 and 2000 the city’s GDP grew by only 2.1% a year, 6.2 percentage points below the national average. Fuxin was also entirely reliant on one sector; with coal power accounting for 76% of its economy.

By the end of 2000, 25.3% of the city’s population had a monthly income below the minimum level set for living standards welfare (156 yuan, or US$23). An estimated 156,000 residents, 36.7% of the total, were out of work, and unemployed rates were higher than any other city in Liaoning province.

As the coal industry collapsed, finding new jobs for those laid off became more urgent. But to find work for so many manual workers in such a short space of time, when there were no major employers or industries available, was virtually impossible.

In the old mining villages near the pits you can still find some former miners – Huang Anyuan is one of them. He worked in the mines for 30 years and has now retired on a pension of 2,000 yuan (US$300) a month.

Five years ago the government tried to move him to new accommodation designated for those affected by subsidence, but he gave that new home to his son’s family, saying “there’s no factories here to work at, so my son was struggling, particularly when it came to buying a home.”

He and his wife continue to live in their two oft-repaired rooms. Most of the buildings nearby were demolished last year, and now that the water’s been cut off each day they must walk to fetch supplies.

Many others have also given the homes they’ve been allocated to their children. As their original homes have been demolished they are forced to rent tiny rooms elsewhere.

In some households a miner’s pension is the main income supporting three generations. Some former miners are in poor health and need to be cared for by their children. This means the young can’t travel to find work. As there aren’t suitable jobs close to home, they find themselves both caring for the elderly and living off them.

There are lots of barbecue stalls on the streets of Fuxin, more than in other northeastern cities, some reckon. A quick count in certain districts found up to 21 stalls or barbecue restaurants on a 500 metre street, and never less than five.

In the evening even more appear, rolled out on the back of three-wheel carts. The locals say it’s partly because of the love of barbecue in the northeast, but also because this is the cheapest way to set yourself up in business after being laid off.

Money blows in

Mr. Zhang (who prefers not to use his real name because of the sensitivity surrounding this issue) worked down in the mines for thirty years – now he works on top of a hill.

In the hills to the east of Fuxin, rows of turbine blades whirr round. Looking back towards the city from below the turbines you see the vast Haizhou opencast mine, a reminder of the city’s past.

Mr. Zhang works as a guard at the gate to the Huaneng Gaoshanzi Wind Power Farm. He’d worked in the mines since he was 18, so even this job, which is not particularly well paid, was hard to get. When asked about the change, he laughs openly: “I suppose the wind just blew me some money!”

Construction of the wind farm started in 2007, one of the first in Fuxin. Covering about 20 square kilometres, there are 67 turbines along the ridge, generating 100 megawatts of power. Mr Zhang is one of 20 employees, but he is only a temporary employee. Those (with permanent contracts) who run and maintain the turbines are all engineers with technical skills.

Those engineering jobs have been created by the wind power sector, and represent a change that has come to Fuxin with the new century – the arrival of wind power. By the end of 2016 the city was supplying 1.89 gigawatts to the grid, 30% of Liaoning’s total wind power generation.

The city’s leaders are keen to make use of this sector to replace coal, both as a source of energy and as an economic driver. According to the China Energy News the new energy sector has created over 5,500 jobs in Fuxin. One single wind power firm, Huaneng, pays almost 200 million yuan (US$30 million) in taxes in the city – and this is while still entitled to tax reductions.

And it isn’t just the power companies that are here, turbine manufacturers have also found a home in Fuxin.

As wind power has expanded, Dajin Heavy Industries has become one of the leading manufacturers of turbines, and one of the three such firms with a market listing. It has factories around the country and employs over 500 people in Fuxin alone.

Dajin originally made equipment for the coal power industry. In 2008 it set records when it built the steel structure for a 670 megawatt furnace for the Huaneng Group – the biggest, heaviest and most complex such structure ever built in China. It now builds the towers for turbines, and has recently added four more production lines.

As of the end of 2015, Fuxin’s wind power manufacturers were producing output worth 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion) — 8.5 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) of turbines, 9 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) of components, 1.5 billion yuan of services, and 1.1 billion yuan (US$223 million) of materials.

One insider in the city’s wind power manufacturing sector said that the only technically demanding part of the process is the welding, and that most miners could do this work after some simple training.

“Looking back over the last 15 years, we’ve made the right choices,” said Chen Zhihong, head of the city’s Development and Reform Commission in an interview with the Xinhua Daily Telegraph, adding that although these companies are small they are still growing. He thinks these companies need the resources that Fuxin has, and that there are good prospects for future growth.

He offered some data on the city’s economic transition. Compared with 2001, average disposable income in the city has gone from 4,300 yuan (US$ 630) to over 22,000 yuan (US$ 3,274). The percentage of total income derived from the coal sector has dropped from 49.8% to 16.9%, whereas for manufacturing it has risen from 4.8% to 23%, according to Chen.

“The biggest success is that we’ve brought people out of a slump, we’ve given them hope for growth,” Chen said.

In 2016, as coal mining output declined the need to find new jobs surged.

Will the emerging wind power sector be able to offer enough reemployment opportunities?

Running a wind farm isn’t labour intensive. And with slowing demand for electricity across China, could turbine manufacturing, which is heavily reliant on expansion of wind power, be able to keep growing? These aren’t just questions for Fuxin but for all China.

On May 7, as we left Fuxin, the wind was blowing again and the turbines spinning. And at 4’o’clock in the afternoon, the rain finally came. Only a light rain, but we hoped Chen Fang would, after a month of waiting below the turbines, be able to plant her corn.

Feng Hao is a researcher at chinadialogue.

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Featured image: Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha was recently arrested on charges of treason. While the Western media has attempted to portray the charges as politically motivated, Sokha’s treason is not only quite real, he openly, eagerly bragged about it on the Australian-based “Cambodia Broadcasting Network” (CBN).  

The Phnom Penh Post in its article, “Kem Sokha video producer closes Phnom Penh office in fear,” would quote Sokha who claimed (emphasis added):

And, the USA that has assisted me, they asked me to take the model from Yugoslavia, Serbia, where they can change the dictator Slobodan Milosevic,” he continues, referring to the former Serbian and Yugoslavian leader who resigned amid popular protests following disputed elections, and died while on trial for war crimes.

“You know Milosevic had a huge numbers of tanks. But they changed things by using this strategy, and they take this experience for me to implement in Cambodia. But no one knew about this.”

Sokha is referring to the openly admitted US-engineered regime change mechanism known as “color revolutions” and in particular the successful overthrow of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

It is also mentioned in the article that Sokha has traveled to the United States every year since 1993 to “learn about the democratization process.” A video of Kem Sokha with US Senator Ed Royce in Washington DC openly calling for the deposing of the Cambodian government has also been published by CBN.

US Regime-Change Represents Destabilization and Destruction, Not Democracy 

As admitted by the New York Times in its article, “Who Really Brought Down Milosevic,” the United States, not the people of Serbia, overthrew the Serbian government – not in favor of the Serbs’ best interests, but for Washington’s own self-serving interests.

The New York Times would write:

American assistance to Otpor and the 18 parties that ultimately ousted Milosevic is still a highly sensitive subject. But Paul B. McCarthy, an official with the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, is ready to divulge some details…

…McCarthy says, ”from August 1999 the dollars started to flow to Otpor pretty significantly.” Of the almost $3 million spent by his group in Serbia since September 1998, he says, ”Otpor was certainly the largest recipient.” The money went into Otpor accounts outside Serbia. At the same time, McCarthy held a series of meetings with the movement’s leaders in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, and in Szeged and Budapest in Hungary. Homen, at 28 one of Otpor’s senior members, was one of McCarthy’s interlocutors. ”We had a lot of financial help from Western nongovernmental organizations,” Homen says. ”And also some Western governmental organizations.”

The successful overthrow of the Serbian government by agents working on behalf of Washington served as a template for other, similar operations including the 2011 “Arab Spring” that has left North Africa and much of the Middle East ravaged by war, failed states, and human catastrophe.

In an April 2011 article also published by the New York Times titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” it was stated:

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.

The article would also add, regarding the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED):

The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department.

Those participating in overthrowing their nation’s government with foreign aid are by definition traitors – and with Cambodia’s Kem Sokha and his entire Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) implicated in and admitting to an identically foreign-organized conspiracy against their own nation as took place in Serbia and across the Arab World, it seems that charges of treason are more than warranted.

Readers should take note that nations targeted by US-engineered regime change – from Serbia to Ukraine, to Georgia, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen – all have suffered immeasurably since. For the Cambodian government not to follow through with uprooting Sokha and the US networks built up across Cambodia to support foreign subversion, would be the height of irresponsibility, inviting nothing less than the same sort of destabilization and destruction in Cambodia still unfolding in other nations targeted by US political interference.

Kem Sokha’s eagerness to indenture himself – and were he come to power, his entire nation – to US interests is perhaps the greatest indicator that he in no way represents the sort of democratic progress he claims to be bringing to Cambodia. Democracy – a process primarily of self-determination – cannot exist if Cambodia’s future is being openly determined in Washington D.C. instead.

This article was originally published by Land Destroyer Report.

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Featured image: Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha was recently arrested on charges of treason. While the Western media has attempted to portray the charges as politically motivated, Sokha’s treason is not only quite real, he openly, eagerly bragged about it on the Australian-based “Cambodia Broadcasting Network” (CBN).  

The Phnom Penh Post in its article, “Kem Sokha video producer closes Phnom Penh office in fear,” would quote Sokha who claimed (emphasis added):

And, the USA that has assisted me, they asked me to take the model from Yugoslavia, Serbia, where they can change the dictator Slobodan Milosevic,” he continues, referring to the former Serbian and Yugoslavian leader who resigned amid popular protests following disputed elections, and died while on trial for war crimes.

“You know Milosevic had a huge numbers of tanks. But they changed things by using this strategy, and they take this experience for me to implement in Cambodia. But no one knew about this.”

Sokha is referring to the openly admitted US-engineered regime change mechanism known as “color revolutions” and in particular the successful overthrow of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

It is also mentioned in the article that Sokha has traveled to the United States every year since 1993 to “learn about the democratization process.” A video of Kem Sokha with US Senator Ed Royce in Washington DC openly calling for the deposing of the Cambodian government has also been published by CBN.

US Regime-Change Represents Destabilization and Destruction, Not Democracy 

As admitted by the New York Times in its article, “Who Really Brought Down Milosevic,” the United States, not the people of Serbia, overthrew the Serbian government – not in favor of the Serbs’ best interests, but for Washington’s own self-serving interests.

The New York Times would write:

American assistance to Otpor and the 18 parties that ultimately ousted Milosevic is still a highly sensitive subject. But Paul B. McCarthy, an official with the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, is ready to divulge some details…

…McCarthy says, ”from August 1999 the dollars started to flow to Otpor pretty significantly.” Of the almost $3 million spent by his group in Serbia since September 1998, he says, ”Otpor was certainly the largest recipient.” The money went into Otpor accounts outside Serbia. At the same time, McCarthy held a series of meetings with the movement’s leaders in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, and in Szeged and Budapest in Hungary. Homen, at 28 one of Otpor’s senior members, was one of McCarthy’s interlocutors. ”We had a lot of financial help from Western nongovernmental organizations,” Homen says. ”And also some Western governmental organizations.”

The successful overthrow of the Serbian government by agents working on behalf of Washington served as a template for other, similar operations including the 2011 “Arab Spring” that has left North Africa and much of the Middle East ravaged by war, failed states, and human catastrophe.

In an April 2011 article also published by the New York Times titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” it was stated:

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.

The article would also add, regarding the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED):

The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department.

Those participating in overthrowing their nation’s government with foreign aid are by definition traitors – and with Cambodia’s Kem Sokha and his entire Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) implicated in and admitting to an identically foreign-organized conspiracy against their own nation as took place in Serbia and across the Arab World, it seems that charges of treason are more than warranted.

Readers should take note that nations targeted by US-engineered regime change – from Serbia to Ukraine, to Georgia, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen – all have suffered immeasurably since. For the Cambodian government not to follow through with uprooting Sokha and the US networks built up across Cambodia to support foreign subversion, would be the height of irresponsibility, inviting nothing less than the same sort of destabilization and destruction in Cambodia still unfolding in other nations targeted by US political interference.

Kem Sokha’s eagerness to indenture himself – and were he come to power, his entire nation – to US interests is perhaps the greatest indicator that he in no way represents the sort of democratic progress he claims to be bringing to Cambodia. Democracy – a process primarily of self-determination – cannot exist if Cambodia’s future is being openly determined in Washington D.C. instead.

This article was originally published by Land Destroyer Report.

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Making good on a campaign pledge to his right-wing nativist base, Donald Trump has rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA was established by President Barack Obama to encourage young people without immigration papers, who were brought to the United States as children, to come out of the shadows and sign up for temporary protection against deportation. Trump’s heartless decision will throw approximately 800,000 “Dreamers” currently enrolled in DACA into limbo.

Did Trump Really Struggle With the Decision?

The White House claimed that Trump was conflicted about this difficult decision. He recently referred to Dreamers as “absolutely incredible kids,” promising, “We’re going to deal with DACA with heart … because, you know, I love these kids.” Trump told reporters,

“We love the Dreamers. We think the Dreamers are terrific.”

But Trump “counts only winners and losers, never bothering with moral principles or democratic norms,” wrote conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin.

“The debate, if there is one, is over whether to disappoint his rabid anti-immigrant base or to, as is his inclination, double down on a losing hand.”

Too cowardly to announce the controversial verdict himself, Trump sent his racist, anti-immigrant attorney general Jeff Sessions to make the fateful announcement. Sessions called the DACA program an “open-ended circumvention of immigration law through unconstitutional authority by the executive branch,” saying it circumvented the “legislative process.”

A Political Decision, Not a Legal Issue

Sessions claimed that rescinding DACA was essential to forestall a looming legal challenge. Ten state attorneys general had threatened litigation if Trump didn’t end DACA by September 5, 2017. But that was a “convenient pretext,” Wayne A. Cornelius wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. DACA has never been overturned in court. More than 100 law professors who specialize in immigration signed a letter in August stating that DACA was a “lawful exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”

In a Facebook post yesterday, Obama wrote:

“Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question.”

Obama is correct. In 1999, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority in Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, an immigration case, that presidents have a long history of “engaging in a regular practice … of exercising [deferred action] for humanitarian reasons or simply for its own convenience.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, writing at HuffPost, concurs:

“Presidents of both parties … have exercised discretion in their enforcement of immigration laws in a constitutional manner, safeguarding groups of individuals who are not priorities for deportation and thereby reserving enforcement resources for higher priorities.”

Becerra cited Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, who permitted Cubans to remain in the United States before Congress enacted legislation to allow them to stay. Ronald Reagan allowed about 200,000 Nicaraguan immigrants to remain in the US even though Congress had not passed authorizing legislation. And George H.W. Bush permitted almost 200,000 Salvadorans fleeing civil war to stay in the US.

Sessions also claimed,

“We are a people of compassion and we are a people of law,” disingenuously adding, “The compassionate thing is to end the lawlessness, enforce our laws.”

Didn’t Trump encourage lawlessness when he recently pardoned the notorious racist, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio? For 18 months, Arpaio had brazenly defied a court order to stop racial profiling. Indeed, Matthew Yglesias from Vox wrote this tongue-in-cheek tweet:

“Pardons for racist sheriffs who defy court orders, deportations for folks who crossed the border illegally when they were six years old.”

Compassionate? The decision to end DACA “is inhumane, cruel and shameful,” stated Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Obama, former vice-president Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) also called Trump’s decision “cruel.”

“There is no legal, ethical or moral justification for ending DACA, which is a lawful program. President Trump manufactured this unnecessary crisis,” Gupta added.

DACA Makes Economic Sense

A report from the Center for American Progress found that 87 percent of DACA beneficiaries are using their work permits and 83 percent of those working also attend school.

In a July 21 letter to Trump signed by 20 state attorneys general, California’s Becerra wrote that DACA “represents a success story” for the Dreamers enrolled in the program. “The consequences of rescinding DACA would be severe, not just for the hundreds of thousands of young people who rely on the program — and for their employers, schools, universities, and families — but for the country’s economy as a whole.”

Besides “lost tax revenues,” Becerra added, “American businesses would face billions in turnover costs, as employers would lose qualified workers whom they have trained and in whom they have invested.”

David Zalesne, president of Owen Steel, asked,

“Why would you take people out of the work force, who are part of the system and paying taxes?”

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told the New York Times that five years after DACA is repealed, the US gross domestic product would be $105 billion lower than if DACA were to remain in force.

More than 400 chief executives, many from the nation’s largest corporations, signed an open letter urging Trump and Congress to protect the Dreamers. They predicted, “Our economy would lose $460.3 billion from the national GDP and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions” if DACA is ended.

Sixty-four percent of Americans, including 41 percent of Republicans, support DACA, an NBC-Survey Monkey poll concluded.

Using Their Personal Data Against Them

After filling out the requisite paperwork and clearing a background check, DACA enrollees were granted renewable two-year periods of relief from deportation and issued work authorization.

People who applied for DACA were required to certify that they had come to the US before the age of 16; had continuously resided here since June 15, 2007; were either currently in school, had graduated from high school, had obtained a GED, or had been honorably discharged from the military; had not been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor; didn’t pose a risk to national security; and were under age 30 at the time of application.

DACA applicants also had to provide their names, addresses, social security numbers, fingerprints, photos and dates of entry into the United States. Relying on assurances that this information would not be used to deport them, nearly one million young people came out as undocumented and applied for DACA.

As Trump rescinded DACA, the Department of Homeland Security stated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would not “proactively” use the data Dreamers provided to target them, except for national security or criminal investigations.

A White House memo titled “Talking Points — DACA Rescission,” says,

“In general, individuals who will no longer have DACA will not proactively be referred to ICE and placed in removal proceedings unless they satisfy one of the Department’s enforcement priorities.”

Any DACA recipient who is arrested by police could be deported, Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney who represents several DACA recipients, told the Daily Beast. Upon arresting a person, police routinely notify ICE. Then ICE officers can ask whether the arrestee is a DACA recipient, that is, present in the US without legal papers.

“They’re saying we will not give your information unless ICE tells USCIS [US Citizenship and Immigration Services] they need it to deport you, which basically means we’ll give your information out whenever ICE says it’s necessary to deport you,” Fresco said.

DACA recipients whose data is used to initiate deportation proceedings may have an entrapment defense. They could claim violation of due process based on outrageous government conduct for falsely assuring them their data would not be used to deport them.

A recent study by the Center for American Progress concluded that more than 1,000 people daily could lose their work permits once DACA is rescinded.

DHS advised that it would not accept any further DACA applications. Current enrollees in the program can continue to work until their permits expire. If a permit is set to expire by March 5, 2018, the enrollees can apply for a two-year renewal if they do so by October 5, 2017.

Throwing the Ball to Congress

Sessions suggested that Congress could act to reinstate DACA “should it so choose.” This sounds a lot like “repeal and replace,” the GOP attempt to abolish Obamacare — and take away health care from 20 million people — with no “replacement” in sight.

There are several pending bills that would partially or fully protect DACA. This dysfunctional Congress, however, has been unable to agree on any legislation, including repealing and replacing Obamacare, since Trump’s term began. Indeed, immigration reform has eluded Congress for many years.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), who decides whether to bring bills to the floor of the House of Representatives, said,

“These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. And so, I really do believe that there needs to be a legislative solution.”

We can expect intense wrangling in Congress with different sectors of the Republican Party trying to extract concessions for supporting DACA.

Trump Tries to Defuse the Anger

Less than 12 hours after Sessions’s announcement, Trump, apparently alarmed by the powerful public outcry against the rescission of DACA, tried to soften the blow by tweeting:

“Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”

Trump also issued a statement saying,

“I have advised the Department of Homeland Security that DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activity, or are members of a gang.”

In practice, however, Trump’s advisement may not deter individual ICE agents from using personal information Dreamers provided to deport them.

What will happen in the next six months? How will this announcement affect the lives of the 800,000 Dreamers, many of whom are experiencing fear and foreboding, not knowing what their futures hold?

The White House Talking Points memo advised,

“The Department of Homeland Security urges DACA recipients to use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States — including proactively seeking travel documentation — or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.”

However, the future of DACA is not set in stone. Congress members respond to public pressure. Throughout the country, people have taken to the streets in support of the Dreamers. As the six-month period ticks down, the resistance will grow. It will invariably impact both Congress and the president.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Her books include The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse; Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. Visit her website: MarjorieCohn.com. Follow her on Twitter: @MarjorieCohn.

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Featured image is from Univision.

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Hurricane Irma Threatens Florida

September 8th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

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

Irma is expected to reach south Florida by Saturday evening into early Sunday morning.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) calls it “a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane and will continue to bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas through Saturday.”

“Heavy rainfall is still possible across portions of (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) through Friday. Hurricane conditions will also spread over portions of the north coast of Cuba…through Saturday.”

“Severe hurricane conditions are expected over portions of the Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys beginning late Saturday.”

Irma is hugely dangerous, much of Florida potentially affected, especially southern areas. The National Weather Service (NWS) warned of life-threatening hazards, notably from storm surge and large waves generated by heavy winds.

“Storm surge can reach heights well over 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastline,” warned the NHC.

Irma is a hugely dangerous Category 5 storm, its sustained heavy winds (now around 175 MPH, gusting to 200 MPH) the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.

It devastated Barbuda, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin, Anguilla and the Virgin Islands with 185-mile winds. It was the strongest ever hurricane to strike the northern Leeward Islands.

Over a million Puerto Ricans lost power from the storm, in some areas expected to take months to restore.

US states likely affected include Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina. Storm-track models show Irma’s path striking Florida’s east or west coasts, its core possibly hitting the center of the state and moving north. Its too early to know its precise track for sure.

According to NWS meteorologist Ryan Rogers,

“(t)here are a lot of pitfalls that you can fall into and think this one model is completely clustered right here, but it could be clustered around the wrong solution. Sometimes putting data out there that can be misinterpreted is not always the best idea.”

So far, it’s uncertain which track Irma will take to Florida, why extreme caution is vital in all potentially affected areas, including heeding evacuation orders. In some areas, it’s mandatory.

Officials warn that Irma could affect the entire state. The NHC issued a hurricane and storm surge watch for southern Florida, residents potentially in its path told to evacuate.

As around pre-dawn Friday, Irma was about 500 miles east-southeast of Miami, moving west-northwest at 16 MPH. One model showed it tracking closer to the middle of the state, then swerving east while moving north. But it could change before making landfall.

It’ll likely remain a Category 4 or 5 storm for the next two days. Millions in Florida could lose power for days or weeks, affecting homes, businesses and other facilities.

Florida Power & Light (FPL) intends shutting its two nuclear power plants in the state. Officials warned rebuilding parts of its system may be necessary, taking weeks to complete.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued an evacuation order affecting over 650,000 people. Earlier, Florida Keys residents were ordered to leave.

Before abating, Hurricane Irma may be the most devastating hurricane in US history in damage done to affected areas and possible loss of lives.

By early Saturday, its path and strength when making landfall should be known.

It’s a killer storm no one in potentially affected areas should take lightly.

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.”Sour

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

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

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The Rohingya Crisis will probably get a lot worse before it gets any better, and it might even escalate to the point of prompting a multilateral international intervention, but the only real and globally acceptable solution that Myanmar might have left to avoid this eventual worst-case scenario is to involve the Rohingyas in some capacity in the ongoing Panglong 2.0 federalization peace talks.

The Rohingya Crisis has taken the world by storm over the past two weeks, but none of what’s happened should come as a surprise for those who’ve been astutely following the Myanmar Civil War. The background into this conflict is very complex, and for that reason the author is going to simply refer the reader to some of his earlier published pieces on the matter in order for them to become familiarized with the overall situation:

June 2015:

“The American Plan For A South Asian “Kosovo” In Rohingyaland” (Part I and Part II)

October 2016:

“Hybrid War Country Study On Myanmar” (HistoryPolitical Transition and GeostrategyEthno-Regional Contradictions, and Scenario Forecasting)

September 2017:

The Rohingya Crisis: Reality, Rumors, And Ramifications

Instead of rehashing most of what’s contained in the abovementioned materials, the present analysis will focus solely on Myanmar’s conflict scenarios and the most realistic possibilities for bringing peace to the war-torn country, which will constitute the first and second parts of this research. The third and final one will then discuss the way that China could overcome the challenges to implementing the proposed peace plan in Myanmar and thereby play an indispensable role in facilitating the conflict resolution process there.

From Bad To Worse

The following scenarios aim to shed light on the most likely way that the Rohingya Crisis could escalate to the point of triggering an international “humanitarian intervention”, which is understood as the worst-case scenario from a geopolitical perspective. The reader should be under no illusions that the below-mentioned conflict phases will necessarily happen in the order that they’re described, or that any of them will even occur at all.

The whole point of this exercise is to obtain an accurate idea about the most likely trajectory that the country’s war will proceed along given its current dynamics and the most probable ends that it could lead to.

It should be kept in mind at all times, however, that each stage of the conflict could either climax at its current level, or rapidly proceed to the final phase of a large-scale Libyan-like war if the US and/or its “Lead From Behind” regional allies decide to launch one on the pretext that the Tatmadaw is guilty of ethnic cleansing or genocide (whether against the Rohingya Muslims or the Christian peripheral minorities in the North and East).

***

Swift Success:

As the best-case scenario implies, the Tatmadaw achieves a swift success in stamping out the Rohingya’s “terrorist”/”rebel” forces, thereby quickly ending the crisis. This may, however, result in disproportionate civilian casualties as “collateral damage”, whether inflicted by the insurgents themselves, the military, or both. The media hype surrounding this affair soon dies down, although some international activists and foreign information outlets will continue to agitate for this cause. China’s investments in Myanmar are secured, and a future high-speed railway is eventually built parallel to the two oil and gas pipelines leading from the central Rakhine port of Kyaukphyu, thereby formalizing the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) as a complement to CPEC in the other northern corner of the Indian Ocean.

Regional Crisis:

The Rohingya Crisis only gets worse in its humanitarian, military, and diplomatic dimensions, which leads to it becoming a globally recognized regional crisis due to the overspill into neighboring Bangladesh and the resultant destabilization that it inflicts on this already fragile state. India, China, the US, ASEAN, and the UN become more vocal about the evolving, though still obscured, events in Rakhine State, and uncertainty prevails over exactly what’s happening there because Myanmar refuses to let international observers into the region ostensibly for their own security. Non-state actors such as concerned Bangladeshis, Muslim volunteers from abroad, NGOs, and even terrorist groups (none of which are mutually exclusive) begin to get involved, and this catalyzes a violent hyper-nationalist reaction from the country’s majority-Buddhist population which ends up leading to deadly pogroms.

Due to these destabilizing events, the future viability of CMEC becomes uncertain, and China begins to worry about the safety of its oil and gas pipelines in Rakhine State, as well as the hefty investments that it’s pouring into developing Kyaukphyu Port. Myanmar feels compelled to reach out to its Chinese and Indian neighbors for military aid, though attempting to play one off against the other in their New Cold War rivalry in a bid to reap the most benefits from this competition. For the time being, China and India avoid being drawn into an escalating security dilemma with one another in the territory of their mutual neighbor, though they begin to wonder which geopolitical direction Myanmar will ultimately lean closer towards if it’s successful in resolving this regional crisis.

Jihad Central:

Rakhine State, and Myanmar more generally, becomes the new international jihadist destination after Daesh is driven out of “Syraq” and its supporters across the world decide to focus on the perceived plight of the Rohingya Muslims. It’s still not clear exactly what’s going on in the Southeast Asian country and who’s truly at fault for the escalating violence there, but the outcome is undeniable as hundreds of thousands of refugees swarm into Bangladesh, and most international media organizations and their state allies unite in laying the blame solely at the feet of the Tatmadaw. Whether intentionally or not, this development and the attendant flood of fake news which will inevitably follow it end up encouraging the radicalization of Muslims in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines), South Asia (Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan), and the Mideast and inspiring them to wage militant jihad in Myanmar and repeating the Syrian scenario from a few years prior.

Rakhine State marked in yellow.

Rakhine State marked in yellow.

China gives up any plans that it ever had for developing CMEC, and its energy pipelines turn into an irresistible terrorist target and are soon brought permanently offline. China and India’s in-country citizens are attacked by jihadists who are angry that their governments are providing military aid to the Tatmadaw, blaming them for being “complicit in the genocide of Muslims”. Several lone wolf, or possibly even Daesh-coordinated, terrorist attacks occur in these two countries as a result, and India’s Trilateral Highway through Myanmar becomes endangered, too. International investment plummets in this once-promising emerging economy while the US and its Western, and possibly even Eastern (ASEAN and some Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC]), partners contemplate sanctions against the country. The UN tries to push through heavily politicized resolutions which could open the door for multilateral military intervention just like they did in Libya, but this attempt is as unsuccessful as it was in Syria because Russia and China unite in opposing it.

The Ceasefire Ceases To Exist:

The Rohingya Conflict leads to a regional crisis, which eventually gives way to a terrorist one that in turn snowballs into a state of affairs whereby most or all of the previous ceasefire signatories realize that they have more to gain by pulling out of the agreement and recommencing full-scale hostilities against the state. The Panglong 2.0 federalization peace talks totally collapse, and more countries implement sanctions against Myanmar in response, which turns Suu Kyi into a “Southeast Asian Saddam” in terms of just how far she’s fallen from being the one-time darling of the West to its now-hated pariah. Whether coordinated through some new mechanism or carried out independently of one another, the country’s various rebel groups go on a large-scale offensive which inflicts heavy losses on the Tatmadaw, pushing it into relying on even more forceful countermeasures which lead to the ever-expanding conflict spilling over the border into Northeastern India (where it threatens to set off a chain reaction of unrest), Southwestern China, and Western Thailand.

Myanmar’s two Great Power neighbors fortify their borders in response and begin contemplating emergency contingency measures for safeguarding their frontiers, which could likely involve China and India carrying out limited military operations modelled off of Turkey’s “Operation Euphrates Shield” in Syria. Russia joins with its BRICS and SCO partners to extend military and diplomatic support to Myanmar, though choosing to formally stay out of direct involvement in the conflict owing to Moscow’s lack of immediate national interest in its outcome and the massive geographic distance to the battlefield which would severely strain the Kremlin’s logistical networks. Many members of the Ummah take serious umbrage at China, India, and even Russia’s support of Myanmar, and this is exploited by the US in order to fan the flames of distrust against these Great Powers with the ultimate intent of disrupting their connectivity projects through Muslim-majority countries (China’s CPEC and its Central Asian Railway plans to Iran, and Russia & India’s North-South Transport Corridor through Iran and Azerbaijan).

Myanmarese Meltdown:

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, as it’s officially known, collapses into the type of Hobbesian conflict unseen since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, thereby triggering large-scale stabilization interventions from China and India. Herein lays the crux of the geostrategic problem, though, because one or both of these states might not have been invited by the central authorities to assist like how Russia was in Syria, thereby skyrocketing the security dilemma between these two Great Power rivals and raising the chances that they might clash somewhere in central Myanmar if their forces come within proximity to one another. There’s of course the very faint chance that they’d coordinate their in-country operations or at least leave some sort of communication mechanism intact between them so as to avoid accidental military clashes, but this can’t be taken for granted and it’s much more probable that a direct engagement between the two forces would take place.

Libya 2.0:

Myanmar is completely in shambles as its ultra-diverse population goes on multi-sided killing sprees following the collapse of central authority that accompanies the rebel advance, and neither China nor India is able to put a stop to it, or at least not quickly enough. The US and its allies, one of which might very well have been India to begin with, decide that now is the right time to launch a “shock and awe” military campaign against the country in order to complete its “Balkanized” fragmentation into a constellation of identity-centric (and potentially mutually antagonistic) statelets.

The ostensible pretext for this massive intervention is that it’s the only thing that can “stop the killing”, but in reality it would serve the ulterior purposes of assisting Indian forces in their drive to secure the Trilateral Highway; preventing China from reestablishing control over its pipeline corridor and formerly envisioned CMEC one; and creating a checkerboard of “South Asian Kosovos” for the US to ‘leapfrog’ across in eventually deploying its military forces right on China’s mainland doorstep. Just like with Libya, the US would leave behind an enduringly destabilizing regional legacy that would take years to fix.

Peace And Its Problems

Myanmar doesn’t have to turn into the next Libya, or even the next Yugoslavia, so long as the Rohingya Crisis is nipped in the bud through a creative peace settlement before it spirals out of control in engendering the phased conflict escalations that were just described in the earlier section. To this end, here’s the two-step process that’s proposed for resolving this issue, followed by an analysis of the three categories of problems which could impede its implementation:

Reconciling With The Rohingyas:

“Terrorists” vs. “Rebels”

It’s hard for any observer to know the exact proportion for certain, but it’s objectively recognized that there are militant Rohingya groups mixed in with the majority-civilian population. These organizations, especially the leading “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army” (ARSA), are designed at “terrorists” by the Tatmadaw, though it can be assumed that many Rohingyas and of course their myriad international state and non-state supporters abroad lionize them as “rebels” fighting for “democracy” and “freedom”. The intent here isn’t in render outside judgement about which of the two categories the ARSA and other armed groups fall into, but just to draw attention to the fact that Myanmar sees the Rohingya militants as terrorists whereas it recognizes other fighting forces elsewhere in the country as rebels.

The Syrian Model

This distinction allows for the possibility that the Tatmadaw could come to consider some of the Rohingya forces as rebels too, though possibly in exchange for them taking up arms to fight against the ARSA, which Naypyidaw will probably never reconsider as less than terrorists. In exchange for rendering their anti-terrorist services, non-ARSA armed Rohingya could then be officially recognized as rebels party to the ongoing Panglong 2.0 federalization peace talks, following the “normalization” model first spearheaded by Russia in Syria when it abruptly switched from seeing Jaysh al-Islam as terrorists to feting its leader Mohamed Alloush as the senior rebel representative in Astana after the group turned against Al Nusra and Daesh. In theory, this model could also be applied to Myanmar’s conditions in enticing “moderate” Rohingya militants to break ranks with the “hardline” ARSA.

Panglong 2.0

Should this plan be successfully put into practice, then official Rohingya representation in the Panglong 2.0 peace process could potentially placate the demographic’s concerns that the government is criminally neglecting their needs, though Naypyidaw would of course first have to grant citizenship or some type of legal interim status to the Rohingyas (at least those who remained in Myanmar) in order to legitimize this group’s participation. This is a lot easier of a scenario to talk about than to implement into action, though Myanmar might feel pressured to comply with the proposal in order to relieve the heavy international pressure being brought against it for its extant refusal to even recognize the Rohingya. Provided that this happens, then the non-ARSA Rohingya rebels would acquire a political-administrative stake in the country’s forthcoming federalized structure.

Double Devolution

There’s no chance that the central government, and probably even most of the Rohingyas’ “fellow rebels”, will ever allow this group to carve out their own separate federal state in the country, so what could conceivably happen is that they seek to nest a “federation within a federation”, or in other words, engage in “double devolution”. This model was described both in general and in specific pertinence to Myanmar in the author’s article about “Identity Federalism: From ‘E Pluribus Unum’ To’ E Unum Pluribus’” for Russia’s National Institute For Research Of Global Security last year, and the idea is that Rakhine State – just like its much more diverse Shan State counterpart in the East – could federalize within its sub-state administrative boundaries to form a “doubly devolved” constituent in a future Federation of Myanmar/Burma.

Bosnifying Burma

Essentially, this would be recreating the Bosnian Scenario, which in its namesake case is a state-wide federation comprised of Republika Srpska (Serbs) and the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina (Muslims and Croats). In the Myanmarese one, however, this would take place on a much larger geographic and population scale within the country’s two prospective “federations within a federation”. It might seem difficult to understand at first read, but this would basically see each state within Myanmar becoming a separate federal entity, with Shan and Rakhine States “doubly devolving” into “federations within a federation” due to their distinct demographic makeup. Of relevance to this research, the Rohingya would obtain control over the northern part of Rakhine State, while the Buddhist Rakhine would control the central and southern parts, making the former a de-facto extension of Bangladesh and the latter the guardians of China’s New Silk Road terminal.

Roadblocks To Rapprochement:

Buddhist Bamar

It’s expected that the abovementioned proposal for the state to enter into a rapprochement with the “moderate” Rohingyas and subsequently enact “double devolution” would be met with furious opposition from the Buddhist Bamar majority, the most hyper-nationalist and extreme elements of which could carry out pogroms against the ethno-religious minorities in their periphery out of anger at what they see as the imminent internal partitioning of their country. There could be other unspoken factors at play, though, such as the majority demographic’s refusal to cede the sovereignty of the central government over the resource-rich minority-populated periphery, which the Tatmadaw would do anything to prevent. Moreover, if the authorities went forward with this proposal despite lacking the support of the Buddhist Bamar majority and Tatmadaw, then a Color Revolution or military coup could be launched against them in putting an immediate halt to this process.

Competitive Connectivity Complications

The other factor which could stand in the way of the peace proposal, though much more indirectly than the Buddhist Bamar, are China and India’s concerns that their competitive connectivity projects through the country could be negatively affected by its “peaceful Balkanization”. Neither Asian Great Power wants to have their trade and energy corridors going through a checkerboard of quasi-independent identity-centric statelets due to the inherent hard security risks that this entails if some of them become militantly at odds with one another. There are also worries that the devolution of a formerly centralized state into a collection of semi-sovereign stakeholders could lead to each transit entity competing with the one another, the federal government, and China over taxes and tolls, which could unnecessarily complicate what had hitherto been a smooth bilateral state-to-state agreement and consequently diminish the attractiveness of doing business along these routes if the issue isn’t resolved.

Geopolitical Pitfalls

Expanding off of the previously mentioned point, the next logical one is that the quasi-independent and identity-centric statelets that would be formed from any forthcoming federalization of Myanmar (including its possible “double devolution” of “federations within a federation”) could be exploited to function as “lily pads” for the US to “leapfrog” its military forces up to China’s southwestern border. Beijing has every reason to be worried about this happening because it fully aligns with the US and its UK hegemonic predecessor’s historic divide-and-rule stratagem all across the world, being seen most recently in relation to the US’ desire to carve the “second geopolitical ‘Israel’” of “Kurdistan” out of the Mideast for the same purposes vis-à-vis the four targeted and thenceforth surrounding states. The same springboard principle could be applied against China, too, except instead of one big “geopolitical ‘Israel’”, many so-called “South Asian Kosovos” could be created to this effect.

The Chinese Key To Success

China has the most to lose by far from what’s happening in Myanmar out of any external stakeholder, so it therefore must play the leading role in offsetting the fast-developing Hybrid War there. Whether it plays out violently as per the first part of the research’s scenarios or peacefully in accordance with the second one’s proposals, the current dynamics in their present state are leading to a slew of outcomes which work out to China’s grand strategic disadvantage in one way or another, so it must harness the political will to get involved in what’s occurring. China, however, has no experience in anything of the sort that’s required of it because of its long-standing policy of non-interference in its partner’s affairs, though it’s nowadays becoming compelled by the circumstances to consider modifying its approach in order to protect a major Silk Road investment.

Whether it’s in Myanmar in the near future or elsewhere across the world in any of the countless countries that are participating in the One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, China will eventually have to sooner or later take on a leadership role in safeguarding these corridors, so an argument can be made that it’s better for it to experiment within doing so in its “Near Abroad” of Southeast Asia before it attempts to do so further afield in Afro-Eurasia. Bearing this in mind, it’s worthwhile to consider the ways in which China could use its possible experience in the Myanmar case to develop and refine its own unique conflict resolution model for utilization all across any future Silk Road battlegrounds, so the concluding part of this research will attempt to create the structural basis for this approach.

Before proceeding, it should be mentioned that there are several situational qualifiers which will impact on the success of China’s possible peacemaking initiative in Myanmar, just as other country-specific factors will influence the same in whatever other state Beijing might end up applying this strategy towards. In this instance, everything is conditional on India not interfering to the degree that it actively works to counter China’s moves, which in this example would be either through the extraordinarily unlikely odds that it would support armed groups in Myanmar (which it has no history of doing and probably never will) or the more probable chances that it could seek to commence its own rival peace initiative instead. In addition, if the conflict escalates per the aforementioned scenarios, especially if actual or suspected ethnic cleansing and genocide are used to suddenly commence a Libya 2.0 “humanitarian intervention” scenario, then China might not have any chance whatsoever at success.

Having explained all of that, here’s the four-step conflict resolution model that China could debut in Myanmar and perfect for future application abroad in any Hybrid War hotspots that the US succeeds in cooking up along the New Silk Roads:

Broker Third-Party-Hosted Talks:

China can learn a lot from Russia in this respect because of Moscow’s experience in attempting to do this for Ukraine through the Belarusian-hosted Minsk Peace Process for Ukraine and its eventually much more successful Kazakh-based Astana one for Syria. The pattern here is for a Great Power to lead conflict resolution talks in the neutral territory of a relevant allied state, so in the case of Myanmar, China could request that Laos fulfill this role in hosting Rohingya peace talks or even the broader Panglong 2.0 ones if anything comes up to interfere with the latter’s ongoing progress (i.e. repeated violations by either side and a subsequent breakdown in trust).

Become A Neutral Balancer:

Once again, China could take a useful cue from Russia when it comes to positioning itself as a neutral balancer. Just as Moscow’s foreign policy progressives are working to diversify their country’s foreign partnerships to the point of one day dispelling any plausible accusations of bias towards any given state or another, so too could Beijing attempt to do the same in counteracting the perception that it’s too supportive of the Myanmarese government. In pursuit of this, it could expand its internal partnerships within the country with various rebel groups beyond those located in its immediate borderlands of Shan and Kachin States just like Russia has sought to do with its multidimensional outreaches to the “moderate rebels” in Syria.

The reason why it’s important to become a neutral balancer is because it endows the relevant Great Power with the irreplaceable role of a trusted mediator, thereby allowing it to powerfully determine the course of any conflict resolution process and subsequently shape its outcome. In regards to Myanmar and in particular the Rohingya Crisis, however, this takes on an even more significant and sensitive purpose because it would contradict the weaponized infowar narrative that China is “anti-Muslim” because of its support for Naypyidaw. The US is hoping to exploit this carefully crafted and misleading perception in order to undermine China’s New Silk Road projects in the Muslim-majority countries of Central Asia, the Mideast, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia (the latter of which is relevant for its billions of dollars of Vision 2030 investments).

So long as China can prove that it’s not an “enemy of Muslims worldwide” by balancing its approach to the Rohingya Crisis, then it can avoid falling into the soft power trap that the US has set for it. Not only would this ensure the stability of China’s Silk Road investments in the Ummah, but it would also provide less fuel for provocateurs to use in trying to stir up anti-government resentment in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, which is one of OBOR’s main continental hubs. That being said, China mustn’t ever waver from its unflinching zero-tolerance approach towards terrorism, especially that which is being waged under radical Islamic slogans, so it would have to work with Myanmar in separating “moderate” Rohingyas from the “hardline” ones just like Russia cooperated with Syria in doing the same concerning the former’s armed groups.

Suggest Decentralization:

China should encourage conflict resolution outcomes which at the very least provide some sort of symbolic administrative-territorial decentralization rights for the “moderate” identity-centric adversaries which break from their “hardline” counterparts, as this could provide the basis for an enduring post-conflict political solution. The reader should remember that decentralization doesn’t always mean devolution, with the former usually being known for its autonomous zones while the latter is marked by federal states. In any case, it shouldn’t be assumed that either of them automatically endangers the unity of the host state, though that could end up being an inadvertent outcome which would predictably play out to the US’ anticipated divide-and-rule “Balkanization” grand strategy for the Eastern Hemisphere.

For example, Uzbekistan has the Karakalpakstan autonomous republic, which in no way poses any threat to the centralized Uzbek state due to the practical limits placed on its actual autonomy. Likewise, China has several autonomous regions and even bestows local autonomy for certain minority groups in some prefectures and counties in the country, though this also doesn’t impede with the centralized operations of the People’s Republic. As for federations, Ethiopia is a good example of one in which federalism pretty much only carries a symbolic purpose, in this case for placating the main ethnic groups in the country after the end of the civil war, and it for all intents and purposes functions as a centralized state. Russia, too, is a federation, though one with considerably more rights granted to its subjects, especially those inhabiting autonomous republics, but it doesn’t have any real problems. Bosnia, however, is the worst example of a federation and is utterly dysfunctional, representing the type of governing model that the US would ideally like to reproduce all across Afro-Eurasia.

The Russian-written “draft constitution” for Syria proposed controlled decentralization which could in theory broaden into devolution if the people voted for it, and this was suggested despite Damascus’s previous well-known opposition to these processes, so it wouldn’t by any comparison be amiss for China to facilitate the already-ongoing federalization talks of its Myanmarese partner. What’s absolutely imperative for either the Syrian or Myanmarese decentralization-devolution processes to succeed is for the prospective statelets to not have the power to conduct their own military-political relations with foreign states, except in a cynical sense if it’s with Russia and China respectively. If the negotiations stall at this point, then it might be necessary for the central government to concede greater (resource) revenue flows to these entities in order to “buy” their “loyalty”.

Silk Road Incentives:

Last but not least, and in connection with the “trade-off” that might have to take place in ensuring the “patriotic commitment” of the prospective decentralized-devolved entity to the country that they’re (at least still) formally a part of, it would be best if China were to craft creative ways to make the transit statelets self-interested stakeholders in protecting and stabilizing its New Silk Road corridors. The possibilities for this include allowing them to reap a yearly payment from the People’s Republic for securing and enabling the flow of resources and products across their Chinese-financed (and in some cases, -built) infrastructure; offering free educational and job-training programs for the locals; and assisting with post-conflict stabilization measures in the relevant territory.

About the latter point, Article 52 of the 2017 Xiamen BRICS Declaration emphasizes “the important contribution of BRICS countries to United Nations peacekeeping operations, and the importance of United Nations peacekeeping operations to international peace and security”. This suggests that China, as the world’s largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, might seek to self-interestedly leverage its experiences in this field in one day safeguarding its Silk Road investments through Beijing-led UN or unilateral (as per the agreement of the host state and relevant, likely by then federalized, territory) missions in these strategic transit regions after an earlier conflict has been resolved (also through Chinese mediation per the aforementioned four-step model).

It should also be added that training local security forces would epitomize China’s neutral balancing strategy between state and non-state actors as well, and it would provide the People’s Republic with invaluable military-diplomatic knowledge that could be later applied elsewhere across the world as needed. If China can succeed in offering a host of Silk Road incentives to its partners in helping them and their warring compatriots resolve their differences in a win-win manner, then Beijing can solidify its role as the main driving force in the emerging Multipolar World Order and sustain all of the positive gains that it’s achieved thus far. It would also make China the only country in the world capable of competing with the US in this regard, thereby elevating it from the level of a Great Power to a Global Superpower, though with all of the attendant strategic risks for overreach that this entails.

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 global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare.

All images in this article are from the author.

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With the approaching 16th anniversary of September 11, 2001, and with the global war on terror still raging unabated, the 9/11 Consensus Panel continues its 7-year commitment “to provide a ready source of evidence-based research to any investigation that may be undertaken by the public, the media, academia, or any other investigative body or institution.”

This year the 23-member Panel published two new Consensus Points, using its “best evidence” review model to analyse the official claims about 9/11. (The Panel has now reviewed 50 official claims and has found each to be a substantially flawed account.)

The first Point, “The Claim that the Hijackers were Devout Muslims,” cites many media reports that the hijackers were engaged in “decidedly un-Islamic sampling of prohibited pleasures,” including lap dancing in Las Vegas night clubs.

The second 2017 Consensus Point, “The Claim that Mohamed Atta Had Become a Fanatically Religious Muslim,” explores the question asked by a member of the press to 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste:

“If Atta belonged to the fundamentalist Muslim group, why was he snorting cocaine and frequenting strip bars?”

Ben-Veniste replied: “You know, that’s a heck of a question.”

But it was a question that the 9/11 Commission never addressed.

These two Points build upon the already overwhelming evidence that 9/11, which has been used to justify America’s imperialist agenda in the Middle East, was a deception across the board: the World Trade Centerthe Pentagonthe hijackersthe phone calls from the planesthe fake security video exhibits, and the whereabouts of the political and military commands.

Consensus panelist Dr. Niels Harrit, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers in the top chemistry journals and has given more than 300 presentations about the World Trade Center demolitions, speaking in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland, France, Switzerland, Spain, United Kingdom, Canada, USA, China, Australia, Russia and Iceland.

Frances Shure, a licensed professional counselor on the 9/11 Consensus Panel, was interviewed on Progressive Spirit in August, 2017 about the extraordinary denial that continues to surround the events of 9/11. The title of her interview was “Why Do Good People Become Silent—Or Worse—About 9/11?

Dr. Graeme MacQueen, Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies at McMaster University, has published a recent article with an entirely new slant, “9/11: The Pentagon’s B-Movie,” which re-awakens our sense of the horrific yet still-concealed nature of this world-changing deception.

Two other Panelists, physics teacher David Chandler and engineer Jonathan Cole, maintain a separate website, in which their independent research, which is also affiliated with the 2900-member Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and Scientists for 9/11 Truth, is documented.

Panel co-founder, Dr. David Ray Griffin, has recently released his 11th scholarly book on 9/11, Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World, perhaps his best-selling title to date. David’s August 2017 interview with John Shuck may be heard here.

The Panel wishes to thank its fine team of voluntary translators, who continue to make best-evidence research about 9/11 much more widely available through other languages.


waronterrorism.jpgby Michel Chossudovsky
ISBN Number: 9780973714715
List Price: $24.95
click here to order

Special Price: $18.00

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

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

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

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

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On Monday, 21 August 2017 President Donald Trump went to Fort Myer, in Arlington, Virginia, and there he did what he seems to like best of all – address a crowd, preferably a huge one that is captive. Trump spoke to U.S. troops and the nation to unveil his “’dramatically’ new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia,” as reported by CBS News’ Rebecca Shabad, who added that the “plan does not involve a withdrawal of U.S. troops from America’s longest-running war.” While Trump talked about the “American people’s frustration” with the apparently never-ending war in the Hindu Kush, he fell very short from his “original instinct [which] was to pull out,” as he had made plain as long ago as January 11, 2013 when the then-still businessman tweeted “… Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there.”

Alas, rather than continue Obama’s withdrawal strategy, the “draw-down of U.S. forces from Afghanistan – known as the retrograde – [that was supposed] to be completed by the end of 2014,” the businessman-turned-president has now come to the conclusion that the fighting must go on until an “honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives” can be achieved.

And, as if willing to illustrate these Presidential words, on Wednesday August 30th, the Pentagon revealed that the U.S. currently still had “about 11,000 troops [stationed] in Afghanistan,” a figure “higher than formally disclosed in recent years.” Arguably, enough boots-on-the-ground to get the job done, as promised by Donald J. Trump. Contrary to his “original instinct,” the U.S President will authorise the dispatch of more troops into the Afghan theatre, but he assured his Arlington audience,

“[w]e will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.”

And so it seems that now the “unconventional” and “unorthodox” U.S. President that is Trump has finally become yet another Leader of the Free World beholden to the infamous “military-industrial complex,” the opinion of people whom he refers to as “my Generals and military experts” and the Deep State, as it is known today.

As a result, he is now performing a remarkable U-turn, completely negating his earlier-made pledges and promises, such as the one he made in Fayetteville, N.C., “We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with” (6 December 2016). Yet now, Trump appears committed to meddling abroad like any other of his predecessors, starting with the now infamous dispatch by MSNBC’s Brian Williams of “beautiful weapons” into Syria last April and now culminating in his ‘all-new, all-different’ Afghanistan policy that appears to be taking up where Obama left off earlier.

Across the Durand Line

Still, U.S. President Trump managed to add something new to the heady mix of American activities and policies in the Hindu Kush, stating bluntly that “Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror,” as part of his wider statement regarding the new U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Going into some detail, Trump also added that the U.S. “can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” and ending his exposition on the Land of the Pure with the words that “it is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace.” Whereas Trump’s newly articulated Afghan policy represents a clear victory for advocates of a continued American imperial policy in the Hindu Kush, his inclusion of Pakistan is a bit of a departure from time honoured U.S. policy. The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan under President George W. BushZalmay Khalilzad, said as much talking to ABC’s ‘This Week.’ Literally, Khalilzad declared that he does not think that “either President Bush or President Obama focused as sharply, as clearly . . . [on] Pakistan’s both role as a facilitator of and a help to Afghanistan and as a sanctuary for those who fight us,” going on to indicate that in his view “the single most important factor, the Pakistan problem, for prolonging the war . . . [are] the sanctuary issues.” In fact, it has long been an open secret that the Taliban freely and openly cross the Af-Pak border, as necessitated by circumstances and accommodated by the Haqqani Network (a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), according to erstwhile U.S. Central Command chief, Admiral Mike Mullen). While, the roots of the fundamentalist movement itself effectively lie in the northern Pakistan of the early 1990s when Benazir Bhutto headed the nation. At present, the homegrown Pakistani faction of the group, the TTP (or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, currently led by Maulana Fazlullah) oppose Islamabad and on occasion sow terror and mayhem throughout the Land of the Pure (such as a deadly blast in Lahore on 13 February last).

On the other hand, the sudden shift towards paying closer attention to Pakistan had been in the air for a while, or at least hovering in cyberspace since June, 14th, as tweeted by the Twitter user Afghan Army (@ArmyAFG):

And, General Sher Mohammad Karimi had been the Chief of Army Staff of Afghanistan in the period 20 June 2010 – 22 May 2015. In a nutshell, Karimi’s words seem to have moved into Trump’s mouth, as the new U.S. policy on Afghanistan seems to closely correspond to the opinion of the former head of the Afghan National Army. In fact, already in December 2014, General Karimi visited Islamabad, accompanied by Isaf commander Gen John Campbell (August 2014-April 2016), to discuss this thorny issue with Pakistani Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif (November 2013-November 2016). In the previous year Karimi had also been part of a so-called “Tripartite Commission” to discuss this very topic in the Pakistani capital, accompanied by Campbell’s predecessor General John Allen (June 2011-February 2013). In other words, the matter of Pakistani safe havens for the Afghan Taliban had been a pressing matter for quite some time. During his three-day-visit to India in January 2015, President Obama told the local press that Taliban “safe havens within Pakistan are not acceptable.”

And once again, Trump’s ‘all-new, all-different’ Afghanistan policy appears to be taking up where Obama left off.

Reactions at Home and Abroad

Observers might be led to conclude that “Trump’s ‘America First’ Base [is] Unhappy with Flip-Flop Afghanistan Speech,” as announced by Breitbart on the same day.

The following day Breitbart writer Joel B. Pollak tweeted that

“Trump’s #Afghanistan speech was Obama’s speech minus the deadline & details. Like the bit about Pakistan [though].”

Whereas, on Wednesday, 23, August 2007, the Imamia Students Organisation (or ISO, a Shiite Muslim students’ organisation in Pakistan) organised anti-U.S. rallies in the Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore – these gatherings even carried the significant heading of ‘Death to America’ – meaning that the world has now somewhat reverted to normal again, with the U.S. vowing to kill certain Muslims and others vocally calling for the demise of the world’s sole super-power. It seems highly appropriate though that these rallies were held by Shiite Muslim, as Trump somewhat erroneously and opportunistically singled out Shiite Iran as the main purveyor of “radical Islamic terrorism” in Saudi Arabia. Pakistan, on the other hand, as the home of erstwhile British India’s Muslims has a Muslim population which is mostly Sunni in orientation and Hanafi in outlook. And the same holds true for Afghanistan and its population. In this way, Trump has now evened out the field inhabited by “radical Islamic terrorists,” targeted by the U.S. military establishment. Arguably, such theological nuances and niceties are beyond Donald Trump’s comprehension or even interest and/or proficiency. One but needs but to remember his words that “all of these experts . . . The experts are terrible!” uttered during last year’s election campaign (4 April 2016). Trump skillfully utilised such anti-intellectual jibes as part of his bid for wide popular and populist appeal. It seems like a mere truism to state that Trump’s ascendancy to the White House is in large part due to his espousal of a “nationalist” or even “nativist” rhetoric during the election campaign, and on Friday, 18 August, the man known as Trump’s “Chief Strategist” mainly responsible for the occurrence of such words in the now-President’s mouth, Steven (or rather Stephen) Bannon, was dismissed from the White House. Bannon had previously been at the head of the right-wing news website Breitbart, affiliated with a movement that has received the media-friendly moniker alt-right.

Becoming a War President

In view of the timing, there are now those who see a clear link between the ‘all-new, all-different’ yet all-the-same Afghanistan policy announced and this sudden departure. Bannon had been a highly visible part of the Trump White House, even sharing an office with the now equally departed Reince Priebus (28 Jul 2017 ), and notorious for exclaiming such outrageous words and phrases like the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” prominently announced during his appearance at this year’s CPAC (or Conservative Political Action Conference on 23 February 2017). During the Conservative jamboree he also spoke at length about Trump’s “economic nationalist agenda,” while simultaneously denouncing the news media and its practitioners as the “enemy.” Kim Sengupta, the Independent’s Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent, opines that Bannon had urged his boss to “pull out and not get further tangled in Afghanistan.” And that Bannon, like his fellow alt-right henchmen, blamed “the neocons” for the military imbroglio in the Hindui Kush, even going as far as declaring that opinion amongst the alt-right held that the wars in Afghanistan (as well as in Iraq) had been “orchestrated . . . by Jewish big business.”

In reality, though, the invasion of the Hindu Kush which led to the volcanic eruption of the now-16 year war bogging down the U.S. was the brainchild of a number of experts during a “4-day [mid-July 2001] Berlin meeting carrying the heading ‘Brainstorming on Afghanistan’ and [that] was apparently the outcome of the Clinton administration’s concerns over Osama bin Laden,” going back to the 1998 attacks on two US embassies in Africa – in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. But it was down to 9/11 and George W. Bush to ignite the Afghan powder keg, leading to a conflagration subsequently deftly and somewhat ineptly handled by the Nobel Peace Prize-wielding Barack Obama.

In light of Trump’s recent Fort Myer speech, the Washington Post reporter Robert Costa even tweeted that

“Trump is echoing many of the points Bannon made behind the scenes. But he has gone along w/ a version of McMaster-Mattis plan.”

In other words, Costa merely affirms my earlier pronouncements on Trump becoming beholden to the infamous “military-industrial complex” and the Deep State, insinuating that the current National Security Advisor (in office since 20 February) and the Secretary of Defense (in office since 20 January) had somehow colluded to delude and deceive the U.S. President into continuing the American imperial policy in the Hindu Kush…

On the other hand, not quite three months after CPAC, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association convened the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington, D.C. (10-13 May 2017), where Trump’s Veep, Mike Pence, took to the stage. Pence, talking “on behalf of President Donald Trump,” there and then assured the gathered believers that the Trump administration would not be sitting on its hands when it comes to fighting “radical Islamic terrorists,” which the newly-minted President had already made plain during his inaugural speech in January. Pence, though, went a lot further in his pubic words: President Trump has “made it clear that America will stand by followers of Christ in this hour of need. Our administration is fully committed in bringing relief and comfort to believers not only across the Middle East but across the world. This President knows the terrorists will not stop until we stop them. And, under President Donald Trump, we will stop them. Under President Donald Trump, America will continue to stand for religious freedom of all people, of all faiths, across the world. And I believe that all God’s children, no matter their country or their creed, can know with confidence that God will continue to guide this nation, to play our unique role on behalf of freedom in the world.”

As a result, though initially unwilling to do so as his “original instinct was to pull out” of Afghanistan, Trump’s ‘all-new, all-different yet all-the-same’ policy in the Hindu Kush could be seen as part of this claimed commitment to do battle with the enemies of Christianity. At the same time, one could argue that the Billy Graham event was cunningly employed by the Trump team to fire up a significant part of its base to start a number of major military adventures in the Middle East and beyond, using the figleaf of protecting persecuted Christians as a rallying cry to garner domestic and international support.

In spite of all of his campaign promises, Donald Trump seems more than determined to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps and become a real war president.

Building Nations on Paper

During his speech Trump fine-tuned the American position in the Hindu Kush, saying that

“We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.”

And again, these words also first sprung forth from somebody else’s mouth: namely, Barack Obama’s. In early August 2015, President Obama told the members of his National Security Council that “[w]e’re no longer in nation-building mode,” according to an unnamed person present at the meeting.

Like Trump just recently, after his inauguration in January 2009, Obama ordered a “quick policy review” of the Afghan situation, but “even before it was completed, he accepted a Pentagon recommendation to send 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, bringing the total to nearly 70,000 American troops on the ground,” as worded by the journalist Mark Landler.

The mere idea of the U.S. engaging in a nation-building efforts has been anathema to American politicians in the 21st century, with candidate Bush making scathing remarks to Al Gore during the 2000 election campaign. But then, “After 9/11, I changed my mind,” as he wrote in his memoir Decision Points (published on 9 November 2010). Bush elaborated in his memoir that “Afghanistan was the ultimate nation building mission. We had liberated the country from a primitive dictatorship, and we had a moral obligation to leave behind something better.” As a result, in the Hindu Kush an unbroken line of nation-building activities stretches throughout the 21st century, starting in the Bush years throughout the Obama period only to end at the outset of the Trump era . . . for now at least. At present, President Trump is adamant about the fact that the United States will only be engaged in the business of “killing terrorists” in the Hindu Kush – across the Durand Line apparently. But famous or rather infamous for his flip-flopping proficiency, time will tell whether President Trump will be satisfied with sticking to his “original instinct” this time around. Already the rightly-maligned Zbigniew Brzezinki recognised the importance of Central Asia, and Afghanistan’s position at the heart of the region makes abandoning the Hindu Kush a questionable proposition. For starters, there is the Bagram Airfield Base, a permanent U.S. foothold in the mountains, overseeing the country’s underground mineral wealth and keeping a close eye on the Chinese dragon across the border, particularly after the Manas’ Transit Center in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan was closed down in 2014. And the word China has famously been featuring prominently in Trump’s mouth, ever since he started switching career tracks last year. The current nuclear impasse on the Korean peninsula has brought the Middle Kingdom to the fore as well, given the DPRK’s nature as a Chinese client state. Will Trump merely order his ‘generals’ to kill “terrorists” and then stick with his “original instinct” and “pull out” or will strategic and other concerns prevail so that the U.S. presence in the Hindu Kush will continue unabated.

In 2011, retired USAF Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski put it like this: the Pentagon directors like “these military bases [in the Hindu Kush] too well, [they] like the minerals, and [they] like the geographic positioning Afghanistan provides our military.” Will Trump be able to break the dictates of U.S. imperial policy or will he have to succumb like all of his predecessors?

Will Trump be the one to end the war initiated by Bill Clinton’s experts in Berlin, or will he merely be able to add another chapter to the ongoing American saga in the Hindu Kush?!?

21WIRE special contributor Dr. Can Erimtan is an independent scholar who was living in Istanbul for some time, with a wide interest in the politics, history and culture of the Balkans and the Greater Middle East. He attended the VUB in Brussels and did his graduate work at the universities of Essex and Oxford. In Oxford, Erimtan was a member of Lady Margaret Hall and he obtained his doctorate in Modern History in 2002. His publications include the book “Ottomans Looking West?” as well as numerous scholarly articles. In the period 2010-11, he wrote op-eds for Today’s Zaman and in the further course of 2011 he also published a number of pieces in Hürriyet Daily News. In 2013, he was the Turkey Editor of the İstanbul Gazette. He is on Twitter at @theerimtanangle

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North Korea’s representative at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok has given his first public statement to journalists since President Vladimir Putin announced his plans for trilateral economic cooperation between Russia and the two Korean states.

Subsequently, North Korea’s Minister for External Economic Affairs, Kim Yong-jae told reporters that in principle, his country supports the plan but that North Korea does not plan to immediately enact such proposals. Such a statement is not surprising giving North Korea’s generally cautious approach to international engagement.

Kim Yong-jae said,

“We are not opposed to the trilateral cooperation (with Russia and South Korea), but this is not an appropriate situation for this to be implemented”.

He continued,

“We severely condemn attempts by South Korea and Japan to use the EEF for their impure political purposes. Their attacks against self-defensive measures to strengthen the DPRK’s nuclear deterrent forces — they are clearly at variance with the purpose and nature of our forum, where economic cooperation between the Russian Far East and Asian countries is discussed”.

Earlier, President Putin spoke of Russia’s desire to build transport links between the entire Korean peninsula and Russia.

Putin said,

“It is necessary to gradually involve North Korea in cooperation in the region, and Russia has specific proposals, everyone knows about this — a joint road linking the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Korean railways through North Korea, pipeline transport, development of North Korean ports and so on and so forth. We have something to offer and work on”.

North Korea’s statement indicates that it seeks a gesture of good will from Seoul in order to proceed with such a project. Such a gesture would almost certainly be some commitment to cease acceptance of further THAAD missile system deliveries from the United Sates, something which South Korean President Moon pledged to do during his recent election campaign. This pledge however was nullified in the summer of 2017, ostensibly due to pressure from Washington. South Korea could alternatively withdraw heavy weaponry from areas near the 38th parallel which divides the Korean states.

If South Korea was to engage with North Korea on a disarmament plan, even one that due to the highly weaponised topography of the Korean peninsula would be largely symbolic, this could be the necessary element which would see Pyongyang state that it is ready to fully engage wit Putin’s proposal.

The fact that Pyongyang responded positively to the Russian plan is indicative of the fact that now it is up to South Korea to show it will respond with care and good measure to statements from the North.

Clearly, North Korea’s statement will open up a period wherein Russia could act as a go-between in respect of the Korean states in an attempt to have both sides offer each other the assurances necessary to kick-start cooperative economic endeavours.

In this sense, the ball is largely in South Korea’s court. If Seoul is to re-activate its so-called Sunshine Policy of engagement with the North which was a stable of South Korean diplomacy under the Presidencies of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, there is every chance that when combined with Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov’s famously skilled diplomatic tactics, such a policy could result in Moscow, Pyongyang and Seoul initiating the process which Vladimir Putin spoke of at the Eastern Economic Forum.

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

Security Council resolutions targeting North Korea are counterproductive, achieving nothing other than heightening tensions more than already – Washington’s reason for wanting them imposed, opposing engaging with its officials diplomatically.

In its current form, a draft US sponsored SC resolution on the DPRK is unacceptable to Russia and China, calling for:

  • an asset freeze and travel ban on Kim Jong-un and other designated DPRK officials;
  • designating additional “WMD-related items,” including specified materials, equipment, goods and technology;
  • designating “conventional arms dual-use and munitions” and related items, including specified materials, equipment, goods, and technology;
  • designating vessels used to transport coal, its purchase by other countries prohibited;
  • authorizing UN member states to interdict and inspect North Korean vessels at sea in international waters;
  • banning exports of crude oil, condensate, refined petroleum products and natural gas to the DPRK;
  • prohibiting textile exports to the country;
  • preventing illicit (sic) DPRK coal exports through Rajin;
  • banning the hiring and use of North Korean workers by other countries; and
  • prohibiting joint ventures and cooperative economic activities with Pyongyang, among other measures.

The resolution claimed “the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula…through dialogue” Washington opposes.

A Monday vote on the resolution is planned. Sergey Lavrov told Rex Tillerson Russia will only accept one calling for diplomacy involving all relevant parties, saying:

Moscow’s position calls for use of “political and diplomatic tools to seek peaceful ways of resolution.” It opposes escalation of tensions on the peninsula.

The Kremlin rejects suspending oil shipments to the DPRK. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed the importance of constructive dialogue with Pyongyang, the only way to deal with contentious issues.

Putin said

“cutting off the oil supply to North Korea may harm people in hospitals or other ordinary citizens.”

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier called sanctions counterproductive, stressing the importance of diplomacy over hardline policies.

Moscow and Beijing may agree to further sanctions less harsh than Washington wants imposed. They oppose measures risking collapse of North Korea’s economy. In its current form, the US draft resolution won’t pass.

Washington bears responsibility for heightened regional tensions – a pretext for further militarizing the Korean peninsula, along with increasing the presence of US warships in East Asian waters and warplanes in its airspace, provocative actions, polar opposite responsible policies.

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.”Sour

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

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


150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

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

by Michel Chossudovsky

The Globalization of War includes chapters on North Korea, Ukraine, Palestine, Libya, Iran, Yugoslavia, Haiti, Syria and Iraq as well as several chapters on the dangers of Nuclear War including Michel Chossudovsky’s Conversations with Fidel Castro entitled “Nuclear War and the Future of Humanity”.

According to Fidel: “in the case of a nuclear war, the ‘collateral damage’ would be the life of all humanity”.

The book concludes with two chapters focussing on “Reversing the Tide of War”.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0

Pages: 240 Pages

List Price: $22.95 

Order directly from Global Research

Special Price: $15.00

America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine —coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.

Conversations on the Dangers of Nuclear War: Fidel Castro and Michel Chossudovsky, Havana, October 2010

This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history.

It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of “human rights” and “Western democracy”.

Order directly from Global Research

REVIEWS:

“Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the most realistic of all foreign policy commentators. He is a model of integrity in analysis, his book provides an honest appraisal of the extreme danger that U.S. hegemonic neoconservatism poses to life on earth.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

““The Globalization of War” comprises war on two fronts: those countries that can either be “bought” or destabilized. In other cases, insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit U.S. military intervention. Michel Chossudovsky’s book is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.”

Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of National Defence

“Michel Chossudovsky describes globalization as a hegemonic weapon that empowers the financial elites and enslaves 99 percent of the world’s population.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

Michael Carmichael, President, the Planetary Movement

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

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How Israel Weaponizes Archaeology

September 8th, 2017 by Kathryn Shihadah

From the Zionism’s earliest days in the late 1800s until the present, Israel’s battle has always been about land, but for some the issue goes much deeper—literally. What is underground is as valuable as what is above ground, and the battle has been raging for years.

The battle is over ancient artifacts, from Jerusalem to Gaza to Qumran.

The “Jewish State” prioritizes anything that might boost its legitimacy as rightful owner of Holy Land real estate, and has appropriated the science of archaeology to help create its narrative.

The goal is to highlight the ancient Jewish presence and discount all other communities. whether historic or current. The Israeli narrative assumes, for example, that Christians may have been present for a short time, but only as visitors, leaving virtually no trace; the same goes for any Muslim presence.

In order to back up this version of history, Israel has found it necessary to destroy villages, demolish ancient sites, appropriate historic areas, rewrite textbooksredraw boundary lines, and more. With the illusion of an ongoing, dominant Jewish presence, Israel can assert that it is simply “re-claiming” what is rightfully theirs, instead of taking what belongs to others.

Facts Under the Ground

It is no surprise that Israel/Palestine is an archaeological gold mine: ancient trade routes crisscrossed the region; it was the historic home of the Philistines and Crusaders; a stone’s throw from the early civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Phoenicia; part of the Roman, Greek, Persian, and Ottoman empires, to name a few; and the dwelling place of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

In fact, Palestine is home to the oldest archaeological organization in the world, the Palestine Exploration Fund, founded in 1865. Here excavators have feasted on a dizzying array of strata, ranging from Upper Paleolithic (about 40,000 BC) to late Ottoman (19th century AD), and everything in between; their findings have led to the advancement of the science of archaeology itself. No wonder archaeologists from around the world have been assembling for at least a century and a half to unearth and study Palestine’s ancient cultural riches.

When Israel created itself in 1948—and even before this date—the “Jewish State” worked to take control of archaeology, and thus, of the region’s history. It toiled to erase footprints of the numerous civilizations that had preceded the Jewish presence, as well as the peoples that have come afterward.

“Hand to Hand”

The claim to the land is based on a very small window of time, as Illene Beatty pointed out in Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan:

“The extended kingdoms of David and Solomon, on which the Zionists base their territorial demands, endured for only about 73 years… Then it fell apart… [Even] if we allow independence to the entire life of the ancient Jewish kingdoms, from David’s conquest of Canaan in 1000 B.C. to the wiping out of Judah in 586 B.C., we arrive at [only] a 414 year Jewish rule.”

The Israeli narrative pushes the window open a few hundred years more: history (at least, relevant history) supposedly “started with King David and ended with the destruction of the second temple [70 A.D.], restarting with Jewish settlement in the nineteenth century.” Some Greek and Roman presence and a “smattering of early Christianity” are tolerable. But ancient Philistines, Arabs, and Muslims are never acknowledged as part of the region’s history. They would impinge upon Jewish interests.

The official explanation, according to an introductory film that is shown to tour groups in Jerusalem, is simply, “For two thousand years, the city passed from hand to hand.” The “righteous return” and the settler agenda are the only account to which visitors are exposed. On Palestine, there is only silence.

As Israeli author and activist Uri Avnery reminds us, the Zionist claim to the land of Palestine, based as it was on the Biblical history of the Israelites, requires proving that the Bible is true. Almost all of the founders of Israel were professing atheists, but they gritted their teeth and gave their orders.

During the early years of Israel’s existence, bulldozers removed Ottoman and Mameluke remains, Arab and Crusader artifacts, Byzantine and Roman and Greek and Persian remnants—in order to find “pay dirt”: biblical Hebrew artifacts. The search is ongoing. (Read this and this, for example.)

And over the years, the narrative has been pieced together for a single purpose: to manufacture “legitimacy.”

“I Told You So”

This explains why, for example, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed to social media when a coin was found recently in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank (Palestine). Preliminary identification classified the coin as a 2,000-year-old half shekel. The Prime Minister posted on Facebook that the artifact was “evidence of the deep connection between the people of Israel and its land” (mind you, the item was found in Palestine, not Israel). Several days later, the coin was more accurately identified by the Israel Museum as a replica, a souvenir, circa 2000 A.D. The Facebook post was removed.

After the 2015 discovery of an ancient jug with Hebrew inscription, Israel’s minister of education, Naftali Bennettposted on Facebook,

“This is yet another example of the many facts on the ground that tell the story of the Jewish state that flourished here in this land 3,000 years ago… A nation can not occupy its own land.”

Moral of the story: Archaeologywhen massaged properly—is proof positive that there is no occupation.

Palestinian Villages Evaporate

As part of this effort, Zionist forces wiped out 400-600 Palestinian villages in the 1940s—some were destroyed in the war, but many were depopulated and razed even before the war began; others were demolished in the three years or so following the war.

According to Just Past? The Making of Israeli Archaeology“remnants of the Arab past were considered blots on the landscape and evoked facts everyone wanted to forget” (everyone except the Palestinians). Many of these lost villages were themselves ancient, or contained ancient building materials. This assisted forgetting, essentially “Nakba denial,” is undoubtedly the greatest theft of Palestinian history. Today, in place of those lost villages are Israeli towns, farms, and orchards.

Hundreds of historical monuments and places of worship (primarily mosques) were also targeted for demolition after the 1948 war. A few Israelis pleaded with the Israeli Department of Antiquities to preserve these sites, but they were for the most part unsuccessful.

Raz Kletter wrote about the situation, of which he as an archaeologist was ashamed:

“I don’t think this village landscape belongs to us—it belongs to the people who lived here—but still, there is longing for that lost landscape. We cannot bring it back, but at least we should be aware of the truth and not lie to ourselves.”

Cartographers were sent out to make a new map, renaming cities, villages, rivers, etc. with Israeli/Hebrew names to erase all vestiges of Palestinian presence.

This effort has continued for decades, down to even renaming parks and streets.

Appropriating Archaeological Sites and the Dead Sea Scrolls

The 1995 Oslo Accords II assigned 60% of the West Bank (Palestine) to full Israeli military control by designating it “Area C.” This was meant to be a temporary arrangement, but has lasted over twenty years to date. Israel maintains authority over all land-related civil matters, which includes the Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land (with a current population of about half a million) and almost all of Palestine’s archaeological sites.

According to international law, artifacts found on Palestinian land— whether Area A, B, C, Gaza, or East Jerusalem—belong to Palestine and should remain inside Palestine. UNESCO Accords, UN Security Council resolutions, and the 1954 Hague Convention all indicate that “when ownership of an antiquity is vested in a nation, one who removes it without permission is a thief, and the antiquities are stolen property”— this according to Patty Gerstenblith, DePaul professor and author of a 2016 Department of Justice guide to cultural property law.

The appropriation of archaeological sites and their artifacts is, by definition, illegal, but Israel has a great deal of experience in flouting international law and getting away with it. This crime does not need to be covered up.

Witness the famous Dead Sea Scrolls: discovered by Palestinians before the founding of Israel, in the Qumran Caves which are located in the West Bank of Palestine. Because Qumran is in Area C of the West Bank, Israel controls the archaeological site, the tourism, and the conversation. The scrolls are now in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Their official website does not contain any mention of Palestine.

Area C designation enables Israel de facto control over not only excavation and the distribution of artifacts; but decisions about when to stop digging and start building new structures—or parks or parking lots—on top of a site.

Palestinian towns and neighborhoods that are close to or part of East Jerusalem are subject to particularly exasperating treatment: the 1980 Jerusalem Law essentially annexed East Jerusalem(most of the world does not recognize the annexation), declaring all of Jerusalem “the complete and united capital of Israel,” and promising to “provide for the development and prosperity of Jerusalem and the well-being of its inhabitants.” Israeli domination ensued, and for Palestinians it feels like an elaborate land grab.

Case Study: Silwan

The East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, whose families have owned their lands since Ottoman times, has been living under this cloud of Israeli authority since 1967.

Silwan used to be almost completely Palestinian and Muslim. After the 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem, a plan was announced to shift the population to 75% Israeli. As one of the settler/archaeologist spokesmen explained, the objective was “to get a [Jewish] foothold in East Jerusalem and to create an irreversible situation in the holy basin around the Old City.” (This is called “ethnic cleansing.”) This has been accomplished through evictions and home demolitions—over half of the houses in Silwan are under demolition orders—sometimes using forged documents.

Palestinian women in Silwan watch as settlers move into homes in the neighborhood

One of the main ways Israel got a “foothold” in Silwan was through the 1950 Absentee Property Law. This insidious regulation states that if a piece of Palestinian property has been uninhabited for three years, or ownership documents could not be produced, the land would revert to a Custodianship Council, which could then distribute the property for military or settlement use.

The Absentee Property Law had worked handily when Palestinian refugees were refused the right of return: after three years, their land was confiscated and they had nothing to come back to anyway. Those few who did get back, and whose homes were still standing—only seven villages were left intact—often found their deeds missing or destroyed, and new, Jewish tenants in place. According to the Israel Government Yearbook, 5719, almost 60,000 homes and 10,000 businesses were appropriated during Israel’s early years.

A large number of properties in Silwan have been appropriated through this law.

The small number of green spaces in Silwan have also been claimed as archaeological sites, forbidden to Palestinians. Hundreds of closed-circuit TV cameras are used to insure compliance.

Having appropriated swaths of Silwan, the work of appropriating swaths of history began “with bulldozers clearing huge areas in haste and multiple levels being dismantled in a race to get to ‘Jewish’ bedrock.” Where they couldn’t find what they needed, settlers built houses on top of excavation sites.

Silwan’s Palestinian residents used to take pride in the archaeological riches of their land, but since Israel’s land grab, things have gone from bad to worse. The heavy machinery and deep digging are beginning to compromise structures: Palestinian homes are showing large cracks, making their owners nervous and angry.

One resident, Jawad Siyam, created a petition to end the destructive digging, and filed it with the Israel Supreme Court. The result: Jawad and all of those who signed the petition were imprisoned or put under house arrest for “disturbing the peace and causing damage to property.”

Adding insult to injury, the Jerusalem municipality replaced a number of Arabic-named streets in Silwan with biblical Hebrew names—yet another daily reminder to Palestinians of who is in charge.

Antiquities in Gaza

Not surprisingly, the situation in Gazan archaeological sites is even worse—though its location as a seaport makes it wildly rich in ancient treasures. Gaza’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities oversees digs and artifact preservation to the best of its limited ability: its offices, as well as many historical sites, have been damaged by Israeli bombs.

In addition, the equipment and chemicals needed to carry out work are forbidden for “security reasons” under the decade-old blockade. Guest archaeologists can not get in to help, and local archaeologists can not get out for training. Oddly, many of Gaza’s most valuable artifacts have turned up in Israeli museums.

Needless to say, there is little funding for the work in Gaza, what with the highest unemployment rate in the worldelectricity shortages, and clean water crisis.

Israeli Tourism

Anyone familiar with the region knows that tourism has been almost completely appropriated by Israel—and this is another sore spot for Palestinians in archaeologically rich areas. For example, the City of David National Park (built on Silwan’s land—see above) welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists a year, each of whom pays an $7 entrance fee, and most of whom buy food and souvenirs from Jewish Israeli settlers. Not only are all of the profits pocketed by Israel and Israelis, the Palestinians of Silwan and their connection to the land are completely and intentionally disregarded.

This tourism income may be small change to Israel—it receives over $10 million a day from the US alone—but it would make a huge difference to the people of Silwan and other towns that are casualties in the antiquity war.

A great irony in the saga of Israel’s quest for legitimacy in the land is this: no one, Palestinian or otherwise, denies an ongoing Jewish presence since ancient times. The pilfering of archaeology has been unnecessary and unbecoming from that standpoint. The rising consensus worldwide of Israel as a pariah state and the increasing popularity of the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions movement (BDS) indicate that Israel’s strategy is not helping in legitimacy efforts.

Kathryn Shihadah is a staff writer for If Americans Knew.

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The citadel of the Iraqi city of Tal Afar (Talafer) dating back to the Assyrian period of 700 BCE dominated the city and could be seen from every side, yet this historical structure was destroyed by the Islamic State (IS) group that occupied the city in January 2015.

Tal Afar is located in the Nineveh governorate in the north of Iraq near the Syrian and Turkish borders 63 km west of Mosul and about 360 km north-west of the capital Baghdad. Its population before the IS occupation was almost 450,000, more than 90 per cent of them Turkmen.

When it was taken over by IS in June 2014, about 70 per cent of the population was internally displaced, being forced into camps in different cities in Iraq. Some of the city’s population went to Sinjar, 50 km east of Tal Afar, but in August 2014 Sinjar was also attacked by IS, forcing many to begin another painful journey.

More than 500 Turkmen women and children were kidnapped and hundreds were killed by IS. Many others died, among them children, during the long trek to the camps.

On 20 August, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced the beginning of the battle for Tal Afar in a televised statement, warning the IS fighters occupying the city that “we are coming to Tal Afar” – the name of the military operation – and that “either you surrender, or you die.”

The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), Special Operations Forces (ISOF), Federal Police and Hashd (Popular Mobilisation Forces) all took part in the battle for Tal Afar, the Hashd forces being supported by Division 16 of the Turkmen Forces, the Iraqi Air Force and Coalition warplanes.

During the days before Al-Abadi’s announcement, thousands of leaflets were dropped on the city asking people to prepare for the battle, and safe passage was guaranteed to civilians wanting to leave. Some 32,000 civilians were still in the city before the fighting began, including some 2,000 IS fighters and their families.

Many analysts said that the military operations would likely last for months and could be as hard as those in the nearby city of Mosul that had also been occupied by IS. The surrounding landscape would make taking the city more difficult, it was said, and IS had announced that Tal Afar was its temporary capital after the loss of Mosul.

However, on 21 August, Abdel-Amir Yarallah, commander of the Tal Afar operation, said the CTS had seized five villages south-west of the city and had cut roads leading into it. Federal Police and Hashd forces deployed in the village of Tal Al-Housan advanced 19 km west of Tal Afar, where hundreds of militants were killed and tunnels and ammunition discovered.

Abu Ridha, the commander of the Turkmen forces, announced that car bombs had been used by IS forces.

On the third day of the battle, the different Iraqi forces were edging their way towards the Tal Afar Citadel. High-ranking officers announced that IS had lost control of its fighters, and that hundreds had been killed with others fleeing the scene of battle.

On 25 August, the Iraqi flag was raised over the citadel, and on 27 August Tal Afar was declared liberated. The forces then began to make their way to the Al-Eyadhiya township 11 km north-west of Tal Afar, and on 31 August Al-Abadi announced the liberation of the whole of the Nineveh governorate.

Spokesman of the Turkmen Forces Ali Al-Hussaini told Al-Ahram Weekly that Tal Afar and the townships related to it had been liberated rapidly because of the siege of the city, cutting support and provisions for the IS forces. The siege had begun during the Mosul operations, he added, and civilians had begun leaving the area with guaranteed safe passage, meaning that the Iraqi forces had been able to use heavy artillery and air strikes.

According to Yarallah, the Iraqi forces killed about 2,000 militants and more than 50 suicide bombers during the campaign, while destroying 77 car bombs, 71 bobby-trapped buildings and 990 roadside bombs. He said that 115 Iraqi soldiers had been killed and 679 wounded in the battle.

Spokesman for the local Turkmen Rescue Foundation Mahdi Sadoun said in a statement that the historic name of Tal Afar would not be changed to Tal Al-Dhafar (hill of victory) as some had demanded. There are many explanations behind the city’s historic name, among them its literal meaning of “hill of soil” because of the citadel’s dusty colour.

Tal Afar is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world with a history going back 6,000 years. Its character was changed in the last century because of the demographic and Arabisation policies of the former Saddam Hussein regime.

Tal Afar has been the birthplace of many brilliant army officers, among them Said Hammou, assistant Iraqi chief of staff in the 1970s, and it has given the Turkmens many poets and artists, among them poet Felak Oglu and musician Yassin Yahya Oglu.

Images of the destroyed citadel of the city were devastating for all who saw them, and the people of Tal Afar also had other reasons to mourn. Ali Hassan, a policeman who participated in the battle for the city, stopped silently in front of his demolished house and told the Weekly that

“I have not been able to cry even though all my memories of my wife and three children are related to the house.”

Hassan found the main door still standing, but when he opened it he found the interior of the house had been demolished.

“I dreamed that my beloved wife would open the door,” he added, saying that his whole family was now living in the southern Iraqi city of Kerbala.

He said that the people of Tal Afar would come back to rebuild their city and with it their community. Meanwhile, there has been destruction and massive graves have been found of civilians executed by IS.

Featured image is from the author.

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The Limelight Defeat of America’s “Assad Must Go” Policy

September 8th, 2017 by Salman Rafi Sheikh

As the events of war in Syria have emphatically shown, the self-styled Islamic State and the US-supported “moderate” jihadi groups have been defeated, and with it has died down the cornerstone of America’s direct and indirect military intervention i.e., “Assad must go” in Syria. This is evident not only from the way the Syrian army, supported by its Iranian and Russian allies, has rolled back the destroyers of Syria, but also how Assad has started to re-assert his standing as a legitimate ruler of Syria, representing Syria’s interests in major international forums and setting rules of engagement with regard to discussing Syria’s future and the role other countries can play in it.

This assertion came to full limelight in a recent speech that Assad made in the second half of the month of August and outlined his vision for Syria’s post-war reconstruction. Of particular importance were his words with regard to the role some foreign powers have been playing in Syria since the beginning of the so-called “civil war” as he said that he expects those foreign powers, the US and its Arab allies, who have pushed a regime change agenda – an agenda that has caused a lot of destruction and yet failed spectacularly –to abandon their residual links with rebel groups. Until this is done, Assad said further,

“there will be neither security cooperation, nor the opening of embassies.”

Clearly, Assad is setting his terms of engagement with the powers that have sought to oust him in the last five years or so. What is equally evident here is the way Assad himself has set his own position as the ruler at the helm of Syrian affairs, intending to extend his control on the whole of Syria and deciding both its domestic and foreign policies. As such, while Assad was explicit in chiding some foreign powers for their role in Syria, he was equally explicit in setting his country’s future foreign policy orientation towards “the East.” He said, the

“strategic future of Syria must be towards the East.”

Assad’s speech coincided with the defeat of one of the most powerful “rebel groups” in Syria, Ahrar-al-Sham. Not only was this group one of the West’s “moderate elements” but also played an instrumental role in a number of “rebel” victories against government troops during the years 2013-2015. Many in the West pinned high hopes on it, seeing it as a potential player in the future of Syria, especially after its troops joined in the fight against the IS and also agreed to support a political endgame to the Syrian conflict. Its defeat has, as such, turned out to be the last nail in the coffin of America’s “Assad must go” policy. With Ahrar’s fighters now fleeing and joining other group and with Syrian and Russian elements controlling Syria’s geo-political terrain, the West is left with minimum options to enliven the war through some other groups. Therefore, it is not surprising to see some influential policy makers in the US coming to terms with a Syria under Assad’s control.

“Bashar Assad’s government has won the war militarily,” said Robert Ford, a former US ambassador to Damascus, who is said to have played an instrumental role in fomenting the crisis in Syria back in 2011-12, adding further that

“I can’t see any prospect of the Syrian opposition being able to compel him to make dramatic concessions in a peace negotiation.”

And while raw material i.e., human element to sustain these groups exit, sources of support for them have dried. The Syrian “rebels” have been frustrated by the way Europe, for instance, has become more interested in stanching the flow of Syrian refugees and stabilizing the country enough to send many of those already in Europe back. Continuation of war, therefore, doesn’t suit Europe.

Persian Gulf is squabbling, and due to that internal rift, flow of support to previously supported groups has shrunk dramatically, adding to the opposition group’s sense of frustration. Therefore, the directions they’re now receiving are markedly different from that of past 2 years.

“The nations who supported us the most … they’re all shifting their position,” told Osama Abu Zaid, an opposition spokesman, to an American newspaper. “We’re being pressured from all sides to draw up a more realistic vision, to accept Assad staying.”

While the US has established a number of military establishments in Kurdish dominated northern parts of Syria, indicating its intentions to prolong its stay in Syria, the speed of the Syrian forces’ recovery of the lost ground and the fact that regional powers, Turkey and Iran, have joined hands to prevent the establishment of Kurdistan show that the US plan is increasingly looking like a pipe dream. The US, realistically speaking, apparently has no source on the ground to sustain itself or influence the final outcome. With direct military intervention out of the question, it is much more than even an uphill task of cobbling together a fresh “rebel force” to be able to challenge the combined forces of Syria and Iran backed militias, including Hezbollah, in the southern and eastern regions of Syria.

What is adding more problems is the fact that the US-backed groups and the US-led coalition have miserably failed to give a positive message to the masses they are supposedly protecting against a “brutal” regime. The so-called “unfortunate” incidents of civilian deaths at the hands of these forces are furthering the distance between these groups and the people who might have supported them in the past. In a latest incident of this nature, the US led coalition fighting the IS militants said on last Friday that its strike had caused at least 61 civilian deaths. Much for the erosion of “popular support” these forces and powers claimed to have in the country!

All in all, it is clear that the ground has been cleared of any possibility of Assad’s exit from Syria. The only hope left for the US to realize its erstwhile agenda is through massive mobilization of Kurdish forces. However, were this to happen, the US would end up unwittingly cementing the Turkish-Iranian and Syrian alliance further and increase the likelihood that the Iranian militias and Assad’s forces, duly supported by Turkey, would start an offensive against the Kurds. In such a scenario, the Americans won’t use troops to defend the Syrian Kurds. There is no appetite for this among the American public, and the Syrian Kurds would be making a terrible mistake thinking the US will come and save them.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Featured image is from the author.


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

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A new UCS analysis shows that more than 650 energy and industrial facilities may have been exposed to Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters.

Harvey’s unprecedented levels of rainfall in Texas and Louisiana coasts have exacted a huge toll on the region’s residents. In the weeks and months ahead, it is not only homes that need to be assessed for flood damage and repaired, but also hundreds of facilities integral to the region’s economy and infrastructure.

To highlight these facilities, the Union of Concerned Scientists has developed an interactive tool showing affected sites. The tool relies on satellite data analyzed by the Dartmouth Flood Observatory to map the extent of Harvey’s floodwaters, and facility-level data from the US Energy Information Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The tool includes several types of energy infrastructure (refineries, LNG import/export and petroleum product terminals, power plants, and natural gas processing plants), as well as wastewater treatment plants and three types of chemical facilities identified by the EPA (Toxic Release Inventory sites, Risk Management Plan sites, and Superfund sites).

Chemical facilities potentially exposed to flooding

Hurricane Harvey may have exposed to flooding more than 160 of EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory sites, 7 Superfund sites, and 30 facilities registered with EPA’s Risk Management Program.

The Gulf Coast is home to a vast chemical industry. The EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program lists over 4,500 facilities in Texas and Louisiana alone that are required to report chemical releases to the environment.

Before the storm hit, many facilities shut down preemptively, releasing toxic chemicals in the process. In the wake of the storm, explosions at Arkema’s Crosby facility highlighted the risks that flooding and power failures pose to the region’s chemical facilities and, by extension, the health of the surrounding population.

In the Houston area, low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to toxic chemicals. Our analysis shows that over 160 TRI facilities, at least seven Superfund sites, and over 30 facilities registered with EPA’s Risk Management Program were potentially exposed to floodwaters. The number of flooded Superfund sites may be even higher than the map shows, as indicated by preliminary reports from the EPA and other sources.

Though most of the impacts from this exposure remain unknown, the risks include compromised facilities and the release of toxins into the air and receding floodwaters.

Energy infrastructure

In the week since Hurricane Harvey reached the Texas coast, disruptions to the region’s energy infrastructure have caused gas prices to rise nationally by more than 20 percent.

Our analysis finds that more than 40 energy facilities may have been exposed to flooding, potentially contributing to the fluctuations in gas prices around the country. As of yesterday, the EIA reports that several refineries have resumed operations while others are operating at reduced capacity.

More than 40 energy facilities–including power plants and refineries–may have been exposed to Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters.

Wastewater treatment

Wastewater treatment facilities comprise the bulk of the facilities (nearly 430) that we identify as potentially exposed to flooding. The EPA is monitoring the quality and functionality of water systems throughout the region and reported that more than half of the wastewater treatment plants in the area were fully operational as of September 3.

With floodwaters widely reported as being contaminated with toxic chemicals and potent bacteria, wastewater treatment facilities are likely contending with both facility-level flooding and a heightened need to ensure the potability of treated water.

Nearly 430 wastewater treatment facilities may have been exposed to flooding during Hurricane Harvey.

About the data

It is important to note that the satellite data showing flood extent is still being updated by the Dartmouth Flood Observatory, and that we will continue to get a better handle on the extent and depth of flooding as additional data become available from sources such as high water marks from the USGS.

As of Tuesday, DFO Director Robert Brakenridge stated in an email that they believe the data to be fairly complete, including for the Houston area, at a spatial resolution of 10 meters. Given uncertainties in the flood mapping as well as in the exact locations of each facility, it is possible that this map over- or underestimates the number of affected facilities. It is also possible that facilities, while in the flooded area, were protected from and unaffected by floodwaters.

Kristina Dahl is a climate scientist who designs, executes, and communicates scientific analyses that make climate change more tangible to the general public and policy makers. Dr. Dahl holds a Ph.D. in paleoclimate from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Cambridge and Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

All images in this article are from the author.

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Vladimir Putin and Moon Jae-in made statements for the press following their talks.

September 6, 2017, 09:40, Vladivostok

President of Russia Vladimir Putin

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

We have just completed our meeting with President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in. We had a meaningful and constructive conversation, and discussed in detail the state and future of bilateral relations, as well as urgent regional and international issues.

The Republic of Korea is one of Russia’s key partners in the Asia-Pacific Region. We have always maintained close and mutually beneficial economic ties between our countries. It is telling that in the first six months of 2017 bilateral trade increased by almost 50 percent, reaching $10 billion.

More than 600 South Korean companies operate in Russia, and investment from South Korea in the Russian economy exceeds $2 billion.

The most successful projects include the Hyundai Motor car plant in St Petersburg with an annual capacity of up to 200,000 cars, the construction of a confectionery plant by Lotte Group in the Kaluga Region, and a business centre and hotel in Moscow, and also large-scale home appliance manufacturing by Samsung and LG in Russia.

Korean businesses are highly interested in stepping up cooperation with Russia, something that was confirmed at the Eastern Economic Forum by the presence of a high-profile delegation of almost a hundred business leaders representing 50 companies.

We hope that Korean businesses will be equally interested in taking part in INNOPROM 2018 International Industrial Trade Fair in Yekaterinburg, where South Korea will be a partner country.

Today Mr President and I have agreed to stimulate the operation of the joint investment and finance platforms with the aggregate capital of $1 billion and to create a portfolio of promising projects, primarily for the Far East, where we can make use of the opportunities offered by the priority development areas and the Free Port of Vladivostok.

During our talks, the Korean partners confirmed their interest in creating a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union. It has been decided to continue expert consultations on this issue.

We also expressed satisfaction with the successful development of our energy cooperation. South Korean companies are involved in the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 projects. We are discussing the possibility of increasing the delivery of liquefied natural gas. Fifteen tankers will be built at South Korean shipyards to transport the products of the Yamal LNG plant.

I would like to say that Russia is still willing to implement trilateral projects with the participation of North Korea. We could deliver Russian pipeline gas to Korea and integrate the power lines and railway systems of Russia, the Republic of Korea and North Korea. The implementation of these initiatives will be not only economically beneficial, but will also help build up trust and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

We see the advantages of the potential involvement of South Korean companies in the construction of infrastructure facilities in Russia, including the modernisation of Far Eastern ports and shipyards and the joint development of the Northern Sea Route.

We also consider it important to develop cooperation in agriculture. We will continue working to lift obstacles that hinder trade in this area. We have scored the first positive results: Russian food deliveries to South Korea grew 17 percent to $870 million in the first seven months of this year.

Mr Moon Jae-in and I agreed on the importance of stepping up regional ties. The first meeting of the Russian-Korean Forum for Interregional Cooperation is expected to take place in the beginning of 2018.

Cultural ties are also gaining momentum. In May and June, Russia hosted the Festival of Korean Culture, which was a great success, and Korea will host the Festival of Russian Culture next year.

The 8th Youth Dialogue was held as part of the Russia Republic of Korea Dialogue forum in Seoul and Pyeongchang. We hope that South Korean youth will proactively contribute to the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students that will take place in Sochi in October 2017.

As everyone knows, next year the Republic of Korea will host the 23rd Winter Olympic Games. I would like to thank Mr Moon Jae-in for his invitation to attend the opening ceremony.

South Korea has become a popular destination for Russian tourists. Last year, the number of Russian tourists travelling to South Korea increased by 19 percent, while the flow of Korean tourists to Russia increased by 20 percent. There is no doubt that this was largely attributable to the visa free arrangement between the two countries.

Of course, during the talks we paid special attention to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, in the follow-up to the September 4 telephone conversation on the sharp deterioration of the situation after yet another nuclear test carried out by the DPRK.

I confirmed Russia’s principled position to Mr Moon Jae-in. Russia does not recognise North Korea’s nuclear status. Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programme is a flagrant violation of the UN Security Council resolution, it undermines the non-proliferation regime and poses a threat to security in Northeast Asia.

This is the reason why Russia supported the statement made by the President of the UN Security Council on August 29 to condemn the latest ballistic missile launches. At the emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on September 4, we also condemned North Korea’s nuclear test explosion.

At the same time, it is obvious that the Korean problems cannot be settled with sanctions and pressure alone. We must not yield to emotions or try to drive North Korea into a corner. Now is the time for all of us to summon the presence of mind and to avoid taking steps that could escalate tensions.

It will be difficult to resolve the situation without political and diplomatic methods. More precisely, it will be impossible to resolve it without this. We put forth our practical proposals on this matter in the Russian-Chinese roadmap. We urge all parties concerned to seriously consider our initiative, which offers a practical way, as we see it, to ease tensions and to move gradually towards a settlement on the peninsula.

In conclusion, I would like to say that our talks with Mr President were open and productive. We have agreed to maintain regular contacts.

I have formed an impression that our Korean colleagues are interested in promoting bilateral relations. I would like to assure them that we are interested in this as well.

Thank you.

President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in

translation

Allow me to begin by expressing gratitude to President Putin for inviting me to attend the Eastern Economic Forum as a guest of honour.

I visited Russia four months after assuming the office of President of Korea. I made this visit before any other visits I made in the capacity of President of Korea. This shows the significance I attach to partnership with Russia.

The Far East is an area where Russia’s eastern policy and Korea’s New Northern Policy converge. Vladivostok is the gate to the East. It has deep historical and cultural ties with Korea.

I am very impressed by the dynamic development of Vladivostok. The Republic of Korea is the best partner in the development of the Far East. I am confident that an active involvement of the Korean Government and business community in the development of the Far East will help turn it into a solid platform for promoting peace and prosperity in the region.

Today Mr President and I reaffirmed our strong will and our vision for the further development of bilateral relations. We also discussed a wide range of issues related to the strengthening of our practical cooperation, primarily the expansion of the foundation for bilateral relations, including in the Far East.

The Korean Government has recently created the Northern Economic Cooperation Committee under the President. This has completed the creation of a management system that will make Korea the leader in the development of the Far East. The Committee is tasked with strengthening economic cooperation with Northeast Asian and Eurasian countries. In the future, cooperation between the Committee and Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District and the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East will play a key role in the development of the Far East.

Next year, we will create a Korean-Russian Regional Cooperation Forum. It should bolster contacts between regional governments in Korea and the Russian Far East. Cooperation channels between regional economic communities and small and medium-sized businesses will greatly expand contacts between people and promote practical cooperation.

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There are no official reports of a meeting between the North and South Korea delegations and no firm evidence as to whether a meeting took place.

The head of the DPRK delegation to the EEF Forum Minister of External Economic Relations Kim Yong-jae, said that North Korea “will introduce strong countermeasures against the United States’ attempts to exert pressure through strong sanctions.”

China’s President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with Donald Trump on September 6, urging the need for a peaceful solution through talks. (See Shanghai Daily, September 7, 2017)

At the meeting between ROK President Moon and Russia’s President Putin, the Russian head of State expressed his opposition to sanctions and an oil embargo, which had been put forth by Moon.

Putin nonetheless pointed to a framework of economic cooperation with both North and South Korea: “the two leaders devoted considerable time to bilateral economic relations and joint projects, noting that North Korea could be involved in the transit of energy resources from Russia to South Korea.” ( Russia Rossiya 1 TV “Vesti” news 1700 gmt 6 Sep 17)

Putin may have had a meeting with the head of the DPRK delegation. But there was official confirmation.

Michel Chossudovsky contributed to this report

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On Wednesday, a fierce fighting between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and ISIS continued in and near Deir Ezzor city.

ISIS made few attempts to cut off a corridor between the city and the government-held area near the 137th Brigade Base and to re-establish a siege on Deir Ezzor. ISIS claimed that it successfully used a SVBIED and caused large casualties to the SAA Tiger Forces. However, the terrorists failed to cut off the corridor.

Republican Guard units, led Gen Issam Zahreddine a commander of the defenders of Deir Ezzor, and SAA Tiger Forces fighters launched a counter-attack aiming to expand the government-held corridor west of Deir Ezzor.

On Tuesday, the Tiger Forces officially broke the ISIS siege on Deir Ezzor, according to the Russian and Syrian defense ministries. The Russian Aerospace Forces and Special Operations Forces actively supported the advance. The Admiral Essen frigate of the Russian Black Sea Fleet even launched Kalibr cruise missiles on ISIS targets near Ash Sholah.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the missile strike killed dozens of terrorists were and destroyed ISIS command posts, a communications center, a facility repairing terrorists’ armored vehicles, arms and ammunition depots.

In a separate statement, the ministry added that government assault groups destroyed over 50 ISIS vehicles belonging during the clashes near Deir Ezzor.

Another government striking force focused on clearing at the Sukhna-Deir Ezzor highway from ISIS. On Tuesday, pro-government sources say that the SAA re-entered the Kobajjep a after repelling few ISIS counter-attacks. However, on Wednesday, the area faced another wave of fierce clashes and appeared to be contested again.

According to the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq, ISIS members destroyed at least 5 SAA vehicles belonging, including a BMP vehicle, in the area.

If ISIS is not able to cut off the government-held corridor west of Deir Ezzor soon, the terrorist group will inevitably loose the battle for Deir Ezzor to the SAA.

Meanwhile, government forces took advantage of the ongoing battle for Deir Ezzor and opened a front against ISIS near Sukhna. The SAA and its allies advanced in the direction of Sarayim village southeast of the Doubayat gas field.

The liberation of the village will open an opportunity to conduct a larger advance in order to take control over the Doubayat gas field and to secure the southern flank of Sukhna.

Local sources report that ISIS has little resources to counter the SAA advance there because it has re-deployed large forces to Deir Ezzor.

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Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

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

Breaking ISIS’ three-year siege of Deir Ezzor governorate was another milestone toward freeing the area entirely, smashing US-supported ISIS, and achieving another important victory toward Syria’s full liberation.

Miles to go remain toward that goal, but each battlefield triumph advances things closer to eventually defeating Washington’s aim for regime change and control of the country.

A Syrian Army Command statement announced the good news, saying:

“After a series of successful operations, units of our armed forces, in cooperation with the supporting and allied forces and backed by the Syrian and Russian air forces, have completed the second phase of their operations deep in the Syrian Badia (desert), and they managed through qualitative operations and heroic actions to break the siege on our people who were besieged for more than three years in Deir Ezzor.”

The achievement “constitutes a strategic shift in the war on terrorism and affirms the ability of the Syrian Arab Army and its allies to defeat the terrorist project in Syria and foil the fragmentation plans of its sponsors and supporters.”

Fighting raged for weeks. The next phase is retaking Deir Ezzor’s military airport from ISIS. Liberating the heavily fortified Thardeh mountainous area has to be achieved first, no simple task. Formidable Russian airpower will greatly aid accomplishing this objective.

Assad congratulated Syrian forces, saying

“(y)ou have proved, through your steadfastness in the face of the most powerful of terrorist organizations on the face of earth, that you shoulder responsibility, as you have kept the promise and have set a great role model for next generations.”

Putin congratulated Assad by cable, affirming Russia’s commitment to continue combating the terrorist scourge in the country – adding it’s an important step toward restoring peace and security to Syria, the end game goal.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its Kalibr cruise missiles in the offensive killed over 200 ISIS terrorists, along with destroying “12 armored vehicles, including four tanks, six artillery and mortar firing positions, a command post and a communication center, as well as three ammo depots.”

“The terrorists tried to halt the advancing Syrian troops using suicide bombers and armored vehicles loaded with explosives. The assault groups of Syria’s government army destroyed more than 50 jihadi armored pickups used by the terrorist forces.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu called Deir Ezzor the main strategic point along the Euphrates River.

Russia’s General Staff chief of Main Operations Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said lifting Deir Ezzor’s siege signifies a vital step toward defeating “one of the strongest groups of the Islamic State on Syrian soil.”

An intricate network of tunnels were found, large caches of weapons, munitions, explosive belts and other supplies discovered inside.

Where did it come from? Heavy weapons don’t materialize out of thin air. The successes of ISIS and other terrorist groups depend on their foreign supporters.

America, NATO, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan supply weapons and other material support, and/or facilitate their transfer cross-border into Syria.

Without this support, ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorist groups would wither and fade away, perhaps only isolated pockets remaining to be eliminated.

Deir Ezzor residents celebrated news of breaking ISIS’ siege. They took to the streets, waving Syrian flags, chanting slogans and holding photos of President Assad – a genuine display of support for their leader.

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

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


Global Research announces the forthcoming release of  the print edition of Mark Taliano’s Book, “Voices from Syria”  which includes two additional chapters. 

Taliano talks and listens to the people of Syria. He reveals the courage and resilience of a Nation and its people in their day to day lives, after more than six years of US-NATO sponsored terrorism and three years of US “peacemaking” airstrikes.

Mark Taliano combines years of research with on-the-ground observations to present an informed and well-documented analysis that refutes  the mainstream media narratives on Syria. 

Special Pre-Publication Offer

**Pre-Order Special Offer: Voices from Syria (Ships mid-September)

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 2 new chapters)

List Price: $17.95

Special Price: $9.95 

Click to order

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International Law? The Americans Don’t Give a Damn

September 7th, 2017 by Christopher Black

The United States of America has sunk to a new low in diplomacy and civilized relations between nation states with its demand that Russia close its consular missions in San Francisco, Washington and New York, quickly followed by its order that the consular staff leave the premises while the FBI conducted a search of the premises and staffers personal apartments. To order the closure of a mission, or to order the withdrawal of a member of diplomatic staff, is within its right but a search of consular property is not. It is a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

Article 22 of the Convention states:

1. “The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.”

Article 45 states that even

“If diplomatic relations are broken off between two States, or if a mission is permanently or temporarily recalled:

(a) The receiving State must, even in case of armed conflict, respect and protect the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives;

(b) The sending State may entrust the custody of the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives, to a third State acceptable to the receiving State;”

The Vienna Convention is one of the foundations of international relations. Without it, and the ancient customs enshrined in it, international relations cannot exist. The United States of America is a state party to the Convention and so is bound by it as part of international law and as part of American law.

The Russian Foreign Ministry correctly stated that,

“the occupation of Russian diplomatic properties in the US is a blunt act of hostility and in violation of international law.”

The Russians also expressed their logical concern that the only reason for such a search to be conducted, aside from bullying and intimidation of the Russian people, is to use it as an opportunity for the Americans to plant items, which they will then use in their propaganda war against Russia. This concern is valid and strong since there can be no valid reason to insist on the staff leaving the premises so a “search” can be made except that the US government does not want its FBI agents observed.

This action by the USA is not just a crime against Russia. It is a crime against all the nations of the world who depend on the articles of the Vienna Convention to protect their diplomats and properties in host nations without which international diplomacy cannot be conducted. For if the USA will do this to Russia it will do it to anyone it chooses. No nation can now regard its diplomatic missions in the United States as protected, as the Convention requires. The ramifications will take a while to sink in but in effect the United States has now declared itself to be a rogue state that has no respect for its own or international law and the rights of other nations.

It is also a profoundly stupid action that can only damage the United States itself since, by its own example, it can no longer expect other nations to respect the diplomatic immunity of its diplomatic missions around the world.

So, why has the United States undertaken such a reckless and provocative action? There is no doubt that it is part of the bizarre and clumsy propaganda theme that Russia interfered in the American elections and so the “search” is meant to raise in the minds of Americans that there is something to be searched for, some evidence of a “crime.” Why this would be found in San Francisco is a mystery but the American government and media never seem to bother about logical plot lines in their propaganda stories.

The other reason is to provoke Russia. The provocations against Russia from Ukraine, to Latvia, from Crimea to Syria, continue to escalate. The provocations on the diplomatic front have been many, but it was Obama that expelled 35 Russian diplomats just before he left office and ordered the seizure of two Russian compounds. The Russia government held off responding to that for several months, hoping that the new US administration would be more reasonable, but in vain. Things just got worse and so the Russians ordered America to cut its diplomatic presence in Russia. The American seizure of more Russian properties and the search of the San Francisco mission are in line with the American logic of hostility towards Russia.

The provocative nature of this action is revealed in the statement of Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, quoted by Tass, on Sunday the 3rd of September,

By the way, do you know, what they were looking for – as we were told before the searches? You would not believe it – they were looking for explosives,” she said, adding ironically that it can be easily imagined how Russian diplomats are carrying explosive substances in their elegant cases.”

And,

According to Zakharova, the US security services obviously hoped Russian diplomats would lose their nerves and here there will be ‘an image of an aggressive Russian. Just try to imagine that you are being brainwashed for a year that an enemy is living overseas and this enemy is impacting your life and everything bad that might happen – the election of a president you don’t like – has been done by the Russians,’ she said.”

There we have it, The American government has become completely unhinged. They appear to have lost all sense of reality and can be said to be suffering from a type of psychosis and for all that are becoming more dangerous. A US government spokesperson stated that President Trump ordered this latest action, once again proving that Trump, for all his narcissism and arrogance, simply follows the long line of American presidents who have stirred up trouble in the world.

So far as I can determine, no other country has conducted itself like this before, not even the United States. Even the Japanese were not treated this way after Pearl Harbor. The Japanese embassy was locked down, put under the control of a neutral country and the Japanese diplomats allowed to leave the country. That is, the United States then, even in the face of a direct military attack against it by Japan, still adhered to international law and respected diplomatic customs. So far has the United States declined into barbarity that it does not now afford to Russia, a fellow member of the United Nations, and with whom war has not broken out, the same courtesies that were applied to Japan, a nation that attacked it. In fact, by its action, it negates Russia as a sovereign nation, since it denies Russia is entitled to the respect and courtesy due to all sovereign nations.

So far the Russian response has been muted, simply calling in the American deputy ambassador to hand him a note of protest. The First deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Duma stated, “The US authorities may rest assured that the searches will not go unanswered.” But how? It is clear the Americans don’t give a tinker’s dam about law or custom or civilized behavior and are intent on provoking Russia. So what can an appropriate response be? I can only recall, once again, something my friend, Harold Pinter, the Nobel Laureate for Literature said in his acceptance speech. He stated,

The United States quite simply doesn’t give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant.”

How to make them give a damn,” he once asked me, “before they kill us all?”

How indeed? I do not know but I do know that the nations of the world, including Russia, should pay heed to what Harold Pinter said, to think about it, to understand what the American action means at a deep level, and only then to respond accordingly.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

This article was originally published by New Eastern Outlook.

Featured image is from the author.

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The US continues to provoke North Korea with military exercises near its borders. It also fails to live up to diplomatic agreements. Western media continue to distort the chronology of cause and effect, inverting reality to claim that North Korea is provoking the West. John Pilger (The Coming War on China) talks to T.J. Coles about the situation.

This interview contains material from our book, Voices for Peace: War, Resistance and America’s Quest for Full-Spectrum Dominance—an edited collection of original works by Pilger, as well as Noam Chomsky, Cynthia McKinney, Ilan Pappé and other leading activists and scholars (Clairview Books, 2017).

TJC: What is the threat from North Korea?

JP: The threat is from the United States, which for more than two generations has bullied and provoked North Korea while denying Koreans a treaty that would finally ended their civil war and open up numerous possibilities, including reunification. The one pause in this warmongering campaign, during the 1990s, demonstrated that negotiations can “work,” regardless of what Trump says.

In 1992, the North and South signed the Declaration of Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, what was called “An Agreed Framework” was established and resulted in a suspension of North Korea’s nuclear programmes in exchange for a US agreement to build two nuclear reactors within the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

George W. Bush tore this up in 2002.

Then there were Six-Party Talks in Beijing. Today, China and Russia have said that if the US and South Korea cease their provocative military exercises—which include regime change—North Korea will stop firing its missiles. Will the Trump administration agree to this?

How do you assess Trump’s China policy, as opposed to Obama’s?

There isn’t a real difference. Obama – urged on by his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – initiated the so-called Pivot to Asia, which set the hare running of a US confrontation with China. Trump has continued this. He has, however, hosted the Chinese president and said what a great guy he is, whatever that’s worth.

Trump’s subsequent histrionics over North Korea over its provocative tests have made real the possibility of miscalculation. This is a dangerous time.

Do you see much chance of a trade war between the US and China?

No. Their interdependence has never been greater. Trump’s election campaign threat to impose 40 per cent tariffs on certain Chinese imports came to nothing.  Again, the real threat is a mistaken or accidental missile launch on China — for example, from the US’s newly-installed THAAD ‘defence system’ in South Korea. The unspoken issue is the Pentagon, which has had unprecedented power in Washington since 9/11 especially since Obama’s presidency.

***

Title: Voices for Peace

Author: T. J. Coles

Publisher: Clairview Books, 1 September 2017

ISBN: 9781905570898

Click here to order.

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This article was originally published by PIPR.

Featured image is from ABC Science.

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Category Five Hurricane Irma. Heading towards Haiti and Cuba

September 7th, 2017 by Stephen Lendman

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

Category 5 storms are the most dangerous. Hurricane Irma is the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history.

Winds approach 185 MPH, gusts exceed 215 MPH. A force this powerful will devastate any land areas struck. The human toll could be high.

Pre-dawn Wednesday, Irma made landfall in the northeastern Caribbean, the full impact still to be felt as this is written. Area officials warned about the coming onslaught.

At around 1:47AM, the hurricane’s eye passed over Barbuda. Its forecast trajectory has it heading toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before likely moving toward Florida’s east or west coasts by the weekend.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state-wide emergency in all Florida counties. The southern most Keys would be first affected. People in coastal areas should prepare to evacuate to inland locations.

At 5:00AM Atlantic Standard Time Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) called Irma “a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane (with) life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards” to areas struck.

“The chance of direct impacts…beginning later this week and this weekend from wind, storm surge, and rainfall continues to increase in the Florida Keys and portions of the Florida Peninsula. (I)t is too soon to specify the timing and magnitude of these impacts.”

The NHC said maximum winds are expected to fluctuate between category 4 and 5 strength for the next day or two.

Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida, Puerto, and the US Virgin Islands. Florida Governor Scott ordered state officials to suspend highway tolls for thousands preparing to evacuate to safer areas.

Lots more than that needs to be done by federal, state and local officials – prioritizing public safety and disaster relief for affected people straightaway after the storm subsides.

Warm water fuels hurricanes. Irma is moving over waters 1.8 degrees warmer than normal at this time of year, according to meteorologist Jeff Masters.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis warned residents that

“(t)he price you may pay for not evacuating is your life or serious physical harm.”

The National Weather Service said Puerto Rico hasn’t seen anything like this since 1928, a storm killing over 2,700 in the island, Guadeloupe and Florida.

Puerto Rica’s Governor Ricardo Rossello said

“(a) lot of (island) infrastructure won’t be able to withstand (Irma’s) force.”

According to University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy,

“(y)ou’d be hard pressed to find any model that doesn’t have some impact on Florida.”

Miami Beach Mayor Carlos Gimenez said voluntary evacuations could begin as soon as Wednesday evening.

The NHC said hurricane-force winds extend 50 miles from Irma’s core, tropical storm-winds up to 175 miles – assuring large areas in and near its path will be affected.

NHC’s Eric Blake called satellite images of Irma’s “monster eye one of the most incredible things” he ever saw.

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted:

“If you’re in Irma’s path, this is a worst-case scenario. You’ve never experienced a hurricane like this. Stronger than Andrew or Katrina.”

Destruction to areas struck is sure to be devastating if current wind speeds maintain anything close to their current force.

Most critical is loss of human lives – likely far exceeding the toll from Hurricane Harvey.

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

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

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“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official.”—Herman Schwartz, The Nation

Our freedoms—especially the Fourth Amendment—are being choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, shoot, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

Such is life in America today that Americans are being made to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are—our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.)—in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States: we are now guilty until proven innocent.

Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases: these are just a few ways in which Americans are being forced to accept that we have no control over our bodies, our lives and our property, especially when it comes to interactions with the government.

Consider, for example, what happened to Utah nurse Alex Wubbels after a police detective demanded to take blood from a badly injured, unconscious patient without a warrant.

Wubbels refused, citing hospital policy that requires police to either have a warrant or permission from the patient in order to draw blood. The detective had neither. Irate, the detective threatened to have Wubbels arrested if she didn’t comply. Backed up by her supervisors, Wubbels respectfully stood her ground only to be roughly grabbed, shoved out of the hospital, handcuffed and forced into an unmarked car while hospital police looked on and failed to intervene (take a look at the police body camera footage, which has gone viral, and see for yourself).

Michael Chorosky didn’t have an advocate like Wubbels to stand guard over his Fourth Amendment rights. Chorosky was surrounded by police, strapped to a gurney and then had his blood forcibly drawn after refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test.

“What country is this? What country is this?” cried Chorosky during the forced blood draw.

What country is this indeed?

Unfortunately, forced blood draws are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the indignities and abuses being heaped on Americans in the so-called name of “national security.”

Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies and forced roadside strip searches are also becoming par for the course in an age in which police are taught to have no respect for the citizenry’s bodily integrity whether or not a person has done anything wrong.

For example, 21-year-old Charnesia Corley was allegedly being pulled over by Texas police in 2015 for “rolling” through a stop sign. Claiming they smelled marijuana, police handcuffed Corley, forced her to strip off her pants, threw her to the ground, forced her legs apart and then probed her vagina. The cavity search lasted 11 minutes. This practice is referred to as “rape by cop.”

David Eckert was forced to undergo an anal cavity search, three enemas, and a colonoscopy after allegedly failing to yield to a stop sign at a Wal-Mart parking lot. Cops justified the searches on the grounds that they suspected Eckert was carrying drugs because his “posture [was] erect” and “he kept his legs together.” No drugs were found.

During a routine traffic stop, Leila Tarantino was subjected to two roadside strip searches in plain view of passing traffic, while her two children—ages 1 and 4—waited inside her car. During the second strip search, presumably in an effort to ferret out drugs, a female officer “forcibly removed” a tampon from Tarantino. No contraband or anything illegal was found.

Thirty-eight-year-old Angel Dobbs and her 24-year-old niece, Ashley, were pulled over by a Texas state trooper on July 13, 2012, allegedly for flicking cigarette butts out of the car window. Insisting that he smelled marijuana, the trooper proceeded to interrogate them and search the car. Despite the fact that both women denied smoking or possessing any marijuana, the police officer then called in a female trooper, who carried out a roadside cavity search, sticking her fingers into the older woman’s anus and vagina, then performing the same procedure on the younger woman, wearing the same pair of gloves. No marijuana was found.

Meanwhile, four Milwaukee police officers were charged with carrying out rectal searches of suspects on the street and in police district stations over the course of several years. One of the officers was accused of conducting searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas, often inserting his fingers into their rectums and leaving some of his victims with bleeding rectums.

It’s gotten so bad that you don’t even have to be suspected of possessing drugs to be subjected to a strip search.

Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Florence v. Burlison, any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials without reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband.

As technology advances, police searches are becoming more invasive on a cellular level, as well, with passive alcohol sensorsDNA collection roadblocksiris scans and facial recognition software—to name just a few methods—used to assault our bodily integrity.

America’s founders could scarcely have imagined a world in which we needed protection against widespread government breaches of our privacy, including on a cellular level.

Yet that’s exactly what we so desperately need.

Unfortunately, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the indignities being heaped upon us by the architects and agents of the American police state—whether or not we’ve done anything wrong—are just a foretaste of what is to come.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at [email protected].

Featured image is from the author.

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Germany’s Federal Criminal Police (BKA) are illegally storing masses of data regarding supposed “politically motivated crimes.” As broadcaster ARD reported, data on more than 100,000 people accused of such offenses is being held in a database called “Internal Security,” even though in the vast majority of cases, there has never been a charge, let alone a court proceeding. The ARD report suggests that the BKA is operating a “blacklist” of journalists and political activists classified as “left-wing extremists.”

Both the extent of the surveillance and the arbitrary and unconstitutional storage of such data are typical characteristics of an authoritarian police state. The BKA is combining the records of the secret service and various police bodies. Its enthusiasm for data hoarding goes beyond that of the Stasi (State Security Police) of the former East Germany.

The scandalous activity has come to light by chance. In the course of the G20 summit in Hamburg, a total of 32 journalists had their previously-issued accreditation withdrawn. The reason for this was said to be “security concerns.” Several journalists subsequently lodged a freedom of information request with the BKA. This showed that in most cases, the “concerns” were completely unfounded.

According to the BKA information, photojournalist Frank Bründel “strongly supported or belongs to a violent movement.” In fact, the Hamburg police had only checked the identity of the journalist, who was there to pursue his profession at a demonstration on May 1. But this was already enough to place him on the BKA’s blacklist of “left-wing and violent” persons.

The file on journalist Björn Kietzmann is even more drastic. The photographer has a spotless police record, but the BKA file contains 18 completely groundless allegations against him, including “causing an explosion,” in the “politically motivated violence” category.

In fact, Kietzmann had only filmed a demonstration where a firework had exploded nearby. Kietzmann was initially arrested, but the trial was later stopped because of his evident innocence. The entries in Kietzmann’s BKA file go back to 2002 and have still not been erased even after 15 years, although he was only fined in a single case.

Other journalists were accused of having photographed police officers on protests or of violating the law of assembly. They often found themselves classified as “activists of a left-wing extremist scene” in the files. And although in almost all cases, the journalists concerned were found not guilty by the judiciary, the BKA did not see any reason to remove them from their database of “violent left-wingers.”

But these journalists are just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Federal Interior Ministry, records on some 109,625 persons and 1,153,351 criminal offences are currently stored, 27 times more than the 41,549 politically motivated offences recorded in the official criminal statistics for 2016.

This completely arbitrary and unconstitutional storage of data was apparently made possible by a deliberate legal vagueness in the BKA Act, which allows data collection even if the persons concerned have not been convicted in court. However, in each individual case, the BKA must justify why the subjects are expected to continue to commit politically motivated crimes.

But this does not happen in most cases, making nonsense of the presumption of innocence. The practices of the BKA were reprimanded in the 2017 Data Protection Report, which found that the long-term gathering of data “turns the presumption of innocence on its head and contradicts the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the [German] Supreme Court.”

As early as 2012, Federal Data Protection Commissioner Peter Schaar criticised the many conspicuously legal violations in the BKA database for “politically motivated left-wing criminality.” The BKA subsequently deleted 90 percent of the 3,819 people listed in the database, but only then to continue gathering information even more excessively in other databases.

The Interior Ministry is playing down the extent of the surveillance. There were “mistakes” in four cases, according to Tobias Plate, spokesman for Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. But there was no “uniform pattern”; first and foremost it was the fault of a lack of data quality, as well as the judiciary, which did not inform the BKA of acquittals, according to Plate.

Stephan Mayer, domestic affairs spokesman for the Christian Democrat faction in the German parliament, also defended the BKA’s surveillance practices. Mayer stated that no one should “engage in any kind of speculation that there are hundreds of thousands or millions of misused data entries by the BKA or other security agencies”—although that is precisely the case.

Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary chair Thomas Oppermann, on the other hand, spoke of a “data storage scandal at the BKA” and said,

“Apparently, the BKA indiscriminately stores information about innocent citizens.”

But this is just as hypocritical as the pronouncements of leading politicians of the Greens and the Left Party.

All the parties represented in the Bundestag are competing in the election campaign over who will stand for the most extensive state build-up. All agree that the police force should be increased by at least 15,000.

The SPD is also calling for the use of video surveillance technology, the expansion of the BKA into a coordination centre for all police authorities and the equipping of the investigating authorities with modern information technology. Under the pretext of “counteracting terrorism,” the SPD is advocating a further intensification of the relevant laws, the centralisation of the federal and state security authorities, and closer “cooperation between police and the secret service.” It thus calls for precisely the police-state surveillance that Oppermann now criticises.

The Social Democratic Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas has also welcomed the ban on the website linksunten.indymedia.org as an “important blow against violent extremists.” After the grossly exaggerated events surrounding the G20 summit in Hamburg, Maas has even expressly demanded the establishment of a European “database of extremist left-wing radicals.” Exactly what the BKA has been doing for years!

The government and opposition parties justify the increasingly comprehensive surveillance of the population on the pretext of the fight against terrorism. Actually, nearly all terrorist attacks have taken place under the very eyes of the security authorities. The attacks at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, in Paris, Brussels or Barcelona were not the result of a lack of surveillance. On the contrary, the attackers were all well known to the security authorities, some so well known that it gives rise to the suspicion of state complicity.

The BKA’s practice of storing millions of files makes clear the actual purpose of the monitoring measures. It is about acting against left-wing and progressive organisations. Facing growing opposition to social inequality and militarism, critical voices are to be pursued through legal channels and silenced.

Featured image is from South Front.

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The US has warned Pakistan very often, but none of them were so stern. Then China popped up to hit back at Washington which was an eye-opening backlash. Only China and Russia’s standing against Trump’s Pakistan speech is enough to suggest the US was serious this time.

Beijing showed support to Pakistan right after Trump’s Afghanistan speech saying the country has made great sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. China’s foreign minister who was already in Pakistan on a visit agreed with Pakistani officials to maintain high level military, security and economic cooperation.

China’s “One Belt, One Road” project pumping US$ 55 billion into neighbor is alone a magnet to Pakistan’s Government. The US is opposed to China almost equally to Russia for disputed Islands in the South China Sea as well as its claims of standing by North Korea in the event of war with the US.

On the part of Russia, Moscow’s special envoy for South Asia Zemir Kabulov asserted China’s stance saying putting pressure on Pakistan may seriously destabilize regional security situation and result in costly consequences for Afghanistan. He reacted to the US’s Strategy on Pakistan that without Pakistan’s role, no solution lays for Afghan cul-de-sac. These remarks exploded extensively in Pakistan’s media. He suggested that unnecessary pressure on Pakistan may lead to further disarray and mess in Afghanistan.

Trump’s declaration of anti-Pakistani strategy caused a panic among Pakistani officials. In the wake of this speech, Pakistan’s foreign minister announced it would go on official visits to China, Russia and Turkey a week later. The purpose of trip, the ministry revealed, was a regional assembly in relation to peace-making in Afghanistan. He, however, also suggested that Pakistan [in a show of force] is conveying to the US that it possesses enough regional support and is not submitting to others’ enforced impulses.

The US-Pakistan’s tensions became so heated that the US denied Turkey’s request about training of its pilots by Pakistan. According to a Turkish daily, Turkey and Pakistan had already advanced to conclude the deal, but Washington stepped in and ceased the cooperation. According to F-16 fighter jet purchasing deal, Turkey is subject to the US’s permission about training of its pilots by Pakistan.

Also immediately after Trump’s remarks, a scheduled meeting between acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells and Pakistani officials in Islamabad was canceled at the request of the Government of Pakistan. Experts noted that the postponement of meeting with the US representative is interconnected with the meeting of Pakistani officials with Chinese envoy.

China and Russia who swept to Pakistan’s defense over Trump’s accusation of it being a sanctuary to terrorists have a glaring view and knowledge of where regional terrorism takes roots. Sometimes, self-interest is placed ahead of ground reality. Russia is well conscious of training and arming hub of Mujahideens who fought and expelled them from Afghanistan in 1989, yet it startled into the same country’s help. China, on the other hand, realizes that the very country it defended against the US recently is a great cause of Afghan conflict which holds it from running lucrative mining and industrial projects in Afghanistan, though it meddled in Pakistan’s favor in the latest Washington-Islamabad standoff.

Indeed, Russia and China, by their interventionist policy, attempt to wrest Pakistan from the embrace of Washington, which sounds less likely because both inveterate allies [US-Pak] have plentiful things in common.

The US is not really after what it spelled out from the language of Trump, “the uprooting of terrorism” as this will spoil its entire efforts attained thus far in Afghanistan. China is exploiting Pakistan’s quandary over maintaining current ties with Washington or in other words, draw Pakistan’s heart in the event of rifts with Washington to reshape regional trends and situation in its benefit.

Whenever Washington blast at Islamabad over any reason, Pakistan’s fearless response saying “it shouldn’t scapegoat Islamabad for its own failure in Afghanistan” denotes that all the game in play in Afghanistan is at your behest and that’s not what I intend. There is a gulf in relation between Washington and Islamabad that other regional opportunists could use in sensitive times as such to blow up.

Pakistan’s infamy brought about by endless insurgency emanating from its soil is bearing irritating consequences for it as BRICS nations released a statement on Monday condemning Pakistan-based terrorist groups like Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani network in strong words. It was an upswing for India’s media war on terrorism directed at Pakistan.

A string of reactionary events to Trump’s speech in Pakistan underscores the nation’s wrath. Pakistanis in their thousands gathered in Western province of Baluchistan in protest of Trump’s accusation of Pakistan of harboring of Jihadist elements. President Trump said in his speech that the US will change the approach on how to deal with Pakistan. The rally rejected the US’s Pakistani policy.

In a separate episode, the Trump’s tough strategy announcement culminated in postponement of USD 255 million in military aid to Pakistan. It evoked backlash from Pakistan’s foreign affairs ministry that, in return, called for cut-off of ground and air relations with Washington. Minister of foreign affairs, Khwaja Asif urged the Pakistani government to defer visits with American officials and break off ground and air ties.

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested following Trump’s Afghan speech that Washington’s relations with Islamabad will downgrade. He went further that its position as non-NATO ally would be hurt and the military aid would be cut in full or part.  In a barrage of rebuking words from Washington, Tillerson noted that the US would resume drone strikes in Pakistan.

According to the White House officials, the US has reserved the title of “State Sponsor of Terrorism” for Pakistan for later years of Trump if it overstepped or counteracted.

The West knows the weaknesses of Pakistan. While delivering his speech, Trump endorsed India’s role in Afghanistan and asked its help, much because of infuriation of Pakistan than a true leaning on India.

Earlier this week, Pakistani foreign minister reached out to Kabul and declared renewal of peace talk drive with the West and extremists. Kabul is a paramount beacon of hope for Pakistan when it bids to mend soured ties with Washington. The initiative on the part of Pakistan seems pointed at unblocking of military aid package of USD 255 million.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in an interview with Bloomberg that Washington’s new military solution will not pay off. He [and most of the country’s war experts] are of opinion that the military strategy in Afghanistan has not worked and will not yield any result and emphasizes that there has to be a political settlement.

Assassination of Osama Bin Laden near Islamabad and later Mullah Mansoor and so others within Pakistan’s jurisdiction ruined the country’s image in the eyes of world as a state fighting terrorism. These single-handed military interventions into Pakistan’s airspace and the resulted disgracing turned Pakistan hostile to the US policies.

Anti-American sentiments have grown strongly in Pakistan. According to a poll conducted by the Gallup Institute in 2015, from 135 countries, Pakistan is one of the top 10 states that have the worst attitude towards the US, that is to say 65 percent of Pakistanis do not approve of Washington’s actions.

But Islamabad is still wary about determining between the US and the opposite bloc [China, Russia], because friction with the US could cost it as dangerously as North Korea is facing with now.

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The Head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev has stated that the BRICS may opt to create their own cryptocurrency for the purposes of global commerce.

A cryptocurrency is a digitally based means of exchange wherein the value of said currency is not determined by a central-bank. Most cryptocurrencies can be converted into state-issued currencies (Dollars, Euros, Yuan, etc.) through various foreign exchange services.

Currently, one of the biggest issues facing crypocurrency development is the fact that they are not backed up by any central bank. However, many also see this apparent disadvantage as a possible opportunity, particularly where unilateral Dollar based sanctions are concerned.

While the US Dollar remains the most popular global trading and reserve currency, this is rapidly changing. A BRICS backed cryptocurrency may be both the proverbial ‘Dollar buster’ as well as a ‘sanctions buster’.

In May of this year, China and Russia agreed to begin a process of trade in local currencies. Turkey and Iran have also begun steps to break away from the Dollar.

Even more recently, China announced that is plans to allow for oil trading in Yuan which will be convertible to gold at the Shanghai and Hong Kong international gold exchanges.

The creation of a BRICS cryptocurrency could potentially retain the flexibility of current cryptocurrencies with the additional benefit of being backed by the leaders of a large economic-trading union which would give traders confidence in such a currency that many existing cryptos such as Bitcoin are lacking.

It is not certain what the exchange rate of a would-be BRICSCoin would be, but there is every chance that it could be based on a derivative of what is known as Special drawing rights (XDR) a current means of exchange which pools the values of the US Dollar, British Pound, Japanese Yen and the Euro.

A possible variation which would set the initial exchange rates of a BRICSCoin could be a combination of a gold backed Chinese Yuan, Russian Rouble, Indian Rupee, South African Rand and Brazilian Real.

This could create an effective hybrid currency that could easy trade and make exchange rates between BRICS states and their partnership more equitable. There is also a potential for such a currency to be used as a means of everyday exchange among businesses and individuals in growing and emerging markets that seek to partner with the BRICS in the so-called BRICS Plus format.

While cryptocurrencies are relatively easy to create, they are more difficult to promote as a widely accepted means of exchange. However, with the prominent economies of the BRICS backing such a currency, this problem could be easily bypassed, as a semi-central regulatory body would likely be the logical outgrowth of such an initiative.

As Kirill Dmitriev stated during the BRICS summit in Xiamen China,

“Another topic discussed by the financial committee was cryptocurrencies. The creation of BRICS’ cryptocurrency as an alternative to other payment tools might also be discussed.

…cryptocurencies are also being discussed as one of the possible options for financial settlement. For particular payments it might be quite relevant and serve as a good alternative to the dollar or any other currency.

We estimate that the mutual investments of the BRICS countries might see an increase by 3-4 times due to such instruments as BRICS [Development] Bank”.

In many ways, the most powerful asset the US has internationally is the Dollar. If the effective hegemony of the Dollar is broken, it could be a substantial opportunity for emerging markets to assert their monetary and consequentially fiscal independence.

Russia is already taking its own steps towards developing its own cryptocurrency. According to Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov, a Russian cryptocurrency will be designed to work with existing Russian technologies rather than the foreign technologies which form the basis of the Bitcorn blockchain.

Nikiforov stated,

“Bitcoin and Etherium are cryptocurrencies developed on the basis of foreign cryptography. Russia has its own cryptography school. I think that we are absolutely capable of creating a cryptographic unit, a tool, based on the blockchain technology, and work out concrete regulations to set the framework for the operations”.

Such a currency could receive an official sanction from the Russian Central Bank. This technology could be used to help develop the BRICS wide crypto which has been widely discussed at the current summit.

The BRICS summit in Xiamen continues through the 5th of September.

Featured image is from BRICS/SCO Photohost.

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The Conflict in Syria Was Always Israel’s War

September 7th, 2017 by Whitney Webb

After years of fomenting the Syrian conflict from the shadows, the U.S. has recently seemed to back away from its push to militarily intervene in the embattled nation, instead choosing to focus its saber-rattling and destabilization efforts on other theaters. The consequence of this has seemingly been the winding down of the long-running conflict, now entering its seventh year.

Buoyed by Russia, Iran and Lebanon, the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad has managed to retake vast swaths of territory, all while surviving and growing stronger over the course of a largely foreign-funded onslaught. As a result, many of the governments that were instrumental in funding and arming the so-called “moderate” opposition have begun to extricate themselves, unwilling to further test the resilience of Assad or the Syrian people.

With some anticipating the long-awaited conclusion of the Syrian conflict, recent threats from Israel’s government to assassinate Assad by bombing his residence seemed to appear out of the blue. According to the Jerusalem Post, a senior Israeli official accompanying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a recent visit to Russia warned the Kremlin that if Iran continues to “extend its reach” in Syria, Israel would bomb the presidential palace in Damascus.

Israel’s comments should come as no surprise, however, as the foreign-funded and manufactured conflict in Syria was always Israel’s war. The only real surprise is Israel’s growing isolation in pushing for the further escalation of the conflict.

WikiLeaks sheds light on the origins of the war

Though it has successfully avoided being labeled a major player in the effort to oust Assad, Israel has long been the mastermind of the plan, which stems in large part from the long-standing hostilities between the two nations as well as Israel’s own regional ambitions. State Department diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have shown that in 2006, five years before the conflict in Syria manifested, the government of Israel had hatched a plan to overthrow the Assad government by engineering sectarian strife in the country, creating paranoia within the highest-ranks of the Syrian government, and isolating Syria from its strongest regional ally, Iran.

Israel then passed this plan along to the United States, which would then involve Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Egypt in fomenting the “breakdown” of the Assad regime as a way of weakening both Iran and Hezbollah — with the effect of empowering both Israel and the Gulf monarchies, two seemingly disparate forces in the region that are becoming increasingly allied.

Leaked emails belonging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton further reveal Israel’s role in covertly creating the conflict and its clear role in securing the involvement of the U.S. and other nations in executing its plan for Assad’s removal. One email, forwarded by Clinton to her advisor Jacob Sullivan, argues that Israel is convinced that Iran would lose “its only ally” in the region were Assad’s government to collapse.

Download the PDF file . 

It further stated that “The fall of the House of Assad could well ignite a sectarian war between the Shiites and the majority Sunnis of the region drawing in Iran, which, in the view of Israeli commanders would not be a bad thing for Israel and its Western allies.” This possible sectarian war was perceived as a potential “factor in the eventual fall of the current government of Iran.”

Another Clinton email released by WikiLeaks stated”

The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad,”

Adding

Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly.”

The email also notes:

A successful intervention in Syria would require substantial diplomatic and military leadership from the United States” and states that “arming the Syrian rebels and using western air power to ground Syrian helicopters and airplanes is a low-cost high payoff approach.”

Read the full Wikileaks release below:

Stated plainly, the U.S.’ decision to spend over $1 billion until 2015 to arm Syria’s terrorist-linked “rebels” — and to invoke the assistance of Wahhabi terrorism exporters like Saudi Arabia and Qatar in funneling weapons and funds to these same groups — was spurred by Israel, which not only drafted the original blueprint for the Syrian conflict but guided U.S. involvement by exerting its powerful influence over the foreign policy of that country.

Aiding the Rebels

Israel did more, however, than covertly instigate and guide the funding of opposition “rebels” — having secretly funded and aided opposition groups, including ones with overt terrorist affiliations, over the course of the six-year-long conflict.

Israeli involvement in direct funding and aiding the Syrian “rebels” was suspected for years before being officially made public by the Wall Street Journal in June of this year. The report revealed that Israel, since the beginning of the conflict, had been “supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel, and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.” Israel has also frequently brought wounded “rebels” into Israel for medical treatment, a policy it often touts as a “humanitarian effort.”

These “friendly” forces were armed groups that formed part of or were allied with al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, known for committing atrocities against thousands of Syrian civilians and slaughtering religious and ethnic minorities. Since 2013, al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups have dominated the “eight-square-kilometer separation zone on the Golan.” Israel has stated officially that these fighters are part of the U.S. coalition-supported Free Syrian Army (FSA). However, it has long been known that the vast majority of the groups comprising FSA have pledged allegiance to the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, and that those who still fight under the FSA banner meet with al-Nusra on a daily basis.

Netanyahu looks at a Syrian rebel fighter being treated in an IDF field hospital. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as a Syrian rebel fighter is treated in an IDF field hospital. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israel’s support for terrorist groups went far beyond medical treatment, food supplies and cash. The Israeli army was also found to have been in regular communication with these terrorist groups and even helped “pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons.” In addition, when the positions of the “rebel” groups it funded, armed and paid were in danger of being overtaken by Syrian government forces, Israel stepped in to directly bomb Syrian targets. For instance, in June, Israel attacked several Syrian military positions after claiming a stray mortar had landed within the boundaries of the Golan Heights, part of Syria that has long been occupied by Israel. However, the attack tellingly coincided with Syrian army advancements against the “rebel” groups that Israel has long cultivated as part of the so-called “buffer zone.”

Furthermore, Israel has launched attacks inside Syria “dozens and dozens of times,” according to a recent admission by Netanyahu. Earlier this year, Israel also threatened to “destroy” Syrian air defenses after the Syrian army fired missiles at Israeli warplanes striking targets within Syria.

Also very telling has been Israel’s position on Daesh (ISIS). In June of last year, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevi, openly stated that Israel does not want to see Daesh defeated in Syria — expressing concern about the offensives against Daesh territory and lamenting their “most difficult” situation. Prior to Halevi’s comments, Israeli officials had regularly noted that Daesh conquering the whole of Syria would be preferable to the survival of the Assad government. These comments have been echoed by Israeli and NATO-affiliated think tanks, one of which called Daesh “a useful tool in undermining” Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and Russia — despite Daesh’s barbaric tactics, war crimes, enslavement of women and ethnic cleansing efforts.

Israel’s larger geopolitical agenda

Though Israel’s support of Wahhabi terrorists like Daesh (ISIS) and al-Nusra may seem counter-intuitive, Israel’s overarching purpose in expelling Assad from power is based on strategic geopolitical and economic goals that Israel is determined to meet at any cost. While Israel frequently mentions Iran as the pretext for its involvement in Syria, the strongest motivators for Israel’s participation in the destruction of its northern neighbor are oil and territorial expansion.

One of Israel’s clearest reasons for being interested in the destabilization of Syria is its ability to assert further control of the Golan Heights, an area of Syria that Israel has illegally occupied since 1967 and annexed in 1981. Despite filling the area with illegal settlements and military assets, Israel has been unable to convince the international community, and even its close allies such as the U.S., to recognize its sovereignty over the territory. However, the conflict in Syria has proven beneficial to this end, allowing Israel to send even more settlers into the Golan, an estimated 100,000 over five years.

Israel is largely interested in gaining control over the Golan for economic reasons, owing to the occupied territory’s oil reserves, which are estimated to contain “billions of barrels.” Under the cover of the Syrian conflict, the Israeli branch of an American oil company — whose investors include Dick Cheney, Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch — has been drilling exploratory wells throughout the region, as the Heights’ uncertain territorial status prevents Israel from financially exploiting the resource.

Despite the prohibitions of international law, Israel is eager to tap into those reserves, as they have the potential to “make Israel energy self-sufficient.” Israel has even offered, per the Galant plan, to “rebuild” Syria with billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars in exchange for the Golan Heights — though the plan received a tepid reception from all involved parties other than Israel itself.

As its stands, Assad’s removal and replacement with a government friendly to Israeli and Western interests is Israel’s only real means of claiming the Golan Height’s energy resources for itself.

Pawns blocking Israel’s endgame

Aside from the oil and the territory it seeks to gain in the Golan Heights, Israel is also seeking to expand well beyond that territory in order to more widely exert its influence and become the region’s “superpower.” This ambition is described in the Yinon Plan, a strategy intended to ensure Israel’s regional superiority in the Middle East that chiefly involves reconfiguring the entire Arab world into smaller and weaker sectarian states. This has manifested in Israel’s support for the partition of Iraq as well as Syria, abetted by its support for the establishment of a separatist Kurdish state within these two nations.

This goal, in particular, largely explains Israel’s obsession with curbing Iranian influence in the Middle East, whether in Syria or elsewhere. Iran – more than any other nation in the region – is the most likely to threaten the “superpower” status that Israel seeks to gain for itself, as well as Israel’s loss of monopoly as the region’s only nuclear power.

Given Israel’s compound interests in seeing the removal of Assad and the partition of Syria, it is hardly surprising that Israeli political rhetoric has reached new heights of saber-rattling as Tel Aviv becomes increasingly concerned that the conflict it masterminded could backfire. Prior to the explosive comments regarding Israeli threats to bomb Assad’s residence, an anonymous Israeli government minister blamed the U.S. for backing out of Syria, a move he argued sacrificed Israeli interests:

The United States threw Israel under the bus for the second time in a row. The first time was the nuclear agreement with Iran, the second time is now that the United States ignores the fact that Iran is obtaining territorial continuity to the Mediterranean Sea and Israel’s northern border [through Syria].”

Not only that but Israel has recently vowed to “nullify” the ceasefire deal brokered between Russia and the U.S. with Syrian and Iranian support if it fails to comply with Israel’s needs — an ultimatum based on rather subjective terms given that “Israel’s needs” are hardly static. Israel’s response again shows the perception among officials in Tel Aviv that the Syrian conflict is of primary importance to Israeli geopolitical interests.

Furthermore, given that the response suggested so far by Israeli officials – on more than one occasion – has been to assassinate Syria’s democratically-elected President – the contemplated means of Israel “nullifying” the ceasefire deal will likely have explosive implications. Israel — apparently refusing to accept that the conflict it orchestrated is not going, and may not end, as planned — is now willing to escalate the situation militarily, with or without allies, resorting to dangerous brinkmanship with global implications.

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Public Citizen on Tuesday launched a new project aimed at documenting President Donald Trump‘s vast entanglement of business interests and highlighting “the urgent need for the president to disclose his tax returns so Americans can determine the extent of his business holdings and how they may be affecting his policy decisions.”

“Our current president has two jobs: leader of the free world and owner of hundreds of business entities worldwide. That combination is toxic for democracy,” Michael Tanglis, a senior researcher for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division who coordinated the project, said in a statement.

In a report accompanying the launch of the project—titled “President Trump Inc.”—Tanglis notes that despite Trump’s persistent refusal to release his tax returns, there is abundant evidence of “a massive conflict problem based on what we already know from his 278e financial disclosures.”

Public Citizen’s analysis of available documents found that “Trump has created at least 49 business entities since he announced his bid for the Republican nomination on June 16, 2015.”

“Roughly half of the entities were related to projects in foreign countries, including Argentina, India, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia,” the report notes.

Furthermore, just “[s]even days after he announced his candidacy for president, Trump formed more businesses than he had on any previous day. The businesses were related to projects in Indonesia.”

The report goes on to argue that Trump’s moves to distance himself from his business empire following the presidential election were “cosmetic at best.” Public Citizen explained in a video:

“The risk of self-dealing, conflicts, and corruption is just as great as if there were no separation at all,” Tanglis notes.

An interactive map and a downloadable dataset, both released alongside the new report, show the complexity of Trump’s business ties, revealing the vast number of potential conflicts of interest.

“The knowledge that [Trump] is still ultimately in control of his businesses alone is enough to invite corruption,” Tanglis adds. “It’s a recipe for disaster.”

In refusing to distance himself from this sprawling business empire,

“Trump has made a mockery of the public trust,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs at Public Citizen. “The information in this report should provide a clarion call to Congress to require him to disclose his taxes and to establish prohibitions on Trump using his office to enrich himself.”

As Common Dreams has reported, Trump is currently facing several lawsuits that allege he has used the office of the presidency to turn a profit.

Trump has created at least 49 business entities since he announced his bid for the Republican nomination on June 16, 2015

“Trump has created at least 49 business entities since he announced his bid for the Republican nomination on June 16, 2015,” Public Citizen found in a new analysis of President Donald Trump’s business empire. (Photo: Public Citizen/Twitter)

Tanglis observes at the close of his report that while Trump may be an “unprecedented” case as the first president with “a global business empire,” he is nonetheless a “natural culmination of the decades-long stranglehold wealthy individuals and corporations have had on public policy.”

“For far too long, they have achieved an outsized influence on public policy by filling the coffers of elected officials who in turn craft policy to their benefit,” Tanglis concludes.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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British Air and Drone Strikes in Iraq and Syria. UK Reaper Drone Ops

By Chris Cole, September 07, 2017

According to the figures, UK armed air missions in Syria rose by 480% in the first half of 2017 compared with the previous six months.

Tipperary’s White Helmets Peace Prize: A Judas Kiss to the Antiwar Movement and Syria

By Patrick Henningsen, September 07, 2017

Far from saving lives in Syria, flying around between the US and Europe and collecting awards seems to be all that this group is doing. Last October, the White Helmets were also tipped to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, but apparently committee members backtracked at the last minute, instead giving the award to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.

Golfing with Trump: Analysis Reveals Powerful Elite Can Literally Play for Access

By Andrea Germanos, September 07, 2017

A new USA TODAY investigation reveals that top executives, lobbyists, and contractors are buying access to President Donald Trump through memberships at the president’s numerous golf clubs, adding further concerns about the administration’s ethical conflicts.

Gold Trade Between Russia and China – A Step Closer Towards De-Dollarization?

By Peter Koenig and Sputnik, September 07, 2017

Both, the China – Russia economic cooperation and trade agreements, as well as their currencies being covered by gold is part of a larger already fairly advanced scheme of de-dollarization of their economies. In other words, Russia and China as well as the entire Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), are rapidly moving out of the US dollar hegemony.

Unending War in Syria? Hezbollah Won, But Israel Won’t Stop Supporting ISIS-Daesh

By Andrew Korybko, September 07, 2017

Looking forward, it can be expected that Hezbollah will continue to play an ever-growing role in the Mideast, having already become indispensable to Lebanon’s stability and now increasingly to Syria’s own. In response to the dismal failings of their military-terrorist proxy war against the group, Hezbollah’s enemies might attempt to win Russia’s support for their plans in exchange for diplomatic-geopolitical concessions, hoping that Moscow could in turn lean on Iran to compel it to downscale Tehran’s support for Hezbollah in a post-war Syria.

The Role of NATO’s New Intelligence Headquarters. Espionage and “Humanitarian” Secret Operations

By Manlio Dinucci, September 07, 2017

The Nato Centre for Intelligence benefits from collaboration with universities (such as University College London), think tanks (Overseas Development Institute), UN organizations (including UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration) and non-governmental organizations (including Oxfam and Save the Children). Such organizations, as well as being used as the “humanitarian” face of the Nsd-S Hub, risk, through agents that have infiltrated them, being implicated in espionage and other secret operations led by the Nato Intelligence Centre in Middle Eastern and African countries.

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Yemen: Catastrophic Humanitarian Disaster, A Forgotten Man-made Tragedy

September 7th, 2017 by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Today’s newspapers are full of storms and the story about the USA trying to establish a colony on China’s eastern flank, pardon me, North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test. In Yemen, every ten seconds, one child dies from malnutrition, while the Western Trusted Friend and great ally Saudi Arabia strafes aid convoys. And kids. And not a word is spoken.

Since you started reading this piece, one child has gasped his or her last breath in Yemen, emaciated, skeletal, dehydrated, a defeated and enquiring look in its eyes as they open wide one last time looking for a way out, looking for help, looking for a hand for those trusting fingers to hold, looking for a lease of life which should be their birthright. None comes. What does come is a Saudi air strike which destroys the aid that has been sent to save them. Why? Because the Iranians are helping the side which is opposed to the faction Saudi Arabia backs. And the children are responsible of course.

Catastrophic humanitarian disaster

Aid agencies are stretched trying to cope with the catastrophic humanitarian disaster which has been brewing for years and now culminates in five hundred thousand cases of cholera, overwhelming the healthcare system.

A new UN report was released this week. It makes for shocking reading, stating that international humanitarian law has been systematically violated since September 2014 – for three years – as civilians are slaughtered by airstrikes without any regard for norms of safety or rules of engagement. The report documented 8.749 civilians injured and 5.144 killed between May 2915 and August 2017. Of these, 1.184 children were killed and 1.592 were injured. Thousands of children is not collateral damage, it is an act of wanton murder and genocide.

Coalition airstrikes responsible

The report states that coalition airstrikes are responsible for the majority of these deaths. It goes further, accusing the coalition of killing no less than 3,233 civilians. The airstrikes have included funeral gatherings, fishing vessels, schools, hospitals, markets, residential areas and public and private property.

The situation is in one word, a calamity. In Yemen 7.3 million people are in danger of starving to death, described as being “on the brink of famine” by the report and a further 18.8 million people need humanitarian aid. This, according to the UN, is a “direct result of the behavior of parties to the conflict”, citing “indiscriminate attacks, attacks against civilians and protected objects, sieges, blockades and restrictions on movement”.

“Operations were conducted heedless of their impact on civilians without regard to the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack”. In one such attack on August 23 this year, a military aircraft strafed the Istirahat al-Shahab Hotel in Bayt al-Athri in Arhab district. The building was seriously damaged, 33 civilians were murdered and a further 25 injured. The culprit? “Coalition forces” led by Saudi Arabia. Such attacks are prohibited under international law.

Not surprisingly, the international community has scant information about what is going on, because the Western Trusted Friend, Saudi Arabia, has blocked access to journalists trying to cover the conflict.

This is not only about Saudi backing the Government against the Houthi rebels (backed by Iran). It is about a regional power struggle between Sunni Saudi and Shiite Iran. But the Yemenis are the pawns. Especially the children. And the Iranians are not party to the bombings.

And where are the Saudis’ western friends in all of this? Selling them weapons, of course. Why, the US administration has just secured a 100 billion USD arms deal. So, while the west, which includes European countries, does deals with Saudi Arabia and shakes hands smiling politely with those who spend weekends in Casablanca doing God alone knows what, Yemeni kids are being murdered.

Of course, a barrel of oil is worth how many children’s lives? Ask Theresa May and Donald J. Trump.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, for  TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.

Featured image is from the author.

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We Don’t Want War in Korea!

September 7th, 2017 by Bruce K. Gagnon

I’ve maintained for some time that the US aggressive attitude toward North Korea is a foil – a way to increase tensions in the region in order to pump-up the fear and allow the Pentagon to increase its military encirclement of China and Russia. They are the real targets.

The Pentagon knows that North Korea only has four nuclear warheads and only medium-range missiles. So despite all the hype North Korea is not a military threat to the US.

The Pentagon has 6,800 nuclear warheads and obviously has all kinds of missiles of every conceivable range. North Korea is not going to start a war – if it did the US would pulverize it in a very short time.

I got an email today from International Law professor Francis Boyle who wrote:

I have just had a look at Article 2 of the China/DPRK Mutual Assistance Treaty…. In the event the USA attacks DPRK, China is obligated to come to the Defense of DPRK and has so stated publicly and recently and repeatedly. So it appears that the USA is provoking DPRK to attack USA first, whereupon China has said it will not come to the Defense of DPRK, and it is not obligated to do so under the Treaty.

Thus North Korea has no incentive to attack the US or any of its allies unless the Pentagon hits them first. North Korea is all about survival of its regime and that is why they are developing nukes. They’ve seen what happened to Iraq and Libya and know that if they have the ability to hit back hard they will have a better chance of survival.

Now if I was asked I’d advise North Korea not to sound so belligerent which only gives the US the ability to spin things its way even more.  But easy for me to say……

North Korea was devastated during the ‘American War’ as they called it during 1950-1953. Coming out of that war the US refused to sign a peace treaty and to this day the war is technically still on. Only an Armistice (cease fire) was signed on July 27, 1953.

The US has 83 bases in South Korea that have 23,000 American troops stationed on them. The US-South Korea-Japan continually hold war games along North Korea’s border. Imagine if some other country was holding war games along our Canadian and Mexican borders. Washington would never stand for that but when we do that to others it is supposed to be acceptable.

In recent days we paid to boost the Global Network’s Keep Space for Peace Week poster on Facebook and there has been a whirlwind of comments, shares and likes. Somehow a bunch of US military soldiers got a hold of the post and many of them have been commenting. Today two of us from the Global Network had an extended discussion with one of the soldiers about the Korea issue.

US troops in South Korea and Japan would be high on the list for immediate targeting if a war started between the US and North Korea-China. American GI’s must be a bit afraid at this point and they are not likely to be hearing much opposition to war as the western corporate controlled media is non-stop promoting a US ‘decapitation’ strike.

I posted a really good Korea issues/history interview on Facebook today (see it here) and one woman commented:

I made the mistake of turning on CNN for few minutes this morning.
A bunch of warmongering, mainly women, mouthpieces. Nauseating.
Thanks for the antidote! 

I don’t know how all this will turn out but having Trump in the White House and a team of ready-to-kill military generals surrounding him is not very reassuring. At this point we all need to be speaking out loudly and often against going to war with anyone – especially not in Korea!

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America’s declining empire.


150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

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

by Michel Chossudovsky

The Globalization of War includes chapters on North Korea, Ukraine, Palestine, Libya, Iran, Yugoslavia, Haiti, Syria and Iraq as well as several chapters on the dangers of Nuclear War including Michel Chossudovsky’s Conversations with Fidel Castro entitled “Nuclear War and the Future of Humanity”.

According to Fidel: “in the case of a nuclear war, the ‘collateral damage’ would be the life of all humanity”.

The book concludes with two chapters focussing on “Reversing the Tide of War”.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0

Pages: 240 Pages

List Price: $22.95 

Order directly from Global Research

Special Price: $15.00

America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine —coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.

Conversations on the Dangers of Nuclear War: Fidel Castro and Michel Chossudovsky, Havana, October 2010

This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history.

It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of “human rights” and “Western democracy”.

Order directly from Global Research

REVIEWS:

“Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the most realistic of all foreign policy commentators. He is a model of integrity in analysis, his book provides an honest appraisal of the extreme danger that U.S. hegemonic neoconservatism poses to life on earth.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

““The Globalization of War” comprises war on two fronts: those countries that can either be “bought” or destabilized. In other cases, insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit U.S. military intervention. Michel Chossudovsky’s book is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.”

Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of National Defence

“Michel Chossudovsky describes globalization as a hegemonic weapon that empowers the financial elites and enslaves 99 percent of the world’s population.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

Michael Carmichael, President, the Planetary Movement

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

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We Don’t Want War in Korea!

September 7th, 2017 by Bruce K. Gagnon

I’ve maintained for some time that the US aggressive attitude toward North Korea is a foil – a way to increase tensions in the region in order to pump-up the fear and allow the Pentagon to increase its military encirclement of China and Russia. They are the real targets.

The Pentagon knows that North Korea only has four nuclear warheads and only medium-range missiles. So despite all the hype North Korea is not a military threat to the US.

The Pentagon has 6,800 nuclear warheads and obviously has all kinds of missiles of every conceivable range. North Korea is not going to start a war – if it did the US would pulverize it in a very short time.

I got an email today from International Law professor Francis Boyle who wrote:

I have just had a look at Article 2 of the China/DPRK Mutual Assistance Treaty…. In the event the USA attacks DPRK, China is obligated to come to the Defense of DPRK and has so stated publicly and recently and repeatedly. So it appears that the USA is provoking DPRK to attack USA first, whereupon China has said it will not come to the Defense of DPRK, and it is not obligated to do so under the Treaty.

Thus North Korea has no incentive to attack the US or any of its allies unless the Pentagon hits them first. North Korea is all about survival of its regime and that is why they are developing nukes. They’ve seen what happened to Iraq and Libya and know that if they have the ability to hit back hard they will have a better chance of survival.

Now if I was asked I’d advise North Korea not to sound so belligerent which only gives the US the ability to spin things its way even more.  But easy for me to say……

North Korea was devastated during the ‘American War’ as they called it during 1950-1953. Coming out of that war the US refused to sign a peace treaty and to this day the war is technically still on. Only an Armistice (cease fire) was signed on July 27, 1953.

The US has 83 bases in South Korea that have 23,000 American troops stationed on them. The US-South Korea-Japan continually hold war games along North Korea’s border. Imagine if some other country was holding war games along our Canadian and Mexican borders. Washington would never stand for that but when we do that to others it is supposed to be acceptable.

In recent days we paid to boost the Global Network’s Keep Space for Peace Week poster on Facebook and there has been a whirlwind of comments, shares and likes. Somehow a bunch of US military soldiers got a hold of the post and many of them have been commenting. Today two of us from the Global Network had an extended discussion with one of the soldiers about the Korea issue.

US troops in South Korea and Japan would be high on the list for immediate targeting if a war started between the US and North Korea-China. American GI’s must be a bit afraid at this point and they are not likely to be hearing much opposition to war as the western corporate controlled media is non-stop promoting a US ‘decapitation’ strike.

I posted a really good Korea issues/history interview on Facebook today (see it here) and one woman commented:

I made the mistake of turning on CNN for few minutes this morning.
A bunch of warmongering, mainly women, mouthpieces. Nauseating.
Thanks for the antidote! 

I don’t know how all this will turn out but having Trump in the White House and a team of ready-to-kill military generals surrounding him is not very reassuring. At this point we all need to be speaking out loudly and often against going to war with anyone – especially not in Korea!

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America’s declining empire.


150115 Long War Cover hi-res finalv2 copy3.jpg

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

by Michel Chossudovsky

The Globalization of War includes chapters on North Korea, Ukraine, Palestine, Libya, Iran, Yugoslavia, Haiti, Syria and Iraq as well as several chapters on the dangers of Nuclear War including Michel Chossudovsky’s Conversations with Fidel Castro entitled “Nuclear War and the Future of Humanity”.

According to Fidel: “in the case of a nuclear war, the ‘collateral damage’ would be the life of all humanity”.

The book concludes with two chapters focussing on “Reversing the Tide of War”.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-6-0

Pages: 240 Pages

List Price: $22.95 

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America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine —coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.

Conversations on the Dangers of Nuclear War: Fidel Castro and Michel Chossudovsky, Havana, October 2010

This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history.

It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of “human rights” and “Western democracy”.

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REVIEWS:

“Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the most realistic of all foreign policy commentators. He is a model of integrity in analysis, his book provides an honest appraisal of the extreme danger that U.S. hegemonic neoconservatism poses to life on earth.”

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury

““The Globalization of War” comprises war on two fronts: those countries that can either be “bought” or destabilized. In other cases, insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit U.S. military intervention. Michel Chossudovsky’s book is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.”

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“Michel Chossudovsky describes globalization as a hegemonic weapon that empowers the financial elites and enslaves 99 percent of the world’s population.

“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”

Michael Carmichael, President, the Planetary Movement

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

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We, the People of Venezuela, wish to address the People of the United States of America. You must know that on August 11, 2017, President Donald Trump threatened the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with direct military intervention. This dangerous threat was rejected by all nations and by the People of the United States. Nevertheless, two weeks later, President Trump imposed severe and unfair sanctions on us, publicly admitting his intention was to economically isolate Venezuela. It is the same strategy – recognized by the U.S. Government– that was implemented to overthrow the democratic government of Chile in 1973, paving the way for the ruthless dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet to take power.

These threats and unilateral decisions will affect our economy and our means to obtain resources for food, healthcare and production, seriously impairing our citizens’ everyday life. President Trump seeks to manufacture a political crisis in our country by forcing President Nicolas Maduro out of office, even though he was democratically elected in 2013.

Furthermore, these actions also affect ordinary U.S. citizens who would face the possibility of a hike in gasoline prices, while thousands of workers risk losing their hard-earned savings as retirement funds are affected by the ban on Venezuelan bonds.

This behavior is inconsistent with Donald Trump’s campaign slogan: “Make America great again”. Rather, it creates new problems, both inside and outside the United States, making life harder both for Venezuelans and millions of U.S. citizens, while at the same time, it generates global rejection and resentment towards the U.S. government, and indirectly, towards its people, who have nothing to do with these warmongering actions.

As was the case in Iraq, we might be on the verge of an unfair and baseless military intervention, where oil is paramount. Yet nothing can justify that young Americans are driven into another military conflict, much less if it entails confronting a friendly and peaceful country such as Venezuela.

Venezuela is neither an enemy of the United States, nor does it represent a threat to its security. We admire its history, culture and scientific achievements. It is, therefore, imperative to cease this irrational policy of aggression and instead promote political understanding, so this long tradition of friendship between both countries can be made to flourish.

President Nicolas Maduro has tried to reach out to President Donald Trump several times, so as to facilitate communication and generate solutions based upon International Law and mutual respect. Regrettably, thus far, the U.S. Government has ignored and disregarded all dialogue initiatives proposed by the Venezuelan Government.

The People of the United States are a people of peace, and we believe you should lead efforts seeking to neutralize the jingoistic intentions of your government. That is why we reach out to you, in fraternity and sincerity, to urge all Americans of goodwill, to join us in working together for the defense of our peoples’ freedoms, our children’s well-being, towards cooperation and peace for our region. It is a time for dialogue and understanding. Let us not miss this opportunity and in the words of John Lennon: Let’s give peace a chance.

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