French demonstrators scuffled with armed police as they await Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Souillac. The town in southwest France has been locked down in anticipation of the presidential visit.

.

.

Videos circulating on social media shows protesters gathering in front of police who prevent them from passing.

On Boulevard Louis Jean Malvy, demonstrators are seen attempting to shove their way past the line of police, while singing and chanting can be heard as people call for Macron’s resignation.

The city has been closed off in a bid to prevent Yellow Vest protests dominating the president’s visit to meet officials. A decree has banned “any demonstration, especially in the context of the movement called yellow vests” for the day, and the town’s weekly market has been closed.

Souillac residents can only enter the area if they have a special pass and proof of residence.

Police vehicles approached the protesters to get them to retreat, and the majority are now behind a barricade.

*

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How Wall Street Finances the Battle against Neoliberalism?

January 20th, 2019 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Today I read an interesting article referring to Mexico on how neoliberal economists through the application of “strong IMF economic medicine” contributed to “wreaking  havoc” on the global poor while “protecting the financial elites”.

And then I arrived at the foot of the article published by Alternet:

“This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute”.

The Independent Media Institute, a tax exempt charity foundation supported by George Soros, a multibillion dollar Wall Street tycoon and hedge fund manager largely involved in speculative trade in the commodity and foreign exchange markets.

The Independent Media Center is described as an

“Internet-based, news and events bulletin board [which] represents an invariably leftist, anti-capitalist perspective and serves as a mouthpiece for anti-globalization/anti-America themes.”

Globetrotter is a projet of the IMC which (according to the IMC):

“explores the struggles for independence, dignity and democracy in the developing world, from economic models to war and imperialism.”

Needless to say, I was puzzled. Wall Street finances the battle against neoliberalism?

A critique of the IMF macro-economic agenda for Latin America is funded by a foundation owned by one of Wall Street’s most prominent financiers.

I read through the article once more: The article does not actually bash the Wall Street financial elites involved in destabilizing the Mexican economy. It largely focuses on the failures of the IMF bureaucracy without acknowledging that the IMF bureaucracy always acts on behalf of Wall Street.

While the author accuses the IMF mission to Mexico of window dressing, “[n]othing in the IMF staff statement indicated a policy that would tackle Mexico’s grave problems of poverty and inequality”.

One is however left with the impression that it’s all a big management failure which can be rectified by changing the IMF recipe and training IMF officials to learn the realities of developing countries:

Someone should encourage the IMF to stop sending staff teams into countries like Mexico. Each report is identical to the previous one. Nothing seems to be learned by these teams. Years ago, a senior IMF economist told me that when he arrived in a Central Asian country he knew nothing of that country, he got to see nothing of it when he was there and he knew virtually nothing when he drafted the Article IV review. All he did in the country was sit in one air-conditioned room after another, listen to canned reports from nervous finance ministry officials and then develop the report based on the IMF’s same old recipe—make cuts, target welfare, privatize and make sure that the banks are happy. (Alternet, emphasis added)

“Make sure the banks are happy”. Yes, that is the main goal. And the standard recipe serves their interests.

The IMF is controlled by Wall Street and the US Treasury. It has informal ties to the Pentagon. It routinely interfaces with the Washington think tanks. It is part of what is called the “Washington Consensus” which defines the gamut of deadly  economic measures imposed on indebted developing countries.

Here’s how neoliberal economists wreak havoc on the global poor while protecting the financial elite

“Funding Dissent”

Numerous organizations and protest movements (against neoliberalism) including the World Social Forum (WSF) are funded by Wall Street. How is the process of “manufactured dissent” achieved?

Essentially by “funding dissent”, namely by channeling financial resources from those who are the object of the protest movement to those who are involved in organizing the protest movement.

Co-optation is not limited to buying the favors of politicians. The economic elites –which control major foundations– also oversee the funding of numerous NGOs and civil society organizations, which historically have been involved in the protest movement against the established economic and social order. The programs of many NGOs and people’s movements rely heavily on funding from both public as well as private foundations including the Ford, Rockefeller, McCarthy foundations, among others.

The anti-globalization movement is opposed to Wall Street and the Texas oil giants controlled by Rockefeller, et al. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller et al will generously fund progressive anti-capitalist networks as well as environmentalists (opposed to Big Oil) with a view to ultimately overseeing and shaping their various activities. (Michel Chossudovsky, Manufacturing Dissent, Global Research, 2015

Global capitalism finances anti-capitalism: an absurd and contradictory relationship.

There can be no meaningful mass movement when dissent is generously funded by those same corporate interests which are the target of the protest movement. In the words of McGeorge Bundy, president of the Ford Foundation (1966-1979),Everything the [Ford] Foundation did could be regarded as ‘making the World safe for capitalism’”. (Ibid)

France’s Green Vests

Will elite institutions attempt through various means to infiltrate the Green Vests? France’s intelligence and police apparatus has no doubt already contemplated this option.

Sofar the movement is fully aware of the dangers of cooptation. There is no evidence that the Gilets Jaunes have been coopted or financed by outside funding. While Soros has supported the so-called “color revolutions”, the Yellow Vests have expressed there position in relation to the fake “revolutions” funded by the financial establishment.

click to enlarge

In the case of France, the Gilets Jaunes movement has a grassroots structure.

The Gilets Jaunes call for the withdrawal of France from NATO. It addresses the impacts of neoliberalism while taking a firm anti-war stance. The movement is not manipulated by NGOs or political parties. In the words of Diana Johnstone:

“President Emmanuel Macron’s New Year’s Eve address to the nation made it perfectly clear that after one unconvincing stab at throwing a few crumbs to the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protest movement, he has determined to get tough.”

Macron is a former senior staff member of  Rothschild & Cie Banque:

Macron is the very embodiment of this system.  He was chosen by that famous elite to carry through the measures dictated by “the Markets”, enforced by the European Union. He cannot give in.  But now that people are awake to what is going on, they won’t stop either.  For all the lamented decline in the school system, the French people today are as well-educated and reasonable as any population can be expected to be.  If they are incapable of democracy, then democracy is impossible.(Ibid)

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“There’s a military base – a German military base, with the help of NATO – being built for urban warfare training…Why would Europe need a training camp for urban warfare if they wouldn’t expect upheavals that you may see in the case of Brexit, we don’t know yet, that you have seen already in Greece, that you may see more of in Greece, and that may happen in Italy, and in all those cities in Hungary for example, or in Poland…? All these upheavals, these civil upheavals, must be oppressed.”

– Peter Koenig, from this week’s interview.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The latest chapter in the Brexit saga played out this past Tuesday. Members of the British Parliament soundly rejected the withdrawal agreement arrived at following months of negotiations between the government of Theresa May and EU leaders. With 430 votes against, including 118 members of her own party and elements of both the Leave and Remain camps, and only 202 in favour, it was reportedly the most devastating defeat of a sitting government’s policy in the history of the country. [1]

The debacle illustrates the difficulties of crafting a deal which will be acceptable both to the EU leadership and the UK Parliament, to say nothing of the general public.

Under the process currently underway, the UK is set to officially abandon the EU on March 29, 2019. Opposition Members of Parliament have been lobbying for an extension of the deadline, a second referendum on EU membership, and even a new election which would potentially lead to a different Prime Minister taking charge of the Brexit negotiations. [2][3]

Meanwhile, the Gilets Jaunes in France (Yellow Vests) are into their 10th weekend of protests. Triggered by opposition to a proposed hike in fuel taxes, ostensibly to combat global warming, the demands of the French populace have extended to encompass a wider range of concerns, generally centred around advancing prospects for the working class and ending austerity measures. Critically, they have also demanded France depart from both the European Union (FREXIT) and from the NATO alliance! [4]

The European Union has arguably been a culprit in undermining the democratic will of the peoples of all member states. As Belgian human rights activist Andy Vermaut pointed out in a December 2018 article, the EU through the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), mandates that all EU members must submit their budgets to the European Commission before those budgets are discussed in the members’ national parliaments. The rules designed to “pursue sound public finances” and coordinate the fiscal policies of EU members has, Vermaut argues, resulted in “many years of austerity policy throughout Europe.” [5]

On top of these developments, a new Treaty is set to be signed between Germany and France on January 22nd which would align the diplomatic, economic, military, and other policies of the two European and NATO powers. It has been suggested that this pact would act as an incubator for military as well as economic integration throughout Europe. Such a development naturally invokes questions as to the democratic sovereignty of constituent nations. [6]

On this week’s Global Research News Hour we build on the EU-connected political developments of recent weeks with analyses from two guests.

Peter Koenig provides some insights into the Brexit vote last week and what lies ahead for the UK. He also provides some background on the origins of the European Union project, which did not originate from Europeans themselves, and describes the forces that shaped its trajectory through the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957, and the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 which established the European Union and a common currency (the euro.) Koenig also shares his thoughts about the upcoming Franco-German Treaty and its implications for military containment and suppression of civic unrest.

In the final half hour, Diana Johnstone returns to share her perspectives on the Gilets Jaunes in France, who they are, what they are demanding, and what distinguishes this movement from other popular mobiliizations such as the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Diana Johnstone is an American political writer based in Paris. Best known for her book, Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions, Johnstone is also the author of Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. Diana Johnstone is a past guest of the Global Research News Hour and a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization

(Global Research News Hour Episode 245)

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

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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 . Excerpts of the show have begun airing on Rabble Radio and appear as podcasts at rabble.ca.

The Global Research News Hour now airs Fridays at 6pm PST, 8pm CST and 9pm EST on Alternative Current Radio (alternativecurrentradio.com)

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

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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.

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Radio Fanshawe: Fanshawe’s 106.9 The X (CIXX-FM) out of London, Ontario airs the Global Research News Hour Sundays at 6am with an encore at 4pm.

Los Angeles, California based Thepowerofvoices.com airs the Global Research News Hour every Monday from 6-7pm Pacific time. 

Notes:

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46885828
  2. ibid
  3. Alex Hunt & Brian Wheeler (January 16, 2019), ‘Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU’, BBC News; https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887
  4. https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/france-bleu/demands-of-frances-yellow-vests-as-uploaded-by-france-bleu-november-29
  5. https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201812111070566448-yellow-vests-austerity-eu/
  6. David Scott (January 16, 2019), ‘Will the New Treaty of Aachen make the EU Dream Come True?’, UK COLUMN; https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/will-new-treaty-aachen-make-eu-dream-come-true
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First published by Washington’s Blog and Global Research in February 2015

The U.S. Has Only Been At Peace For 21 Years Total Since Its Birth

In 2011, Danios wrote:

 Below, I have reproduced a year-by-year timeline of America’s wars, which reveals something quite interesting: since the United States was founded in 1776, she has been at war during 214 out of her 235 calendar years of existence.  In other words, there were only 21 calendar years in which the U.S. did not wage any wars.

To put this in perspective:

* Pick any year since 1776 and there is about a 91% chance that America was involved in some war during that calendar year.

* No U.S. president truly qualifies as a peacetime president.  Instead, all U.S. presidents can technically be considered “war presidents.”

* The U.S. has never gone a decade without war.

* The only time the U.S. went five years without war (1935-40) was during the isolationist period of the Great Depression.

*  *  *

 

Year-by-year Timeline of America’s Major Wars (1776-2011)

1776 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamagua Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1777 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1778 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1779 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1780 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1781 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1782 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1783 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1784 – Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War, Oconee War

1785 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1786 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1787 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1788 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1789 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1790 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1791 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1792 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1793 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1794 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1795 – Northwest Indian War

1796 – No major war

1797 – No major war

1798 – Quasi-War

1799 – Quasi-War

1800 – Quasi-War

1801 – First Barbary War

1802 – First Barbary War

1803 – First Barbary War

1804 – First Barbary War

1805 – First Barbary War

1806 – Sabine Expedition

1807 – No major war

1808 – No major war

1809 – No major war

1810 – U.S. occupies Spanish-held West Florida

1811 – Tecumseh’s War

1812 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Seminole Wars, U.S. occupies Spanish-held Amelia Island and other parts of East Florida

1813 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Peoria War, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in West Florida

1814 – War of 1812, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in Florida, Anti-piracy war

1815 – War of 1812, Second Barbary War, Anti-piracy war

1816 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1817 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1818 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1819 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1820 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1821 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1822 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1823 – Anti-piracy war, Arikara War

1824 – Anti-piracy war

1825 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1826 – No major war

1827 – Winnebago War

1828 – No major war

1829 – No major war

1830 – No major war 

1831 – Sac and Fox Indian War

1832 – Black Hawk War

1833 – Cherokee Indian War

1834 – Cherokee Indian War, Pawnee Indian Territory Campaign

1835 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War

1836 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Missouri-Iowa Border War

1837 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Osage Indian War, Buckshot War

1838 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Buckshot War, Heatherly Indian War

1839 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars

1840 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade Fiji Islands

1841 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade McKean Island, Gilbert Islands, and Samoa

1842 – Seminole Wars

1843 – U.S. forces clash with Chinese, U.S. troops invade African coast

1844 – Texas-Indian Wars

1845 – Texas-Indian Wars

1846 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1847 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1848 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War

1849 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1850 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, California Indian Wars, Pitt River Expedition

1851 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1852 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1853 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, Walker War, California Indian Wars

1854 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1855 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Yakima War, Winnas Expedition, Klickitat War, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1856 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, Tintic War

1857 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Utah War, Conflict in Nicaragua

1858 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Mohave War, California Indian Wars, Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-Paloos War, Utah War, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1859 Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Pecos Expedition, Antelope Hills Expedition, Bear River Expedition, John Brown’s raid, U.S. forces launch attack against Paraguay, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1860 – Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Paiute War, Kiowa-Comanche War

1861 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign

1862 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Dakota War of 1862,

1863 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Goshute War

1864 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Snake War

1865 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Colorado War, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War

1866 – Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Franklin County War, U.S. invades Mexico, Conflict with China

1867 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, U.S. troops occupy Nicaragua and attack Taiwan

1868 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Battle of Washita River, Franklin County War

1869 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1870 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1871 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, Kingsley Cave Massacre, U.S. forces invade Korea

1872 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Franklin County War

1873 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Apache Wars, Cypress Hills Massacre, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1874 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Red River War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1875 – Conflict in Mexico, Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Eastern Nevada, Mason County War, Colfax County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1876 – Texas-Indian Wars, Black Hills War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1877 – Texas-Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Black Hills War, Nez Perce War, Mason County War, Lincoln County War, San Elizario Salt War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1878 – Paiute Indian conflict, Bannock War, Cheyenne War, Lincoln County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1879 – Cheyenne War, Sheepeater Indian War, White River War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1880 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1881 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1882 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1883 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1884 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1885 – Apache Wars, Eastern Nevada Expedition, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1886 – Apache Wars, Pleasant Valley War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1887 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1888 – U.S. show of force against Haiti, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1889 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1890 – Sioux Indian War, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Ghost Dance War, Wounded Knee, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1891 – Sioux Indian War, Ghost Dance War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1892 – Johnson County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1893 – U.S. forces invade Mexico and Hawaii

1894 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1895 – U.S. forces invade Mexico, Bannock Indian Disturbances

1896 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1897 – No major war

1898 – Spanish-American War, Battle of Leech Lake, Chippewa Indian Disturbances

1899 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1900 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1901 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1902 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1903 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1904 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1905 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1906 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1907 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1908 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1909 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1910 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1911 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1912 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1913 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars, New Mexico Navajo War

1914 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1915 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico, Colorado Paiute War

1916 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1917 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S. invades Mexico

1918 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S invades Mexico

1919 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1920 – Banana Wars

1921 – Banana Wars

1922 – Banana Wars

1923 – Banana Wars, Posey War

1924 – Banana Wars

1925 – Banana Wars

1926 – Banana Wars

1927 – Banana Wars

1928 – Banana Wars

1930 – Banana Wars

1931 – Banana Wars

1932 – Banana Wars

1933 – Banana Wars

1934 – Banana Wars

1935 – No major war

1936 – No major war

1937 – No major war

1938 – No major war

1939 – No major war

1940 – No major war

1941 – World War II

1942 – World War II

1943 – Wold War II

1944 – World War II

1945 – World War II

1946 – Cold War (U.S. occupies the Philippines and South Korea)

1947 – Cold War (U.S. occupies South Korea, U.S. forces land in Greece to fight Communists)

1948 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1949 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1950 – Korean War, Jayuga Uprising

1951 – Korean War

1952 – Korean War

1953 – Korean War

1954 – Covert War in Guatemala

1955 – Vietnam War

1956 – Vietnam War

1957 – Vietnam War

1958 – Vietnam War

1959 – Vietnam War, Conflict in Haiti

1960 – Vietam War

1961 – Vietnam War

1962 – Vietnam War, Cold War (Cuban Missile Crisis; U.S. marines fight Communists in Thailand)

1963 – Vietnam War

1964 – Vietnam War

1965 – Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1966 – Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1967 – Vietnam War

1968 – Vietnam War

1969 – Vietnam War

1970 – Vietnam War

1971 – Vietnam War

1972 – Vietnam War

1973 – Vietnam War, U.S. aids Israel in Yom Kippur War

1974 – Vietnam War

1975 – Vietnam War

1976 – No major war

1977 – No major war

1978 – No major war

1979 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1980 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1981 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), First Gulf of Sidra Incident

1982 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1983 – Cold War (Invasion of Grenada, CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1984 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Persian Gulf

1985 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1986 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1987 – Conflict in Persian Gulf

1988 – Conflict in Persian Gulf, U.S. occupation of Panama

1989 – Second Gulf of Sidra Incident, U.S. occupation of Panama, Conflict in Philippines

1990 – First Gulf War, U.S. occupation of Panama

1991 – First Gulf War

1992 – Conflict in Iraq

1993 – Conflict in Iraq

1994 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti

1995 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti, NATO bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina

1996 – Conflict in Iraq

1997 – No major war

1998 – Bombing of Iraq, Missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan

1999 – Kosovo War

2000 – No major war

2001 – War on Terror in Afghanistan

2002 – War on Terror in Afghanistan and Yemen

2003 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, and Iraq

2004 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2005 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2006 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2007 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen

2008 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2009 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2010 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2011 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; Conflict in Libya (Libyan Civil War)

In most of these wars, the U.S. was on the offense. Danios admits that some of the wars were defensive.   However, Danios also leaves out covert CIA operations and other acts which could be considered war.

Let’s update what’s happened since 2011:

2012 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen

2013 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen

2014 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; Civil War in Ukraine

2015 – War on Terror in Somalia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; Civil War in Ukraine

So we can add 4 more years of war. That means that for 222 out of 239 years – or 93% of the time – America has been at war. (We can quibble with the exact numbers, but the high percentage of time that America has been at war is clear and unmistakable.)

Indeed, most of the military operations launched since World War II have been launched by the U.S.

And American military spending dwarfs the rest of the world put together.

No wonder polls show that the world believes America is the number 1 threat to peace.

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First published by Global Research on September 11, 2016

Globalisation is the demise of humanity. That being said, if we want peace, solidarity, harmonious cohabitation, justice and equality – we have to defeat globalisation. And to be able to defeat it, countries which strive to take back autonomy and sovereignty may want to move away from the oppressive fist of the west.

BREXIT offers Europe and the world a formidable opportunity to break loose from the rigged, dollar-based fiat monetary system. BREXIT opens the door for other European Union (EU) nations to do likewise. Different polls indicate that between 60% and 80% of all EU citizens are fed up with the corrupt EU, wanting to leave. In France, whose Mr. Hollande has reached the attribute of least popular President of all times and who is openly called a traitor of the people, a recent survey says more than 85% of the French are against the EU.

Europeans are also worried about the gradual but steady integration of the EU with NATO. A militarisation of Europe with a US-led war machine moving ever closer towards Moscow is a strong and present danger for WWIII – meaning Europe may become again the theatre of war and destruction the third time in 100 years. Encircling China with two thirds of the US Navy fleet in the South China Sea, provoking territorial conflicts via the Philippines, a former colony and a US vassal; and presenting a constant menace with uncountable military bases in the area, all the way to Australia, are no signs of peaceful cooperation by Washington.

Bringing down the EU would break up the Euro and may also break up NATO. This, of course, is non-coherent with Washington’s hold on power over Europe and aggression against Russia. Breaking up the EU would also annihilate the secretly negotiated nefarious TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) turn Europe into US corporate-finance slavehood. As usual with US-imposed trade agreements, the TTIP would tilt the balance of benefits heavily in favour of Washington and its corporate-finance masters. It would superimpose private courts upon sovereign nations’ legal system to arbitrate on behalf of corporations and financial institutions for foregone profit, in case EU nations might dare introducing profit hindering legislation, for example for environmental protection, food safety and social wellbeing.

And last but not least, bringing down the Euro would seriously jeopardise the hegemony of the US dollar, as the two currencies are really one coin with two faces, one governing Europe, the other the world – except for China and Russia; two very important exceptions.

Different polls indicate that between 60% and 80% of all EU citizens are fed up with the corrupt EU, wanting to leave.

In the western economic system, the US currency means everything for the US empire to fully dominate the world, its resources, people and finances. The US dollar has been created for this purpose. And so has the European Union and her single currency, the Euro. They are not the product of Europe, they are the deceitful construct of the CIA, a process begun shortly after WWII. In 1946 Winston Churchill proclaimed, [we must]re-create the European family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom. We must build a kind of United States of Europe.” He was then as Cameron and his successor, Theresa May, are today a mouthpiece for the United States, expressing Washington’s ideas as a Trojan horse in Europe.

Some 240 years ago, the freemason founders of the United States of America duped the common US population and later the world with Big Words, like Democracy, Equality, Free Speech, and Justice for All – into believing that they are living in a free and just country. These ideals were just slogans stamped into the US Constitution, while the long-script is favouring a small privileged elite. For example, slavery existed already since early colonial days in British North America. It was legal at the time of US Independence in 1776. Instead of being abolished under the principles of Equality and Justice for All, it prevailed throughout the 18th and part of the 19th Century. Yet, the sham of a free America continues to this day, providing fertile ground for a predatory monetary system to lead a predatory world economy.

Today’s western debt-based monetary system is – but a foster child of the deceitful Constitution. It began in 1910, when a group of prominent Wall Street bankers travelled clandestinely to Jekyll Island, Georgia, on what they disguisingly called “The Duck Hunt”, where they concocted what in 1913 became the Federal Reserve Act. Thus, emerged the entirely privately owned, Rothschild dominated Federal Reserve system (FED), serving as the US Central Bank. It is the omnipotent dollar making machine.

After signing the FED Act into existence, then President Woodrow Wilson as a dying man declared, “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world, no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

The Brits had already a central bank way back in 1694. It was then already controlled by the Rothschild family, as was the entire banking system. Baron Nathan Mayer Rothschild once declared: “I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.” What the Baron may have said some 320 years ago, still holds true to this day.

When Nixon in 1971 abandoned the gold standard (one troy-ounce of gold = US$35), essentially created by the Bretton Woods institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, to control the western monetary system – the US dollar became de facto the world’s currency of reference and by implication the world’s reserve currency. This Machiavellian move allowed the FED to print dollars as needed to fund US / NATO instigated conflicts and wars, as well as propaganda to sell the wars around the globe. Every new dollar was a dollar of debt, most of them externalised, since the world held them in their reserve coffers.

The good news is that the paradigm is changing rapidly. When twenty years ago about 90% of worldwide reserves were kept in dollar-denominated securities, today this figure is below 60% and falling. Of course, as long as the value of currencies can be manipulated, the value of dollar reserves is relative. However, the trend is clear. Slipping below 50% may be the beginning of a sea change in world economy, giving rise to alternative monetary systems.

The shift has already started. China, Russia and other eastern countries are quietly divesting their dollar reserves into securities of other denominations. The idea for the future is to back monetary systems, funds circulating and released by central banks, by actual socio-economic outputs of a nation, including social and environmental achievements, such as public health, education, protection and conservation of natural resources, as well as a sovereign’s ability of internal and external conflict resolution.

China, Russia and other eastern countries are quietly divesting their dollar reserves into securities of other denominations. The idea for the future is to back monetary systems, funds circulating and released by central banks, by actual socio-economic outputs of a nation.

Simultaneously with the end of the “gold standard”, the limitless dollar production was further facilitated by Father Bush (George H. W.). He negotiated with the House of Saud – his friends – to remain at the head of OPEC, as long as Saudi Arabia would assure that hydrocarbons would never be traded in currencies other than the US-dollar. In return, the US would guarantee the Saudis’ security. Done deal. It allowed the US to establish a series of US bases in Saudi Arabia, with which to control the Middle East and surrounding areas and to carry on wars and proxy conflicts, destroying Yemen and Syria, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of civilians, women and children. The Saudis, Qatar and other Gulf vassals were also coopted into funding the US-created NATO ground troops in Syria, Iraq and Libya, namely the “terror” organisation, and Islamic State (IS-ISIS-Daesh).

Under this OPEC arrangement with the Saudis, the demand for US-dollars increased almost exponentially. Every dollar created means new US debt. This is irrelevant, since US debt was never meant to be paid off. Alan Greenspan, former chief of the FED once answered a journalist’s question on how the US was ever able to repay her debt, “We never will pay our debt, since we can just print new money.” This confirms the pyramid principle of the dollar based monetary system: You create dollars as debt which bears interest which you pay by new debt. In other words: Never; creating an endlessly growing and ever shakier house of cards – until it collapses, and collapse it will.

Greece is a typical showcase, strangled into misery by a rigged monetary system. Similar criminal deeds emanating from the dollar denominated worldwide “Ponzi” scheme, are “sanctions”, punishing countries that do not submit to the tyrannical dominance of the empire, blocking trade, confiscating assets, foreign currency accounts – and more. This is possible, because the US dollar scam-currency still dominates international trade. As long as hundreds of trillions of dollars are flooding the globe, it is possible to manipulate the value of any currency, including gold. The secretive Basle-based BIS (Bank for International Settlement), also called the central bank of central banks, entirely privately owned and controlled by Rothschild and Co, is best suited for such manipulations.

No wonder, breaking loose from this abusive monetary scheme is number one priority of most countries that treasure sovereignty, autonomy and freedom, though many do not dare say so openly, lest the empire lashes out at them punishing them with the very financial terror they want to escape from – illegal economic sanctions. And lashing out at the unaligned nations the empire does, like a dying beast, attempting to pull with it much of the living world into its own shoveled grave.

The western culture is based on aggressive, greed driven mono-theistic Judo-Christianism. It foments constant competition instead of cooperation, conflict instead of harmony, supremacy instead of solidarity. It thrives on a constant growth fetish which flourishes on extreme consumerism – it plunders mercilessly the earth’s natural resources, representing an unsustainable marauder economy, bound to implode rather sooner than later.

Since the ascent of neoliberalism in the 1980s, exacerbated by the auto-coup 9/11, the Washington-declared war on terror has killed an estimated 12 to 15 million people around the globe in the last 15 to 20 years. It has also fed and fueled the US military-security complex that by now accounts for a majority of the US economic output, including associated industries and services.

Wars and conflicts have become Washington’s guarantee of survival. The US economy could not survive without the military industrial complex unlimited amounts of dollars that finances them. This war dependency and tool for dominance used by world financiers may soon spread to Europe. Aggressions by “regime change” of every “unaligned” government, US/NATO military invasions, or mercenary wars, from the Middle East, through Asia, Latin America and Europe abound. They are enhanced by western organised false flag “terror” attacks, gradually reaching around the globe, sacrificing the lives of western governments’ own citizens, with the purpose of spreading fear. Since history remembers, fear is the weapon of dictators to subdue people, countries and eventually entire continents. The very useful culprits are invariably Islamic “jihadists”, who hate the west. The ultimate goal is to complete militarisation of Europe, US and eventually the world. People under Martial Law can be controlled and manipulated.

The US economy could not survive without the military industrial complex unlimited amounts of dollars that finances them.

If the multi-trillion-dollar cycle of debt-interest-debt is broken, the western economy is dead. The war on Iraq and the murder of Washington’s long-time ally, Saddam Hussein, was foremost a currency war. At the end of the 1990’s “sanctions” upon Iraq for its western provoked attack on Kuwait, Saddam planned to sell Iraq’s hydrocarbons, at that time the world’s second largest known source, for Euros and later for the “Gold Dinar”, Libya’s new gold-backed currency; the very currency with which Mohammed Gaddafi intended to free Africa from the voracious fangs of the west. Gaddafi wanted to gradually introduce the Gold Dinar as a common (reserve) currency in Africa. He also planned to bring low cost mobile telecommunication to Africa, thereby foregoing European and US phone monopolies’ insane profits reaped off the African people. Therefore, Gaddafi and Libya also had to go.

Iran was falsely accused as a nuclear threat, even when the 16 most prominent US secret services said that Iran had no intentions of producing nuclear weapons. It was again the dollar that was at stake. In 2007 Iran was about to launch the Teheran Oil Bourse, where hydrocarbons could have been traded in Euros, instead of dollars, an idea many oil producers cherished. Imagine, the trillions of dollars lost to the empire; dollars required by Washington’s proxy government to sustain its supremacy around the world. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Chad, Afghanistan and more Middle-Eastern and North-African countries were already condemned to fall under the Zionist-neocon fabricated PNAC (Plan for a New American Century). However, the “oil bourse” and what it would have meant for the decline of the dollar, triggered the nuclear pretext for illegal “sanctions” and economic attacks on Iran.

To return to peace, it is high time for the world to move to an alternative monetary system. A new future is dawning. SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the western privately-owned and Wall Street dominated international transfer system is being disbanded by the East. SWIFT makes it possible that Iran can be excluded from receiving and making monetary transfers, and that Argentina can be blackmailed into acceding to the US-based Vulture funds demanding US$4 billion of UN-declared illegal debt. SWIFT is being replaced by the Chinese CIPS which can be rolled out internationally and made available to countries that would like to disconnect from western control. Western media are silent about the emerging change, lest it might help awaken the slumbering oppressed masses.

The only reason BREXIT may have a negative impact, is if the powers that control the dollar-economy – the minute elite of less than 1% – manage to fabricate another crisis in Europe and accuse BREXIT for it.

BREXIT, if allowed to happen, might put an avalanche of international discontent in motion. But BREXIT is under tremendous pressure not to happen by Washington and its European vassals, as it puts dollar hegemony on the brink. The IMF has started a lie and manipulation campaign falsely – and ridiculously – predicting BREXIT may jeopardise the world economy. There are no reasons or explanations given whatsoever for such nonsense. People have to blindly believe the authorities (sic) of the International Monetary Fund. The only reason BREXIT may have a negative impact, is if the powers that control the dollar-economy – the minute elite of less than 1% – manage to fabricate another crisis in Europe and accuse BREXIT for it. This is entirely possible. The criminals controlling the mendacious “system” know no scruples in oppressing and enslaving the world.

The British voters’ preference for LEAVE, is giving rise to higher aspirations – EUREXIT, a challenge already in the crosshairs of several EU countries’ populations – though not necessarily shared by their undemocratic puppet governments – including Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland – and the list goes on. An alternative economic and monetary model is already available and being launched.

“Economy of Resistance” counters neo-fascist globalisation imposed around the world by the west. This for our times revolutionary concept, though not new, is already successfully applied by Russia and Iran, using local banking and local money to promoting local capacities and resources to replace imports by building internal production facilities, creating labour, scientific research and adding in-country value.Resistance Economy may effectively defeat the dollar hegemony and western economy of war, destruction and assassinations, replacing it with an economy of equal opportunities, justice and peace.

Peter Koenig is an economist, and water resources and environmental specialist. He has worked for over 30 years with the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Swiss Development Cooperation, in Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, East and South East Asia and Latin America. Peter is also a geopolitical analyst for Global Research, Information Clearing House, RT, PressTV, Sputnik, TeleSUR and The 4th Media, China. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

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Italienische Soldaten im Einsatz in Dschibuti haben der humanitären Organisation, die den Flüchtlingen in diesem winzigen Land am Horn von Afrika hilft, Nähmaschinen angeboten. Es befindet sich in einer strategischen Position an der wichtigsten Handelsroute Asien-Europa, an der Mündung des Roten Meeres, gegenüber dem Jemen. Italien hat dort eine Militärbasis, die seit 2012 “logistische Unterstützung für italienische Militäroperationen im Gebiet des Horns von Afrika, des Golfs von Aden, des Somalibeckens und des Indischen Ozeans” leistet.

So scheint es in Dschibuti, dass sich das italienische Militär nicht nur mit Nähmaschinen beschäftigt.

In der Übung Barracuda 2018, die im vergangenen November stattfand, wurden ausgewählte Scharfschützen der Spezialeinheiten (mit Sitz in Pisa) unter allen möglichen Umgebungsbedingungen, einschließlich Nachtoperationen, mit den modernsten hochpräzisen Gewehren trainiert, die das Ziel in einer Entfernung von ein oder zwei Kilometern zentrieren können. Wir wissen nicht, an welchen Operationen die Spezialeinheiten teilgenommen haben, da ihre Missionen geheim gehalten werden – es ist jedoch sicher, dass sie im Wesentlichen in einem multinationalen Kontext unter dem Kommando der USA stattfanden.

In Dschibuti befindet sich das Camp Lemonnier, die riesige US-Basis, von der aus die Gemeinsame Task Force am Horn von Afrika seit 2001 arbeitet. Die Task Force besteht aus 4.000 Spezialisten für streng geheime Missionen, darunter gezielte Morde durch Kommandos oder Killerdrohnen, insbesondere im Jemen und Somalia. Während Flugzeuge und Hubschrauber für diese Spezialeinsätze vom Lager Lemonnier starten, sind die Drohnen auf dem Flughafen Chabelley, ein Dutzend Kilometer von der Hauptstadt entfernt, konzentriert. Dort werden neue Hangars gebaut, und die Arbeiten wurden vom Pentagon an ein Unternehmen aus Catania übergeben, das bereits für die Arbeiten in Sigonella, der Hauptdrohnenbasis der USA und der NATO für Einsätze in Afrika und dem Nahen Osten, eingesetzt wird.

In Dschibuti gibt es auch eine japanische und eine französische Basis, in der sich deutsche und spanische Truppen befinden. Im Jahr 2017 kam eine chinesische Militärbasis hinzu, die einzige außerhalb ihres Staatsgebiets. Neben einigen grundlegenden logistischen Funktionen, wie der Unterbringung der Besatzungen der Militärschiffe, die Handelsschiffe begleiten, und Lagerhallen für die Lagerung von Hilfsgütern, stellt sie ein wichtiges Signal für die wachsende chinesische Präsenz in Afrika dar.

Dies ist eine im Wesentlichen wirtschaftliche Präsenz, der die Vereinigten Staaten und andere westliche Mächte eine wachsende militärische Präsenz entgegensetzen. Dies erklärt die Intensivierung der Operationen unter der Führung von AfriCom (US Command for Africa), das in Italien zwei wichtige untergeordnete Kommandos hat – die US Army Africa in der Kaserne Ederle de Vicence; die US Naval Forces Europe-Africa mit Sitz auf der Capodichino-Basis in Neapel, bestehend aus den Kriegsschiffen der Sechsten Flotte mit Sitz in Gaeta.

In der gleichen strategischen Infrastruktur befindet sich eine weitere US-Basis für bewaffnete Drohnen, die in Agadez, Niger, im Bau ist, wo das Pentagon bereits die Air Base 101 in Niamey für Drohnen nutzt. Diese Basis dient militärischen Operationen, die die USA seit Jahren leiten, mit Frankreich im Sahel, vor allem in Mali, Niger und Tschad. Präsident Giuseppe Conte wird ab morgen die beiden letzten Stützpunkte besuchen.

Diese Länder gehören zu den ärmsten der Welt, sind aber sehr reich an Rohstoffen – Coltan, Uran, Gold, Öl und vielen anderen -, die von transnationalen Unternehmen mit Sitz in den USA und Frankreich genutzt werden, welche zunehmend Angst vor der Konkurrenz durch chinesische Unternehmen haben, die afrikanischen Ländern viel günstigere Bedingungen bieten.

Der Versuch, den wirtschaftlichen Fortschritt Chinas mit militärischen Mitteln in Afrika und anderswo aufzuhalten, beginnt zu scheitern. Vermutlich sind sogar die Nähmaschinen, die von italienischen Soldaten für die Flüchtlinge nach Dschibuti gespendet wurden, “Made in China”.

Manlio Dinucci

Übersetzung
K. R.

Quelle Il Manifesto :

VIDEO – Il «grande gioco» delle basi in AfricaL’Arte della guerra

VIDEO (PandoraTV) :

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We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth

January 19th, 2019 by Edward Curtin

First published on MLK day 2018

As Martin Luther King’s birthday is celebrated with a national holiday, his death day disappears down the memory hole. Across the country – in response to the King Holiday and Service Act passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 – people will be encouraged to make the day one of service. Such service does not include King’s commitment to protest a decadent system of racial and economic injustice or non-violently resist the U.S. warfare state that he called “the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.” 

Government sponsored service is cultural neo-liberalism at its finest, the promotion of individualism at the expense of a mass movement for radical institutional change.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous,” warned Dr. King, “than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

How true those words. For the government that honors Dr. King with a national holiday killed him. This is the suppressed truth behind the highly promoted day of service. It is what you are not supposed to know. It is what Thomas Merton, as quoted by James W. Douglass, called The Unspeakable: “It is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said; the void that gets into the language of public and officials declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced, and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss.  It is the void out of which Eichmann drew the punctilious exactitude of his service.”

The word service is a loaded word; it has become a smiley face and vogue word over the past 35 years. Its use for MLK Day is clear: individuals are encouraged to volunteer for activities such as tutoring children, painting senior centers, or delivering meals to the elderly, activities that are good in themselves but far less good when used to conceal an American prophet’s radical message. After all, Martin Luther King’s work was not volunteering at the local food pantry with Oprah Winfrey cheering him on.

The Assassination

King was not murdered because he had spent his heroic life promoting individual volunteerism. To understand his life and death – to celebrate the man – “it is essential to realize although he is popularly depicted and perceived as a civil rights leader, he was much more than that. A non-violent revolutionary, he personified the most powerful force for a long overdue social, political, and economic reconstruction of the nation.” Those are the words of William Pepper, the King family lawyer, from his comprehensive and definitive study of the King assassination, The Plot to Kill King, a book that should be read by anyone concerned with truth and justice.

Revolutionaries are, of course, anathema to the power elites who, with all their might, resist such rebels’ efforts to transform society. If they can’t buy them off, they knock them off. Fifty one years after King’s assassination, the causes he fought for – civil rights, the end to U.S. wars of aggression, and economic justice for all – remain not only unfulfilled, but have worsened in so many respects. And King’s message has been enervated by the sly trick of giving him a national holiday and then urging Americans to make it “a day of service.” The vast majority of those who innocently participate in these activities have no idea who killed King, or why. If they did, they might pause in their tracks, and combine their “service” activities with a teach-in on the truth of his assassination.

Because MLK repeatedly called the United States the “greatest purveyor of violence on earth,” he was universally condemned by the mass media and government that later – once he was long and safely dead and no longer a threat – praised him to the heavens. This has continued to the present day of historical amnesia.

Educating people about the fact that U.S. government forces conspired to kill Dr. King, and why, and why it matters today, is the greatest service we can render to his memory.

William Pepper’s decades-long investigation not only refutes the flimsy case against the alleged assassin James Earl Ray, but definitively proves that King was killed by a government conspiracy led by J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI, Army Intelligence, and the Memphis Police, assisted by southern Mafia figures.

The Trial

This shocking truth is accentuated when one is reminded (or told for the first time) that in 1999 a Memphis jury, after a thirty day civil trial with over seventy witnesses, found the U.S. government guilty in the killing of MLK. The King family had brought the suit and Pepper represented them. They were grateful that the truth was confirmed, but saddened by the way the findings were buried by the media in cahoots with the government.

Pepper not only demolishes the government’s self-serving case with a plethora of evidence, but shows how the mainstream media, academia, and government flacks have spent years covering up the truth of MLK’s murder through lies and disinformation. Another way they have accomplished this is by convincing a gullible public that “service” is a substitute for truth.

But service without truth is a disservice to the life, legacy, and radical witness of this great American hero. It is propaganda aimed at convincing decent people that they are serving the essence of MLK’s message while they are obeying their masters, the very government that murdered him.

It is time to rebel against the mind manipulation served by the MLK Day of Service. Let us offer service, but let us also learn and speak the truth.

“He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery,” King told us, “Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth.”

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Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely. He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/

Back in 2016, I posed the question in The Ecologist whether regulators in the EU were acting as product promoters when it came to the relicensing of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. The renewal of the license for glyphosate in the EU was being debated at the time and much evidence pointed to collusion between regulators and corporate interests whose sales of the herbicide add up to many billions of dollars a year.

In that article, I referred to evidence presented in various documents written by environmentalist and campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason. Now, in the wake of a new, important paper by Charles Benbrook (14 January) in the journal ‘Environmental Sciences Europe’, Dr Mason has lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman accusing European regulatory agencies of collusion with the agrochemicals industry.

Mason has been writing to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the EU Commission over a period of 18 months, challenging them about ECHA’s classification of glyphosate. She notes that many people around the world have struggled to understand how and why the US Environmental Protection Agency and the EFSA concluded that glyphosate is not genotoxic (damaging to DNA) or carcinogenic, whereas the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), came to the opposite conclusion.

The IARC stated that the evidence for glyphosate’s genotoxic potential is “strong” and that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. While IARC referenced only peer-reviewed studies and reports available in the public literature, the EPA relied heavily on unpublished regulatory studies commissioned by pesticide manufacturers.

In fact, 95 of the 151 genotoxicity assays cited in the EPA’s evaluation were from industry studies (63%), while IARC cited 100% public literature sources. Another important difference is that the EPA focused its analysis on glyphosate in its pure chemical form, or ‘glyphosate technical’. The problem with that is that almost no one is exposed to glyphosate alone. Applicators and the public are exposed to complete herbicide formulations consisting of glyphosate plus added ingredients (adjuvants). The formulations have repeatedly been shown to be more toxic than glyphosate in isolation.

Mason notes that this reflects issues raised by the European Parliament’s PEST Committee, which was set up in response to the concerns raised by the European Citizens’ Initiative to ban glyphosate, and the Monsanto Papers (internal Monsanto documents disclosed in cancer litigation in the USA revealing how industry has subverted science).

In an unusual step, the editor-in-chief of Environmental Sciences Europe, Prof Henner Hollert, and his co-author, Prof Thomas Backhaus, weighed in with a strong statement in support of the acceptance of Dr Benbrook’s article for publication. In a commentary published in the same issue of the journal, they write:

“We are convinced that the article provides new insights on why different conclusions regarding the carcinogenicity of glyphosate and GBHs [glyphosate-based herbicides] were reached by the US EPA and IARC. It is an important contribution to the discussion on the genotoxicity of GBHs.”

The IARC’s evaluation relied heavily on studies capable of shedding light on the distribution of real-world exposures and genotoxicity risk in exposed human populations, while the EPA’s evaluation placed little or no weight on such evidence.

In the wake of the IARC’s evaluation, there has been an industry-orchestrated attempt to discredit or even destroy the agency.

You can read here – The European Regulatory Authorities are colluding with a corporation involved in the Holocaust – the document that Mason has submitted to the European Ombudsman. It includes all of her recent correspondence with various regulatory agencies (and their responses) that outline concerns about the toxicity of glyphosate and some of the methods that have been used to keep it on the market.

Mason has also written a scathing open letter to Bayer CEO Werner Baumann. You can read the open letter here (Monsanto was recently incorporated into Bayer).

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Colin Todhunter is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research.


seeds_2.jpg

Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

Author Name: F. William Engdahl
ISBN Number: 978-0-937147-2-2
Year: 2007
Pages: 341 pages with complete index

List Price: $25.95

Special Price: $18.00

 

This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

The U.S. military is finally withdrawing (or not) from its base at al-Tanf. You know, the place that the Syrian government long claimed was a training ground for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters; the land corridor just inside Syria, near both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, that Russia has called a terrorist hotbed (while floating the idea of jointly administering it with the United States); the location of a camp where hundreds of U.S. Marines joined Special Operations forces last year; an outpost that U.S. officials claimed was the key not only to defeating ISIS, but also, according to General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to countering “the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue.” You know, that al-Tanf.

Within hours of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books — except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s books. Opened in 2015and, until recently, home to hundreds of U.S. troops, it was one of the many military bases that exist somewhere between light and shadow, an acknowledged foreign outpost that somehow never actually made it onto the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases.

Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio, issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR), doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, there could be hundreds of similar off-the-books bases around the world. “The missing sites are a reflection of the lack of transparency involved in the system of what I still estimate to be around 800 U.S. bases outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C., that have been encircling the globe since World War II,” says Vine, who is also a founding member of the recently established Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, a group of military analysts from across the ideological spectrum who advocate shrinking the U.S. military’s global “footprint.”

Such off-the-books bases are off the books for a reason. The Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about them. “I spoke to the press officer who is responsible for the Base Structure Report and she has nothing to add and no one available to discuss further at this time,” Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza told TomDispatch when asked about the Defense Department’s many mystery bases.

“Undocumented bases are immune to oversight by the public and often even Congress,” Vine explains. “Bases are a physical manifestation of U.S. foreign and military policy, so off-the-books bases mean the military and executive branch are deciding such policy without public debate, frequently spending hundreds of millions or billions of dollars and potentially getting the U.S. involved in wars and conflicts about which most of the country knows nothing.”

Where Are They?

The Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition notes that the United States possesses up to 95% of the world’s foreign military bases, while countries like France, Russia, and the United Kingdom have perhaps 10-20 foreign outposts each. China has just one.

The Department of Defense even boasts that its “locations” include 164 countries. Put another way, it has a military presence of some sort in approximately 84% of the nations on this planet — or at least the DoD briefly claimed this. After TomDispatch inquired about the number on a new webpage designed to tell the Pentagon’s “story” to the general public, it was quickly changed. “We appreciate your diligence in getting to the bottom of this,” said Lieutenant Colonel Baldanza. “Thanks to your observations, we have updated defense.gov to say ‘more than 160.’”

The progressive changes made to the Defense Department’s “Our Story” webpage as a result of questions from TomDispatch.

What the Pentagon still doesn’t say is how it defines a “location.” The number 164 does roughly track with the Department of Defense’s current manpower statistics, which show personnel deployments of varying sizes in 166 “overseas” locales — including some nations with token numbers of U.S. military personnel and others, like Iraq and Syria, where the size of the force was obviously far larger, even if unlisted at the time of the assessment. (The Pentagon recently claimed that there were 5,200 troops in Iraq and at least 2,000 troops in Syria although that number should now markedly shrink.) The Defense Department’s “overseas” tally, however, also lists troops in U.S. territories like American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Island. Dozens of soldiers, according to the Pentagon, are also deployed to the country of “Akrotiri” (which is actually a village on the island of Santorini in Greece) and thousands more are based in “unknown” locations.

In the latest report, the number of those “unknown” troops exceeds 44,000.

Official Defense Department manpower statistics show U.S. forces deployed to the nation of “Akrotiri.”

The annual cost of deploying U.S. military personnel overseas, as well as maintaining and running those foreign bases, tops out at an estimated $150 billion annually, according to the Overseas Bases Realignment and Closure Coalition. The price tag for the outposts alone adds up to about one-third of that total.

“U.S. bases abroad cost upwards of $50 billion per year to build and maintain, which is money that could be used to address pressing needs at home in education, health care, housing, and infrastructure,” Vine points out.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that the Pentagon is also somewhat fuzzy about just where its troops are stationed. The new Defense Department website, for instance, offered a count of “4,800+ defense sites” around the world. After TomDispatch inquired about this total and how it related to the official count of 4,775 sites listed in the BSR, the website was changed to read “approximately 4,800 Defense Sites.”

“Thank you for pointing out the discrepancy. As we transition to the new site, we are working on updating information,” wrote Lieutenant Colonel Baldanza. “Please refer to the Base Structure Report which has the latest numbers.”

In the most literal sense, the Base Structure Report does indeed have the latest numbers — but their accuracy is another matter.

“The number of bases listed in the BSR has long born little relation to the actual number of U.S. bases outside the United States,” says Vine. “Many, many well-known and secretive bases have long been left off the list.”

One prime example is the constellation of outposts that the U.S. has built across Africa. The official BSR inventory lists only a handful of sites there — on Ascension Island as well as in Djibouti, Egypt, and Kenya. In reality, though, there are many more outposts in many more African countries.

A recent investigation by the Intercept, based on documents obtained from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) via the Freedom of Information Act, revealed a network of 34 bases heavily clustered in the north and west of that continent as well as in the Horn of Africa. AFRICOM’s “strategic posture” consists of larger “enduring” outposts, including two forward operating sites (FOSes), 12 cooperative security locations (CSLs), and 20 more austere sites known as contingency locations (CLs).

The Pentagon’s official inventory does include the two FOSes: Ascension Island and the crown jewel of Washington’s African bases, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, which expanded from 88 acres in the early 2000s to nearly 600 acres today. The Base Structure Report is, however, missing a CSL in that same country, Chabelley Airfield, a lower-profile outpost located about 10 kilometers away that has served as a drone hub for operations in Africa and the Middle East.

The official Pentagon tally also mentions a site that goes by the confusing moniker of “NSA Bahrain-Kenya.” AFRICOM had previously described it as a collection of warehouses built in the 1980s at the airport and seaport of Mombasa, Kenya, but it now appears on that command’s 2018 list as a CSL. Missing, however, is another Kenyan base, Camp Simba, mentioned in a 2013 internal Pentagon study of secret drone operations in Somalia and Yemen. At least two manned surveillance aircraft were based there at the time. Simba, a longtime Navy-run facility, is currently operated by the Air Force’s 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron, part of the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Personnel from that same air wing can be found at yet another outpost that doesn’t appear in the Base Structure Report, this one on the opposite side of the continent. The BSR states that it doesn’t list specific information on “non-U.S. locations” not at least 10 acres in size or worth at least $10 million. However, the base in question — Air Base 201 in Agadez, Niger — already has a $100 million construction price tag, a sum soon to be eclipsed by the cost of operating the facility: about $30 million a year. By 2024, when the present 10-year agreement for use of the base ends, its construction and operating costs will have reached about $280 million.

Also missing from the BSR are outposts in nearby Cameroon, including a longtime base in Douala, a drone airfield in the remote town of Garoua, and a facility known as Salak. That site, according to a 2017 investigation by theIntercept, the research firm Forensic Architecture, and Amnesty International, has been used by U.S. personnel and private contractors for drone surveillance and training missions and by allied Cameroonian forces for illegal imprisonment and torture.

According to Vine, keeping America’s African bases secret is advantageous to Washington. It protects allies on that continent from possible domestic opposition to the presence of American troops, he points out, while helping to ensure that there will be no domestic debate in the U.S. over such spending and the military commitments involved.

“It’s important for U.S. citizens to know where their troops are based in Africa and elsewhere around the world,” he told TomDispatch, “because that troop presence costs the U.S. billions of dollars every year and because the U.S. is involved, or potentially involved, in wars and conflicts that could spiral out of control.”

Those Missing Bases

Africa is hardly the only place where the Pentagon’s official list doesn’t match up well with reality. For close to two decades, the Base Structure Report has ignored bases of all sorts in America’s active war zones. At the height of the American occupation of Iraq, for instance, the United States had 505 bases there, ranging from small outposts to mega-sized facilities. None appeared on the Pentagon’s official rolls.

In Afghanistan, the numbers were even higher. As TomDispatch reported in 2012, the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had about 550 bases in that country. If you had added ISAF checkpoints — small baselets used to secure roads and villages — to the count of mega-bases, forward operating bases, combat outposts, and patrol bases, the number reached an astounding 750. And counting all foreign military installations of every type — including logistical, administrative, and support facilities — hiked ISAF Joint Command’s official count to 1,500 sites. America’s significant share of them was, however, also mysteriously absent from the Defense Department’s official tally.

There are now far fewer such facilities in Afghanistan — and the numbers may drop further in the months ahead as troop levels decrease. But the existence of Camp Morehead, Forward Operating Base Fenty, Tarin Kowt Airfield, Camp Dahlke West, and Bost Airfield, as well as Camp Shorab, a small installation occupying what was once the site of much larger twin bases known as Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion, is indisputable. Yet none of them has ever appeared in the Base Structure Report.

Similarly, while there are no longer 500-plus U.S. bases in Iraq, in recent years, as American troops returned to that country, some garrisons have either been reconstituted or built from scratch. These include the Besmaya Range Complex, Firebase Sakheem, Firebase Um Jorais, and Al Asad Air Base, as well as Qayyarah Airfield West — a base 40 miles south of Mosul that’s better known as “Q-West.” Again, you won’t find any of them listed in the Pentagon’s official count.

These days, it’s even difficult to obtain accurate manpower numbers for the military personnel in America’s war zones, let alone the number of bases in each of them. As Vine explains, “The military keeps the figures secret to some extent to hide the base presence from its adversaries. Because it is probably not hard to spot these bases in places like Syria and Iraq, however, the secrecy is mostly to prevent domestic debate about the money, danger, and death involved, as well as to avoid diplomatic tensions and international inquiries.”

If stifling domestic debate through information control is the Pentagon’s aim, it’s been doing a fine job for years of deflecting questions about its global posture, or what the late TomDispatch regular Chalmers Johnson called America’s “empire of bases.”

In mid-October, TomDispatch asked Heather Babb, another Pentagon spokesperson, for details about the outposts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria that were absent from the Base Structure Report, as well as about those missing African bases. Among the other questions put to Babb: Could the Pentagon offer a simple count — if not a list — of all its outposts? Did it have a true count of overseas facilities, even if it hadn’t been released to the public — a list, that is, which actually did what the Base Structure Report only purports to do? October and November passed without answers.

In December, in response to follow-up requests for information, Babb responded in a fashion firmly in line with the Pentagon’s well-worn policy of keeping American taxpayers in the dark about the bases they pay for — no matter the theoretical difficulty of denying the existence of outposts that stretch from Agadez in Niger to Mosul in Iraq. “I have nothing to add,” she explained, “to the information and criteria that is included in the report.”

President Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria means that the 2019 Base Structure Report will likely be the most accurate in years. For the first time since 2015, the Pentagon’s inventory of outposts will no longer be missing the al-Tanf garrison (or then again, maybe it will). But that still potentially leaves hundreds of off-the-books bases absent from the official rolls. Consider it one outpost down and who knows how many to go.

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Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch and a contributing writer for the Intercept. His latest book is Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. His website is NickTurse.com.

At his attorney general confirmation hearing, William Barr sought to reassure senators on the Judiciary Committee that Robert Mueller’s probe would be allowed to continue, saying, “I believe it is vitally important that the Special Counsel be allowed to complete his investigation.”

But Barr, who champions a disturbing radical right-wing theory of all-encompassing presidential power called the “unitary executive,” refused to say whether Congress would see Mueller’s report when his investigation is complete, instead pledging only to provide a summary of it.

Federal regulations do not prohibit the release of the special counsel’s report to Congress or the public. They simply state that,

“At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.”

What the attorney general does with the report is up to him.

Professor Neil J. Kinkopf, who testified at Barr’s confirmation hearing, predicts that,

“Barr will take the position that any discussion or release of the Mueller report — relating to the president, who again cannot be indicted — would be improper and prohibited by [Department of Justice] policy and regulations.”

Kinkopf noted that in 1989, Barr opposed legislation requiring executive officials to submit concurrent reports to Congress. Barr claimed they “prevented the President from exercising his constitutionally guaranteed right of supervision and control over executive branch officials,” infringing “on the President’s authority as head of a unitary executive to control the presentation of the executive branch’s views to Congress.”

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has twice determined that a sitting president can’t be indicted. Although Barr admitted he hadn’t read those opinions in a long time, he told senators he saw no reason to reverse them.

During both the Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton administrations, the Office of Legal Counsel took the position that sitting presidents are immune from criminal prosecution for policy — if not for constitutional — reasons.

But Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski’s office concluded that “the Framers did not specifically provide for Presidential immunity from indictment.” Further, a 1998 memo from independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation of Clinton resolved that a president could be indicted for criminal activity: “It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties. In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.”

Barr’s Memo Criticizing the Mueller Probe

Barr likely came to Trump’s attention after writing an unsolicited 19-page memo in June 2018, criticizing the Mueller probe and claiming the president has total control over the executive branch. In it, Barr maintained the president has authority over all law enforcement, including matters involving his own conduct and those in which he has a personal stake.

That theory likely endeared Barr to Trump, who fired former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Trump wants an attorney general who will have his back.

In his memo, Barr wrote,

“Mueller should not be permitted to demand that the President submit to interrogation about alleged obstruction [of justice].” Although he has not been privy to the details of Mueller’s investigation, Barr opined, “Mueller’s obstruction theory is fatally misconceived.”

Trump cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice, in Barr’s opinion, unless Trump and his campaign are guilty of collusion. “Mueller should not be permitted to interrogate the President about obstruction until [he] has enough evidence to establish collusion,” Barr wrote. He denies that Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey after suggesting that Comey should “let” the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn “go” constitutes obstruction of justice.

Barr’s memo demonstrates he has prejudged Mueller’s case against Trump and found it wanting — without even knowing what it is. Barr assumes the Comey-Flynn matter is all that Mueller has against Trump.

In his memo, Barr writes that subornation of perjury (causing a witness to lie under oath), knowingly destroying or altering evidence, inducing a witness to change testimony, or committing any act deliberately impairing the integrity or availability of evidence could establish obstruction of justice. But Barr notes, “as far as I know,” the president isn’t being accused of that.

The Unitary Executive Theory of Total Presidential Power

Barr wrote in his memo,

Constitutionally, it is wrong to conceive of the President as simply the highest officer within the Executive branch hierarchy. He alone is the Executive branch. As such, he is the sole repository of all executive powers conferred by the Constitution.

The unitary executive scheme claims to emanate from Article II of the Constitution, which states, “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Proponents of the unitary executive say that Article II establishes a “hierarchical, unified executive department under the direct control of the President” who “alone possesses all of the executive power and … therefore can direct, control, and supervise inferior officers or agencies who seek to exercise discretionary executive power.”

The ramifications of this philosophy are frightening. Barr wrote that the president “has illimitable discretion to remove principal officers carrying out his Executive functions.”

Kinkopf has said that Barr’s “manifesto of imperial power” threatens the independence of federal agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. If Trump demands the chairman of the Federal Reserve raise interest rates (or not) and he refuses, Kinkopf testified, Trump could fire him under Barr’s regime.

But, Kinkopf notes, the Supreme Court has rejected this theory in every case, beginning with Humprey’s Executor v. United States in 1935. That case determined that a president can’t remove an appointee to a regulatory agency except for reasons Congress has established.

Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz wrote in a confidential memo to Mueller on June 23, 2017, that “the President also possesses the indisputable authority to direct that any executive branch investigation be open or closed because the Constitution provides for a unitary executive with all executive power resting with the President.” Kasowitz was warning Mueller that Trump could fire the special counsel and end his investigation whenever he liked.

But in Morrison v. Olson, the Supreme Court upheld congressional limitations on the president’s power to fire subordinate officers. In that case, the high court analyzed the attorney general’s ability to dismiss the independent counsel, holding that the president does not necessarily have the power to direct inferior officers’ interpretations of the law.

Although the unitary executive theory has not gained traction in mainstream legal circles, at least three current Supreme Court justices adhere to it.

In 2000, Justice Samuel Alito told the conservative Federalist Society that the Constitution “makes the president the head of the executive branch, but it does more than that. The president has not just some executive powers, but the executive power — the whole thing.” Justice Clarence Thomas used the phrase “unitary executive” in his dissent in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, a case in which the high court upheld due process rights for US citizens held as enemy combatants. Lastly, newly minted Justice Brett Kavanaugh is a proponent of the unitary executive.

After 9/11, George W. Bush’s legal mercenary John Yoo saw to it that his boss included the words “unitary executive” in several of his signing statements, which purported to limit the parameters of congressional statutes. Yoo made the astounding claim that a president could legally crush the testicles of the child of a person under interrogation, notwithstanding US laws categorically prohibiting torture.

Barr Advocated Cruel Treatment During the Bush Administration

Barr’s views on torture and cruel treatment are also alarming. In 2005, he took the position that detainees in the war on terror were not protected by the Geneva Convention’s prohibitions on torture and cruel treatment. He further advocated the use of military commissions, which provide a reduced form of due process, to try war crimes at Guantánamo.

The following year, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court struck down the military commissions because their procedures did not comply with the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Court ruled that members of al-Qaeda are entitled to the protections of Geneva’s Common Article 3, which outlaws torture, cruel treatment and outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.

Barr had advocated “coercive interrogation, applying pain, discomfort and other things to make people talk, as long as it doesn’t cross the line and involve the gratuitous barbarity that’s involved in torture.”

But when queried at his hearing by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) about whether waterboarding constitutes torture, Barr demurred. Waterboarding, which Trump favors, has long been considered torture, a war crime. In fact, after World War II, the United States tried, convicted and hanged Japanese leaders for the war crime of torture based on waterboarding.

“William Barr’s view of the Constitution exalts presidential power, ignores Congress’s legitimate legislative powers, and minimizes the role of the judiciary,” Kinkopf stated in his written testimony. “What remains is an executive power of breathtaking scope, subject to negligible limits. This is not the presidency our founders contemplated; this is not the presidency our Constitution meant to embody.”

The Senate should reject Barr’s nomination for attorney general. His long-standing commitment to the dangerous unitary executive theory may well lead him to support unfettered power by Trump. That is intolerable.

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Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and an advisory board member of Veterans for Peace. She is editor and contributor to The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Monsanto/Bayer Giant Moving to “Genome Edit” Fruits and More

January 19th, 2019 by F. William Engdahl

Not surprising, Monsanto, today hidden behind the Bayer logo, as the world leader in patented GMO seeds and the probable carcinogenic Roundup herbicide with glyphosate, is attempting to quietly patent genetically modified or GMO varieties of fruits using controversial gene-editing. The “beauty” of this for Monsanto/Bayer is that in the USA, according to a recent ruling by the US Department of Agriculture, gene-edited agriculture needs no special independent testing. The developments are not good for human health or safety, nor will it do anything to give the world better nutrition.

The agrichemical and GMO giant Monsanto, which today tries to keep a lower profile inside the German agrichemical and GMO giant Bayer, is moving into the highly controversial domain of gene-editing of new crop varieties. In 2018 as the company was being deluged with lawsuits over its use of the probable carcinogen, Roundup, Monsanto invested $125 million in a gene-editing startup called Pairwise. The link is anything but casual.

Former Monsanto Vice President for Global Biotechnology, Tom Adams, has taken the post of CEO of Pairwise. In short, this is a Monsanto gene-editing project. In a press release, Pairwise says it is using the controversial CRISPR gene-editing technology to create genetically edited produce. Among their goals apparently is a super-sweet variety of strawberry or apples, just what our sugar-saturated population doesn’t need.

CRISPR gene-editing, a stealth attempt by the global agribusiness industry to promote artificial mutations of crops and, as the world was shocked recently to hear, even humans, as in China, is being advanced, much like GMO crops falsely were, as solution to world hunger. Pairwise founder, Keith Joung, told media that their CRISPR gene-edited fruits, “will speed innovation that is badly needed to feed a growing population amid challenging conditions created by a changing climate.” How sweeter genetically-edited strawberries will solve world hunger he leaves to the imagination. Pairwise also says that gene-edited fruits would somehow also cut down on food waste. One has to be also skeptical there as well, even if it makes nice promotion copy. In addition to super-sweet strawberries, Monsanto plans to use its work with Pairwise to develop new varieties of gene-edited corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and canola crops. And because the USDA unfortunately has given the green light, the new genetically modified foods will undergo no independent testing for health and safety.

USDA’s Foolish Ruling

The US Department of Agriculture recently made a ruling that CRISPR and other new gene-editing of food products need no special regulatory oversight or independent testing. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced in 2018 reaffirmation of an Obama-era ruling exempting gene-edited crops from special testing. In a press release, Purdue stated that the USDA won’t regulate plant breeders who use gene-editing techniques without introducing genes from another species, or “plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques.” The statement added that, “USDA seeks to allow innovation when there is no risk present.” The problem is that there has been no exhaustive scientific testing by any us government agency or others to prove no risk in gene-edited plants.

Fortunately, in a ruling that takes the health and safety of the population more seriously, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) — the highest court in the European Union — ruled last year that gene-edited products should be treated like genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are subject to substantial regulation in the EU.

That ruling has drawn howls of protest from the likes of Monsanto/Bayer but to date, it stands. This makes the USA the focus of agricultural gene-editing developments, likely bad news for the American population which is already–as a result of an executive policy ruling made by then-president G.H.W. Bush in 1992–consuming a diet heavily saturated with GMO soy, rice, corn, potatoes, sugar beets and other products, even GMO insulin for diabetes.

Risk-free?

The recent attention given to a Chinese biophysicist who went public with claims he had successfully gene-edited a human embryo to make the new-born twins “HIV-immune” has turned the world attention to the relatively unpublicized genetic manipulation technology known as gene-editing. That was bad news for companies like Monsanto/Bayer who had been hoping to advance their dreams of genetic manipulation under the rubric of “biotechnology,” to avoid the Frankenfoods label the world put on the earlier GMO technology.

Whether the current USDA Secretary Perdue simply relied on the earlier arguments of bureaucratic appointees of the previous pro-GMO Obama administration, clearly it warrants a serious re-examination.

The CRISPR-Cas9 technology which has transformed the gene-editing landscape is merely five or so years in existence. The risks have largely been left to individual scientists to reveal. In one such study, published in May, 2017 in Nature magazine, gene-editing researchers reported they were shocked to find an unexpectedly high number of secondary mutations in a mouse model of gene therapy. In other words, results were not predictable.

When Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui shocked the world in December, 2018 by announcing he had used CRISPR to alter a gene in human embryos in the womb of a woman, who gave birth to twin girls in November, the Chinese authorities tried to silence the affair by putting He under house arrest, some suggesting he may even have been sentenced to death. What biophysicist He did, obviously with little regard to the genetic consequences, was gene-editing of the so-called germ-line. Changing the genes in an embryo means changing genes in every cell. If the method succeeds, the baby will have alterations that will be inherited by all of the child’s progeny in incalculable ways. If the mouse studies are any indication, the unintended consequences could be horrendous, not just for the two unwitting Chinese newborn twins.

The implications of gene-editing using CRISPR and its modifications are so grave as to warrant the utmost caution before unleashing it on to the world market. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be the case. Gene-editing kits can be bought by anyone online without proof of scientific qualifications, and for little money. Calls for a moratorium on gene-editing until the technology has been proven or disproven go unheeded. President Obama’s Director of Intelligence, James Clapper, even had genome-editing on the list of “weapons of mass destruction and proliferation.” The Pentagon DARPA is reportedly doing research on weaponizing certain varieties of mosquitoes. Anything is possible

It is long overdue to invoke the prudent “precautionary principle” by imposing a global moratorium on gene-editing pending far more controlled independent research before we perhaps one day learn that gene-edited strawberries, ever so sweet, can destroy life inadvertently or by design.

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

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seeds_2.jpg

Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

Author Name: F. William Engdahl
ISBN Number: 978-0-937147-2-2
Year: 2007
Pages: 341 pages with complete index

List Price: $25.95

Special Price: $18.00

 

This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

Trump Driving Doomsday Clock Towards Midnight

January 19th, 2019 by Shane Quinn

Next Thursday, 24 January, should the atomic scientists push forward the Doomsday Clock, it will be a third successive year it has progressed towards midnight (apocalypse). The Doomsday Clock is currently set at two minutes to midnight, as advanced a position since 1953, when America and the Soviet Union were each testing massive hydrogen bombs.

Another movement of the clock’s hand, as is most probable, and we enter uncharted territory. It comes as no accident that this race to the cliff  has accelerated under the Donald Trump administration, which is systematically increasing the risk of nuclear war and environmental catastrophe.

Yet as the postwar record shows – more of it coming to light in recent times – it is by the grace of considerable fortune that humans have escaped annihilation from nuclear bombs, with the nuclear winter extinction phenomenon that follows it. Much of this is due to policies sought by consecutive US administrations dating to the Second World War, governing the world’s prominent nuclear and military power.

America, though a uniquely strong and affluent country, is also a very young state, having been founded less than two and a half centuries ago. America does not possess the deep-rooted culture and heritage of nations steeped in history, such as Egypt and Greece, which are thousands of years old. When the US empire invades another country, it does not come forth to spread its civilization like ancient Rome, but to gain command of natural resources in pivotal earthly regions. Wealth and control are its prime concerns.

The US is also a state lacking in maturity and prudence, chained to an inability to halt incessant technological advancements; no matter how harmful and outlandish they are, from militarization of space to indestructible submarines and drone warfare.

These far-flung and dangerous policies are indeed borne out in the US Armed Forces, who have committed some of the most severe aggression since 1945, as in the attacks on Indochina and Iraq.

To offer a hair-raising example of this irresponsibility from the height of the Cold War, there were continued situations whereby US pilots flying jet aircraft in formation – all with thermonuclear bombs on board – were performing patrols without adequate communication to their commanding officer at the Kunsan Air Base, in South Korea.

Furthermore, the American pilots were roaming about on unclear orders, geared for combat, and nothing prevented a rogue flier from carrying out an “Execute message”; that is, the unloading of his nuclear device on a target (north-east Russia).

In such a case, his fellow pilots would likely have followed him and released their own nuclear payload. As an American major in command of these men admitted,

“Of course, if one of them [the pilots] were to break out of that circle and go for his target, I think the rest would follow. And they might as well. If one goes, they might as well all go. I tell them not to do it though”.

This major was commanding a fleet, of 12 planes, that contained six and a half times the bomb outlay dropped during the whole of World War II.

Unknown to them, any such attack would have made the planet uninhabitable for at least 99% of humans – with perhaps those natural born survivors, the “primitive” societies in remote rainforests and polar regions, having a chance of living through the ensuing nuclear winter.

As seen, the old cliche of “American blundering” may have some grains of truth to it. During the Vietnam War, thousands of highly expensive US helicopters were utilized in “counter-insurgency” operations, military attacks in truth. It is difficult to grasp the thinking behind deployment of a craft as noisy as a helicopter in conducting surprise assaults, whose approach could be heard for miles around by North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front forces, lying in wait. Over 5,000 US helicopters were destroyed by war’s end, at a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, as the years advanced, even staunchly conservative figures like George Shultz and Henry Kissinger have come to realize that nuclear stockpiles should be removed from the face of the earth. Having been present through the entire Cold War period, both Shultz and Kissinger are more familiar than most with these weapons.

As we enter 2019, the nuclear era rumbles on and one can almost hear the clock’s ticking in the background. Humanity’s luck will run out unless firm steps are engineered leading to wide-scale abolition of nuclear weapons, however long that process would take. Disarmament can only be achieved should America lead the way, with the eight other nuclear states following suit. The signs are far from encouraging, however.

In April 2009, a youthful Barack Obama was declaring to an audience in the Czech Republic of, “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons… First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons”.

As with a long line of privileged politicians, words are merely words that can sound pleasant to unassuming audiences. By September 2014, president Obama was doing the opposite by aggressively modernizing America’s “aging” nuclear capabilities.

It appears not enough to merely unload the bomb, but they must have as advanced a means as possible to do so. No longer does it reach the glamorous heights to attack from an aircraft, but the nuclear warheads must be fired from an invulnerable submarine.

Coinciding with late Obama-era policies like this and worsening climate change, in January 2015 the Doomsday Clock’s hand progressed to three minutes to midnight, the highest threat level since the Ronald Reagan days. Partly driving Obama’s strategy was his antipathy towards Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin, who was outfoxing Obama in countries like Syria. The then US president also recognized China’s rise as an unprecedented challenge to American hegemony.

In early 2016, Obama was agreeing to a trillion dollar overhaul of America’s nuclear arsenal – a complete U-turn on past remarks while his country’s infrastructure was falling into further disrepair. Obama’s reckless initiatives are now being vigorously pursued by the Trump administration, who have increased nuclear outlay to $1.2 trillion as they confront the daunting power of China, and to a lesser extent Russia.

The growing possibility of calamity saw Putin highlight last month that, “The danger of the situation is being downplayed” with humans staring at “the end of all civilization and maybe also the planet”.

Atomic scientists in charge of the Doomsday Clock have responded in kind to Trump’s presidency, pushing the hand closer to midnight over the preceding two Januaries (2017 and 2018).

Since 2016, the possessing classes have lambasted Trump on issues that warranted little more than peripheral mention. It has gone on unchecked. In regards the critical subjects that Trump should be held to account for, rising threat of nuclear destruction and environmental degradation, he has received remarkably little criticism.

Due to Trump’s ambition in promoting “clean coal” and the likes, America’s carbon emissions are steadily rising for the first time in years, and increased by 3.4% in 2018. Trump and his team are fully aware climate change is occurring, but his prevailing attitude is that it is too late to counter the problem so why bother doing anything about it?

Trump is further attune to the fact it is the poorest people on earth suffering the severest climate consequences. The Republican Party establishment, and big business broadly, have a general disregard for poverty-stricken states; so their viewpoint is that it is only natural they should suffer the most.

These outlooks are a blend of the outrageous to the insane, while it will eventually return to haunt those privileged sectors. All humans, no matter how rich or poor, are reliant on basic needs to survive – clean water for drinking and food almost entirely derived from crops. The wheat fields cannot grow if our planet’s weather systems deteriorate or nuclear winter arrives, the latter phenomenon being far quicker and more devastating.

Trump, and many others, are loathe to shed profits should it even mean reducing damage to the globe and its ecosystems. Something similar can be said for major corporations institutionally geared towards amassing wealth; the end result being a contribution to emissions, felling of forests, rising volumes of plastic entering the oceans, etc.

None of it is sustainable. The greed and avarice has increased tenfold since the end of World War II, as a global assault is meted out on the natural world resulting in our planet’s sixth mass extinction. One need only look at the pollution and waste produced by consumer societies, from the US to China.

Amid the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, while America’s carbon emissions in 2018 grew by over 3%, China’s rose by 4.7% last year, and India’s climbed a staggering 6.3%.

On a per capita (per person) basis, the US is comfortably the planet’s largest carbon emitter. However, because of China’s enormous population and industrial base, it produces more emissions than America and India combined.

In spite of the numerous scientific warnings, some stretching back decades, global greenhouse gas levels are at an all time high and rising. Lying at the core of this, is the inexcusable failure of those governing the major powers to rid themselves of powerful vested interests, and shift away from fossil fuel industries to clean, renewable energy.

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Shane Quinn obtained an honors journalism degree. He is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs, having been inspired by authors like Noam Chomsky. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.


Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” 

by Michel Chossudovsky

Available to order from Global Research! 

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-5-3
Year: 2012
Pages: 102
Print Edition: $10.25 (+ shipping and handling)
PDF Edition:  $6.50 (sent directly to your email account!)

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website www.globalresearch.ca . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Reviews

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

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

Michel Chossudovsky exposes the insanity of our privatized war machine. Iran is being targeted with nuclear weapons as part of a war agenda built on distortions and lies for the purpose of private profit. The real aims are oil, financial hegemony and global control. The price could be nuclear holocaust. When weapons become the hottest export of the world’s only superpower, and diplomats work as salesmen for the defense industry, the whole world is recklessly endangered. If we must have a military, it belongs entirely in the public sector. No one should profit from mass death and destruction.
Ellen Brown, author of ‘Web of Debt’ and president of the Public Banking Institute   

WWIII Scenario

Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent

January 19th, 2019 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

The level of absurdity in US politics has now reached such vertigo inducing levels as to render all manner of things permissible.  Contact with the unwashed implies collaboration; discussion with the enemy implies assent.  To go to a dinner party with a perceived hostile force in the context of business of diplomacy has become a child’s condemnation of misplaced loyalties.  Yet everyday, thousands of engagements are made between powers and interests where nothing other than a hello is exchanged, or a pleasantry.  Perhaps the more relevant question to ask here is that businessmen and women in power suggest the limits of the nation state and representation: to what extent can such figures claim to be legitimate as figure who think outside the logic of money and finance? 

In the impoverished, manic era of Donald Trump, the accusers have mimicked the man they wish to destroy.  Mimicry replaces originality; the copycat cat reigns with derivative accusation and complaint.  It is with ironic semblance that the individuals accuse him of mendacity, a dislike of evidence, and an aversion to the record, should be happy to throw all convention out as they take ring seats in speculation.  Trump, the spy, the man of treason, the sell-out, runs the stables of the addled and confused. 

CNN was particularly busy on this dithering foolishness, demonstrating yet again that newfangled point that no news is worthy unless it can be made into a confection of some heft.  The president demands this because of his character, the sensationalist figure, the man of game shows and the reality television persona.  He must be sensationalised.

Such theatre leads to such levels of gabbing as to be moronic.  The president might be a Russian agent, because the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation in 2017 on Trump.  Pause for laughter.  The President was investigated by that glorious agency of record, the FBI, for suspected links.  Pause for befuddlement.  The Washington Post then ran a story claiming that Trump had gone to extensive lengths to conceal, even from his own aides, his interactions with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.  Tax payers’ funds, it seems, are being used for the most notable of ends. 

Wired was similarly speculating along such lines, with a twist: Trump’s actions had been “pro-Putin, pro-Russia, anti-FBI, anti-intelligence community”; he had lied and engaged in obfuscation around Russian meetings and conversations; he must be hiding a “massive conspiracy”.  Better that he be a Russian agent than the alternative, which was supposedly worse: a figure oblivious to geopolitics, self-centred, insecure, anti-democratic and a terrible manager.

Interesting here is how such a view is oblivious to remembering other US presidents whose anti-democratic, oblivious, self-centred tendencies were as developed, if not worse than a businessman turned populist. But such views are cured in the vinegar and salt of intense prejudice and presumption: the enemy is in Moscow, and must be condemned.  Better this be done than understanding Trump’s erring and bumbling as a product of a true US capitalist; he is seen as an American gone bad, an anti-patriot.

Donah Goldberg of the Boston Globe tweaks the approach on the spy conspiracy theory – slightly.  “When was the last time a popular and contentious conspiracy theory turned out to be true?  Not a little true, but, like, really true?”  Think of Whittaker Chambers and his outing of Alger Hiss for being a Soviet spy.  He dismisses the views of Jerome Corsi, shooting bolts of manic persuasion from Infowars, claiming that the president is a target of the Deep State, including its emissaries, the CIA and NSA, determined to unseat him.  But Corsi’s comments should be taken in the broader readings of antipathy against Trump which have legitimised the most extreme approaches to unseating and overthrowing an elected figure.  No one in high office is suggesting a grand assassination or beheading, but not a day goes by without some casual articulation of symbolic regicide.  Trump must go, so goes the narrative.

We were told about the unprecedented nature of things, always a danger.  We are being fed an inverted pyramid of Cold War dregs.  Trump might be, hazards the Wired piece, the “useful idiot,” an expression purposely used by the communists who used co-option without knowledge as an ingredient of unwitting recruitment.   

Easily, then, we can presume utterances to have the steel of proof.  The US voter is sidestepped and dismissed – after all, according to Clinton family associate and former Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, Russia’s conduct in 2016 breached “the firewall of American democracy” and influenced “a high-stakes presidential election.”  (The poorly concealed barb here is that Talbott doesn’t like the outcomes that might arise from democratic conduct, presuming a hidden hand if his friends fail to make the electoral grade.)

Ironically enough, the United States is witnessing the tendencies it has encouraged, for decades, in other states: foster local indignation, suspicion and paranoia, and unleash them against the leader of the day.  As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was known to have said, the democratic choice of a people would have to be corrected in certain circumstances, if in the interest of the US.  The same rules apply, as do the same interests.

The one person who can truly toast to hearty merriment at this entire unfolding farce of column wasting and derangement is Vladimir Putin.  The Russian president commands as much free publicity in the United States as he does in so-called friendly states.  Then again, so does Trump, a man who would cease to exist without the twenty-four hour scheme of exposure, discussion and spurting.  To speak and propose is to give oxygen to the phenomenon.

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Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

Featured image is from The Unz Review

The European Union is under numerous existential threats. On one hand, there are the internal threats, with the rise to power of the so-called nationalist-populist eurosceptics — which are in reality racist neofascists — in Austria, Hungary, Poland, and to a lesser extent Italy, where the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is an influential part of the country’s coalition government, plus the recent gains in political clout by anti-EU far-right parties such as the Rassemblement National of Marine Le Pen, in France.

There is a cautionary tale here for all Europeans, especially those like the Gilets Jaunes who reject the Europe of bankers and technocrats. It is a geopolitical cautionary tale about reforming what you have and not jumping to conclusions and doing a tabula rasa of an EU adventure that has been 62 years in the making.

In an era of Cold War redux, the EU is a geopolitical imperative

The EU was signed into existence in the 1957 Treaty of Rome by the six founding members: Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg and West Germany. This must be understood in the context of a post-Yalta world, which effectively started the split of world affairs and influences between the two empires born out of the ashes of World War II: the United States of America, of course, and the USSR, which have agreed to disagree on ideologies but come to a tacit understanding about spheres of influence.

The conflicts between the two blocks have manifested themselves through various proxy wars, always at the expense of third parties. The US came up with NATO in 1949, using the fear of the supposed Soviet threat to subjugate its European allies, which became not much more than vassals. Behind the legendary Iron Curtain, Stalin’s USSR had the Warsaw Pact.

Source: News Junkie Post

Since the Ukrainian crisis, five years ago, we have reentered a Cold War logic. Again, Russia is painted by Western mainstream media as the biggest threat to the supposed free world, and Vladimir Putin as the ultimate bogeyman head of state. It took some courage for the six founding members of Treaty of Rome to take this initiative, considering that all had US troops de facto occupying their respective countries. This timid start in the mid-1950s was followed by attempts to make the EU, not only an economic union but a political force.

Source: News Junkie Post

The current legal framework of the EU and cornerstone of the EU’s political framework is the Treaty of Lisbon, which is an amendment of the Maastricht Treaty of 1993 that is still in force today. The Treaty of Lisbon was signed in Portugal on December 13, 2007; however, it took two years to be ratified by all EU members, and it became a legally binding agreement for all members on December 1, 2009. In this treaty, which BREXIT has put to a serious test, Article 50 established the provision that “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirement.” In the case of BREXIT, this was after an exit of the EU was voted on by British citizens, and this referendum narrowly won.

The neocon United States of Trumpism: Main enemy of the EU

A recent policy change in Washington went almost unnoticed by European observers, although it was symbolically of great importance. The Trump administration downgraded the EU’s official representation from an embassy to a mere delegation with an office. This is an important illustration of the US view of the EU as being something cumbersome and redundant in its foreign policy agenda. This stand of Trumpism, controlled by the neocon John Bolton, is reminiscent of what the neocon Donald Rumsfeld called, in the build up to George W. Bush’s 2003 Iraq war, the Old Europe. A compliant New Europe was wanted, as opposed to the not-so-subservient Old Europe, personified by the French President, Jacques Chirac, who was unwilling to join the invasion of Iraq. France was not then part of NATO.

Let’s face it. The neocons control Trump’s foreign policy and are pursuing more than ever their goal of uncontested US world domination by all necessary means: political, economic through sanctions on countries they declare to be enemy states, and of course, in cases of last resort, through the armed fist of US imperialism, which is NATO. Those are the US policy imperatives defined almost a quarter century ago in the Project for the New American Century: the neocons’ bible and opus.

Europeans should exit NATO

What the demagogues of the European far-Right in Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Poland, as well as neoliberal governments in Germany, Spain, and the UK are not telling their populations, while they posture about nationalism, is the simple fact that their countries are occupied by US troops. In the case of Poland, they are even eager to host more American occupiers. The unapologetic ultra neocon deep-pocketed think tank, The Heritage Foundation, which is providing a lot of top-position appointees to the Trump administration, gloats about the US empire’s military strength in Europe, and of course frames the narrative in terms of deterrent against semi-fictitious potential Russian aggressions.

Seventy-four years after the end of World War II, a staggering number of US troops are stationed in the EU. About 65,000 active US troops are deployed in Europe, in around 17 main operating bases, mainly in Germany, Italy (Mr. Salvini, how about Italian sovereignty?), the UK, and Spain. Deployments are in the works in Poland, at the request of the far-Right government. The Gilets Jaunes and some European politicians are correct: EU nations should break free from their servitude to giant multinational corporations, financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, as well as nefarious State players such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. But the real masters are not in Brussels, they are somewhere in the United States, around Washington DC, shuttling between the Pentagon, White House, CIA, and Wall Street.

Source: Radiowood/Flickr

Despite the claims of the US administrations, either Democrat or Republican, and their vassals in Europe and Canada, NATO’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria were not necessarily meant to be won on the battlefield, but rather to become semi-permanent occupations for the exploitation of natural resources. This first-wreck-then-exploit strategy has been especially applied in the Middle East by toppling Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi. In Iraq and Libya, two failed states were, either on purpose or by default, engineered by NATO. Because of Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran, the same plan, with the minute variation of using ISIS as a proxy, didn’t work at all against Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Afghanistan has been called the graveyard of empires: rightly so in the cases of Alexander the Great, the British Empire and the Soviets. NATO, and especially Europeans should have known better than to venture into such a dangerous land as invaders. However, America Empire Inc. and its financial, economical and military might thought that they could break the will of the Pashtuns. They didn’t.

The European Union must become for the people by the people

In December 2010, I was, to my knowledge, the first analyst to forecast the collapse of the current dominant global empire. The madness of Trumpism might help along that process. A redefined EU for the people by people, following the lead of the Gilets Jaunes movement, might help us to free ourselves from the shackles of a globalization that only serves to profit a minute portion of the population worldwide. The EU can be remodeled rather than destroyed. Once it finally stops serving as the little helper of corporate imperialism, it might become an inspiration of real conviviality for other continents, a truly multi-ethnic and multi-cultural association of people, more than States, which departs from the dead end that is our global capitalist system.

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: News Junkie Post.

Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire.

Featured image is from Theophilos Papadopoulos/Flickr

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UPDATE

This article was originally published on December 12, 2018. The serious questions raised in the piece remain completely unanswered.

Why was Barr chosen, given his shocking and deeply criminal/cover-up kingpin background?

Was Trump duped by Deep State enemies, who have placed another predator into his administration with the power to destroy his presidency? Or has Trump co-opted and turned Barr, in the hopes that Barr will do Trump’s bidding? Why would Barr ever turn against his own Deep State cronies?

Does Trump have a plan? With Barr in place, is Trump signaling to his enemies that “I now own the Deep State”? Or is Barr the Deep State’s ultimate and final weapon against Trump, who remains surrounded by Bush/Clinton “swamp creatures” such as National Security Adviser John Bolton, who is one of Barr’s many fellow Iran-Contra co-conspirators, Vice President Mike Pence (who is in ideal position for a coup against Trump, and remains very cozy with the Clintons, dozens of Obama appointees that remain in place, and Republican “Never Trumpers”, all of whom continue to undermine Trump.

Pay careful attention to the confirmation “hearings”. How many of the senators “questioning” Barr are themselves connected to the Bush/Clinton era criminal operations that Barr supervised as George H.W. Bush’s attorney general?

Will anyone in Washington, or in the CIA asset-filled mainstream media, dare bring up Iran-Contra? Will anyone dare detail Barr’s corruption, and his longstanding ties to the Bush/Clinton network? What about the fact that Barr is best friends with Robert Mueller?

Even the alternative media, including the whistleblowing research-intensive pro-Trump anon community, has been virtually silent on Barr, despite the fact that his criminal history is glaringly obvious, lurid, and begging to be exposed.

Rumors abound that slippery Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department following Barr’s likely confirmation. This further clears the way for Barr to seize the power to determine the fate of the Mueller probe, the John Huber (Inspector General) report, FISAgate, Clinton emails, Uranium One, and other key investigations.

William Barr could well determine the course of the political war between President Donald Trump and his enemies, and decide  the fate of Donald Trump’s presidency itself.

Larry Chin, January 14, 2019

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Should William Barr serve as the highest law enforcement official of the country?

For a presidential administration whose mandate was the eradication of corruption, the “draining of the swamp”, and the restoration of law?

With the nomination of William Barr for attorney general, that is what President Donald Trump wants American citizens and the world to accept.

Fawning mainstream media coverage, and streams of puff pieces laud Barr as a “respected” establishment “legal scholar”, as do Donald Trump’s Twitter posts about Barr.

The fact is, there is nothing to “respect” and everything to condemn about Barr’s work as a key inner circle operative throughout George Herbert Walker Bush’s rise to power, from CIA Director to Vice President to President. These aspects of Barr’s resume remain whitewashed by mainstream coverage. They have been amply documented by whistleblowers and those who worked directly with Barr.

The issue at hand is not Barr’s “legal mind”, but the ruthless mind that he wielded with frightening authority and expertise as George H. W. Bush’s treasonous hatchet man in the Justice Department. William Barr distorted and corrupted the law, as grossly as anyone in modern history.

Barr: CIA operative 

It is a sobering fact that American presidents (many of whom have been corrupt) have gone out of their way to hire fixers to be their attorney generals.

Consider recent history: Loretta Lynch (2015-2017), Eric Holder (2009-2015), Michael Mukasey (2007-2009), Alberto Gonzales (2005-2007), John Ashcroft (2001-2005),Janet Reno (1993-2001), Dick Thornburgh (1988-1991), Ed Meese (1985-1988), etc.

Barr, however, is a particularly spectacular and sordid case. As George H.W. Bush’s most notorious insider, and as the AG from 1991 to 1993, Barr wreaked havoc, flaunted the rule of law, and proved himself to be one of the CIA/Deep State’s greatest and most ruthless champions and protectors:

  • Barr was a full-time CIA operative, recruited by Langley out of high school, starting in 1971. Barr’s youth career goal was to head the CIA.
  • CIA operative assigned to the China directorate, where he became close to powerful CIA operative George H.W. Bush, whose accomplishments already included the CIA/Cuba Bay of Pigs, Asia CIA operations (Vietnam War, Golden Triangle narcotics), Nixon foreign policy (Henry Kissinger), and the Watergate operation.
  • When George H.W. Bush became CIA Director in 1976, Barr joined the CIA’s “legal office” and Bush’s inner circle, and worked alongside Bush’s longtime CIA enforcers Theodore “Ted” Shackley, Felix Rodriguez, Thomas Clines, and others, several of whom were likely involved with the Bay of Pigs/John F. Kennedy assassination, and numerous southeast Asian operations, from the Phoenix Program to Golden Triangle narco-trafficking.
  • Barr stonewalled and destroyed the Church Committee investigations into CIA abuses.
  • Barr stonewalled and stopped inquiries in the CIA bombing assassination of Chilean opposition leader Orlando Letelier.
  • Barr joined George H.W. Bush’s legal/intelligence team during Bush’s vice presidency (under President Ronald Reagan) Rose from assistant attorney general to Chief Legal Counsel to attorney general (1991) during the Bush 41 presidency.
  • Barr was a key player in the Iran-Contra operation, if not the most important member of the apparatus, simultaneously managing the operation while also “fixing” the legal end, ensuring that all of the operatives could do their jobs without fear of exposure or arrest.
  • In his attorney general confirmation, Barr vowed to “attack criminal organizations”, drug smugglers and money launderers. It was all hot air: as AG, Barr would preserve, protect, cover up, and nurture the apparatus that he helped create, and use Justice Department power to escape punishment.
  • Barr stonewalled and stopped investigations into all Bush/Clinton and CIA crimes, including BCCI and BNL CIA drug banking, the theft of Inslaw/PROMIS software, and all crimes of state committed by Bush
  • Barr provided legal cover for Bush’s illegal foreign policy and war crimes
  • Barr left Washington, and went through the “rotating door” to the corporate world, where he took on numerous directorships and counsel positions for major companies. In 2007 and again from 2017, Barr was counsel for politically-connected international law firm Kirkland & Ellis. Among its other notable attorneys and alumni are Kenneth Starr, John Bolton, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and numerous Trump administration attorneys. K&E’s clients include sex trafficker/pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital.

A strong case can be made that William Barr was as powerful and important a figure in the Bush apparatus as any other, besides Poppy Bush himself.

Iran-Contra

To understand the scope, scale, and gravity of William Barr’s central role working for  George H.W. Bush, one must grasp the significance of Iran-Contra, the massive criminal operation that was the cornerstone of the Bush era, headed by the Bushes, with the Clintons as partners.

As previously written:

Originally coined “Iran-Contra” (in reference to illegal arms sales to Iran in exchange for American hostages in Lebanon and arms to the Contra “freedom fighters” in Nicaragua), the moniker hides the fact that it became a massive and permanent criminal business and political machine that went far beyond then-current political concerns.

In The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider, Al Martin describes the Iran-Contra Enterprise that a vast operation that included (and was not limited to) drugs, weapons, terrorism, war, money laundering, criminal banking and securities fraud, currency fraud, real estate fraud, insurance fraud, blackmail, extortion, and political corruption that involved countless Washington politicians of both Republican and Democratic parties.

Martin:

“Iran-Contra itself is a euphemism for the outrageous fraud perpetrated by government criminals for profit and control. Offhandedly, this inaccurate term entered history as shorthand for the public scandals of illicit arms sales to Iran coupled with illicit weapons deals for Nicaragua. The real story, however, is much more complex…When George Bush, [CIA Director] Bill Casey and Oliver North initiated their plan of government-sanctioned fraud and drug smuggling, they envisioned using 500 men to raise $35 billion….they ended up using about 5,000 operatives and making over $35 billion.” In addition, the operation became  “a government within a government, comprising some thirty to forty thousand people the American government turns to, when it wishes certain illegal covert operations to be extant pursuant to a political objective” with George [H.W.] Bush “at the top of the pyramid”.

The operation’s insiders and whistleblowers place George H.W.Bush as one of its top architects, and its commander. It was carried out by CIA operatives close to Bush since his CIA directorship and even stretching back to the Bay of Pigs. These included Oliver North, Ted Shackley, Edwin Wilson, Felix Rodriguez, and others. Iran-Contra was a replication of the CIA’s Golden Triangle drug trafficking in Southeast Asia (operations also connected to Bush) but on a larger scale and sophistication, greater complexity, and far-reaching impact that remains palpable to this day.

In George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Webster Tarpley wrote that, “many once-classified documents have come to light, which suggest that Bush organized and supervised many, or most, of the criminal aspects of the Iran-Contra adventures.”

Tarpley further points out that George H.W. Bush created new structures (“special situation group”, “terror incident working group” etc.) within the Reagan administration—and that

“all of these structures revolved around [creating] the secret command role of the then-Vice President, George Bush…The Bush apparatus, within and behind the government, was formed to carry out covert policies: to make war when the constitutional government had decided not to make war; to support enemies of the nation (terrorists and drug runners) who are the friends and agents of the secret government.”

This suggests that George H.W.Bush not only ran Iran-Contra, but much of the Reagan presidency. Then-White House press secretary James Baker said in 1981,

“Bush is functioning much like a co-president. George is involved in all the national security stuff because of his special background as CIA director. All the budget working groups, he was there, the economic working groups, the Cabinet meetings. He is included in almost all the meetings.”

Hundreds of insiders, witnesses and investigators have blown the lid off of the Iran-Contra Enterprise in exhaustive fashion. These include the investigations of Mike Ruppert (From The Wilderness, Crossing the Rubicon), Al Martin (The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider), Gary Webb (Dark Alliance), Rodney Stich (Defrauding America, Drugging America), Terry Reed (Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA), Stew Webb (and here), Dois “Chip” Tatum (The Tatum Chronicles) (summarized here), Pete Brewton (The Mafia, the CIA and George Bush), among others. The accounts of Barry Seal, Edward Cutolo, Albert Carone, Bradley Ayers, Tosh Plumley, Bill Tyree, Gunther Russbacher, Celerino Castillo, Michael Levine, Trenton Parker, Russell Bowen, Richard Brenneke, Larry Nichols, William Duncan, Russell Welch and dozens more implicate the Bushes, the Clintons and the CIA.

As described by Mike Ruppert (image left):

“It stood, and still stands today, isolated and immune from the operating principles of democracy. It is autonomous and it operates through self-funding via narcotics and weapons trafficking. To quote [former CIA director] William Casey it is ‘a completely self-funding, off-the-shelf operation.’ It, in fact, dictates a substantial portion of this country’s foreign, economic and military policy from a place not accessible to the will of a free people properly armed with facts.”

CIA deep cover agent pilot Chip Tatum, a key Iran-Contra player who flew drugs into Mena and Little Rock in Arkansas, worked alongside CIA pilot and drug smuggler Barry Seal. It is believed that Seal was subsequently murdered by the Medellin Cartel, on order of Oliver North and the Bushes, to prevent him from testifying about his activities. Before he was killed, Seal provided Tatum a list of Iran-Contra “Boss Hogs” who allegedly controlled the drug trade. The Pegasus File summaries Tatum’s activities, and features the “Boss Hog” list.

The Iran-Contra apparatus was byzantine, comprised of a network of connected government agencies, subsidiaries, and shell companies and corporations can be seen in the diagram provided by whistleblower Stew Webb:

Bush Crime Family Flow Chart

Progressive Review (1998)

Why is Iran-Contra still relevant today?

The Iran-Contra Enterprise’s overseers, criminal associates and beneficiaries, to this day, remain at large [including Barr], with most enjoying massive illegally-obtained wealth, privilege, and highest political and corporate positions. The imperial positions of the Bush and Clinton clans exemplify this.

The operation, in essence, evolved and metastasized into ever-more modern and sophisticated incarnation with even more global reach. New names, new banks, new drugs, new wars, same blueprint.  It is not a “deep state” or a “shadow state” but a Criminal State that operates “in broad daylight”.  It is the playbook of the New World Order.  It is globalization at its finest.

All attempts to prosecute were largely unsuccessful—blocked, stalled, or given a “limited hangout” treatment. As written by Ruppert, one of many Iran-Contra whistleblowers, in Crossing the Rubicon:

“[In Congress] Iran-Contra was effectively ‘managed’ by Lee Hamilton in the House [of Representatives] and John Kerry (among others) in the Senate throughout the late 1980s to conceal the greatest crimes of the era, crimes committed by a litany of well-known government operatives.”

Which brings us to this:

Iran-Contra was also managed on both the operational and all-important judicial “legal” end by none other than William Barr.

Barr: Iran-Contra insider alias “Robert Johnson”

In his books Drugging America: A Trojan Horse and Defrauding America: Dirty Secrets of the CIA and other Government Operations, whistleblower Rodney Stich exposed in exhaustive detail the firsthand accounts of whistleblowers and insiders, who participated in the many criminal operations that stretched across the Bush and Clinton presidencies.

Some of the shocking evidence exposes Barr acting simultaneously as a hands-on covert operative, and as Bush’s judicial/political fixer:

In Drugging America, Stich wrote:

[CIA operative] Terry Reed had been in frequent telephone contact with the man he knew as Robert Johnson. Johnson directed the drug trafficking and drug money laundering, the training in Arkansas of Contra pilots and fighters, and authorized Reed to set up the CIA proprietary in Mexico. At a later date, Reed learned that Robert Johnson was really William Barr, appointed by President George Bush to be Attorney General of the United States.

Reed’s CIA contact, William Barr, known at that time by his alias Robert Johnson, told Reed that Attorney General Edwin Meese had appointed Michael Fitzhugh to be US Attorney in Western Arkansas, and that he would stonewall any investigation into the Mena, Arkansas drug-related activities. This obstruction of justice by Justice Department officials did occur.

William Barr, who Bush appointed to be the top law enforcement officer in the United States—US Attorney General—played a key role in the smuggling of drugs into the United States. [CIA pilot Chip] Tatum’s statements about reaching Barr at Southern Air Transport in Miami through the name of Robert Johnson confirmed what [CIA operative] Terry Reed, author of the book Compromised, had told me and had written. Nothing like having members of felony drug operations hold the position of US Attorney General—in control of the United States Department of Justice—and a vice president of the United States [Bush]. With this type of influence, no one needs fear being arrested. And don’t forget the Mafia groups working with the CIA who also receive Justice Department protection that is not available to US citizens.  

According to Stich, Tatum also detailed to him meetings that took place in which he was present for meetings and telephone conversations between Bush, [NSC Colonel] Oliver North and Barr, discussing not only operations but the skimming of drug money by the Clintons.

The purpose of the meeting was to determine who was responsible for stealing over $100 million in drug money on the three routes from Panama to Colorado, Ohio, and Arkansas. This theft was draining the operation known as the “Enterprise”…The first call was made by [CIA agent Joseph] Fernandez to Oliver North, informing North that the theft was occurring on the Panama to Arkansas route, and “that means either [CIA pilot Barry] Seal, Clinton, or [Panamanian General Manuel] Noriega”…Fifteen minutes later, the portable phone rang, and Vice President George Bush was on the line, talking to William Barr. Barr said at one point, referring to the missing funds, “I would propose that no one source would be bold enough to siphon out that much money, but it is more plausible that each are siphoning a portion, causing a drastic loss.”..Barr told Bush that he and Fernandez were staying in Costa Rica until the following day after first visiting [CIA operative] John Hull’s ranch. Barr then handed the phone to Tatum, who was instructed by Bush to be sure that Noriega and [Mossad operative Michael] Harari boarded Seal’s plane and departed, and for Tatum to get the tail number of Seal’s plane….Tatum said that Barr dialed another number, immediately reaching then-governor Bill Clinton. Barr explained the missing money problem to Clinton…Barr suggested that Clinton investigate at the Arkansas end of the Panama to Arkansas route, and that he and North would continue investigating the Panama end of the connection, warning that the matter must be resolved or it could lead to “big problems”…(This description of missing drug money provided support to a subsequent meeting in Little Rock, described by Terry Reed, during which William Barr accused Clinton of siphoning drug money and that this had to stop.)

Tatum also described to Stich a March 15, 1985 flight, during which “Tatum met with Barr, Harari, and Buddy Young (head of Governor Bill Clinton’s security detail). Barr represented himself as an emissary of Vice President George Bush, who would be arriving soon. Tatum would note on his flight book “Bush visit/meet with Barr and had dinner at German restaurant”.

The fact is, William Barr was  heavily involved in the Iran-Contra.

Cover-up of BCCI and BNL scandals

As attorney general, obviously still working for CIA/Bush purposes, Barr and Richard Thornburgh (George H.W. Bush’s previous attorney general) killed off investigations into BCCI, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the notorious CIA drug bank. Barr also stonewalled investigations in the Banca Nationale del Lavoro (BNL), another CIA drug bank.

BCCI was a leading CIA bank used by the Bush/Clinton machine for a vast array of operations, including Iran-Contra drug money laundering.

Barr himself had a personal relationship with BCCI going back to the early 1980s.

William Barr is heading the drive in Virginia to turn prisons into slave labor camps. Here he is shown during a hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, Nov. 12, 1991, on his nomination as Attorney General in the Bush administration. Left to right: Sen. Strom Thurmond, Sen. Joseph Biden, Barr, Sen. Patrick Leahy. (Source: EIR)

According to Rodney Stich,

“before William Barr came to the Justice Department, he was an attorney with the Washington law firm of Shaw Pittman Potts & Trowbridge. This law firm represented BCCI for several years…Barr’s former law firm also represented B. Francis Saul II, a director and powerful shareholder in Financial General Bankshares, Inc. Financial later became First American Bankshares, a covert BCCI operation…Further, Barr had been legal counsel for the CIA, the same agency that was heavily involved with BCCI corrupt activities. He was CIA counsel during the time that George Bush was Director of the CIA.”

When both the CIA and the Justice Department connections and cover-up of BCCI were exposed by the dogged investigations of Congressman Henry Gonzalez, then-FBI Director William Sessions [note: not related to recent Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions] promised an investigation. This prompted Attorney General Barr, who himself was engaged in the cover-up and the obstruction of justice, to remove Sessions on trumped-up ethics charges, replacing him with someone more malleable.

Also, as part of the BCCI “negotiation” as well as to maintain control over the Iran-Contra drug operations, Barr allegedly also crafted a legal justification for then-President Bush to invade Panama and kidnap their associate General Manuel Noriega, in order to imprison and silence him before he could expose the operation.

Cover-up of Inslaw and PROMIS software theft

Barr stonewalled investigations and assisted the cover-up of the theft of Inslaw, and PROMIS software by the Department of Justice and the CIA. The otherworldly power of PROMIS software was and still is so coveted that extreme criminal measures have been get it.

Inslaw

PROMIS (Mike Ruppert, From the Wilderness publications)

PROMIS part 2 (Mike Ruppert, From The Wilderness publications)

The Undying Octopus: the FBI and the PROMIS affair

NSA surveillance: PROMIS

According to Rodney Stich in Defrauding America,

“by misusing the power of their office…three US attorney generals in the Reagan-Bush administrations, Edwin Meese, Richard Thornburgh, and William Barr misappropriated, or aided and abetted, the theft of the software called PROMIS.”

When the scandal became too noisy, Barr

“appointed a former Justice Department crony to conduct an “investigation” of the Inslaw matter, and then report back to him. The special counsel would be selected by Barr; would be subservient to him; and would report to him. Barr could then ignore the recommendations if, in the remote possibility the special counsel did not cooperate in the expected cover-up.”

The Iran-Contra pardons

In the most brazen insult to the American people and the entire world, Barr facilitated George H.W. Bush’s infamous 1992 Christmas Eve pardons of six Iran-Contra co-conspirators Caspar Weinberger, Elliott Abrams, Robert McFarlane, Dewey Clarridge, Alan Fiers, Clair George,

With the stroke of a pen, Bush gleefully set free six of his Iran-Contra criminal flunkies, and effectively decapitating Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh’s six-year long Iran-Contra probe.

It was Barr who closed the lid on Iran-Contra, freeing virtually the entire Bush/Clinton network, including himself, from punishment.

It was Barr who, with this move, “saved their asses”.

The New World Order could not have asked for a better henchman, fixer, and spook than William Barr.

Trump’s nomination of Barr: insanity or “part of the plan”?

Trump won the presidency in 2016 on the power of the single mandate to “drain the swamp”, and Destroy the Deep State. A vicious global struggle continues to be waged on every front between populist reformers led by Trump and the Deep State/New World Order. This war is taking place in every nation and on every continent. The stakes are deadly. Time is running short.

The Justice Department has been ground zero in this war. Jeff Sessions’ tenure as attorney general was opaque and riddled with uncertainties. His interim replacement, Matthew Whittaker, is true Trump loyalist who has the unenviable task of taking immediate action on FISAgate and other investigations into Obama/Clinton administration spying/treason, ending the Robert Mueller’s manufactured anti-Trump “Russian Collusion” witch hunt hoax, and do it all before January 2019, when a new Congress full of emboldened Democrats (who will come into office via rampant mid-term election fraud) pursue new avenues to further attack Trump. Numerous critical and potentially explosive congressional testimonies, including investigations into the Clinton Foundation, are all scheduled to take place before January, which could well decide the course of Trump’s presidency, and the movement behind him.

Why is William Barr—the antithesis of a “patriot” and the swampiest of swamp monsters— now being inserted into the middle of what is supposed to be a “white hat” anti-corruption operation? The move is baffling.

Why did Trump make the pick—the sole pick—so immediately, seemingly without thorough vetting?

Who recommended Barr for the job? The “white hats”, or the “black hats” that have never stopped planting assassins into Trump’s inner circle?

Is it significant or coincidental that the Barr pick came shortly after the death of George H.W. Bush?

Does Trump, who made the pick but claims that he “does not know” Barr (do we believe this?) realize that Barr—“Robert Johnson”—is the Deep State swamp’s most loyal operators and protectors? And that Barr is deeply connected and loyal to everyone and everything that Trump opposes?

What role could Trump possibly envision for Barr? Will Barr go after Bill and Hillary Clinton? Jeb and George W. Bush, with whom Barr managed numerous Iran-Contra operations? Will he go after Robert Mueller and James Comey, and dozens of members of Congress, who were also deeply connected to the “Enterprise”?

Why would Barr go against everything he helped create and everything he stood for? Why would he undo his own criminal handiwork by prosecuting his own lifelong criminal colleagues and friends? Barr’s career has been about saving the Deep State and the New World Order that he helped make invincible. Why would he do any differently now?

For reasons known only to him, Trump has surrounded himself with bad actors, too many to count. Mike Pence (longtime Bush loyalist), John Bolton, H.R. McMaster, etc. etc. Trump’s cabinet has been in constant flux, with many shakeups underway. But William Barr is an entirely different level of criminal. What next? Will Trump invite Dick Cheney to his administration? Bring back Henry Kissinger?

Is Trump being a genius, or is he a dupe and/or a sell-out?

Have Trump and his forces “turned” or leveraged Barr? Is it even possible to control someone like him? “Once CIA, always CIA.”

Imagine the spectacle of the pending “confirmation hearings”. Will any member of this corrupt Congress grill Barr about Iran-Contra or BCCI? Will anyone stand up and ask “Robert Johnson” to tell the truth?  Or will Barr look across at a room full of frightened politicians (many of whom he knows too well) and chortle, knowing that no one in the chamber will dare.

Is this the “draining of the swamp”, or is Barr the swamp’s ultimate victory, and the end of Trump?

Of limited hangouts and deceptions

In recent interviews, Barr issued noises that seemed supportive of Trump. Barr obviously caught the Trump team’s attention based on these comments. (Humorously, the CIA-managed corporate mainstream media has labeled Barr, an actual CIA criminal conspirator, a “conspiracy theorist”for his statements.)

While the mainstream media has latched on to quotes in which Barr said that he supports “some” investigations into the Clintons, he also insists that “throwing Hillary Clinton in jail is inappropriate”.

In other words, Barr does not want the swamp to be drained. In other words, Barr only supports limited investigations and limited hangouts.

Barr should be disqualified for the job simply based on this.

Or does the nomination of Barr suggest that President Trump also does not want to fully “drain the swamp”? Is his goal to merely co-opt the New World Order co-opt the New World Order and co-opt the Bush Republican apparatus, in order to take down the Clinton/Obama side of it, while leaving the Bush side intact?

Given that Bush-Clinton/Obama are two sides of the same coin, it is ridiculous and impossible to “go after” one side without “going after” the other, and then claim that any real swamp draining is taking place.

It is also possible that Barr and/or his Bush/CIA colleagues have baited the Trump team with his statements, in order to place him in Trump’s administration as a Trojan Horse.

Muted reaction  

It is too much to expect the masses, remain uninformed and controlled by propaganda, to understand the significance and danger posed by the reappearance of Barr.

The few who seem aware of Barr’s background are alarmedfor good reason. But even the more informed observers aren’t getting it. Most of those who “trust Trump” and “trust the plan” have not aggressively questioned the move. Even the research-intensive Internet Anoncommunity has been quiet about Barr.

Some Trump optimists are stretching, trying to convince themselves that Trump is using the Barr nomination to “troll”, and to point attention back to the Bush history, thus forcing the public to research, recoil and awaken to the truth.

They would like to believe that Trump is continuing to play a game of deception. The “4-D chess player”, is merely “keeping enemies close”; manipulating, co-opting, and leveraging compromised figures to his personal bidding; and turn one of the Deep State’s own into a weapon against the Deep State. Perhaps they believe that Trump is purposely elevating Barr, in order to fire him later, as he has already done with numerous others in his administration.

Some argue that Barr is useful because he “knows where the bodies are buried”. Barr himself helped bury them—literally in many cases.

If Trump thinks that he can control or leverage someone as dangerous as Barr, then Trump is taking the biggest risk of his presidency, and of his life.

He is also placing the country and the world at risk.

All in the crime family

The atrocities and crimes of the Bushes and Clintons are unspeakable and unimaginable in depravity and scale.

These atrocities were facilitated by William “Robert Johnson” Barr.

Barr, a hands-on participant, is guilty. Furthermore, he poisoned and manipulated the judicial system—“law enforcement”— to get himself and his friends off the hook.

Barr must be exposed and condemned, along with the entire Bush/Clinton/Obama network, and all must be denied and removed from all positions of influence and power.

In an unguarded moment in 1992, George H.W. Bush said to reporter Sarah McClendon:

“If people ever knew what we had done, we would be chased down the street and lynched.”

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US Crimes against Humanity. The People of Nicaragua

January 19th, 2019 by William Edstrom

I am writing to request that both the 1) member states of the UN General Assembly and 2) member states of the Security Council hold hearings, debate and vote on an effective plan of action against various crimes that have been committed by people working for the government of the US that are of significance to the global community.

These crimes include:

  1. The US government’s current (2018) attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua
  2. US government interventionist policies and practices into the internal affairs of most of the member states of the UN (i.e. the US governments long history of being the #1 global bully on Earth)
  3. The US government’s ascendancy to having become the #1 violator of human rights globally and
  4. The Global Surveillance State program of the US secret police (e.g. NSA, CIA, FBI, DEA, DIA, etc.).

In April 2018, elements of the US government (e.g. NSA, CIA) began attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua. I have been in Nicaragua from March 2018 to present (i.e. September 2018) and have been a direct eyewitness to US government attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua.

US secret police operatives have incited riots, provoked killings and paid for the highways and roads in Nicaragua to become barricaded to obstruct transportation.

Read complete article on Popular Resistance

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Featured image is from Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

On January 16, a suicide bombing attack hit the center of Manbij in the province of Aleppo. According to initial reports, over 25 people were killed  or injured in the attack, which also caused casualties among US service members. Minutes after the explosion, a coalition H-92 helicopter landed in Manbij for an evacuation operation.

Later the US military stressed that 2 US service members, a US Defense Department civilian employee and a contractor supporting the department were killed while “conducting a routine patrol” in the area. The names of those killed were not released immediately.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and revealed that it was carried out by a suicide bomber named “Abu Yasin al-Shami”. According to local sources, al-Shami blew himself up in front of a US-led coalition patrol outside the Prince Restaurant in the center of Manbij.

This was the first successful ISIS suicide attack aimed at US-led coalition forces in Syria. Previous attacks were mainly aimed at US-backed Kurdish fighters and locals cooperating with the coalition.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Manbij attack “could be meant to dissuade the U.S. from leaving Syria”. The president added that he does not believe that the  attack will impact U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria because he saw “honorable Trump’s determination on this point.”

However, the full withdrawal of US forces from Syria still remains in question, especially after another bright media demonstration of the remaining ISIS influence in the country. Earlier it appeared that the US is going to continue its operations in Syrian airspace even when the troops are fully withdrawn.

On January 15, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that the US delegation led by National Security Advisor John Bolton conveyed to the Turkish side “an unofficial five-point document in which the United States confirms the withdrawal of its troops from Syria, the determination to continue the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group and Washington’s intention to maintain its presence in Syrian airspace as part of the coalition”.

The developing US withdrawal and a reported US-Turkish understanding on a safe zone in northern Syria also forced the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to adapt their approach towards Turkey.

The SDF claimed that it hopes to find an understanding with Turkey and promised to provide all necessary help to establish a “safe zone”. However, the group insisted that there should be international guarantees.

“We never posed any threat to neighboring countries, especially Turkey, we hope and look forward to reaching understandings and solutions which would ensure stability and safety in the border areas,” the SDF’s official statement said.

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Malaysians have over the past few hours been treated to a disgraceful display of mutual finger pointing and denial by the entities and individuals most culpable over 1MDB, as they seek to blame each other and get off the hook. It must not be allowed.

Both ex-PM Najib and his top bankers Goldman Sachs made hundreds of millions out of the thefts, but we are now being forced to witness their unbelievable attempts to seek scapegoats and avoid prosecution.

First up, the CEO of Goldman, who has launched his public pushback against the slew of cases, both civil and criminal, that have stacked up against the bank in New York and Kuala Lumpur.  He didn’t mince his words in citing the corruption of 1MDB and in particular its political boss Najib as being the responsible party during an ‘apology’ made ‘to the Malaysian people’:

“It’s very clear that the people of Malaysia were defrauded by many individuals, including the highest members of the prior government,” [Malaysiakini]

The highest member was ex-prime minister Najib.

This damning allegation by the head of the bank, which in the process acknowledges the fraud, lays the blame right at the door of their key client, who was both finance minister and prime minister and the sole signatory of 1MDB.

But, of course, Malaysia’s self-deluded and undeniably slippery ex-PM was right back on the case, despite the last shred of his cock and bull story about no money being stolen having just fallen away.  Off he went to the media with his own statement that Goldman should take responsibility for failing to protect 1MDB’s interests.

“We put up a system and it was there to take care of our interests. So if they failed, then they have to take responsibility because they were appointed and paid by 1MDB to take care of our interests,”

Not a word of his own responsibilities as the prime minister cum finance minister, who stuck his fingers firmly in both ears against the chorus of criticism and concern about the management of the fund over many years – threatening and imprisoning those who spoke out.

Whilst Malaysians were trying to digest that outrageous piece of cheek, Najib and his legal team took the matter to a whole new level, with an application to the court the very same afternoon to delay his trial for multiple thefts of public money ……. indefinitely!

Everyone knows that the trial of Najib and the zipping of his mouth is already long overdue.  The date was delayed well beyond reasonable limits, thanks to orchestrated hanky panky just after the election by his pet Chief Justice, who was still in position at the time.

However, players like Najib are used to the big stakes – outrageous demands, huge rewards, get out of jail cards all round.  This is the life he has lived, unlike the rest of us who are expected to abide by the normal principles of the law.

And in the same category of Najib, of course, are the world’s top bankers, those ‘Masters of the Universe’, who can cause havoc for the rest of us but expect to fly away from the scene of the catastrophe in their private jets unscathed i.e. the highest members of Goldman Sachs.

At the same time that he was apologising to those at the epicentre of Goldman’s latest shenanigans (following on from the likes of Libya, Greece and a swathe who lost their shirts during the last global financial crash) the new CEO David Solomon was moving to put the boot into those two of his relatively minor employees, on whom the bank plans to put the entire blame for the multi-billion dollar misappropriation.

It almost makes one feel sorry for ‘Dr’ Tim Leissner, the slick party-boy head of Goldman’s Southeast Asia division, who acted as the key conduit for Jho Low over 1MDB (in return for admitted kickbacks of a hundred million dollars).  Leissner’s sidekick, Roger Ng, who languishes in custody in KL subject to an extradition request from the US, is the other scapegoat being used by Goldman.

A major piece in today’s New York Times lays bare Goldman’s tactics placing the entire blame for the bank’s appalling negligence and criminal actions over 1MDB on these two employees.

Webp.net-resizeimage (34)

“They sound like the ingredients of a pulpy thriller: Bigamy. Secret religious conversions. A doctorate from a mail-order diploma mill. Affairs with powerful women.

The sordid list — a mixture of facts, accusations and insinuations, packaged in a glossy slide show — represents the crux of a well-orchestrated campaign by Goldman Sachs to discredit one of its former partners and to minimize the Wall Street bank’s role in the looting of a big Malaysian investment fund.

In recent presentations to American regulators and law enforcement authorities, according to people familiar with their contents, Goldman executives and their lawyers have depicted Tim Leissner, a former top investment banker, as a master con man, someone so sneaky that even the retired military intelligence officers who work for the bank couldn’t sniff him out.

The scorched-earth tactics, especially against someone who had been a star banker, reflect just how worried Goldman is about the criminal investigations into its role in the theft of at least $2.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, sovereign wealth fund.” [More in New York Times]

The problem is that you didn’t need to listen to all this after the event villification by Goldman Sachs to know something was wrong years ago with the bank’s bond deals with 1MDB and the record of its top Asia man, as any reader of Sarawak Report and the resulting publicity across Asia and the world can testify.

Goldman Sachs were receiving red light warnings from as early as 2013 that things were wrong, warnings that accelerated and magnified as the whole 1MDB scandal exploded in this blog from early 2015.

The moment Sarawak Report laid hands on one of the secretive power purchase bond deals in July 2013 we reported that there was clear evidence of fraud not least in the outrageous commissions that were charged. However, the Goldman hierachy and due dilligence teams, indeed the very top bosses, must have had access and indeed scrutinised all that documentation already.

CEO David Solomon may be trashing Tim Leissner’s bogus qualifications now, claiming that he was an arch deceptor, who even gulled the military intelligence men hired to check staff, however Sarawak Report – as a total outsider in the affair – was able to detect the none too subtle fact that a Phd from the University of Somerset was bogus, because no one has heard of the University of Somerset – it does not exist as a regulated institution.

Despite our publishing this glaring fact, it did not emerge until well into 2016 that Leissner had been put on leave and then sacked for improprieties that were at first said by the bank to have nothing to do with 1MDB.

What is clear is that the attraction of Leissner to Goldman Sachs was his access to some of Asia’s most corrupt politicians with whom the bank proved willing to do business. The present indictment by US prosecutors cites a culture at the bank that allowed Leissner to get around the facade of compliance structures in pushing through deals like 1MDB.

What’s more the same prosecutors say that Leissner in his plea deal has named others at the bank (his immediate boss Andrew Vella has already been put on leave) who helped and colluded with him over stealing money from 1MDB and bribing foreign officials in the process.

However, what ultimately damns Goldman Sachs’ handling of this whole affair was the bank’s failure to admit, take action or speak out about its failings over 1MDB until the moment that the Malaysian people took the matter into their own hands and ejected Najib Razak on May 9th last year.

Till that moment there were no admissions and no apologies from the bank. No reviews of the 1MDB bond deals, no further lay-offs, nothing. By that point the bank had to know, because the whole of Malaysia knew, that huge sums had gone missing from its bond deals, from which every senior Goldman executive had personally made fat bonuses. However, the bank did precisely nothing to address or admit the problem.

The reason was that Goldman Sachs had calculated like every other ‘expert’ on Malaysia that Najib would win GE14. There would never be enough popular power or sufficient popular anger to turf him out was the conventional wisdom and the bank banked on that, wrongly.

If Najib had won GE14 then of course Malaysia would continue today to be arguing that there was no money missing from 1MDB and no wrongdoing whatsoever and Goldman Sachs would doubtless have continued to keep quiet on the whole affair.

Critics would have been put to jail for spreading false news; Sarawak Report would have been ruined by a slew of fake libel cases spawned in the UK by inventive lawyers and who knows, maybe Tim Leissner might have been given his job back?

Najib and Goldman reckoned without Malaysian unity against corruption and now both the ex-PM and the entire bank, which is now being criminally prosecuted by the new Malaysian Attorney General and sued by Malaysia for US$7.5 billion in lost funds, should face the justice they deserve.

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All images in this article are from Sarawak Report

Video: The “Great Game” of Military Bases in Africa

January 18th, 2019 by Manlio Dinucci

Italian soldiers on mission in Djibouti have offered sewing machines to the humanitarian organisation which aids the refugees in this tiny country in the Horn of Africa. It is situated in a strategic position on the most important commercial Asia-Europe route, at the mouth of the Red Sea, facing Yemen. Italy has a military base there, which, since 2012, “supplies logistical support for Italian military operations located in the area of the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Basin and the Indian Ocean”.

So in Djibouti, then, it would seem that the Italian military are not dealing exclusively with sewing machines.

In the exercise Barracuda 2018, which took place last November, chosen sharp-shooters from the Special Forces (whose headquarters are in Pisa) underwent training in all sorts of environmental conditions, including night operations, with the most sophisticated high-precision rifles which can centre the target at a distance of one or two kilometres. We do not know in which operations the Special Forces participated, since their missions are kept secret – however it is certain that they took place essentially in a multinational context under US command.

In Djibouti is situated Camp Lemonnier, the huge US base from which the Horn of Africa Joint Task Force has been operating since 2001. The Task Force is composed of 4,000 specialists in top secret missions, including targeted assassinations by commandos or killer drones, particularly in Yemen and Somalia. While aircraft and helicopters for these special operations take off from Camp Lemonnier, the drones have been concentrated at Chabelley airport, a dozen kilometres from the capital. New hangars are being built there, and the work has been handed by the Pentagon to a company from Catania which is already employed for the work taking place in Sigonella, the main drones base used by the USA and NATO for operations in Africa and the Greater Middle East.

There is also a Japanese and a French base in Djibouti, which house German and Spanish troops. A Chinese military base was added in 2017, the only one outside of its national territory. Apart from certain basic logistical functions, such as the housing of the crews of the military vessels that escort merchant ships, and warehouses for the storage of supplies, it represents a significant signal of the growing Chinese presence in Africa.

Source: PandoraTV

This is an essentially economic presence, to which the United States and other Western powers oppose a growing military presence. This accounts for the intensification of operations led by AfriCom (US Command for Africa), which has two important subordinate Commands in Italy – the US Army Africa, at the Ederle de Vicence barracks ; the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, whose headquarters is at the Capodichino base in Naples, composed of the warships of the Sixth Fleet based in Gaeta.

In the same strategic infrastructure is another US base for armed drones, which is under construction in Agadez, Niger, where the Pentagon already uses air base 101 in Niamey for drones. This base serves for military operations that the USA has been leading for years, with France in the Sahel, especially in Mali, Niger and Chad. President Giuseppe Conte will be visiting the last two bases as from tomorrow.

These countries are amongst the poorest in the world, but very rich in prime materials – coltan, uranium, gold, oil and many others – exploited by transnational companies based in the USA and in France, who are increasingly afraid of the competition from Chinese companies who offer African countries much more favourable conditions.

The attempt to halt the Chinese economic advance by military means, in Africa and elsewhere, is beginning to fail. Probably even the sewing machines, donated to Djibouti by Italian soldiers for the refugees, are “made in China”.

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This article was originally published on Il Manifesto. Translated by Pete Kimberley.

Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image is from The National Interest

How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?

January 18th, 2019 by Barbara Nimri Aziz

“Every family has someone outside.” Conversations about Nepal’s dysfunctional economy invariably lead to its four million citizens, mainly young men, working abroad. (Some say they number seven million– either way, a sizable slice in a population of 28 million.)

Those workers are migrants to Arab Gulf States, Malaysia and India. Their remittances, supporting millions of families at home, form the unhealthy backbone of Nepal’s economy.

One hardly gets beyond the alarming statistic when a culprit is identified –“The Arabs”. Maybe a suppressed guilt is behind Nepalis’ litany of hardships which “Arabs” and by implication Muslims inflict on their four million compatriots. “Look how Nepali workers are mistreated!” “Someone should protect them.” “Hundreds arrive home in boxes!” “No human rights there.”

With no check on exaggerations and misinformation, prejudice continues unabated.

There’s abundant sympathy for exploited countrymen, while any suggestion that conditions within Nepal could be responsible for the exodus is absent. Don’t overseas remittances actually help workers’ families? There’s no acknowledgment of the benefits of employment, anywhere. Consider how many businesses, from rental properties to food services, are sustained by families receiving remittances. Kathmandu has hundreds of low cost private schools enrolling children of overseas workers seeking a better chance for the next generation. Where are the anecdotes of returned workers investing what they’ve saved to lift themselves out of an otherwise hopeless cycle of poverty?

All we hear are stale, decades-old, stories of “Arab exploitation”, stories that help conceal Nepal’s failure to take more responsibility for its citizens. Let’s be honest: workers look overseas for redress because of hopeless conditions at home.

Is it time for me to speak up? Having worked in Nepal for so long, I am viewed as a Tibetan-speaking American ‘friend’, not Arab or Muslim. Taking up the matter, finally, is not about defending Arabs or Islam; it’s about questioning this nation’s policies that allow prejudice against Arab people to distract from its responsibilities. As a ‘friend’, I call on Nepal to admit some liability for its hapless citizens. This country refuses to address fundamental structural problems, its neglect of industry, its shoddy public schools that even poor families are abandoning, its lack of agricultural support programs, its avoidable reliance on foreign aid.

Much of what we read about Arab state policies is indefensible. Their excesses are embarrassing for many like me who share Arab heritage and faith. Visiting homes in the Middle East, I myself feel embarrassed seeing how some overseas employees are treated (however mild and however much in common with domestic workers’ treatment in USA).

How can anyone defend workers toiling in extreme weather conditions without proper rest, food, medical attention or protection from harm? How can one not demand action against abusive employers?

Fifteen years ago, with the collapse of an exploitative carpet manufacturing industry within Nepal(where nobody blamed Tibetan managers’ treatment of child laborers) Malaysia and Arab Gulf countries became a market for Nepal’s millions of jobless. Mainly young, poorly educated men, seeing overseas earnings as a solution to dim prospects at home, joined citizens from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan seeking work abroad. In desperation, they naively signed contracts that left them highly vulnerable and in debt.

Despite obstacles and fears, migrating is the easiest (sic) alternative to hopelessness at home. (This applies to educated Nepali professionals too.) Traveling to distant lands for work is an established pattern, with departures increasing by the month.

Ram is one of many who, working as drivers, cooks, carpenters, or plumbers earn as much as 150,000 Nepali rupees (about $1,500) monthly. A few expatiates operate cafes catering to other workers. After 3-4 years they return to Nepal and purchase a car to hire out, or they invest in a business, usually with relatives (also returned migrants). Few resume agricultural work however. Abandoned fields met Broughton Coburn revisiting a Gurung village after three decades; it’s a widespread phenomenon across Nepal, a result of villagers leaving for overseas. (Declining domestic production increases Nepal’s unhealthy reliance on imports too.)

Yet, speaking with returned workers, I don’t hear tales of despair. Indeed, they report they learned valuable work habits abroad and express pride in having bettered themselves. Past sufferings seem of less concern than the corruption they face at home when applying for licenses or finding an affordable school.

Migrants’ positive experience is unarguably not 100%. Some recount heartbreaking stories: they were beset by thieves who stole their savings (cash transported in backpacks); they fell ill, exhausted savings, and returned empty-handed. Some die overseas–from heart attacks, in labor accidents or other mishaps, their bodies shipped back to a family burdened by debt. Some women experienced sexual abuse by employers or brokers. (To address this Nepal passed a law prohibiting women from working in Arab counties.)

My colleagues, investigative journalist Devandra Bhattarai and filmmaker KesangTseten, were the first to report on the hardships of Nepal’s overseas workers and mistreatment by Arab employers. Perhaps because of their exposés, difficulties of migrant workers were widely publicized and some checks were instituted. But anecdotal accounts of “Arab” malfeasance still define the public’s view of Arabs and Muslims while Nepal itself avoids accountability for its people’s hardships.

“Hundreds return in boxes every month” is how one colleague opens a discussion of his country’s economy. My rejoinder about irresponsible government policies is met with silence.

Few Nepalis forget the fate of twelve citizens working in Iraq in 2004; all were executed after being held hostage by extremists opposing the U.S. invasion. The shock those killings created in Nepal led to anti-Muslim riots; for weeks Nepali Muslims (a long-established minority in the country) feared leaving their homes. The nation had known nothing as cruel, even during their recent civil war. That image of massacred Nepalis feeds persistent anti-Muslim feelings; it’s the prism through which they view any story about migrants’ hardships.

In contrast the public here retains its amnesia over the role of Nepali UN peacekeepers in the spread of cholera in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. The cholera strain, traced to Nepal through Nepali peacekeepers stationed in Haiti, killed up to 9,000 and sickened tens of thousands. (When investigators confirmed the link, the United Nations denied victims compensation, while the Nepali press hardly covered the issue.)

Prejudice against Arabs festers despite more recent investigative work by a leading Nepali news outlet. The Nepali Times has taken a more sobering look into Nepal’s migration crisis: first is joblessness at home; second, the government neither assists farmers to increase their yields nor helps develop markets for farm produce; third, policy planning does not include supporting manufacturing which would train and employ Nepal’s least educated. Workers’ problems, it notes, begin with officials demanding bribes for permits; applicants are next confronted by fraudulent Nepali labor brokers. Then, Nepal’s embassies in Gulf States offer no help. The Nepali Times series also suggests that the government may seek to avoid unrest among jobless youths at home by encouraging their exodus.

Nepal’s lack of accountability is endemic. Its avoidance of any responsibility is actually bolstered by a lenient and loyal foreign donor base. China’s disregard of Nepali ineptitude, noted in my recent article, is matched by other countries and aid agencies. Examples of failed programs due to corruption and incompetence on Nepal’s side are abundant, and commonly overlooked. Perhaps overseas employment should therefore be viewed as Nepal’s singularly successful aid program.

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Barbara Nimri Aziz is a New York based anthropologist and journalist. She is the author of “Tibetan Frontier Families” and numerous articles on Tibet and Nepal, has been working in Nepal in recent weeks. Find her work at www.RadioTahrir.org. She was a longtime producer at Pacifica-WBAI Radio in NY.

Is US Hubris Taking the World to the Edge?

January 18th, 2019 by Askiah Adam

Another US regime change undertaking is about to begin. Meanwhile, the Syrian misadventure will, hopefully, end soon and Bashar Al Assad’s enduring presence in Damascus is Washington’s failure writ large.

But that is not stopping the neoconservatives. Washington is beating the war drums again, this time in Latin America.

Venezuela, and its Bolivarian socialist revolution has long irked the United States. And, when on 10th January the re-elected Nicolas Maduro was sworn-in for his second six-year term as President, US imperial vitriol was unleashed, unfettered.  The pomp and ceremony was attended by 94 international delegations — among them Russia and China — and the presidents of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba, and too the celebrating crowds of Venezuelans. Obviously, neither Maduro nor Venezuela is isolated.

The US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, declared that Washington is not recognising President Maduro whose claim to power the US considers illegitimate. As has become the norm this decision was based on lies. Bolton claims the latter’s election was “not free, fair or credible” but the international Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America found it to be perfectly legitimate despite US meddling. The same tact is being voiced by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. For his part he promises that “the United States will work diligently to restore a real democracy to that country.”

Given the news blockade imposed on Venezuela there is no way mainstream media reporting on the country can be balanced and fair. With regard the 20th May 2018 elections, mainstream media reported it as heavily rigged to favour Maduro, the dictator. However, former president Jimmy Carter whose Carter Centre has a Democracy Programme said,

“As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

If then a resounding victory over his opponent does not make Maduro the winner, what does? Over 60 per cent of a turnout of 46.02 per cent of eligible voters cast their votes for him. Even Donald Trump won the US presidency on a minority vote smaller than that commanded by Maduro. In today’s democracies, with the exception of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, who can claim otherwise?

That it is mere pretext used to destabilise Venezuela further cannot be denied. A US-led economic war against Venezuela has been on-going. A financial blockade is already in place leaving the Venezuelan economy vastly weakened with inflation spiralling out of control. The blockade has crippled its oil industry, the country’s main foreign currency earner. All this to facilitate US multinational corporations like Exxon-Mobil. Meanwhile the people suffer. And yet, Nicolas Maduro is returned to power peacefully via the ballot box because his policies ensure that the ordinary Venezuelan is fed, schooled and employed: the CLAP Boxes programme distributes food boxes to households; there is free healthcare and education; and, wages are protected.

Unfortunately, regime change is already underway. The US is supporting a move by the leader of the National Assembly to step in as interim president. But the National Assembly is held in contempt by the country’s Supreme Court for swearing-in three deputies under investigation for election irregularities. And the former has been unwilling to accept the judgement until today, making all its actions null and void. Such a move by the US is nothing short of contemptuous. Furthermore, the needs of governance forced Maduro to convene another elected assembly, the National Constituent Assembly, a move provided for by the Venezuelan Constitution, meaning that democracy is alive and well.

In the meantime, the US ambassador to Germany is throwing his weight around, behaving as if he’s the colonial master, threatening German companies involved in the Nord Stream2 project with sanctions. Prior to this he openly supported the right wing, anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), to the point where he was accused by the German media of attempting a “regime change”. However, this interference is not new. Under President Obama America’s intelligence tapped into the personal phone calls of Chancellor Merkel.

If an ally is treated with scant respect, what more a government unwilling to acquiesce to Washington’s will?

However, the signals emanating from Washington, at the moment, are conflicting. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria was vociferously attacked, not by a handful, but nearly everyone who matters in Washington including Bolton and Pompeo who were desperately trying to walk back that decision. And, if reports are to be believed the President has again reaffirmed his wish to withdraw from Syria thus negating his own advisors.

Several instances suggest that he is being actively subverted by his own administration and that the Democrats’ call for his impeachment could be bipartisan and is being stage-managed by the Deep State.

In Venezuela, however, he appears to be at one with them and has yet to repudiate the threats made by both Pompeo and Bolton to change the elected government in Caracas. This is true also with regard Ukraine where the failed regime, actively backed by the US, is acting as its proxy. The overt provocations against Russia, as in the recent Kerch Strait incident, is proof.

How does one explain Washington’s bizarre foreign policy, one that has resorted to nabbing individuals almost literally off the streets and holding them in detention, the latest being the Press TV anchorwoman and journalist Marzieh Hashemi? At the time of writing she has been held for some 48 hours with no reasons given.

A nuclear superpower going rogue is a frightening spectacle. What more when its chief executive appears to be finding it near impossible to assert his authority. And, not forgetting, too, the flagrant violations of international law by the US. Is the world helpless to defend itself against such unpredictable volatility?

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Askiah Adam is Executive Director of International Movement for a JUST World [JUST]. She is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

The U.S. oil and gas industry has the potential to unleash the largest burst of new carbon emissions in the world through 2050, new research released today has found. Without action to curtail this unprecedented expansion of drilling from Texas to North Dakota to Pennsylvania and beyond, new U.S. oil and gas development could enable 120 billion tons of new carbon pollution – equivalent to the lifetime emissions of nearly 1,000 coal-fired power plants.

The findings come on the heels of the “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C” from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S.’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, which both detailed the intensifying human and economic toll of unchecked climate change. Previous research has shown that existing oil and gas fields and coal mines already contain enough carbon to push the world beyond the goals of the Paris Agreement. The permitting of new extraction projects and related infrastructure is completely out of synch with meeting climate targets, and also out of step with a massive movement of communities fighting the fossil fuel industry around the country.

“Our findings present an urgent and existential emergency for lawmakers in the United States at all levels of government. The oil and gas industry is expanding further and faster in the United States than in any other country at precisely the time when we must begin rapidly decarbonizing to prevent runaway climate disaster,” said Kelly Trout, report co-author and senior research analyst at Oil Change International. “We’re at this crisis point because of failing political decisions to allow unfettered fracking, permit a massive buildout of pipelines, lift the crude export ban, and subsidize a climate-wrecking industry with billions of taxpayer dollars. If U.S. leaders do not start saying ‘no’ to this industry and put policies in place for a managed decline of fossil fuel production, they could cripple the world’s chances of staving off climate catastrophe.”

Additional key findings of the report include:

  • Between now and 2030, when climate scientists say global carbon emissions should be nearly halved, the U.S. is on track to account for 60% of the world’s projected growth in oil and gas production.
  • Some 90% of U.S. drilling into new oil and gas reserves through 2050 would depend on fracking; nearly 60% of the carbon emissions enabled by new U.S. drilling would come from the epicenters of fracking – the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico and the Appalachian Basin across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.
  • The Permian Basin alone would exhaust some 10% of the entire world’s carbon budget (for 1.5°C of warming).
  • U.S. coal mining should be phased out by 2030 or sooner if the world is to equitably achieve the Paris Agreement goals, which means at least 70% of the coal in existing U.S. mines should stay in the ground.

Co-author and Oil Change International senior research analyst Lorne Stockman stated,

“This administration and its fossil fuel backers portray climate change as a false choice between the economy and the environment. In reality, they favor an irresponsible and outdated fossil fuel sector over a clean energy sector that has proven it can deliver on jobs, economic growth, and reliable cheap energy. It is past time the United States led the transition needed to safeguard life on our planet by rejecting oil, gas, and coal. There is no more time to waste.”

The report defines a five-point checklist for what U.S. policymakers must do to show real climate leadership:

  1. Ban new leases or permits for new fossil fuel exploration, production, and infrastructure;
  2. Plan for the phase-out of existing fossil fuel projects in a way that prioritizes environmental justice;
  3. End subsidies and other public finance for the fossil fuel industry;
  4. Champion a Green New Deal that ensures a just transition to 100% renewable energy; and
  5. Reject the influence of fossil fuel money over U.S. energy policy.

“This report should be a wake-up call for elected officials who consider themselves to be climate leaders. We need a complete overhaul of our economy with a Green New Deal, and that overhaul must include standing up to the fossil fuel industry in order to take us off this path of devastation for our climate and communities. Anything less than a full, swift, and just managed decline of fossil fuel production is too little, too late,” Trout said.

The report, entitled Drilling towards Disaster: Why U.S. oil and gas expansion is incompatible with climate limits, was researched and written by Oil Change International and is being released in partnership with the following organizations who have endorsed the findings of the report: Amazon Watch, BOLD Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks, Friends of the Earth U.S., Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace USA, Hip Hop Caucus, Indigenous Environmental Network, Labor Network for Sustainability, Oil Change USA, Our Revolution, People’s Action, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, Working Families Party, and 350.org.

The report can be found here.

Reactions from partners endorsing the report:

“This landmark report clearly lays out the grim reality of our addiction to fossil fuels. It’s a reality that Indigenous peoples have been saying for decades: that we are destroying the ecosystems of Mother Earth and placing countless lives at risk because of fossil fuels,” said Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network. “It is time for all leaders to wake up! We must keep fossil fuels in the ground and justly transition our society to renewable, sustainable energy right now! The clock is ticking.”

“Addressing the climate crisis by only considering fossil fuel demand is fighting with one hand tied behind our back,” said Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “To avert climate disaster, we need a Green New Deal that protects workers, empowers communities, and phases out all fossil fuels.”

“It’s clearer by the day that we’re drilling toward a climate catastrophe,” said Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Every new lease, permit and subsidy granted to this dirty industry pushes us closer to disaster. America’s oil and gas production is a carbon bomb we must defuse through a thoughtful phase-out and a just transition to clean energy.”

“This report confirms what our indigenous allies have known for decades: we must keep fossil fuels in the ground,” said Kevin Koenig, Climate and Energy Director at Amazon Watch. “We are already in a hole and we cannot afford to dig ourselves any deeper by continuing to expand oil and gas infrastructure – in the United States, the Amazon, or anywhere else. It’s past time for the United States to make a plan to get off fossil fuels altogether and this report provides a road map for policy makers to do just that, providing critical information to ensure sustainable communities and a healthy planet for generations to come.”

“To make the most impact on climate change we need to stop all oil, coal, and gas expansion, massively accelerate the growth of renewable energy, and support workers with a just transition to a sustainability-based economy and climate-impacted communities with a just recovery from extreme weather. To make this a reality, we have to hold corporate polluters and political leaders accountable for their role in putting us in harm’s way. Without stopping oil, coal, and gas expansion as soon as possible, though, we won’t get anywhere close to where we need to be to stave off the worst of climate change,” said Janet Redman, Greenpeace USA Climate and Energy Director.

“Right now, we’re on a sinking boat, and instead of just scooping water out, we must take immediate action to patch the hole where it’s gushing in,” said Patrick McCully, Climate and Energy Program Director at Rainforest Action Network. “This means we must put a full-stop to fossil fuel expansion, or we all sink into climate chaos. U.S. policymakers – as well as the private sector, like the Wall Street banks that are funding this extraction – must facilitate phasing out extraction while phasing in an equitable transition to renewable energy that supports communities and workers.”

“This latest report adds even more urgency to the need for a just transition off of fossil fuels to a renewable energy economy. To prevent the worst impacts of climate change, we must keep oil, coal, and gas in the ground,” said May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org. “It’s time for public officials at every level to follow the lead of communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and support bold climate policy.”

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Featured image is Creative Commons

Manbij False Flag: The Empire Devours Its Own Soldiers

January 17th, 2019 by Nauman Sadiq

Immediately after Donald Trump’s announcement of withdrawal of American troops from Syria on December 19, the Kurdish leadership reportedly threatened [1] to set free hundreds of Islamic State’s prisoners and their family members being held in makeshift prisons in the Kurdish-held areas of Syria.

Some of those prisoners are foreign fighters and their countries of origin, Western countries in particular, are unwilling to accept them since they lack evidence to prosecute them. Though the Kurds have since backtracked on their statement, it shows the level of frustration shown by the Kurdish leadership regarding President Trump’s abrupt and apparently whimsical decision to pull American forces out of Syria after a telephonic conversation with Turkish President Erdogan on December 14.

The next step the Kurdish leadership took was to rush to Paris to hold discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron who has donned the globalist, interventionist cap after the inauguration of isolationist, “alt-right” president in the US in January 2017.

President Macron reassured the Kurdish leadership that hundreds of French troops stationed in Syria as a part of global coalition to battle the Islamic State will remain there and take the lead after the withdrawal of 2,000 American troops, though it is unlikely that the French forces will stay in Syria for long once the American forces pull out. Particularly, if we keep the fact in mind that President Macron has been facing the biggest challenge to his presidency in recent months in the form of Yellow Vest protests.

Notwithstanding, four American soldiers were killed and three wounded in a suicide bombing in Syria’s northern flashpoint town of Manbij on Wednesday. Additionally, ten civilians were also killed and more than a dozen injured in the bombing.

Although Islamic State promptly claimed the responsibility for the attack via its Amaq news agency, the jihadist group is simply a weapon. The finger that pulled the trigger and created circumstances for the attack to take place is to be blamed for the atrocity.

Reuters reported [2] on Wednesday:

“An explosion hit near a restaurant, targeting the Americans, and there were some forces from the Manbij Military Council with them.” The report further adds: “The Manbij Military Council militia has controlled the town since the US-backed Kurdish-led forces took it from Islamic State in 2016. It is located near areas held by Russian-backed Syrian government forces and by anti-Assad fighters backed by Turkey.”

It bears mentioning that the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) are nothing more than Kurdish militias with a symbolic presence of mercenary Arab tribesmen in order to make SDF appear more representative and inclusive in outlook. The Manbij Military Council, as mentioned in the Reuters report, is comprised of mercenary Arab units of the Kurdish-led SDF.

Thus, it is quite easy for the fighters of the rest of Sunni Arab jihadist groups, including the Islamic State, battling the Shi’a-led government in Syria to infiltrate the Arab-led units of the Syrian Democratic Forces, specifically the Manbij Military Council.

And since the Syrian Kurds are opposed to the Trump administration’s policy of withdrawal of American troops from Syria, therefore it is quite likely that the Kurdish-led SDF did not maintain the level of vigilance necessary for keeping the evacuating American soldiers out of the harm’s way. The US soldiers mingling with the Arab-led units of SDF in a public restaurant on a busy street in Manbij appears to be one such incidents of costly negligence that claimed precious lives.

Regarding the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the suicide bombing, it has a history of making dubious claims for grandstanding and for attracting international attention in order to generate funds and attract potential jihadists to its transnational network of terrorists. It even claimed the responsibility for the Las Vegas attack in October 2017, which was perpetrated by Stephen Paddock who killed 58 people in cold blood and left hundreds injured at a concert at Mandalay Bay.

Since the Ghouta chemical weapons attack in August 2013, numerous false flag attacks have been staged in Syria by the militants and their regional and global patrons in order to cross then-President Obama’s purported “Red Line in Syria” – that Washington would not tolerate a chemical weapons attack against the Syrian opposition – in order to enforce an American no-fly zone over Syria.

The suicide bombing in Manbij on Wednesday that targeted evacuating American soldiers appears to be one such false flag attack that was either perpetrated by the Kurds themselves or by one of myriad Sunni Arab jihadist outfits battling the Shi’a-led government in Damascus, which are on the payroll of their regional and global patrons, in order to impede or possibly overturn the Syria exit strategy of the Trump administration by keeping the bogey of the Islamic State alive.

Fact of the matter is that Islamic State has been comprehensively defeated as it does not hold any territory in Syria and Iraq now. As far as its capability to wage guerilla warfare is concerned, Washington could not possibly hope to degrade it even if American forces remained stationed in Syria and Iraq for another decade.

Remember that despite fighting America’s longest seventeen-year war in Afghanistan, according to a recent report by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the US-backed Afghan government only controls 55% of Afghanistan’s territory. It’s worth noting that SIGAR is a US-based governmental agency that often inflates figures.

Factually, the government’s writ does not extend beyond a third of Afghanistan. In many cases, the Afghanistan government simply controls district-centers of provinces and outlying rural areas are either controlled by the Taliban or are contested between the militants and the government.

It’s worth pointing out that the distinction between Islamic jihadists and purported “moderate rebels” in Syria is more illusory than real. Before it turned rogue and overran Mosul in Iraq in June 2014, Islamic State used to be an integral part of the Syrian opposition and enjoyed close ideological and operational ties with other militant groups in Syria.

Besides, how could heavily armed militants in a sectarian war between Sunni jihadists and Shi’a-led government be possibly labeled as “moderate rebels” with secular and nationalist ambitions? Fact of the matter is that all the militant groups operating in Syria are fanatical Islamic jihadists who regard Shi’a Muslims as apostates and hence liable to death.

Thus, though practically impossible, even if Washington does eliminate all Islamic State militants from Syria, what would it do with myriads of other militant outfits in Syria, particularly with tens of thousands of al-Nusra Front jihadists who have carved out a new sanctuary in Syria’s northwestern Idlib governorate since last year?

The only practical solution to the conundrum is to withdraw all American troops from Syria and let Damascus establish writ of the state over all of Syria in order to eliminate all militant groups from Syria, including the Islamic State, though the Zionist lobbies in Washington might have objections to strengthening the hands of Iran and Russia in Syria.

After eight years of utter devastation and bloodletting, a consensus has emerged among all belligerents of the Syrian war to de-escalate the conflict, except for Israel which wants to further escalate the conflict because it has been the only beneficiary of the carnage in Syria.

Washington’s interest in the Syrian proxy war was mainly about ensuring Israel’s regional security. The United States Defense Intelligence Agency’s declassified report [3] of 2012 clearly spelled out the imminent rise of a Salafist principality in northeastern Syria – in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor which were occupied by the Islamic State until October 2017 – in the event of an outbreak of a sectarian war in Syria.

Under pressure from the Zionist lobby in Washington, however, the former Obama administration deliberately suppressed the report and also overlooked the view in general that a proxy war in Syria would give birth to radical Islamic jihadists.

The hawks in Washington were fully aware of the consequences of their actions in Syria, but they kept pursuing the ill-fated policy of nurturing militants in the training camps located in Syria’s border regions with Turkey and Jordan in order to weaken the anti-Zionist Syrian government.

The single biggest threat to Israel’s regional security was posed by the Shi’a resistance axis, which is comprised of Tehran, Damascus and their Lebanon-based surrogate, Hezbollah. During the course of 2006 Lebanon War, Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets into northern Israel and Israel’s defense community realized for the first time the nature of threat that Hezbollah and its patrons posed to Israel’s regional security.

Those were only unguided rockets but it was a wakeup call for Israel’s military strategists that what will happen if Iran passed the guided missile technology to Hezbollah whose area of operations lies very close to the northern borders of Israel.

Thus, the Zionist lobbies in Washington literally coerced then-President Obama to coordinate a proxy war against Damascus and its Lebanon-based surrogate Hezbollah in the wake of the “Arab Spring” protests of 2011 in Syria in order to dismantle the Iranian resistance axis against Israel.

Over the years, Israel not only provided medical aid and material support to militant groups battling Damascus – particularly to various factions of the Free Syria Army (FSA) and al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front in Daraa and Quneitra bordering the Israel-occupied Golan Heights – but Israel’s air force virtually played the role of air force of Syrian jihadists and conducted hundreds of airstrikes in Syria during the eight-year conflict.

In an interview to New York Times [4] on January 11, Israel’s outgoing Chief of Staff Lt. General Gadi Eisenkot confessed that the Netanyahu government approved his shift in strategy in January 2017 to step up airstrikes in Syria. Consequently, more than 200 Israeli airstrikes were launched against the Syrian targets in 2017 and 2018, as revealed[5] by the Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz in September last year.

In 2018 alone, Israel’s air force dropped 2,000 bombs in Syria. The purpose of Israeli airstrikes in Syria has been to degrade Iran’s guided missile technology provided to Damascus and Hezbollah, which poses an existential threat to Israel’s regional security.

Though after Russia provided S-300 missile system to the Syrian military after a Russian surveillance plane was shot down in Syria on September 18, killing 15 Russians onboard, Israel has conducted only a couple of airstrikes in Syria, one on the Christmas Day in which Israeli F-16 fighter jets took cover [6] of civilian airliners flying to Damascus and Beirut airports. The purpose of the airstrike was to locate the precise location of the S-300 air defense system installed in Syria by Russia in order to target it on a later date, or to keep the Israeli air force out of its reach.

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Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.

Notes

[1] Kurdish Fighters Discuss Releasing Almost 3,200 ISIS Prisoners

[2] Four U.S. troops reported among 16 dead in north Syria attack

[3] The United States Defense Intelligence Agency’s declassified report of 2012

[4] An interview with Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Israel’s chief of staff

[5] Israel Katz: Israel conducted 200 airstrikes in Syria in 2017 and 2018

[6] Israel Used Civilian Airliners as Cover in Christmas Day Airstrikes in Syria

Featured image is from Kurdistan24

Reports are circulating in the Pakistani press that the Russian company is interested in several power projects in the country, which could pave the way for Moscow to unofficially invest in CPEC without angering its Indian partners.

Many Pakistanis are excited by the news that Russian company Inter RAO Engineer is interested in several power projects in the country, potentially willing to commit the whopping sum of $2 billion worth of investments if their counterparts are receptive. While nothing has been officially confirmed, these reports are plausible enough given the fast-moving rapprochement between Russia and Pakistan over the past couple of years, which aims to establish a strategic partnership that the author coined with the catchphrase of “Rusi-Pakistani Yaar Yaar”.

It evidently appears as though Russia is diversifying its outreaches with Pakistan from their former Afghan-related anti-terrorist centricity to a more robust partnership that’s now taking on important energy dimensions. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Russia already committed to building the North-South gas pipeline and signed a memorandum of understanding for constructing a $10 billion offshore one between Iran, Pakistan, and possibly even India too one day. In a sense, it can be said that Russia’s “traditional diplomacy” with Pakistan evolved to “military diplomacy” and now “energy diplomacy”.

Attention should be paid to the latest report’s claims about how Inter RAO Engineering is supposedly interested in the proposed Mohmand Dam along the Swat River in the former mountainous Afghan-bordering region of what used to be called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) prior to its merger with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa last year. This is highly symbolic because the words “FATA” and “Swat” remind many Westerners of the country’s War on Terror during the mid-2000s, so it says a lot about the overall sub-region’s newfound stability that Russia would consider investing there.

Importantly, $2 billion worth of potential investments in Pakistan’s power industry would signal that Russia wants to get in on the country’s CPEC-related Chinese-driven construction boom but is doing so without openly attaching itself to the CPEC “brand” out of concern for its Indian partner’s political sensitivities. New Delhi is dead-set against CPEC because of its stance that the series of megaprojects transit through territory that India claims as its own per its maximalist approach to the Kashmir Conflict, and the renaissance of relations between it and Russia would be ruined if Moscow invested in CPEC.

That explains why Russia might reportedly be considering investing in CPEC without formally doing so, following the strategy that the author previously suggested in his piece last summer about “Creative Non-CPEC Marketing Strategies For Pakistan”. So long as Russia abstains from officially endorsing CPEC and attaching its investments to that “brand”, then its relations with India won’t suffer no matter how many billions of dollars it eventually pours into Pakistani projects. With that being the case, the latest reports are an encouraging sign of Russian intent and could portend more unofficial CPEC investments.

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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

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

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For years Israel denied allegations that it had a role in funding and weaponizing the anti-Assad insurgency in Syria, and more often military officials responded “no comment” even when confronted with overwhelming evidence of Israeli weapons documented in al-Qaeda linked insurgents’ hands, but this all changed in a new British Sunday Times interview with outgoing Israeli army commander Gadi Eisenkot, who has finally confirmed the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) supplied weapons to rebels across the border “for self-defense,” and further perhaps more stunningly, has admitted to long waging an “invisible war in Syria” that involved “thousands of attacks”.

The interview constitutes the first time that any current top Israeli military or government official has fully acknowledged sending anything beyond “humanitarian supplies,” such as medical aid to Syrian militants seeking to topple the Assad government; and yet it still appears the country’s military chief is slow playing the confirmation, only acknowledging the IDF provided “light weapons” — even after years of reporting has definitively uncovered an expansive Israeli program to arm dozens of insurgent groups and pay their salaries, includingknown affiliates of al-Qaeda in Syria.

This comes after the Syrian government has for years accused Israel of partnering with the west and gulf countries, such as the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey of funding and weaponizing an al-Qaeda/ISIS insurgency as part of covert regime change operations aimed at Damascus and its allies Iran and Hezbollah. Since then, countries like Qatar have come forward to reveal just how vast their covert role in fueling the Syrian war really was, which we covered in our story, In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War.

The Sunday Times relates a key confession that comes out of Lt.-Gen Gadi Eisenkot’s explosive interview as follows:

Eisenkot acknowledged for the first time, however, that Israel had supplied rebel groups in the border area with light weapons “for self-defence”.

Israel was a hidden player on a crowded Syrian battlefield.

Eisenkot positively boasted in the interview that “We operated in an area controlled by the Russians, sometimes attacking targets a kilometre or two from Russian positions,” in order to strike at Iranian assets in Syria.

The rare “confession” of sorts comes at a moment the White House says it’s moving forward on President Trump’s previously announced US troop pullout from Syria, something which has rattled Israel’s leadership, which has argued that Iran will become entrenched near Israel’s border as a result. Eisenkot’s words appear a warning to Iran that Tel Aviv aims to maintain operational capability inside Syria.

On this point the IDF chief admitted to “thousands” of attacks inside Syria:

“We carried out thousands of attacks [in recent years] without taking responsibility and without asking for credit,” he told the Sunday Times.

Given that prior military officials have typically put this number at “hundreds”, often from 200 to 400, this is an astounding admission that confirms Israel and Syria have been in a de facto state of open war since the first acknowledged Israeli airstrikes began in 2013.

Commenting on a prior report, The Times of Israel, summarized the timeline of Israel’s support to the anti-Assad insurgency as follows:

Foreign Policy said that Israel’s support for the rebel groups began in 2013, funding groups in places such as Quneitra and Daraa. It ended this summer as the regime’s forces advanced and made increasing gains in southern Syria against rebels. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops regained control of the border area in July.

The Syrian army said in 2013 that it had seized Israeli weapons in rebel hands.

The report said Israel sent the rebel groups weapons that included assault rifles, machine guns, mortar launchers, and vehicles. It initially sent the rebels US-made M16 rifles that would not identify Jerusalem as the source, and later began supplying guns and ammo from an Iranian shipment to Lebanon’s Hezbollah group that Israel captured in 2009, according to Foreign Policy.

But a number of analysts have suggested Israeli support to the opposition began even closer to the start of the conflict.

A prior Wall Street Journal investigation found that this relationship involved weapons transfers, salary payments to anti-Assad fighters, and treatment of wounded jihadists in Israeli hospitals, the latter which was widely promoted in photo ops picturing Netanyahu himself greeting militants. As even former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell once directly told the Israeli publicIsrael’s “dangerous game” in Syria consists in getting in bed with al-Qaeda in order to fight Shia Iran. 

Prior widely shared photo of Israeli soldiers speaking face to face with al-Qaeda fighters near the Israeli occupied Golan heights in Syria.

In recent years, multiple current and former Israeli defense officials have gone so far as to say that ISIS is ultimately preferable to Iran and Assad. For example, former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren in 2014 surprised the audience at Colorado’s Aspen Ideas Festival when he said in comments related to ISIS that,

“the lesser evil is the Sunnis over the Shias.” Oren, while articulating Israeli defense policy, fully acknowledged he thought ISIS was “the lesser evil.”

Likewise, for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials the chief concern was never the black clad death cult which filmed itself beheading Americans and burning people alive, but the possibility of, in the words of Henry Kissinger, “a Shia and pro-Iran territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut” and establishment of “an Iranian radical empire.”

What is clear, and now finally settled for the historical record, is that for years Israeli concealed its “hidden hand” in the proxy war while feigning merely “humanitarian aid” something now fully admitted by Israel’s top military commander. In other words the humanitarian smokescreen was cover for a full-on covert war on Damascus, as we and many other independent outlets have reported many times, and for years. Yet another past “conspiracy theory” becomes today’s incontrovertible fact.

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Featured image: IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot (Source: Zero Hedge)

Crimea is essential to Russia strategically and economically, but speculation over Ankara helping to boost the US presence in the Black Sea is far-fetched given Turkey’s energy deals with Moscow

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A power struggle over the Black Sea between Russia and the US plus NATO has the potential to develop as a seminal plot of the 21st century New Great Game – alongside the current jostling for re-positioning in the Eastern Mediterranean.

By now it’s established the US and NATO are stepping up military pressure from Poland to Romania and Bulgaria all the way to Ukraine and east of the Black Sea, which seems, at least for the moment, relatively peaceful, just as Crimea’s return to Russia starts to be regarded, in realpolitik terms, as a fait accompli.

After a recent series of conversations with top analysts from Istanbul to Moscow, it’s possible to identify the main trends ahead.

Just as independent Turkish analysts like Professor Hasan Unal are alarmed at Ankara’s isolation in the Eastern Mediterranean energy sphere by an alliance of Greece, Cyprus and Israel, Washington’s military buildup in both Romania and Bulgaria is also identified as posing a threat to Turkey.

It’s under this perspective that Ankara’s obstinance in establishing a security “corridor” in northern Syria, east of the Euphrates river, and free from the YPG Kurds, should be examined. It’s a matter of policing at least one sensitive border.

Still, in the chessboard from Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, Turkey and Crimea, the specter of “foreign intervention” setting fire to the Intermarium – from the Baltics to the Black Sea – simply refuses to die.

Ukraine Russia map

‘Russian lake’?

By the end of the last glacial era, around 20,000 years ago, the Black Sea – separated from the Mediterranean by an isthmus – was just a shallow lake, much smaller in size than it is today.

The legendary journey of Jason and the Argonauts, before the Trojan war, followed the Argo ship to the farther shore of Pontus Euxinus (the ‘Black Sea’) to recover the Golden Fleece – the cure for all evils – from its location in Colchis (currently in Georgia).

In Ancient Greece, steeped in mythology, the Black Sea was routinely depicted as the boundary between the known world and terra incognita. But then it was “discovered” – like America many centuries later – to the point where it was configured as a “string of pearls” of Greek trading colonies linked to the Mediterranean.

The Black Sea is more than strategic, it’s crucial geopolitically. There has been a constant drive in modern Russian history to be active across maritime trade routes through the strategic straits – the Dardanelles, the Bosphorus and Kerch in Crimea – to warmer waters further south.

As I observed early last month in Sevastopol, Crimea is now a seriously built fortress – incorporating S-400 and Iskander-M missiles – capable of ensuring total Russian primacy all across the eastern Black Sea.

A visit to Crimea reveals how its genes are Russian, not Ukrainian. A case can be made that the very concept of Ukraine is relatively spurious, propelled by the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of the 19th century and especially before World War I to weaken Russia. Ukraine was part of Russia for 400 years, far longer than California and New Mexico have been part of the US.

Now compare the reconquest of Crimea by Russia, without firing a shot and validated by a democratic referendum, to the US “conquests” of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya. Moreover, I saw Crimea being rebuilt and on the way to prosperity, complete with Tatars voting with their feet to return; compare it to Ukraine, which is an IMF basket case.

Crimea is essential to Russia not only from a geostrategic but also an economic point of view, as it solidifies the Black Sea as a virtual “Russian lake”.

It’s immaterial that Turkish strategists may vehemently disagree, as well as US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker who, trying to seduce Turkey, dreams about increasing the US presence in the Black Sea, “whether on a bilateral basis or under EU auspices.”

Under this context, the building of the Turk Stream pipeline should be read as Ankara’s sharp response to the rampant Russophobia in Brussels.

Ankara has, in tandem, consistently shown it won’t shelve the acquisition of Russian S-400 missile systems because of American pressure. This has nothing to do with pretentions of neo-Ottomanism; it’s about Turkey’s energy and security priorities. Ankara now seems more than ready to live with a powerful Russian presence across the Black Sea.

It all comes down to Montreux

Not by accident the comings and goings on NATO’s eastern flank was a key theme at last summer’s biennial Atlanticist summit. After all, Russia, in the wake of reincorporating Crimea, denied access over the eastern Black Sea.

NATO, though, is a large mixed bag of geopolitical agendas. So, in the end, there’s no cohesive strategy to deal with the Black Sea, apart from a vague, rhetorical “support for Ukraine” and also vague exhortations for Turkey to assume its responsibilities.

But because Ankara’s priorities are in fact the Eastern Mediterranean and the Turkish-Syrian border, east of the Euphrates river, there’s no realistic horizon for NATO to come up with permanent Black Sea patrols disguised as a “freedom of navigation” scheme – as much as Kiev may beg for it.

What does remain very much in place is the guarantee of freedom of navigation in the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits controlled by Turkey, as sanctioned by the 1936 Montreux Convention.

The key vector, once again, is that the Black Sea links Europe with the Caucasus and allows Russia trade access to southern warm waters. We always need to go back to Catherine the Great, who incorporated Crimea into the empire in the 18th century after half a millennium of Tatar and then Ottoman rule, and then ordered the construction of a huge naval base for the Black Sea fleet.

By now some facts on the ground are more than established.

Next year the Black Sea fleet will be upgraded with an array of anti-ship missiles; protected by S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems; and supported by a new “permanent deployment” of Sukhoi SU-27s and SU-30s.

Far-fetched scenarios of the Turkish navy fighting the Russian Black Sea fleet will continue to be peddled by misinformed think tanks, oblivious to the inevitability of the Russia-Turkey energy partnership. Without Turkey, NATO is a cripple in the Black Sea region.

Intriguing developments such as a Viking Silk Road across the Intermarium won’t alter the fact that Poland, the Baltics and Romania will continue to clamor for “more NATO” in their areas to fight “Russian aggression”.

And it will be up to a new government in Kiev after the upcoming March elections to realize that any provocation designed to drag NATO into a Kerch Strait entanglement is doomed to failure.

Ancient Greek sailors had a deep fear of the Black Sea’s howling winds. As it now stands, call it the calm before a (Black Sea) storm.

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Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO

By David Swanson, January 17, 2019

NATO, like the United Nations, is an international institution that has something or other to do with war, but transferring the UN’s claimed authority to legalize a war to NATO has no support whatsoever in reality.

Okinawa Activists Petition White House to Stop Military Base Construction

By John Zangas, January 17, 2019

Peace activists are calling for the U.S. government to call off plans for a massive military construction project on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

3 Reasons to Pay Attention to the LA Teacher Strike

By Prof. Erin McHenry-Sorber, January 17, 2019

The Los Angeles strike involves 34,000 teachers. To compare, the statewide 2018 teacher strike in West Virginia – where I am researching teacher strikes and teacher shortages – involved about 20,000 teachers and affected approximately 270,000 students.

Martin Luther King Commemorations Take Place Amid Government Shutdown and Worsening Capitalist Crisis

By Abayomi Azikiwe, January 17, 2019

Although U.S. involvement in World War II brought the country out of an economic slump through the conversion of industrial facilities to war production while millions were drafted into military service, racism and national oppression against African Americans remained, both inside and outside of the armed forces.

Europe on the Brink of Collapse?

By Peter Koenig, January 17, 2019

The European Union (EU), the conglomerate of vassals – Trump calls them irrelevant, and he doesn’t care what they think about him, they deserve to be collapsing.

A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s on Us

By Dahr Jamail, January 17, 2019

For at least two decades, I’ve found my solace in the mountains. I lived in Alaska from 1996 to 2006 and more than a year of my life has been spent climbing on the glaciers of Denali and other peaks in the Alaska Range. Yet that was a bittersweet time for me as the dramatic impacts of climate change were quickly becoming apparent, including quickly receding glaciers and warmer winter temperatures.

Medical Consequences of Drone Attacks against Gaza: Amputation Injuries

By Hanne Heszlein-Lossius, Yahya Al-Borno, and et al., January 17, 2019

Little data exist to describe the use and medical consequences of drone strikes on civilian populations in war and conflict zones. Gaza is a landstrip within the Palestinian territories and the home of 2 million people.

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Taking the art of fake news to new heights, a non-profit has circulated mock Washington Post issues near the White House, telling readers that President Donald Trump fled to Crimea on the back of women-led protests.

Activists giving out fake copies of the Washington Post commuters were spotted near the White House on Wednesday morning. Vigilant readers immediately alerted the newspaper, which said that the copies, dated May 1, 2019, were “not Post products” and that it was “looking into this.”

The fake copies include an eye-catching headline for the lead story: “UNPRESIDENTED. Ending Crisis, Trump Hastily Departs White House,” complete with a picture of a glum Trump on his way to “slip in a private car in the wee hours of the morning.”

The paper “reports” that Trump abruptly left his office at 3:15am on May 1, leaving a message on a napkin in the Oval Office that blamed “crooked Hillary,” the mysterious “Hfior,” and “the Fake News Media” for his flight. The report, meticulously mimicking the Washington Post’s source-based reporting style, cites “four White House aides” speaking on condition of anonymity, that they found the napkin two days before events took a dramatic turn.Trump’s fictional resignation and the subsequent swearing-in of Vice President Mike Pence, who instantly promises to keep as low a profile as possible, comes amidst “massive protests” staged by a grassroots movement with #MeToo as its backbone.

The protests are accompanied by a campaign of harassment against White House officials and Republican lawmakers, similar to what some liberal activists have been calling for in the real world. In what would be a dream come true for Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the fake newspaper says that officials’ “credit cards were declined repeatedly at bars and restaurants,” they were “openly heckled” or had “their order lost or bungled” and ultimately were forced to use aliases or feel “like pariahs” in their home cities.

The news of Trump’s resignation sparks a wave of celebrations across the globe, with European countries refusing to shelter him. The creators of the fake diligently stick to the Washington Post’s style, fanning the Russia collusion narrative just like their prototype by sending Trump to seek safe haven in Russia – namely, Crimea.

While there has been speculation that radical liberal political activist group MoveOn or CODEPINK, a women-led grassroots NGO, might be behind the stunt since they promoted the action, later in the day, The Yes Men, a progressive non-profit group, claimed responsibility in a press release.

“The story this paper tells is more reasonable than our current reality,” it cited one of the authors of the “report,”Onnesha Roychoudhuri, as saying. Co-author L.A. Kauffman argued that the fake is “anything but far-fetched” and “offers a blueprint to help us reclaim our democracy.”

Apart from the printed editions, the group made the paper available online at my-washingtonpost.com/ and democracyawakensinaction.org. In addition, it sent out emails from [email protected] to notify readers.

While the actual Washington Post has distanced itself from the stunt, it later decided to play along, publishing an article referencing the one in the fake edition, telling about “The Bundle,” a set of 64 progressive bills aiming to make education free, guarantee employment, and make everyone eligible for Medicare.

While the anti-Trump crowd has generally applauded the action, it also drew backlash, with many pointing out there is too much fake news around to churn out more, even accusing the Washington Post of playing along with Trump and Putin’s “authoritarian playbook.”

“This doesn’t help at all. We already have too much fake news floating around,” another wrote.

The Washington Post has been one of the favorite targets of Trump’s attacks on “fake news.” Last year, Trump’s trade adviser called the paper “fake news most of the time.”

The Yes Men co-founder Andy Bichlbaum defended the stunt, telling Wired it’s obvious that the websites and the copies are fake.

“If you look at the website, I think you might agree it would take someone very strange to spend much time believing it’s true,” he said.

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Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO

January 17th, 2019 by David Swanson

The New York Times loves NATO, but should you?

Judging by comments in social media and the real world, millions of people in the United States have gone from having little or no opinion on NATO, or from opposing NATO as the world’s biggest military force responsible for disastrous wars in places like Afghanistan (for Democrats) or Libya (for Republicans), to believing NATO to be a tremendous force for good in the world.

I believe this notion to be propped up by a series of misconceptions that stand in dire need of correction.

1. NATO is not a war-legalizing body, quite the opposite. NATO, like the United Nations, is an international institution that has something or other to do with war, but transferring the UN’s claimed authority to legalize a war to NATO has no support whatsoever in reality. The crime of attacking another nation maintains an absolutely unaltered legal status whether or not NATO is involved. Yet NATO is used within the U.S. and by other NATO members as cover to wage wars under the pretense that they are somehow more legal or acceptable. This misconception is not the only way in which NATO works against the rule of law. Placing a primarily-U.S. war under the banner of NATO also helps to prevent Congressional oversight of that war. Placing nuclear weapons in “non-nuclear” nations, in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, is also excused with the claim that the nations are NATO members (so what?). And NATO, of course, assigns nations the responsibility to go to war if other nations go to war — a responsibility that requires them to be prepared for war, with all the damage such preparation does.

2. NATO is not a defensive institution. According to the New York Times, NATO has “deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” This is an article of faith, based on the unsubstantiated belief that Soviet and Russian aggression toward NATO members has existed for 70 years and that NATO has deterred it rather than provoked it. In violation of a promise made, NATO has expanded eastward, right up to the border of Russia, and installed missiles there. Russia has not done the reverse. The Soviet Union has, of course, ended. NATO has waged aggressive wars far from the North Atlantic, bombing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. NATO has added a partnership with Colombia, abandoning all pretense of its purpose being in the North Atlantic. No NATO member has been attacked or credibly threatened with attack, apart from small-scale non-state blowback from NATO’s wars of aggression.

3. Trump is not trying to destroy NATO. Donald Trump, as a candidate and as U.S. President, has wondered aloud and even promised all kinds of things and, in many cases, the exact opposite as well. When it comes to actions, Trump has not taken any actions to limit or end or withdraw from NATO. He has demanded that NATO members buy more weapons, which is of course a horrible idea. Even in the realm of rhetoric, when European officials have discussed creating a European military, independent of the United States, Trump has replied by demanding that they instead support NATO.

4. If Trump were trying to destroy NATO, that would tell us nothing about NATO. Trump has claimed to want to destroy lots of things, good and bad. Should I support NAFTA or corporate media or the Cold War or the F35 or anything at all, simply because some negative comment about it escapes Trump’s mouth? Should I cheer for every abuse ever committed by the CIA or the FBI because they investigate Trump? Should I long for hostility between nuclear-armed governments because Democrats claim Trump is a Russian agent? When Trump defies Russia to expand NATO, or to withdraw from a disarmament treaty or from an agreement with Iran, or to ship weapons to Ukraine, or to try to block Russian energy deals in Europe, or to oppose Russian initiatives on banning cyber-war or weapons in space, should I cheer for such consistent defiance of Trump’s Russian master, and do so simply because Russia is, so implausibly, his so-inept master? Or should I form my own opinion of things, including of NATO?

5. Trump is not working for, and was not elected by, Russia. According to the New York Times, “Russia’s meddling in American elections and its efforts to prevent former satellite states from joining the alliance have aimed to weaken what it views as an enemy next door, the American officials said.” But are anonymous “American officials” really needed to acquire Russia’s openly expressed opinion that NATO is a threatening military alliance that has moved weapons and troops to states on Russia’s border? And has anyone produced the slightest documentation of the Russian government’s aims in an activity it has never admitted to, namely “meddling in American elections,” — an activity the United States has of course openly admitted to in regard to Russian elections? We have yet to see any evidence that Russia stole or otherwise acquired any of the Democratic Party emails that documented that party’s rigging of its primary elections in favor of Clinton over Sanders, or even any claim that the tiny amount of weird Facebook ads purchased by Russians could possibly have influenced the outcome of anything. Supposedly Trump is even serving Russia by demanding that Turkey not attack Kurds. But is using non-military means to discourage Turkish war-making necessarily the worst thing? Would it be if your favorite party or politician did it? If Trump encouraged a Turkish war, would that also be a bad thing because Trump did it, or would it be a bad thing for substantive reasons?

6. If Trump were elected by and working for Russia, that would tell us nothing about NATO. Imagine if Boris Yeltsin were indebted to the United States and ended the Soviet Union. Would that tell us whether ending the Soviet Union was a good thing, or whether the Soviet Union was obsolete for serious reasons? If Trump were a Russian pawn and began reversing all of his policies on Russia to match that status, including restoring his support for the INF Treaty and engaging in major disarmament negotiations, and we ended up with a world of dramatically reduced military spending and nuclear armaments, with the possibility of all dying in a nuclear apocalypse significantly lowered, would that too simply be a bad thing because Trump?

7. Russia is not a military threat to the world. That Russia would cheer NATO’s demise tells us nothing about whether we should cheer too. Numerous individuals and entities who indisputably helped to put Trump in the White House would dramatically oppose and others support NATO’s demise. We can’t go by their opinions either, since they don’t all agree. We really are obliged to think for ourselves. Russia is a heavily armed militarized nation that commits the crime of war not infrequently. Russia is a top weapons supplier to the world. All of that should be denounced for what it is, not because of who Russia is or who Trump is. But Russia spends a tiny fraction of what the United States does on militarism. Russia has been reducing its military spending each year, while the United States has been increasing its military spending. U.S. annual increases have sometimes exceeded Russia’s entire military budget. The United States has bombed nine nations in the past year, Russia one. The United States has troops in 175 nations, Russia in 3. Gallup and Pew find populations around the world viewing the United States, not Russia, as the top threat to peace in the world. Russia has asked to join NATO and the EU and been rejected, NATO members placing more value on Russia as an enemy. Anonymous U.S. military officials describe the current cold war as driven by weapons profits. Those profits are massive, and NATO now accounts for about three-quarters of military spending and weapons dealing on the globe.

8. Crimea has not been seized. According to the New York Times, “American national security officials believe that Russia has largely focused on undermining solidarity between the United States and Europe after it annexed Crimea in 2014. Its goal was to upend NATO, which Moscow views as a threat.” Again we have an anonymous claim as to a goal of a government in committing an action that never occurred. We can be fairly certain such things are simply made up. The vote by the people of Crimea to re-join Russia is commonly called the Seizure of Crimea. This infamous seizure is hard to grasp. It involved a grand total of zero casualties. The vote itself has never been re-done. In fact, to my knowledge, not a single believer in the Seizure of Crimea has ever advocated for re-doing the vote. Coincidentally, polling has repeatedly found the people of Crimea to be happy with their vote. I’ve not seen any written or oral statement from Russia threatening war or violence in Crimea. If the threat was implicit, there remains the problem of being unable to find Crimeans who say they felt threatened. (Although I have seen reports of discrimination against Tartars during the past 4 years.) If the vote was influenced by the implicit threat, there remains the problem that polls consistently get the same result. Of course, a U.S.-backed coup had just occurred in Kiev, meaning that Crimea — just like a Honduran immigrant — was voting to secede from a coup government, by no means an action consistently frowned upon by the United States.

9. NATO is not an engaged alternative to isolationism. The notion that supporting NATO is a way to cooperate with the world ignores superior non-deadly ways to cooperate with the world. A nonviolent, cooperative, treaty-joining, law-enforcing alternative to the imperialism-or-isolationism trap is no more difficult to think of or to act on than treating drug addiction or crime or poverty as reason to help people rather than to punish them. The opposite of bombing people is not ignoring them. The opposite of bombing people is embracing them. By the standards of the U.S. communications corporations Switzerland must be the most isolationist land because it doesn’t join in bombing anyone. The fact that it supports the rule of law and global cooperation, and hosts gatherings of nations seeking to work together is simply not relevant.

10. April 4 belongs to Martin Luther King, Jr., not militarism. War is a leading contributor to the growing global refugee and climate crises, the basis for the militarization of the police, a top cause of the erosion of civil liberties, and a catalyst for racism and bigotry. A growing coalition is calling for the abolition of NATO, the promotion of peace, the redirection of resources to human and environmental needs, and the demilitarization of our cultures. Instead of celebrating NATO’s 70thanniversary, we’re celebrating peace on April 4, in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech against war on April 4, 1967, as well as his assassination on April 4, 1968.

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A Tale of Two Austerities

January 17th, 2019 by John Clarke

The greatly intensified austerity that has been imposed in the UK since 2010 has been looked to with considerable approval by right wing imitators. Among countries that had developed a relatively adequate ‘welfare state’, the attack on social provision in the UK has been outstandingly severe. One of the key elements of this has been a drive to degrade social benefit systems. The central objective has not been, as is generally claimed, to save money but rather to ensure a level of desperation that drives people into low wage precarious work and depresses the level of real wages.

In Canada, where a federal system of government exists, most of the political decisions related to the undermining of social programmes are taken at the provincial level. It is worthwhile to compare the specific assault on income support in Ontario, the province with the largest economy and population, with the situation that has unfolded in the UK. Before doing this, however, I want to go a little deeper into why the architects of neoliberal austerity have placed such emphasis on reducing the adequacy of systems of income support that unemployed, poor and disabled people turn to.

Poor Law Roots

When the peasantry was being driven from the land in England, the Tudor authorities at first imagined that the anger of the dispossessed could be contained with large doses of state violence and intimidation. However, the jobless and homeless portion of the new working class created a public order problem that required a reluctant concession. This took the form of the Poor Laws and, as is still the case with modern income support systems, they were intended to maintain social stability while offering the least attractive alternative possible to the worst jobs on offer.

The 1834 New Poor Law articulated a principle of ‘less eligibility’ that has cast its shadow over benefit systems ever since. The terms and conditions of receiving relief, featuring the dreaded workhouse, would ensure that recipients would be worse off than the poorest workers. Modern benefit systems, with bureaucratic intrusion and moral policing replacing the workhouse, retain the guiding principle of less eligibility. The Ken Loach film, I, Daniel Blake demonstrates this very starkly.

It is often suggested that ‘austerity isn’t working’. In fact, in both the UK and Ontario, the degrading of benefit systems has produced startling results for employers, especially those paying the lowest wages. If benefit levels had not been driven down and made more punitive and precarious, it is hard to imagine how the proliferation of low wage precarious work could have been so successfully imposed.

Sluggish wage growth exists in all OECD countries but the UK’s long-term decline in real wage levels is especially stark. The numbers of people forced into precarious employment has shot up and the increase in workers forced to accept zero hour contracts has been dramatic. Changes in the level of exploitation and the expansion of the low wage sector have been comparably appalling in Ontario. In 1997, only one worker in forty was forced to accept a minimum wage job but, by 2015, that had increased to one worker in eight. By 2013, among workers in the densely populated Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, barely half were in permanent full-time jobs.

Liberal War on the Poor

Until recently, when a hard-right Tory Government took office, the task of imposing austerity and reducing the adequacy of the social assistance system in Ontario was in the hands of a Liberal Government. As the dubiously progressive face of the neoliberal mainstream, the Liberals were somewhat circumspect in how they carried out the attack. Their task was made easier by the work of an earlier Thatcher-like Tory regime that held office from 1995 until 2003. Brutal cutbacks in the social assistance rates were an accomplished fact and the Liberals spent most of their fifteen years in office providing parsimonious increases below the rate of inflation while holding round after round of public consultations to keep alive the illusion that they would address a growing crisis of poverty and homelessness.

At the very end of the Liberal period, after so successfully reducing the adequacy of Ontario’s income support system and driving people into a mushrooming low wage sector, they concluded that the attack could be eased and they tactically shifted to the left. Under considerable pressure from a ‘Fight For $15 and Fairness Campaign’, they increased the minimum wage, announcing that it would rise to $15 in 2019, and introduced a series of measures to strengthen workers’ rights. They also announced a 3% increase in social assistance rates that, while inadequate, would be the first general increase that exceeded the rate of inflation since 1994. They also announced a series of modest but beneficial measures to improve the lives of people receiving benefits.

Tories Take Over

When the new Tory regime took office last June, there was no delay in moving towards a more ruthless and extreme form of war on the poor. The minimum wage increase was cancelled and the scheduled improvements in social assistance met the same fate. The Tories even cancelled the basic income pilot project that the Liberals were running. While many neoliberal thinkers look approvingly at the concept of basic income, the Ford Tories, as meat and potatoes reactionaries, had no interest in anything that smacked of reduced conditionality. The attitudes of former work and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, and her Ontario counterpart, Lisa MacLeod, on this social policy proposal are striking similar.

After killing off the impending reforms and cutting the 3% rate increase in half, the Ontario social services minister declared a review of the social assistance system. The results of this are predictably horrifying and chart directions that will be familiar to those in the UK who have experienced or resisted the Tory attack on social benefits under Cameron and May. MacLeod is very fond of the right wing cliche that ‘the best social programme is a job’. This is the key to the Ontario Tory approach to ‘welfare reform’. Having acted to preserve poverty wages, the plan is to refine the social assistance system as a means of forcing people into the worst jobs.

In the UK, the work capability assessment has been used to brutally and systematically deny benefits to disabled people. The Ontario Tories share the goal of ensuring that disability benefits are restricted massively so as to give disabled no option but to enter the job market. Their solution is to change radically the definition of disability. The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will now only be for those who can show that are permanently and severely impaired with no prospects of taking employment.

All others will be forced onto the ‘short term’ Ontario Works (OW) programme where they will be treated as job ready workers, regardless of their situation. At the same time, OW is to be reworked as a much more coercive supplier of low wage workers. Just as benefit sanctions and claimant commitments have been used to ensure people in the UK understand they must scramble for employment on the employers’ terms, the Ontario plan takes similar directions. ‘Placing a greater focus on outcomes’, people will ‘complete individual action plans’. Municipalities that function as delivery agents ‘will be held accountable for helping people achieve their goals’ (provided those goals include working for low pay with no rights and few supports). So directly is the refined system to work as a supplier for the most exploitative employers that the Tories are ‘launching a website, Ontario.ca/openforbusiness to make matching job seekers with businesses easier’. The vilest employers will know where to go for a supply of vulnerable workers who must accept employment on their terms or face loss of benefits and outright destitution.

A Working-Class Issue

Theresa May’s recent claim that austerity is over is exposed as a lie as communities in the UK experience the horrible effects of the roll out of Universal Credit. In Ontario, too, austerity and the degrading of benefit systems is a work in progress. What must be understood is that this attack doesn’t only impact the poorest people. It is a careful and ruthless strategy to increase the supply of super exploited workers and, in doing so, depress wages generally. The broad working-class movement has a stake in resisting this attack and defeating the austerity driven war on the poor.

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John Clarke is a writer and leading organizer for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).

Featured image: Anti-austerity protest in Manchester 2017. Photo: Jim Aindow.

Washington has moved to delegitimise democratically elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, with US Vice-President Mike Pence offering support to an opposition politician claiming to be the country’s real leader.

In a phone call to National Assembly speaker Juan Guaido, Mr Pence praised his “courageous leadership” and called on him to unite all opposition groups against Mr Maduro.

The National Assembly has no legitimate role in Venezuela since the establishment of the Constitutional Assembly, which was elected in August 2017 despite violent attacks from right-wing opposition groups seeking to stop people from voting.

However, following Mr Maduro’s inauguration last week, the body declared Mr Guaido to be the country’s “acting president” and refused to recognise Mr Maduro, despite him having won a second term of office last May with a thumping 67 per cent of the vote.

In a statement, Mr Pence branded Mr Maduro a “dictator with no legitimate claim to power who has oppressed the Venezuelan people for too long.”

He endorsed Mr Guaido’s claim to be interim president, which has also been recognised by the right-wing governments of Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

It is understood that Mr Guaido also has the support of the Organisation of American States, whose secretary-general Luis Almagro was recently expelled from the Frente Amplio party in his native Uruguay for backing intervention against Venezuela.

Mr Pence said that Washington would continue “to press for a full restoration of democracy” in the country.

The US has long sought regime change in Venezuela, implementing a raft of punitive sanctions and other measures. Last year it emerged that US President Donald Trump had given serious consideration to military intervention against Venezuela, including the possibility of a ground invasion to topple Mr Maduro.

Yesterday, the Washington Post published a column by Mr Guaido in which he accused Mr Maduro of being a dictator with links to drug trafficking and guerilla groups and demanded his overthrow.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the darling of liberals, has also branded Mr Maduro a dictator, refusing to recognise his presidency. However, at a university debate yesterday, he refused to answer questions about his support for far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Mr Maduro dismissed Mr Guaido, who was part of the protest movement that tried to topple his late predecessor Hugo Chavez, as “a usurper.”

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Featured image: Venezuela’s National Assembly speaker Juan Guaido (Source: Morning Star)

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Peace activists are calling for the U.S. government to call off plans for a massive military construction project on the Japanese island of Okinawa. On January 7, a fourth generation Okinawan-American and local peace groups staged a demonstration and delivered a petition with 190,000 signatures to the White House. The petition calls for a halt of construction of a U.S. airbase at Ourawan Bay until a referendum can be held on February 24.

The airbase would build an airstrip by filling in Ourawan Bay with boulders and dirt. Two 5,000-foot runways are planned which will eventually house the ultra-advanced U.S. F-35 fighter jets and V-22 tiltrotor aircraft. The bay is a pristine tropical water paradise and home to many rare aquatic species, including the Dugong, an endangered rare marine mammal.

Construction over the bay began on December 18. The project has the backing of the mainland Japan Premier Shinzo Abe.

Opposition to Futenma airbase and its relocation from Ginowan to Henoco District on Ourawan Bay dates back several decades with nearly 80 percent of Okinawans opposed to it. The specifics of the plan call for building the airstrips at the edge of Schaub Marine Base, a base camp for Marine infantry units rotating between South Korea, Guam, Mainland Japan, and the U.S. West Coast.

There are 23 U.S. bases on Okinawa, taking up 20 percent of the Island land area. Okinawa compares as less than 1 percent of the land area of Japan but hosts 74 percent of the land area used by U.S. military forces in Japan and its islands. Okinawans believe they are saddled with an unfair responsibility for being tasked to yield far more land area by ratio than mainland Japan. Further, Okinawans host half of the 50,000 U.S. military personnel in Japan.

Environmentalists say the Dugong marine mammal feeds on lush beds of marine grass within Ourawan Bay, but the new airbase will further endanger its existence there. By filling the bay with rocks to build two runways and a mile-long sea wall, the base will bury the lush source of sea grass, the home of the Dugong and many other rare species.

Okinawa has been hampered by the presence of remnant U.S. base relics since World War II.

Okinawa: A Rich Cultural History

Okinawa Prefecture is the southern most part of Japan which was annexed in 1879. Before it was annexed it had already established an island culture and autonomous Kingdom of the Ryukyu government for several centuries. It was the central part of the 1,000-mile chain of the Ryukyu Islands before Japan annexed it.

The island saw almost total destruction in WWII during the battle of Okinawa as Marines landed and fought against Japanese soldiers. Almost 25% of its people were killed and every building was either destroyed or damaged. After the war Okinawa remained under U.S. administration until 1972. It was then given back to Japan’s control in March 1972, nearly 100 years after Japan annexed it. However, the U.S. maintained possession of a series of bases, including Futenma airbase.

Susumu Inamine, the Mayor of Nago, and Denny Tamaki vitisted the U.S. in 2014 to advocate for the removal of Futenma airbase and relocation of Henoco airfield to mainland Japan. Tamaki is no the Governor of Okinawa. Photo/John Zangas

During the 1970s and 80s, the population grew as did tensions with the U.S. over incidents of assaults by U.S. military personnel. Okinawans urged mainland Japan to relocate Futenma airbase to the mainland and reduce U.S. military presence. They grew increasingly impatient for U.S. bases to be closed and the land to be returned to them. Civil disobedience and resistance grew out of plans to relocate Futenma airbase to Ourawan Bay which was announced in 1995.

Long Battle of Resistance Against Futenma Airbase

The original plan was to move Futenma to Henoco by acquiring private property inland but not over Ourawan Bay. The early plan was part of a secret proposal in the 1960s (since declassified) by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara during President Kennedy’s administration. In the 1970s and early 1980s, this plan met opposition as Okinawans began to mobilize in opposition.

Once the second plan was publicized in 1995 to build the base over Ourawan Bay, Okinawans organized protests, sit-ins and day-long blockades outside Futenma and Schaub bases until police moved in. They have even launched water flotillas on Ourawan Bay as the Okinawa resistance took to kayaks in pitch battles with construction personnel.

The resistance was originally fighting to close the base. But once the relocation plan to move Futenma airstrip to Ourawan Bay was made public, the blockades of Schaub Marine Base near Henoko became more intense. And they have sustained a spirited resistance ever since. They have organized marches, voted only for local candidates opposed to the Henoko project, blocked base entrances and sent delegations to the U.S. to urge cancellation of construction plans. Mayor Susumu Inamine of the city of Nago and then Japanese Congressman Denny Tamaki visited the U.S. in 2014 to urge President Barack Obama to cancel the project but was unable to meet with him. Denny Tamaki was elected as Governor of Okinawa in 2018 on a platform to block Henoco base construction. Tamaki visited the U.S. again in 2018 to lobby for U.S. base closures.

Resistance Builds On Social Media

Robert Kajiwara, a fourth-generation Okinawan-American, organized the online petition which gained 190,000 signatures. A human rights activist and musician, he has worked to build international support to stop Henoco Base. He wrote lyrics about the struggle in Okinawa to the John Denver song “Country Roads.”

His lyrics resonated with Okinawans and attracted international support. He believes music is an effective way to reach people through emotions. It has also been his way of helping to gain support for his fellow islanders and pay back his grandparents for their support for his education in Hawaii.

He delivered the petition to the White House on Monday hoping to urge the Trump Administration to cancel the project. But he believes Americans also have an important stake in the new battle for Okinawa.

“There are a plethora of reasons why this base is bad for America, and I am trying to bring these reasons to their attention,” said Kajiwara. He says the project will also hurt Americans by costing much more money than previously estimated.

An analysis of military plans show the project has ballooned to $23 billion, more than 10 times the original cost estimated in 2013. It will also take five years longer to complete the Ourawan Bay fill and stabilization process that was previously estimated at 5 years. This is due to a discovery by civil engineers that Ourawan Bay contains sediments that are much more soft than previously thought. The ancient coral reef geology under the coastal water is not supported by the heavy loads of an airbase so the fill dirt project will take more time to reinforce, the report claimed. There is also the consideration of periodic earthquakes which could cause subsidence under the base and have to be remedied.

Kajiwara said there are many stories about the elderly protestors that have yet to be told, and he wants to help them share stories with the world. He spoke of two elderly protesters who were arrested and charged with felonies. He believes they were targeted because of successful organization efforts. “Hiroji Yamashiro and Hiroji Inaba are two of the most prominent leaders of the movement, and they were arrested and sentenced as felons for their protests. They recently filed an appeal, but their appeals were denied,” he said.

Dozens of elderly protesters are forcibly moved on a daily basis. Their resistance has taught the younger generations about non-violent protest and delayed the Henoco airbase project by two decades.

Okinawans block the highway leading to Henoco airbase. They have built a spirited resistance with elderly and youth. Photo/Robert Kajiwara

David Swanson, Director of World Beyond War, said that the people have the right to freedom from occupation by U.S. forces as well as the freedom of an environmentally safe home.

“Occupying Okinawa does something negative to the people of Okinawa. They are denied the freedom of not being the prime target of attack, the freedom not to have their water poisoned, and the freedom from massive environmental destruction,” he said.

One of the issues Okinawans must also contend with is polluted water from over 70 years of U.S. military operations. Water quality has been effected with fuel spills, fire drills from fire-retardant foam, grease and solvent and petroleum runoff from military operations.

Kajiwara is hopeful the base can be stopped even though construction began in Ourawan Bay a few weeks ago. He cites the tenacity of Okinawans, their love of each other and their concern for the environment as strengths.

“They have been fighting for decades, and they’re not going anywhere,” he said.

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Featured image: Okinawa activists protest outside of White House on January 7./Photo by Robert Kajiwara

3 Reasons to Pay Attention to the LA Teacher Strike

January 17th, 2019 by Prof. Erin McHenry-Sorber

The first mass teacher labor action of 2019 is unfolding in California as the United Teachers Los Angeles walked out for the first time in 30 years.

This strike, which began on Jan. 14, isn’t just important to people in Los Angeles. Here are three reasons the nation should pay attention.

1. The Los Angeles case is different

The Los Angeles strike stands out because of the size of the district.

With 640,000 students, and about 500,000 enrolled in the district’s public schools, Los Angeles represents the second largest school district in the United States. The only bigger district is New York City.

The Los Angeles strike involves 34,000 teachers. To compare, the statewide 2018 teacher strike in West Virginia – where I am researching teacher strikes and teacher shortages – involved about 20,000 teachers and affected approximately 270,000 students.

Also, the political context is different. When West Virginia teachers walked out of the classroom, they were battling a conservative state legislature in a largely rural, majority-white state. Los Angeles is urban, far more diverse, and located in a state that has voted mostly Democratic in presidential elections since 1992.

Los Angeles Unified School District’s student population is 73 percent Latino, 10.5 percent white, 8.2 percent black and 4.2 percent Asian. The district serves over 150,000 students whose first language is not English.

The situation for the Los Angeles teachers union is also different in several ways. For instance, it is engaged in an active fight against the rapid growth of charter schools. Los Angeles is home to the largest number of charter schools in the U.S. with 277.

Since 2008, the charter industry in Los Angeles has grown 287 percent. According to the Los Angeles teachers union, this is effectively siphoning US$550 million per year from the district’s traditional public schools.

The union argues that Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent, Austin Beutner, is a pro-charter school superintendent with no education experience.

The teachers union has proposed greater transparency and more accountability for Los Angeles charter schools and has called for an immediate cap on charter school growth in the school district. The district has provided no counter offer to these demands.

Teachers in Los Angeles have negotiated the current contract under dispute for over 20 months, and have been working without a contract for over a year. This is not uncommon. For example, teachers in Oakland, California, have been working without a contract for more than a year. And a recent contract resolution following a Pennsylvania school district strike came after teachers worked without a contract for three and a half years.

2. It’s not just about better pay

Like strikes in Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and North Carolina, the Los Angeles teachers’ strike is essentially about greater investment in public education.

For the Los Angeles teachers, this includes a 6.5 percent salary increase to make up for what the union calls “stagnant wages.”

The average teacher makes almost 19 percent less in wages than comparable workers. In California, specifically, this figure is about 15 percent. Los Angeles teachers make between $50,000 and $80,000, but the cost of living in LA is so high that a two-bedroom apartment requires a six-figure income. This means many teachers have second or even third jobs.

But beyond wages, teachers have begun to demand a greater commitment to investment in public education from their governing bodies, either school boards or state legislatures.

In Oklahoma for example, striking teachers protested inadequate instructional materials, including outdated and deteriorating textbooks. And in Los Angeles, striking teachers are demanding, among other things, a reduction in classroom sizes, which can be up to 46 students in some classrooms based on their current contract. Teachers argue that the large class sizes make it difficult to meet the needs of their students.

They also want an increase in school nurses, librarians and counselors.

These issues get at the heart of student learning. Students need adequate supplies, individual teacher attention and access to mental health services, such as counselors, if they are expected to thrive in the classroom.

But the ability for public schools to provide for all of these instructional and social support needs has become increasingly difficult as states have continued to underfund their public education systems.

3. Los Angeles strike could spur other teacher strikes

The Los Angeles teachers strike suggests that the wave of teacher protests is not over.

Teacher strikes and work stoppages have been preceded by a nationwide teacher shortage that continues to grow across many states, which do not have enough certified math, special education, science, and in increasing cases, elementary teachers – to meet the needs of their students. In California 80 percent of districts reported a teacher shortage in the 2017 to 2018 school year. Teacher shortages are most often blamed on low teacher pay, one of the commonalities across teacher strikes.

These shortages are arguably exacerbated by an increase in the “teacher pay penalty,” the term used to describe disparities in teacher salary compared to professions requiring comparable levels of education.

At the same time teachers find themselves increasingly undervalued, most states are still funding their public education systems at levels below that of the 2008 recession. This includes California, which is ranked 41st nationwide in per pupil spending when adjusted for cost of living.

As long as public schools remain underfunded, the nation can expect to see more teacher strikes in other school districts and states in the near future.

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Prof. Erin McHenry-Sorber is Assistant Professor of Higher Education, West Virginia University.

Featured image: LA teachers on strike (Source: WSWS)

The situation in Syria evolves daily and sees two situations very closely linked to each other, with the US withdrawal from Syria and the consequent expansionist ambitions of Erdogan in Syria and the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) takeover in Idlib that frees the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian aviation to liberate the de-escalation zone.

Trump has promised to destroy Turkey economically if he attacks the Kurds, reinforcing his claim that Erdogan will not target the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) once the US withdraws from the area. One of the strongest accusations made against Trump’s withdrawal by his opponents is that no Middle Eastern force will ever trust the US again if they abandon the SDF to its fate, that is, to its annihilation at the hands of the Turkish army and its FSA proxies. This, however, is not possible; not so much because of Trump’s economic threats, but because of Damascus and Moscow being strongly opposed to any Turkish military action in the northeast of Syria.

This is a red line drawn by Putin and Assad, and the Turkish president likely understands the consequences of any wrong moves. It is no coincidence that he stated several times that he had no problems with the “Syrians or Syrian-Kurdish brothers”, and repeated that if the area under the SDF were to come under the control of Damascus, Turkey would have no need to intervene in Syria. Trump’s request that Ankara have a buffer zone of 20 kilometers separating the Kurdish and Turkish forces seems to complement the desire of Damascus and Moscow to avoid a clash between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the SDF.

The only party that seems to be secretly encouraging a clash between the SDF and Turkish forces is Israel, criticizing Ankara and singing the praises of the SDF, in order to try and accentuate the tensions between the two sides, though naturally without success. Israel’s continued raids in Syria, though almost constantly failing due to Syrian air defense, and the divide-and-rule policy used against Turkey and the SDF, show that Tel Aviv is now weakened and mostly irrelevant in the Syrian conflict.

In Idlib, the situation seems to be becoming less complicated and difficult to decipher. Russia, Iran and Syria had asked Erdogan to take control of the province through its “moderate jihadists”, sit down at the negotiating table, and resolve the matter through a diplomatic solution. Exactly the opposite happened. The HTS (formerly al-Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria) has in recent weeks conquered practically the whole province of Idlib, with numerous forces linked to Turkey (Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki) dissolving and merging into HTS. This development puts even more pressure on Erdogan, who is likely to see his influence in Idlib fade away permanently. Moreover, this evolution represents a unique opportunity for Damascus and Moscow to start operations in Idlib with the genuine justification of combating terrorism. It is a repeat of what happened in other de-escalation areas. Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly requested the moderates be separated from the terrorists, so as to approach the situation with a diplomatic negotiation.

In the absence of an effective division of combatants, all are considered terrorists, with the military option replacing the diplomatic. This remains the only feasible option to free the area from terrorists who are not willing to give back territory to the legitimate government in Damascus and are keeping civilians hostages. The Idlib province seems to have experienced the same playbook applied in other de-escalation zones, this time with a clear contrast between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that shows how the struggle between the two countries is much deeper than it appears. The reasons behind the Khashoggi case and the diplomatic confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were laid bare in the actions of the HTS in Idlib, which has taken control of all the areas previously held by Ankara’s proxies.

It remains to be seen whether Moscow and Damascus would like to encourage Erdogan to recover Idlib through its proxies, trying to encourage jihadists to fight each other as much as possible in order to lighten the task of the SAA, or whether they would prefer to press the advantage themselves and attack while the terrorist front is experiencing internal confusion.

In terms of occupied territory and accounts to be settled, two areas of great importance for the future of Syria remain unresolved, namely al-Tanf, occupied by US forces on the Syrian-Jordanian border, and the area in the north of Syria occupied by Turkish forces and their FSA proxies. It is too early to approach a solution militarily, it being easier for Damascus and Moscow to complete the work to free Syria from the remaining terrorists. Once this has been done, the presence of US or Turkish forces in Syria, whether directly or indirectly, would become all the more difficult to justify. Driving away the US and, above all, Turkey from Syrian territory will be the natural next step in the Syrian conflict.

This is an unequivocal sign that the war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus. Several countries — including Italy in the near future — will reopen their embassies in Syria to demonstrate that the war, even if not completely over, is effectively won by Damascus and her allies.

For this reason, several countries that were previously opposed to Damascus, like the United Arab Emirates, are understood to have some kind of contact with the government of Damascus. If they intend to become involved in the reconstruction process and any future investment, they will quite naturally need to re-establish diplomatic relations with Damascus. The Arab League is also looking to welcome Syria back into the fold.

Such are signs that Syria is returning to normality, without forgetting which and how many countries have conspired and acted directly against the Syrians for over seven years. An invitation to the Arab League or some embassy being reopened will not be enough to compensate for the damage done over years, but Assad does not preclude any option, and is in the meantime demonstrating to the Israelis, Saudis and the US Deep State that their war has failed and that even their most loyal allies are resuming diplomatic relations with Damascus, a double whammy against the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists.

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

Featured image is from SCF

No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit

January 17th, 2019 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Theresa May’s prime ministership remains one of torment, drawn out, and weakened daily.  But does it really matter?  If it is true to claim that people deserve the government they elect, then there is something madly representative of the debacle of May’s leadership, one where problems are sought for any possible solutions. 

Steering through the waters of Brexit has been a nigh impossible task rendered even more problematic by a stubborn myopia nursed by May.  She nurses dogmas incapable of learning new tricks.  Her latest Brexit plan, as it headed to inevitable defeat, would have rendered Britain bound to the EU in a manner more servile than any sovereign populist would have dreamed.  Benefits would have been shed; obligations would have persisted. While there is very little to recommend the views of the rabid Tory Eurosceptics, there is something in the idea that Britain would become a vassal state. 

As it transpired, May lost by a colossal margin, an indication that few could stomach her vision: 432 to 202, the worst defeat by a British administration in over a century.

“In all normal circumstances,” observed Robert Peston, that legendary pessimist of matters economic, “a Prime Minister would resign when suffering such a humiliation on their central policy – and a policy Theresa May herself said today would ‘set the future of this country for a generation’.”

Such is the nature of the climate: gross failure results in bare survival rather than inevitable annihilation.  Grand acts of quixotic behaviour are not richly punished but given reprieve before the next charge against windmills. So we are left with the idea of uncharted territory, suggesting, in the face of such chaos and uncertainty, a postponement of the departure date from the EU set for March 29.  The Article 50 period, in other words, would have to be extended, but this, again, implies a set of hypothetical variations and ponderings. 

For all that, May survived yet another no-confidence motion by 325 to 306, with Labor’s Jeremy Corbyn incapable of pushing the entire debacle to an election. Not even the Tories wished that upon their own leader, whom they have come to despise in ways verging on the pathological. Corbyn might well have called the May prime ministership a “zombie” administration, but he had failed to supply the necessary weapons to finish it off, prompting colleagues in the Commons to suggest a change of approach.   

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, advanced the proposition that the Labour leader had to alter “his position and come behind the ‘People’s Vote’ or he will just be seen, and will be, a handmaiden of Brexit.” 

Despite the failure, Corbyn had his own demands.  “The government must remove clearly, once and for all, the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal exit from the EU and all the chaos that would come as a result of that.”  The language of cross-party lines on discussing Brexit remain distant matters. 

As for the zombie representative-in-chief herself, the government would “continue to work to deliver on the solemn promise to the people of this country to deliver on the result of the referendum and leave the European Union”.  Same words, barely touched up – the May formulae remains incapable of changing form, incapable of elevation, but also seemingly incapable of perishing. 

Wednesday’s vote of survival after the calamity of her defeated proposals suggested a change in heart from May.  (Did she have any other choice?)  She ventured talks with various opposition party leaders, though various news outlets in the UK insisted that Corbyn had been ungenerous in snubbing the prime minister. Labour’s leadership remains sceptical at any advances from Downing Street.  As The Guardian editorialised on May’s proposed talks,

“It is a welcome shift in tone, but there is no indication from Mrs May’s record that she has the diplomatic skills required to make such a consultation fruitful.” 

This notable lack manifested in an obsession with “red lines”, a mad faith in a Brexit plan long rendered cadaverous. 

For the paper’s own worth, a new strategy of change focused on a customs union arrangement between Britain and the EU would “transform dialogue with Labour and pro-European Tories.”  Fine thing to suggest, but the darkness refuses to abate.  International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, for one, sees such a union as a way of ensuring that Britain will not have an independent trade policy.  The ship of apocalypse, whatever it might entail, remains on course.

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Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  He is a frequent contributor to Global Research and Asia-Pacific Research. Email: [email protected]

It is easy to identify the ongoing and endless violence being inflicted on life on Earth. This ranges from the vast multiplicity of assaults inflicted on our children and the biosphere to the endless wars and other military violence as well as the grotesque exploitation of many peoples living in Africa, Asia and Central/South America. But for a (very incomplete) list of 40 points see ‘Reflections on 2018, Forecasting 2019’.

However, despite the obvious fact that it is human beings who are inflicting all of this violence, it is virtually impossible to get people to pay attention to this simple and incontrovertible fact and to ask why, precisely, are human beings behaving in such violent and destructive ways? And can we effectively address this cause?

Of course, one part of this problem is the existence of many competing ideas about what causes violence. For example, some ideologies attribute the cause to a particular structural manifestation of violence, such as patriarchy (which generates a gendered system of violence and exploitation) or capitalism (which generates a class system of violence and exploitation). However, none of these ideologies explains why humans participate in structures of violence and exploitation in the first place. Surely a person who was not violent and exploitative to begin with would reject such violent and exploitative structures out of hand and work to create nonviolent and egalitarian structures instead.

But most people really just accept the elite-promulgated delusion that humans are innately dysfunctional and violent and this must be contained and controlled by socialization processes, laws, legal systems, police forces and prisons or, in the international arena, by such measures as economic sanctions and military violence. It is a rare individual who perceives the blatant dysfunctionality and violence of socialization, laws, legal systems, police forces, prisons, economic sanctions and military violence, and how these institutions and their violence serve elite interests.

Hence, humans are trapped in a cycle of attempting to address the vast range of manifestations of violent human behaviour – the wars, the climate catastrophe, destruction of the environment, the economic exploitation of vast sectors of the human population (women, indigenous peoples, working peoples…), the military dictatorships and occupations – without knowing what, fundamentally, causes dysfunctional and violent human behaviours and draws many people to participate in (and benefit from) violence in whatever form it takes.

Well I, for one, find it boring to see the same manifestations of violence repeated endlessly because we do not understand or address the fundamental cause (and so even well-meaning efforts to address it in a variety of contexts are doomed to fail). How about you?

Moreover, I find it boring to listen to (or read about) people endlessly deluding themselves about the violence; that is, deluding themselves that it isn’t happening, ‘it was always like that’, ‘it isn’t as bad as it seems’, ‘nothing can be done’, ‘there is another explanation’, that I am ‘doing enough already’, and so on.

To illustrate the above let me write some more frequent examples of people deluding themselves about the cause. You may have heard delusions like these expressed yourself; you may know some of the many others.

  1. ‘The child deserved the punishment.’
  2. ‘She asked for it.’
  3. Violence is innate: it is ‘in our nature’.
  4. ‘War is inevitable.’
  5. The people in Africa/Asia/Central/South America ‘have always been poor’.
  6. ‘The weather hasn’t changed; it was like that when I was a child.’
  7. ‘We can’t control Mother Nature.’
  8. ‘Nature is abundant.’

Of course, the most common delusional state is the one in which most people are trapped: they are just not paying significant attention to critical issues and have no knowledge (and informed opinion) about them but allow themselves to be distracted from reality by the various elite channels used for doing so, such as the corporate media.

So why do most people delude themselves rather than carefully observe reality, seek out and analyze the evidence in relation to it, and then behave appropriately and powerfully in response?

Because they are (unconsciously) terrified.

‘Is that all?’ you might say. ‘Surely the explanation for dysfunctional (and violent) human behaviour is more complex than that! Besides, when people I observe doing the sorts of dysfunctional and violent behaviours you mention above, they don’t look frightened, let alone terrified.’

So let me explain why the explanation above – that most human beings live in delusion, behave dysfunctionally and violently, fail to observe and analyze reality and then behave powerfully in response to it, because they are terrified – is the complete explanation and why people who are utterly terrified don’t ‘look frightened’.

At the moment of birth, the human individual has a genetically-embedded potential to seek out and powerfully pursue their own unique destiny by progressively developing a complex set of capacities to observe and listen, to think and feel, to analyze and evaluate, to plan and strategize, and to behave with awareness and power in response to their own astute insight into reality and the guidance provided by their conscience.

However, rather than nurture this potential so that the child grows up deeply in touch with their conscience, sensing capacities, thoughts, feelings and other faculties necessary to seek out and powerfully travel their own unique path, the significant adults in the child’s life immediately start to ‘socialize’ (that is, terrorize) the child into conforming with culturally and socially-acceptable norms of thought and behaviour on the basis that one human is more-or-less identical with another (give or take some minor variations among races, languages….).

The idea that each human mind might be unique in the way that each body is unique (while conforming to a general pattern in relation to shape, height and other physical characteristics) never even occurs to anyone. The idea that their child could have the potential to be as creative, powerful and unique as Leonardo Da Vinci, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sojourner Truth, Albert Einstein, Mohandas K. Gandhi or Rosalind Franklin never enters the mind of the typical parent.

Instead, we parent and teach children to conform to an endless sequence of beliefs and behavioural norms on the basis that ‘one size fits all’ because we are literally (but unconsciously) terrified that our child might be ‘different’ or, horror of horrors, unique! And we reward most highly those individuals who do conform and can demonstrate their conformity by passing, often literally, the endless series of socially-approved tests, formal and otherwise, that we set. See, for example, ‘Do We Want School or Education?’

The last thing we want is an individual who fearlessly thinks, feels and behaves as they personally decide is best for themself, perhaps even because their conscience dictates. But when they do act out of their own volition, we punish them to ensure that behaviour that is generated by their unique ‘Self’ is, if possible, terrorized out of them.

Of course, there are ‘good reasons’ for doing this. If we want obedient students, soldiers, employees and citizens, it is the perfect formula. Terrorize the child when they are young and obedience to a set of parentally/socially-approved beliefs and behaviours is virtually guaranteed.

Equally importantly, by starting this onslaught against the child from the moment of birth, they will grow up utterly unaware of the fact that they were terrorized out of becoming their ‘True Self’ and seeking their own unique destiny so that they could be the slave of their society, performing some function, menial or even ‘professional’, after they have submitted to sufficient training. The slave who never questions their role is truly a slave. And that is what we want!

Equally importantly, the person who has fearfully surrendered their Self at the alter of physical survival cannot observe or listen to the fear expressed by anyone else, including their own children. So they simply ‘fail to notice’ it.

So what, exactly, do we do so that each human being’s individual Self is crushed and they are rendered too terrified, self-hating and powerless to pursue their own life path, to honestly observe and listen to their own children and to mindfully consider the state of our world and act powerfully in response?

We inflict enormous, ongoing violence on the child, starting immediately after their birth.

‘How?’ you might ask. ‘I don’t scream at or hit my child. And I never punish them.’

Well, if that is true, it is a good start.

But, unfortunately, it is far more complex than these obvious types of violence and, strange though it may seem, it is not just the ‘visible’ violence (such as hitting, screaming at and sexually abusing) that we normally label ‘violence’ that causes the main damage, although this is extremely damaging. The largest component of damage arises from the ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence that we adults unconsciously inflict on children during the ordinary course of the day. Tragically, the bulk of this violence occurs in the family home and at school. See ‘Why Violence?’ and Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.

So what is ‘invisible’ violence? It is the ‘little things’ we do every day, partly because we are just ‘too busy’. For example, when we do not allow time to listen to, and value, a child’s thoughts and feelings, the child learns to not listen to themSelf thus destroying their internal communication system. When we do not let a child say what they want (or ignore them when they do), the child develops communication and behavioral dysfunctionalities as they keep trying to meet their own needs (which, as a basic survival strategy, they are genetically programmed to do).

When we blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie to, bribe, blackmail, moralize with and/or judge a child, we both undermine their sense of Self-worth and teach them to blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie, bribe, blackmail, moralize and/or judge.

The fundamental outcome of being bombarded throughout their childhood by this ‘invisible’ violence is that the child is utterly overwhelmed by feelings of fear, pain, anger and sadness (among many others). However, mothers, fathers, teachers and other adults also actively interfere with the expression of these feelings and the behavioral responses that are naturally generated by them and it is this ‘utterly invisible’ violence that explains why the dysfunctional behavioral outcomes actually occur.

For example, by ignoring a child when they express their feelings, by comforting, reassuring or distracting a child when they express their feelings, by laughing at or ridiculing their feelings, by terrorizing a child into not expressing their feelings (e.g. by screaming at them when they cry or get angry), and/or by violently controlling a behavior that is generated by their feelings (e.g. by hitting them, restraining them or locking them into a room), the child has no choice but to unconsciously suppress their awareness of these feelings.

However, once a child has been terrorized into suppressing their awareness of their feelings (rather than being allowed to have their feelings and to act on them) the child has also unconsciously suppressed their awareness of the reality that caused these feelings. This has many outcomes that are disastrous for the individual, for society and for nature because the individual will now easily suppress their awareness of the feelings that would tell them how to act most functionally in any given circumstance and they will progressively acquire a phenomenal variety of dysfunctional behaviors, including some that are violent towards themself, others and/or the Earth.

From the above, it should also now be apparent that punishment should never be used. ‘Punishment’, of course, is one of the words we use to obscure our awareness of the fact that we are using violence. Violence, even when we label it ‘punishment’, scares children and adults alike and cannot elicit a functional behavioural response. See ‘Punishment is Violent and Counterproductive’.

If someone behaves dysfunctionally, they need to be listened to, deeply, so that they can start to become consciously aware of the feelings (which will always include fear and, often, terror) that drove the dysfunctional behaviour in the first place. They then need to feel and express these feelings (including any anger) in a safe way. Only then will behavioural change in the direction of functionality be possible. See ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’.

‘But these adult behaviors you have described don’t seem that bad. Can the outcome be as disastrous as you claim?’ you might ask. The problem is that there are hundreds of these ‘ordinary’, everyday behaviors that destroy the Selfhood of the child. It is ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and most children simply do not survive as Self-aware individuals. And why do we do this? As noted above, we do it so that each child will fit into our model of ‘the perfect citizen’: that is, obedient and hardworking student, reliable and pliant employee/soldier, and submissive law-abiding citizen.

Moreover, once we destroy the Selfhood of a child, it has many flow-on effects. For example, once you terrorize a child into accepting certain information about themself, other people or the state of the world, the child becomes unconsciously fearful of dealing with new information, especially if this information is contradictory to what they have been terrorized into believing. As a result, the child will unconsciously dismiss new information out of hand.

In short, the child has been terrorized in such a way that they are no longer capable of learning (or their learning capacity is seriously diminished by excluding any information that is not a simple extension of what they already ‘know’).

Fundamentally, the child is now incapable of carefully observing reality, analyzing the evidence in relation to that reality and responding strategically so that conflicts and problems are moved closer to resolution. That is, the child is now unconsciously trapped, believing and behaving precisely within the spectrum of socially-approved beliefs and behaviours that society terrorized them into accepting, no matter how dysfunctional and violent these beliefs and behaviours might be.

In industrialized countries, for example, this will invariably include overconsuming, which is standard (but highly dysfunctional and violent) behaviour, particularly given the current state of the biosphere. See ‘Love Denied: The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War’.

Responding Powerfully to Reality

So how do we nurture children to become the unique and powerful individual that is their birthright? Someone who is able to clearly identify what they need and what outcomes work for them, and who does not learn to progressively compromise themselves until there is nothing left of their unique identity. Someone, in short, who is so powerless, that they are incapable of considering themself, others and the state of the biosphere. Someone who lives in delusion.

Well, if you want a powerful child, you can read what is required in ‘My Promise to Children’.

If, after reading this ‘Promise’, you feel unable to nurture children properly, you might consider doing the healing necessary so that you can do so. See Putting Feelings First’.

If you already feel free of the delusions that afflict most people and able to respond powerfully to the state  of our world, then consider joining those participating in the fifteen-year strategy outlined in The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earthand signing the online pledge of The Peoples Charter to Create a Nonviolent World.

If you are powerful enough to campaign for change against one or more of the ongoing manifestations of violence in the world, consider doing so strategically so that you have maximum impact. See Nonviolent Campaign Strategy.

And if none of the options I have offered immediately above appeals, ask yourself if you are serious about helping to end the violence or just deluding yourself like all of those people I described above.

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

Featured image:  Julie Maas from Early Lessons, Moody Maine, Editions Gerald and Maas, 1992.

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 and grew into maturity in the Deep South city of Atlanta, Georgia during the Great Depression of the 1930s and early 1940s.

Therefore King witnessed firsthand the racism and poverty which was synonymous with the United States.

Although U.S. involvement in World War II brought the country out of an economic slump through the conversion of industrial facilities to war production while millions were drafted into military service, racism and national oppression against African Americans remained, both inside and outside of the armed forces. Hundreds of thousands of African Americans were subjected to a segregated military where many were harassed by racist officers, denied adequate services and accommodations, along with unjust court martial proceedings, detentions and even executions without due process.

African Americans were encouraged to play a role within the military in the fight against Imperial Japan and fascism in Europe by both the government of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his supporters in the general population. Although Roosevelt’s New Deal programs in the first two terms of his administration provided assistance to displaced workers, distressed farmers and African Americans, there was never the passage of a federal Anti-Lynching Bill during this period of systematic racist terror. (See this)

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 established the right to a minimum wage and overtime for toiling in excess of 40 hours per week. However, there were exceptions to this rule which remain well into the second decade of the 21st century, particularly for “tipped” employees in the so-called “hospitality” industry, where super-exploitation remains the order of the day.

King was admitted to the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) institution of Morehouse at the age of 15 in 1944. He would graduate four years later in 1948 at 19 years old. He attended graduate school at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and later earned a Ph.D in Systematic Theology from Boston University in 1955 when he was only 26.

The Rise of a People’s Movement for Civil Rights and National Liberation

In the post-war period of the late 1940s and early 1950s, the specter of the Cold War became dominant. The hostility towards the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China was coupled with attacks against the concepts of civil Rights and human rights. The National Liberation Movements sweeping Africa and Asia in the late 1940s and 1950s were seen by many within the U.S. ruling class as a major theater in Cold War politics. (See this)

This same notion was applicable to the struggle for civil rights and self-determination among African Americans. Roosevelt’s successor, President Harry S. Truman, commandeered the anti-communist hysteria while offering minor concessions in the areas of integrating the armed forces and token employment opportunities. Although Roosevelts’ widow Eleanor championed the passage of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights in 1948, she vigorously opposed the petition charging genocide against African Americans by the U.S. government which was submitted to the United Nations in 1951 by Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois and William L. Patterson. (See this)

After the 1954 Supreme Court decision declaring that separate but equal educational institutions were inherently unequal and unconstitutional along with the brutal murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till and hundreds of other African Americans in the post-War era, the social atmosphere was set for the rise of a mass Civil Rights Movement.

In Montgomery, Alabama while King pastored the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, a boycott of the buses erupted in early December 1955, sparked by labor and civil rights activist Mrs. Rosa L. Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man. The boycott lasted for an entire year when the federal courts upheld the rights of African Americans to ride municipal buses with the same rights as whites. (See this)

The formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, the birth of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960 reinforced with the activities by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and other organizations, sparked mass mobilizations, further successful legal challenges and the passage of additional civil rights legislation in 1957, 1964, 1965 and 1968. Yet these reforms were inadequate in calming the quest for full equality and liberation by African Americans. (See this)

With the advent of the Pentagon war against the Vietnamese people in the early to mid-1960s, the progressive African American organizations took position in opposition to the genocidal onslaught in Southeast Asia. SNCC came out publically against the war in early 1966 and SCLC would follow a year later. These developments along with the outbreak of urban rebellions in over 100 cities between 1962 and 1968 ushered in a period of revolutionary resistance which Dr. King was responding to at the time of his assassination in April 1968. King was in Memphis demonstrating in solidarity with striking African American sanitation workers seeking a contract and labor recognition when he was struck down. Many believe until this day that his death was a direct result of the repressive policies of the U.S. government seeking to crush the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s. (See this)

King’s Legacy in the 21st Century

In 2019 people in the U.S. are facing monumental challenges with the longest federal government shutdown in history, the continuing rise in racism and gender-based violence, the threat of another recession due to overproduction, the imposition of tariffs and intensification of labor practices, which is leading to an ever widening gap between the rich and poor. The Pentagon budget which Dr. King and others vigorously attacked in the late 1960s has grown exponentially resulting in hundreds of military bases across the world and the active engagement of U.S. troops in many geo-political regions throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.

As Dr. King realized after 1966, there is no fundamental political differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. Both entities represent the capitalist class which perpetuates national oppression, class divisions and imperialism around the world.

The assassination of Dr. King and a host of other African American leaders during the 1960s such as Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, the isolation and imprisonment of hundreds of others and the destruction of people’s organizations, had a tremendous impact in stifling the historical trajectory of the revolutionary struggle. Today there are over two million people incarcerated in the U.S. with millions of others under law enforcement and judicial supervision. By no means can such a scenario constitute a democratic society where the rights of the working class and oppressed are protected and advanced.

Yet the struggle continues on several fronts. There is the escalating intolerance towards institutional discrimination and racist violence from the state. Labor activists are demanding a fair and living wage in the most marginalized sectors of the proletariat. In Los Angeles, 32,000 educators went out on strike on January 14 demanding higher wages, smaller class sizes and the overall improvement of working conditions.

Los Angeles Teachers’ Strike on January 14, 2019

Nevertheless, there is the need for independent political organization and action which unites the workers and oppressed into a fighting revolutionary party. This party must advance the cause for a socialist society where the capitalist relations of production are overthrown and equality and self-determination becomes embedded in the character of the state.

Detroit will once again be a center for commemorations of Dr. King and the civil rights struggle drawing upon the actual social justice and antiwar legacy of the 1960s. The 16th Annual MLK Day Rally & March will be held outside of downtown this year in the North End section of a majority African American municipality which has been a focal point for failed neo-liberal policies on a domestic level resulting in massive dislocation through home foreclosures, water shutoffs, the destruction of public education and the impoverishment of the masses. (See this)

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks in Montgomery during bus boycott, January 1956

At St. Matthews & St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church beginning at Noon on Monday January 21, the federally-recognized holiday honoring Dr. King, labor and community activists will rally for a renewal of the struggle for liberation. The theme of the event will focus on the necessity to organize and mobilize the people for genuine equality and total freedom. Gail Walker, the executive director of the Inter-religious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) will be the keynote speaker.

This manifestation and others across the U.S. must serve as a rallying point to build a sustainable movement against the current administration along with the entire system of injustice and repression. Only the people united can bring about the change which is so desperately needed in the U.S. and across the planet.

 

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All images in this article are from the author

Featured image: Martin Luther King Jr. leads final demonstration on March 28, 1968 in Memphis

The first defense white paper released during the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in deleted a phrase about the North Korean regime and military being the “enemy” of South Korea. The white paper placed new emphasis on South and North Korea pursuing military confidence-building, meaningful arms control and incremental arms reduction.

The 2018 Defense White Paper was published on Jan. 15 by South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND).

“The Republic of Korea’s armed forces regard any forces that threaten and encroach upon our sovereignty, territory, people and assets as our enemies,” the defense white paper stated.

Referring to the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles, the 2016 defense white paper published during the presidency of Park Geun-hye said that “as long as they remain threats, the parties responsible for those threats, namely the North Korean regime and armed forces, are our enemy,” but that language was dropped from the latest white paper.

The decision not to describe North Korea as an enemy in the white paper appears to reflect the improvement of inter-Korean relations and the relaxation of military tensions since last year.

“While inter-Korean relations have swung back and forth between the extremes of military confrontation on one side and reconciliation and cooperation on the other, the three inter-Korean summits and the first North Korea-US summit held in 2018 have created a new security environment aimed at denuclearization and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula,” the white paper said by way of explanation.

The white paper stipulated that “North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.” There was also a section about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities:

“North Korea is estimated to possess some 50kg of weapons-grade plutonium as well as a substantial amount of highly enriched uranium. The North also appears to have reached a considerable level of sophistication in its nuclear warhead miniaturization capability.”

A section that was added to the white paper states that “the foundation for establishing peace will be laid through the promotion of inter-Korean military confidence building and arms control.”

“Steps will be taken to ease military tensions and to build confidence between South and North Korea in order to create the conditions for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and for establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. We will implement measures to guarantee military stability in connection with progress on inter-Korean exchange and cooperation projects and explore practical methods for arms control in line with progress toward building a peace regime and achieving denuclearization,” the white paper said.

Another new passage in the white paper said,

“The question of arms reduction will be discussed on a step-by-step basis depending on meaningful military confidence-building between South and North Korea during the process of building a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

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Yoo Kang-moon is senior staff writer of The Hankyoreh.

Featured image: South Korean President Moon Jae-in gives an address at the Ministry of National Defense on Dec. 20, 2018. (Hankyoreh archives)

If America Stopped Destroying the World, the Bad Guys Might Win

January 17th, 2019 by Caitlin Johnstone

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Saturday that the government under Venezuela’s recently re-inaugurated president Nicolas Maduro is “illegitimate”, and that “the United States will work diligently to restore a real democracy to that country.”

Pompeo’s remarks, which were echoed by Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, are interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is because Venezuela’s presidential election in May of last year (which incidentally was found to have been perfectly legitimate by the international Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America) was actively and aggressively meddled in by the US and its allies. The second is that while the US government is openly broadcasting its intention to keep interfering in Venezuela’s political system, it continues to scream bloody murder about alleged Russian interference in its own democratic process two years ago.

What is the difference between the behavior of the United States, which remains far and away the single worst offender in foreign election meddling on the planet, and what Russia is accused of having done in 2016? According to a comment made by former CIA Director James Woolsey last year, it’s that the US interferes in foreign democracies “for a very good cause.”

And that’s really the only argument that empire loyalists have going for them on this subject. The US is different because the US has moral authority. It’s okay for the US to continue to interfere in the political affairs of foreign nations while it would be an unforgivable and outrageous “act of war” for a nation like Russia to do the exact same thing, because the US is countering the interests of the Bad Guys while Russia is countering the interests of the Good Guys. Who decided who the Good Guys and Bad Guys are in this argument? The US.

This “What we do is good because we’re the Good Guys” faith-based doctrine was regurgitated with full-throated zealotry in a recent speech given by Pompeo in Cairo, in which he cited “America’s innate goodness” in making the absolutely ridiculous claim that “America is a force for good in the Middle East” which has been “absent too much” from the region previously. America’s nonstop deadly interventionism in the Middle East is “good”, because America is “innately good”.

America’s constant military interventionism, election interference and other nastiness are painted as Good Things done by Good Guys to fight the Bad Guys. The argument, when you boil it right down, is that if America wasn’t constantly starting wars, invading sovereign nations, staging coups, sponsoring proxy conflicts, arming terrorists, bombing civilians, torturing people, implementing starvation sanctions on impoverished populations, pointing nuclear weapons everywhere, spying on us all with a globe-spanning Orwellian surveillance network, interfering in foreign elections, and patrolling the skies with flying death robots, the Bad Guys might win.

Sort of makes you wonder who the Bad Guys really are, huh?

The theme of Good Guys fighting Bad Guys resonates with a population that has been raised for generations on Hollywood films featuring a handsome action hero emerging victorious after a ninety-minute struggle and karate kicking an ugly villain off a cliff before kissing the pretty girl, but it doesn’t accurately reflect the reality we actually live in. Our world is dominated by extremely powerful people who are motivated not out of interest in good or evil but a drive toward power and profit which is completely disinterested in morality of any kind, and the empires they build for themselves have their foundations on the backs of ordinary people who are just trying to get by. The majority of those extremely powerful people either live in the United States or have formed alliances with US power structures, and all their agendas in Asia, South America, the Middle East and elsewhere have nothing to do with “protecting democracy” or being a “force of good”, and everything to do with amassing more power.

Even among those who recognize that the US-centralized empire isn’t a shining beacon of virtue in our world, the notion remains prevalent that if American power ceases to be a unipolar dominator then someone worse will take over the world. This fear-based mindset ultimately underlies all establishment manipulation and all educated support for it: the idea that someone needs to rule and dominate the world to prevent someone else from doing the same. But what are the fruits of this mindset? A corporatist Orwellian dystopia hurtling toward climate collapse if nuclear war doesn’t kill us all first.

We can’t keep doing this. We literally can’t; we’ll evolve beyond this fear-based dominator paradigm or we’ll all perish beneath its feet very soon. We are now in a position where our irrational fear of being invaded by China has pushed us to the brink of extinction, so it isn’t even a gamble to step off that train and try something else instead.

It is entirely possible that the US is capable of functioning like a normal nation and simply defending its own shores and sustaining itself without interfering in world affairs. It is entirely possible that the threat everyone imagines of some foreign power stepping in as the unipolar dominator should America vacate that role is the product of fearful imaginings with no bearing on reality and a fundamental misunderstanding of humanity. It is entirely possible that we are capable of creating a world where nobody dominates anybody, and no iron-fisted world leader of any kind is needed. Either way, the train we’re on is headed for a brick wall, so we’ve now got nothing to lose by stepping off.

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The new EU Copyright Directive is progressing at an alarming rate. This week, the EU is asking its member-states to approve new negotiating positions for the final language. Once they get it, they’re planning to hold a final vote before pushing this drastic, radical new law into 28 countries and 500,000,000 people.

While the majority of the rules in the new Directive are inoffensive updates to European copyright law, two parts of the Directive represent pose a dire threat to the global Internet:

  • Article 11: A proposal to make platforms pay for linking to news sites by creating a non-waivable right to license any links from for-profit services (where those links include more than a word or two from the story or its headline). Article 11 fails to define “news sites,” “commercial platforms” and “links,” which invites 28 European nations to create 28 mutually exclusive, contradictory licensing regimes. Additionally, the fact that the “linking right” can’t be waived means that open-access, public-interest, nonprofit and Creative Commons news sites can’t opt out of the system.
  • Article 13: A proposal to end the appearance of unlicensed copyrighted works on big user-generated content platforms, even for an instant. Initially, this included an explicit mandate to develop “filters” that would examine every social media posting by everyone in the world and check whether it matched entries in an open, crowdsourced database of supposedly copyrighted materials. In its current form, the rule says that filters “should be avoided” but does not explain how billions of social media posts, videos, audio files, and blog posts should be monitored for infringement without automated filtering systems.

Taken together, these two rules will subject huge swaths of online expression to interception and arbitrary censorship, and give the largest news companies in Europe the power to decide who can discuss and criticise their reporting, and undermining public-interest, open-access journalism.

The Directive is now in the hands of the European member-states. National ministers are going to decide whether or not Europe becomes a global exporter of censorship and surveillance. Your voice counts: when you contact your ministers, you are speaking as one citizen to another, in a national context, about issues of import to you and your neighbours. Your national government depends on your goodwill to win the votes to continue its mandate. This is a rare moment in European lawmaking when local connections from citizens matter more than well-funded, international corporations.

If you live in Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Belgium, or Czechia:

Please contact your ministers to convey your concern about Article 13 and 11.

We’ve set up action pages to reach the right people, but you should tailor your message to describe who you are, and your worries. Your country has previously expressed concerns about Article 13 and 11, and may still oppose it.

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A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s on Us

January 17th, 2019 by Dahr Jamail

I’m standing atop Rush Hill on Alaska’s remote St. Paul Island. While only 665 feet high, it provides a 360-degree view of this tundra-covered, 13-mile-long, seven-mile-wide part of the Pribilof Islands. While the hood of my rain jacket flaps in the cold wind, I gaze in wonder at the silvery waters of the Bering Sea. The ever-present wind whips the surface into a chaos of whitecaps, scudding mist, and foam.

The ancient cinder cone I’m perched on reminds me that St. Paul, was, oh so long ago, one of the last places woolly mammoths could be found in North America. I’m here doing research for my book The End of Ice. And that, in turn, brings me back to the new reality in these far northern waters: as cold as they still are, human-caused climate disruption is warming them enough to threaten a possible collapse of the food web that sustains this island’s Unangan, its Aleut inhabitants, also known as “the people of the seal.” Given how deeply their culture is tied to a subsistence lifestyle coupled with the new reality that the numbers of fur seals, seabirds, and other marine life they hunt or fish are dwindling, how could this crisis not be affecting them?

While on St. Paul, I spoke with many tribal elders who told me stories about fewer fish and sea birds, harsher storms and warming temperatures, but what struck me most deeply were their accounts of plummeting fur seal populations. Seal mothers, they said, had to swim so much farther to find food for their pups that the babies were starving to death before they could make it back.

And the plight of those dramatically declining fur seals could well become the plight of the Unangan themselves, which in the decades to come, as climate turbulence increases, could very well become the plight of all of us.

During breeding season, three-quarters of the Northern Fur Seal population can be found on the Pribilof Islands. They can dive to depths of 600 feet searching for small fish and squid. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

Just before flying to St. Paul, I met with Bruce Wright in Anchorage, Alaska. He’s a senior scientist with the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, has worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service, and was a section chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for 11 years.

“We’re not going to stop this train wreck,” he assures me grimly. “We are not even trying to slow down the production of CO2 [carbon dioxide], and there is already enough CO2 in the atmosphere.”

While describing the warming, ever more acidic waters around Alaska and the harm being caused to the marine food web, he recalled a moment approximately 250 million years ago when the oceans underwent similar changes and the planet experienced mass extinction events “driven by ocean acidity. The Permian mass extinction where 90% of the species were wiped out, that is what we are looking at now.”

I wrap up the interview with a heavy heart, place my laptop in my satchel, put on my jacket, and shake his hand. Knowing I’m about to fly to St. Paul, Wright has one final thing to tell me as he walks me out:

“The Pribilofs were the last place mammoths survived because there weren’t any people out there to hunt them. We’ve never experienced this, where we are headed. Maybe the islands will become a refuge for a population of humans.”

The Loss Upon Us

For at least two decades, I’ve found my solace in the mountains. I lived in Alaska from 1996 to 2006 and more than a year of my life has been spent climbing on the glaciers of Denali and other peaks in the Alaska Range. Yet that was a bittersweet time for me as the dramatic impacts of climate change were quickly becoming apparent, including quickly receding glaciers and warmer winter temperatures.

After years of war and then climate-change reporting, I regularly withdrew to the mountains to catch my breath. As I filled my lungs with alpine air, my heart would settle down and I could feel myself root back into the Earth.


The Gulkana Glacier in the Alaska Range, like most glaciers globally, is losing mass rapidly. Some experts predict that every alpine glacier in the world will be gone by 2100. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

Later, my book research would take me back onto Denali’s fast-shrinking glaciers and also to Glacier National Park in Montana. There I met Dr. Dan Fagre, a U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist and director of the Climate Change in Mountain Ecosystems Project.

“This is an explosion,” he assured me, “a nuclear explosion of geologic change. This… exceeds the ability for normal adaptation. We’ve shoved it into overdrive and taken our hands off the wheel.”

Despite its name, the park he studies is essentially guaranteed not to have any active glaciers by 2030, only 11 years from now.

My research also took me to the University of Miami, Coral Gables, where I met the chair of the Department of Geological Science, Harold Wanless, an expert in sea-level rise.

I asked him what he would say to people who think we still have time to mitigate the impacts of runaway climate change.

“We can’t undo this,” he replied. “How are you going to cool down the ocean? We’re already there.”

As if to underscore the point, Wanless told me that, in the past, carbon dioxide had varied from roughly 180 to 280 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere as the Earth shifted from glacial to interglacial periods. Linked to this 100-ppm fluctuation was about a 100-foot change in sea level.

“Every 100-ppm CO2 increase in the atmosphere gives us 100 feet of sea level rise,” he told me. “This happened when we went in and out of the Ice Age.”

As I knew, since the industrial revolution began, atmospheric CO2 has already increased from 280 to 410 ppm.

“That’s 130 ppm in just the last 200 years,” I pointed out to him. “That’s 130 feet of sea level rise that’s already baked into Earth’s climate system.”

He looked at me and nodded grimly. I couldn’t help thinking of that as a nod goodbye to coastal cities from Miami to Shanghai.

In July 2017, I traveled to Camp 41 in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, part of a project founded four decades ago by Thomas Lovejoy, known to many as the “godfather of biodiversity.” While visiting him, I also met Vitek Jirinec, an ornithologist from the Czech Republic who had held 11 different wildlife positions from Alaska to Jamaica. In the process, he became all too well acquainted with the signs of biological collapse among the birds he was studying. He’d watched as some Amazon populations like that of the black-tailed leaftosser declined by 95%; he’d observed how mosquitoes in Hawaii were killing off native bird populations; he’d explored how saltwater intrusion into Alaska’s permafrost was changing bird habitats there.

His tone turned somber as we discussed his research and a note of anger slowly crept into his voice.

“The problem of animal and plant populations left marooned within various fragments [of their habitat] under circumstances that are untenable for the long term has begun showing up all over the land surface of the planet. The familiar questions recur: How many mountain gorillas inhabit the forested slopes of the Virunga volcanoes, along the shared borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda? How many tigers live in the Sariska Tiger Reserve of northwestern India? How many are left? How long can they survive?”

As he continued, the anger in his voice became palpable, especially when he began discussing how “island biogeography” had come to the mainland and what was happening to animal populations marooned by human development on fragments of land in places like the Amazon.

“How many grizzly bears occupy the North Cascades ecosystem, a discrete patch of mountain forest along the northern border of the state of Washington? Not enough. How many European brown bears are there in Italy’s Abruzzo National Park? Not enough. How many Florida panthers in Big Cypress Swamp? Not enough. How many Asiatic lions in the Forest of Gir? Not enough… The world is broken in pieces now.”

“A Terrifying 12 Years”

In October 2018, 15 months after Jirinec’s words brought me to tears in the Amazon, the world’s leading climate scientists authored a report for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning us that we have just a dozen years left to limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The gist of it is this: we’ve already warmed the planet one degree Celsius. If we fail to limit that warming process to 1.5 degrees, even a half-degree more than that will significantly worsen extreme heat, flooding, widespread droughts, and sea level increases, among other grim phenomena. The report has become a key talking point of political progressives in the U.S., who, like journalist and activist Naomi Klein, are now speaking of “a terrifying 12 years” left in which to cut fossil fuel emissions.

There is, however, a problem with even this approach. It assumes that the scientific conclusions in the IPCC report are completely sound. It’s well known, however, that there’s been a political element built into the IPCC’s scientific process, based on the urge to get as many countries as possible on board the Paris climate agreement and other attempts to rein in climate change. To do that, such reports tend to use the lowest common denominator in their projections, which makes their science overly conservative (that is, overly optimistic).

In addition, new data suggest that the possibility of political will coalescing across the planet to shift the global economy completely off fossil fuels in the reasonably near future is essentially a fantasy. And that’s even if we could remove enough of the hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 already in our overburdened atmosphere to make a difference (not to speak of the heat similarly already lodged in the oceans).

“It’s extraordinarily challenging to get to the 1.5 degree Celsius target and we are nowhere near on track to doing that,” Drew Shindell, a Duke University climate scientist and a co-author of the IPCC report, told the Guardian just weeks before it was released. “While it’s technically possible, it’s extremely improbable, absent a real sea change in the way we evaluate risk. We are nowhere near that.”

In fact, even best-case scenarios show us heading for at least a three-degree warming and, realistically speaking, we are undoubtedly on track for far worse than that by 2100, if not much sooner. Perhaps that’s why Shindell was so pessimistic.

For example, a study published in Nature magazine, also released in October, showed that over the last quarter-century, the oceans have absorbed 60% more heat annually than estimated in the 2014 IPCC report. The study underscored that the globe’s oceans have, in fact, already absorbed 93% of all the heat humans have added to the atmosphere, that the climate system’s sensitivity to greenhouse gases is far higher than thought and that planetary warming is far more advanced than had previously been grasped.

To give you an idea of how much heat the oceans have absorbed: if that heat had instead gone into the atmosphere, the global temperature would be 97 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than it is today. For those who think that there are still 12 years left to change things, the question posed by Wanless seems painfully apt: How do we remove all the heat that’s already been absorbed by the oceans?

Two weeks after that Nature article came out, a study in Scientific Reports warned that the extinction of animal and plant species thanks to climate change could lead to a “domino effect” that might, in the end, annihilate life on the planet. It suggested that organisms will die out at increasingly rapid rates because they depend on other species that are also on their way out. It’s a process the study calls “co-extinction.” According to its authors, a five to six degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures might be enough to annihilate most of Earth’s living creatures.

To put this in perspective: just a two degree rise will leave dozens of the world’s coastal mega-cities flooded, thanks primarily to melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as the thermal expansion of the oceans as they warm. There will be 32 times as many heat waves in India and nearly half a billion more people will suffer water scarcity. At three degrees, southern Europe will be in permanent drought and the area burned annually by wildfires in the U.S. will sextuple. These impacts, it’s worth noting, may already be baked into the system, even if every country that signed the Paris climate accord were to fully honor its commitments, which most of them are not currently doing.

At four degrees, global grain yields could drop by half, most likely resulting in annual worldwide food crises (along with far more war, general conflict, and migration than at present).

The International Energy Agency has already shown that maintaining our current fossil-fueled economic system would virtually guarantee a six-degree rise in the Earth’s temperature before 2050. To add insult to injury, a 2017 analysis from oil giants BP and Shell indicated that they expected the planet to be five degrees warmer by mid-century.

In late 2013, I wrote a piece for TomDispatch titled “Are We Falling Off the Climate Precipice?” Even then, it was already clear enough that we were indeed heading off that cliff. More than five years later, a sober reading of the latest climate change science indicates that we are now genuinely in free fall.

The question is no longer whether or not we are going to fail, but how are we going to comport ourselves in the era of failure?

Listening While Saying Goodbye

It’s been estimated that between 150 and 200 plant, insect, bird, and mammal species are already going extinct every day. In other words, during the two and a half years I worked on my book 136,800 species may have gone extinct.

We have a finite amount of time left to coexist with significant parts of the biosphere, including glaciers, coral, and thousands of species of plants, animals, and insects. We’re going to have to learn how to say goodbye to them, part of which should involve doing everything we humanly can to save whatever is left, even knowing that the odds are stacked against us.

For me, my goodbyes will involve spending as much time as I can on the glaciers in Washington State’s Olympic National Park and North Cascades National Park near where I live, or far more modestly taking in the trees around my home on a daily basis. It’s unclear, after all, how much longer such forest areas are likely to remain fully intact. I often visit a small natural altar I’ve created amid a circle of cedar trees growing around a decomposing mother tree. In this magical spot, I grieve and express my gratitude for the life that is still here. I also go to listen.

Where do you go to listen? And what are you hearing?

For me, these days, it all begins and ends with doing my best to listen to the Earth, with trying my hardest to understand how best to serve, how to devote myself to doing everything possible for the planet, no matter the increasingly bleak prognosis for this time in human history.

Perhaps if we listen deeply enough and regularly enough, we ourselves will become the song this planet needs to hear.

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Dahr Jamail, a TomDispatch regular, is a recipient of numerous honors, including the Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism for his work in Iraq and the Izzy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Media in 2018. His newest book, The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption (The New Press), has just been published. He is also the author of Beyond the Green Zone and The Will to Resist. He is a staff reporter for Truthout.

Featured image: Orinthologist Vitek Jirinec at Camp 41. Some bird species in the Amazon have already declined by 95% since the 1980s. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

I need not comment on the following social media post that was published on Christmas Eve. Tom Pride from Pride’s Purge asks the question: Which war-torn city in a third-world country was this man starving to death in? The answer – Birkenhead, England, Christmas Eve, 2018.

  • 64-year-old severely disabled man found starving to death
  • Thrown off Employment and Support Allowance to assist the disabled 18 months ago by ATOS
  • Unable to use a toilet on own, feed himself or heat home
  • 2 years ago ATOS forced to make a grovelling public apology for appalling service to disabled

This is the type of Britain we have become today – utterly heartless, lacking compassion and decency.

It was only two years ago that grovelling bosses from the heavily-criticised outsourcing giant were hauled before MPs to explain missed targets for carrying out vital assessments and deliberately denying vital benefits to some of the most vulnerable in society.

Last October was the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), as used by successive UK governments to restrict access to the long-term sickness and disability benefit known as the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Read our report published last July related to this article entitled: Killed by the State

Terry Craven is an Employment Law Advisor. This is from a Facebook post published on the 24th December that has had over 1,200 shares. I’ve checked it out and it appears to be completely legitimate.

“Please spare a thought for this 64-year-old severely disabled client of mine? Please share this post to see if we can garner a response from the Tories although, I doubt we will.

My client was thrown off ESA by ATOS 18 months ago. Since then, he has been expected to sign on. Obviously, he’s been sanctioned and forced to go hungry. So much so he weighs 6 stone. On Friday, not surprisingly he was at death’s door with pneumonia. Fortunately, I was able to get him into a hospital. Evidently, his left lung was full of fluid with his right not much better, he’s now on the mend.

He has been unable to heat or look after his home properly because his health has deteriorated which I suggest is obvious from the photographs. He lives in one room of his 3 bedroom house he rents from a private landlord. It is rat infested, he cannot use the toilet nor is he strong enough to put water in a kettle. He relies on bottled water. I am making efforts to have him rehoused in sheltered accommodation.

However, I think he may have to go into a nursing/residential home in the interim.

Birkenhead Benefits Centre has ignored my continuous pleas for help, the heartless bastards!

Well here’s wishing Maggie May, IDS, Esther McVey a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The one thing, which is certain is my client will not have one thanks to their evil, Dickensian policies. I hope they all rot in hell for the sickness, death and hunger the Tories have heaped on disabled people since 2010. My Christmas wish is for a general election and a Corbin/McDonald Government.”

In the image below, this gentleman’s weight is 42.4 kilos/6.6 stone. In the background an NHS nurse.

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Below is the Summary of a detailed report entitled:

Traumatic Amputations Caused by Drone Attacks in the Local Population in Gaza: A Retrospective Cross-sectional Study

Background

Little data exist to describe the use and medical consequences of drone strikes on civilian populations in war and conflict zones. Gaza is a landstrip within the Palestinian territories and the home of 2 million people. The median age in Gaza is 17·2 years and almost half of the population is below the age of 14 years. We studied the prevalence and severity of extremity amputation injuries caused by drone strikes compared with those caused by other explosive weapons among patients with amputations attending the main physical prosthesis and rehabilitation centre in Gaza.

Methods

In this retrospective cross-sectional study, we recruited patients from the Artificial Limb and Polio Centre (ALPC) in Gaza city in the Gaza strip with conflict-related traumatic extremity amputations. Patients were eligible if they had one or more amputations sustained during a military incursion in Gaza during 2006–16 and had an available patient record. Each patient completed a self-reporting questionnaire of the time and mechanism of injury, subsequent surgeries, comorbidities, and their socioeconomic status, and we collected each patient’s medical history, recorded the anatomical location of their amputation or amputations, and interviewed each patient to obtain a detailed description of the incursion or incursions that led to their amputation injury. We classified the severity of amputations and number of subsequent surgeries on ordinal scales and then we determined the associations between these outcomes and the mechanism of explosive weapon delivery (drone strike vs other) using ordinal logistical regression.

Findings

We collected data on 254 patients from APLC who had sustained an amputation injury. Of these patients, 234 (92%) were male and 43 (17%) were aged 18 years or younger at the time of injury. The age of participants was representative of the Gaza population, with a median age at inclusion was 28 years (IQR 23–33), and the median age at the time of injury was 23 years (IQR 20–29). 136 (54%) amputation injuries were caused by explosive weapons delivered by drone strikes, with explosives delivered by tanks being the next most common source of amputation injury (28 [11%]). Adjusted for age and sex, drone-delivered weapons caused significantly more severe injuries than explosives delivered by other mechanisms (eg, military jet airplanes, helicopters, tank shelling, and naval artillery; odds ratio [OR] 2·50, 95% CI 1·52–4·11; p=0·0003). Compared with all other types of weapons, the patients whose injuries were caused by drone strikes needed significantly more subsequent surgical operations to treat their amputation injuries than those injured by other weapons (OR 1·93, 1·19–3·14; p=0·008).

Interpretation

Drone strikes were the most commonly reported cause of amputation injury in our study population and were associated with more severe injuries and more additional surgeries than injuries caused by other explosive weapons. Limitations of our study include the self-reported nature of the mechanism of injury and number of subsequent surgeries and selection bias from not incorporating amputation injuries from individuals who died immediately or due to complications. The increasing use of drones needs to be addressed, rather than passively accepted, by the international community. This study fills a gap in our knowledge of the civilian consequences of modern warfare and we believe it is also relevant to the growing populations that are being exposed to drone warfare and for health-care personnel treating these people.

 

Read full report here.

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This week’s Al Shabaab attack on a hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital wasn’t the first time that the terrorists struck the comparatively prosperous East African country, but it more than likely won’t be the last since such attacks might become more common in the future due to the group’s exploitation of Somali nationalism and its possible employment as a Hybrid War proxy against China.

Kenya is reeling from the latest terrorist attack by Al Shaabab that killed at least 15 people in an upscale hotel and office complex in the capital, reminding everyone that the comparatively prosperous East African country still remains one of the Somalian-based group’s primary targets. While terrorism can never be justified or defended, some of its patterns can nevertheless be explained, and a deeper analysis of why Al Shabaab occasionally attacks Kenya reveals that the regional leader will probably remain in its crosshairs for years to come.

The most obvious reason why Al Shaabab says that they strike Kenya is because the country dispatched troops to Somalia as part of the AU’s AMISOM peacekeeping mission there that the group considers to be part of an international occupation. Terrorists all across the world are known to target countries on their home turf that deploy forces to combat them on theirs, and Kenya is of course no exception to this trend. In its defense, however, it believes that stability in the neighboring country is essential for ensuring its own, but there are also other reasons behind its participation in this campaign as well.

Most observers outside of the region who are unfamiliar with its ethno-cultural complexity don’t know that Kenya’s former Northeastern province (nowadays divided like the rest of the country into myriad counties following the promulgation of the new decentralized constitution in 2013) is mostly populated by ethnic Somalis and is claimed by their nationalists as part of Greater Somalia for historical reasons dating back to a controversial territorial delineation during the colonial period. Al Shabaab has attempted to exploit this nationalist narrative, hence why some terrorists think they are attacking “Kenyan occupiers” when they target civilians in other parts of the neighboring state.

This narrative is very dangerous because of just how appealing it could be, and given that the ethno-administrative issue of the majority-Somali former Northeastern province’s incorporation into Kenya instead of Somalia won’t be going away anytime soon because Nairobi considers the region to be an integral part of the country, it’s very likely that more misguided youth might be recruited in the future to carry out more terrorist attacks on this supposed basis. In addition, this sentiment could be weaponized and guided from abroad for Hybrid War purposes in order to “contain” China.

Kenya is one of China’s most important African partners and the People’s Republic just finished constructing part of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) megaproject between the largest East African port of Mombasa and Nairobi that Beijing hopes to one day extend to Uganda and possibly even beyond to the mineral-rich Congo. Furthermore, the port of Lamu – which serves as the terminal point of the Chinese-envisaged LAPSSET megaproject between Kenya, South Sudan, and Ethiopia – lies in extremely close proximity to the part of eastern Kenya claimed by Somalian nationalists and easily within Al Shabaab’s reach.

Bearing in mind the preexisting identity tensions that facilitate Hybrid War chaos within Kenya, as well as the US’ openly stated desire late last year to challenge China all across Africa, it wouldn’t be surprising if its intelligence services attempt to take advantage of Al Shabaab’s weaponized version of Somali nationalism in order to steer the group towards attacking Chinese Belt & Road megaprojects that have the long-term potential of strengthening the Kenyan state. As the modern-day “Scramble for Africa” shows no signs of abating and is poised to become a major factor in the New Cold War, this “dark scenario” certainly can’t be precluded.

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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

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

Featured image is from TimesLIVE

On January 11th the U.S. House of Representatives voted 411-1 for a bill that would force President Trump to nominate an anti-Semitism envoy, a position that has been vacant since he took office. The definition of anti-Semitism the position uses includes certain criticisms of Israel.

The bipartisan bill upgrades the current position of Anti-Semitism Envoy to an ambassador rank, which requires the job to be filled within 90 days.

The law states that the Special Envoy shall “serve as the primary advisor to, and coordinate efforts across, the U.S. government relating to monitoring and combating anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement in foreign countries.”

The bill, H.R.221- Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act, was sponsored by Rep. Christopher H. Smith [R-NJ-4] and has 87 co-sponsors. Smith’s largest campaign donor was NorPAC, a pro-Israel political action committee.

To become law the bill must next be passed by the Senate and then be signed by the president. If Trump vetoes it, Congress can override this through a two-thirds vote.

The position of anti-Semitism envoy was created in 2004 over the objections of the State Department, which said it wasn’t needed. It was urged by Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky, who had formulated a new definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel.

Previous envoys before or after serving serving in the position worked for the Israel lobbying organization AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The second envoy, Hannah Rosenthal, adopted the Sharansky definition of anti-Semitism for use by the State Department. This is part of an international campaign to insert the new Israel-centric definition in governments and other bodies around the world.

The Times of Israel reports that the impetus for the current bill was “Trump’s failure to pick someone for that opening over the last two years, despite frequent calls from Jewish groups.”

The lawmaker who voted against the bill was Republican Justin Amash from Michigan, a civil libertarian who is Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of whose missions is to advocate for Israel, has been heavily promoting the legislation, which was first introduced last year. The ADL, which includes certain criticisms of Israel as “anti-Semitic,” has issued reports that there has been a “rise in anti-Semitism.”

Some have disputed the ADL numbers, since the ADL does not make public the incident reports on which it bases its claims, since some include actions or statements regarding Israel rather than bigotry, and since the widely publicized bomb threats against Jewish institutions turned out to be the work of a Jewish Israeli. Similarly, some reportedly “anti-Semitic” cemetery damage turned out to have been caused by neglect.

The new Congress has been quick to take up legislation promoted by the Israel lobby. The first Senate bill of 2019 is a composite bill that would give Israel billions of dollars and “combat” the campaign to boycott Israel over its human rights violations among its measures.

The anti-Semitism envoy legislation had been passed in the House in 2018 but did not come to a vote in the Senate. The Senate bill was introduced by Republican Marco Rubio (FL) with eight co-sponsors, seven of them Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren (MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Ron Wyden (OR).

The Times of Israel reports that ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt called on the Senate to “take up this bill in a timely manner.”

It is unclear when the bill will be re-introduced in the Senate. The current Israel bill S.1 has been blocked by Democrats over their battle with Trump and the government shutdown. The effort to bring that bill to a vote will resume on Monday.

The House anti-semitism envoy bill was expedited and voted on with little advance notice under a suspension of the rules procedure. The Senate could take a similar course of action.

Additional legislation regarding anti-Semitism may also be re-introduced at some point.

The Senate passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act unanimously in 2016, and it was reintroduced in both the Senate and the House last year.

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports: “The Act – pushed by AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federations of America – instructs the Department of Education’s Civil Rights office to follow ‘the definition of anti-Semitism set forth by the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism of the Department of State in the Fact Sheet issued on June 8, 2010.’”

The bill has been held up over objections that it interferes with academic freedom and Americans’ constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.

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Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel

Featured image is from IAKB

Saudi Arabia, rolling dunes, endless desert, little rain. Northern China. Verdant hills, green fields and this time of year, heavy snow. Yet there is less water available in northern China per head of population than in Saudi Arabia.

With a fifth of the world’s population, China has about 7 per cent of the planet’s fresh water.

Even the quality of what is available is poor. Tap water is undrinkable without being filtered heavily. Industrial waste and the flow of pesticides from fields contribute massively to pollution. At least 10, 000 petrochemical plants dot the banks of the Yangtze River. China has about 88,000 reservoirs but at least 40 percent are in a poor condition.

Things are not much cleaner above ground. Massive strides have been taken too combat air pollution in northern China but it is still a cause for concern. The first two weeks of January have seen more polluted days, where levels of particulate matter 2.5 (often referred to as PM 2.5, because their diameter is 2.5 microns), exceed World Health Organization guidelines, than clear ones.  Correct, enough of the science. But PM2.5 levels are a main topic of conversation in Beijing. It is not uncommon for conversations in shops or the train queues to mention PM2.5 levels.

Some context. There are about 25,000 microns in an inch. In other words, they are small, about several thousand could fit on this full stop. They embed themselves in lungs causing a range of lingering respiratory problems that can be fatal.

Air pollution in China claims more lives than smoking. Outdoor air pollution in China causes about 1.2 million premature deaths a year, almost double the 750,000 early deaths caused by smoking.  Up to 200, the air quality index for China goes up in increments of 50 with 0-50 classified as excellent. I am writing this in Beijing with the index at 259, classified as heavily polluted.

China, the globe’s largest emitter, has installed more renewable energy capacity than any other country but it also opens a coal-fired power station every two weeks.

China is an ancient country getting older. The number of people over 60 is currently about 15 percent of the 1.3 billion population. This is expected to grow to nearly 500 million by mid century.

Then we deal with the 1:2:4 issue. Married workers often have to support a child, two parents and four grandparents. This means living with them in small flats but even if the main breadwinner works far from home, he or she, has to provide.

About half of China’s elderly live alone or with grandchildren as the parents have left to seek work. The Spring Festival in February, the largest movement of humans on the planet, will see many return home for their one visit a year.

So concerned are the authorities about the plight of the elderly that a law was passed in 2013 demanding that children visit their parents and not neglect them. That a country that prides itself on filial piety has to pass such a law indicates the seriousness the issue is treated with.

The climbing divorce rate in China means more elderly people are not being cared for by their families.

The rate has seen a marked increase over the last decade, driven largely by working women who feel empowered to start a new life. The government is trying to slow the trend, seeing it as a source of social instability.

Divorces rose rapidly from 1.8 per thousand persons in 2002 to 3.2 per thousand persons in 2017. And marriage rates have plunged. After peaking at 9.9 per thousand persons in 2013, the marriage rate in 2017 was only 7.7 per thousand persons.

“Have you divorced today?” has become a common joke between Chinese people. The issue is compounded by the fact that divorce in China condemns the elderly in-laws to an uncertain future.

Chinese New year starts on February 5. Ironically, this will be the year of the pig. Pork is the most popular dish and the health of the pig stock is of national strategic significance. But swine fever has cast a shadow.

China has approximately 700 million pigs but authorities have warned the country’s pork industry this month that covering up cases of African swine fever is a crime.

The animal husbandry and veterinary affairs bureau is stepping up investigations and increasing punishment concerning illegal activity in the pig industry, said a statement published on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs website.

Deaths of pigs have to be reported and privately slaughtering and selling sick or dead pigs would be classified as a criminal offence, it said. Compensation of 1,200 yuan ($177) for each pig culled was sufficient incentive for farmers to report the disease, it added.

China is experiencing the worst outbreak of the disease ever, and it has confirmed about 100 cases of swine fever across 23 provinces (out of 34 provincial level administrative units) since August last year. The disease, for which there is no cure or vaccine, is deadly to pigs, although does not harm people.

China is a fascinating, incredible, colorful, safe and often frustrating country to live in. It has enjoyed turbo-charged growth not because it has cheated on trade deals, or pulled the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting West. Its people work hard and are reaping the benefits of their labor. For many who travel home for the Spring Festival it will be the only break from work they have, including weekends.  Its universities are breaking new ground, especially in science and technology. Its streets are safe to walk on. But it does have problems, including pollution, care for the elderly and food safety.

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Tom Clifford is an Irish journalist based in China. 

Featured image is from GlobalMeatNews

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Militants are preparing a new chemical attack in the Ma’aret al-Nu’man area in the province of Idlib, the Interfax news agency reported on January 15 citing an informed source.

According to the source, militants store toxic chemicals in several warehouses across Idlib province and the far northern part of Lattakia province.

The source stressed that Ajnad al-Caucasus, Jaish al-Izza and the Turkistan Islamic Party, all of which are linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, are preparing for a series of synchronized chemical attacks in the provinces of Lattakia, Idlib, Aleppo and Hama. According to the report, militants will use use shells and mortar mines as well as drones loaded with toxic materials.

The same report said that militants have shipped 500 liters of chemicals to the Abu al-Duhour and Helfaya areas in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

The source added that in December 2018, some 30 militants arrived in the Ariha area in Idlib province to make shells loaded with toxic chemicals. These militants reportedly receive assistance from foreign intelligence agencies. The very same militants were reportedly tasked with carrying out chemical attacks against civilians. These pre-planned incidents will then be used to accuse the Syrian Army of attacking civilians with chemical weapons.

A US military convoy consisting of about 100 vehicles has entered Syria from Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on January 15. According to the report, the column included multiple vehicles and logistic equipment for US-led coalition bases of  in the eastern Euphrates region.

This development comes amid growing uncertainty over the expeted withdrawal of US forces from Syria. In fact, the continued supply of military equipment to US-led coalition bases and Kurdish armed groups in northeastern Syria confirms that the alleged withdrawal is not going to take place in the immddiate future.

Meanwhile, the US and Turkey are negotiating the creation of a 32-km safe zone in northern Syria. According to reports, this zone could become part of a US-Turkish deal to prevent Ankara’s attack on US-backed Kurdish groups in the area.

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The fine 1960 film Inherit the Wind was more than just about the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee. Yes, it had as its focal point the law forbidding the teaching of evolution in schools. However, when one views this film, or reads the play it was developed from, one sees a doorway to totalitarianism. Added to that warning is the observation that many of us humans seem to need to be led. In the fictitious town of Hillsdale, Tennessee, the common folk were led by their religious leaders, who determined how they should not only act… but think. When the great statesman and Christian scholar, Mathew Harrison Brady, comes to town to lead the prosecution of the case, he surpasses even their pastor in influencing  minds. During the trial, Brady’s counterpart, attorney Henry Drummond for the defense, decides to put the right to think for oneself on the witness stand. The right to question authority, and yes, to dissent from it, is what was really on trial in that case.

Sadly, very few of our contemporaries, our neighbors and our political and media celebrities can see that America has become nothing more than a cartoon!  Politics, advertising and consumerism, blended in with so called news and information from our mainstream media, has led the majority of us by the nose. Look at the boob tube and instead of muting the volume when commercials come on, watch and listen to them. Do the same when the politicians stand before the microphone, or when the pundits and phony journalists speak. What you will observe is how they all treat you as if you were either an adolescent, perhaps 12 years old, or a senile elderly person. There is no real intellectual flow from these people at all. The commercials for products and services always allude to how everyone selling something to us really cares for us. Ditto for the politicians and the pundits: They all care about us and our families. They all care for our troops and the peoples of the countries that we are destroying with our superior military force. They tell you to place yellow ribbons and flags all over the yin yang and simply ignore the fact that this military empire is bankrupting us all!

So, we have two evils, masquerading as political parties, controlling our nation’s political system. Well, not really controlling; shall we say they are navigating it for the super rich? Who are these super rich? Well, all one needs to do is see who is benefiting despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of us are not. Follow the age old adage and ‘follow the money ‘. As many small businesses either fold up or cut labor and services, see which companies and individuals are doing well during these’ tough times for the many for the benefit of the few’. As the singer from the rock group Kansas declared, we working stiffs are becoming ‘Dust in the wind’.

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Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He has been a free lance columnist since 2001, with over 400 of his work posted on sites like Global Research, Greanville Post, Off Guardian, Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op Ed News, Dissident Voice, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust, whereupon he writes a great deal on the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has a internet interview show, ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid’ with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at [email protected]

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The “Universal Influenza Vaccine”

January 17th, 2019 by Dr. Gary G. Kohls

 Theoretical vaccine-safety, theoretical vaccine-efficacy or the theoretical development of a “universal” influenza vaccine, have never been realized. Most of the “pie-in-the-sky” theories about a vaccination program’s capability of actually preventing infectious diseases (or cancers, for that matter) have been secretively invented and then promoted by the equally secretive propaganda departments of pharmaceutical corporations.

Lots of money can be made by buying and selling the shares of drug or vaccine-manufacturing or marketing companies that may, for example, only have a single promising new product “in the pipeline”! The corrupting influence of “filthy lucre” is especially true when the company holds the patent to the next new drug or vaccine. The medical products sector of Wall Street does whatever it has to do in order to maximize future profits. The pharmaceutical industry has to hide certain proprietary information that might forecast disaster if the product remains on the market long enough. Wall Street and Big Pharma are clever deceivers, and they know that physicians such as I, often fancying ourselves as being cunning investors, are also easily deceived by equally cunning propaganda that has a quasi-scientific flare to it.

A Little Knowledge is Indeed a Dangerous Thing

Please introduce yourself to America’s universal over-vaccination agendas and the astonishing rise in the incidence of such vaccine-related, “iatrogenic” disorders that are heavily- and falsely – advertised as either having “genetic” connections or of having “no known etiology”. The partial list of disorders in the following paragraphs are now known to be iatrogenic or autoimmunity-inducing (or both) and are usually related to the repeated injections of vaccines that contain the neurotoxic heavy metal mercury, the autoimmunity-inducing metal aluminum, live viruses, contaminants, other toxic vaccine ingredients and/or some combination of the above (especially when the vaccines are administered in un-tested-for-safety cocktails that are often given at one sitting!).

Because vaccine-induced diseases are rarely diagnosed and therefore not reported as iatrogenic by the physicians whose prescriptions caused the disorders, federal CDC or state Departments of Health statisticians will also not report them. Likewise, pathologists that do autopsies are usually also not equipped to diagnose fatal iatrogenic diseases – nor are they very inclined to do so.

Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, Asthma, Allergies and ASIA – the “A’s” of Vaccine Toxicology

The following lists of potentially iatrogenic diseases (which mainly occur in the fully-vaccinated, by the way) include such vaccine-associated or vaccine-induced diseases that includes Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, Asthma, Allergies and the fairly new, quite commonly-mis-diagnosed syndrome:ASIA(the “Autoimmune/inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants). The ASIA syndrome includes a large number of iatrogenic diseases that are caused by vaccine adjuvants and therefore commonly mis-diagnosed. One of the most important is the newly-recognized syndrome, the debilitating post-vaccination disorder called macrophagic myofasciitis (MMF).

In addition to those disorders above, there is also the following group of often iatrogenic, often prescription drug-induced, often vaccine-induced autoimmune disorders, including the following short list: multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, seizure disorders, peripheral neuropathy, Bell’s palsy, radiculopathy, encephalitis and various other encephalopathies, anaphylaxis, herpes zoster, optic neuritis, visual impairments, hearing disorders, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), near-SIDS, seizure disorders, the multitude of drug-induced toxicities commonly caused bystatin drugs, etc, etc.

And then there are the massive number of prescription drug-induced addictions, prescription drug-dependency disorders, the prescription drug-induced fatal or near-fatal over-doses and the later-developing drug- or vaccine-related developmental, behavioral, mental health, conduct or personality disorders, some of which are mentioned in the remainder of this article.

There are many honorable non-mainstream medical journals that do not forbid the publication of articles that honestly discuss the epidemic of iatrogenic disorders, including the ones mentioned in the above paragraphs. Mainstream medical journals generally accept unlimited amounts of Big Pharma advertising money, thus muzzling their editors when choosing which journal article submissions to publish. Hence there has been a lot of subtle censorship in mainstream medical journals that has disallowed the honest discussion that could have proven the iatrogenicity of the above disorders.

Physicians have been naïve pawns of the Big Pharma/Big Vaccine corporatocracy for most of the last century, and the greed-induced motivations of Big Pharma have developed and marketed as many profitable drugs and vaccines as they can. Sadly, we physicians have by and large not objected, partly because we have not been well enough informed.

Big Pharma benefits by having its vaccines and drugs rapidly patented and efficiently tested on lab animals (and then on human subjects) for safety and efficacy. The next steps include marketing approval by the FDA and then manufacturing the product as cheaply as possible (often in third world nations where labor is cheap). Since the CDC often has profitable connections to vaccines, they help push vaccine sales to the public.

If “all goes according to Big Pharma’s business plan” (in the case of Big Vaccine’s and the AAP’s infant vaccination agendas), every baby shot will be advertised as a savior of untold numbers of babies by grateful parents – until some of the tiny victims become seriously sickened by the inherently toxic ingredients that always have “synergistic” (not just “additive”) toxicities when administered in cocktails that are injected in three different sites at a single office visit. Every significant vaccine (or statin drug) “side effect” represents an iatrogenic symptom or actual illness, some of them becoming chronic illnesses or even causes of death.

Of course, if some alleged “universal” influenza vaccine is ever presented to the FDA for marketing approval, it won’t necessarily be because it is “universally-effective” (especially long-term), nor will it be approved because it has been proven to even be safe long-term. Vaccines are usually approved for marketing because certain statistical parameters will have been met. Those statistics will then be used as cunning marketing tools in order to convince providers to promote the new vaccine and to convince parents to insist that their babies get it according to the newest American Academy of Pediatrics vaccination schedule.

Both Big Pharma’s shareholders and Wall Street’s corporate investors demand that the “pipeline” contain as many potentially profitable drugs and vaccines as possible, no matter how unlikely it will be that there will be an actual health benefit to many of the recipients of the vaccines – or how likely it will be that there will be serious adverse effects. (Recall that there are over 250 new vaccines in Big Pharma’s vaccine pipeline with no mention by any health officials as to who among us will be expected to sit still long enough to allow even a tiny fraction of the 250 shots to be injected into our muscles.)

We easily propagandized, incurably hopeful consumers of corporate news providers (including us physicians) are too-easily misled by the for-profit, corporate-influenced, medical corporations that are fronted by seemingly all State Departments of Health.

”Just get Your Damn Shots” is Often the Simplistic Message

We physicians also tend to trust the Big Pharma-infiltrated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which owns dozens of vaccine-related patents from which they profit whenever their owned technology is utilized. There are many ulterior motives hidden in the CDC’s advertising campaigns. “Just get your damn shots” is often the message.

The CDC purchases from Big Pharma corporations and then resells to clinics and hospitals (and not pharmacies, I suppose) $4 billion dollar’s-worth of vaccines each year, so they don’t want any negative information broadcast that would negatively impact their future profitability.

As an example, influenza vaccine sales would be adversely affected if the media accurately reported the usual low incidence of actual vaccine-matched influenza outbreaks in ANY given year. Nor would the CDC be happy if the media accurately reported the usual mis-match between the strains of influenza that circulated “down under” 6 months earlier during Australia’s last flu season and the 3-4 influenza strains (out of over 100 possible strains) selected to be cultivated and marketed for North America’s flu season.

The CDC surely doesn’t want any information broadcast about the documented fact that only 20% of what is typically mis-diagnosed as “influenza” is actually true influenza at all, but only represents an assortment of other “influenza-like illnesses” for which there are no vaccines available.

There is a way to get some idea of the quasi-conspiracy that exists in order to get as many otherwise healthy people intramuscularly-injected with neurotoxic vaccines (starting with every innocent and immunologically-immature 6-month-old baby in America (not to mention every pregnant woman with a highly vulnerable fetus on board!!).

To get partly up to speed on the potential – and largely unreported – dangers of mass vaccination programs, please read my most recent Duty to Warn column that was just published in Duluth, Minnesota’s Reader magazine (January 11, 2019). The column has been re-published in any number of online journals around the world. (Read that column, as well as other related columns, here).

That Duty to Warn column tried to explain some of the many dangers of injecting cocktails of vaccines into immuno-compromised infants and children – particularly the totally unnecessary (neurotoxic and immunologically-toxic) aluminum-adjuvanted Hepatitis B vaccine that has been injected into innocent American newborns for decades. Many hospitals continue to inject Hepatitis B shots in every newborn infant within hours of birth – often before the baby’s health has been fully assessed – and often without parental consent or knowledge!! (A clear violation of medical ethics.)

Many American infants have been sickened or even killed by Hepatitis B shots. Besides being unnecessary in America, Hepatitis B vaccines used to contain the highly toxic preservative mercury. When mercury was finally acknowledged by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) to be poisonous, it was quietly removed and the neurotoxic, frequently  over-stimulating, aluminum was added to many vaccines.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The increasing numbers of vaccine-induced autoimmune disorders such as the recent epidemic of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus of childhood, can surely be attributed – at least partially – to the increasing numbers of autoimmunity-inducing, aluminum-containing vaccines that are being routinely injected into American babies, all on the basis of the propagandized message that vaccines are safe and effective (neither of which are true, especially when given in cocktails that have never been tested for safety or effectiveness, even in guinea pig labs).

For more related articles click here.

Gary G. Kohls, MD, Duluth, MN

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Dr Gary G. Kohls is a retired family physician from Duluth, MN, USA. Since his retirement from his holistic mental health practice he has been writing his weekly Duty to Warn column for the Duluth Reader, northeast Minnesota’s alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns, which are re-published around the world, deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, malnutrition, Big Pharma’s over-drugging and Big Vaccine’s over-vaccination agendas, as well as other movements that threaten human health, the environment, democracy, civility and the sustainability of all life on earth.  Many of his columns have been archived at a number of websites, including the following:

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

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

http://freepress.org/geographic-scope/national; and

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

Sources

Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History – by Suzanne Humphries, MD and Roman Bystrianyk

Make an INFORMED Vaccine Decision: For the Health of Your Child (A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Vaccinations – by Mayer Eisenstein, MD, MPH with Neil Z. Miller

The Sanctity of Human Blood: Vaccination is not Immunization – by Tim O’Shea

Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy – by David Kirby

Leader of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham Abu Mohammad Al-Joulani declared his support to an expected Turkish military operation against Kurdish armed groups in northeastern Syria during an interview with Amjad Media on January 14.

He stressed that his group supports “the operation to liberate the eastern Euphrates”. He also rejected criticism from his militant counterparts that the recent Hayat Tahrir al-Sham expansion within the Idlib de-escalation zone opens a route for a Russian-backed military operation in the area. He recalled that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which just recently was the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, is an important part of the so-called “Syrian revolution” thus justifying its further actions.

Recently, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham de-facto established a full control of the most of the Idlib de-escalation zone by defeating the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation and forcing it to accept own rule across the area.

Now, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leadership is working to consolidate its gains in security and media spheres. Experts say that the main idea of Al-Joulani and his inner circle is to become an irreplaceable partner of the Turkish government in Idlib-related issues and this approach has worked so far.

On January 14, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey is doing what is required to maintain peace and prevent violations in the Idlib de-escalation zone. He even claimed that the Idlib de-escalation deal has been “successfully” implemented despite difficult conditions and that the Syrian government and the countries that support it are to blame if Idlib becomes “terrorist nest”.

Cavusoglu somehow forgot to mention that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which is the internationally designated terrorist group, was excluded from the ceasefire regime established in the Idlib zone and is a legal target of military actions, which were expected to be undertaken in the framework of the deal. However, now it became clear that Turkey’s attempts to prevent the further military successes of the Damascus government in northwestern Syria openly contributed to the expansion of al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-like entities there.

Meanwhile, the political leadership of the Syrian Kurds was once again encouraged by harsh statements of US President Donald Trump towards Turkey and announced that it had paused talks with the Damascus government.

An official representative of the Syrian Kurds in Moscow, Rshad Bienaf, told the Russian media that there was a “dialogue”, but no results were achieved because the Damascus government is not ready to change the constitution in the favor to the so-called “democratic system” established in the US-occupied area of northeastern Syria.

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It is quite probable that India’s growing role in Central Asia via its US-approved Chabahar Corridor to the region will lead to increased competition with China there. But there is also the possibility that the two Asian Great Powers’ connectivity projects could pragmatically converge in this region. This will usher in the admittedly unlikely scenario of a Eurasian Renaissance if New Delhi breaks ranks with Washington due to irreconcilable economic disagreements stemming from Trump’s so-called ‘trade war’.

Central Asia, the focal point of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s ‘Grand Chessboard’ is more relevant now than ever in the emerging Multipolar World Order with India set to challenge China for influence in this resource-rich space. The competition between the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative and the joint Indo-Japanese ‘Asia-Africa Growth Corridor’ connectivity projects is heating up after India secured a sanctions waiver from the US to expand its Iranian-based Chabahar Corridor into the region. It strongly suggests that the success of this initiative would advance America’s national security interests more than imposing the relevant sanctions on Iran. This observation pointedly speaks to the grand strategic significance that the US sees in facilitating India’s entry into Central Asia, even if Trump has to lessen the impact of his highly publicized anti-Iranian sanctions in order to have this happen.

The guiding notion behind this gambit is that the expected influx of Indian economic influence into Afghanistan and the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia could redirect regional trade routes away from China. This would allow New Delhi to cultivate its own local and national elite that have a financial stake in ensuring the success of India’s far-reaching American-assisted influence operation in this part of Eurasia. The US is willing to accept the residual economic and political benefits that Iran is slated to gain as a result of allowing its territory to be used for connecting India to the Central Asian region, wagering that it could nevertheless still be contained through the Damocles’ Sword of secondary sanctions if it gets out of hand. Furthermore, Iran’s deepening reliance on India as an anti-sanctions pressure valve enables America to indirectly influence its rival via Tehran’s relationship with its ally.

Acknowledging that the US is convinced (whether naively or not) that the pro-Iranian blowback that could result from this strategy is manageable, one can now proceed to analyzing the grander designs behind this approach. Washington understands that without India’s ‘economic intervention’ in the region, Central Asia will reliably remain under the influence of the multipolar great powers of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey that comprise the Golden Ring. This is why the US is willing to sacrifice the ultimate impact of its promised anti-Iranian sanctions in the hopes that Tehran will agree to indirectly assist its plans in the region as an unofficial form of sanctions relief. This is not to suggest that Iran is knowingly conspiring with the US, but just that it has been pushed into the position where it believes that some of its interests are best served by collaborating with India on the American-approved Chabahar Corridor.

So long as Iran continues going along with this strategy, and there have thus far been no grounds to suspect that it would not, then it is inevitable that the regional countries’ growing economic relations with India will eventually lead to increased political relations with it. This could possibly be up to the point of breaking the de-facto Russian-Chinese condominium in Central Asia by introducing a so-called third force that could help its government balance between these two neighboring Great Powers. Russia no longer commands the economic influence that it once did in Central Asia. However, it can provide for the region’s security needs while China takes care of its economic ones. Viewed through a zero-sum perspective, this development would work out more to China’s relative detriment than anyone else’s. This is especially so when considering that Russia has excellent relations with India and is also inviting it to expand its investments in the Chinese-bordering Far East region. That is not to say that Russia is actively encouraging India to play a greater role in Central Asia, but just that it will flexibly adjust to this reality since it has no way of influencing this process one way or another.

One must bear in mind that the main artery of India’s connectivity investments in Iran is aimed at actualizing the North-South Transport Corridor for streamlining Russian-Indian trade via Iran and Azerbaijan. By dint of their geography, the two states that will probably see the most active competition between India and China are Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. For Afghanistan, Beijing previously suggested joint cooperation through the China-India-Plus-One format. Uzbekistan is an aspiring great power in its own right and eager to multi-align between the countries of the Golden Ring, India, and also the US. Interestingly enough, Pakistan is poised to play a role in all of this too.

There exists a realistic chance to expand CPEC into the region through three separate branches that could colloquially be called CPEC+, running from Gwadar to Chabahar and then up onwards, transiting via Afghanistan, and finally through Xinjiang in connecting Pakistan with its Babur-era civilizational cousins in Central Asia. The introduction of China’s all-weather ally Pakistan into the Central Asian competition could complement Beijing’s multipolar activities there and contribute to counteracting India’s influence, with the strategic consequence being that this landlocked region would then informally become part of the concept of greater South Asia. The impact of the Pakistani-Indian rivalry on Central Asia is impossible to predict in any precise terms, but it can broadly be forecast that it would remain within the non-kinetic sphere and restricted to economic, cultural, and informational dimensions.

Central Asia

Source: Economist

After all that has been analyzed thus far, it might seem like a fait accompli that India will soon flex its muscles as a disruptive force in Central Asia focused on shaking up the region’s affairs at the US’ balancing behest. But there still remains an unlikely possibility that an altogether different scenario might unfold which nevertheless cannot be discounted. The aforementioned analysis is premised on the presumption that India will remain one of the US’ top military-strategic allies this century, but in the off chance that irreconcilable economic disagreements over Trump’s so-called trade war push New Delhi to progressively distance itself from Washington in response, India could reverse some of the destabilizing effects that its entrance into Central Asia might otherwise have for the emerging multipolar world order.

To be clear, it would be altogether better for the Golden Ring if India did not play any role whatsoever in this construction of Central Asian Heartland. However, if it is inevitable that New Delhi will, then it is best for it to do so in coordination with Beijing through the China-India-Plus-One format that could potentially set the basis for merging their New Silk Road and ‘Asia-Africa Growth Corridor’ connectivity initiatives into a single developmental platform that could conceivably set the basis for a Eurasian Renaissance. Once again, it needs to be emphasized that it is extremely unlikely that this will happen because it would necessitate India having to defy the US’ presumably imposed primary and secondary sanctions against the Chabahar Corridor, but in the event that New Delhi garnered the political will to do so, then it could end up being a real game-changer.

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This article was originally published on Pakistan Politico.

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

Featured image is from Tehran Times

John Pilger, as foreign correspondent, covered Bangladesh’s Liberation War. His front-page report ‘Death of a Nation’ alerted the world to the life-and-death struggle of the Bengali people. He has been a war correspondent, author and documentary filmmaker who has won British journalism’s highest award twice.

For his documentary films, he has won an American Television Academy Award, an Emmy, and a British Academy Award given by the British Academy of Television Arts. He has received the United Nations Association Peace Prize and Gold Medal. His 1979 documentary, Cambodia Year Zero, is ranked by the British Film Institute as one of the 10 most important documentaries of the 20th century. He is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Heroes, A Secret Country, The New Rulers of the World, and Hidden Agendas. In an exclusive (electronic) interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Pilger talks about his coverage of Bangladesh’s Liberation War, the state of journalism today, and the current political shifts happening in the West.

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Eresh Omar Jamal: In an article for The Guardian in 2008, you wrote that when you came to cover Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s wife Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib had asked you, “Why have you come when even crows are afraid to fly over our house?” But you didn’t write your answer. Can you share what it was?

John Pilger: I had spent much of 1971 based in Calcutta reporting on the seven million refugees coming from what was then East Pakistan. Their journey was along what we reporters called a “corridor of pain”. The previous year, I had witnessed the devastation caused by the great tidal wave that engulfed the unprotected Bay of Bengal. What had struck me was the lack of real concern by the government in Islamabad, which sent the army to impose martial law on the people of East Bengal.

BangladeshLiberationWarMontage.jpg

Clockwise from top left; Martyred Intellectuals Memorial, Bangladesh Forces howitzer, Surrender of Pakistan to Indian and Bangladesh forces,[1] the PNS Ghazi. (Source: CC BY-SA 3.0)

This was a dangerous corner of the world for ordinary people and dissenters from the colonial power that touched all their lives; it was also an inspirational place where, it was clear to me, a free Bangladesh was struggling to be born.

I like Bengali people; I admired their resilience and warmth and wit. In the summer of 1971, a young idealistic lawyer, Moudud Ahmed (who later rose to high office in Bangladesh), led me at night across the Radcliffe Line that divided India from East Pakistan. We marched behind an armed guide bearing a green and red Bangladeshi flag and we listened to people’s moving accounts of Pakistani atrocities and saw their destroyed villages.

My subsequent report in the London Daily Mirror and my colleague Eric Piper’s photographs provided substantial evidence that the Islamabad government was waging genocidal war in Bengal.

EOJ: Can you give an overall picture of what you saw happening in Bangladesh in 1971, and later when you came back to cover the Bangladesh famine of 1974?

JP: As we went from village to village, waiting for jet fighters to pass, the evidence was stark. Where there had been Hindu communities whose ethnic place in Muslim East Bengal had been delicately but peacefully maintained since Partition, there were now deserted ruins. Whenever the Punjabis attacked, it was the same pattern of massacre of Bengalis, Muslims and Hindus alike. In one village, people had been buried alive in mud. Now and then, in the midst of this misery, I heard the defiant words: “Joi Bangla!”

The years that followed liberation were extremely difficult. Bangladesh had been laid bare by war and the wilful denial of resources. I filmed the human consequence of a famine that ravaged the countryside and my reports asked why.

In Washington, Henry Kissinger, then President Nixon’s powerful Secretary of State, regarded Bangladesh as a “basket case”, which was an extreme ideological position that divided the world into “successful” and “failed states”. Remember the US then controlled most of the world’s food trade. To Washington, “failed states” were expendable, or places to dump surpluses; food shipments were used as a political weapon, literally to “zap” governments the US administration did not like.

Those countries that tried to assert their independence—for example, by voting against or abstaining from US motions in the UN—were denied food shipments and international agency support. The dilemmas faced by a new and troubled state such as Bangladesh were innumerable. I met Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and he wondered aloud whether or not democracy could survive in these conditions. Certainly, the recent election says it has not survived. The stuffing of ballot boxes and the deployment of armed thugs, and the brutal intimidation of opposition candidates, shame the liberation struggles and those who died in those epic times.

EOJ: Besides Bangladesh’s Liberation War, you have also covered wars in Vietnam, Cambodia and Nigeria. What roles can journalists and the media fulfil to help people who suffer because of wars?

JP: Journalists can help people by telling the truth, or by as much truth as they can find, and acting not as agents of governments, of power, but of people. That is real journalism. The rest is specious and false.

EOJ: You have been a journalist now for many decades. How has journalism changed during this time in your view?

JP: When I began as a journalist, especially as a foreign correspondent, the press in the UK was conservative and owned by powerful establishment forces, as it is now. But the difference compared to today is that there were spaces for independent journalism that dissented from the received wisdom of authority. That space has now all but closed and independent journalists have gone to the internet, or to a metaphoric underground. Bangladesh has a rich tradition of independent journalism; be sure you protect it.

EOJ: What are some of the biggest challenges and problems that currently exist within this profession, and what do you see as being the best solutions to them?

JP: The single biggest challenge is rescuing journalism from its deferential role as the stenographer of great power. The United States has constitutionally the freest press on earth, yet in practice it has a media obsequious to the formulas and deceptions of power. That is why the US was effectively given media approval to invade Iraq, and Libya, and Syria and dozens of other countries.

EOJ: For many years you have been a great supporter of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. How do you see them fitting into the current global media framework?

JP: WikiLeaks is possibly the most exciting development in journalism in my lifetime. As an investigative journalist, I have often had to rely on the courageous, principled acts of whistle-blowers. The truth about the Vietnam War was told when Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers. The truth about Iraq and Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia and many other flashpoints was told when WikiLeaks published the revelations of whistle-blowers.

When you consider that 100 percent of WikiLeaks leaks are authentic and accurate, you can understand the impact, as well as the fury generated among secretive powerful forces. Julian Assange is a political refugee in London for one reason only: WikiLeaks told the truth about the greatest crimes of the 21st century. He is not forgiven for that, and he should be supported by journalists and by people everywhere.

EOJ: Why do you think populism in America and Europe is on the rise all of a sudden?

JP: “Populism” is a pejorative media term. What we are seeing is a popular class revolt; people are fed up with the poverty, collapse in employment rights and insecurity that are engulfing their lives, caused by the extreme economic policies of their governments.

There are other contributing reasons, of course, but basically ordinary people in the West—especially the US, Britain, France, Greece and Italy—are seeing their precious gains fading away. That’s why the “Yellow Vests” in France have such widespread support. Also, a stampede of refugees from countries devastated by Western rapacious policies—such as Libya and Syria—have provided the scapegoats.

EOJ: Why do you think the liberal forces in those countries are being replaced by what are being described as elements of the far-right?

JP: Liberal forces are often to blame for the conditions that have given rise to the far-right. They have enabled the divisiveness. In the US, the Democratic Party has long betrayed ordinary people, whom Hillary Clinton abused as “deplorables”. Liberals in the West today are often class-obsessed behind a veneer of so-called “identity politics”. Ordinary people are waking up to that, or at least they are trying to.

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This article was originally published on The Daily Star.

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Is the US Planning to Wage War on Russia and China?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky and Bonnie Faulkner, January 16, 2019

First of all, that withdrawal in terms of US forces is trivial. The United States has operated in Syria by financing and supporting tens of thousands of jihadists with the support of Saudi Arabia and up to a certain point also Turkey, although Turkey has a different agenda.

Democratic Media: For the People, By the People

By Mark Taliano, January 15, 2019

Imagine paying your taxes thinking it is for the uplift of the community and country, only to find out it is for the uplift of the billionaire class … and ISIS/al Qaeda.

Benefiting Israel Tops US Congressional Agenda

By Philip Giraldi, January 15, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu famously was unaware that he was being filmed when he commented that “America is a thing you can move very easily, moved in the right direction.”

Entering a Major Regional Re-set – The Syria Outcome Will Haunt Those Who Started this War

By Alastair Crooke, January 15, 2019

The Middle East is metamorphosing. New fault-lines are emerging, yet Trump’s foreign policy ‘hawks’ still try to stage ‘old movies’ in a new ‘theatre’.

Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion

By Dr. Binoy Kampmark, January 15, 2019

His national security advisor, John Bolton, prefers a different message: the US will not leave north-eastern Syria till the militants of Islamic State are defeated and the Kurds protected.

The ‘Private Governments’ that Subjugate U.S. Workers

By Chris Hedges, January 15, 2019

Corporate dictatorships—which strip employees of fundamental constitutional rights, including free speech, and which increasingly rely on temp or contract employees who receive no benefits and have no job security—rule the lives of perhaps 80 percent of working Americans.

A New Narrative Control Firm Works to Destroy Alternative Media

By Caitlin Johnstone, January 14, 2019

A report seeded throughout the mainstream media by anonymous intelligence officials back in September claimed that US government workers in Cuba had suffered concussion-like brain damage after hearing strange noises in homes and hotels with the most likely culprit being “sophisticated microwaves or another type of electromagnetic weapon” from Russia.

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Thoughts about US Foreign Policy

January 16th, 2019 by William Blum

This article was originally posted on GR in November 2016.

William Blum was an important voice in the analysis of US foreign policy. His activism lives on.

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Louis XVI needed a revolution, Napoleon needed two historic military defeats, the Spanish Empire in the New World needed multiple revolutions, the Russian Czar needed a communist revolution, the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires needed World War I, Nazi Germany needed World War II, Imperial Japan needed two atomic bombs, the Portuguese Empire in Africa needed a military coup at home, the Soviet Empire needed Mikhail Gorbachev … What will the American Empire need?

I don’t believe anyone will consciously launch World War III. The situation now is more like the eve of World War I, when great powers were armed and ready to go when an incident set things off. Ever since Gorbachev naively ended the Cold War, the hugely over-armed United States has been actively surrounding Russia with weapons systems, aggressive military exercises, NATO expansion. At the same time, in recent years the demonization of Vladimir Putin has reached war propaganda levels. Russians have every reason to believe that the United States is preparing for war against them, and are certain to take defensive measures. This mixture of excessive military preparations and propaganda against an “evil enemy” make it very easy for some trivial incident to blow it all up. – Diana Johnstone, author of “Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton”

In September 2013 President Obama stood before the United Nations General Assembly and declared, “I believe America is exceptional.” The following year at the UN, the president classified Russia as one of the three threats to the world along with the Islamic State and the ebola virus. On March 9, 2015 President Barack Obama declared Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States”.

Vladimir Putin, speaking at the UN in 2015, addressing the United States re its foreign policy: “Do you realize what you have done?”

Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:

  1. Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
  2. Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
  3. Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
  4. Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
  5. Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.*
  6. Plus … although not easily quantified … has been more involved in the practice of torture than any other country in the world … for over a century … not just performing the actual torture, but teaching it, providing the manuals, and furnishing the equipment.

*See chapter 18 of William Blum, “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”

On October 28, 2016 Russia was voted off the UN Human Rights Council. At the same time Saudi Arabia won a second term, uncontested. Does anyone know George Orwell’s email address?

A million refugee from Washington’s warfare are currently over-running Europe. They’re running from Afghanistan and Iraq; from Libya and Somalia; from Syria and Pakistan.

Germany is taking in many Syrian refugees because of its World War Two guilt. What will the United States do in the future because of its guilt? But Americans are not raised to feel such guilt.

The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful. Vice-President Dick Cheney – West Point lecture, June 2002

Two flew over the cuckoo’s nest: “We are, as a matter of empirical fact and undeniable history, the greatest force for good the world has ever known. … security and freedom for millions of people around the globe have depended on America’s military , economic, political, and diplomatic might.” – Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, “Why the world needs a powerful America” (2015)

State Department spokesperson Mark Toner: “Assad must go even if Syria goes with him.”

Many of the moves the Obama administration has made in terms of its Cuba policy are in lockstep with Bill Clinton’s, as expressed in the recommendations of a 1999 task force report from the Council on Foreign Relations. The report asserted that “no change in policy should have the primary effect of consolidating, or appearing to legitimize, the political status quo on the island.”

A successful American regime change operation in Syria would cut across definite interests of the Russian state. These include the likely use of Syria as a new pipeline route to bring gas from Qatar to the European market, thereby undercutting Gazprom, Russia’s largest corporation and biggest exporter. Assad’s refusal to consider such a route played no small role in Qatar’s pouring billions of dollars in arms and funds into the Syrian civil war on behalf of anti-Assad forces.

War with Russia will be nuclear. Washington has prepared for it. Washington has abandoned the ABM treaty, created what it thinks is an ABM shield, and changed its war doctrine to permit US nuclear first strike. All of this is obviously directed at Russia, and the Russian government knows it. How long will Russia sit there waiting for Washington’s first strike? – Paul Craig Roberts, 2014

Iran signed the nuclear accords with the United States earlier this year by agreeing to stop what it never was doing. Any Iranian nuclear ambition, real or imagined, is of course a result of American hostility towards Iran, and not the other way around.

If the European Union were an independent and rational government it would absolutely forbid any member country from stockpiling American nuclear weapons or hosting a US anti-ballistic missile site or any other military base anywhere close to Russia’s borders.

Full Spectrum Dominance, a term the Pentagon loves to use to refer to total control of the planet: land, sea, air, space, outer space and cyberspace. Can you imagine any other country speaking this way?

Henry Kissinger at the Paris Peace Talks, September 1970. “I refuse to believe that a little fourth rate power like North Vietnam does not have a breaking point.”

In 2010, WikiLeaks released a cable sent to US embassies by then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She wrote this: “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, al Nusra and other terrorist groups … worldwide.” Surely this resulted in at least Washington’s much-favored weapon: sanctions of various kinds. It did not.

US General Barry McCaffrey, April 2015: “Because so far NATO’s reaction to Putin’s aggression has been to send a handful of forces to the Baltics to demonstrate ‘resolve,’ which has only convinced Putin that the alliance is either unable or unwilling to fight. So we had better change his calculus pretty soon, and contest Putin’s stated doctrine that he is willing to intervene militarily in other countries to ‘protect’ Russia-speaking people. For God’s sake, the last time we heard that was just before Hitler invaded the Sudetenland.”

No, my dear general, we heard that repeatedly in 1983 when the United States invaded the tiny nation of Grenada to protect and rescue hundreds of Americans who supposedly were in danger from the new leftist government. It was all a fraud, no more than an excuse to overthrow a government that that didn’t believe that the American Empire was God’s gift to humanity.

Since 1980, the United States has intervened in the affairs of fourteen Muslim countries, at worst invading or bombing them. They are (in chronological order) Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosovo, Yemen, Pakistan, and now Syria.

How our never-ending mideast horror began: Radio Address of George W. Bush, September 28, 2002: “The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist groups, and there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq. This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year.” Yet … just six weeks before 9/11, Condoleezza Rice told CNN: “Let’s remember that his [Saddam’s] country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.”

The fact is that there is more participation by the Cuban population in the running of their country than there is by the American population in the running of theirs. One important reason is the absence of the numerous private corporations which, in the United States, exert great influence over all aspects of life.

The U.S. is frantically surrounding China with military weapons, advanced aircraft, naval fleets and a multitude of military bases from Japan, South Korea and the Philippines through several nearby smaller Pacific islands to its new and enlarged base in Australia … The U.S. naval fleet, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines patrol China’s nearby waters. Warplanes, surveillance planes, drones and spying satellites cover the skies, creating a symbolic darkness at noon. (Jack A. Smith, “Hegemony Games: USA vs. PRC”, CounterPunch)

Crimea had never voluntarily left Russia. The USSR’s leader Nikita Khrushchev, a native of the region, had donated Crimea to Ukraine in 1954. Crimeans were always strongly opposed to that change and voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia after the US-induced Ukrainian coup in 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin refers to the Ukrainian army as “NATO’s foreign legion”, which does not pursue Ukraine’s national interests. The United States, however, insists on labeling the Russian action in Crimea as an invasion.

Putin re Crimea/Ukraine: “Our western partners created the ‘Kosovo precedent’ with their own hands. In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea they recognized Kosovo’s secession from Serbia legitimate while arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence is necessary… And the UN International Court of Justice agreed with those arguments. That’s what they said; that’s what they trumpeted all over the world and coerced everyone to accept – and now they are complaining about Crimea. Why is that?”

Paul Craig Roberts: “The absurdity of it all! Even a moron knows that if Russia is going to put tanks and troops into Ukraine, Russia will put in enough to do the job. The war would be over in a few days if not in a few hours. As Putin himself said some months ago, if the Russian military enters Ukraine, the news will not be the fate of Donetsk or Mauriupol, but the fall of Kiev and Lviv.”

In a major examination of US policy vis-à-vis China, published in March 2015, the authoritative Council on Foreign Relations bluntly declared that “there is no real prospect of building fundamental trust, ‘peaceful coexistence,’ ‘mutual understanding,’ a strategic partnership, or a ‘new type of major country relations’ between the United States and China.” The United States, the report declares, must, therefore, develop “the political will” and military capabilities “to deal with China to protect vital U.S. interests.”

John F. Kennedy changed the mission of the Latin American military from ‘hemispheric defense’ – an outdated relic of World War II – to ‘internal security,’ which means war against the domestic population. – Noam Chomsky

Cuban baseball players who are paid a million dollars to play for an American team are not “defectors”, a word which has a clear political connotation.

Boris Yeltsin was acceptable to American and Europeans because he was seen as a weak, pliable figure that allowed Western capital free rein in the newly opened Russian territory following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yeltsin’s era was also a time of rampant corruption by Russian oligarchs who were closely associated with Western capital. That corrosive culture came to a halt with the election of Vladimir Putin twice as president between 2000-2008, and again in 2012.

Many ISIS leaders were former Iraqi military officers who were imprisoned by American troops. The fight isn’t against ISIS, it’s against Assad; at the next level it isn’t against Assad, it’s against Putin; then, at the next level, it isn’t against Putin, it’s against the country most likely to stand in the way of US world domination, Russia. And it’s forever.

Connecting to the US-based Internet would mean channeling all of Cuba’s communications directly to the NSA.

George W. Bush has been living a comparatively quiet life in Texas, with a focus on his paintings. “I’m trying to leave something behind”, he said a couple of years ago. Yeah, right, George. We can stand up some of the paintings against the large piles of Iraqi dead bodies.

Seymour Hirsch: “America would be much better off, if, 30 years ago, we had let Russia continue its war in Afghanistan … The mistake was made by the Carter administration which was trying to stop the Russians from their invasion of Afghanistan. We’d be better off had we let the Russians beat the Taliban.” (Deutsche Welle, April 2, 2014 interview) We’d be even better off if we hadn’t overthrown the progressive, secular Afghan government, giving rise to the Taliban in the first place and inciting the Russians to intervene on their border lest the Soviet Islamic population was stirred up.

The former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in an interview in 1998 summed up exactly what the US thinks of the UN: “The UN plays a very important role. But if we don’t like it, we always have the option of following our own national security interests, which I assure you we will do if we don’t like what’s going on.” She is now a foreign-policy advisor to Hillary Clinton.

A leader taking his (or her) nation to war is as dysfunctional in the family of humankind as an abusive parent is in an individual family. – Suzy Kane

It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy. Power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy … The Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States. – Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1992 to December 1996

Interventions are not against dictators but against those who try to distribute: not against Jiménez in Venezuela but Chávez, not against Somoza in Nicaragua but the Sandinistas, not against Batista in Cuba but Castro, not against Pinochet in Chile but Allende, not against Guatemala dictators but Arbenz, not against the shah in Iran but Mossadegh, etc. – Johan Galtung, Norwegian, principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies

No mention was made that Iraq’s Christians had been safe and sound under President Saddam Hussein – even privileged – until President George Bush invaded and destroyed Iraq. We can expect the same fate for Syria’s Christians if the protection of the Assad regime is torn away by the US-engineered uprising. We will then shed crocodile tears for Syria’s Christians. – Eric Margolis, 2014

Jewish Power is the capacity to silence the debate on Jewish Power. – Gilad Atzmon

We need a trial to judge all those who bear significant responsibility for the past century – the most murderous and ecologically destructive in human history. We could call it the war, air and fiscal crimes tribunal and we could put politicians and CEOs and major media owners in the dock with earphones like Eichmann and make them listen to the evidence of how they killed millions of people and almost murdered the planet and made most of us far more miserable than we needed to be. Of course, we wouldn’t have time to go after them one by one. We’d have to lump Wall Street investment bankers in one trial, the Council on Foreign Relations in another, and any remaining Harvard Business School or Yale Law graduates in a third. We don’t need this for retribution, only for edification. So there would be no capital punishment, but rather banishment to an overseas Nike factory with a vow of perpetual silence. – Sam Smith

I have come to think of the export of ‘democracy’ as the contemporary equivalent of what missionaries have always done in the interest of conquering and occupying the ‘uncivilized’ world on behalf of the powers that be. I have said that the ‘church’ invented the concept of conversion by any means, including torture and killing of course, as doing the victims a big favor, since it was in the interest of ‘saving’ their immortal souls. It is now called, ‘democratization’. – Rita Corriel

It is more or less impossible to commemorate the war dead without glorifying them, and it is impossible to glorify them without glorifying their wars. – Paul Craig Roberts

 

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Tens of thousands of Los Angeles teachers and their supporters manned picket lines and marched downtown yesterday on the second day of the strike by 33,000 educators in America’s second largest school district. The walkout has generated widespread public support and growing calls for the spreading of the strike throughout California and more broadly.

For the second day in a row, as many as 50,000 strikers, parents and students converged on the city center, this time in front of the headquarters of the California Charter Schools Association. They were joined by 75 teachers who walked out at three charter schools operated by Accelerated Schools. Another 900 unionized charter school teachers have been kept on the job by the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA).

There are growing calls by teachers throughout California and beyond for joint strike action. Teachers in Oakland are planning sickouts Friday to oppose threats by school officials to close one-third of the district’s schools, even as they expand privately run charter schools. Teachers in Denver, Colorado will be voting for strike action on January 19, and thousands of educators in Virginia are planning a mass rally in Richmond on January 28.

Striking Los Angeles teachers

Like they did during the teachers’ rebellions last year in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and other states, the leaders of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) are attempting to isolate teachers in Los Angeles and prevent the broadening of the strike across the state and the country. On the eve of the strike, AFT President Randi Weingarten, who is currently in Los Angeles, tweeted,

“This is not about a strike wave—this is a specific fight for the kids & public schools of LA.”

But Los Angeles teachers are not fighting a local fight. They are confronting powerful financial and political forces, including the Eli Broad Foundation, that are conducting a nation-wide conspiracy, with the backing of both corporate-controlled parties, to dismantle and privatize public education. That is why LA teachers cannot fight this battle alone.

To expand the strike and mobilize teachers and other workers across California, the US and internationally, teachers must take the conduct of the struggle out of the hands of the UTLA and the national teacher unions, which are allied with the very same Democratic Party politicians that have waged a decades-long war on public education in California and across the US.

The World Socialist Web Site Teacher Newsletter urges teachers to form rank-and-file strike committees in every school and community, democratically controlled and independent of the UTLA. These committees must demand full access to the behind-the-scenes negotiations being conducted by the UTLA, the school district and the mayor and governor’s office. Strike benefits, not loans from the union’s giant strike fund, must be paid to all teachers to sustain this historic fight.

In opposition to the UTLA’s craven abandonment of the teachers’ most critical demands, rank-and-file teachers should draw up their own set of demands, including a 30 percent pay raise, a cap on class sizes of 25 students, billions for the hiring of new nurses and staff, the ending of punitive testing for students and teachers, and the immediate reconversion of charter schools into public schools.

To fight for these demands, strike committees would call on all school bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers to defy the orders of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and walk out to shut down all LAUSD schools. At the same time, LA teachers and their supporters among workers throughout the city should extend their picket lines to the 244 privately run charter schools and call on their brothers and sisters to join their strike.

A call must go out to all teachers in Oakland and across the state to carry out a joint statewide strike and to teachers and all workers throughout the US, including locked out federal workers and autoworkers facing the shutdown of GM plants, to prepare a general strike to oppose government austerity and social inequality. At the same time appeals should be made to striking Mexican auto parts workers, Dutch teachers and other workers around the world coming into struggle.

Precious (center)

There is growing sentiment for such a fight. Precious, a young LA teacher, said,

“We need to have a statewide and nationwide strike wave. This affects the whole working class. Every teacher I know is working a second or a third job, whether it’s tutoring or something else, to make ends meet. We’re just trying to keep our heads above the water instead of being under it using a straw to breathe. There is more power in numbers, and this should be a nationwide and even a worldwide fight.”

“It doesn’t matter if we are in southern or northern California, or anywhere else, we’re fighting the same fight,” said Rosemary, an LA teacher with 27 years’ experience.

Retired teacher Mike added,

“When I started teaching in 1985, the UTLA used to fight principals that bullied teachers and tried to push them out. Now they have ‘teacher jails’ where older teachers close to getting a vested pension and health benefits are abused and over-supervised. This goes unopposed by the UTLA and their paid staff who tell teachers, ‘You have to follow the district’s rules.’ We used to have 43,000 teachers, and now we’re down to 33,000. This was done with the help of the UTLA.”

Teachers also denounced the refusal of the UTLA to pay strike benefits.

“They’ve been talking about a strike since 2017,” another teacher said. “We’ve been paying union dues, and there hasn’t been a strike for 30 years, so there should be money for us to strike. We should be getting $1,000 or $1,500 to help us pay our bills.

“Where did all this money go? The AFT president Randi Weingarten makes a half a million dollars a year. None of us are making that kind of money. Then the union is also giving millions to these politicians who say they are for us, but once they’re elected, they do nothing for us.”

In his Tuesday night Facebook address to teachers, UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl placed all the onus for sustaining the strike entirely on teachers, saying it is their duty to picket every day “like it’s a work day.” He was silent on growing calls for a statewide and national strike and said nothing about providing teachers with strike pay.

Instead, Caputo-Pearl tried to impress teachers by saying the strike has received the support of four expected Democratic Party candidates for US president in 2020, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, California Senator Kamala Harris, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

The UTLA president also said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, another potential Democratic presidential candidate, had come to Tuesday’s downtown rally and was helping reinitiate negotiations with the school district. Caputo-Pearl said he was in discussions with the new Democratic governor of California, Gavin Newsom.

“If you have frustrations over how the schools have been run,” Caputo-Pearl told teachers, “take pride that we’re making history, and those who have power in this country are coming out in support of us.”

When it comes to strengthening the fight of LA teachers, the empty statements of support from these Democratic politicians add up to nothing. The Democratic Party exercises complete control over every level of government in Los Angeles and the state of California. No matter how many phony statements Sanders, Warren & Co. make about “progressive” Democrats, the fact is that their party has overseen the dismantling of public education in California. LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner is a Democrat and former official in the Clinton administration, and the Obama administration and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, spearheaded the assault on teachers and oversaw a vast expansion of charter schools.

The comments by Garcetti should be taken as a warning by teachers that the UTLA is preparing to sell out the strike.

“Rhetoric aside, when we look at what that distance is,” Garcetti said at a news conference Monday afternoon, “I truly do believe not a lot separates us materially. We have some policy issues to confront on things like charters, on things like how is LAUSD going to be reorganized under the new superintendent and what role will teachers play in that reorganization, but I really do know … they’re not talking very far away from each other, and that gives me the confidence we can get this done soon.”

In other words, the UTLA is seeking to see what role it can play in Beutner’s plan to “reorganize” the school district, and if the union can get greater access to the charter schools so it can get these miserably exploited teachers to pay union dues. This is the same role that the unions have played nationally, exemplified by the AFT’s slogan, “school reform with us, not against us.”

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Is the US Planning to Wage War on Russia and China?

January 16th, 2019 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

 

Listen to the interview with Prof. Michel Chossudovsky below.

This is Guns and Butter.

“The Rand Corporation, on contract with the US Army, which commissioned a report examining a war with China. Now, this is called “War With China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable.” The irony of this is that what they examined in this report is whether “we” could actually win a war on China.

Essentially, this is a simulation of a war between the United States and China and it comes up with the conclusion that we’re going to win it. That’s diabolical and it’s criminal. What has China done to the sovereignty of the United States?”

The study (published in 2015) entitled War with China: Thinking the Unthinkable was commissioned by the US Army. 

I’m Bonnie Faulkner. Today on Guns and Butter, Michel Chossudovsky.

Today’s show: Is the US Planning to Wage War on Russia and China? Michael Chossudovsky is an economist and the Founder, Director and Editor of the Center for Research on Globalization, based in Montreal, Quebec. He is the author of 11 books including The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, War and Globalization: The Truth Behind September Eleventh, America’s War on Terrorism and The Globalization of War: America’s Long War Against Humanity. Today we concentrate on the global military agenda, on the evolving restructure of geopolitical alliances, the Nuclear Posture Review, the purpose of the Manhattan Project, and the dangers of nuclear war.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Michel Chossudovsky, welcome again.

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: Delighted to be on Guns and Butter.

BONNIE FAULKNER: President Trump’s surprise announcement that the US is leaving Syria caught most people in and out of government by surprise and led to the resignation of Secretary of Defense Mattis. Two thousand US troops will be withdrawn from Syria. What is your assessment of this move?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: First of all, that withdrawal in terms of US forces is trivial. The United States has operated in Syria by financing and supporting tens of thousands of jihadists with the support of Saudi Arabia and up to a certain point also Turkey, although Turkey has a different agenda. Within those jihadist forces you have covert, special forces from a number of Western countries.

I don’t view this necessarily as a major shift in the US foreign policy, but it’s also the result of the fact that the Russians are playing a key role, Turkey is playing its own role with a tacit alliance with Russia and Iran, and I think that what now the United States is doing is – it’s not a retreat necessarily, it’s a strategic withdrawal with a view eventually that its allies, particularly Saudi Arabia and Israel, might play a more active role. And we see that Israel is actually involved in routine bombings of Syria.

BONNIE FAULKNER: You have long maintained that Israel’s defense forces are integrated into the US military command structure and as such do not act alone. Does this then mean that when the Israeli air force strikes Syria, as was done over Christmas, that the US has signed off on these attacks?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: Well, if you look at the structure of military alliances and agreements reached both with NATO as well as with the Pentagon, Israel is a de facto member of NATO, not de jure but de facto. There was in fact an agreement signed way back. It was, I think, about 15 years ago.

Now, as far as air defense systems is concerned and major theater operations, Israel will never act on its own. It will act in terms of piecemeal military attacks, bombings and so on, but ultimately Israel is integrated into the US-NATO structure.

Historically, the United States has always used Israel as an outpost in the Middle East. We recall during the Bush administration that Dick Cheney intimated that maybe Israel would attack Iran on our behalf. In other words, he actually intimated they will do the dirty work for us but in effect, an attack on Iran cannot take place without the green light from the Pentagon.

I think that we’re at a very dangerous crossroads in our history because there’s an evolving situation in the Middle East. There’s a shift in alliances. There’s a global military agenda. Let’s bear in mind that since 2001 we have had a whole sequence of military operations, some of them conducted by US allies, but invariably Washington has been behind the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and so on, and of course, Ukraine. So essentially what is unfolding in 2019 – in fact, it has been unfolding for a long period of time – is a global military agenda. It’s the globalization of war.

Coupled with this are military plans to attack Russia and China with nuclear weapons. Now, I mention this because these military plans are in the public domain. You can go and read them. The Rand Corporation has actually published its own plan, a few years back, and more recently we have another plan to that effect.

All this is, of course, coalescing and it’s coupled with trade wars, financial warfare sanctions. The nature of warfare has certainly progressed since the 1970s and ‘80s, and we have nonconventional forms of warfare. Some people call it hybrid warfare, where you destabilize a country by undermining its financial structure. That’s what’s happening in Venezuela. You manipulate the foreign exchange market and then Venezuelan bolivar collapses, triggering hyperinflation. That is something which has been on the drawing board of US foreign policy for years. But what I’m trying to emphasize is that there is a global military agenda. Of course, in addition to the wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan you have US war plans against China and Russia.

BONNIE FAULKNER: President Trump announced his decision to remove US troops from Syria shortly after having spoken twice to Turkish President Recep Erdogan. The mainstream news is reporting that Erdogan assured Trump that Turkey could finish off ISIS in Syria and that the US forces were “hindering” Turkey. Trump is reported to have said, “Okay. It’s all yours. We are done.” Of course, this reporting is based on the false narrative that the US was in Syria fighting ISIS. What do you think is behind Trump’s conversation with Erdogan?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: You know, Erdogan has his own agenda and at the same time, Erdogan is sleeping with the enemy. In other words, they have now a coalition with Russia and Iran. In fact, these are cross-cutting coalitions. Turkey is a heavyweight in NATO. In terms of military might it’s the second largest, in terms of conventional forces, after the United States. And it’s allied, of course, to the United States. But then on the other hand, Turkey is opening up to Iran and Russia, and that is a situation which evolved after the failed coup against Erdogan a few years back. So there’s been a major shift in geopolitical relations.

But I think the United States realizes, first of all, that Turkey’s agenda in northern Syria is to fight the YPG, in other words, the Kurdistan separatist movement. I think that what they’re doing now is simply – well, because the YPG at one point was supported by the US, so you don’t want to have Turkey fighting your proxy forces. And as a result of that contradictory situation in northern Syria, the United States has decided to withdraw and let Turkey consolidate in northern Syria. As to whether that will occur is very uncertain because now the YPG, which previously had the support of the United States, is negotiating with the Damascus government and with the Russians.

BONNIE FAULKNER: As well, the president is saying that he wants to remove US troops from Afghanistan. What is the strategy behind withdrawing US troops from these countries? Do these announced troop withdrawals indicate a move away from war or rather the privatization of military actions via Blackwater and other private militias? What do you think?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: First of all, as far as Afghanistan is concerned, this withdrawal, again, is not really a withdrawal; it’s a restructuring of the conflict. But what’s important to bear in mind is that the insurgency, which is led by the Taliban, is gaining ground and controls about 50% of the country.

The Russians have an interest in Afghanistan and, of course, so do the Chinese, which have a common border with Afghanistan and they also have significant economic interests in Afghanistan. But I don’t see, again, that the United States is actually going to withdraw.

We have to bear in mind that Afghanistan is a US-NATO agenda and we have to go back to 2001 to understand why. Well, some people forget that the United States went into Afghanistan essentially because Afghanistan attacked America on 11 September 2001. We don’t know that because that narrative was never actually portrayed by the media, but legally, the decision taken by NATO was that America had been attacked from abroad by a foreign power – which was absurd; there were no Afghani jetfighters in the skies of New York that day – and consequently under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty Collective Security Agreement an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all members of NATO, it’s an attack of self-defense. And then we go and attack Afghanistan some thousands of miles away, and that happens 28 days later. You don’t prepare a large-scale theater war in 28 days.

But people don’t remember why the United States actually invaded Afghanistan on the 7th of October 2001. It was in response to the 9/11 attacks and, of course, those 9/11 attacks were allegedly – I don’t want to get into a discussion on 9/11 – allegedly they were conducted by al Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden. And it just so happens, of course, that in the course of the month of September and even early October, the Afghan government said, “If you want to negotiate the extradition of Osama bin Laden, we’re prepared to do so,” etc etc. Bush said, “No. We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” Of course, they didn’t want to negotiate because that war was planned well in advance of September 11, 2001.

Now, bear in mind, what were the real reasons for invading Afghanistan? Well, Afghanistan is a geopolitical hub which links central Asia to south Asia. Historically, it’s occupied a very important position, but it also has tremendous resources. They’re the mineral riches. It’s one of the largest producers of lithium, which is used to make batteries. But more significantly, it produces approximately more than 90% of opium supplies to Western markets, of course, used to make grade 4 heroin. And that’s a multi-billion dollar undertaking.

It’s a war of conquest, so to speak. The US military controls the opium trade – incidentally, the production of opium in the course of that period has gone up about 30 times, and in turn, there’s tremendous mineral reserves. And then on the other hand, China’s involved, so that from the US point of view, Afghanistan is the hub that they want to keep under their control to keep the Chinese and the Russians out of that strategic hub in central Asia.

They’re failing, because the Chinese not only have significant mining interests in Afghanistan, they’re also in the process of building a road linking the two countries and so on.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Let’s talk about what you have referred to as the global military agenda and the structure of alliances in the Middle East. There has been a shift or rebalancing of geopolitical alliances. The situation seems fluid. What can be said about the alliance between Turkey, a NATO member, and Russia and Iran? This brings up the subject of an attack on Iran, which now does not seem probable at all.

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: First of all, let me address the issue of the broader military agenda. At present, we have several war theaters. The most important ones are, of course, Iraq, Syria – there’s still of course a US-NATO covert presence in Syria – Yemen is absolutely crucial. There’s a war in Yemen. Yemen is strategically located. It’s led by Saudi Arabia, which is acting on behalf of the United States. And then you have Somalia and of course Palestine and, as I mentioned earlier, the building up of NATO forces in Ukraine and the Black Sea Basin.

All of this is integrated into a more global military agenda with a regional command structure where the United States military has commands in different parts of the world. Central Command is for the Middle East, and then you have also the Pacific Command. China’s maritime borders are controlled by the US, or at least the US has a military presence in all these strategic waterways.

Now, that agenda, as you mentioned, in a sense is in a straightjacket because there are divisions within the Western military alliance. And not only Turkey, not only Turkey. There are different positions by the European members of the Atlantic Alliance. But the issue of Turkey is absolutely fundamental, because if Turkey has an alliance with Iran and Russia it’s going to be very difficult to wage a US-NATO led war on Iran.

At the same time, if we’re looking at alliances, which under present circumstances are exceedingly complex, we must underscore the fact that Turkey has also historically – and that goes back to the ‘90s – developed a very close relationship with Israel in the areas of both military and intelligence as well as joint military production. That alliance was in crisis at one point, but it’s still there.

And then there’s another element. Russia has established a relationship with Israel. There’s a large part of the Israeli population of Russian origin, and certainly that plays a role. But Vladimir Putin and Netanyahu have established a relationship. Some people view this as Russia sort of caving in to Israel against its Syrian ally, but I think it is part of a very carefully thought-out strategy of essentially creating weaknesses within the US-NATO structure. Because in a sense, Israel is also sleeping with the enemy, and there’s a bilateral relationship between Moscow and Tel Aviv, and that should be taken into account.

So we might way, yes, it is very difficult for the United States to wage war on Iran at this particular juncture because Turkey is sleeping with the enemy, and Israel is also sleeping with Turkey up to a point, which as well is sleeping with Iran and with Russia. So the structure of military alliances are not favorable to waging a US-NATO-Israel war on Iran.

We can learn from the lessons of history, particularly World War I, triple alliance, triple entente, that the structure of alliances played a very important role in the outbreak of war I. But here we are in the situation where we have cross-cutting alliances.

The Russians and the Chinese are very astute in that regard. They will establish alliances with the allies of the United States and this is a way also of undermining this military agenda, by making it very difficult on the part of Washington to actually wage a war – to wage a war on Iran. If NATO’s going to participate in that war they will have to have the endorsement of Turkey. So Turkey’s in bed with the enemy and Turkey’s also an ally of the United States and a member of NATO, and Israel is a firm ally of the United States but it also has some kind of joking relationship with Vladimir Putin. And all those things are part of a complex geopolitical structure.

And I should mention other things that are absolutely crucial. United States is losing its stranglehold in Pakistan and to some extent also in India. Why? Pakistan is now trading with China. It’s called the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the CPEC. China’s investing in Pakistan. We’re talking about a nation of 150 million people.

Then, on the other hand, Pakistan and India are now full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is the equivalent of NATO for the Russians and the Chinese. Officially, it’s not a military alliance but de facto it is. It’s China, Russia, several of the former Soviet republics, and now India and Pakistan have joined.

What this means is that the conflict between Pakistan and India is no longer under the helm of Britain or the United States. The colonial legacy has in a sense been shoved aside, because under the SCO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Pakistan and India, which are members of the SCO, would have to resolve the border differences within the framework of the SCO. And they signed that agreement. So we’ve got a very different configuration in south Asia. Pakistan is aligned with China increasingly, India is sort of in-between but India is also wanted to purchase the S400 air defense system from Russia.

At the same time, I should mention Saudi Arabia has also established links with Russia. They want to buy the S400 and I suspect that the Khashoggi affair is ultimately linked to the fact that the current regime in Saudi Arabia is seeking some rapprochement with Russia and this is something that the United States wants to undermine through regime change. But that’s another kind of analysis that we’d have to look at.

But there you are. And if you look at what’s happening broadly in Eurasia, with the extension of Chinese influence – Chinese influence is not only in the Asia Pacific region; it extends into Africa, and it extends in to countries which were former colonies of Western countries and all of a sudden, the Chinese come in and start building bridges and roads.

So that is the nature of this broader conflict; shift in alliances – very sophisticated shift in alliances and extensive powers of both Russia and China. I should say that Russian military technology is advancing very rapidly and in a very specific way which undermines the global military agenda and China is now leading, in terms of technology – for instance, telecommunications, China is the leader, let’s say in 5G – and the recent confrontation regarding Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, points precisely to that. It’s a very serious conflict in the area of trade and intellectual property.

The response of the United States is ultimately rather idiotic because it doesn’t really yield any concrete results in terms of rehabilitating US hegemony in certain fields of technology. The Chinese are way ahead.

BONNIE FAULKNER: What can we say about the geopolitical agenda of the United States, including President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the INF treaty? There are also supposed to be ongoing negotiations to extend the new START to reduce strategic weapons, which Trump called a bad deal.

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: This is, of course, very dangerous, because it ultimately points to the possibility of confrontation between nuclear powers. I think that we have to build our understanding of those occurrences by reviewing US nuclear doctrine from approximately 2001. That doctrine has changed and, in effect, the withdrawal from these treaties, from my standpoint, is simply an indication to the enemy that US nuclear doctrine is no longer based on what we called the doctrine of mutually assured destruction, which prevailed during the Cold War era when that first agreement was signed with Gorbachev under the Bush Senior administration.

In 2001, the nuclear doctrine was totally revamped. When I say doctrine, it’s how you view nuclear weapons and their use. Now, previously, nuclear weapons were considered as the weapon of last resort and for defensive purposes and that you wouldn’t use them on a first strike basis. This was a doctrine which was adopted during the Cold War, because it was understood by both US as well as Soviet leaders that this would lead to a nuclear holocaust.

But they have since 2001 – and it was actually approved by the Senate in 2002 – they are pushing the so-called more usable, low-yield nuclear weapons which are called the B61. It’s the B61 and now it’s the B61-12, B61-11 and now B61-12 which has been developed, and that those more usable, low-yield are harmless to the surrounding civilian population because the explosion is underground, because they’re a bunker-buster bomb and so on.

It’s total nonsense from the scientific point of view. The fact of the matter is these more usable nuclear weapons have an explosive capacity between 1/3 and 12 times the Hiroshima bomb, and they’ve been recategorized as more or less as convention weapons. I recall that Senator Edward Kennedy at the time accused the Bush administration of blurring the line between conventional and strategic weapons. So these bombs now are considered as peace-making bombs, they’re not weapons of mass destruction, let’s go ahead and use them.

So it is extremely dangerous now because the US has embarked on a first-strike nuclear weapons doctrine including first strike against non-nuclear states, e.g., Iran, and that in fact, this first strike using the so-called mini-nukes could be used within the conventional war theater and, in fact, it doesn’t even require the approval of the commander in chief, namely Donald Trump.

So we’re in a situation which is extremely dangerous because the decision-makers do not realize and they don’t understand the impacts of nuclear weapons because the propaganda apparatus – the internal propaganda apparatus, which they read – points to these harmless low-yield weapons. But those low-yield weapons are nonetheless sufficient to unleash a third world war. I think the body of scientists involved in expertise on nuclear weapons will tell you that a nuclear war would be the end of humanity.

BONNIE FAULKNER: In your article “Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map” you write that “On March 1, 2018 President Vladimir Putin unveiled an array of advanced military technologies in response to renewed US threats to wipe the Russian Federation off the map as contained in Trump’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.” What does Trump’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review say?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: You know, I think that the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review is really a red herring because it doesn’t say anything different form the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review, and I know that a whole series of interpretations have come out on that 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. It simply reasserts the notion that this new generation of nuclear weapons – low-yield, more usable – is what is being put forth.

Now, what we must, of course, address is the fact that going back to the Obama administration there is currently a $1.2 trillion nuclear weapons production program. In other words, that is money going to the defense contractors. And obviously, these are the lobby groups. They get the money. Now, they’re getting the money for producing something which – first of all, the development of this new generation of nuclear weapons was actually decided at a secret meeting on Hiroshima Day, I believe it was in 2003, where the Pentagon and the private sector got together and it was the private sector, it was the defense contractors which designed a new program of nuclear weapons technology which would essentially feed their pockets. It was profit driven.

And distinct form the Russian program, which was a very carefully designed air defense system to avoid the first strike – they said, no, the first strike won’t work anymore. The whole initiative going back to the Reagan period with Star Wars and so on was to enact a weapons system which would enable knocking down Russia or China with a first strike without the danger of any kind of response from the enemy. And Putin as said, no, this you can’t do. You’re stuck.

The weapons industry are not really concerned about that issue because they’re getting the $1.2 trillion. Obama bears a heavy responsibility for having endorsed this program, but Trump has sort of pushed it up to 1.2. It used to be 1 trillion; now it’s 1.2 trillion.

Bear in mind that the defense budget, which was recently approved by the US Congress, is of the order of $750 billion a year. It is a very large percentage of federal tax revenues, which goes to building the war economy. And inevitably, building the war economy is one of the main sources – not the only one – of the collapse of bridges and roads and hospitals and schools and the whole impetus to privatize everything which was public. They don’t have money. The US public purse does not have the resources to fund those civilian projects and that is, of course, the guns and butter relationship, which is the key of your program. There’s nothing left for butter and that is something, of course, that we have to address.

The empire is undermining the republic, and that’s something which Julius Caesar understood. You don’t build an empire with a republic. But the republic is dead, and the devastation which is now occurring, the poverty in the United States, is in large part, not exclusively, but in large part the result of the shift between butter towards guns, in other words, the development of a whole military apparatus – not to mention the militarization of justice and law enforcement and so on.

BONNIE FAULKNER: With regard to the history of US nuclear development, the nuclear project, the US and the Soviet Union were allies during World War II while the Manhattan Project was underway in the US. What was the purpose of the Manhattan Project?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: Let me put this in perspective, because today we are led to believe that nuclear weapons were developed to confront the enemies of World War II, which were, of course, Germany and Italy as far as the Axis is concerned, and then of course, in Asia it was Japan.

I have reviewed the history of nuclear war and nuclear weapons, and in fact, declassified documents confirm that the atomic bomb had been developed for use against the Soviet Union. Of course, it was used against Japan, but to what extent was that not simply a dress rehearsal for the broader development of the nuclear weapons program?

I think what is very revealing now is that, according to a secret document of the Pentagon dated September 15, 1945, the United States had envisaged blowing up the Soviet Union with a coordinated nuclear attack directed against major urban areas. Now people can go and consult that declassified document. It was declassified a few years back. But what is revealing is that on September 15, 1945, there was a plan to blow up something of the order of 66 major urban areas in the Soviet Union with a total of 204 atomic bombs. You can go and look at that plan.

“Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map”, 204 Atomic Bombs against 66 Major Cities, US Nuclear Attack against USSR Planned During World War II 

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, October 27, 2018

 

 That plan was published and released on September 15, 1945, but in fact, it had been developed at a much earlier period in the course of World War II. From what I understand, the Soviets had word of this plan as early as 1942. I should mention that the Manhattan Project was launched in 1939, two years prior to America’s entry into World War II, in December 1941. The main partners in the Manhattan Project were the United States but also Britain and Canada and, of course, Canada played a key role because it also had very large supplies of Uranium in western Canada.

What I’m saying is that this plan was released – it’s an internal document, obviously, but it’s there to consult and it’s very detailed. This plan was launched more or less six weeks after the bombing of Hiroshima. Hiroshima was bombed on August 6, 1945, Nagasaki was bombed a few days later on August 9, 1945, and then six weeks later on September 15, 1945 the Pentagon released a plan to blow up 66 strategic targets, namely cities, in the Soviet Union with 204 atomic bombs. Then the question was, how do we organize the supply and production of these atomic bombs?

What this means, and I think it’s very, very important, is that while the Soviet Union and the United States were allies and they were allies on September 15, 1945 – and of course, they were allies as of 1941 fighting the Third Reich – that in fact, in the course of World War Ii there’s evidence that the United States had already planned to blow up the Soviet Union. That plan was published in September 15, 1945, and that predates the Cold War.

So we are led to believe that somehow there was an arms race that took place as a result of the Cold War. No. No. That’s wrong. The arms race occurred as a result of a secret plan dated September 1945, which had already been prepared during World War II against the Soviet Union when both countries were allies. That is, of course, diabolical but it means that we have to review our understanding. The Kremlin was aware of this plan to bomb 66 Soviet cities – and we published excerpts of this. The Pentagon estimated bomb requirements for the destruction of Russian strategic areas September 1945; Moscow, area of the city and square miles 110, number of bombs 6; Leningrad, 40 square miles, also 6; and so on and so forth. The larger urban areas were to be bombed with six atomic bombs and the smaller ones would be two or three or one. In all, virtually all the urban areas in the Soviet Union were targets.

BONNIE FAULKNER: In this article that you’ve written on the Manhattan Project, “Wipe the Soviet Union Off the Map,” you write that, “Had the US decided not to develop nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union, the nuclear arms race would not have taken place.”

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: Absolutely. We wouldn’t have had nuclear weapons technology. That was a decision taken in 1939 to develop nuclear technology, allegedly because the Germans were actually involved in developing it. But there are indications that in fat Nazi Germany was not intent upon developing nuclear weapons. That’s another area of discussion, but actually Hitler was against it, for some ideological reason he was against it. But it’s unclear as to whether Germany would have been a target. There’s no evidence in that regard and on the other hand, there are no declassified documents that indicate that, to my knowledge. But on the other hand, there’s a declassified document that indicates that they wanted to blow up the Soviet Union.

Now, just a few years ago – and I think this is very important, just to give you a little bit the feeling of what happens behind closed doors but which is really known and documented – the Rand Corporation, on contract with the US Army – the Rand Corporation is a sort of semi-government independent research entity which acts on behalf of a US government entity. In this case it was the US Army which commissioned a report examining a war with China. Now this is called, “War with Chia: Thinking Through the Unthinkable.”

Now, the irony of this is that what they want to examine in this report is whether we could actually win a war on China. The conclusions are, and I’ll read a small segment: “Conflict could be decided by domestic, political, international and economic factors, all of which would favor the United States in a long, severe war against China.” Then they say, “Although a war would harm both economies, damage to China’s would be far worse. Because much of the western Pacific would become a war zone, China’s trade with the region and the rest of the world would decline substantially.” And third, “China’s loss of seaborn energy supplies would be especially damaging. A long conflict could expose China to internal political divisions” and then, of course, “Japan’s increased military activity in the region could have a considerable influence on military operations.” Essentially this is a simulation of a war between the United States and China and comes up with a conclusion that we’re going to win it. That’s diabolical and it’s criminal. What has China done to the sovereignty of the United States? It’s a hegemonic project to go in and blow up China.

Now, I say this, but at the same time, more recently there’s been another project which has been put forth which consists in waging a war against Russia and China and which is currently being discussed by the US Congress. So the United States is saying, “Yes, we have plans to wage war on these two countries,” and this is known and documented. Nobody in the media will actually say we shouldn’t do it, and nobody in the media will actually put forth an examination of what this kind of agenda would imply if it were carried out. Of course, it’s tied into Russiagate, it’s tied into the trade war with China, and so on.

BONNIE FAULKNER: What, then, is your view of 2019?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: 2019 will have several countervailing processes. On the one hand, there is a protest movement developing in western Europe with the Yellow Vests, le gilets jaunes. My assessment is that that movement will be effective in as much as it also becomes an anti-war movement, a movement against NATO, because the impoverishment and the high levels of unemployment in the European Union are largely due to the militarization of their respective economies. Military spending there is taking a big chunk of the public purse on the one hand, and then you have the neo-liberal agenda. But a meaningful movement will have to integrate. It has to address these deadly macro-economic reforms which trigger poverty on the one hand and it has to address the fact that neo-liberalism and the global war economy are intricately related and that neo-liberalism creates the basis for funding the so-called defense industry. So that movement, I think, is certainly gaining impetus.

How will it unfold? I think we have to think in terms of grass-roots movements worldwide. And we have to think of grassroots movements within armed forces. It is a violation of the US Constitution to fight illegal wars. That is the oath that members of the armed forces take when they start, and I think within the armed forces there has to be also a concurrent movement, from the grassroots up, and through the governmental intelligence establishment. We’re not going to reverse the tide simply by having people protesting. Anti-war sentiment will not undermine this military agenda.

All sectors of society will have to join in and understand that a $1.2 trillion nuclear weapons program is ultimately the source of potential destruction leading to the unthinkable, which is the destruction of humanity. That has to be understood.

But how that grassroots movement will develop under present conditions is very uncertain, because people don’t have that understanding. At the same time as we know all these NGOs are funded by corporate foundations, we have color revolutions – dissent is funded and it’s manufactured. We have divisions within the left. We have segments of the left which are supporting the wars in Syria and so on.

The question is, how do we build a mass movement to undermine this imperial agenda, which is also generating poverty and despair throughout the world, but also in the core of the empire, namely the United States of America and of course western Europe, Canada and so on.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Michel Chossudovsky, thank you very much.

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: Delighted. I hope that we will undermine this agenda in some way.
I’ve been speaking with Michel Chossudovsky. Today’s show has been: Is the US Planning to Wage War on Russia and China? Michel Chossudovsky is the Founder, Director and Editor of the Center for Research on Globalization, based in Montreal, Quebec. The Global Research website, globalresearch.ca, publishes news articles, commentary, background research and analysis. Michel Chossudovsky is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, War and Globalization: The Truth Behind September Eleventh, America’s War on Terrorism, The Globalization of War, and America’s Long War Against Humanity. Visit globalresearch.ca.
Guns and Butter is produced by Bonnie Faulkner, Yarrow Mahko and Tony Rango.

Visit us at gunsandbutter.org to listen to past programs, comment on shows, or join our email list to receive our newsletter that includes recent shows and updates.

Email us at [email protected] Follow us on Twitter @gandbradio.

 

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My Heart Suddenly Stopped. Sudden Cardiac Arrest

January 15th, 2019 by Rob Benn-Frenette

You really shouldn’t be reading this… because a few months ago, I died. At least, temporarily. With a bit of luck, I came back.

Last August, while in the laundry room of my apartment building, my heart suddenly stopped and I collapsed. There was no medical rationale for this phenomenon. Like anyone, and perhaps even more than most, I have some medical issues. But none of them contributed to my cardiac arrest. My story isn’t uncommon–sudden cardiac arrest happens to 35,000 to 45,000 Canadians every year. It could happen to you.

It was sheer luck that my building’s superintendent was in the room. He called 911, and with guidance from the operator, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on me. By doing  this, he bought extra time until paramedics arrived and used a defibrillator to jump-start my heart. Doing this saved my life.

That 911 operator had asked my superintendent if there was an automated external defibrillator (AED) in the building. He admitted there was not.

Had my apartment stocked an AED onsite (as it now does), my chance of survival would have been much higher. Many others are grieved annually because they didn’t have the luck I had.

After someone’s heart stops, each minute defibrillation is delayed their chance of survival drops by 7-10%. After just 12 minutes, an adult’s survival rate is less than 5%.

In New Brunswick, the provincial government requires land ambulances to respond to an urban emergency within 9 minutes, or up to 22 minutes for rural calls. They are expected to meet or exceed these times only 90% of the time. Response times of 12 minutes aren’t unusual.

If your heart were to stop, and there is any delay before someone finds you, calls 911, an ambulance is dispatched and travels to your location, your may not have a chance of survival.

That’s why it’s vital that AEDs become prevalent in our businesses, houses of worship, apartment buildings, and even our homes. AEDs are easy to use by anyone–they deliver clear voice prompts to guide their use and require minimal maintenance.

I’ll be honest; my unexpected experience was terrifying and not just for me. My friends and family were understandably horrified, especially since I was only 29 when this occurred. The board, volunteers, and other stakeholders in the registered charity I run, BullyingCanada, were shocked. It’s still hard for all of us to grapple with this–even six months later.

None of us imagined I might not be here tomorrow. We hadn’t yet done the succession planning required to ensure BullyingCanada will be around to provide support to the many tens of thousands of bullied Canadian youth who depend on us each year.

Life-saving AED technology is readily available and inexpensive, but it isn’t yet commonly stocked in all public places. Perhaps one deterrent is the $100 fee required to register an AED in the Ambulance New Brunswick registry. Why is there a cost to do so?

Unlike other provinces where this registry is publicly accessible and is programmed to alert emergency dispatchers to the location of the nearest AED, our provincial government has not implemented this. Besides, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are implementing software that alerts AED owners of nearby emergencies and requests they rush it over to the scene. This is easy and will no doubt save lives that would otherwise be lost needlessly.

My near-death experience was a big wake up call for me and those connected to me. I hope it is one for you as well. Join me in advocating for the broad implementation of AEDs–including common sense legislation requiring one in all public buildings–and a public, interactive registry.

One day, an AED might help keep your family complete, as it did with mine.

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This article was originally published by BullyingCanada.

Rob Benn-Frenette, O.N.B. lives with his husband in Fredericton, New Brunswick and is the co-founder and co-executive director of BullyingCanada, Canada’s national anti-bullying charity.

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Uniting for a “Green New Deal”

January 15th, 2019 by Margaret Flowers

Support is growing in the United States for a Green New Deal. Though there are competing visions for what that looks like, essentially, a Green New Deal includes a rapid transition to a clean energy economy, a jobs program and a stronger social safety net.

We need a Green New Deal for many reasons, most obviously the climate crisis and growing economic insecurity. Each new climate report describes the severe consequences of climate change with increasing alarm and the window of opportunity for action is closing. At the same time, wealth inequality is also growing. Paul Bucheit writes that more than half of the population in the United States is suffering from poverty.

The Green New Deal provides an opportunity for transformational changes, not just reform, but changes that fundamentally solve the crises we face. This is the time to be pushing for a Green New Deal at all levels, in our towns and cities, states and nationally.

Hundreds gathered in San Francisco with the youth-led Sunrise Movement on Dec. 11. Peg Hunter / Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Growing support for the Green New Deal

The idea of a Green New Deal seems to have arisen in early 2007 when the Green New Deal Group started meeting to discuss it, specifically as a plan for the United Kingdom. They published their report in July 2008. In April 2009, the United Nations Environmental Program also issued a plan for a global Green New Deal.

In the United States, Barack Obama included a Green New Deal in his 2008 presidential campaign and conservative Thomas Friedman started talking about it in 2007. Howie Hawkins, a Green Party gubernatorial candidate in New York, campaigned on a Green New Deal starting in 2010. Listen to our interview with Hawkins about how we win the Green New Deal on Clearing the FOG. Jill Stein campaigned on it during her presidential runs in 2012 and 2016, as have many Green Party candidates.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC), who ran for Congress as a Democrat and won in 2018, has made the Green New Deal a major priority. With the backing of the Sunrise Movement, AOC pushed for a congressional committee tasked with developing a Green New Deal and convinced dozens of members of Congress to support it. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sidelined that idea by creating a climate committee headed by Kathy Castor, which has no mandate to do anything and lacks  the power to write legislation and issue subpoenas. Now the Sunrise Movement is planning a tour to build support for the Green New Deal. At each stop they will provide organizing tools to make the Green New Deal a major issue in the 2020 election season.

This week, more than 600 organizations, mostly environmental groups, sent a letter to Congress calling on it to take climate change seriously and design a plan to end dependence on fossil fuels, a transition to 100% clean energy by 2035, create jobs and more. Indigenous leaders are also organizing to urge Congress to pass a Green New Deal that is “Indigenized,” meaning it prioritizes input from and the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples.

YALE UNIVERSITY
Survey data shows the strongest support for a Green New Deal among liberal Democrats.

Defining a transformative Green New Deal

The Green New Deal, as a tool to address climate change and economic insecurity, could be transformative in many ways or it could reinforce current systems. Our political system is inclined towards programs that do the latter, so it is critical that the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice and peace is clear about what we mean by a Green New Deal.

At the heart of the issue is capitalism, a root cause of many of the crises we face today. Capitalism drives growth at all costs including exploitation of people and the planet. It drives competition and individualism instead cooperation and community. It requires militarism as the strong arm for corporations to pillage other countries for their resources and militarized police to suppress dissent at home.

Capitalism was in crisis in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when, like today, there was great inequality and a political system that catered to the wealthy. Progressive, populist, labor and socialist movements were pressing for significant changes. This came to a head in the depression when tens of thousands of Bonus Marchers occupied Washington DC during the summer of the 1932 presidential election demanding their bonus pay from World War I. The newly-elected President Roosevelt was forced to act, so he put reforms in place called the New Deal.

While the New Deal brought relief to many people through banking reform, Social Security, jobs programs and greater rights for workers, it was not transformative. Some argue that the New Deal was essential to save capitalism. It relieved suffering enough that dissent quieted but left the capitalist economic system intact. In the decades since the New Deal, monopolization, inequality, and exploitation have again increased with the added crises of climate change and environmental destruction.

This time around, we need a broad Green New Deal that changes the system so there is greater public ownership and democratization of the economy. It can also be used to address theft of wealth from Indigenous, black and brown communities. And it can set us on a path to end US imperialism in the least harmful manner.

Wayne Price discusses this in “A Green New Deal vs Revolutionary Eco-socialism.” He writes,

“…the capitalists’ wealth and power should be taken away from them (expropriated) by the self-organization of the working class and its allies. Capitalism should be replaced by a society which is decentralized and cooperative, producing for use rather than profit, democratically self-managed in the workplace and the community, and federated together from the local level to national and international levels.”

It is interesting that the Yellow Vest movement in France is also seeking transformative change from a representative government to one that uses greater participation through direct democracy. System change is needed to confront these economic and environmental crises. One alternative system gaining traction is ecosocialism which combines the insights of ecology with the necessity for worker’s rights and public control over the economy. We discussed ecosocialism with Victor Wallis, author of “Red Green Revolution: The politics and technology of ecosocialism,” on Clearing the FOG.

The Green Party divides the Green New Deal into four pillars: An economic bill of rights, a green transition, financial reform, and a functioning democracy. The economic bill of rights includes not only a job at a living wage for all who want it but also single payer healthcare, free college education, and affordable housing and utilities. The green transition to renewable energy sources includes building mass transit, “complete streets” that promote walking and biking, local food systems and clean manufacturing. Financial reform includes debt relief, public banks and breaking up the big banks. And the democracy section includes getting money out of politics, guaranteeing the right to vote, strengthening local democracy, democratizing the media and significant changes to the military. We would add to this prioritizing the involvement of Indigenous, black and brown communities. As Jon Olsen writes, ecosocialism is now part of the platform of the Green Party of the United States and has entered the political dialogue.

Join the Green Power Project national call on Thursday, January 17 at 8:00 pm Eastern to learn more about the Green New Deal. Click here for details.

Uniting to win the Green New Deal

Conditions are ripe for a Green New Deal. Wealth inequality continues to accelerate. As Lawrence Wittner describes, we have a new era of Robber Barons like the Waltons and Jeff Bezos who pay low wages and rake in millions in public subsidies for their new facilities. They use their economic power to influence lawmakers so laws are passed that increase rather than threaten their riches.

A new report shows that 40% of people in the United States have negative wealth; they are in debt. And another 20% have minimal wealth, meaning 60% of people in the US have virtually no assets. The report was focused on millennials finding they are less well off than previous generations.

Anthony DiMaggio, who wrote about the report, also found that the affluent are oblivious to the high degree of inequality in the United States and that without this understanding, they are unlikely to support policies that reduce inequality.

The Democratic Party is starting to get the message. With student loan debt at a record $1.465 trillion, twice the amount in 2009, candidates are starting to talk about this issue. Members of Congress in the House are planning to hold hearings on National Improved Medicare for All and increasing Social Security. Democratic voters strongly support these changes, so the Democrats are feeling compelled to appear to be taking action on them, though this could mostly be for show to keep people from leaving the party in the lead up to the 2020 elections.

To win a Green New Deal, which could include a stronger social safety net, we will need to unite as a movement of movements and make the demand impossible to ignore. Uniting across issues makes sense because the Green New Deal is broad, addressing multiple crises at once. And we will need to push issues that Democrats will not want to discuss, such as nationalization of industries, more democracy, and cuts to the military. Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report urges us to organize not just nationally but at the state level too by introducing plans for state Green New Deals.

We can work at many levels to build the demand for a Green New Deal. Talk to people in your community about it. Start local initiatives for clean energy, local food networks, protecting public schools and water systems, promoting cooperatives and more. Push your state and federal legislators too. This is an opportunity to unite in support of a bold new vision for our society.

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Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese co-direct Popular Resistance where this article was originally published.

Democratic Media: For the People, By the People

January 15th, 2019 by Mark Taliano

Imagine joining the military thinking you’re fighting ISIS/al Qaeda, only to find out you’re supporting them.

Imagine paying your taxes thinking it is for the uplift of the community and country, only to find out it is for the uplift of the billionaire class … and ISIS/al Qaeda.

Imagine explaining to future generations that the government debt was incurred to support and sustain a diseconomy, bailouts to the billionaire class, and ISIS/al Qaeda.

And most Canadians –colonial media fairy tale believers that they are — think that Russia[1] is the enemy. Imagine that.

So, who is the enemy? We are the enemy. We are the countries waging wars of aggression and destroying countries and livelihoods and creating death and poverty and misery. Our governments and their agencies are doing this. None of this should be perceived as normal, but it is being normalized nonetheless.

Syria did not attack us. Venezuela is not attacking us. Iran is not a threat, and neither is Russia. Our governments and their agencies are fabricating all of these enemies so that we can destroy these countries and their peoples and steal their resources and control other countries and enrich oligarch classes and impoverish domestic[2] and foreign populations.

How did we arrive at this point where the Truth has been inverted and the Lie, which masquerades as the Truth, is widely accepted? Ubiquitous colonial media/criminal war propaganda has played a significant role.

There are alternatives to colonial media, but they are increasingly suppressed and censored. Shows such as Janice Kortkamp’s Syria: Face to Face, are not mainstream, but they should be. Evidence-based reporting should be front and center.

In the aforementioned show, Kortkamp details the West’s criminality – in terms of both domestic and international law – as it pursues its “Regime Change” war against Syria. She discusses the West’s support for terrorism in Syria (including support for ISIS), and she demonstrates how the West’s actions and inactions have created such misery and destruction in Syria.

Colonial media does none of this. It serves to advance imperial agendas as it obscures, denies, and negates evidence-based, on-the-ground realities of the war on Syria and beyond.

If shows like this were to displace colonial media, then we would have democratic media, for the people, by the people. And our actions would be guided by the truth, rather than by war propaganda, as is currently the case.

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Mark Taliano is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and the author of Voices from Syria, Global Research Publishers, 2017.

Notes

[1] Mark Taliano, “Socialism for the Rich.” Global Research, 17 August, 2018. (https://www.globalresearch.ca/socialism-for-the-rich/5650876) Accessed 14 January, 2019. 

[2] Paul Buchheit, “The Evidence Pours In: Poverty Getting Much Worse in America/

Poverty—and the stress of being poor—is killing people every single day.” Common Dreams, 5 November, 2018. (https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/11/05/evidence-pours-poverty-getting-much-worse-america?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork&fbclid=IwAR1GefJ7xaFQGFC94aiJerrel1Dk-O4OI1EYA0gNODWg5-WjYkUHo25sEFM) Accessed 14 January, 2019.


Order Mark Taliano’s Book “Voices from Syria” directly from Global Research.

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. 

Voices from Syria 

ISBN: 978-0-9879389-1-6

Author: Mark Taliano

Year: 2017

Pages: 128 (Expanded edition: 1 new chapter)

List Price: $17.95

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The Fall of Biafra. Landmark in Nigerian History

January 15th, 2019 by Adeyinka Makinde

January 15th is a significant date in Nigerian history. On that day in 1966, a group of middle-ranking army officers staged a mutiny which overthrew the civilian government that had ruled Nigeria since it had been granted independence from Britain in October 1960. It began a concatenation of violence which led to a 30-month civil war that formally ended on January 15th 1970.

Tracing a line from 1966 to 1970 is clear enough: the mutiny which was led by officers drawn mainly from the Igbo ethnic group came to be viewed as an attempt to establish a form of ethnic hegemony over the rest of the country, a perspective which was consolidated by the Unification Decree announced by the Igbo Head of State, Major-General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi in May 1966. The decree abolished Nigeria’s federal structure and created a unitary system of governance. The reactions came in the form of anti-Igbo pogroms in the Northern Region in May and September, as well as a counter-coup in July 1966 which led to the murders of Igbo army officers and soldiers. The frustration of peace efforts, notably that of the meeting in Aburi of members of the Supreme Military Council and Lieutenant-Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the military governor of the Igbo-dominated Eastern Region who disputed the legitimacy of the successors to Aguiyi-Ironsi, led to the secession of the Eastern Region and the creation of the Republic of Biafra in May 1967. This paved the way for the civil war which officially commenced on July 6th 1967.

But Nigeria’s drift towards regional and ethnic violence did not begin in 1966. A conglomerate state put together by imperial draughtsmen in the early part of the 20th century, the country was composed of over 250 ethnic groups who spoke over 500 different languages. The Northern Region was largely Islamic while the south, with its Western and Eastern regions (a Mid-West Region was carved out of the West), was largely Christianised. The south also led the north in terms of economic development and educational attainment. Thus, the stability of this artificially created multi-ethnic state was always certain to be tested.

The multiple elements of the Nigerian polity have often meant that a multiplicity of perspectives are in perpetual competition. For instance, the hegemony feared by sections of the country in the wake of the Igbo-dominated first coup was one effectively practised by the leaders of the Northern Region over the rest of the country. And violence related to the desire of the leaders of the North to ensure northern domination occurred in the Western Region as well as in the mainly Christian ‘Middle-Belt’ of the Northern Region. Corruption among the political elite, a fraudulent census, electoral fraud and trade union strikes created the requisite tinderbox which ultimately led to a bloody civil conflict.

Ojukwu’s declaration of independence was a measure undertaken with widespread support among the Igbos who dominated the Eastern Region. Most felt that they had been chased out of the federation and had been left with no alternative. The federal position enunciated by Gowon also resonated. If the Eastern Region was allowed to split from the rest of the federation, there was every reason to believe that Nigeria would chaotically splinter into smaller parts and that foreign powers would become involved in backing each of the warring entities.

The Biafran propaganda machinery driven by Mark Press, a Geneva-based public relations company, was skillful in setting out the grievances of the Igbos. The themes disseminated began by positing the rationale of the creation of Biafra as one that was predicated on the need for tribal emancipation. It also portrayed the Igbo cause as one based on a religious conflict between a feudal-minded Muslim leadership hell-bent on continuing the pre-colonial Sokoto Caliphate which intended to expand southwards, routing the animist and Christian peoples, until euphemistically, they would dip the Koran into the Atlantic Ocean. And as the war developed, Biafran propaganda utilised the images of starvation as a means of emphasising the claim that they were being purposefully subjected to a policy of genocide.

The evidence assembled appeared to back up the claims. The series of pogroms against Igbo civilians, the massacre of Igbo soldiers, the rise of northern Muslim soldiers to positions of military and political power, as well as the mass starvation symbolised by Kwashiorkor-afflicted children all offered strong corroborative evidence.

But this presented a one-sided and uncomplicated view.

Many of the minority groups within the Eastern Region, as well as in the Mid-West Region which was invaded by Biafran troops early in the war, did not want to live under what they perceived as Igbo domination. And many minority communities were subjected to brutal occupation by Biafran forces. The conflict was also not simply a case of Muslims waging a jihad against Christians. Many of the soldiers involved in the counter-coup of July 1966 were Christians from the Middle-Belt, and, indeed, the man who emerged as the Head of State after that coup, Gowon, was himself a Christian. Also the claim that the blockade mounted by the federal government was inflexible towards the idea of relief supplies being allowed into Biafran territory was not true. The federal side wanted such relief to pass through Nigeria while the Biafran government asserted their belief that such supplies would be tainted by poison deliberately introduced by the Nigerian side.

As military and civilian casualties mounted dissent arose within Biafran ranks. Some saw what some in the international community saw: that the starving millions were being used as part of a high-stakes political game through which the Biafran leadership hoped foreign military aid or even intervention would materialise. The leadership of Ojukwu was also seen as having a malign affect on the interests of his people. As Ralph Uwechue put it:

In Biafra, two wars were fought simultaneously. The first was for the survival of the (Igbos) as a race. The second was for the survival of Ojukwu’s leadership. Ojukwu’s error, which proved fatal for millions of (Igbos), was that he put the latter first.

Divisions within the Biafran military led to the development of two factions: the ‘Port Harcourt Militia’ and the ‘National Militia’. Internal sabotage, one fruit of this division, severely undermined morale, as well as the effort of national self-defence. The early memoirs of the likes of Uwechue and N.U. Akpan, as well as later ones by Alexander Madiebo laid bare the divisions existing within Biafra: the civil servant against the intellectual, the soldier against the mercenary, the Igbo against minority groups, and the ‘Nnewi clique’ against the others; a dynamic based on the allegation that Ojukwu promoted nepotism in regard to his Nnewi kinsmen.

Added to this was the gap in knowledge between the elites and the masses, with the latter being manipulated by a highly efficient propaganda machinery and according to Uwechue possessing “neither the facts nor the liberty to form an independent opinion” about the option of seeking a negotiated peace with the federal side.

The skillful use of propaganda by the Biafrans, which included the organising of relief concerts, the use of Igbo celebrities such as the writer Chinua Achebe and Dick Tiger, the world boxing champion, was successful to a good degree in projecting Igbo pleas for self-determination to a global audience. But decisive help from the major world powers save for an infusion of a limited amount of French arms in the later stages of the war, eluded them. They had been subjected to a blockade and encircled early in the war. While Gowon continued to insist that Biafra had to surrender unconditionally, Ojukwu attempted to rouse his people whose ill-equipped army began to increasingly rely on what would be contemporarily termed child soldiers. After much delay, Nigeria began a final offensive on December 23rd1969, using the Third Infantry Division.

The end was soon in coming.

At a meeting of his cabinet held in Owerri on January 8th 1970, Ojukwu presented what he would describe as the “grim hopelessness of continued formal military resistance.”  He left Biafra soon after, claiming that he was going in search of a peaceful settlement. His deputy, Philip Effiong, previously a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Nigerian army, took over the reins of leadership and sued for peace. The surrender was arranged on the ground with Colonel Olusegun Obasanjo, the commander of the Third Infantry Division, and a formal ceremony of surrender took place before General Gowon at Dodan Barracks in Lagos. Dressed in civilian attire, Effiong made the following declaration:

I, Philip Effiong, do hereby declare: I give you not only my own personal assurances but also those of my fellow officers and colleagues and of the entire former Biafran people of our fullest cooperation and very sincere best wishes for the future.

It is my sincere hope the lessons of the bitter struggle have been well learned by everybody and I would like therefore to take this opportunity to say that I, Major-General Philip Effiong, officer administering the government of the Republic of Biafra, now wish to make the following declaration:

That we are firm, we are loyal Nigerian citizens and accept the authority of the federal military government of Nigeria.

That we accept the existing administrative and political structure of the Federation of Nigeria.

That any future constitutional arrangement will be worked out by representatives of the people of Nigeria.

That the Republic of Biafra hereby ceases to exist.

Ojukwu’s final statement as leader released through Mark Press to Reuters reiterated the claim that the there had been no alternative other than to have declared a Biafran state. He emphasised the valour of its people in fighting against tremendous odds while enduring enormous privations and criticised what he termed the “international conspiracy against the interest of the African”, which he felt had played the biggest part in Biafra’s demise.

That demise, it was feared in some quarters, would be accompanied by mass killings of Igbos. From the Vatican, the Pope was quick to call for concerted efforts to prevent “massacres of a defenceless population exhausted by hardship, hunger and the lack of everything.” Such fears, stoked by Biafran propaganda were repeatedly referred to by Ojukwu in his statement who wrote that the aim of the Nigerian government had been to “apply the final solution to the Biafran problem away from the glare of an inquisitive world”.

It did not happen.

Gowon’s post-war speech emphasised the need for national reconciliation via the rhetoric of “No Victor, No Vanquished”. It was a claim backed by the fact that no medals were awarded to federal soldiers. Some Igbo officers were reabsorbed into the Nigerian military as where civil servants. And Igbos gradually returned to the north and other parts of the country.

The reabsorption of Igbos has over the decades nonetheless been accompanied by claims of marginalisation. This has often centred on two main issues: the amount of money allocated for the development of states composed of Igbo majorities and the fact that no Igbo has been allowed to lead Nigeria in the period since the end of the war.

In recent times movements have been created that have called for the resurrection of a Biafran state, the most prominent being the now proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (Massob). But protests organised by these groups have been violently put down and their leaders hunted down by Nigeria’s security forces.

In July 2017, a specially convened meeting of Igbo leaders consisting of state governors, legislators, traditional and religious leaders issued a statement giving their “full support” to a “united Nigeria”. It was a gesture aimed at diffusing mounting tensions, but their call for a restructuring of the country in order to achieve a “just and equitable society” underlined the sense of grievance many feel decades after the civil war.

Renewed agitation for separation has also served to reopen fears among minority groups of the former Eastern Region who alarmed at the inclusion of their territories in various versions of maps of a new Biafran state felt compelled to issue statements of their own. For instance in July 2017 the Efik Leadership Foundation (EFL), after impliedly disavowing their previous incorporation into a historical entity known as Biafra, accused the leaders of Ipob of attempting “to annex or conscript us surreptitiously or use our people, land and territory as (the) basis for bargaining” an exit out of the federation.

Aside from the persistent and widespread misgivings of neighbouring minority groups are doubts over the historical existence of a kingdom of Biafra for which no records, archaeological or other, can be offered as evidence. There is no oral chronology identifying who its rulers were, no accounts as to how it was formed or of its system of laws.

Today, there appears to be a generational divide on pressing for a separate Biafran entity with much of the rhetoric coming from younger people with little or no memory of the civil war. And with other parts of the federation implacable in their resolve to maintain the territorial unity of Nigeria, the catastrophic failure of the war commenced over fifty years ago must serve as a cautionary note for those intent on pursuing the path of secession.

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Adeyinka Makinde.

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from the author

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