The Racial Divide Between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump

June 8th, 2016 by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

As I sat in the San Diego sunshine yesterday listening to Bernie Sanders outside of Qualcomm Stadium, I was struck by the stunning contrast between the senator and Donald Trump, particularly on the issue of race.

Sanders emphasized racial justice, citing the courage of African Americans and their allies who fought against racism and bigotry during Jim Crow. He talked of the thousands of undocumented workers who are ruthlessly exploited, overworked and underpaid, vowing to end the current deportation policies. Sanders seeks to “unite, not divide families.” And he wants to “fundamentally change” the federal government’s oppressive relationship with the Native American community.

There are more people in U.S. prisons than in any other country in the world, Sanders noted. Those imprisoned, he said, are disproportionately African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans. The senator wants to invest in “jobs and education, not jails and incarceration.”

Sanders was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He served as president of the Congress of Racial Equality at the University of Chicago, organizing pickets and sit-ins, which led to his 1963 arrest for “resisting arrest.”

When Dr. Cornel West, author of the book Race Matters, introduced Sanders, he said the senator stands on the shoulders of Martin Luther King Jr., Edward Said and Cesar Chavez. Said, a professor at Columbia University, was a path-breaking Palestinian-American activist scholar, who decried the “dehumanization of Palestinians to the level of beasts virtually without sentience or motive.”

The overwhelming popularity of Sanders prompted the Democratic National Committee to invite him to nominate several members to the platform committee for the Democratic Convention. Much to the consternation of Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ choices included Dr. West, Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Keith Ellison, and Arab-American Institute president James Zogby, all staunch supporters of Palestinian rights.

Sanders called out Donald Trump for his bigotry, saying, “In the year 2016, the American people will not accept a bigoted president.” He added, “We are not going back. We will not accept a candidate that insults Latinos, Muslims, women, veterans and African Americans.” Sanders reminded us that Trump was a leader of the birther movement, whose aim was to delegitimize Barack Obama as president because he is black.

Trump has a nasty habit of attacking people based on their race. His most recent assault was on Gonzalo Curiel, a well-respected federal judge in San Diego, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed by people claiming they were scammed by Trump University. When Curiel ordered the unsealing of documents in the case, Trump mounted a double-barrel assault on the judge, stating that Curiel had “an absolute conflict” that should disqualify him from the case. Trump’s reasons: “He is a Mexican.” Trump said, “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.” Curiel is a U.S. citizen born to Mexican immigrant parents. Trump also maintains that a Muslim judge might treat him unfairly because the latter has advocated the temporary exclusion of most foreign Muslims from entering the United States. But federal courts have roundly rejected the claim that the ethnicity of a judge disqualifies him or her from hearing a case.

Trump has also vowed to deport 11 million undocumented workers from the United States.

The overt racism of the presumptive Republican presidential candidate is causing hand-wringing in GOP circles. Republican strategist Brian Walsh characterized Trump’s comments as “racist, nonsensical” and “the definition of racism.”

Veteran GOP operative Rick Wilson is also alarmed at Trump’s racism, noting that [the Republican Party] “own[s] the racial animus that started out as a bug, became a feature and is now the defining characteristic of his campaign.” Wilson said that Trump’s comments about Curiel and Muslim judges are “overtly racist.”

Trump’s racism is also evident in his pandering to people based on their race. He recently pointed out a black man in the crowd, declaring, “Oh, look at my African American over here – look at him.”

Sanders has cited Trump’s demagoguery, which, the former thinks, is a reaction to fear and anger than many people feel, leading them to embrace scapegoating.

“Don’t go to the dark side,” Sanders implores. He advocates building a strong, progressive movement. “Real change,” he told us yesterday, “has never taken place from the top on down, only from the bottom up.”

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US sanctions aren’t just hurting everyone including the US, they are accomplishing nothing. The US State Department’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) notified readers of a diplomacy campaign by the United States aimed at “urging” Europe to maintain sanctions against Russia. While the US claims the necessity of these sanctions are self-evident and beneficial to the US and Europe, such campaigns would not be needed if that were truly the case.

The article titled, “U.S. Sends Envoy To Urge Europe To Maintain Russian Sanctions,” states:

The United States is dispatching an envoy to Paris and Berlin on June 7 and 8 to try to convince European allies “of the importance of maintaining sanctions pressure on Russia,” the U.S. Treasury said on June 3.

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The sanctions, RFE/RL claims, are a result of Russia’s involvement in neighboring Ukraine’s downward spiral, which ironically enough, began not with Russian involvement but with that of America. Between 2013-2014 the United States, with its own senators traveling to Ukraine and taking the stage at US-backed protests in Kiev, quite literally propelled a violent Neo-Nazi putsch into power.

Since then, Ukraine has unraveled. Rather than taking responsibility for yet another failed US intervention, US policymakers have instead decided to shift the blame on Moscow. The ability to hold up US-EU sanctions against Russia as a means of legitimizing this shift of responsibility is key to the continued underpinning of Western support for the current regime in Kiev, and Washington’s continued belligerence toward Moscow.

US Sanctions are a Geopolitical Wrecking Ball


Like a geopolitical wrecking ball, US intervention in Ukraine first destabilized and destroyed Ukraine’s economy, before brushing into Russia and now with sanctions ongoing ever since, the effects have swung back to hit Europe and even the United States itself.

Ukraine since Soviet days has enjoyed several notable accomplishments in the field of heavy industry. The legendary Anatov aircraft company is headquartered in Ukraine and produces some of the largest heavy lift aircraft in the world.

The New York Times in 2014 would report in its article, “Aviation Giant Is Nearly Grounded in Ukraine,” that:

The crisis with Russia that erupted in February terminated Antonov’s most promising, albeit already troubled, joint venture: a short-takeoff, heavy-lift plane that the Russian military had sought for years. 

Antonov was not alone. With the rupture, Ukraine, among the world’s top 10 arms exporters, lost the market that spurred the development of its military industry. 

Economic and military experts said Antonov’s troubles epitomized the twin problems plaguing state-run companies in Ukraine, particularly the military sector, as it tries to slip Russia’s gravitational pull and hitch its fortunes to Europe.

Though the New York Times attempts to place the blame squarely on Russia, the reality is that Ukraine has an inescapable historical, cultural, technological and socioeconomic relationship with neighboring Russia, a relationship being artificially severed by a likewise artificial regime in Kiev.

The primary problem facing this US-European prodded shift is that the defense industry Ukraine was a part of, represented and benefited from mirroring that of the US and Europe. Attempting to integrate itself with the US and Europe is unlikely, and instead what will follow is the liquidation of Ukraine’s economic strength.

The New York Times notes that Ukraine also was a prolific weapons developer and manufacturer, among the top 10 in the world. Nations around the world sought Ukrainian systems, including armored personnel carriers and main battle tanks because of comparable characteristics to Russian and Chinese systems.

Again, however, these systems depended on the many ties that still exist between Ukraine and Russia, not to mention socioeconomic and political stability within Ukraine that now no longer exists. Having severed these ties for political rather than pragmatic reasons, Ukraine has crippled itself yet again. The most poignant example of this was the failure to deliver T-84 Oplot main battle tanks to the Southeast Asian nation of Thailand.

The order was placed before the 2013-2014 putsch in Kiev, along with the acquisition of Ukrainian BTR-3 armored personnel carriers. However, delays in deliver due to instability after 2013-2014 have caused the Thai government to shift to China’s VT-4 main battle tank instead.

It should be remembered that large acquisitions of weapon systems like aircraft and ground vehicles often create an entire ecosystem of spare parts, replacements, training, and even closer military cooperation. Ukraine has not only lost out on potentially lucrative weapon deals, but all the additional benefits included with them.

There was also Ukraine’s space industry whose biggest partner was Russia. With the partnership ended by Kiev and the ability of space agencies elsewhere around the world unable to fill the void because of the long-term nature of most space programs, Kiev’s decision has all but laid this industry to rest.

Bloomberg in its article, “Putin Is Knocking Ukraine’s Space Industry Out of Orbit,” implies that Russia has crippled Ukraine’s space industry. However, throughout the article, Bloomberg admits that Ukraine’s space program was mutually beneficial to both Kiev and Moscow, with its “knocking out” benefiting neither nation. The article admits:

The rest of Ukraine’s space industry hasn’t been so fortunate. Russia was its biggest customer, and sales have cratered. That’s partly Ukraine’s doing: In June, President Petro Poroshenko halted all military sales to Russia, including some dual-use missile and rocket technologies made by Ukrainian companies.

Bloomberg also admits:

By 2013, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister told the website Space News, the country was making about $600 million a year from commercial space ventures. But Russia still accounted for about 80 percent of sales at Yuzhmash, Vladimir Tkachenko, the company’s assistant general manager, told the BBC earlier this month. 

What is clear is that the US-European installed regime in Kiev has intentionally destroyed several prominent industrial centers of Ukraine’s economy, setting back, not benefiting Russia who had maintained strong ties with and depended on Ukrainian industry. What is also clear is that Ukraine and Russia weren’t the only interdependencies disrupted by Ukraine’s unraveling or the US-led sanctions leveled against Russia in its wake.

The Wrecking Ball Swings Back 

Historically Western Europe and Russia have maintained close economic ties both because of proximity and out of necessity. Interdependencies exist here not only in terms of aerospace technology, with Russia sending the entirety of all American and European astronauts into orbit aboard its Soyuz launch system, but also in terms of trade, defense and energy.

US-led sanctions and geopolitical maneuvers by Washington to breakup EU-Russian cooperation have been costly. Pipeline deals have been repeatedly disrupted, delayed or cancelled. A lucrative French-Russian deal involving the sale of Mistral Class ships to Moscow has cost the French government hundreds of millions of dollars.

Perhaps the most ironic structure to be threatened as this wrecking ball swings back West, is the US dependence on Russian RD-180 rocket engines used to launch, among other things, US Department of Defense satellites into orbit.

Even in the US, special interests are not united behind the notion of continued economic pressure on Russia. While those pushing for the continued sanctions against Russia claim the United States can find replacements, so far those replacements look particularly bleak, if not comical.

RFE/RL would report in its article, “Ukraine Proposes Working With U.S. To Replace Russian Rockets,” that:

Ukraine has proposed that Kyiv and the United States jointly develop and produce a rocket engine to replace Russian rocket engines currently used to launch U.S. military satellites. 

The head of Ukraine’s Space Agency, Lyubomyr Sabadosh, said on May 31 that he proposed the plan to replace Russian RD-180 rocket engines, which the U.S. Congress has ordered to be phased out by 2019, on a visit to the United States last month.  

However, for Ukraine, who is busy liquidating some of its most important heavy industrial assets on behalf of Washington and Brussels, the prospect of it replacing rocket engines even American industry would be hard-pressed to develop on its own is unlikely.

US-Russian cooperation in space between not only NASA and Roscosmos, but also between American and Russian private industry in regards to the RD-180 rocket engines has been an enduring example of post-Cold War progress. It is ironic that the United States claims, by endangering this achievement, it is some how protecting international order, peace and stability.

In the end, it seems that those in

US sanctions aren’t just hurting everyone including the US, they are accomplishing nothing. The US State Department’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) notified readers of a diplomacy campaign by the United States aimed at “urging” Europe to maintain sanctions against Russia. While the US claims the necessity of these sanctions are self-evident and beneficial to the US and Europe, such campaigns would not be needed if that were truly the case.

The article titled, “U.S. Sends Envoy To Urge Europe To Maintain Russian Sanctions,” states:

The United States is dispatching an envoy to Paris and Berlin on June 7 and 8 to try to convince European allies “of the importance of maintaining sanctions pressure on Russia,” the U.S. Treasury said on June 3.

The sanctions, RFE/RL claims, are a result of Russia’s involvement in neighboring Ukraine’s downward spiral, which ironically enough, began not with Russian involvement but with that of America. Between 2013-2014 the United States, with its own senators traveling to Ukraine and taking the stage at US-backed protests in Kiev, quite literally propelled a violent Neo-Nazi putsch into power.

Since then, Ukraine has unraveled. Rather than taking responsibility for yet another failed US intervention, US policymakers have instead decided to shift the blame on Moscow. The ability to hold up US-EU sanctions against Russia as a means of legitimizing this shift of responsibility is key to the continued underpinning of Western support for the current regime in Kiev, and Washington’s continued belligerence toward Moscow.

US Sanctions are a Geopolitical Wrecking Ball

Like a geopolitical wrecking ball, US intervention in Ukraine first destabilized and destroyed Ukraine’s economy, before brushing into Russia and now with sanctions ongoing ever since, the effects have swung back to hit Europe and even the United States itself.

Ukraine since Soviet days has enjoyed several notable accomplishments in the field of heavy industry. The legendary Anatov aircraft company is headquartered in Ukraine and produces some of the largest heavy lift aircraft in the world.

The New York Times in 2014 would report in its article, “Aviation Giant Is Nearly Grounded in Ukraine,” that:

The crisis with Russia that erupted in February terminated Antonov’s most promising, albeit already troubled, joint venture: a short-takeoff, heavy-lift plane that the Russian military had sought for years. 

Antonov was not alone. With the rupture, Ukraine, among the world’s top 10 arms exporters, lost the market that spurred the development of its military industry. 

Economic and military experts said Antonov’s troubles epitomized the twin problems plaguing state-run companies in Ukraine, particularly the military sector, as it tries to slip Russia’s gravitational pull and hitch its fortunes to Europe.

Though the New York Times attempts to place the blame squarely on Russia, the reality is that Ukraine has an inescapable historical, cultural, technological and socioeconomic relationship with neighboring Russia, a relationship being artificially severed by a likewise artificial regime in Kiev.

The primary problem facing this US-European prodded shift is that the defense industry Ukraine was a part of, represented and benefited from mirroring that of the US and Europe. Attempting to integrate itself with the US and Europe is unlikely, and instead what will follow is the liquidation of Ukraine’s economic strength.

The New York Times notes that Ukraine also was a prolific weapons developer and manufacturer, among the top 10 in the world. Nations around the world sought Ukrainian systems, including armored personnel carriers and main battle tanks because of comparable characteristics to Russian and Chinese systems.

Again, however, these systems depended on the many ties that still exist between Ukraine and Russia, not to mention socioeconomic and political stability within Ukraine that now no longer exists. Having severed these ties for political rather than pragmatic reasons, Ukraine has crippled itself yet again. The most poignant example of this was the failure to deliver T-84 Oplot main battle tanks to the Southeast Asian nation of Thailand.

The order was placed before the 2013-2014 putsch in Kiev, along with the acquisition of Ukrainian BTR-3 armored personnel carriers. However, delays in deliver due to instability after 2013-2014 have caused the Thai government to shift to China’s VT-4 main battle tank instead.

It should be remembered that large acquisitions of weapon systems like aircraft and ground vehicles often create an entire ecosystem of spare parts, replacements, training, and even closer military cooperation. Ukraine has not only lost out on potentially lucrative weapon deals, but all the additional benefits included with them.

There was also Ukraine’s space industry whose biggest partner was Russia. With the partnership ended by Kiev and the ability of space agencies elsewhere around the world unable to fill the void because of the long-term nature of most space programs, Kiev’s decision has all but laid this industry to rest.

Bloomberg in its article, “Putin Is Knocking Ukraine’s Space Industry Out of Orbit,” implies that Russia has crippled Ukraine’s space industry. However, throughout the article, Bloomberg admits that Ukraine’s space program was mutually beneficial to both Kiev and Moscow, with its “knocking out” benefiting neither nation. The article admits:

The rest of Ukraine’s space industry hasn’t been so fortunate. Russia was its biggest customer, and sales have cratered. That’s partly Ukraine’s doing: In June, President Petro Poroshenko halted all military sales to Russia, including some dual-use missile and rocket technologies made by Ukrainian companies.

Bloomberg also admits:

By 2013, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister told the website Space News, the country was making about $600 million a year from commercial space ventures. But Russia still accounted for about 80 percent of sales at Yuzhmash, Vladimir Tkachenko, the company’s assistant general manager, told the BBC earlier this month. 

What is clear is that the US-European installed regime in Kiev has intentionally destroyed several prominent industrial centers of Ukraine’s economy, setting back, not benefiting Russia who had maintained strong ties with and depended on Ukrainian industry. What is also clear is that Ukraine and Russia weren’t the only interdependencies disrupted by Ukraine’s unraveling or the US-led sanctions leveled against Russia in its wake.

The Wrecking Ball Swings Back 

Historically Western Europe and Russia have maintained close economic ties both because of proximity and out of necessity. Interdependencies exist here not only in terms of aerospace technology, with Russia sending the entirety of all American and European astronauts into orbit aboard its Soyuz launch system, but also in terms of trade, defense and energy.

US-led sanctions and geopolitical maneuvers by Washington to breakup EU-Russian cooperation have been costly. Pipeline deals have been repeatedly disrupted, delayed or cancelled. A lucrative French-Russian deal involving the sale of Mistral Class ships to Moscow has cost the French government hundreds of millions of dollars.

Perhaps the most ironic structure to be threatened as this wrecking ball swings back West, is the US dependence on Russian RD-180 rocket engines used to launch, among other things, US Department of Defense satellites into orbit.

Even in the US, special interests are not united behind the notion of continued economic pressure on Russia. While those pushing for the continued sanctions against Russia claim the United States can find replacements, so far those replacements look particularly bleak, if not comical.

RFE/RL would report in its article, “Ukraine Proposes Working With U.S. To Replace Russian Rockets,” that:

Ukraine has proposed that Kyiv and the United States jointly develop and produce a rocket engine to replace Russian rocket engines currently used to launch U.S. military satellites. 

The head of Ukraine’s Space Agency, Lyubomyr Sabadosh, said on May 31 that he proposed the plan to replace Russian RD-180 rocket engines, which the U.S. Congress has ordered to be phased out by 2019, on a visit to the United States last month.  

However, for Ukraine, who is busy liquidating some of its most important heavy industrial assets on behalf of Washington and Brussels, the prospect of it replacing rocket engines even American industry would be hard-pressed to develop on its own is unlikely.

US-Russian cooperation in space between not only NASA and Roscosmos, but also between American and Russian private industry in regards to the RD-180 rocket engines has been an enduring example of post-Cold War progress. It is ironic that the United States claims, by endangering this achievement, it is some how protecting international order, peace and stability.

In the end, it seems that those in the United States lobbying heavily to keep sanctions in place have more than just Moscow to worry about. They have a growing chorus of leaders in industry who may silently seek domination over Russian industry in the long-term, but failing that, needs cooperation with Russian industry in the short-term. It is clear that those behind the sanctions are unable to deliver on either.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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The UK financial sector spends at least €34 million per year on lobbying in Brussels and employs more than 140 lobbyists to influence EU policy-making, according to a study published today by Corporate Europe Observatory. [1]

Lobbying for the City of London” shows that British banks, hedge funds, insurance companies and their lobby groups command massive resources and enjoy easy access to decision-makers in EU institutions. And collectively, the industry has emerged victorious from many lobbying battles in Brussels, with key victories on banking regulation, hedge fund regulation, and complicated financial products such as derivatives, often at the cost of regulation in the public interest.

 

From December 2014 to May 2016, UK financial sector lobbyists had 228 lobby encounters with elite European Commission officials. [2] On top of this, 71 representatives of ‘the City of London’ hold passes that offer access to the European Parliament enabling them to hold hundreds of lobby meetings with MEPs.

Corporate Europe Observatory campaigner Vicky Cann said:

The UK financial services lobby is very active in Brussels. It has the resources, the people and the access to ensure that its agenda is heard loud and clear, and this translates into serious political influence on the EU decision-making agenda. EU citizens must put pressure on politicians to disarm and defeat the lobby firepower of the financial sector.

The research shows the top spender is the Association for Financial Markets in Europe which forks out over €7 million per year to lobby in Brussels. Meanwhile, TheCityUK spends at least €2 million, just ahead of HSBC. Other major lobbyists featured in the study include well-known names from the world of global finance such as Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Royal Bank of Scotland.[3]

The survey is based on several sources of lobby data [4] and analyses 50 of the biggest UK financial services actors. Actual lobbying spending is likely to be higher than reported because when organisations declared their lobby spend within a range, researchers took the lower figure. Also, key players who are not signed up to the EU’s (voluntary) lobby register could not be included as there is no data available on their lobbying activities.

Full report available here

For more information please contact:

Vicky Cann [email protected];

Kenneth Haar [email protected];

Note: 

The report “Lobbying for the City of London: The firepower of the UK financial sector in Brussels” is available here:http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/ukfinancialfirepower.pdf The full data set is available here:http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/uk_finance_industry_firep…

  1. These encounters were with commissioners, their cabinet members and/ or directors general at the Commission.
  2. The top 50 UK finance lobby list includes some US corporations which nonetheless have a major base in London and form part of ‘the City of London’.
  3. Sources include the LobbyFacts.eu database and UK Conservative MEPs’ online lobby meetings reports.

Corporate Europe Observatory is not taking a position on the question posed in the UK referendum.

 

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From Vietnam to Afghanistan: America and the Dictators

June 8th, 2016 by Prof Alfred McCoy

This incisive article by renowned author and historian Prof. Alfred McCoy was first published in April 2010

From Ngo Dinh Diem to Hamid Karzai

The crisis has come suddenly, almost without warning. At the far edge of American power in Asia, things are going from bad to much worse than anyone could have imagined. The insurgents are spreading fast across the countryside. Corruption is rampant. Local military forces, recipients of countless millions of dollars in U.S. aid, shirk combat and are despised by local villagers. American casualties are rising. Our soldiers seem to move in a fog through a hostile, unfamiliar terrain, with no idea of who is friend and who is foe.

After years of lavishing American aid on him, the leader of this country, our close ally, has isolated himself inside the presidential palace, becoming an inadequate partner for a failing war effort. His brother is reportedly a genuine prince of darkness, dealing in drugs, covert intrigues, and electoral manipulation. The U.S. Embassy demands reform, the ouster of his brother, the appointment of honest local officials, something, anything that will demonstrate even a scintilla of progress.

After all, nine years earlier U.S. envoys had taken a huge gamble: rescuing this president from exile and political obscurity, installing him in the palace, and ousting a legitimate monarch whose family had ruled the country for centuries. Now, he repays this political debt by taunting America.  He insists on untrammeled sovereignty and threatens to ally with our enemies if we continue to demand reforms of him. Yet Washington is so deeply identified with the counterinsurgency campaign in his country that walking away no longer seems like an option.

This scenario is obviously a description of the Obama administration’s devolving relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul this April. It is also an eerie summary of relations between the Kennedy administration and South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon nearly half a century earlier, in August 1963. If these parallels are troubling, they reveal the central paradox of American power over the past half-century in its dealings with embattled autocrats like Karzai and Diem across that vast, impoverished swath of the globe once known as the Third World.

Our Man in Kabul

With his volatile mix of dependence and independence, Hamid Karzai seems the archetype of all the autocrats Washington has backed in Asia, Africa, and Latin America since European empires began disintegrating after World War II. When the CIA mobilized Afghan warlords to topple the Taliban in October 2001, the country’s capital, Kabul, was ours for the taking — and the giving. In the midst of this chaos, Hamid Karzai, an obscure exile living in Pakistan, gathered a handful of followers and plunged into Afghanistan on a doomed CIA-supported mission to rally the tribes for revolt.  It proved a quixotic effort that required rescue by Navy SEALs who snatched him back to safety in Pakistan.

Desperate for a reliable post-invasion ally, the Bush administration engaged in what one expert has called “bribes, secret deals, and arm twisting” to install Karzai in power.  This process took place not through a democratic election in Kabul, but by lobbying foreign diplomats at a donors’ conference in Bonn, Germany, to appoint him interim president. When King Zahir Shah, a respected figure whose family had ruled Afghanistan for more than 200 years, returned to offer his services as acting head of state, the U.S. ambassador had a “showdown” with the monarch, forcing him back into exile.  In this way, Karzai’s “authority,” which came directly and almost solely from the Bush administration, remained unchecked. For his first months in office, the president had so little trust in his nominal Afghan allies that he was guarded by American security.

In the years that followed, the Karzai regime slid into an ever deepening state of corruption and incompetence, while NATO allies rushed to fill the void with their manpower and material, a de facto endorsement of the president’s low road to power. As billions in international development aid poured into Kabul, a mere trickle escaped the capital’s bottomless bureaucracy to reach impoverished villages in the countryside. In 2009, Transparency International ranked Afghanistan as the world’s second most corrupt nation, just a notch below Somalia.

As opium production soared from 185 tons in 2001 to 8,200 tons just six years later — a remarkable 53% of the country’s entire economy — drug corruption metastasized, reaching provincial governors, the police, cabinet ministers, and the president’s own brother, also his close adviser. Indeed, as a senior U.S. antinarcotics official assigned to Afghanistan described the situation in 2006, “Narco corruption went to the very top of the Afghan government.”  Earlier this year, the U.N. estimated that ordinary Afghans spend $2.5 billion annually, a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product, simply to bribe the police and government officials.

Last August’s presidential elections were an apt index of the country’s progress. Karzai’s campaign team, the so-called warlord ticket, included Abdul Dostum, an Uzbek warlord who slaughtered countless prisoners in 2001; vice presidential candidate Muhammed Fahim, a former defense minister linked to drugs and human rights abuses; Sher Muhammed Akhundzada, the former governor of Helmand Province, who was caught with nine tons of drugs in his compound back in 2005; and the president’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, reputedly the reigning drug lord and family fixer in Kandahar. “The Karzai family has opium and blood on their hands,” one Western intelligence official told the New York Times during the campaign.

Desperate to capture an outright 50% majority in the first round of balloting, Karzai’s warlord coalition made use of an extraordinary array of electoral chicanery. After two months of counting and checking, the U.N.’s Electoral Complaints Commission announced in October 2009 that more than a million of his votes, 28% of his total, were fraudulent, pushing the president’s tally well below the winning margin. Calling the election a “foreseeable train wreck,” the deputy U.N. envoy Peter Galbraith said, “The fraud has handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners.”

Galbraith, however, was sacked and silenced as U.S. pressure extinguished the simmering flames of electoral protest.  The runner-up soon withdrew from the run-off election that Washington had favored as a face-saving, post-fraud compromise, and Karzai was declared the outright winner by default. In the wake of the farcical election, Karzai not surprisingly tried to stack the five-man Electoral Complaints Commission, an independent body meant to vet electoral complaints, replacing the three foreign experts with his own Afghan appointees. When the parliament rejected his proposal, Karzai lashed out with bizarre charges, accusing the U.N. of wanting a “puppet government” and blaming all the electoral fraud on “massive interference from foreigners.” In a meeting with members of parliament, he reportedly told them: “If you and the international community pressure me more, I swear that I am going to join the Taliban.”

Amid this tempest in an electoral teapot, as American reinforcements poured into Afghanistan, Washington’s escalating pressure for “reform” only served to inflame Karzai. As Air Force One headed for Kabul on March 28th, National Security Adviser James Jones bluntly told reporters aboard that, in his meeting with Karzai, President Obama would insist that he prioritize “battling corruption, taking the fight to the narco-traffickers.” It was time for the new administration in Washington, ever more deeply committed to its escalating counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan, to bring our man in Kabul back into line.

A week filled with inflammatory, angry outbursts from Karzai followed before the White House changed tack, concluding that it had no alternative to Karzai and began to retreat.  Jones now began telling reporters soothingly that, during his visit to Kabul, President Obama had been “generally impressed with the quality of the [Afghan] ministers and the seriousness with which they’re approaching their job.”

All of this might have seemed so new and bewildering in the American experience, if it weren’t actually so old.

Our Man in Saigon

The sorry history of the autocratic regime of Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon (1954-1963) offers an earlier cautionary roadmap that helps explain why Washington has so often found itself in such an impossibly contradictory position with its authoritarian allies.

Landing in Saigon in mid-1954 after years of exile in the United States and Europe, Diem had no real political base.  He could, however, count on powerful patrons in Washington, notably Democratic senators Mike Mansfield and John F. Kennedy. One of the few people to greet Diem at the airport that day was the legendary CIA operative Edward Lansdale, Washington’s master of political manipulation in Southeast Asia. Amid the chaos accompanying France’s defeat in its long, bloody Indochina War, Lansdale maneuvered brilliantly to secure Diem’s tenuous hold on power in the southern part of Vietnam.  In the meantime, U.S. diplomats sent his rival, the Emperor Bao Dai, packing for Paris. Within months, thanks to Washington’s backing, Diem won an absurd 98.2% of a rigged vote for the presidency and promptly promulgated a new constitution that ended the Vietnamese monarchy after a millennium.

Channeling all aid payments through Diem, Washington managed to destroy the last vestiges of French colonial support for any of his potential rivals in the south, while winning the president a narrow political base within the army, among civil servants, and in the minority Catholic community. Backed by a seeming cornucopia of American support, Diem proceeded to deal harshly with South Vietnam’s Buddhist sects, harassed the Viet Minh veterans of the war against the French, and resisted the implementation of rural reforms that might have won him broader support among the country’s peasant population.

When the U.S. Embassy pressed for reforms, he simply stalled, convinced that Washington, having already invested so much of its prestige in his regime, would be unable to withhold support. Like Karzai in Kabul, Diem’s ultimate weapon was his weakness — the threat that his government, shaky as it was, might simply collapse if pushed too hard.

In the end, the Americans invariably backed down, sacrificing any hope of real change in order to maintain the ongoing war effort against the local Viet Cong rebels and their North Vietnamese backers. As rebellion and dissent rose in the south, Washington ratcheted up its military aid to battle the communists, inadvertently giving Diem more weapons to wield against his own people, communist and non-communist alike.

Working through his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu — and this should have an eerie resonance today — the Diems took control of Saigon’s drug racket, pocketing significant profits as they built up a nexus of secret police, prisons, and concentration camps to deal with suspected dissidents. At the time of Diem’s downfall in 1963, there were some 50,000 prisoners in his gulag.

Nonetheless, from 1960 to 1963, the regime only weakened as resistance sparked repression and repression redoubled resistance.  Soon South Vietnam was wracked by Buddhist riots in the cities and a spreading Communist revolution in the countryside. Moving after dark, Viet Cong guerrillas slowly began to encircle Saigon, assassinating Diem’s unpopular village headmen by the thousands.

In this three-year period, the US military mission in Saigon tried every conceivable counterinsurgency strategy.  They brought in helicopters and armored vehicles to improve conventional mobility, deployed the Green Berets for unconventional combat, built up regional militias for localized security, constructed “strategic hamlets” in order to isolate eight million peasants inside supposedly secure fortified compounds, and ratcheted up CIA assassinations of suspected Viet Cong leaders. Nothing worked. Even the best military strategy could not fix the underlying political problem. By 1963, the Viet Cong had grown from a handful of fighters into a guerrilla army that controlled more than half the countryside.

When protesting Buddhist monk Quang Duc assumed the lotus position on a Saigon street in June 1963 and held the posture while followers lit his gasoline-soaked robes which erupted in fatal flames, the Kennedy administration could no longer ignore the crisis. As Diem’s batons cracked the heads of Buddhist demonstrators and Nhu’s wife applauded what she called “monk barbecues,” Washington began to officially protest the ruthless repression. Instead of responding, Diem (shades of Karzai) began working through his brother Nhu to open negotiations with the communists in Hanoi, signaling Washington that he was perfectly willing to betray the U.S. war effort and possibly form a coalition with North Vietnam.

In the midst of this crisis, a newly appointed American ambassador, Henry Cabot Lodge, arrived in Saigon and within days approved a plan for a CIA-backed coup to overthrow Diem. For the next few months, Lansdale’s CIA understudy Lucien Conein met regularly with Saigon’s generals to hatch an elaborate plot that was unleashed with devastating effect on November 1, 1963.

As rebel troops stormed the palace, Diem and his brother Nhu fled to a safe house in Saigon’s Chinatown. Flushed from hiding by promises of safe conduct into exile, Diem climbed aboard a military convoy for what he thought was a ride to the airport. But CIA operative Conein had vetoed the flight plans.  A military assassin intercepted the convoy, spraying Diem’s body with bullets and stabbing his bleeding corpse in a coup de grâce.

Although Ambassador Lodge hosted an embassy celebration for the rebel officers and cabled President Kennedy that Diem’s death would mean a “shorter war,” the country soon collapsed into a series of military coups and counter-coups that crippled army operations. Over the next 32 months, Saigon had nine new governments and a change of cabinet every 15 weeks — all incompetent, corrupt, and ineffective.

After spending a decade building up Diem’s regime and a day destroying it, the U.S. had seemingly irrevocably linked its own power and prestige to the Saigon government — any government. The “best and brightest” in Washington were convinced that they could not just withdraw from South Vietnam without striking a devastating blow against American “credibility.” As South Vietnam slid toward defeat in the two years following Diem’s death, the first of 540,000 U.S. combat troops began arriving, ensuring that Vietnam would be transformed from an American-backed war into an American war.

Under the circumstances, Washington searched desperately for anyone who could provide sufficient stability to prosecute the war against the communists and eventually, with palpable relief, embraced a military junta headed by General Nguyen Van Thieu. Installed and sustained in power by American aid, Thieu had no popular following and ruled through military repression, repeating the same mistakes that led to Diem’s downfall. But chastened by its experience after the assassination of Diem, the U.S. Embassy decided to ignore Thieu’s unpopularity and continue to build his army. Once Washington began to reduce its aid after 1973, Thieu found that his troops simply would not fight to defend his unpopular government. In April 1975, he carried a hoard of stolen gold into exile while his army collapsed with stunning speed, suffering one of the most devastating collapses in military history.

In pursuit of its Vietnam War effort, Washington required a Saigon government responsive to its demands, yet popular with its own peasantry, strong enough to wage a war in the villages, yet sensitive to the needs of the country’s poor villagers.  These were hopelessly contradictory political requisites. Finding that civilian regimes engaged in impossible-to-control intrigues, the U.S. ultimately settled for authoritarian military rule which, acceptable as it proved in Washington, was disdained by the Vietnamese peasantry.

Death or Exile?

So is President Karzai, like Diem, doomed to die on the streets of Kabul or will he, one day, find himself like Thieu boarding a midnight flight into exile?

History, or at least our awareness of its lessons, does change things, albeit in complex, unpredictable ways.  Today, senior U.S. envoys have Diem’s cautionary tale encoded in their diplomatic DNA, which undoubtedly precludes any literal replay of his fate. After sanctioning Diem’s assassination, Washington watched in dismay as South Vietnam plunged into chaos. So chastened was the U.S. Embassy by this dismal outcome that it backed the subsequent military regime to a fault.

A decade later, the Senate’s Church Committee uncovered other U.S. attempts at assassination-cum-regime-change in the Congo, Chile, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic that further stigmatized this option. In effect, antibodies from the disastrous CIA coup against Diem, still in Washington’s political bloodstream, reduce the possibility of any similar move against Karzai today.

Ironically, those who seek to avoid the past may be doomed to repeat it. By accepting Karzai’s massive electoral fraud and refusing to consider alternatives last August, Washington has, like it or not, put its stamp of approval on his spreading corruption and the political instability that accompanies it.  In this way, the Obama administration in its early days invited a sad denouement to its Afghan adventure, one potentially akin to Vietnam after Diem’s death.  America’s representatives in Kabul are once again hurtling down history’s highway, eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror, not the precipice that lies dead ahead.

In the experiences of both Ngo Dinh Diem and Hamid Karzai lurks a self-defeating pattern common to Washington’s alliances with dictators throughout the Third World, then and now.  Selected and often installed in office by Washington, or at least backed by massive American military aid, these client figures become desperately dependent, even as they fail to implement the sorts of reforms that might enable them to build an independent political base. Torn between pleasing their foreign patrons or their own people, they wind up pleasing neither. As opposition to their rule grows, a downward spiral of repression and corruption often ends in collapse; while, for all its power, Washington descends into frustration and despair, unable to force its allies to adopt reforms which might allow them to survive. Such a collapse is a major crisis for the White House, but often — Diem’s case is obviously an exception — little more than an airplane ride into exile for the local autocrat or dictator.

There was — and is — a fundamental structural flaw in any American alliance with these autocrats. Inherent in these unequal alliances is a peculiar dynamic that makes the eventual collapse of such American-anointed leaders almost inevitable. At the outset, Washington selects a client who seems pliant enough to do its bidding. Such a client, in turn, opts for Washington’s support not because he is strong, but precisely because he needs foreign patronage to gain and hold office.

Once installed, the client, no matter how reluctant, has little choice but to make Washington’s demands his top priority, investing his slender political resources in placating foreign envoys. Responding to an American political agenda on civil and military matters, these autocrats often fail to devote sufficient energy, attention, and resources to cultivating a following; Diem found himself isolated in his Saigon palace, while Karzai has become a “president” justly, if derisively, nicknamed “the mayor of Kabul.”  Caught between the demands of a powerful foreign patron and countervailing local needs and desires, both leaders let guerrillas capture the countryside, while struggling uncomfortably, and in the end angrily, as well as resentfully, in the foreign embrace.

Nor are such parallels limited to Afghanistan today or Vietnam almost half a century ago. Since the end of World War II, many of the sharpest crises in U.S. foreign policy have arisen from just such problematic relationships with authoritarian client regimes. As a start, it was a similarly close relationship with General Fulgencio Batista of Cuba in the 1950s which inspired the Cuban revolution.  That culminated, of course, in Fidel Castro’s rebels capturing the Cuban capital, Havana, in 1959, which in turn led the Kennedy administration into the catastrophic Bay of Pigs invasion and then the Cuban Missile Crisis.

For a full quarter-century, the U.S. played international patron to the Shah of Iran, intervening to save his regime from the threat of democracy in the early 1950s and later massively arming his police and military while making him Washington’s proxy power in the Persian Gulf. His fall in the Islamic revolution of 1979 not only removed the cornerstone of American power in this strategic region, but plunged Washington into a succession of foreign policy confrontations with Iran that have yet to end.

After a half-century as a similarly loyal client in Central America, the regime of Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza fell in the Sandinista revolution of 1979, creating a foreign policy problem marked by the CIA’s contra operation against the new Sandinista government and the seamy Iran-Contra scandal that roiled President Reagan’s second term.

Just last week, Washington’s anointed autocrat in Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, fled the presidential palace when his riot police, despite firing live ammunition and killing more than 80 of his citizens, failed to stop opposition protesters from taking control of the capital, Bishkek. Although his rule was brutal and corrupt, last year the Obama administration courted Bakiyev sedulously and successfully to preserve U.S. use of the old Soviet air base at Manas critical for supply flights into Afghanistan. Even as riot police were beating the opposition into submission to prepare for Bakiyev’s “landslide victory” in last July’s elections, President Obama sent him a personal letter praising his support for the Afghan war. With Washington’s imprimatur, there was nothing to stop Bakiyev’s political slide into murderous repression and his ultimate fall from power.

Why have so many American alliances with Third World dictators collapsed in such a spectacular fashion, producing divisive recriminations at home and policy disasters abroad?

During Britain’s century of dominion, its self-confident servants of empire, from viceroys in plumed hats to district officers in khaki shorts, ruled much of Africa and Asia through an imperial system of protectorates, indirect rule, and direct colonial rule. In the succeeding American “half century” of hegemony, Washington carried the burden of global power without a formal colonial system, substituting its military advisers for imperial viceroys.

In this new landscape of sovereign states that emerged after World War II, Washington has had to pursue a contradictory policy as it dealt with the leaders of nominally independent nations that were also deeply dependent on foreign economic and military aid. After identifying its own prestige with these fragile regimes, Washington usually tries to coax, chide, or threaten its allies into embracing what it considers needed reforms. Even when this counsel fails and prudence might dictate the start of a staged withdrawal, as in Saigon in 1963 and Kabul today, American envoys simply cannot let go of their unrepentant, resentful allies, as the long slide into disaster gains momentum.

With few choices between diplomatic niceties and a destabilizing coup, Washington invariably ends up defaulting to an inflexible foreign policy at the edge of paralysis that often ends with the collapse of our authoritarian allies, whether Diem in Saigon, the Shah in Tehran, or on some dismal day yet to come, Hamid Karzai in Kabul. To avoid this impending debacle, our only realistic option in Afghanistan today may well be the one we wish we had taken in Saigon back in August 1963 — a staged withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Alfred W. McCoy is the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, which probes the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over the past 50 years. His latest book, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, explores the influence of overseas counterinsurgency operations on the spread of internal security measures here at home.   

Syria Solidarity Movement is an international network in solidarity with the Syrian people and their struggle to retain a secular, independent state. 

Unfortunately, there is an organization in the UK called “Syria Solidarity UK” (SSUK).  The similarity in names has caused some confusion, especially because their “solidarity” is with the “Syrian Revolution”.  In reality, this ‘revolution’ consists of long exiled Syrians with heavy Muslim Brotherhood influence, some daydreaming Trotskyists, Western or Gulf or Turkish supported political agents and tens of thousands of jihadis and mercenaries supplied, paid, assisted and promoted by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Turkey, USA, France, UK.

The genuine and positive forces seeking change in Syria disappeared long ago. James Foley documented the reality in Syria after his illusions were dispelled in Fall 2012. So did the native Aleppan known as Edward Dark. Initially he and his friends supported the uprising but then realized what it meant.  While there is an array of jihadi factions, the conflict has crystallized into its essence: a brutal war of aggression with foreign funded mercenaries and international jihadis on one side, and a struggling multi-ethnic, multi-religious Syrian army and allies on the other.

SSUK and their American counterpart Syrian American Council are an integral part of Team Regime Change. They receive direct and indirect funding from the governments they are allied with. They are promoted in the Zionist establishment in the USA. Their voice is amplified by the media. Yet that is not enough. They aggressively attempt to block, prevent and censor any other voices.  In 2014 the voice of Mother Agnes Mariam was disrupted and attacked at various venues in the USA because she talked about the reality in Syria rather than what was being proclaimed by Washington and Doha. Her voice was shamefully shut down in London. The reason: because she opposed the media propaganda narrative about the chemical weapon attack in August 2013. Now some of the same sectarian propagandists are trying to prevent Dr. Tim Anderson from speaking at a global conference in Greece examining the refugee crisis and its causes.  Dr. Anderson brings an analysis of the “Dirty War on Syria” and its connection to the refugee situation. That is what SSUK cannot abide and why they have threatened to disrupt the conference.

Under pressure from SSUK, the “Crossing Borders” conference organizers withdrew their invitation to keynote speaker Dr. Tim Anderson.  This censorship led to hundreds of calls for the the conference to be true to its stated goals.  To their credit, conference organizers realized the error and Dr. Anderson who will be presenting a paper and speaking at the conference. Now, the sectarian and bullying SSUK is again on the rampage; they are threatening to disrupt the conference and urging speakers to withdraw.  After five years of continuous propaganda and demonization of the Assad government, what kind of academics or activists are so pathetic they cannot stand to hear a different perspective?  What could be more relevant to an examination of the refugee crisis than an examination of the root causes?

The true nature of SSUK and their ‘revolution’ is revealed by their own actions. They talk about ‘freedom and democracy’ but practice censorship, repression and intimidation.  Their threats need to be rejected and their actions condemned. They evidently do not want to solve the crisis; they want to escalate it.

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U.S. Expands Secret Wars in Africa

June 7th, 2016 by Justin Yun

The secret expansion of U.S. military bases and special operations in Africahas initiated a new and lightweight style of warfare and welcomes the next phase of American military imperialism. Unlike the highly publicized U.S. military “pivot to Asia,” the proliferation of drones, special ops, mercenary spies, classified bases, proxy fighters and cyber warfare constitute what the journalist Nick Turse calls a “new light-footprint Obama doctrine” that “seems to be making war an ever more attractive and seemingly easy option.”

A New Style of Fighting

On any day, elite U.S. forces conduct covert missions in an estimated 70 to 90 countries. According to Turse, special forces have been sent to anunprecedented 147 countries —  75 percent of the world’s nations last year alone. This is a 145 percent increase from the rate of operations conducted under the Bush administration.

Wars conventionally fought by large infantry forces and full-scale invasions of foreign countries have made way for a new style of fighting — one that has become increasingly dependent on special forces, drones and private defense contractors. Because of the confidential nature of special ops, the Pentagon can essentially keep foreign military involvement secret from the American public. The U.S. has always had troops in Africa since the Cold War but the rate of its expansion dangerously indicates a lack of public accountability.

A Naive Claim

The shadow wars in Africa are now fought by members of the U.S. Special Operations Command and JSOC — a clandestine organization that carries out kill/capture missions. JSOC has been called “an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine” by counterinsurgency advisor John Nagl and many have described it as the president’s “private assassination squad.” The group reports directly to the White House. It is the military’s secret military.

The notion the U.S. would someday pull its troops out of the Middle East is a rather naive claim considering the fact we have nothing short of a permanent war economy. From main operating bases that house thousands of soldiers to single airstrips used by the C.I.A. to taxi their blacked-out turboprops, the U.S. continues to maintain over 800 to 1,000 bases around the world — making us the most expansive military empire in history. Nobody really knows the exact figure — not even the military experts. The late scholar Chalmers Johnson wrote in his book, “The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic” on how the Pentagon and an uncontrollable military-industrial complex have turned the U.S. into “a new kind of military empire — a consumerist Sparta.” Chalmers declares, “Another crucial characteristic that distinguished the American empire from empires of the past is that bases are not needed to fight wars but are instead pure manifestations of militarism and imperialism.”

Global Instability

Military expansion does not make us safe since it cultivates global instability. The uncontrollable growth into Africa has resulted in the funding and training of proxy armies with atrocious human-rights records and has attracted mercenaries such as Erik Prince — founder of the infamousBlackwater private army hired by the D.O.D to provide security to high-level diplomats during the Iraq war.

With military presence in 53 of 54 of Africa’s nations, the American empirehas emerged to pick up where the former European colonial powers have left off.

Justin Yun is a writer and apprentice for the Opinions section of the Chimes. 

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Chossudovsky

The US-NATO Military Buildup on Russia’s Doorstep is Part of a Global Warfare Strategy

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky and Press TV, June 07 2016

NATO has launched massive war-games in Poland, weeks ahead of a security summit in Warsaw. The Anaconda-16 is the biggest-ever military exercise by the Western military alliance in Poland since the end of the Polish People’s Republic in 1989. More…

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Globalization of War. US-NATO Anakonda War Games: Main Target is Middle East, Not Russia

By Sputnik, June 07 2016

Anakonda 2016, NATO’s large-scale military exercises underway in Poland, is meant to kill two birds with one stone – intimidate Russia, but more importantly help Washington to “wage wars” across the globe, particularly in the Middle East, Canadian economist and…

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US Falsely Calls Iran “Leading State Sponsor of Terrorism”

By Stephen Lendman, June 07 2016

Propaganda works because when repeated enough most people believe it.   The disturbing irony of the latest State Department annual report on terrorism finds the world’s leading state sponsor, America, accusing Iran, threatening no one, without just cause. The same false…

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Germany Preparing for War Against Russia?

By Eric Zuesse, June 07 2016

According to a report issued on June 6th in German Economic News (Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or DWN), the German government is preparing to go to war against Russia, and has in draft-form a Bundeswehr report declaring Russia to be an…

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The Iraq Chilcot Inquiry, “Apology” from “Alleged” War Criminal Tony Blair. UK Government Shameful U-Turn

By Felicity Arbuthnot, June 07 2016

“It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century. You don’t just invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.” (John Kerry, “Meet the Press, 2nd March 2014.)  If “a week is a long time in…

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The political outcry from Trump’s ongoing back and forth with Gonzalo Curiel, the judge overseeing the class-action lawsuits against Trump Unviersity, escalated today when following accusations of racism from democrats, as well as many top GOP leaders such as Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Newt Gingrich and Sen. Ben Sasse distancing themselves from Trump’s comments, a Hispanic House Democrat who represents a Texas district bordering Mexico tore into Donald Trump’s attacks on the Mexican-American judge, calling them blatantly racist.

Texas Democratic Congressman Filemon Vela didn’t mince words in a lengthy open letter to the presumptive GOP presidential nominee on Monday.

“Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass.” Vela wrote.

Vela begins the letter noting that he agrees with Trump that Mexico should do more to deter violence from drug cartels and that felons in the U.S. illegally should be deported. But, as The Hill summarizes, he then excoriates the real estate mogul over his rhetoric about Hispanics, including Trump’s assertion that an American-born federal judge of Mexican descent won’t be impartial in a lawsuit against Trump University.

TrumpTexas Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela

Texas Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela

“[Y]our ignorant anti-immigrant opinions, your border wall rhetoric, and your recent bigoted attack on an American jurist are just plain despicable,” Vela wrote.

Your position with respect to the millions of undocumented Mexican workers who now live in this country is hateful, dehumanizing, and frankly shameful.

The second-term lawmaker noted his own Mexican roots and pointed out that his family immigrated to the U.S. before Trump’s grandfather did from Germany.

“Before you dismiss me as just another ‘Mexican,’ let me point out that my great-great grandfather came to this country in 1857, well before your own grandfather. His grandchildren (my grandfather and his brothers) all served our country in World War I and World War II. His great-grandson, my father, served in the U.S. Army and, coincidentally, was one of the first ‘Mexican’ federal judges ever appointed to the federal bench,” Vela wrote.

Trump on Sunday doubled down on his stance that Gonzalo Curiel, the judge overseeing class-action lawsuits against Trump University, would be biased due to the billionaire’s campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The candidate similarly said that a Muslim judge “absolutely” might treat him unfairly because of his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Here is the full text of the letter:

June 6, 2016

Donald Trump
725 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10022

 

Dear Mr. Trump,

As the United States Representative for the 34th Congressional District of Texas, I do not disagree with everything you say. I agree that the United States Government has largely failed our veterans, and those of us who represent the people in Congress have the obligation to rectify the Veterans Administration’s deficiencies. I also believe that the Mexican government and our own State Department must be much more aggressive in addressing cartel violence and corruption in Mexico, especially in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas. And clearly, criminal felons who are here illegally should be immediately deported. There might even be a few other things on which we can agree

However, your ignorant anti-immigrant opinions, your border wall rhetoric, and your recent bigoted attack on an American jurist are just plain despicable

Your position with respect to the millions of undocumented Mexican workers who now live in this country is hateful, dehumanizing, and frankly shameful. The vast number of these individuals work in hotels, restaurants, construction sites, and agricultural fields across the United States. If I had to guess, your own business enterprises either directly or indirectly employ more of these workers than most other businesses in our country. Thousands of our businesses would come to a grinding halt if we invoked a policy that would require “mass deportation” as you and many of your supporters would suggest. That is precisely why the Republican-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees that these workers deserve a national immigration policy that would give them a pathway to citizenship.

While you would build more and bigger walls on the U.S.-Mexico border, I would tear the existing wall to pieces. No doubt Mexico has its problems, but it is also our third-largest trading partner. U.S. Chamber of Commerce has documented that this trade relationship is responsible for six million jobs in the United States. In 2015, the U.S. imported $296 billion in goods from Mexico while exporting $235 billion in products manufactured in this country to Mexico. The Great Wall of China is historically obsolete, and President Ronald Reagan famously declared, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall … ” while urging the Soviet Union to destroy the barrier that divided West and East Berlin. Why any modern-thinking person would ever believe that building a wall along the border of a neighboring country, which is both our ally and one of our largest trading partners, is frankly astounding and asinine.

I should also point out that thousands of Americans of Mexican descent that you mistakenly refer to as “Mexicans” have valiantly served the United States in every conflict since the Civil War. While too numerous to list, let me educate you about a few of these brave Medal of Honor recipients:

Master Sergeant Jose Lopez, from my own hometown of Brownsville, Texas, fought in World War II. Lopez was awarded the United States’ highest military decoration for valor in combat – the Medal of Honor – for his heroic actions during the Battle of the Bulge, in which he single handedly repulsed a German infantry attack, killing at least 100 enemy troops. If you ever run into Kris Kristofferson, ask him about Jose Lopez because as a young man Mr. Kristofferson recalls the 1945 parade honoring Sergeant Lopez as an event he will never forget.

In 1981, President Reagan presented Master Sergeant Roy Benavides with the Medal of Honor for fighting in what has been described as “6 hours in hell.” In Vietnam, Sergeant Benavides suffered 37 separate bullet, bayonet and shrapnel wounds to his face, leg, head and stomach while saving the lives of eight men. In fact, when awarding the honor to Benavides, President Reagan, turned to the media and said, “if the story of his heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it.”

You have now descended to a new low in your racist attack of an American jurist, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, by calling him a “Mexican” simply because he ruled against you in a case in which you are being accused of fraud, among other accusations. Judge Curiel is one of 124 Americans of Hispanic descent who have served this country with honor and distinction as federal district judges. In fact, the first Hispanic American ever named to the federal bench in the United States, Judge Reynaldo G. Garza, was also from Brownsville, Texas, and was appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

Before you dismiss me as just another “Mexican,” let me point out that my great-great grandfather came to this country in 1857, well before your own grandfather. His grandchildren (my grandfather and his brothers) all served our country in World War I and World War II. His great-grandson, my father, served in the U.S. Army and, coincidentally, was one of the first “Mexican” federal judges ever appointed to the federal bench.

I would like to end this letter in a more diplomatic fashion, but I think that you, of all people, understand why I cannot. I will not presume to speak on behalf of every American of Mexican descent, for every undocumented worker born in Mexico who is contributing to our country every day or, for that matter, every decent citizen in Mexico. But, I am sure that many of these individuals would agree with me when I say: ‘Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass.’

Sincerely,
Filemon Vela
Member of Congress

But while the condemnation of Trump’s statement has been largely uniform among the political elite, one person who has so far voiced a supporting tone and said that “Trump has a right to ask if Judge Gonzalo Curiel is fair”, was Alberto Gonzales, who served as White House counsel and U.S. attorney general in the George W. Bush administration. Here is an excerpt of what he said in a WaPo oped:

Certainly, Curiel’s Mexican heritage alone would not be enough to raise a question of bias (for all we know, the judge supports Trump’s pledge to better secure our borders and enforce the rule of law). As someone whose own ancestors came to the United States from Mexico, I know ethnicity alone cannot pose a conflict of interest.

But there may be other factors to consider in determining whether Trump’s concerns about getting an impartial trial are reasonable. Curiel is, reportedly, a member of a group called La Raza Lawyers of San Diego. Trump’s aides, meanwhile, have indicated that they believe Curiel is a member of the National Council of La Raza, a vocal advocacy organization that has vigorously condemned Trump and his views on immigration. The two groups are unaffiliated, and Curiel is not a member of NCLR. But Trump may be concerned that the lawyers’ association or its members represent or support the other advocacy organization. Coupled with that question is the fact that in 2014, when he certified the class-action lawsuit against Trump, Curiel appointed the Robbins Geller law firm to represent plaintiffs. Robbins Geller has paid $675,000 in speaking fees since 2009 to Trump’s likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, and to her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Curiel appointed the firm in the case before Trump entered the presidential race, but again, it might not be unreasonable for a defendant in Trump’s position to wonder who Curiel favors in the presidential election. These circumstances, while not necessarily conclusive, at least raise a legitimate question to be considered. Regardless of the way Trump has gone about raising his concerns over whether he’s getting a fair trial, none of us should dismiss those concerns out of hand without carefully examining how a defendant in his position might perceive them — and we certainly should not dismiss them for partisan political reasons.

Finally, some have said that Trump’s criticism of the judge reflects on his qualifications to be president. If the criticism is solely based on Curiel’s race, that is something voters will take into account in deciding whether he is fit to be president. If, however, Trump is acting from a sincere motivation to protect his constitutional right to a fair trial, his willingness to exercise his rights as an American citizen and raising the issue even in the face of severe criticism is surely also something for voters to consider.

In any event, this issue is not going away any time soon, and it remains to be seen how it will impact Trump’s popularity in the coming days, especially if Trump continue to engage in a back and forth over what is ultimately a private matter, instead of refocusing his supporters’ attention on the escalating feud with Hillary Clinton.

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Hunting Sharks: Unnatural Justice and Human Revenge

June 7th, 2016 by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Every so often, when a human wades in absurd company with a majestic shark, a predictable spectacle unfolds.  The shark, interest piqued, attacks human.  The human can be fatally wounded, though not always. Shark is thereby hunted – this, deemed the automatic reaction of the outraged and incensed. 

The shark is but one animal, incapable of understanding the false notion of a social contract it is meant to abide it. Similarly, humans assume that notions of revenge and deterrence have some role to play.  You killed one of our species, and must account.  

Much of this is occasioned by the traditional galeophobic tendencies that have become mandatory in countries in proximity of shark populations.  In a statistical sense, being nabbed and placed on the menu of a shark is akin to 1 in 3,748,067.  That is the figure arrived at from the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History. Obviously, the figure changes if you are a marine obsessive, tempting fate.

That figure, however, should also be considered along others.  The chances of drowning are 1 in 1,134, far greater relative to becoming the gourmet delight of the animal in question. “We never get to the what-are-the-odds part,” notes Elizabeth Palermo of Live Science, “because the nature of the brain is to take partial information, quickly judge whether there may be danger, and then draw quick, protective or precautionary conclusions before we objectively look at the evidence.”[1]

The shark, however, is deemed wily, much in the way western cultural commentators considered the Oriental inscrutable, outrageous and unbecoming of Western ideals. One has to be sneaky in order to be effective, adjust, adapt to the beast of the sea.  “Baited drum lines,” goes the ABC report, “have been dropped off Perth’s north in the hunt for a suspected five-metre shark which killed a diver”.[2]

The Sea Shepherd crew were far from impressed.  Spokeswoman Natalie Banks claimed that this was

“a knee-jerk reaction… it does not prevent these shark attacks.  By killing a white shark in Falcon we are not preventing shark attacks from happening again.  We need to do things like signage and medical kits at beaches right now.”

Obviously, the emphasis there being on human cognisance of the obvious – though prevention has little role to play in the role of mythology, mankind and beast.  The shark performs roles it has no clue of, the subject of a script which enrols the enforcers, the killers, the marauders.  The beast shall be found.

Pictures of the deceased are demonstrated as sacred images.  There is Ben Gerring, who “died after being attacked by a shark while surfing at Falcon”; and Doreen Collyer, “Edith Cowan lecturer… fatally wounded while diving at Mindarie.”  In her husband’s words, “Doreen was a beautiful person and everyone loved her.  She was a devoted grandmother, mother and loving wife.”[3]

They have the faces, and the tears of those who lost them.  The shark, on the other hand, remains the marine skulking animal, eluding authorities, posing a public menace.  Authorities have deemed the shark “a serious threat to public safety.”

According to the premier of WA, Colin Barnett, “It was estimated to be 6m long and if a shark like that stays in the vicinity it is a continuing threat.”  A creature in breach of the human social contract imposed upon it. “If that shark stays in the area it will be presumed or judged to be a threat so we reserve that right.”

Catching the creature is not proving to be an easy affair.  Drum lines off Mindarie have been deployed with the purpose of eliminating sharks if they fit the appropriate “description”.  Barnett has resisted, so far, drawing upon the bloody 2014 policy of catch-and-kill via permanent drum lines which, by his own admission, was “divisive” and did not prove successful.  (This is understated – some 172 sharks were killed in the move, with not a single great white among the numbers.)

The shark attacks have, however, given the premier cause for concern.  As Fisheries department metropolitan regional manager Tony Cappelluti explained on Monday, “We’ve had [the attacks] months apart but probably never several days apart.”[4] How inconsiderate of them – and their timing.

There is nothing of the Hemingway macho about this.  The political fears are far more rudimentary in their material worth.  The great whites, in inflicting such fatalities, have given the state “world exposure” that will damage tourist numbers, something that was already affecting various WA beaches.

The response from Barnett is simple: shoot the animal in question.  “Shark suspected of WA attack to be shot.”[5]  Forget the shark’s role in the great body of the sea – it has been condemned without a jury of peers or the dictates of natural justice.  It is merely being punished for its nature.

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

Notes:

[1] http://www.livescience.com/51579-fear-of-sharks-psychology.html

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-06/perth-shark-attack-baited-drum-lines-to-be-set-off-mindarie/7479688

[3] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-06/mindarie-shark-attack-victim-was-ecu-lecturer-doreen-collyer/7481384

[4] http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2016/06/06/shark-suspected-of-wa-attack-to-be-shot-.html

[5] http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/premier-colin-barnett-defends-order-to-kill-sharks-but-rules-out-permanent-drumlines/news-story/9b89292ece35b30038ef6b2bca5bbf2d

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What you are about to see is major confirmation that a new economic downturn has already begun.  Last Friday, the government released the worst jobs report in six years, and that has a lot of people really freaked out.  But when you really start digging into those numbers, you quickly find that things are even worse than most analysts are suggesting.  In particular, the number of temporary jobs in the United States has started to decline significantly after peaking last December.  Why this is so important is because the number of temporary jobs started to decline precipitously right before the last two recessions as well.

You see, when economic conditions start to change, temporary workers are often affected before anyone else is.  Temporary workers are easier to hire than other types of workers, and they are also easier to fire.

In this chart, you can see that the number of temporary workers peaked and started to decline rapidly before we even got to the recession of 2001.  And you will notice that the number of temporary workers also peaked and started to decline rapidly before we even got to the recession of 2008.  This shows why the temporary workforce is considered to be a “leading indicator” for the U.S. economy as a whole.  When the number of temporary workers peaks and then starts to fall steadily, that is a major red flag.  And that is why it is so incredibly alarming that the number of temporary workers peaked in December 2015 and has fallen quite a bit since then…

Temporary Help Services

In May, the U.S. economy lost another 21,000 temporary jobs, and overall we have lost almost 64,000 since December.

If a new economic downturn had already started, this is precisely what we would expect to see.  The following is some commentary from Wolf Richter

Staffing agencies are cutting back because companies no longer need that many workers. Total business sales in the US have been declining since mid-2014. Productivity has been crummy and getting worse. Earnings are down for the fourth quarter in a row. Companies see that demand for their products is faltering, so the expense-cutting has started. The first to go are the hapless temporary workers.

Another indicator which is pointing to big trouble for American workers is the Fed Labor Market Conditions Index.  Just check out this chart from Zero Hedge, which shows that this index has now been falling on a month over month basis for five months in a row.  Not since the last recession have we seen that happen…

Fed Labor Market Conditions MoM

Of course I have been warning about this new economic downturn since the middle of last year.  U.S. factory orders have now been falling for 18 months in a row, job cut announcements at major companies are running 24 percent higher up to this point in 2016 than they were during the same time period in 2015, and just recently Microsoft said that they were going to be cutting 1,850 jobs as the market for smartphones continues to slow down.

As I have been warning for months, the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the last major economic crisis are playing out once again right in front of our eyes.

Perhaps you have blind faith in Barack Obama, the Federal Reserve and our other “leaders”, and perhaps you are convinced that everything will turn out okay somehow, but there are others that are doing what they can to get prepared in advance.

It may surprise you to learn that George Soros is one of them.

According to recent media reports, George Soros has been selling off investments like crazy and has poured tremendous amounts of money into gold and gold stocks

Maybe the best argument in favor of gold is that American legendary investor and billionaire George Soros has recently sold 37% of his stock and bought a lot more gold and gold stocks.

George Soros, who once called gold ‘the ultimate bubble,’ has resumed buying the precious metal after a three-year hiatus. On Monday, the billionaire investor disclosed that in the first quarter he bought 1.05 million shares in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s biggest gold exchanged-traded fund, valued at about $123.5 million,” Fortune and Reuters reported Tuesday.

George Soros didn’t make his fortune by being a dummy.

Obviously he can see that something big is coming, and so he is making the moves that he feels are appropriate.

If you are waiting for some type of big announcement from the government that a recession has started, you are likely going to be waiting for quite a while.

How it usually works is that we are not told that we are in a recession until one has already been happening for an extended period of time.

For instance, back in mid-2008 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke insisted that the U.S. economy was not heading into a recession even though we found out later that we were already in one at the moment Bernanke made that now infamous statement.

On my website, I have been documenting all of the red flags that are screaming that a new recession is here for months.

You can be like Ben Bernanke in 2008 and stick your head in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening, or you can honestly assess the situation at hand and adjust your strategies accordingly like George Soros is doing.

Of course I am not a fan of George Soros at all.  The shady things that he has done to promote the radical left around the globe are well documented.  But they don’t call people like him “the smart money” for no reason.

Down in Venezuela, the economic collapse has already gotten so bad that people are hunting dogs and cats for food.  For most of the rest of the world, things are not nearly that bad, and they won’t be that bad for a while yet.  But without a doubt, the global economy is moving in a very negative direction, and the pace of change is accelerating.

Those that are wise have already been getting prepared, and those that are convinced that everything is going to be just fine somehow have not been getting prepared.

In the end, most people end up believing exactly what they want to believe, and we are not too far away from the time when those choices are going to have very severe consequences.

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The Democrat party campaign was over before it began. On April 15, 2015, Clinton and Sanders both formally announced their candidacy to become party standard bearer this November.

Primaries and caucuses since last winter were largely theatrical noise, the process rigged to anoint Clinton – an unindicted neocon war criminal, racketeer, Wall Street tool she devil, a menace threatening world peace, a perfect choice for US president, following in the despicable tradition of husband Bill, George W. Bush and Obama. 

The possibility of her becoming America’s 45th president should scare everyone. Her finger on the nuclear trigger heightens the possibility of it being squeezed – the nation under her stewardship, if elected, transitioning from MAD to madness, humanity’s survival at risk.

According to AP News, she already has enough delegates to be Democrat party nominee, including unelected insider super-delegates, overwhelmingly backing her – ahead of six June 7 primary results, California the big one.

Obama’s official endorsement awaits, heavy pressure put on Sanders for party unity. His 30-year political history shows when pushed he bends, supporting what he rhetorically opposed.

He pledged several times to endorse Clinton if nominated. His House and Senate voting record largely mirrors her imperial agenda – pure evil by any standard.

He barely stopped short of conceding ahead of Tuesday’s primaries, saying he’ll return to Vermont on Wednesday to “assess where we are.”

His comment followed a weekend call from Obama ahead of the president formally endorsing Clinton, likely getting Sanders to agree not to contest her following Tuesday’s primaries.

Her rise to become Democrat party nominee reflects a debauched US political system, an uninformed, brainwashed, indifferent electorate, and a corrupted media establishment led by The New York Times.

Its editorial board outrageously calls her “the most broadly and deeply qualified presidential candidate in modern history” – followed by a litany of misinformation, distortions, and Big Lies about her public record, suppressing her high crimes demanding daily headline

A Clinton presidency assures Wall Street and America’s military-industrial-intelligence establishment continuing to make policy, endless wars raging, new ones likely, possibly challenging Russia and China belligerently.

No matter who succeeds Obama, dirty business as usual will continue unimpeded – monied interests exclusively served at the expense of popular ones and world peace

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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The recent advances of Al Nusra and Ahram al-Sham in the Sheikh Maqsoud district and the Jaish al-Fatah operation room, which also includes Al Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, near the village of Khan Touman, have almost scrubbed any initiatives to set a ceasefire regime in the Aleppo city and nearby areas, showcasing that rhetoric about bad humanitarian conditions and the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan are a merely part of the ongoing PR-war against the Assad government and its allies. The strategic goal is to prevent the advances of pro-government troops and operations of the Russian aerospace forces in the Aleppo city and in Northern Syria, in general.

The only answer to this challenge is a constant military pressure on all Syrian armed groups that ignore attempts of the cessation of hostilities. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on June 6 that Russia will provide “the most active” air support for government troops in and around the city of Aleppo. In this case, such groups as Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Fatah should be a legitimate target of the Russian air power. If the Washington directly recognizes these al-Qaeda-linked groups as a moderate opposition on an official level, it will be a PR disaster, threating to undermine the US diplomatic position on Syria in the nearest future.

In turn, the tolerance of conditions when Islamist militants were able to prepare and storm Aleppo districts was a mistake of Russian military advisers and the Syrian military. Initially, Saudi and Turkish backed groups passed the areas near the city of Mare to ISIS. This allowed them to re-deploy a significant force to the Aleppo city and the Sheikh Maqsoud district.

Al Nusra and Ahram al-Sham units were strengthened by arms supplies from Turkey. Furthermore, there were reports about Turkish troops among the militant groups. According to experts, Turkish military advisers have been providing strategic planning and other support to Al Nusra and Ahram al-Sham at least since the middle of 2015. The fact that ISIS didn’t stormed Mare, when Al Nusra and others conducted operations in Aleppo, proved at least tactical military cooperation between Al Nusra and ISIS. The advance was covered by the US-led diplomatic and PR campaign, doubted “Don’t bomb the moderate opposition”. As result, the military situation in the Aleppo city worsened.

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Military tensions surged yesterday in Europe as NATO launched Operation Anaconda, the largest NATO military exercise in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War a quarter century ago, when the Stalinist bureaucracy dissolved the Soviet Union in 1991.

Some 31,000 troops, 3,000 vehicles, 105 aircraft, and 12 warships are participating in war games based on a scenario that war erupts between NATO and Russia, a nuclear-armed power. European defense officials in Warsaw said the scenario was one where there is “a mishap, a miscalculation which the Russians construe, or choose to construe, as an offensive action.”

The largest contingents in the exercises are 14,000 troops from the United States, 12,000 from Poland, and about 800 from Britain, as well as other forces, including from non-NATO countries. They will be commanded by Polish Lieutenant General Marek Tomaszycki.

Operation Anaconda is a massive provocation, effectively amounting to a dress rehearsal for a NATO invasion of Russia. In the exercise, for the first time since the Nazi invasions of Poland and the Soviet Union during World War II, German tanks will cross all of Poland from west to east.

With staggering recklessness, NATO officials are launching exercises dangerously close to Russian soil, even as security analysts acknowledge that this creates a situation where miscalculations could lead to war between NATO and Russia. According to the British Guardian, “defence experts warn that any mishap could prompt an offensive reaction from Moscow.” The daily cited Marcin Zaborowski, an official of the Center for European Policy Analysis, as admitting that the international situation surrounding Operation Anaconda is “tense, and accidents can happen.”

Russian officials reacted aggressively against escalating NATO military activity along Russia’s borders. The exercises in Poland come as 5,000 NATO forces carry out exercises code-named Operation Iron Wolf in Lithuania, the largest NATO deployment to Lithuania in several years, and amid NATO military exercises in Latvia, another Baltic republic bordering Russia.

“We do not hide that we have a negative attitude toward the NATO line of moving its military infrastructure to our borders, drawing other countries into military unit activities,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Moscow. “This will activate Russia’s sovereign right to provide its own safety with methods that are adequate to today’s risks.”

Russian Permanent Representative to NATO Aleksandr Grusho said yesterday that Moscow would closely analyze NATO military activity in the region during the exercises. Russian military sources indicated that they would move three divisions closer to Russia’s western borders in response to the exercises, likely motorized rifle units of about 10,000 men each.

Operation Anaconda goes hand in hand with US and NATO operations aiming to encircle Russia’s entire western border, from the Baltics and Eastern Europe to the Balkans. Last month, NATO officials set up a missile base in Deveselu, Romania, and began work on a similar base at Redzikowo in northern Poland.

Yesterday, the US guided missile destroyer USS Porter sailed through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea with a strengthened missile armament—a year after a similar US warship in the Black Sea, the USS Ross, nearly violated Russian territorial waters, prompting a standoff with Russian warplanes.

All of these aggressive actions come in the run-up to the July 8-9 NATO summit in Warsaw, which is expected to further escalate NATO deployments to the Baltic region and tighten ties between NATO and former Soviet republics including Ukraine and Georgia, in the Caucasus.

Twenty-five years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the disastrous geopolitical implications of this event are ever more evident. The elimination of what capitalist propagandists of an earlier era called the “communist menace” did not lead to a flowering of peace and prosperity under the aegis of a capitalist European Union (EU). Rather, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and of the Warsaw Pact threw Eastern Europe open to imperialist intrigue and war plotting by Washington and its major allies in Europe.

The assurances NATO gave Moscow decades ago that its strategic interests would not be threatened have proven worthless. The 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act said: “in the current and foreseeable security environment, the [NATO] Alliance will carry out its collective defense and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces.”

Instead, as NATO absorbed countries across Eastern Europe, what emerged was a steady spread of NATO wars and combat forces across the continent. From NATO’s bloody Balkan wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the brief 2008 war that Georgia recklessly launched against Russia with US support, the intervention has now escalated to the point that Russia is surrounded and directly threatened with invasion.

The pretense that NATO’s latest escalation is a legitimate response to a change in the European security environment due to Russian aggression in Ukraine is a political fraud. The war in Ukraine was provoked by a violent putsch, led by the fascistic Right Sector militia and supported by the CIA and the European capitals, that toppled a pro-Russian government in Kiev in 2014. As the current military situation with Operation Anaconda makes clear, it was not part of a Russian master plan to conquer Europe, but of a relentless and aggressive NATO drive to strategically isolate Russia.

This does not change in any way the fact that the actions of the Russian capitalist oligarchy in the Kremlin are politically reactionary. Incapable of and hostile to mobilizing opposition to war in the international working class, they oscillate between seeking an accommodation with the imperialist powers and threatening them with Russia’s military power.

Particularly as Russia faces ever more bellicose and right-wing regimes in Poland, Ukraine, and further afield in Eastern Europe, backed by Washington and its NATO allies, such threats simply escalate the danger of nuclear war.

The right-wing regime in Poland is in particular using Operation Anaconda to inaugurate the 35,000-strong nationalist territorial militias it has set up after cashiering a quarter of the country’s generals since it came to power last October. There are numerous reports that the territorial militias, drawn from Polish gun clubs and paramilitary groups, are linked to racist Polish football hooligan groups.

The deployment comes amid rising tensions between the EU and the Polish government, which has sought to sideline the country’s constitutional court. On June 1, the EU Commission issued a ruling demanding “concrete steps to resolve the systemic risk to the rule of law in Poland.”

The territorial militias are apparently viewed with concern in the Polish army and in NATO circles internationally. The Guardian cited an unnamed “Western defense expert” as saying: “Poland is highly regarded internationally. In the past 15 years, they spent a lot of money and created one of the best armies in the region… It is not clear what the government thinks it needs to improve.”

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The Associated Press reported late Monday night that Hillary Clinton had secured a sufficient number of additional superdelegates to clinch the Democratic Party presidential nomination. The AP report was immediately picked up and featured prominently by the Washington Post and the New York Times, despite the fact that the AP did not identify the superdelegates newly declaring for Clinton.

It had previously been reported that Clinton intended to declare herself the presumptive Democratic nominee immediately following the vote in Tuesday’s New Jersey primary election, where opinion polls show the former secretary of state holding a double-digit lead over her challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders.

It had also been reported that President Barack Obama would officially endorse Clinton this week, possibly on Wednesday when he travels to New York for a fundraising event. There were reports that Obama had telephoned Sanders to discuss his plans to endorse the former first lady, senator and secretary of state.

These developments amount to a coordinated push by the Democratic Party establishment and sections of the media to proclaim Clinton the victor in the hotly contested primary campaign in advance of the California primary election on Tuesday, which could deliver the favored candidate of Wall Street and the military/intelligence establishment a stunning defeat at the hands of Sanders, whose campaign continues to gain popular support.

It had been reported that Clinton would not wait until the votes were counted in California, the country’s most populous state, where the polls close later than in New Jersey due to the three-hour time zone difference with the US east coast. Polls in California show Clinton’s one-time double-digit lead over Sanders evaporating amidst a record surge in newly registered voters, most of them younger than 45, a demographic that has consistently backed Sanders by a two-to-one margin.

Media outlets, including the Democratic-leaning MSNBC, were also expected to proclaim Clinton the victor as soon as the New Jersey results were announced.

The haste to preemptively crown Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate is reflected in numerous press commentaries portraying Sanders’ continuing push for the nomination as a Quixotic exercise in futility—or a fifth column boost to the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Just in the past two days, the New York Times published pieces headlined “Bernie’s Last Stand” and “Bernie Sanders’ Chances of Winning Have Faded, but His Rallies Haven’t,” and the Washington Post carried an article titled “Doing great too late.”

All three top elected officials in California, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, have endorsed Clinton and called on Sanders to end his campaign.

The rush to declare Clinton the presumptive nominee, even as Sanders publicly pledges to continue fighting for the nomination up to and perhaps during next month’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, is a measure not of political strength on the part of the Clinton campaign, but rather immense weakness and crisis. Clinton, the overwhelming choice of the Democratic Party establishment, continues to see her popular support erode in favor of Sanders, who has based his campaign on an appeal to popular anger over social inequality and Wall Street criminality.

After lopsided victories over the weekend in the Puerto Rican primary and the Virgin Islands caucuses, Clinton was, in fact, only 26 elected delegates shy of reaching the 2,383 figure needed to clinch the nomination, a number she is certain to obtain in New Jersey. However, neither she nor Sanders will have a sufficient number of elected and therefore pledged delegates and will have to rely on the votes of superdelegates, who are free to change their allegiance when they make their choice at the convention itself.

The 712 superdelegates are appointed by the Democratic National Committee and consist of elected officials, Democratic Party operatives and party leaders, including former office-holders. As of last weekend, 547 of these denizens of the party establishment had publicly announced for Clinton, while only 46 had come out in support of Sanders.

Over the weekend, Sanders denounced plans to declare Clinton the presumptive nominee and reiterated his stated intention of fighting to convince Clinton superdelegates to switch to his campaign on the grounds that polls show him defeating Trump decisively in the general election, while for the most part they indicate a dead heat in a contest between Clinton and Trump.

Sanders has been counting on an upset victory in California, the biggest trove of delegates at 548, to fuel already percolating concerns over the viability of a Clinton candidacy. Widely despised by young and lower-income voters as a corrupt personification of the status quo and a warmonger, Clinton has failed to generate any significant enthusiasm for her bid to follow her husband into the White House.

One measure of the immense political weakness of Clinton’s campaign is its refusal to debate Sanders in advance of the final round of nominating contests, including California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota on Tuesday and Washington, DC on June 14. Clinton reneged on a previous agreement to debate Sanders one more time before the end of the primaries because she and her advisers concluded such an event could only cost her more votes.

Sanders, who has won 46 percent of the elected delegates, has taken 16 of the last 25 primary contests and triumphed in major industrial states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. He has held some two dozen rallies in California, attracting large and enthusiastic crowds, dominated by young voters. His campaign estimates it will have addressed some 250,000 people by primary election day in California.

Clinton canceled scheduled appearances in New Jersey in order to return to California in an attempt to avoid a crippling defeat. However, she has limited her appearances to small, vetted media events, knowing she could not attract large audiences. Her campaign has made clear that regardless of the outcome in California, Clinton will declare herself the presumptive nominee.

There is an element of desperation in the effort to declare a fait accompli, along with a large measure of arrogance and contempt for the voters and for democratic procedures. The not-too-veiled message is that the plutocracy has chosen its candidate and the people should just reconcile themselves to the choice, no matter how much they might hate her. There is barely concealed annoyance at having even to go through the motions of an election.

Behind this is fear within the ruling class over the social opposition that has found an expression, for the present, in popular support for Sanders, who has benefited beyond his own wildest expectations from his self-promotion as a “democratic socialist.” There is also frustration within the Clinton camp that Sanders’ continued presence hinders the frontrunner from pivoting as far and as rapidly to the right as she would like in preparation for the general election.

Nevertheless, Clinton has made a sharp turn to the right since the fascistic Trump’s emergence as the presumptive Republican nominee. She has largely dumped her semi-populist rhetoric—a response to the challenge from Sanders—and openly directed her appeal to disaffected Republican voters and campaign contributors, wealthier suburbanites, and, above all, Wall Street and the military/intelligence establishment.

When she rushed back to California last week, her first major appearance was a speech on foreign policy in San Diego in which she denounced Trump for being soft on China and Russia and too unreliable and unpredictable to competently pursue US imperialist interests internationally. In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” program on Sunday she continued in the same vein, warning that Trump “violates Republican and Democratic agreement about how to be strong in the world, how to present ourselves, how to protect our allies and our friends, how to take on our rivals when necessary.”

These statements give a small indication of the ferocious militarism that would characterize a Clinton administration, continuing and expanding the war-making of Obama and Bush.

Nor would a Sanders administration be fundamentally different. If he were to come to power, Sanders would quickly drop his reformist pretenses and continue the same basic policies as his predecessors, both domestic and foreign. He has repeatedly in the course of the primary campaign declared his support for Obama’s war policies, including drone assassinations.

The political function of the Sanders campaign from the outset has been to serve as a lightning rod for social discontent and preemptively block it from taking an independent form, channeling the working class and youth instead back behind the Democratic Party, the oldest capitalist party and historic graveyard of social protest in the United States. He has repeatedly made clear that he will campaign for the Democratic nominee.

Sanders’ stated intention of contesting the Democratic nomination up to and even during the July convention is determined by his conscious aim of promoting illusions that this party of American imperialism can be reformed and made responsive to the needs of working people. He is concerned that too brazen a capitulation to Clinton will arouse disgust and anger among his supporters and damage the Democratic Party.

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Fukushima: Worse Than a Disaster

June 7th, 2016 by Robert Hunziker

Disasters can be cleaned up.

Naohiro Masuda, TEPCO Chief of Decommissioning at Fukushima Diiachi Nuclear Power Plant, finally publicly “officially” announced that 600 tons of hot molten core, or corium, is missing (Fukushima Nuclear Plant Operator Says 600 Tons of Melted Fuels is Missing, Epoch Times, May 24, 2016).

Now what?

According to Gregory Jaczko, former head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), it is not likely the fuel will ever be recovered: “Nobody really knows where the fuel is at this point, and this fuel is still very radioactive and will be for a long time.”

A big part of the problem is that nobody has experience with a Fukushima-type meltdown, which now appears to be 100% meltdown, possibly burrowed into the ground, but nobody really knows for sure.

What’s next is like a trip into The Twilight Zone.

“The absolutely uncontrollable fission of the melted nuclear fuel assemblies continue somewhere under the remains of the station. ’It’s important to find it as soon as possible,’ acknowledged Masuda, admitting that Japan does not yet possess the technology to extract the melted uranium fuel,” (600 Tons of Melted Radioactive Fukushima Fuel Still Not Found, Clean-Up Chief Reveals, RT, May 24, 2016).

Nuclear fission is when atoms split apart into smaller atoms. With nuclear bombs, fission must happen extremely quickly to charge a large explosion whereas, in a nuclear reactor, fission must happen very slowly to make heat, which, in turn, is used to boil water to make steam to turn a turbine to generate electricity.

Eventually, by rubbing two sticks together, one can boil water, but modern-day society doesn’t have the patience, which means accepting risks leaps and bounds beyond rubbing two sticks together. Welcome to an altered world.

Even if Masuda’s cleanup crew find the missing 600 tons, which is so highly radioactive that workers cannot even get close enough to inspect the immediate areas, then they need to construct, out-of-midair, the technology to extract it, and then what? It’s guesswork. It’s what modern-day society has been reduced to, guesswork. Toss out rubbing two sticks together and build monstrous behemoths for billions to boil water, and when it goes wrong, guess what to do next. What’s wrong with this picture? Well, to start with, nobody knows what to do when all hell breaks loose.

They do not have the technology to extract it!

In 1986, Russian teams of workers found the melted corium of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s reactor core in the facility’s lowest level. Whilst “frying 30 workers” along the way, they contained it just enough to prevent burrowing into the ground, maybe.

During containment work at Chernobyl, a makeshift robotic camera managed to actually photograph the monster, the melted core, nicknamed “the Elephant’s Foot.” Thirty years after the fact, the “Elephant’s Foot” is still lethal.

By way of comparing/contrasting Chernobyl and Fukushima, extraordinarily high radiation zaps and destroys robots at first sight when sent into Fukushima’s containment vessels. It’s kinda like the Daleks in Doctor Who.

Whereas, thirty years after the fact, Chernobyl seems to have found a solution to the elephant’s foot menace to society, but as for Fukushima, they must first locate 600 tons of hot stuff. That may be an impossible task. Then what?

“Thirty years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, there’s still a significant threat of radiation from the crumbling remains of Reactor 4. But an innovative, €1.5 billion super-structure is being built to prevent further releases, giving an elegant engineering solution to one of the ugliest disasters known to man,” Claire Corkhill, PhD, University of Sheffield, New Tomb Will Make Chernobyl Site Safe for 100 Years, Phys.Org, April 22, 2016.

As it happens, the older collapsing sarcophagus for Chernobyl is being replaced by a brand new enormous steel frame: “Thanks to the sarcophagus, up to 80% of the original radioactive material left after the meltdown remains in the reactor. If it were to collapse, some of the melted core, a lava-like material called corium, could be ejected into the surrounding area in a dust cloud, as a mixture of highly radioactive vapour and tiny particles blown in the wind. The key substances in this mixture are iodine-131, which has been linked to thyroid cancer, and cesium-137, which can be absorbed into the body, with effects ranging from radiation sickness to death depending on the quantity inhaled or ingested,” Ibid

“The Elephant’s Foot could be the most dangerous piece of waste in the world,” (Chernobyl’s Hot Mess, “the Elephant’s Foot,” is Still Lethal, Nautilus, Science Connect, Dec. 4, 2013). It’s a highly charged radioactive massive hunk of goo that will not die or waste away. This could be a Doctor Who script, par excellence! Therein exist the soft underbelly, the vulnerability, and the risks of using nuclear power to boil water, or alternatively, the sun and wind could be used. They’re not radioactive and still much faster than rubbing two sticks together.

Fukushima is three times (3x) Chernobyl, maybe more; however, in Fukushima’s case there’s a distinct possibility that its white-hot sizzling corium has already started burrowing into Earth. Thereafter, let your imagination run wild because nobody has any idea of how that ends, if ever!

But, Einstein knew. Here’s a famous Einstein quote: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophes.”

We’re finally there!

Gregory Jackzo, former head of the NRC, ponders the security of nuclear power: “You have to now accept that in all nuclear power plants, wherever they are in the world … that you can have this kind of a very catastrophic accident, and you can release a significant amount of radiation and have a decade long cleanup effort on your hands” (Epoch Times).

Looking ahead a few years, the question remains: Where will the sizzling white-hot melted corium be when the Tokyo Olympics arrive in 2020?

Nobody knows!

Still, Prime Minister Abe told the Olympic selection committee that Fukushima was “under control.”

“This debate has dogged him since his Sept. 7 speech to the International Olympic Committee, when he said the nuclear disaster is “under control.” The next day, Tokyo won hosting rights for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games,” (Tsuyoshi Inajjma and Yuriy Humber, Abe Olympic Speech On Fukushima Contradicts Nuclear Plant Design, Bloomberg, Oct. 23, 2013).

“French authorities are investigating payments worth around $2m to a company linked to the son of former world athletics chief Lamine Diack over alleged connections to Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games,” (Tokyo Olympics Bid Questioned as Prosecutors Probe $2M Payouts, The Financial Times, May 12, 2016).

Japan won the right to host the 2020 Olympics with a bid to spend $5 billion, which is suspiciously small, especially in an historical context. For the record, rival Istanbul’s bid was almost $20 billion, a much more realistic commitment for such a momentous worldly event.

Thusly, with mucho “balls-in-the-air,” one has to wonder if PM Abe’s infamous secrecy law will click into play, in other words, is there any way it can impede investigations? After all, the law allows any Japanese politician to put an offender behind bars for 10 years for breaking state secrets, which are (very embarrassingly) whatever the accuser claims to be “secretive.” After all, prima facie, between Fukushima and the Olympics, there could be a lot of secretive stuff going on behind the scenes.

Japan’s state secrecy law Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS) Act No. 108 of 2013 passed on the heels of the Fukushima meltdown, is very similar to Japan’s harsh Public Peace and Order Controls of WWII (a real doozy). According to Act No. 108, the “act of leaking itself” is bad enough for prosecution, regardless of what, how, or why. Absolutely, if someone “leaks,” they’re going to “the can.”

Susumu Murakoshi, president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations dissents: “The law should be abolished because it jeopardizes democracy and the people’s right to know,” Abe’s Secrets Law Undermines Japan’s Democracy, The Japan Times, Dec. 13, 2014.

The Japan Times needs to fact-check the definition of democracy.

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at [email protected]

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Dear Prime Minister:

Congratulations for taking such a strong stand when you spoke at the G7 summit in Tokyo last week in favour of government spending to bring new life to moribund economies.  Despite the skeptics, it is the only plan with a proven track record.  In 1939 it was massive federal spending that got us out of the Great Depression and allowed us to become a significant participant in World War II.

It appears that your G7 colleagues were not only divided on the question of promoting growth, but equally stymied about the related problem of debt, which is at its highest level in history.  Our society, in general, is in denial that the world financial system is broken.  It has been cracked for a very long time, but in the last few decades it has become a total write off as an operating system.

This is because privately-owned banks have managed to achieve a monopoly to create “money.”  It is all created as debt – debt that has to be repaid in full with interest. But there is no money created with which to pay either interest or repay capital.  Basic arithmetic proves that the system is a dead end.  Money is the gasoline essential for any economy, but there is no way to get any except to borrow it and go deeper and deeper in debt – a lifetime mortgage on our most precious assets.

There is only one solution that can save the system and that is a massive infusion of government-created debt-free money to dilute the ocean of existing debt, and an end to the banking monopoly that has enabled 62 families to acquire ownership of 50% of all the wealth in the world.  In future the money-creation function must be shared fairly between government and the private banks.

We don’t have to look further than our own history to see how well that can work.  When the federal government needed money in 1939, the Bank of Canada printed it and made large sums available at near-zero cost – just the cost of administration deducted.  The new cash wound up in the banks where it became “high-powered money,” – cash reserves that allowed the banks to play their legitimate part.  In effect the money-creation function was shared, as it must be again.  This system continued after the war ended and helped fund the great infrastructure projects of the progressive 1940s and ’50s.

In 1974 the 35 best years of the century ended abruptly when Bank of Canada Governor Gerald Bouey unilaterally, and without consultation or agreement with your father, the prime minister, announced that the Bank was adopting “monetarism.”  There was no hint that shareholders’ interests were to be abandoned in favour of policies established by the Bank for International Settlements, an organization indirectly controlled by the elite banking families.

One of the new rules was to end the practice of providing low cost money to governments.  They would have to borrow in the market, and pay market rates of interest.  This change in direction proved to be a devastating blow to good government in Canada.  From 1867 to 1974 Canadians had financed two world wars and a very long list of major infrastructure projects, while only accumulating an inconsequential $21.6 billion in debt.  After 1974, however, the federal debt soared to $615 billion, and from fiscal 1974/75 to fiscal 2011/12 hard-pressed Canadian taxpayers had to pay $1.1 trillion interest on a debt that is still outstanding.  This huge sum should have been available for health care, education, First Nations needs, and a dozen other essentials that have been underfunded for decades.  So while we applaud your plan to begin the long overdue essential catch-up, borrowing the money is not the preferred option.

Under our Constitution, Parliament has absolute authority over money and banking in Canada.  Canadians own the patent to create money.  Private banks have no rights; they are only licencees which must obey rules set by Parliament.

A word of caution however.  If Parliament ratifies either the Canada-Europe Trade Agreement or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the disputes settlement mechanism would effect a unilateral change in the Canadian constitution and impinge on Parliament’s control over money and banking.  It would amount to giving up Canada’s most valuable financial asset, worth trillions, to create our own money.

As prime minister, you obviously want what is best for our country.  I would respectfully ask that the government consider a radical, not-so-new plan of action that would benefit our country immeasurably – “A Social Contract Between the Government and People of Canada.”www.canadianbankreformers.ca/new-social-contract/

This plan would provide $150 billion a year for 7 years to be split 50/50 between Ottawa and the provinces and territories.  It will put back into the Canadian economy an amount of the same magnitude as our accumulated loss from spending our tax dollars on unnecessary interest payments, while at the same time increasing the private banks cash reserves from zero to 34%, so that the government-created money would not be inflationary!  At the end of the 7 years new money creation will be split 34% for the governments and 66% for the private banks – a ratio that would allow both to meet their legitimate requirements.

There is still time to put the plan into effect in June before the summer recess, and give the Canadian economy the biggest supercharged boost it has seen since 1939.  To do so would win gold for Canada in the race to provide financial relief and renewed hope for the long-suffering 99 percent.

Best wishes,

Paul Hellyer

Paul Hellyer, is a distinguished author and Canadian politician, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense.

 

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Brexit – The Propaganda of Propaganda

June 7th, 2016 by Graham Vanbergen

Official campaigning for the June 23 referendum on UK membership of the European Union is trying its damnedest  to reach new depths of scare-mongering. The playbook of modern day electioneering is negative propaganda. It is particularly pointed at an anti-immigrant xenophobia, but it is in fact aimed at a dislike or prejudice of basically anything if it scares enough people. Don’t forget that around 12 per cent of the voting population still haven’t decided which way to vote and 35 per cent may not vote at all.

The propaganda game gets underway and last week, for instance, the Office for National Statistics released figures revealing that net migration into the UK had risen to 333,000 in 2015. This was the second highest figure on record, with EU-only net migration at 184,000, equalling its record high.

The ONS report did in fact prominently highlight that the 20,000 rise in net migration was caused by a 22,000 drop in the number of British people moving abroad rather than a rising ‘swarm’ of migrants dragging themselves up on the shores of Dover. However, this fact was almost universally ignored in the establishment media. Blame was pointed at PM David Cameron for failing to honour his own anti-migrant pledges amongst all the other pledges he has not honoured.

Over the following days, anti-migrant propaganda reached fever pitch, especially after a poll for the Guardian reported a two point lead for the Leave Team, which today has extended another point. Different newspapers are reporting different poll results, most are misleading one way or another but what’s interesting is that now we have accusations by both camps over their equally distasteful levels of propaganda. Don’t forget of course that both ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ are headed up by Tories.

The Sun “Brexit campaigners furious over £9.3m spend on pro-EU propaganda leaflets”.

The Daily Mail “Brexit MP’s demand pro-EU propaganda is stripped from government website because it’s illegal”

The Independent “Leave campaigners claim IFS study warning of Brexit impact is ‘propaganda’”

CNBC “Brexit warning is ‘rotten propaganda,’ says former UK Chancellor”

The Express “Osborne under fire from furious Brexit MPs over ‘illegal’ pro-EU propaganda websites”

The Mirror “Send David Cameron’s ‘EU propaganda’ leaflets back to No.10”

Huffington Post “Mark Carney Condemned By Jacob Rees-Mogg For ‘Brexit’ ‘Propaganda’”

The ‘Remain’ camp seem to be in some trouble as almost all the accusations of propaganda are firmly directed at them.

In more subtle ways other statistics are being used in the war of words for your mind.

The Telegraph reported last week that “UK manufacturing unexpectedly returned to growth in May as a closely-watched survey showed uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote had “no significant effect” on activity for most businesses.” This is a clear case of disinformation as UK manufacturing has been declining ever since joining the EU and a small bounce in trade had nothing whatsoever to do with Brexit.

Almost from the same day The Telegraph prints “FTSE 100 suffers sharp sell-off after Brexit poll shows ‘leave’ camp ahead”. Again, this is full spectrum propaganda as there is no evidence that the global market players that make up the FTSE100 were suffering from Britain’s contemplations over its future relationship with the EU. Depressed economic data is now spewing out daily from all over the world and it is of no surprise that share prices are falling, which they have been for nearly a year.

Next up from the BBC “OECD warns of Brexit ‘negative shock‘” – this one was positively apocalyptic in its prediction that Britain’s economy would fail in the years to come in the event of leaving the EU. However, there is a positive message here. The OECD completely failed to predict the global crisis in 2007, the biggest since the great depression and the slowest recovery ever on record. It constantly over-estimates the GDP forecasts for its own 34 club members, under-estimates just as many inflation projections and did predict a completely stable Euro area by now! So on that note, reverse everything they say, and you will be closer to a prediction that might add up. Statistically speaking OECD Observer makes this point better than I do.

My favourite is George Osborne’s assertion that “House prices could fall by 18% if Britain quits EU”. This would happen in less than 18 months from the referendum of course. He also stated that the cost of mortgages will rise and that property investors were inserting “Brexit clauses” in commercial deals to allow them to pull out. The fact that lowering property prices is government policy at the moment makes Osborne’s statement rather contradictive. These blatant scare tactics come from a man who has missed almost of all his own deficit targets last year, along with all the other major predictions such as the ‘welfare cap’ and the only ones he did hit came from some ‘creative accounting‘. It also appears his predictions of of 2019-20 budget surplus is nothing more than fudging the books.

You might ask which way I am going to vote. I’m as confused as the next sane person. No-one knows what’s best because no-one can see into the future. One thing we do know is that the only reason we’re having this referendum is that the European Union has failed. After all, if it is was a raging success, we wouldn’t be having this debate in the first place.

At the moment I am very distrustful of a Tory government that has lied on just about everything it promised at two elections. At the first it needed a partner to scrape in, the second looks like to have been rigged with 28 MP’s facing an investigation from at least eleven police forces under an extension of the “Representation of the People Act” – in other words electoral fraud. To make matters worse, the Tories have tried to block the investigation by police, heightening the probability of guilt.

I am also extremely worried that David Cameron himself is at the heart of a democratic scandal. Britain is rushing through a trade agreement that is basically another TTIP deal, just not as well known. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU is a worrying development where Cameron stands accused of trampling over democracy by pushing for the “fastest possible implementation” of the trade deal. This is without parliamentary scrutiny or indeed without any debate or vote at all. The same can be said of TTIP.

And look who the other countries are that are pushing CETA just as hard; Spain, Estonia, Sweden, Portugal, Lithuania and Cyprus. Contrary to popular belief, Sweden’s economy is on the verge of collapse (interestingly, because of long-term immigration that is bankrupting the economy) Spain and Portugal are already Zombie economies hanging on by their fingernails. They surely have reason to join a club of Desperados in the vain hope of economic recovery. Or does Cameron know something the rest of us don’t?

The propaganda game has been rife, as it was with the Scottish referendum.

By voting to Leave we are at the mercy of a government that represents nothing more than a corporatocracy. Politicians will be rewarded with perpetual revolving doors from some of the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the world whilst everyone else is left to their mercy. We definitely do not want this.

By voting to Remain we are increasingly unable to decide our own destiny where geo-politics, cold wars, hot wars and trade wars looks more likely to drive political and economic outcomes in the future. And the EU have made a pretty poor job of everything so far.

If TTIP says anything to the average citizen that cares to look – the thin veil of Britain’s democracy will not shield her whether in or out of the EU. For all of the wonderful things you may have read about the benefits of EU membership, and to be fair, there are many, you might be surprised to find out that their are plans for an EU-Army, EU border guard, and EU paramilitary police force called theEuropean Gendarmerie Force and they are worrying enough along with pretty shocking powers the EU has given the police forces all over Europe to control protesting against governments and corporations. Stifling free speech is another skill set the EU Commission are perfecting. The EU even wants you to log in to social media accounts only with government issued ID cards. The USA is triallingthis in several states right now. This is because those with too much power want to control the discourse and narrative on the important stuff. Britain is only one of two countries in the EU that do not have ID cards.

Then again, no-one gave electoral permission for Thatcher to deregulate the banks that is causing wave after wave of economic chaos, Tony Blair to destabilise the world order, David Cameron to dismantle the NHS and secretly negotiate our sovereignty away with trade deals. All of these huge decisions that have or will badly affected us all were done outside of manifestos, mandates and any sense of morality.

There’s no easy answer.

Like most elections in my time, it’s really been about voting for the least worst and I can’t work out which one would be more dreadful as neither have our best interests at heart. Whatever direction you vote, go with your heart and think about the generation that’s going to have to live with your decision because elite politician’s and their corporate paymasters will do neither.

Graham Vanbergen – truepublica.org.uk

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Inizia oggi in Polonia la Anakonda 16, «la più grande esercitazione alleata di quest’anno»: vi partecipano oltre 25 mila uomini di 19 paesi Nato (Usa, Germania, Gran Bretagna, Turchia e altri) e di 6 partner: Georgia, Ucraina e Kosovo (riconosciuto come stato), di fatto già nella Nato sotto comando Usa; Macedonia, che non è ancora nella Nato solo per l’opposizione della Grecia sulla questione del nome (lo stesso di una sua provincia, che la Macedonia potrebbe rivendicare); Svezia e Finlandia, che si stanno avvicinando sempre più alla Nato (hanno partecipato in maggio alla riunione dei ministri degli esteri dell’Alleanza). Formalmente l’esercitazione è a guida polacca (da qui la «k» nel nome), per soddisfare l’orgoglio nazionale di Varsavia.

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«La rivoluzione scientifica che ha portato alla scissione dell’atomo richiede anche una rivoluzione morale»: con questa storica frase (coniata dagli speech-writer presidenziali) è culminata la visita di Obama in Asia, dove da Hiroshima ha proclamato la volontà di «tracciare una via che conduca alla distruzione degli arsenali nucleari». Lo sconfessa la Federazione degli scienziati americani, dimostrando che l’amministrazione Obama ha ridotto meno delle precedenti il numero di testate nucleari.

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Germany Preparing for War Against Russia?

June 7th, 2016 by Eric Zuesse

According to a report issued on June 6th in German Economic News (Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or DWN), the German government is preparing to go to war against Russia, and has in draft-form a Bundeswehr report declaring Russia to be an enemy nation. DWN says: “The Russian secret services have apparently thoroughly studied the paper. In advance of the paper’s publication, a harsh note of protest has been sent to Berlin: The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian State Duma, Alexei Puschkow, has posted the Twitter message: ‘The decision of the German government declaring Russia to be an enemy shows Merkel’s subservience to the Obama administration.’”

Back on February 17th, DWN had reported that German Chancellor Merkel “will develop a new military doctrine” declaring, “The ‘annexation’ of Crimea by Russia is the basis for military action against Moscow.” Apparently, that prior report will soon be fulfilled.

Not mentioned in the DWN articles — nor anywhere in Western ‘news’ media — is a crucial fact, that the head of America’s ‘private CIA’ firm Stratfor acknowledged only when addressing a Russian-speaking audience: that (in English) the overthrow of Ukraine’s President in Russia’s neighboring nation of Ukraine during February 2014 was “the most blatant coup in history.”  Extensive video documentation exists demonstrating that it was a coup, and even demonstrating that the Obama Administration had selected Ukraine’s post-coup leader 22 days prior to his being formally appointed by the Ukrainian parliament. Furthermore, the only detailed scholarly study of the evidence that has been performed came to the same conclusion — that it was a U.S. coup. The last month before the coup was incredibly violent, with Obama’s hired fascists attacking the government’s securitly forces brutally:

Here is some of the bloodshed from the prior month, on January 21st, then January 22nd, then January 25th.Moreover, immediately after the overthrow, when the EU sent its own investigator into Kiev to report back on how the overthrow had taken place, he too reported that it had been a coup. Subsequently revealed was that the Obama Administration had started preparing the coup inside the U.S. Embassy in Kiev by no later than 1 March 2013 — almost a year prior to the coup. Also, the even earlier preparation for the coup, extending through decades, on the part of CIA-affiliated ‘nonprofit’ or NGO organizations (funded by Western aristocrats and their corporations), laying the groundwork for this coup, has been brilliantly documented at some onlinesites.

None of this information has been widely published — it’s virtually not at all published in the West. Though the potential audience for it might be vast (especially since Western publics pay much of the tab for this operation and yet receive none of the benefits from the resultant looting of Ukraine, which goes all to aristocrats in the U.S. and allied aristocracies), the market in the West for reporting it, is virtually nil, because the market is the West’s news media, and they’ve all (except for a few small ones like this) been taken over by the aristocracy, and serve the aristocracy — notthe public (their audiences, whom they’re in business to deceive). The aristocracy’s companies advertise in, and thereby fund, most of those ‘news’ media, and the aristocracy’s governments fund the rest — and the public pays for that, too, not just by being manipulated to vote for the aristocracy’s politicians, but by being taxed to pay what the NGOs and their aristocrats don’t (so the public are buying the weapons etc.). It’s a vast money-funnel from the many, to the few.

Though the transfer of Crimea from Ukraine to Russia is treated by Western ‘news’ media as having been a ‘conquest’by Russia, and as being Russia’s ‘seizure’ of Crimea, and Russia’s ‘stealing’ Crimea, nothing of the sort is true (and Crimeans had good reason to be terrified of the Obama-coup regime that had just been installed, from which Russia saved Crimeans), but the lie needs to be promulgated in order for the aristocracy’s invasion of Russia to be able to organized and carried out.

Unfortunately, the reason why this U.S coup in Ukraine has still not been reported in the West, is that to make it public to Westerners would jeopardize not only the Western economic sanctions against Russia after Russia accepted the overwhelming decision by Crimeans to separate from the post-coup Ukrainian government, but would also jeopardize the preparations by all of NATO to go to war against Russia: both the sanctions and the invasion would have no basis and no support among Western publics. All of that (the sanctions, and now the pouring of troops and weapons onto and near Russia’s borders for a possible invasion of Russia) would no longer be at all palatable by Western publics, if this history — that it all began by a violent U.S. coup in Ukraine — were to become known before the U.S. and NATO invasion occurs. So it all remains, instead, suppressed in the ‘democratic’ West.

So: please email this article’s URL address (which is immediately above this article), to friends, so as to spread to them the word, that NATO is preparing an invasion of Russia. There’s no way that the ‘news’ media they see are likely to tell them (until it’s already too late).

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

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“Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past. We come to mourn the dead, including over 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans, a dozen Americans held prisoner.” – President Obama at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, May 27, 2016

The sterile language of a detached president illustrates how far we are from facing the reality of our own government’s deliberate atrocities. Hiroshima was certainly destroyed, abstractly, with “a terrible force unleashed” – but by no one? In the president’s passive parsing, it’s as if he thought it was an “act of God.” More honestly told: President Truman approved the atomic bombing of Japan, which was carried out on August 6, 1945, by a Boeing B-29 named Enola Gay, after the pilot’s mother, that dropped a uranium-235 fission bomb cutely nicknamed “Little Boy” on a largely civilian citykilling an estimated 140,000 people(thousands of whom were vaporized without a discoverable trace, while thousands more died from radiation effects over ensuing years, a death toll made worse by US denial of radiation danger and strict censorship of any public discussion during the occupation). Hiroshima was one of the greatest military massacres in history, eclipsing American massacres of Native Americans by several orders of magnitude.

In his initial announcement of the Hiroshima bombing, President Truman said, misleadingly, that the bomb had “destroyed [Hiroshima’s] usefulness to the Army.” In a radio broadcast three days later, Truman falsely characterized Hiroshima as “a military base.” Hiroshima was not a military base, though it had some relatively unimportant military installations. Hiroshima was chosen as the A-bomb target in part because it had so little military significance that it was one of the few Japanese cities that had gone almost un-attacked by the daily American bomb runs. Because it was largely intact, Hiroshima was ideal as a place to demonstrate the A-bomb’s total destructiveness.

The US chose an almost undamaged city full of civilians as the target that would best bring the Japanese to their knees. Now that is something to “ponder,” as Obama suggested, but chose not to do. It doesn’t take much pondering to begin to wonder whether incinerating thousands of civilians might not be a war crime. It would be, if it happened today. During World War II, the laws of war made it a war crime for armies on the ground to attack, harm, and kill civilians. The laws of war did not specifically apply to aerial warfare, and so all sides cheerfully murdered civilians from the air with the kind of legalistic self-righteousness only corrupt lawyers can create. That’s why there were no war crimes trials for any of the horrendous bombings of the war – Rotterdam, Shanghai, Coventry, Cologne, Warsaw, Tokyo, to name a few.

Are war crimes actually war crimes until they’re illegal?

The Anglo-American firebombing of Dresden in February 1945 burned tens of thousands of people alive, including mostly civilians and prisoners of war (one of whom was Kurt Vonnegut, who survived). The actual death toll is unknown, with good faith and politically-motivated estimates ranging from 25,000 to 500,000. The US firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945 killed more than 100,000 people and destroyed more than 15 square miles of the city. By any reasonable moral reckoning, all these air campaigns were war crimes, crimes against humanity in the most obvious sense. American history teaches us that World War II was a just war, “the last good war,” and there’s a case to be made for that. It was also, on all sides, a ruthless criminal enterprise.

None of this very real history was part of Obama’s speech in Hiroshima. American presidents are not expected to be truthful, and would likely be crucified if they were. Once Obama acknowledged the “terrible force unleashed” out of nowhere by nobody, he shifted to a conventionally maudlin but politically shifty call “to mourn the dead,” whom he listed by category. First he somewhat lowballed the Japanese dead, consistent with US policy for 71 years now. Then he mentioned “thousands of Koreans,” a reference to Korean forced labor that would play well in Seoul if not Tokyo. And then he referred to those 12 “Americans held prisoner,” for decades an official secret, in part because other POWs who survived were suffering from radiation sickness and the US government didn’t want anyone to know about that.

Now the first sitting president of the US has visited Hiroshima, has solemnly visited a scene of American crime, and has been greeted with equally hypocritical solemnity by a Japanese government whose own hands are just as dirty and whose own current ambitions are as imperial as America’s in Asia. Obama’s speech would have you believe that that his goal is to “eliminate the existence of nuclear weapons” and to mark “the start of our own moral awakening.” That doesn’t fly when he’s making nice with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose goal is to re-militarize Japan and eliminate all pacifist tendencies from its constitution. Obama is an enabler of Japanese militarization, not only for the sake of arms sales, but also as a “response” to China’s agitation over US provocations under the strategic umbrella of Obama’s “pivot to Asia.”

President Obama lays a wreath at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. (photo: AP)

Why does Obama address Hiroshima in the passive voice?

The conventional wisdom and mainstream media call Obama’s trip to Hiroshima “historic” because he’s the first US president to go there, not because there’s anything actually historic about the visit. Politically, the Hiroshima event appears to be pretty reactionary on both sides. Before Obama in 2016, Richard Nixon went to Hiroshima in 1964, before he was president, and former president Jimmy Carter went there in 1984 when he, too, pledged to “eliminate nuclear weapons from the face of this earth.” Early in his presidency in 2009 in Prague, Obama echoed this sentiment:

So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. [Applause.] I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly – perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, “Yes, we can.” [Applause.]

But this was only a sentiment, expressed in campaign rhetoric. America had made no such commitment, even if the president was sincere. America is a long, long way from making such a commitment. American presidents and candidates still talk about using nuclear weapons as if that were a sane option. Yes, the Obama administration negotiated a new treaty (START) in which the US and Russia each agreed to deploy no more than 1550 strategic nuclear warheads and bombs each. That’s a cap, but a high cap. And it applies to no one else, leaving the UK, France, Israel, China, India, Pakistan, and even North Korea a rational basis for each having its own 1550 nukes. The US currently says it has 1528 warheads and bombs deployed, ready to use. The US also says it can “maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent while safely pursuing up to a one-third reduction in deployed nuclear weapons from the level established in the New START Treaty.” [Emphasis added.]

Both Bushes reduced nuclear weapons more than Obama

At its peak in 1967, the US had more than 30,000 nuclear warheads, both deployed and in reserve. By September 30, 2014, the total was 4766 warheads. This represents roughly a 10% reduction since Obama took office. Among other presidents, Reagan maintained the US nuclear arsenal at well over 20,000; George H.W. Bush cut the greatest number of warheads of any president (41% of more than 20,000); and George W. Bush cut the greatest percentage, 50% of slightly more than 10,000 when he took office).

To get Republican support for the START treaty in 2010, President Obama had to promise to improve and expand the US nuclear arsenal in other, creative ways. Obama’s nuclear “modernization” plans, insofar as they’re known, will cost the US an estimated $1 trillion over the next 30 years (more than $30 billion a year). “Modernization” includes things like nuclear-tipped cruise missiles or new, “smaller” bombs that might be politically easier to use. By today’s standards, the Hiroshima bomb is “small.” (Nuclear modernization is also intended to upgrade “a command and control unit tasked with coordinating the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces [that] still uses 8-inch floppy disks and runs on an IBM / Series 1 computer … first produced in 1976” even though the Pentagon says “it still works.”)

Factors like these – the slow pace of reducing redundant weapons and the willingness to risk a renewed arms race with nuclear “modernization” were enough to arouse one Democratic senator – but only one, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts – to criticize the president:

If Obama wants to keep the pledge he made in 2009 to “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security,” he must rein in this nuclear spending insanity. The lesson of Hiroshima is clear: Nuclear weapons must never be used again.

If the United States wants other countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals and restrain their nuclear war plans, it must take the lead. It cannot preach nuclear temperance from a bar stool.

 

Preaching nuclear temperance has been done to inebriation, as it were

Picturing Obama preaching from a bar stool might seem harsh. But the United Nations’ Open-Ended Working Group on multilateral nuclear disarmament, with more than 100 countries, has been working for two years – without US participation. Also without participation by China, France, Russia and the UK – and they don’t even preach from barstools. Nor do many of them visit Hiroshima. The vision of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is the complete international abolition of all nuclear weapons and thepromotion of world peace. It’s where officials go to engage in lip services.

If Obama had wanted to be genuinely historic, he could have visited Nagasaki. There was no excuse for Nagasaki; it was a pure war crime. Unlike Hiroshima, there’s no credible military argument that Nagasaki had to be destroyed to get Japan to surrender. Hiroshima on August 6 was probably enough. TheSoviet invasion of Manchuria and declaration of war on Japan on August 8 was surely enough. The class was done, all the grown-ups had to do was collect the papers and start grading them. Japan’s Emperor Hirohito publicly accepted the terms of unconditional surrender on August 15. The Soviets, who had been begged by the Allies for months to enter the war, continued fighting till the official surrender on September 2.

Some historians argue persuasively that the US used the atomic bomb more as a warning to the Soviet Union than as a military necessity, although these are not mutually exclusive – not for Hiroshima in any case. The bombing of Nagasaki was gratuitous overkill with no demonstrable military value in the field. But testing the Nagasaki bomb had real value as a military experiment. Unlike the uranium fission bomb that obliterated Hiroshima, the Nagasaki bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” was the last atomic bomb the US had, and it was different: it was an implosion bomb with a plutonium core. Its prototype had worked in the first atomic explosion in a controlled test at Alamogordo, New Mexico, less than a month earlier. But would it work operationally? Military planners wanted to know and, without any order from the president, they successfully destroyed Nagasaki and some 70,000 people (even though the bomb was two miles off target). The experiment proved that the US could build two kinds of atomic bomb, and both worked.

Truman had his fill of killing “all those kids,” as he said

Apparently surprised by the gratuitous wiping out of Nagasaki, Truman issued an order that no more A-bombs be used, apparently unaware that the entire US atomic arsenal had been expended.

Obama seems to hope, like any rational person, that nuclear weapons will never again be used, but he has done little to change the governmental reality that holds nuclear weapons high on its list of final military solutions. Obama could have gone to Nagasaki and talked about Truman’s order to use no more. He could go to Alamogordo and express sadness that the first test worked. He could go to Bikini and finally make things better for Marshall Islanders who were victims of US nuclear testing. He could go to the Nevada proving grounds where the US government used American soldiers as guinea pigs in assessing the effects of ionizing radiation, and he could apologize for that and so much more. But he didn’t, he hasn’t, and probably he won’t. Crocodile-tear rhetoric is the best we’re likely to get. And maybe that’s because the dream of nuclear disarmament is impossible to realize in a world where the US can’t be trusted.

Even as the president was all hopey-changey in Hiroshima, his government was in its second year of participating in a criminal war in Yemen, where the US is helping the Saudis and their allies slaughter civilians from the air. It took over a year for the US to stop selling internationally condemned cluster bombs to the Saudis. And every time this president orders another drone strike on someone he decides with no due process is an enemy, he commits another of his own war crimes. “We may not be able to eliminate man’s capacity to do evil,” Obama said at Hiroshima – a homily he illustrates with his failure to confront evil. As the country approaches the 2016 election, Obama has created a context where the president can act as assassin-in-chief with impunity and where the development of miniaturized nuclear warheads for drones is a possibility. Sounds like the ingredients for making America great again.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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“It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century. You don’t just invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.” (John Kerry, “Meet the Press, 2nd March 2014.) 

If “a week is a long time in politics”, a quote attributed to British Prime Minister Harold Wilson (1964-1970 and 1974-1976) under David Cameron’s tenure – a man who has been kicked into myriad U-turns over feckless, reckless decisions  – a day is an age. 

On 3rd June it was announced that a free summary of the long awaited Iraq Inquiry (Nov 24th 2009 to 2ndFeb 2011) Chaired by Sir John Chilcot is to be finally released on 6th July and to be given free to the families of the Iraq invasion’s 179 British victims. The summary costs £30, the hard copy of the full 2.6 million word Report a staggering £767. The families would have to foot the bill for the latter themselves.

The Inquiry has cost the British taxpayers £ ten million, with Sir John Chilcot during his various and complex work since, garnering £790 a day, also courtesy of the taxpayer.

As the Independent points out (3rd June 2016): “The process of drawing up the final Report has been beset by years of delays. The most recent substantial delay came during the so-called ‘Maxwellisation’ process where people criticised in the report are given an opportunity to respond.”

A mind bending concession to alleged war criminals.

Whilst: ‘A spokesperson for the Inquiry said the free summary given to the families of the war’s British victims would be “substantial” ‘ (Independent, 3rd June) to those whose sons and daughters lives were sacrificed for a swathe of mistruths, mega-incompetence and alleged illegalities, only every word, line, chapter and verse of the Report will do.

Also, the summary would only go to immediate families, not relatives.

Yes, the Report will be on line, but for those wishing to study in depth, hard copies are vital. And what would it cost even in ink cartriges and paper to download twelve volumes?

The bereaved families responded with fury, demanding that Tony Blair pay for their copies. For a man who has made up to to an estimated £ hundred million, the gesture of a mere £137,293 – the cost of 179 copies – to those who have given their children for his assertions of Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction which could strike the West in forty five minutes etc., would be a minimal price to pay. It would be small change in Blair-land.

Perhaps he could sign each one, with a dedication. It would surely read something like:

“Within these volumes you will find all my justifications for involving our great country in the invasion of Iraq. I took the view, which I still passionately believe, as I said at the time on national television ‘it was the right thing to do’, morally and legally. In making you this gift of the Report I would like to say that I am truly sorry for your loss.

“Our great country is indebted through the sacrifice of your child who, by obeying orders and upholding my deeply held conviction that the Middle East would be a better place, which of course is the case. I also take the view that there was no need for any Inquiry or shameful pointing of fingers at myself or my government, intelligence agencies or military.

As my friend Madeleine Albright expressed so eloquently some years ago, there are times when the lives of the children of others are ‘a hard choice … but the price is worth it.’ As I said on television just prior to the invasion ‘I know I’m right.’ I still do. May my words be of some comfort to you in your grief.”

However, back to reality. Rose Gentle whose nineteen year old son Gordon was killed in Basra said of the denial of the full Report: “It’s disgusting …  Why should we have to pay – have we not paid enough times with the lives of our sons? The families should get a free copy of this, we have paid the cost with their deaths …” (The Guardian, 3rd June 2016.)

Roger Bacon, whose son Major Matthew Bacon was killed in 2005 said: “ … we have already paid with our children’s lives.”

Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Defence Secretary, stated that it was “grotesque and offensive” that families should be asked to pay to read the findings. Indeed.

“In respect of those who died in Iraq, they have suffered first the terrible loss of their loved ones, then the lengthy delay for an Inquiry to be launched, then the even lengthier delay for that report to be published. Do not now add insult to these already grievous injuries by making them pay to read that Report.” (1)

Liberal Democrat Leader, Tim Farron wrote to the MoD demanding they give free copies to bereaved families on request:

“It is unbelievable that after all these years of waiting, of stalling and uncertainty, we now find out that the families will have to pay for a copy of the Report … Families who have waited years, mother and fathers who have fought to have this Report see the light of day, should not have to pay for this … The government now needs to provide some form of closure to the victims of this illegal war.” (Emphasis added.)

U-TURN.

By the end of the day on 3rd June, after the furore from cross party MPs, the families and the public, No 10 Downing Street put out a statement saying that there was: “ … no question of families of service personnel who died in Iraq having to pay for copies of the Chilcot Report”.

Better shamefully late, than never.

Yet in all this, no government, Ministry of Defence (MoD) or relevant official has mentioned the disabled, limbless, chronically ill, resultant from the invasion. They and their families are forgotten, invisible, not to even get the summary free. Reported casualties are 5,970, but the total figures have not been released by the MoD.

There are those who came back from this disaster built on a lie with no arms and no legs, brain damaged, others generally incapacitated by mega, but lesser limb loss and trauma.

“During the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been reticent in publishing details of British casualties …” states Casualty Monitor (2) who also state: “… there are still serious problems with the accuracy and incompleteness of the information they release.”

In other words the MoD, to use Sir Robert Armstrong’s memorable quote to an Australian Court in 1986, is “economical with the truth.”

Moreover, numbers of Field Hospital admissions and the very seriously injured requiring Aero-medical evacuations were simply not available from the MoD during 2003, 2004 and 2005. See last chart at (2.)

In a further venture into fantasy land, the probably two million Iraqi families bereaved between the embargo and the invasion surely deserve a copy – courtesy Mr “I know I’m right” Blair.

Meanwhile in Iraq, Bush and Blair’s body count continues thirteen years and 5 weeks after “Mission accomplished”, declared on USS Abraham Lincoln, 1st May 2003, by George W. Bush. According to the United Nations at least 741 Iraqis, including more than 400 civilians, were killed and 1,374 wounded in April this year alone, due to the ongoing violence – a monthly nightmare which in pre-invasion Iraq was unthinkable.

However, back to the Iraq Report as an astute Facebook friend commented:

“To those looking forward to reading the Chilcot report, the one paid for by your taxes, I hope you have saved your pennies up. Classic British Government. You might have paid for it once but you have to pay for it a few more times before you can actually have it.

Another commented: “Only Tony Blair will be able to afford it.”

Further input redundant.

Notes:

1.    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jun/03/chilcot-report-iraq-war-soldiers-families-free-copy-david-cameron-intervenes

2.    http://www.casualty-monitor.org/p/iraq.html

With thanks to writer Lesley Docksey for inspired angle for Tony Blair’s “apology.”

 

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Propaganda works because when repeated enough most people believe it.  

The disturbing irony of the latest State Department annual report on terrorism finds the world’s leading state sponsor, America, accusing Iran, threatening no one, without just cause. The same false accusation repeats annually.

The State Department’s report was falsified rubbish, more proof of US hostility toward Iranian sovereign independence, wanting pro-Western tyranny replacing it, an Israeli rival eliminated, the nation’s huge oil and gas reserves looted, its people exploited – at the same time diminishing Russia’s regional influence.

State Department acting counterterrorism coordinator Justin Siberell turned truth on its head, claiming “Iran remains the leading sponsor of terrorism globally…(providing) a range of support, including financial, training and equipment to (terrorist) groups around the world.”

Fact: No evidence supports the State Department’s falsified claims.

Fact: Virtually all significant terrorist groups worldwide are US created and supported, including ISIS, Al Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) and their affiliates.

Fact: America is the greatest threat to world peace, responsible for violent, destabilizing, chaotic conditions on every continent.

Fact: Its imperial madness risks WW III, the possibility of nuclear war on Russia and/or China considerably heightened if Hillary Clinton succeeds Obama.

Last year’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal did virtually nothing to normalize US/Iranian relations. Neocons infesting Washington and the power of Israel over US foreign policy prevent it.

Regime change is longstanding imperial policy – by color revolution or war. The latest State Department report on terrorism shows US policy toward Iran remains hostile – virtually unchanged since its 1979 revolution, likely worsening next year no matter who succeeds Obama.

Fomenting unrest serves US interests. Fostering even-handed relations with all nations defeats them.

America’s drive for global hegemony needs enemies. None exist so they’re invented – sovereign independent nations like Iran threatening no one targeted.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

 

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Nelle spire dell’Anaconda

June 7th, 2016 by Manlio Dinucci

Inizia oggi in Polonia la Anakonda 16, «la più grande esercitazione alleata di quest’anno»: vi partecipano oltre 25 mila uomini di 19 paesi Nato (Usa, Germania, Gran Bretagna, Turchia e altri) e di 6 partner: Georgia, Ucraina e Kosovo (riconosciuto come stato), di fatto già nella Nato sotto comando Usa; Macedonia, che non è ancora nella Nato solo per l’opposizione della Grecia sulla questione del nome (lo stesso di una sua provincia, che la Macedonia potrebbe rivendicare); Svezia e Finlandia, che si stanno avvicinando sempre più alla Nato (hanno partecipato in maggio alla riunione dei ministri degli esteri dell’Alleanza). Formalmente l’esercitazione è a guida polacca (da qui la «k» nel nome), per soddisfare l’orgoglio nazionale di Varsavia.

In realtà è al comando dello U.S. Army Europe che, con un’«area di responsabilità» comprendente 51 paesi (compresa l’intera Russia), ha la missione ufficiale di «promuovere gli interessi strategici americani in Europa ed Eurasia». Ogni anno effettua oltre 1000 operazioni militari in oltre 40 paesi dell’area. Lo U.S. Army Europe partecipa all’esercitazione con 18 sue unità, tra cui la 173a Brigata aerotrasportata di Vicenza. L’Anakonda 16, che si svolge fino al 17 giugno, è chiaramente diretta contro la Russia. Essa prevede «missioni di assalto di forze multinazionali aerotrasportate» e altre anche nell’area baltica a ridosso del territorio russo.

Alla vigilia dell’Anakonda 16, Varsavia ha annunciato che nel 2017 espanderà le forze armate polacche da 100 a 150 mila uomini, costituendo una forza paramilitare di 35 mila uomini denominata «forza di difesa territoriale». Distribuita in tutte le province a cominciare da quelle orientali, essa avrà il compito di «impedire alla Russia di impadronirsi del territorio polacco, come ha fatto in Ucraina».

I membri della nuova forza, che riceveranno un salario mensile, saranno addestrati, a cominciare da settembre, da istruttori Usa e Nato sul modello adottato in Ucraina, dove essi addestrano la Guardia nazionale comprendente i battaglioni neonazisti. L’associazione paramilitare polacca Strzelec, che con oltre 10 mila uomini costituirà il nerbo della nuova forza, ha già iniziato l’addestramento partecipando all’Anakonda 16. La costituzione della forza paramilitare, che sul piano interno fornisce al presidente Andrzej Duda un nuovo strumento per reprimere l’opposizione, rientra nel potenziamento militare della Polonia, con un costo previsto di 34 miliardi di dollari entro il 2022, incoraggiato da Usa e Nato in funzione anti-russa.

Sono già iniziati i lavori per installare in Polonia una batteria missilistica terrestre del sistema statunitense Aegis, analoga a quella già in funzione in Romania, che può lanciare sia missili intercettori che missili da attacco nucleare. In attesa delsummit Nato di Varsavia (8-9 luglio), che ufficializzerà l’escalation anti-Russia, il Pentagono si prepara a dislocare in Europa una brigata da combattimento di 5 mila uomini che roterà tra Polonia e paesi baltici. Si intensificano allo stesso tempo le esercitazioni Usa/Nato dirette contro la Russia: il 5 giugno, due giorni prima dell’Anakonda 16, è iniziata nel Mar Baltico la Baltops 16, con 6100 militari, 45 navi e 60 aerei da guerra di 17 paesi (Italia compresa) sotto comando Usa.

Vi partecipano anche bombardieri strategici Usa B-52. A circa 100 miglia dal territorio russo di Kaliningrad. Una ulteriore escalation della strategia della tensione, che spinge l’Europa a un confronto non meno pericoloso di quello della guerra fredda. Sotto la cappa del silenzio politico-mediatico delle «grandi democrazie» occidentali.

Manlio Dinucci

Video : http://www.globalresearch.ca/video-la-notizia-di-manlio-dinucci-nelle-spire-dellanaconda/5529474

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Anakonda 2016, NATO’s large-scale military exercises underway in Poland, is meant to kill two birds with one stone – intimidate Russia, but more importantly help Washington to “wage wars” across the globe, particularly in the Middle East, Canadian economist and author Michel Chossudovsky told PressTV.

The war games, launched on Monday, will run until June 17.

Nevertheless, Chossudovsky maintained that Anakonda 2016, like other NATO drills, does not pose an immediate, particular military threat to Moscow, although the bloc’s buildup is indeed a matter of grave concern.

While Anakonda 2016 is “taking place at Russia’s doorstep, it does not imply that Russia is threatened at least in the immediate future,” he noted.

Chossudovsky’s logic is simple: there is nothing secretive about the bloc’s war gaming.

To purchase Chossudovsky’s book, The Globalization of War click image

“History tells us that war plans are based on deceit. In this particular case these deployments in Eastern Europe and the Baltics are open. Everybody knows about them, they are in the public domain. They are part of a propaganda campaign. They are talking points of the media,” he continued.

This is what makes them different from the Nazi offensive on the Soviet Union. “Operation Barbarossa was a secret operation. At the time the relations between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were normal in terms of trade,” the analyst observed.

The bloc’s saber-rattling is meant to “threaten” Russia, but “not with military action.” However, their main goal is “essentially to give leeway to the United States to wage its wars in other regions of the world, particularly in the Middle East.”

The Polish-led drills are one of the largest for the North Atlantic Alliance. They will involve more than 25,000 troops from 24 bloc member states, including Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

 

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NATO has launched massive war-games in Poland, weeks ahead of a security summit in Warsaw.

The Anaconda-16 is the biggest-ever military exercise by the Western military alliance in Poland since the end of the Polish People’s Republic in 1989. More than 31000 soldiers from 19 states as well as five NATO partner countries including Macedonia, Georgia and Ukraine will participate in the drills.

It will also involve over 100 aircraft, 12 naval vessels and some three-thousand armored vehicles.

The war-games will last 10 days at major bases across Poland. Drills also are being staged by NATO forces in the Baltic States.

The military alliance has recently unveiled plans to significantly increase its forces in Eastern Europe. Moscow says any presence of NATO troops close to its borders is a threat to its security. 

.


The Globalization of War is undoubtedly one of the most important books on the contemporary global situation produced in recent years. 

In his latest masterpiece, Professor Michel Chossudovsky shows how the various conflicts we are witnessing today in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Palestine are in fact inter-linked and inter-locked through a single-minded agenda in pursuit of global hegemony helmed by the United States and buttressed by its allies in the West and in other regions of the world.   Dr Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST)

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

Michel Chossudovsky

$14.00, Save 39%

The following text is an excerpt from the Preface of  Michel Chossudovsky’s New Book entitled: The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity

The Book can be ordered directly from Global Research Publishers.  

The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

Under a global military agenda, the actions undertaken by the Western military alliance (U.S.-NATO-Israel) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq are coordinated at the highest levels of the military hierarchy. We are not dealing with piecemeal military and intelligence operations. The July-August 2014 attack on Gaza by Israeli forces was undertaken in close consultation with the United States and NATO. The actions in Ukraine and their timing coincided with the onslaught of the attack on Gaza.

In turn, military undertakings are closely coordinated with a process of economic warfare which consists not only in imposing sanctions on sovereign countries but also in deliberate acts of destabilization of financial and currencies markets, with a view to undermining the enemies’ national economies.

The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. As we go to press, U.S. and NATO forces have been deployed in Eastern Europe including Ukraine. U.S. military intervention under a humanitarian mandate is proceeding in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. and its allies are threatening China under President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”.

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The UN, the EU and Daesh Schizophrenia

June 7th, 2016 by Thierry Meyssan

Intergovernmental organisations are supposed to unite the efforts of member-states in order to achieve results that they could not manage alone. We might therefore conclude that the UN and the EU are coordinating the fight against Daesh. Instead of which, these two organisations are hindering the forces on the ground and masking state support for international terrorism.

If, during the Cold War, research credits for social and political studies were oriented towards the study of «totalitarianism» – in other words, the assimilation of Nazism and Stalinism – they were reoriented towards «terrorism» just after the attacks of the 11 September 2001. Suddenly, thousands of experts appeared, all financed in order to justify, a posteriori, the official version of the attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the proclamation of the Patriot Act.

Thirteen years later, the phenomen repeated itself on the occasion of the proclamation of the Caliphate by Daesh. It was now less a question of fighting a vague terrorist threat than engaging in a war against a genuine though unrecognised state, and anticipating the transfer of arms, money and combatants that it generates.

Two intergovernmental organisations, the UN and the European Union, have accomplished a colossal job of work defining a strategy for the «prevention of violent extremism» and the fight against Daesh. The General Assembly of the United Nations will examine this work on the 30 June and the 1 July. Obviously, one may fear that the «prevention of violent extremism» may be no more than a justification for the repression of any form of opposition.

When we read the available documents — those (1) of the Secretary General of the UN [1], (2) the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee (Resolution 1373), (3) the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team [2], and (4) the European Union External Action Service [3] — we are overcome with vertigo at what looks less like a battle plan than an elaboration of politically correct rhetoric.

The UN and the EU base their work exclusively on Western sources which are far removed from the terrain – not only do they never make a single mention of the information transmitted by Iraq, Syria and Russia, but seem to ignore the very existence of such information. And yet it was handed to the Security Council by ambassadors Mohamed Ali Alhakim, Bachar Ja’afari and Vitali Tchourkine. The documents are freely available.

Syria, and to a far lesser degree, Iraq, furnished information concerning the transfer of money, arms and jihadists on a day-to-day basis, while Russia distributed five thematic reports concerning

- 1. the illegal commerce of hydrocarbons [4];
- 2. the recruiting of foreign terrorist combatants [5];
- 3. the trafficking of antiques [6];
- 4. the deliveries of arms and ammunition [7];
- 5. the components intended for the fabrication of improvised explosive devices [8].

All these documents directly implicate Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. These three states – allies of Washington – have all responded with generalised denials without ever discussing the slightest element of the charges.

Daesh is functional on the four strategic objectives of the United States, namely the fomenting of a civil war between the Sunnis and the Shia in Iraq, the project for the partition of Iraq into three federalised parts, the project for cutting the road linking Iran and Lebanon, and the project for the overthrow of the Syrian Arab Republic. To the point where we might ask ourselves – if Daesh didn’t exist, would Washington have had to invent it?

It would be a mistake to believe that the occulting of the documents mentioned above is the result of anti-Iraqi, anti-Syrian or anti-Russian prejudice. Indeed, the Western sources, both public and private, which support their evidence are also ignored. For example, declassified documents from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency [9], or the articles in Jane’s, the favourite magazine of NATO officers [10]. No, the UNO and the EU approach the question of Daesh with one clear and simple a priori – this state popped up quite spontaneously, without any help whatsoever.

The UN’s blindness is such that its Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, attributes to the International Coalition led by Washington the victories obtained through the sacrifices made by the Iraqi and Syrian Arab armies, the Lebanese Resistance, as well as the massive engagement of the Russian army.

The «result» of fifteen years of the «war against terror», we are assured, is to have killed more than a million and a half civilians in order to eliminate 65,000 to 90,000 presumed terrorists, and to have moved from an obscure terrorist threat (Al-Qaïda) directly to a terrorist state (Daesh)! After having explained that fifteen member-states of the UNO have «failed» (Failed States) despite years of international aid, we are supposed to believe that within a few months a group of illiterate conscripts has managed, on its own, to create a state and threaten world peace.

Al-Qaïda has moved quietly from the status of «threat» to that of «ally», depending on the situation. It was able to finance the AKP in Turkey [11], help NATO overthrow Mouamar el-Kadhafi in Libya and do a «good job» in Syria, while still being listed by the UNO as a terrorist organisation. No-one has judged it constructive to explain this evolution and this contradiction. In any case, it doesn’t matter any more, since the status of «enemy» is now occupied by Daesh.

Over the last fifteen years, we have watched the Western camp develop its theory about 9/11 and the threat of Al-Qaïda. After the publication of my critisism of this cock and bull fable [12], and despite the fact that terrorist attacks have multiplied, we have seen public opinion begin to doubt the sincerity of their governments, then move gradually away from their official declarations to the point of not believing them at all any more. All this while certain heads of state – in Cuba, Iran [13], and Venezuela – have publicly declared that they are not falling for it.

Given that this time, the opposition point of view is defended from the beginning by numerous states, including two permanent members of the Security Council – Russia and China – are we going to spend the next fifteen years becoming schizophrenic about the «danger of Daesh»?

Thierry Meyssan

Translation
Pete Kimberley

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[2] “Report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team pursuant to Security Council resolutions 1526 (2004) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh), Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities”, March 4th, 2016.

[3] “Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis”, Voltaire Network, 24 June 2013. “Elements for an EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the Da’esh threat” (Confidential leaked document), Voltaire Network, 6 February 2015. “Council conclusions on the EU Regional Strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the ISIL/Da’esh threat”, Voltaire Network, 16 March 2015. “One year after: the impact of the EU Regional Strategy for Syria, Iraq and against Da’esh” (European External Action Service. Mena Directorate. Working document), Voltaire Network, 10 May 2016. “EU Council conclusions on the EU Regional Strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the Da’esh threat”, Voltaire Network, 23 May 2016.

[4] “Illegal trading in hydrocarbons by ISIL”, Voltaire Network, 29 January 2016.

[5] “Russian intelligence report on Turkey’s current assistance to Daesh”, Voltaire Network, 18 February 2016.

[6] “Russian Intelligence report on Daesh’s smuggling of antiquities”, Voltaire Network, 8 March 2016.

[7] “Second Russian intelligence report on Turkey’s current assistance to Daesh”, Voltaire Network, 18 March 2016.

[8] “Russian intelligence report on Turkey’s current assistance to Daesh”, Voltaire Network, 17 May 2016.

[9] “The DIA report on jihadists in the Levant” (FOIA document), August 12th, 2012. Download.

[10] « Les États-Unis violent le cessez-le-feu en Syrie et arment Al-Qaïda », Réseau Voltaire, 25 avril 2016. « Qui arme les jihadistes durant le cessez-le-feu ? » (vidéo), par Thierry Meyssan, Télévision nationale syrienne , Réseau Voltaire, 30 avril 2016.

[11] “Erdoğan received Al-Qaeda’s banker in secret”, Translation Alizée Ville; “Al-Qaeda, NATO’s Timeless Tool”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 6 January 2014.

[129/11, The big lie, Thierry Meyssan, Carnot Publishing, March 2002.

[13] “Statement by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at 67th UN General Assembly”; “Al-Qaeda blasts Ahmadinejad for his stance on 9/11”, Voltaire Network, 26 September and 2 October 2011.

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Experts Admit Zika Threat Fraud

June 7th, 2016 by Dr. Joseph Mercola

We’re in the midst of prime mosquito season for much of the U.S. While the exact beginning and end of mosquito season are debatable, The Washington Post recently used Google search data to pinpoint the shape of mosquito season in the U.S.1

Presumably, Google searchers for mosquitoes increase as mosquitoes ramp up their activity in any given area. Using this premise, The Washington Post found that mosquito searchers shoot up in May and increase steadily through July, then drop off throughout the coming fall and winter months.

In the U.S., mosquito season is viewed as more of an itchy nuisance than a health threat, but that has changed somewhat this year, at least perceptually.

Fears of Zika virus, which some believe may be associated with suspected cases of the birth defect microcephaly, started in Brazil and have quickly spread throughout the U.S. But are such fears warranted?

Experts Admit Zika Threat Risk ‘Near Zero’

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would provide $622 million to fight Zika virus. Yet, by White House estimates, this is “woefully inadequate.” They’ve recommended directing $1.9 billion to fight this latest declared public health emergency

But mosquito experts are questioning the extent of emergency that actually exists. Chris Barker, Ph.D. a mosquito-borne virus researcher at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, told WebMD:2

“I think the risk for Zika actually setting up transmission cycles that become established in the continental U.S. is near zero.”

Barker expects Zika to go the way of other tropical diseases spread by mosquitoes, such as dengue fever and chikungunya, in the U.S. with perhaps small clusters of outbreaks in southern states and little activity elsewhere.

Even in the Florida Keys (Florida, along with Louisiana and Texas, is said to be one of the states most at risk of mosquito-borne illnesses), the Monroe County Tourist Development Council reported:3

“Dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika viruses are currently not a health threat in the Florida Keys including Key West … 

There has never been a report of a locally acquired case of chikungunya or Zika anywhere in the Florida Keys, according to officials at the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County.”

No Locally Transmitted Cases of Zika Virus Reported in U.S.

As of May 25, 2016, Zika has not been spread by mosquitoes anywhere in the continental U.S.4 Calls to control the Aedes mosquitoes, which may carry Zika, have increased nonetheless, including in New York state, where experts say the risk of local transmission is low.

Laura Harrington, Ph.D., chair of Entomology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York told WebMD:5

“Here in New York state, there’s been a lot of pressure placed on mosquito-control districts to do as much as they can. And, they’re really strapped for resources, and there’s not a huge risk of transmission … ”

Maps released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show it’s possible for Aedes mosquitoes to travel as far north as New York, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri and California. According to Harrington, the maps are inaccurate and causing unnecessary hysteria. Harrington continued:6

“They’re showing this mosquito in places where there’s no way you’re going to find them … It’s really unfortunate, because it’s causing a lot of hysteria in places where people should be focusing on other health issues, like Lyme disease.”

GE Mosquitoes to Fight Zika Virus?

Biotech company Oxitec has created genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes that carry a “genetic kill switch.” When they mate with wild female mosquitoes, their offspring inherit the lethal gene and cannot survive.7

To achieve this feat, Oxitec has inserted protein fragments from the herpes virus, E. coli bacteria, coral and cabbage into the insects. The GE mosquitoes have proven lethal to native mosquito populations.

In the Cayman Islands, for instance, 96 percent of native mosquitoes were suppressed after more than 3 million GE mosquitoes were released in the area, with similar results reported in Brazil.8

Oxitec is seeking to release the GE mosquitoes in the U.S. to fight Zika, but as pointed out by Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to USA Today, the GE mosquitoes have not been shown to reduce rates of diseases such as Zika.9

The GE mosquitoes may also prove to be too expensive for areas that are plagued with mosquito-borne diseases.

Environmental red flags have also been raised. The potential exists for these foreign genes, which hop from one place to another, to infect human blood by finding entry through skin lesions or inhaled dust.

Such transmission could potentially wreak havoc with the human genome by creating “insertion mutations” and other unpredictable types of DNA damage.10

And according to Todd Shelly, an entomologist for the Agriculture Department in Hawaii, 3.5 percent of the GE insects in a laboratory test survived to adulthood despite presumably carrying the lethal gene.11

It’s important to remember, too, that Oxitec wants emergency approval based on the supposed threat of a disease that has yet to have even one locally transmitted case.

Biotech Company Calls for ‘Emergency Approval’ of Controversial GE Mosquitoes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed with an environmental assessment submitted by Oxitec12 and stated that GE mosquitoes will not have a significant impact on the environment. Technically, this is referred to as a “finding of no significant impact” (FONSI).13

The FDA’s report is only preliminary, but Oxitec wants the FDA to throw caution to the wind and give the GE mosquitoes emergency approval in order to fight the Zika virus.

If approved, Oxitec, in partnership with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD), plans to release the GE mosquitoes, which go by the name of OX513A, in Key Haven, Florida, an island of the Florida Keys located about 1 mile east of Key West.

More than 270,000 people have submitted comments criticizing the FDA’s environmental assessment, and numerous environmental groups are calling for the agency to conduct a more thorough review of the GE mosquitoes’ risks. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said:14

“The FDA really missed the mark on this one … The agency seems so eager to speed the process along that they have failed to do a real review of the potential risks, and are ignoring widespread concern in the community where the release will happen.”

No Permits Required to Spray Near Water

A Clean Water Act permit is generally required to spray pesticides in areas where they might end up in water. The permit is intended to keep the toxic chemicals from contaminating water, but now the Zika virus has been used as an excuse to do away with this common-sense precaution.

The language was inserted into the Zika Vector Control Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives. It would exempt pesticide applicators from needing a Clean Water Act permit, even when spraying near water.

Critics argued the bill would do little to help fight Zika virus, since mosquito-control agencies already have authority to apply pesticides in emergency situations to prevent the spread of infectious disease without applying for permits.

Opponents say the bill has nothing to do with combatting Zika and, instead has been on the table for years, with the majority pushing for its passage “under whatever name” was convenient at the time.15

Aerial Mosquito Spraying Linked to Increased Risk of Autism

Greed is pushing for a number of potentially dangerous “solutions” to combat mosquitoes and related diseases. By removing requirements for permits when spraying pesticides near water, it’s likely the use of these chemicals will skyrocket, including via aerial spraying.

Unfortunately, many may suffer as a result. In research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting, aerial pesticide exposure was linked to an increased risk of developmental delays and autism spectrum disorder among children.16 The study compared children living in zip codes where aerial pesticide spraying was used each summer to combat mosquitoes that carry the eastern equine encephalitis virus, with children living in non-aerial-spraying zip codes.

Children exposed to the aerial pesticide spraying were about 25 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism or have a documented developmental delay than those living in areas that used other methods of pesticide application (such as manual spreading of granules).

If authorities use the supposed threat of Zika to increase aerial spraying, it could increase children’s risk of brain disorders, which is the opposite of what anti-Zika campaigns are supposed to achieve.

Are There Other Potential Explanations for an Increase in Microcephaly?

It’s possible Zika-carrying mosquitoes could be involved in suspected cases of microcephaly, but there are other factors that should be considered as well. For starters, the outbreak occurred in a largely poverty-stricken agricultural area of Brazil that uses large amounts of banned pesticides.

Between these factors and the lack of sanitation and widespread vitamin A and zinc deficiency, you already have the basic framework for an increase in poor health outcomes among newborn infants in that area. Environmental pollution and toxic pesticide exposure have been positively linked to a wide array of adverse health effects, including birth defects. For instance:

  • Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of microcephaly
  • The CDC lists malnutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals as known risk factors
  • The CDC also notes certain infections during pregnancy, including rubella, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, and others are risk factors

Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitoes

Many experts agree that the threat of an epidemic outbreak of Zika virus on continental U.S. soil is virtually nonexistent. So you needn’t go dousing your backyard in chemicals in an attempt to stay safe from the Zika virus (whose connection to birth defects is still being explored). If however, mosquitoes are bothersome for you, there are some steps you can take to encourage them to live elsewhere.

Draining standing water, including pet bowls, gutters, garbage and recycling bins, spare tires, bird baths, children’s toys and so on, is important. This is where mosquitoes breed, so if you eliminate standing water you’ll eliminate many mosquitoes. Planting marigolds around your yard also works as a bug repellent because the flowers give off a fragrance that bugs do not like. This is a great way to ward off mosquitoes without using chemical insecticides.

A simple house fan could also help keep mosquitoes at bay if you’re having a get-together in your backyard or, for a longer-term solution, try installing a bat house (bats are voracious consumers of insects, especially mosquitoes).

It’s best to avoid using bug zappers in your yard, as these may actually attract more mosquitoes while killing beneficial insects. Insect foggers designed to clear insects out of your backyard should also be avoided, as they require the use of strong, potentially harmful, pesticides and don’t offer lasting protection.

Even those clip-on repellents and fans that are widely sold are best avoided, as they contain even more toxic ingredients than repellents that can be applied to your skin, and they pose an inhalation hazard.17

Some experts also recommend supplementing with one vitamin B1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B1 to a B-100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Regularly consuming garlic may also help protect against mosquito bites, as may the following natural insect repellants:

  • Cinnamon leaf oil (one study found it was more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET18)
  • Clear liquid vanilla extract mixed with olive oil
  • Wash with citronella soap, and then put some 100 percent pure citronella essential oil on your skin. Java citronella is considered the highest quality citronella on the market
  • Catnip oil (according to one study, this oil is 10 times more effective than DEET19)
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“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” — Albert Einstein

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter just went before a Senate Armed Services Committee to wrestle still more billions from the American war chest in support of Middle East regime change. The Barack Obama appointed head of America’s military has presented a supposed comprehensive plan to defeat an enemy that Syria’s Assad and Russia’s air might have already crushed. The real purpose of Carter’s appearance before the Senate last week was to further fund anti-Assad forces, and to further invest in America’s military industrial businesses. United States policy in the Middle East is being unmasked, with inestimable sums of money fueling a perpetual war fire.

3545345434The fictitious war on terror America’s leaders milk billions out of, is intended to go on in perpetuity. Worse still, the mission to draw Europe into the fray is intended to make our EU partners further dependent on US military prowess. Barack Obama intendeds to leave his predecessor with an unwinnable war, a war that will break the union of European states permanently. Here’s that story.

America’s Syria Bonfire 

The Syrian Civil War began in the spring of 2011 as a latter end-game component of the Arab Spring regime changes across the Middle East. Billed as another “freedom fight” to overthrow a tyrannical regime, the latter events of the conflict have proven the war to be yet another “applied democracy” insurgency, with the intent of reshaping the policies of the entire region. The facts of what happened in Syria are in plain sight, only obscured by controlled media in the west. The United States funded and fuelled an anti-Assad rebellion comprised of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra and other extremists, and more or less created ISIL. Then Washington funneled billions into a farcical effort to destroy terror under the guise ISIS (ISIL), while turning Syria into essentially another Libya. This is widely understood, even by the people of the United States of America. Still the neocons and Washington elite press on, intent on mission 1 still, ready to pour more billions into a bloodbath that is crippling Europe and the region. Carter is lying, and here is the truth.

Using territorial gains of ISIL as the excuse for military intervention in the region, the United States began air missions against the extremist organization in August 2014. Then in September, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held meetings with the ministers of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Denmark and Italy at the NATO Summit in Wales. After the meeting those allies agreed to support “anti-ISIL forces” in Iraq and Syria with supplies and air support. This coalition action was undertaken without the invitation of consent of the legitimate leader of a sovereign nation. This fact is undeniable, and the ensuing regional catastrophe is the result of an illegal act by these nations, even under the United Nations Charter. This too is incontrovertible. As we see today, this war has metastasized into a proxy war in between the United States and Russia. Congress is aware, Brussels is aware; the world knows what is at stake. Now we can move on to dogged pursuit of world conflict by America’s leadership. It is interesting, and a bit positive, that some American politicians seem to understand the disaster Carter’s boss has wrought. Speaking last week, Republican presidential hopeful, Donald Trump said:

“Our actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria have helped unleash ISIS. We’re in a war against radical Islam, but President Obama won’t even name the enemy, and unless you name the enemy, you will never ever solve the problem.”

Illegitimacy versus Legitimacy

11 October 2015, basically one year after the US led coalition achieved nothing against ISIL, Russian president Vladimir Putin made a statement on the mission of the Russia/Syria/Iran coalition arrayed against ISIL and insurgents. He told an audience “the military operation had been thoroughly prepared in advance”, and he further defined Russia′s goal in Syria as, “stabilizing the legitimate power in Syria and creating the conditions for political compromise.” A year of coalition airstrikes, billions spent either aiding jihadists against Assad, or bombing “sand” in the deserts of Iraq and Syria, and the NATO coalition achieved nothing. Five months into the Russian air support mission, Putin pulled out his largest air forces contingent, and the Syrian Army takes back Palmyra. US PR strategies cannot mask the truth of Syria. The goal has been to undo Assad all along.

With Turkey and Saudi Arabia implicated in assisting the Assad regime overthrow, and with a supposed ceasefire in effect, the United States leadership still presses to arm Assad’s enemies. But the real cataclysm has less to do with arming al-Qaeda, and more to do with cementing Europe’s allegiance to America. It was at about this time a report surfaced that cast a huge shadow over the CENTCOM and the US led policing of the world.

In September, the Defense Department Office of Inspector General announced opening an investigation into allegations intelligence information provided by CENTCOM’s Intelligence Directorate, “falsified, distorted, suppressed, or modified intelligence. In effect, CENTCOM’s effectiveness across the board was called to question, with regard to missions from Afghanistan to Syria and beyond. The US House of Representatives launched the investigation in December of 2015, and promised results early this year. One of the congressmen assigned to lead the inquiry is US Army reserve Lieutenant Colonel, Brad Wenstrup, who is and Ohio representative, who is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The ensuing report, which the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry characterized back then as crucial:

“Now there’s an inspector-general investigation — we don’t want to mess that up — but at the same time we’re not going to wait until they conclude. This is a very serious matter that we have an obligation to get into.” 

I have contacted each of the congressmen appointed to investigate CENTCOM impropriety, but as of this writing, none have responded. My assessment of congress’ role in all this is that these leaders simply play “good cop-bad cop” as always. The facts indicate these leaders’ only true ideological differences being which Congressional district back home gets the most federal kickback in the form of military spending. Leaving off here for the moment, let’s look at Secretary Carter’s misleading testimony before the people last week.

Binding Europe to Chaos

Looking at the transcript of Ashton Carter’s testimony, we find a Vietnam-like escalation of US military support in this fiasco. Commenting on a 10X amplification of Special Forces troops deployed to Syria, Carter told the Senate:

“[The US military forces] will also serve as a hub to incorporate partner special forces from both European and Gulf partners that will augment our coalition’s counter-ISIL efforts there.”

Supposedly these Special Forces elements are intended to call in the massive might of the US military on the heads of ISIL. But in fact the force additions represent an escalation in involvement, a ramping up toward a wider conflagration. Looking at congressional transcripts and the wording of the so-called Syria Train and Equip authorities given President Barack Obama, it is essential to note the rewording of the program’s objective. The initial documents stated that a purpose of these appropriations was for:

“…defending the Syrian people from attacks by the Syrian regime, facilitating the provision of essential services, and stabilizing territory controlled by the opposition…”

Later documentation, and especially after the so-called “McKeon amendment” (PDF), curtailed the Obama administration’s authority, at least with regard to the stated mission. An imbecilic “Equip and Train” mission still goes forward, only without actually stating that America is trying to overthrow Assad. “Defending against Assad” has become, “Defending the Syrian people from attacks by the Islamic State o of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Reading the transcripts of congressional discussion of this “Equip and Arm” disaster, it also becomes clear the majority of lawmakers in Washington knew of, and approved of, overthrowing the Assad regime. Ash Carter speaking to the Arms Services Committee now, it simply capitalizes the bigger lie to the American people by the majority of American leadership. Complicit are, the president, the US House of Representatives, and the US Senate. I use the world “complicit” for purpose, for the constituents of these leaders has literally no idea what regime change effort in Syria has meant, nor the ramifications of the ongoing proxy war. The American people are misdirected, lied to, and marginalized in any decision making process in Washington. The aforementioned CENTCOM intelligence tampering is as clear as day, ever since Putin’s air forces began televising the destruction of ISIL oil tankers headed to NATO ally Turkey. No US leader in Washington could win a court case stating otherwise. Returning to Carter’s part in this new kind of warfare, it becomes clear that fiction is acceptable in the halls of power in Washington.

Lying Like a Clinton

Carter also deliberately misled Congress with regard to ISIL not making advances after May of 2015. This is illustrated by the fact Assad forces forced ISIL back during the battle of al-Hasakah in August, and with no help from an anemic coalition effort to stop ISIL oil revenues. The coalition was not flying air cover for Assad’s army, after all. Carter makes the Congressional committee believe coalition funding and military operations put a half to ISIL, when it was first the Syrian army, and later Russia’s air campaign which accomplished this. Furthermore, ISIL’s mission objectives are not totally geographical or territorial. Carter mentions nothing of this…. Carter knows this, but his report to Congress misdirects in suggesting ISIL advances were somehow halted by the coalition. The Kobanê Massacre is a good example. In June 223–233 civilians and another 37 Kurdish militia were killed in ISIL suicide attacks. Carter wants Congress to think US billions to fund this internal war are effective at halting terror, when in reality the reverse is true. Trillions of dollars and millions of lives wasted, and Washington still cheers the victories of US policy. But the core of this malignancy is more transparent than most imagine.

This National Defense University Press report tells us all we need to know about Syria, Arab Spring, and the new Cold War on Russia. US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is the subject of a report entitled; “Back to Basics on Hybrid Warfare in Europe: A Lesson from the Balkans.” While you digest the concept of the “deconstruct” of Yugoslavia being seen as a “success” for these psychopaths, I’ll relate key elements of the report.

It will help you to know that there was a Bosnian operation exactly like the one Washington is funding in Syria now. The Bosnian Train and Equip Program is documented in a proud report entitled; “A Lesson in Interagency Integration of Hard and Soft Power, Strategic Perspectives 15 (NDU Press, March 2014).” Cutting through the dogma and philosophy for you here, this was simply a template for regime change enacted by then US President Bill Clinton. Under the auspices of a NATO protective umbrella over Europe, the strategy of “hybrid warfare” is condoned and promoted to “counter Russian aggression”. I do not want to drag the reader too deep into these Draconian strategies, so suffice it to say each successive US administration in the last 70 years has inched eastward toward Moscow. Yugoslavia went under the wheels of democratic progress, as have many of the former Soviet states. Once you read the report, you’ll be aghast at the US strategy being applied in nations around the world. Ash Carter’s, CENTCOM’s, the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch of US government’s makeup is not part of a “hybrid” World War essentially. Quoting from this new war manifesto:

“Hybrid warfare fundamentally involves an integrated mix of previously separate instruments of power, whether military, diplomatic, intelligence, covert, informational, or other capabilities.”

As applies to the Syria situation, we see this “integrated” approach to regime change playing out in each category, most notably the “informational” aspect. CENTCOM tells the world of America’s blasting ISIL to smithereens, when in effect US and coalition planes are protecting what is really going. What Washington wants most of all is Arab Spring to be completed, and to turn the Middle East into the Balkans. Under the thumbs, powerless to do more than complain to, the authority and might of NATO, the Middle East as essentially a surrogate to America. The report reveals more of this madness. The authors applaud “Train and Equip” Bosnia, and use it to show why the Syria version is failing. Dogged, determined, hard headed stupid that is what these “experts” are. Quoting again from think tank lunatics intent on defending Machiavellian polices:

The (Obama) administration assigned the complex Syria train and equip mission to lead agencies rather than configuring it from the beginning as an integrated interagency effort. It began as a CIA-run covert operation. Then the administration decided to increase the scale and profile of the effort and gave it to the Department of Defense (DOD).”

A Hybrid Total War

Breaking this all down for you, the Bush administration began the Assad overthrow operation back in 2006. Sanctions and other levers were applied, to put the regime under intense pressure. Covert CIA efforts to help anti-Assad elements then grew exponentially, as Iraq and Syrian militants were cooked into an extremist stew. Then Obama took office, and upped the ante using the CIA, the Saudis, Turkey, the Kurds, and with the behind the scenes support of Israel. The news “Weapons of Mass Destruction” lie was concocted, and only Putin and Russia stood in the way of some full scale invasion. Arming and Funding (Train and Equip) took on a massive, half a trillion dollar scale approved by ALL of America’s leadership. And now the same DOD is in charge. The plan has only changed to emulate the Bosnia plan, and the proxy war with Russia goes on full scale. America’s treasury is bankrupt, the American people are left out of the equation, and a new “hybrid” form of World War is underway. Now even European allies are literally being attacked by the United States, though this is less obvious visibly. If you read the documents, and examine the rhetoric, then you’ll see the intent is there. NATO and EU nations bogged down, and with casualties in Syria…. Where do you think this puts NATO and America? Think protection racket.

This morning BBC is reporting that Washington wants peace in Syria. This proves the collusion in between UK’s rulers and the Washington elites running this horror show.

“The United States says it is working on specific initiatives to de-escalate fighting in Syria and revive a nationwide cessation of hostilities.”

The White House and the US Congress are still intent on “Train and Equip”, when it is clear the war on ISIL could end tomorrow. If Barack Obama’s last executive order before leaving the White House in November were to throw al-Qaeda (our sworn enemy) and al-Nusra (more extremist jihadists) under the bus, then Syira, Russia and Iran would decimate ISIL within weeks. Furthermore, if the coalition led by the US had coordinated and assisted Russian air forces rather than trying to shoot them down (Turkey), ISIL would no longer have arms, money, or the moral to continue. Again, this is incontrovertible. This is the reality. This is the truth of Syria and the refugee catastrophe. Think about it.

Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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First published in September 2015. Of extreme relevance to an understanding of the presidential election campaign

Image: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is being criticized for his response to a question about Muslim and their “training camps,” asked during a town hall event in New Hampshire on Thursday. (Image: Screenshot)

In a week that has already seen collective outrage in response to the treatment of a Muslim teenager in Texas who was handcuffed and arrested simply for bringing a homemade clock to school, the pervasiveness of Islamaphobic sentiment was on display once again overnight after Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump fielded a question in New Hampshire about what he planned to do “about getting rid of” all the nation’s Muslims.

And though no candidate can be held responsible for the statements made or questions directed at them during an open Q&A session, it is Trump’s response that has set off a firestorm of condemnation.

As the Washington Post reports:

The exchange came during a post-debate rally in Rochester, N.H., during which Trump asked the audience for questions rather than giving a speech. To kick things off, Trump pointed at a man in the audience: “Okay, this man. I like this guy.”

“We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims,” the man said. “We know our current president is one. You know, he’s not even an American. Birth certificate, man.”

“Right,” Trump said, then adding with a shake of his head: “We need this question? This first question.”

“But any way,” the man said. “We have training camps… where they want to kill us.”

“Uh huh,” Trump said.

“That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?” the man said.

Trump responded: “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. You know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to look at that and plenty of other things.”

Watch:

In response, Kevin Drum wondered at Mother Jones whether the latest comment would be enough to damage his campaign. “If there’s any justice,” wrote Drum, “this might finally do him in.”

However, Trump has so far seen his poll numbers rise in the wake of derogatory comments made about other groups, including Mexican immigrants and women. By targeting the Muslim community, Trump is contributing to what critics see as a growing and troubling atmosphere of anti-Islamic sentiment that has taken hold of the nation in recent years. Not spoken in a vacuum, wrote journalist Glenn Greenwald of Trump’s latest comments, they follow a “continuous, sustained demonization of a small minority group” in this country that has become part of the right-wing ethos in the post-9/11 era. Such demonization, “sooner or later,” said Greenwald, has consequences.

Since Trump entered the presidential race many have brushed off his early success as flash-in-the-pan politics that result largely from his celebrity status and flamboyant (if noxious) media persona. However, other observers on these pages (here and here) have warned that beneath his bravado lurks a deeply troubling—and quite modern form—of fascism that should trouble the minds of those who care about fundamental principles of tolerance, human rights, and civil decency.

“In every way that matters, [Trump] is a fascist,” wrote Roger White, a senior research analyst for SEIU, at Common Dreams last month.

“He reminds one of Mussolini—a corporatist buffoon with a huge ego and a mean streak. He is a first rate demagogue. His brand of racial politics is just vague enough to be popular with enough people to earn him a serious following, but specific enough for us to know the atrocities this type of talk can lead to.”

And, White continued, “This is not the phony so called ‘liberal’ fascism invented by the right. This is the real deal, and its popularity is growing among GOP voters right now. Republicans are standing on the edge of the abyss.”

The question is, he asked in conclusion: “Will they jump?”

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This article was first published in October 2015

On Sunday the 25th of October, Republican U.S. Presidential aspirant Donald Trump was interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union” show, and was asked about Iraq. He said,

“I told you very early on, if we’re going to leave, take the oil.”

He then repeated this theme again, in this CNN interview:

“And I said, take the oil when we leave. But we shouldn’t have really left.”

So: he thinks that the U.S. occupation of Iraq should have continued on, and should be continuing, and that the U.S. should have “taken” Iraq’s oil. But he added that, “We shouldn’t have gotten in” to Iraq in the first place. This latter opinion from him was purely a retrospective comment, and Trump had never even expressed himself publicly about the invasion until it had already been done.

He had said at that time (August 2004) only that it was a mess and had been done incompetently. This new retrospective evaluation by Trump of the invasion of Iraq, now on CNN, sparked from the interviewer, questions about whether Trump thinks that “the world would be better off with Saddam Hussein” in power in Iraq. Trump answered directly, “A hundred percent.” He added:

“They’re worse now than they ever were. People are getting their heads chopped off. They’re being drowned. They’re — right now, they are far worse than they were ever under Saddam Hussein.”

And, in fact, no reasonable person can doubt the truth of that statement. The recently released “Gallup 2015 Global Emotions Report” interviewed a thousand citizens of each of 148 countries and found: “Iraqis Are the Saddest & One of the Angriest Populations in the World.” Furthermore, Iraqis were found to have the world’s “Highest Negative Experience Scores,” which is a misery-index. Therefore, Trump is accurate to say that the American government did such a thing as that, to the people of Iraq.

So: he thinks the U.S. destroyed the lives of the Iraqi people, but that “we” (no one asked him who, or how) should have taken their “oil when we leave” (would it go to Exxon, the Kochs, the U.S. government that invaded Iraq — whom, and how?) — and that American occupiers shouldn’t have left Iraq, that the U.S. military should instead still be occupying their country.

On 11 April 2011, he had told the Wall Street Journal (8:05- on their video):

“I always heard that when we went into Iraq we went in for the oil. I said, ‘oh, that sounds smart.’ But, we never did. … (8:35-) I would take the oil. … You know, we have thousands of people that died, our great soldiers, they died. … I would not want to be the one that would tell their [U.S. soldiers who had fought in Iraq] parents that your son or daughter has died in vain, been wounded in vain.”

Then, he said (9:30-):

“I’d give plenty to Iraq [first he’d steal all of it from them, then he’d generously let them have some of it back], I’d keep plenty for us, I’d pay back Britain, I’d pay back everybody that was involved. … (10:35): We will make a fortune. They have fifteen trillion dollars worth of oil. … We are not going to hand that oil to Iran.” He was saying that it’ll go to either Iran or “us.”

It won’t go to Iraq, except for what “we” will give to Iraq, of Iraq’s oil. Also, he mentioned China many times there as being an enemy-nation, which now is getting oil from both Iraq and Libya, and he said that he wants China to have to pay “us,” for all of that oil, too.

This interview was by Ms. Kelly Evans, and her name didn’t even appear in the blogpost (Rupert Murdoch’s print newspaper didn’t publish it) except at the end, but she performed such a superb job of interrogating a Republican Presidential candidate (against Romney in 2012), that this, which is still the best-ever interview of Trump, got buried by Rupert Murdoch’s operation, as a mere blogpost, headlined “Trump Will ‘Probably’ Run as Independent If He Doesn’t Win GOP Nomination.” From then, till now, Trump revealed more than he has yet revealed in his 2016 Presidential run. And what he revealed there was buried, and has largely remained buried, for the past four years.

So: Trump would want the U.S. something-or-others (Exxon? Koch? He has always refused to say who “we” are) to “take their oil” in order for U.S. warriors not to have “died in vain.” He also said in his interview with Kelly Evans (7:55- and repeated by him at 11:20-), “I’m only interested in Libya if we take the oil. If we don’t take the oil, I have no interest in Libya.” He wants to steal Iraq’s oil “for our great soldiers, they died.” But why he’d want to steal Libya’s oil? He said in that 2011 interview, that the reason is because (11:25-) “China gets its oil from Libya; we get nothing from Libya.” So: “we” should steal Libya’s oil because China wants it.

Months after that WSJ-blog-video interview, Reuters headlined on 18 December 2011, “Last U.S. troops leave Iraq, ending war.” Iraq had not handed its oil over to the United States.

This fact continued to disturb Trump. On 16 August 2015, he told“Meet the Press”:

“Take back the oil. We take over the oil which we should have done in the first place. … And what I would do with the money that we make, which would be tremendous, I would take care of the families of the soldiers that were killed, the families of the soldiers, the wounded warriors that I see. I love them.”

So: somehow, he’d give them a chunk. Who would get the rest? He didn’t say. He wasn’t asked. He has never been asked, beyond what Kelly Evans extracted from him — and even she could have drilled much farther than she did.

What’s refreshing about Trump is the directness with which he expresses his psychopathy. For example, candidates such as Hillary Clinton sugar-coat theirpsychopathy, or even find ways to get their interviewers to join eagerly in their expressions of it (camaraderie with power-holders), but they don’t say such blatant things as (to paraphrase Trump here), “After we raped them — which we shouldn’t have done — we should have stolen from them, and we should still be stealing from them.”

The delight that Trump gives his Republican admirers might be due to his “F-U!” responses to politicians such as Clinton, Obama, and other conservative Democrats, and to liberal commentators who support them (including most media other than Fox ‘News,’ etc.), for those liberals’ hypocrisies. Even blatant psychopaths can take delight in knocking down the hypocritical moralisms of liberals.

As for progressives such as Bernie Sanders — they’re not really conservatives of either the overtly conservative type (Republicans), or the covertly conservative type (almost all Presidential-level Democrats, plus the national ‘news’ media). Sanders is trying to shoehorn himself into the Democratic Party at the Presidential level, but at his heart he’s a progressive, who’s trying to restore the Democratic Party to the progressivism that it was under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Sanders calls that (and the existing versions of it in Scandinavia) “socialism.”

Trump is certainly no progressive (no “socialist,” to use Sanders’s term for progressivism). But he’s more than just an “entertainer” (to employ the characterization of his political involvement, from Arianna Huffington). Among Republicans and other psychopaths, his political appeal is very real, and is hardly “entertainment.” It’s revenge and anger against liberal hypocrites.

Among Republicans, life is a blood-sport, not just dripping blood. It’s all “red in tooth and claw.” To them, that’s what business should be all about; and government is just the CEO who’s the king of the hill. Successful people in business tend to have that attitude, but so too do fundamentalists and true-believers in any religious faith — everything’s either “us” or “them”; and everyone’s goal is that, as much as possible, all of the blood that’s on the floor will be “theirs,” not “ours.”

Crusades and jihads can be in business and government, not merely in religions. Donald Trump is a warrior, and he has now seriously entered the political battlefield, claiming to be the most effective warrior for “us.”

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

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First published by Global Research in February 2016. Provides a background on the unfolding EU crisis.

The crisis of the European Union is developing. “Europe could lose its historical footing and the project could die quickly,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls  [pictured left] warned in a speech at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Things could fall apart within months,” which, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble added, “would be a tragedy.”

Pro-EU experts believe that the catalyst for these fears is Britain’s upcoming referendum on its EU membership, due by the end of 2017. However, it’s clear that Britain isn’t the only problem in Europe. The migration crisis shows no signs of abating, and the European Union’s original strategies of cooperating with Turkey to limit the number of asylum seekers and redistributing migrants across the Continent have clearly failed. The crisis is fueled by political instability and the difficult economic situation in Southern and Eastern Europe.

A series of “Cologne-style” attacks which has spread throughout Europe since the New Year has clearly shown an inability of the European bureaucracy to solve even the local problems arising from the uncontrolled migration flow to the EU.

In January, several EU members even threatened to expel Greece from the Schengen Agreement, which eliminated border controls among its signatories despite all the money that the EU has already spent on this country. According to countries like Austria, Greece has failed to patrol its borders and should be punished for it. On Jan. 27, the European Commission issued a report saying that Greece “is seriously neglecting its obligations” and that there are “serious deficiencies in the carrying out of external border controls.”

Brussels gave Athens three months to improve its border controls or risk being ousted from the passport-free area. The International Organization for Migration says the total number of the asylum seekers entering Greece on their journey to more prosperous countries in Europe topped 62,000 in January 2016. It’s many times more than in January 2015. Nonetheless, kicking Greece out of the Schengen zone will not have much impact on the influx of migrants to Europe since Greece does not share land borders with any other Schengen members. In any case, the EU can’t control migrants that already entered the block’s territory. Indeed, removing Greece from the Continent’s passport-free zone could inflame anti-EU sentiments in the whole of Europe, especially in Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia, which already exercise a semi-independent policy over the ongoing crisis.

In the end, Europe probably will not be able to find a single, comprehensive solution to its current migration crisis. Instead, European bureaucracy will continue to implement top-down decisions to hold the unity of the block while individual member states try to solve the crisis by unilateral measures. EU members will likely use Greece’s failure to control its borders to justify stronger border control measures of their own, for longer periods of time. This would be one more way of de-facto withdrawing from the Schengen Agreement.

The ongoing crisis will become especially acute if the diplomatic solution of the Syrian crisis isn’t found. Moreover, there is a serious threat of fueling the crisis by new NATO-led intervention in Libya. These developments will shape the EU deeply. And the political model of Europe will be definitely changed.

In the event that the bureaucracy model of governance isn’t changed, the EU will continue to be involved in a deep crisis of management and effectiveness. The inability to solve the foreign and internal challenges will continue to push member states to implement de-facto independent decisions which could lead to the end of the EU as a united platform of European politics.

The path of reforms through the ongoing world crisis will likely lead to the EU losing member states, until the organization becomes sufficiently small and coherent to effectively deal with contemporary challenges. European living standards will also decline because the reshaped EU won’t be able to sustain them.

On the other hand, the ongoing multi-vector crisis is setting the grounds for new independent political projects that won’t be ruled by the European bureaucracy or by the Anglo-Saxon North Atlantic powers. These new entities will have to rely on the concept of multi-polarity and attempt to change the whole political landscape of the European continent if they want to survive in these new brutal times.

If you’re able, and if you like South Front’s content and approach, please support South Front, whose work wouldn’t be possible without your help: PayPal: [email protected] or via: http://southfront.org/donate/ or via: https://www.patreon.com/southfront

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Speaking to Mnar Muhawesh on ‘Behind the Headline,’ investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley pulls back the curtain on the ‘humanitarian’ NGOs that have become media darlings as first responders in war torn Syria.

 So who are the NGOs at the forefront of the propaganda train selling a humanitarian war in Syria to the American public?

From Avaaz, White Helmets, Purpose and others who strategically align their efforts in al-Qaeda held areas in Syria — these NGOs claim to be ‘fiercely independent.’ Yet, a deeper dive into their history and funding exposes murky ties to USAID, British mercenaries and Al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra front.

Are these NGO’s just Al-Qaeda with a Western face lift?

Watch the full video report below by clicking on the image:  

Given the ongoing propaganda train that’s pushing for U.S. intervention in Syria on the basis of ‘humanitarianism’ by these NGOs, it’s become increasingly difficult to believe that Obama’s recent announcement of adding 250 boots on the ground will be the limit to U.S. involvement there.

In October, USA Today listed “16 times President Obama said there would be no boots on the ground in Syria.” Flash-forward to April: What went from no boots on the ground, to 50 boots on the ground, suddenly became 250 boots on the ground.

While the State Department has pointed out that it specifically does not dispute the fact that “we have troops on the ground, and they’re wearing boots,” these soldiers don’t qualify as “boots on the ground” in the administration’s calculus.

Watch Mnar Muhawesh’s full video report exclusively at MintPress News.

Behind The Headline is a citizen supported project created by Mnar Muhawesh. 

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MAP-flags3

Overthrowing Latin American Democracies behind Corporate Media Lies

By Prof. John McMurtry, June 05 2016

The overview below began as a letter to a major international newspaper often publishing my work.  But the US-orchestrated overthrow of elected government across Latin America is unspeakable in the corporate media.  No communication is published that connects the dot…

Middle-East-Map-460x319

The Tragedy of Syria and the Middle East at Large

By Peter Koenig and Amin Abadi, June 05 2016

Amin Abadi of the  Kayhan Institute, Teheran interviews renowned economist and geopolitical analyst Peter Koenig.The interview entitled “The Tragedy of Syria and the Middle East at Large” was published in Farsi in Kayhan (Cosmos), one of Iran’s most prominent…

Ali

Muhammad Ali: An American Muslim

By Sufyan bin Uzayr, June 05 2016

Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer this world has ever known, is no more. The fact that he is gone is difficult to come to terms with — for years, Ali was renowned as a larger than life figure, the Greatest…

world environment

On World Environment Day: Profiting from Death, Devastation and Destruction is the Norm

By Colin Todhunter, June 05 2016

The scaly anteater is considered to be the most trafficked mammal on earth. Over a million of these have been taken from the wild in the past decade alone. The illegal trade in live apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans,…

Blair

War Criminal Tony Blair’s “Manic Diversionary Tactics”: Is the UK’s Iraq Inquiry Set to “Savage” Tony Blair?

By Felicity Arbuthnot, June 05 2016

Asked if he [Corbyn] would like to see Blair put on trial he replied: “I want to see all those that committed war crimes tried for it, and those that made the decisions that went with it.”

Hillary-clinton

Hillary Clinton: Electing a “Foreign Spy” for President?

By Prof. James Petras, June 06 2016

Secretary Clinton’s private, illegal handling of official US documents has aroused a major FBI investigation into the nature of her activities. This is separate from the investigation by the Office of the Inspector General and implies national security violations.

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Global Terrorism: Causes, Consequences and Solutions

June 6th, 2016 by Prof Timo Kivimäki

Edu Montesanti: Professor Timo Kivimäki, you have been a frequent consultant to several governments (Finnish, Swedish,  Danish, Dutch, Russian) ,  as well as to several UN and EU organizations on conflict and terrorism. Please, Professor Kivimäki, speak a little regarding these consultations.

Timo Kivimäki: Actually, not only these: I have helped altogether 11 governments with conflict related problems. But the ones you mention I have helped more than others. I have helped Finland and Denmark (and marginally Sweden, too) to design their strategy of development cooperation so that it would be more conflict sensitive, i.e. that it helped prevent rather than fuel conflicts.

Timo Kivimäki

For Finnish, Danish and Russian foreign ministries I have offered some help for their foreign policy argumentation, by offering reviews on how different arguments relate to existing research findings. I have also tried to help these three government with initiative they have had to launch peaceful dialogue processes.

I trained the Moldovan government negotiation team to their peace negotiations with Transnistrian separatists and I have also trained some Indonesian and Myanmar conflicting parties for peace negotiation. Furthremore, I have helped one of the defence ministers of Thailand to understand some of the complications of the conflict in Southern Thailand.

All in all I have realized that many goverments are very eager to promote peace despite their public unwillingness to show any signs of willingness to make compromises. Governments tend to try to avoid signals that could be interpreted as weakness and this is why it is sometimes important for academics to take the initiative and help governments in something they cannot do without showing signs of weakness.

In the article First Do No Harm: Do Air Raids Protect Civilians? [Middle East Policy 22, no. 4 (2015): 55–64] you revealed that protection wars, that is, wars that are justified by referring to the cosmopolitan motive of protection of “global civilians”, kill more civilians than any other type of warfare. Would you please detail this?

There is a growing cosmopolitan, universalist sense of solidarity in the world now and this solidarity of citizens urges leaders to “do something” when the media reveals unfairness and violence against civilians, regardless where these civilians are. This in general is very good and offers opportunities to build a less violent and more just global order.

If within the next 100 years the international security system moves from state-based communities to one global community, this could be very good. Historically wheneven securty governance is moved to greater communities – from familities to clans, from clans to sedentary societies, from small societies to city states, from city states to nation states – a lot of violence disappears. So the growing solidarit is potentially a good thing.

However, today, solidarity is not followed by an effort to allow common security agency: those nations that have been keen on punishing Saddams and Talibans and imposing they interpretation of global norms have not been keen on strengthening the UN, the so far only truly global organization that could represent the world in the imposition of compliance with global humanitarian norms.

On the contrary, those powers that are imposing norms on other countries have been reluctant to commit to the strengthening of global norms together with all countries, and instead of working through the UN, they have formed ad hoc coalitions of the willing. In the imposition of justice and fairness these countries have become actors while others, especially developing countries and Muslim countries, have become the objects of the discipline of coalitions of the willing.

This has caused resentment and the military operations to intervene in violence in the Middle East have escalated the violence that has existed there, and protection has turned against the ones it has intended to protect. If we look at those countries where our protection has operated we can see that more than half of world’s conflict fatalities are produced there.

How do you see United States invasions of Afghanistan in 2001, and of Iraq in 2003, from a legal point of view?

I think that from the legal point of view they have been slightly different types of operations as Iraq has been explicitly outside the UN mandate. At the same time the continued military operations there has been very unpopular in both places and it has resulted in a lot of suffering. From the point of protection of civilians both operation has been a disaster.

Washington and its allies has hardened the speech and policies toward terrorism, harming human rights and diminishing civil liberties. The Barack Obama regime has dramatically increased the drone strikes. Has the “War on Terror” helped secure the United States and its allies from terrorism?

The war against terrorist organization has been a cathalyst of terror simply because of the fact that conflict and terror is always interaction, not just action of one side. While the reason for our violent countering of terrorists has been the horrific actions of the terrorists, it is clear that the reason for the terrorists violence has been our violence. The logic of escalation in the war against terrorist organizaiton has always been interactive, and only through interactive, dialogical peace action could this spiral of escalation be ended.

I think the problem has been that there has never really been a war of terror, there has only been a war on terrorists. This is very different, as a war on terror would be focusing on the targeting of civilians trying to prevent that, while the war on terrorists has aimed at killing as many terrorists as possible even if this means a lot of collateral damage, i.e. loss of civilian life.

A war on terror would not be able to use means that border terroristic, as it is against terror, while war on terrorists has often used means that might be effective against terrorists but increase terror. Focusing on principles rather than demonizing enemies would be important in this situation to de-escalate tension, and that would also mean that we should not point our fingers at the United States or its allies, but instead we should blame bad strategies for the violence we see around us.

We should try to negotiate ways to limit these violent strategies rather than demonizing each other, since the logical conclusion from a view attributes violence to a demonizes “other” is the motive to destroy this “other”. Destruction and demonization of our enemies is not a way to peace.

What are the real roots of terror, Professor Kivimäki, and what would efficient policies should be envisaged to terrorism?

I think we should not think of terror as something that has roots that simply cause terror. Terror is an immoral tactic that people use, even though they should not, for their political goals. If we look at terror that abuses Islam as its platform, it seems clear that at the roots of this type of terror is the perception that there are no peaceful options to bring about chance.

More than ten years ago I studied the origins of terrorist individuals and organizations statistically and also by commissioning and conducting a lot of interviews among people suspected or convicted of acts of terror. Then I was working for the Danish and Finnish foreign ministries. It turned out that most of the terrorist individuals came from countries where any mobilization for a peaceful change is completely impossible. Saudi Arabia was the birth place of 15 of the 19 operative perpetrators of the 9/11 attack, while at the time Algeria was the main source of terrorist individuals in the European list of terrorist individuals.

Due to the fact that any organization was impossible in these countries and in Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt many of these desperate people moved to failed states where they could mobilize resistance. Afghanistan became the hub of terrorist organization despite the fact that not many terrorists originated from there.

In these failed states individuals who were prepared for violence to advance their goals could not find a common agenda in their resistance of their own governments as they came from different countries, and consequently the fact that many of authoritarian regimes of these countries were supported by the USA and some of its European allies became the target of their new common focus.

This I think is the origin of the current type of terrorism, but once the process of fight against the West and the West’s fight against these terrorists had began it started getting new forms. Some margins of immigrant communities found resonance to their frustration of their own marginalization in the radical anti-Western rhetoric of these original Islamist groups, and new types of terror started emerging.

The massive Western military operations that undermined the sovereign rights of many Muslim countries, and caused a lot of fatalities gave rise to the expansion of anti-Western Third World Muslim radicalism. The logic of escalation, deepening and spreading of hatred on both sides took over and new forms of terrorism emerged.

What is common to all these processes was that hate and destruction gives rise to hate and distruction and the only way forward would be dialectical focusing on our common interest in the prevention of violence. The mutual focus on the destruction of one’s enemy only fuels violence.

Syria has drawn the world attention, and has divided the mainstream and the alternative media. How do you see the roots of the Syrian civil war, and how do you evaluate the United States and Russia intervention in that country, the first oppositionist to the President Bashar al-Assad, the second one supportive to the Syrian government?

I think it is sad that we have wasted the peaceful diplomatic opportunities that existed in 2011. This is also what I wrote about in my articleFirst Do No Harm that you mentioned. I do not see any positive opportunities for solutions in the supporting of the capacity to kill on either side of the conflict: the US military support to very shady violent groups Syria and the Russian support to a rotten violent regime are both just ways to expand the magnitude of violence in Syria.

I think the only way forward is inclusive negotiation between all conflicting parties, including the ISIS.

Would you please comment about the limits between resistance and terror, please?

I think resistance is activity defined by the goal of the action while terror should be defined as a specific tactic. Resistance is activity against a rule that is perceived as illegitimate, and it can be violent of non-violence, terrorist or non-terrorist depending on the methods resistance uses.

Terrorism, again, is tactics in which a person or a group tries to infuence decision-makers by using the lives of innocent civilians as a barganining chip. I think it is useful to create, with the concept of terror, a distinction between violent tactices that target innocent civilians and other types of violence. Without the concept it would not be possible to define the norm against the targeting of civilians.

However, there is a problem even with the correct definition of terror, let alone the politically manipulated definitions. The main problem I see with the correct definition of terror is the ”either-or” nature of the concept.

If someone intentionally targets civilians as a conflict strategy that someone is a terrorist, but what if you have conflicing parties that target military targets but use weapons and target areas that are known to result in collateral damage.

Are these people then slightly terroristic? In the Palestinian conflict there are actors that intentionally target civilians in some of their operations. They are rightfully called terrorists. But there are also actors, like the state of Israel, that target militants, but do it by hitting militants in civilians centers with cluster munitions. Could this also be called terrorism? Can it be that one killed militant makes an operation that kills tends of civilians something less than a terrorist operation?

In Palestine, I have realized that fatality statistics make it very difficult to justify the concept of terrorism as an either-or concept: there are clashes with more Palestinian child fatalities than Israeli fatalities. This means that even if Israeli operations managed to kill a few militants, too, they tend to kill more civilians than Palestinians. Should we not then call Israeli operations terroristic, even if they also target militants?

The main problem with the current usage of the word terrorism is that more and more often terrorism is associated with political goals that some terrorists aim at. In order to foster a norm against terror one should try to avoid associating terrorism with specific political objectives, as we would like to think that peaceful resistance and the promotion of political objectives is legitimate even if there are terrorists that also promote those same objectives by using immoral terroristic tactics.

Too often we use the concept terrorism to describe activities to promote Islamist political goals even if they were not promoted with terroristic means. This practice obviously erodes the legitimacy of the norm against civilian targeting among communities that would like to see Islamist political order if the term reserved to targeting of civilians is confused with actions to promote Islamist politics. This conceptual practice of associating terror with Islamism makes it also easier to the War of Terror to target civilians if terrorism is associated with Islamism. Thus we should not be fooled about this manipulation of the concept ”terrorism”.

Charles Krauthammer wrote in The Washington Post: “[The US must create] the psychology of fear’ in order to ensure ‘deep respect for  American power”. How do you see it?

I do recognize that control with power can keep violent opportunities in check. Conflicts in weak, fragile states prove this point: without competent law enforcement there will be anarchy.

Yet when there is a will there is a way: if the US uses a lot of violence to create that fear, it will also create the will to resist its order. I am more in favor of Henry Kissinger’s conclusion in his book World Order, according to which power has to be coupled with legitimacy in order for it to produce stability and peace. Right now, it seems that legitimacy, not power, is what is missing from the US global governance.

It is the US imposition of its order and the resistance of that order that is the source of so much violence in areas where the United States is operating militarily. More fear will not result in more legitimacy of US imposition of its order, quite on the contrary. Thus I think Krauthammer is wrong with his prescription.

How much has the “War on Terror” widened the prejudice against Islamists around the world?

The problem has been the escalation of tension and violence between terrorists that misuse Islam as their platform and the violent War on Terrorists (there is no War on Terror. If there was, it would not use terror as its tactic).

This escalation has created prejudice against Muslims in the Western world, and against Americans and Westerners in the Muslim world. This escalation is one thing we should try to reverse by means of dialogue and negotiations rather than by killing our opponents.

How do you evaluate the coverage of the mainstream media on world terror?

The so-called free Western media has occassionally in reality been amazingly unfree in their practices of repeating the terms, labels and narratives of Western politicians and securocracy. When a group is called terrorist because of its objectives by politicians that oppose those objectives the media too often simply publicizes the label.

A critical media should always be alert to the interests of politicians to avoid uncritically serving them. I sometimes find it amazing what we can read even from the most respected newspapers about world terror even after we have had access to the revelations by Chelsie Manning, Wikileaks, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden. It is sometimes as if none of these revelations were ever made.

Edu Montesanti

Professor Timo Kivimäki is the Chairman of the Board for Calx Proclivia, a Finnish conflict resolution consulting company. Previously Dr. Kivimäki has held full professorships at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Lapland and he has been Director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Helsinki and the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in Copenhagen

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Since the start of the Syrian crisis, the Syrian government has routinely accused Israel of playing a hidden role, from Qusayr in the Homs countryside in May 2013 to the emergence and advances of the southern front rebels in September 2014. UN reports published in December appear to vindicate the government’s arguments that Israel is involved with the southern rebels.

According to a UN report covering the period from March to May 2014, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) detected contact between rebels and the Israeli army across the Golan cease-fire line, particularly during fierce clashes between the Syrian army and the rebels. The report also confirmed that the UN forces spotted rebels transporting 89 wounded across the cease-fire line into the Israeli occupied zone, where they were handed over 19 people who had received medical treatment in addition to two dead. The UN forces also noted that the Israeli army delivered two boxes to rebels on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Communications increased between rebels and the Israeli army before the eruption of the southern front in Daraa and Quneitra in September, according to Quneitra opposition activist Mohammad Qasim, a pseudonym due to the sensitivity of the subject. Qasim, who was active in a support capacity to the rebels during the September offensive, told an Arabic newssite via Skype,

“The battle to capture Quneitra on Sept. 27 was preceded by coordination and communications between Abu Dardaa, a leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Israeli army to pave the way for the attack. And according to an FSA commander who partly participated in this battle, the Israeli army provided Abu Dardaa with maps of the border area and the Syrian army’s strategic posts in the southern area.”

The rebels’ battle, led by al-Qaeda’s affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, to control the Quneitra crossing took place in coordination with the Israeli army through Abu Dardaa, according to Qasim. He added, “During the clashes, the Israelis heavily bombarded many of the government’s posts, shot down a warplane that was trying to impede the progress of the fighters and targeted other aircraft.”

The media reported that on Sept. 23, Israel downed a MiG-21 Syrian military aircraft over the occupied Golan Heights during the intensification of fighting between rebel fighters led by Jabhat al-Nusra and the Syrian army. Prior to this battle, Israel provided rebel fighters with communication devices and medical equipment, according to Qasim. He also said that the devices have improved communication among rebel fighters, while the medical assistance helped equip four new makeshift hospitals in Syria’s south and southwest.

Qasim added that Israel allowed the establishment of a small Syrian refugee camp on the border in the occupied Golan Heights, saying,

“The camp hosts dozens of Syrian families, which was confirmed by UN reports, and Israel is providing it with the necessary humanitarian assistance. Rebel fighters — who frequently go to the Israeli zone …, some of whom have crossed the border more than three times a day — go to [this camp].”

On the transfer of Syrian wounded to the occupied Golan Heights, Qasim explained,

“Any fighter or civilian with severe injuries who cannot be treated in our hospitals on the ground are immediately transferred to the Israeli part of the occupied Golan, and there, he will be transferred in a civilian ambulance accompanied by an Israeli army patrol to a hospital for treatment. Later on, the Israeli army will be contacted by the rebels to learn about the situation of the wounded there.”

The Syrian army in the area has also taken note of Israel’s assistance to rebels. The forces of Gen. Rami al-Hasan are stationed at the entrances of the town of Madinat al-Baath in Quneitra governorate. Armored vehicles, tanks and dozens of checkpoints are scattered around the city, which lies adjacent to rebel-controlled areas.

“The first outcomes of the cooperation between the Israeli army and the gunmen took place in Quneitra, when they took control over the border crossing. Back then, Israel supported gunmen by providing them with cover under the pretext of ‘shooting back,’ hindering any attempts by the Syrian air force to intervene and bringing down one of our planes. It has also provided gunmen with the necessary equipment to face the fortifications of the Syrian army.”

Hasan added, “Israel wants to exert control over the entire Golan, and contributed significantly to the intimidation of UN observers to push them to withdraw from most of their positions.”

On Oct. 4, rebel fighters and Jabhat al-Nusra captured Tal al-Hara in the northwest Daraa countryside, which is adjacent to the countryside of Quneitra. This significant victory could not have happened without Israeli support, according to Daraa opposition activist Ghazwan al-Hourani, also a pseudonym, who witnessed communication between Jabhat al-Nusra and Israel.

“Israeli support in the battle of Tal al-Hara was at a high level, and the Israeli army was the mastermind of this battle in terms of plans, tactics and follow-up. The communication devices released precise instructions in Arabic about what should be done by the fighters, moment by moment,” he told Al-Monitor.

Dozens of monitoring, broadcast and jamming devices as well as sophisticated radar equipment were found in the government communication center in Tal al-Hara, according to Hourani, who added that the papers, maps and portable devices in the center were placed in closed box trucks and moved to an unknown destination by Jabhat al-Nusra. The aerial reconnaissance station in Tal al-Hara, the last government reconnaissance center operating in southern Syria, was bombed by Israeli warplanes on Sept. 5, a month before the rebels captured it on Oct. 7. This cannot be considered a coincidence, according to Hasan.

“What pushed Israel to raid Tal al-Hara and to later order the gunmen to attack it was that this radar station was upgraded in 2012-2013 and again in early 2014 with new technology to expand the station’s sensing scope to the south of occupied Palestine, northern Saudi Arabia and Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, which the Syrian Ministry of Defense worked on in cooperation with its Russian counterpart. Israel wants to prevent the Syrian army from monitoring its movements in the occupied Golan, and to stop any attempts to intercept its aircrafts,” he said.

The general said that Israel is not only supporting the rebels militarily and logistically and treating their wounds, but is also training them in the occupied Golan. “We have delivered a complaint about this [training] camp to the head of UNDOF, and we threatened to target it. Yet the observers have not responded and the camp is still there.” Qasim and Hourani were nervous about discussing this sensitive subject.

Their interrupted talk, trembling voices and sudden breaks in communication whenever someone approached them underline the danger they face if they were found out to have revealed such details. They are in the same boat as many opposition activists working with rebel groups, who consider any cooperation with Israel a betrayal of the revolution’s objectives.

“This coordination is a betrayal. There are thousands of people who died, and they did not die for dozens of people to conspire with the enemy,” Qasim said, adding,

“We started the revolution and we will end it without anyone’s help, especially not those who killed and continue to kill, who displaced and continue to displace thousands of people on a daily basis in Palestine while occupying part of our country.”

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In the 1990s, former Secret Service agent Gary J. Byrne served in the White House, posted outside Bill Clinton’s Oval Office.

His new book scheduled for release in late June is titled “Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate.”

Details of the book are largely under wraps. A description posted on Amazon states the following:

“Posted directly outside President Clinton’s Oval Office, Former Secret Service uniformed officer Gary Byrne reveals what he observed of Hillary Clinton’s character and the culture inside the White House while protecting the First Family.”

“Now that a second Clinton administration threatens – their scheme from the very beginning – Byrne exposes what he saw of the real Hillary Clinton.”

“While serving as a Secret Service Officer, (he) protected President Bill Clinton and the First Family in the White House and outside the Oval Office.”

“There, he saw the political and personal machinations of Bill and Hillary Clinton and those who were fiercely loyal to them. In CRISIS OF CHARACTER, (he) provides a firsthand account of the scandals – known and unknown – and daily trials ranging from the minor to national in scale.”

“Having witnessed the personal and political dysfunction of the Clinton White House – so consumed by scandal and destroying their enemies, real and imagined – Byrne came to understand that, to the Clintons, governing was an afterthought.”

“He now tells this story – before voters go to the polls – in the hopes that Clinton supporters will understand the real Hillary Clinton.”

According to Byrne, “she simply lacks the integrity and temperament to serve” as president. She and husband Bill “must never again be allowed to put your children at risk. What I saw in the 1990s sickened me.”

Her “volcanic, impulsive” leadership style is “disdainful of the rules set for everyone else…”

Investigative journalist Ron Kessler’s book titled “The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents” reported agents assigned to Hillary after husband Bill left office saying protecting her was a detested assignment.

They called her marriage “fake,” one of convenience, solely for political reasons, to advance her outsized ambitions.

She’s mean and nasty, “really rude to almost everybody,” treating people “like (they’re) beneath her.”

According to Kessler, she once responded to a Secret Service agent’s “good morning, ma’am” greeting by saying “(f)..k off.”

In public, she smiles and acts graciously. “As soon as the cameras are gone, her angry personality, nastiness and imperiousness become evident.”

She “make(s) Richard Nixon look like Mahatma Gandhi.” She’s arrogant, never thanks agents, treats them like “hired help.”

Byrne said “(t)he Clintons treat running the free world like a damn part-time job…Maybe I haven’t seen it all, but I’ve seen enough” to know the crucial urgency of preventing a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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The death of former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who, in his day, was a symbol of protest and resistance, has prompted the inevitable and instinctive effort by the establishment to appropriate his legacy for their own cynical uses.

It is hard to believe that more than half a century has passed since the first bout between Cassius Clay (Ali’s birth name) and Sonny Liston in February 1964 and more than 40 years have come and gone since Ali’s astonishing comeback.

Ali was a great athlete, but one could reasonably argue that he made his chief mark on history and popular consciousness by his courageous opposition to the Vietnam War. A product of rebellious times, Ali earned the admiration and respect of tens of millions around the globe for his act of protest.

After upsetting reigning heavyweight champion Liston in February 1964 at the age of 22, the boxer aligned himself with the African-american nationalist Nation of Islam (NOI) and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He defended his title numerous times, before announcing in 1966 that he would not serve in the US military and then refusing induction into the armed forces a year later.

Ali explained at the time:

“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father… Shoot them for what?… How can I shoot them poor people, Just take me to jail!”

Ali’s boxing license was immediately suspended and his title stripped from him by the cowardly, “patriotic” boxing authorities. He was widely vilified by sports writers, generally among the stupidest and most superficial members of the journalistic fraternity. The venerable Red Smith claimed that the fighter had made himself “as sorry a spectacle as those unwashed punks who picket and demonstrate against the war.” Another sports writer-sage, Jim Murray of theLos Angeles Times, termed Ali a “black Benedict Arnold.”

Ali was convicted at a trial in June 1967 and sentenced to five years in prison. For four years, when he was at the height of his physical powers and his case was winding its way through the courts, Ali was unable to fight. The US Supreme Court finally tossed out his conviction in 1971. During his suspension he toured the country, speaking at hundreds of colleges and universities in opposition to the war in Vietnam and on other social issues. Ali would regain his boxing license and go on to take back his heavyweight title, lose it in the ring, and then win it back a record third time.

By all accounts, his noisy, self-promoting and occasionally cruel outbursts aside, Ali was a kind and decent man. In an often barbaric sport, he exhibited great gifts, remarkable grace and elegance, and enormous physical courage. Moreover, Ali had a devilishly sharp wit. He was not only impressive in the ring but could hold his own in the company of experienced interviewers and antagonists, and even best them.

Ali’s decision to join the Nation of Islam does not speak to his perspicacity, but it has to be viewed in context: official American political life, only emerging from the depths of McCarthyite anticommunism, had nothing to offer. The most oppressed layers of the population were hunting around for some viable form of opposition.

There is no reason, of course, to idealize the boxer or make his ideas out to be more coherent or progressive than they were. Ali was all over the place ideologically, and by 2005 he was sufficiently domesticated or worn down by age and health issues to accept a Presidential Medal of Freedom from the arch-war criminal, George W. Bush.

Nonetheless, in early 1966, when opposition to the Vietnam war was not yet a mass phenomenon in the US, Ali’s stance was principled and inspiring. It certainly contributed to and encouraged public disaffection. By the time he refused induction on April 28, 1967, protest demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people had taken place in New York City and elsewhere, including one on April 15 of the same year (addressed by Martin Luther King, Jr.).

To root for Ali at the time was to root for opposition. He emerged as a public figure in an era when hostility to the status quo was a mass popular reality. In the US, Newark, Detroit, Los Angeles and other major cities went up in flames in the mid-1960s. The latter part of the decade witnessed the anti-Vietnam War movement and expressions of protest on every college campus. Big national strikes and battles between American workers and police on picket lines were on the order of the day. Internationally, hated dictatorships fell in Greece, Spain and Portugal. The global crisis reached its potentially revolutionary peak in the great French general strike, in which ten million people participated, in May-June 1968.

The dead, of course, cannot defend themselves against the exploitation of their lives and activities for utterly rotten purposes. Inevitably, President Barack Obama took the occasion of Ali’s death to present an unsuspecting public with another example of his almost supernaturally sinister hypocrisy and cant.

In a statement, Obama asserted that Ali

“stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.”

As though Obama, the ideal president for spies, policemen and investment bankers, would know anything about “standing up” and “speaking out” when there might be a price to pay. Has this individual ever taken a single step, twitched so much as a muscle, without ensuring himself well ahead of time that it would find approval with the powers that be?

It is a remarkable commentary on the putrid state of the media and public intellectual life in America that Obama can make such an astounding statement without anyone calling him to order. The US president praises Ali for being prepared to go to jail—this from the relentless, vindictive persecutor of Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden! Dead and buried opponents of imperialist war are so much less threatening!

“Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it,” asserted Obama, the dispatcher of drone strikes that terrorize entire populations, the presider over “kill lists” that spell incineration for men, women and children in various parts of the globe.

One element of Obama’s statement did ring true: his obvious astonishment at Ali’s willingness to sacrifice career and income for principles. This speaks to a wider and genuinely disturbing problem: how is it possible that we are forced to look back to the 1960s for examples of political courage of this kind?

The United States has been at war with the rest of the world for a quarter-century. During that time, innumerable athletes, actors, musicians, artists, scientists and others have received honors at the hands of Bill Clinton, Bush and Obama, each president guilty of policies leading to the death of hundreds of thousands of human beings or more. Not a soul, as far as the public is aware, has turned down an award, spoken out at the White House or the Kennedy Center or generally repudiated honors from one of these blood-soaked administrations.

That list of honorees—some of whom have histories of social protest or at least independent thought—includes such figures as Sidney Poitier, Meryl Streep, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Jack Nicholson, Paul Simon, Warren Beatty, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen, Mel Brooks, Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin.

Stagnant, opportunist times have encouraged submission and quiescence. In such periods of social indifference, as the Russian Marxist Plekhanov once noted, many souls fall into “a cold slumber” and “their moral level sinks very low.” The sooner we fully emerge from such times the better!

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Last weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual conference hosted in Singapore by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, was utilised by the Obama administration and US military to threaten China over its territorial claims in the South China Sea. Beijing responded with categorical assertions that it will not retreat and, in the words of its representative, Admiral Sun Jianguo, has “no fear of trouble.”

The ominous character of the conference reflected the preparations by all parties for the UN International Court of Arbitration ruling in The Hague on a US-backed challenge by the Philippines to China’s territorial claims in the Spratly Island chain. The court, a body stacked with appointees of the major imperialist powers, is expected to decide against Beijing this month. The Chinese government has categorically rejected the court’s jurisdiction and said it will ignore the decision.

Washington was represented at the Shangri-La Dialogue by Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and Admiral Harry Harris, the head of US Pacific Command.

Carter’s speech on June 4 was arrogant, provocative and menacing. He boasted that the US military had deployed “its most advanced capabilities to the Asia-Pacific” as part of the Obama administration’s “rebalance” or “pivot” to the region. It would “take decades,” Carter asserted, for “anyone to build the kind of military capability the United States possesses.”

Carter gloated over the fact that the US “military edge” had “been honed by unrivalled and hard-earned operational experience over the past 15 years”—a reference to the brutal, neo-colonial wars waged by the United States in the Middle East, which have claimed millions of lives and created the greatest refugee crisis since World War II.

Carter sought to intimidate Beijing with the list of US alliances and partnerships in Asia. He first named Washington’s two main allies in Asia—Japan and Australia—whose military forces would be expected by Washington to contribute to a US-led war against China. The Philippines, which is serving as the US proxy in the UN court, was named next, followed by India, Vietnam and Singapore. South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Laos were subsequently included in the US camp.

Carter asserted that Washington’s network was “not aimed at any particular country.” He immediately proceeded to make clear China was the target. He declared there was “growing anxiety in this region, and in this room, about China’s activities on the seas, in cyberspace, and in the region’s airspace.”

China, Carter threatened, “could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.”

Among the military commanders and analysts present at the conference, the implications of this remark would not have been lost. At the centre of US military discussion on how to wage war on China has been a strategy known as “Offshore Control”—a blockade of the key sea lanes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans by the US and Australian navies to cut off China’s access to raw materials and trigger an economic collapse.

Explaining the plan, Mark Morris of the US National War College wrote in November 2013:

“War starts and the United States and its allies begin offshore controlling. Chinese seaborne imports and exports are reduced drastically. Factory production drops and millions of workers are laid off; soon the numbers soar to tens of millions and perhaps a hundred million … When jobs are not found, they start protesting … Now the Chinese Communist Party is faced with tens of millions of unemployed protesters. It will try to blame some enemy that can’t be seen … Not believing the party, discontent grows and protests increase. The Chinese Communist Party orders the People’s Liberation Army to break the blockade, but the People’s Liberation Army-Navy replies that China doesn’t have the right type of Navy for that and are unable to comply with the orders. Discontent grows and protests become more worrisome to party leaders. The Chinese Communist Party declares that it has taught the foreign dog a lesson and seeks a [peace] conference at Geneva.”

Far from than the scenario of the Chinese regime capitulating, as outlined by Morris, the preparedness of the United States to seek to militarily “isolate” China could lead to full-scale war and a nuclear exchange. This was spelt out on several occasions during the Shangri-La conference.

In a forum discussion on June 4, Carter declared that if China responded to a ruling by the UN court by building military structures on Scarborough Reef—an islet under Chinese control but claimed by the Philippines—it would “result in actions being taken both by the United States, and actions being taken by others in the region that will have the effect of not only increasing tensions but isolating China.”

During a press conference later the same day, addressed by both Carter and Admiral Harris, Harris stated: “We want to cooperate with China in all domains as much as possible … but the bottom line is, look, we want to cooperate where we can, but we have to be ready as a military to confront if we must.”

Both Carter and Harris asserted that the US would continue and escalate military deployments into Chinese-claimed territory on the pretext of “freedom of navigation.”

On June 5, China’s Admiral Sun responded with carefully prepared remarks. Referring to the Philippines’s case in the UN against China, Sun stated: “Some hegemonic countries have empowered small countries to make provocations against big countries.” China, he declared, “will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement on its sovereignty and security interests, or stay indifferent to some countries creating chaos in the South China Sea.”

With US imperialism and China drawing the battle lines for confrontation, representatives of other states defined their positions.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian aligned with the US, calling for the European Union to deploy naval forces to assert “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea. “If we want to contain the risk of conflict, we must defend this right, and defend it ourselves.”

In a written statement, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop endorsed Carter’s speech and vowed Canberra’s support. She asserted: “As the world becomes more connected and interdependent, the US-Australia alliance is necessarily an increasingly global one. Australia’s position on disputes in the South China Sea is a longstanding one and is well known by all countries including China.”

Addressing the conference, Japanese Defence Minister Gen Natakani accused China of issuing a “challenge” to “the rule-based global order”—the term used by Washington and its allies to demand Chinese submission to US military and political hegemony. On the sidelines of the conference, Japan, India and the US signed an agreement to increase “trilateral” military cooperation in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnam’s deputy defence minister, most bluntly spelt out the conclusions that flow from the Shangri La Dialogue. Sitting next to China’s Admiral Sun, Nguyen warned that China’s refusal to submit would “lead to military conflict.”

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Endless war continues with no prospect for peace because Washington rejects it – wanting popular Bashar al-Assad forcibly ousted, knowing he won’t step down voluntarily nor should he.

International law supports him. Syrians alone may decide who’ll lead them, free from foreign interference.

All armed opposition groups in Syria engaged in combat against government forces along with slaughtering defenseless civilians are terrorists.

Washington and its rogue allies support them – imported death squads unable to exist without foreign backing.

No so-called “moderate rebels” exist. Speaking last October at the International Valdai Discussion Club’s annual meeting, Putin forthrightly said “(w)hy play with words dividing terrorists into moderate and not moderate. What’s the difference?”

Without naming them, he accused some countries of playing a double game, pretending to fight terrorism while supporting it.

“Success in fighting terrorists cannot be reached if (some of them are) us(ed) as a battering ram to overthrow disliked regimes. It’s just an illusion that they can be dealt with (later), removed from power and somehow negotiated with,” Putin stressed.

Russia intervened in Syria at the request of its government to defeat terrorism, prevent its spread and restore peace – goals distant from accomplishing because US imperial aims are polar opposite.

On June 5, Syria’s Foreign Ministry sent identical letters to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and current Security Council president Francois Delattre, France’s UN envoy.

It minced no words, saying armed groups anti-Syrian Western and regional countries call “moderate opposition” forces along with internationally designated Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists are indiscriminately attacking areas in and around Aleppo – shelling them with rockets, mortars and gas cylinder bombs, slaughtering civilians, injuring hundreds more.

These Western and regionally supported attacks are “part of the series of the systematic terrorist acts plotted and prepared by the Turkish regime and perpetrated by the ‘moderate opposition’ groups in cooperation and coordination with Jabhat al-Nusra and its affiliates such as Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Fatah among others,” the letters explained.

What’s ongoing represents “a blatant attempt by the regime of Erdogan and the other regimes supporting and sponsoring terrorism in Riyadh and Doha to undermine the efforts seeking to stop the bloodshed and to foil the Geneva talks and the truce arrangements.”

US, UK and French refusal to designate Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, and other groups waging war on Syria and its people as terrorist organizations reveals their support for the scourge they claim to oppose.

Separately days earlier, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said  ongoing terrorist attacks “wouldn’t have been possible without support of the states that are financing and arming” these groups.

Damascus demands responsible Security Council action it won’t get because Washington wants war, not peace, pro-Western puppet governance replacing Syrian sovereignty. If Syria goes, Iran is next, its independence targeted the same way.

The time for Russia to challenge America’s regional imperial agenda is now. Failure to act likely means facing a greater threat later on.

Last October at the International Valdai Discussion Club, Putin said Russia intervened in Syria “(f)irst and foremost (to) protect the interests of Russia and the Russian people.”

At the same time, Syria’s collapse “will only mobilize terrorists,” he said, creating a greater problem than already.

“If the fight is inevitable, be the first to strike,” he stressed. It bears repeating. The time for Russia to act is now – without further delay

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.  

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Does Bernie Sanders Have a ‘Plan B’?

June 6th, 2016 by Dr. Jack Rasmus

Does Bernie Sanders have a ‘Plan B’? We’ll soon know after the California Democratic Party primary election on Tuesday, June 7.

Even if Sanders wins California, the Democratic Party nomination was wrapped up in favor of Hillary Clinton some time ago. 712 of the 2,383 nominating delegates—composed of party operatives, members of Congress, state and local party officials, local party hacks, and assorted ‘wannabes’ wanting someday to get the party endorsement to run for some local office—constitute the ‘super delegates’ appointed by senior party leadership. Democratic party rules allow super delegates to vote as they please, regardless of how other party members in their states vote in their official primary elections. Thus far 520 of the Democrats’ 712 super delegates have already declared their support for Hillary and did so months ago. The vast majority of those left will no doubt do so soon after June 7.

The Democrats introduced the super delegate system back in 1982, in order to prevent another populist upsurge in the early 1970s with the grass roots George McGovern campaign; and as a response to another outsider, Jimmy Carter, who turned out to be a disaster for the party in the 1980 election.

Democratic Party leadership has never been comfortable with primaries. The primaries process is really a product of the early 1970s when various grass roots movements were emerging in the USA—antiwar, women, black and latino, environmental. Primaries are tolerated so long as they don’t challenge party leadership control. Sometimes a candidate from below slips under the fence—like McGovern in 1972 or Trump today in 2016. The leaders then revise their rules to patch up the hole in the fence.

There have been many undemocratic trends emerging in the US in recent years, state and local voting restrictions, illegal purging of citizens from the voter rolls, court cases giving big money donors advantages, limits on third party candidates running for office. Following this election cycle the Republican party elite will no doubt do its fence mending to prevent another Trump. And almost for certain, Democrats party leaders will never allow another ‘independent’, like Sanders, to ever content for their party’s nomination. Sanders has given them a political scare. The Democratic party fence will undergo some major rewiring.

So why did Bernie run in the first place? Did he naively think he could overturn the super-delegate system at the party convention? Or was it always about injecting ideas into the campaign that were once part of the Democratic Party but which the party has steadily abandoned since the 1980s? Did he think he could actually reform an un-reformable party firmly in the hands of its corporate donors—at the convention or even after? Was it about starting a movement that would continue beyond the 2016 elections?

So what’s Sanders going to do after California? What’s his Plan B? Some of possible Plan B options might include:

First, run as an independent candidate—either announcing in June or waiting until after the Democratic convention in late July. If Sanders waits, however, running as an independent would be a ‘quixotic’ effort. Many US states make it extremely difficult for independents to run in general and even more so on short notice. So if Sanders does not announce as an independent candidate soon after June 7, it is extremely unlikely he will ever do so. In recent weeks, a movement has emerged in his camp to get him to run as an independent. Or even join with the Green party’s presidential hopeful, Jill Stein, on some kind of joint ticket.

Second, he could indicate the fight is not over, and Plan B is to court the super delegates at the convention. Perhaps he still believes he can convince a sufficient number of independent delegates to shift from Hillary to himself at the convention. Or that his supporters can dilute or the super delegates effect by taking over the convention’s rules or credentials committees. But if that’s Plan B, it’s extremely naïve. Careerists and party hacks, who hope to rise in the party structure, or who enjoy being local notables in the party in their districts, are not going to challenge the party’s leadership. Especially after they’ve already publicly declared for Hillary. Plan B may be ‘in consideration’, but it’s a plan that’s DOA—dead on arrival as they say.

Third, even if Hillary has a conclusive majority of delegates after Tuesday, Sanders could say the fight continues to the convention to ensure that the party ‘platform’ of political positions reflects the views of his supporters and others who have become disenchanted with the Democratic party’s policies since Bill Clinton and the ‘Democratic Leadership Conference’ (DLC) corporate-leaning faction consolidated its control over the party in the early 1990s. But if that’s Plan B it’s a political farce. Party position platforms mean absolutely nothing. They are ‘feel good’ statements designed to create an appealing public image. Party platforms have, however, nothing to do with proposals, programs, or actual legislative or executive actions taken by party politicians once in office. Check out the Democrats’ 2008 and 2012 party convention platforms and compare that to the reality of Obama and other party proposals and initiatives that followed.

Should Sanders indicate his ‘Plan B’ is to lead the fight to ensure democratic and populist language in the party platform, it will mean Sanders has ‘thrown in the towel’ and it’s game over for all his supporters who want to make a basic change in US politics and take back the party from corporate-type leaders. Platform fights are designed to give newcomer delegate ranks something to do at the convention, to make them think they are making a difference. Platform fights are a political sandbox.

A fourth possible ‘Plan B’ could find Sanders’ calling, in radical language, for a democratic revolution to fundamentally change the Democratic Party—the fight which starts at the convention but which will continue intensely thereafter, win or lose to Trump, to prepare for the subsequent, really important 2020 national elections. There will be hot rhetoric, and Sanders will ride off into the sunset, at age 74, after the election going on college campus tours, liberal talk radio shows, writing a book, and settling into a dean of the new liberal left squatting at the doorstep of the Democratic party for the next four years. Or maybe Hillary will offer him a minor cabinet position.

There’s also a ‘wildcard’ fifth Plan B. Sanders and supporters may be trying to position him for the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential nominee. Smarter sources in the Democratic Party might well pay heed to that, since it is becoming increasingly clear that Hillary may lose the election to Trump. She desperately needs Sanders’ supporters. Sanders has the vast majority of the youth vote, 18-34, behind him, as well as some intellectuals, and a slice of the Unions. Hillary cannot win without them. In the key northeast and west coast states, Sanders beats Hillary by margins. Hillary wins in the south, Midwest, and conservative areas. But these are regions she will never carry against Trump in the general election. If young voters stay home, if a significant part of the unskilled working class goes with Trump, which it will, and if the Obama economy slides over the summer, which it may appear about to do, then Hillary is ‘toast’, as they say. She needs Sanders’ but don’t count on the party establishment to give that alternative serious consideration.

Of the five possible ‘Plan B’ options, most likely are options 2, 3 and 4 or some combination of the same. They are all dead-ends for popular reform politics in the US. Option 1, to run as a true independent third candidate will not happen. Sanders himself declared early in the campaign he would support whomever the party nominee was and he will keep that commitment. Option 5, as a vice president nominee is barely less likely than option 1.

Plan B is therefore most likely one the middle options. And we shall see which soon after the California primary. All of those will greatly disappoint Sanders’ supporters wanting fundamental change in the political party system in the US. That party system now is really a single ‘Corporate Party of America’ system with two wings—Republican and Democrat.

Plan B will prove to be a harsh learning lesson for many determined young reformers. What they are now experiencing is a learning process with the hardest lessons yet to come—i.e. to discover that there is no way out of the US current political crisis through either wings of the Corporate Party of America. Maybe then a grass roots movement of the growing legions of the discontented in the US will be able to emerge into a truly independent political party in the US.

Jack Rasmus is author of ‘Systemic Fragility’ in the Global Economy’, Clarity Press, January 2016, and the forthcoming, ‘Looting Greece: An Emerging New Financial Imperialism’, Clarity Press, July 2016. He hosts the New York radio show, Alternative Visions, on the Progressive Radio Network, and blogs atjackrasmus.com . 

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Actions speak louder than mere words, and U.S. President Barack Obama has now acted, not only spoken. His action is to refuse to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s biggest worry about recent changes in America’s nuclear strategy — particularly a stunning change that is terrifying Putin.

On Sunday June 5th, Reuters headlined “Russia Says U.S. Refuses Talks on Missile Defence System”, and reported that, “The United States has refused Russian offers to discuss Washington’s missile defence programme, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov was quoted as saying on Sunday, calling the initiative ‘very dangerous’.”

Russia’s concern is that, if the “Ballistic Missile Defense” or “Anti Ballistic Missile” system, that the United States is now just starting to install on and near Russia’s borders, works, then the United States will be able to launch a surprise nuclear attack against Russia, and this system, which has been in development for decades and is technically called the “Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System”, will annihilate the missiles that Russia launches in retaliation, which will then leave the Russian population with no retaliation at all, except for the nuclear contamination of the entire northern hemisphere, and global nuclear winter, the blowback from America’s onslaught against Russia, which blowback some strategists in the West say would be manageable probems for the U.S. and might be worth the cost of eliminating Russia.

That theory, of a winnable nuclear war (which in the U.S. seems to be replacing the prior theory, called “M.A.D.” for Mutually Assured Destruction) was first prominently put forth in 2006 in the prestigious U.S. journal Foreign Affairs, headlining “The Rise of Nuclear Primacy” and which advocated for a much bolder U.S. strategic policy against Russia, based upon what it argued was America’s technological superiority against Russia’s weaponry and a possibly limited time-window in which to take advantage of it before Russia catches up and the opportunity to do so is gone.

Paul Craig Roberts was the first reporter in the West to write in a supportive way about Russia’s concerns that Barack Obama might be a follower of that theory. One of Roberts’s early articles on this was issued on 17 June 2014 and headlined “Washington Is Beating The War Drums”, where he observed that “US war doctrine has been changed. US nuclear weapons are no longer restricted to a retaliatory force, but have been elevated to the role of preemptive nuclear attack.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has tried many times to raise this issue with President Obama, the most recent such instance being via a public statement of his concern, made on May 27th. Apparently, the public statement by Antonov on June 5th is following up on that latest Putin effort, by Antonov’s announcement there that Obama now explicitly refuses to discuss Putin’s concerns about the matter.

The fact that these efforts on the part of the Russian government are via public media instead of via private conversations (such as had been the means used during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the shoe was on the other foot and the U.S. President was concerned about the Soviet President’s installation of nuclear missiles 90 miles from the U.S. border) suggests that Mr. Obama, unlike U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1962, refuses to communicate with Russia, now that the U.S. is potentially in the position of the aggressor.

Russia is making its preparations, just in case it will (because of the Aegis Ashore system) need to be the first to attack. However, some knowledgeable people on the subject say that Russia will never strike first. Perhaps U.S. President Obama is proceeding on the basis of a similar assumption, and this is the reason why he is refusing to discuss the matter with his Russian counterpart. However, if Mr. Obama wishes to avoid a nuclear confrontation, then refusing even to discuss the opponent’s concerns would not be the way to go about doing that. Obama is therefore sending signals to the contrary — that he is preparing a nuclear attack against Russia — simply by his refusal to discuss the matter. In this case, his action of refusal is, itself, an answer to Putin’s question, like slamming the door in Putin’s face would be. It’s a behavioral answer, instead of a merely verbal one.

The geostrategist John Helmer discussed on May 30th the question of when the “Trigger Point” will likely be for Putin to decide whether there is no reasonable alternative but to launch — and for him then to launch — World War III.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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There is a new technology being tested for use on UK civilians en masse on our streets, millimetre microwave scanners.

These electromagnetic radiation scanners, which use Ultra Wide Band (UWB) at 75-110 GHz, are able to be beamed at crowds to detect potential concealed weapons being carried by individuals.

Using the same technology as the American airport TSA scanners, over which there has been much controversy in the level of detail these scanners reveal about an individual, MiRTLE, provided by Radio Physics Solutions (RPS) purports to use artificial intelligence (AI) to identify weapon shaped objects without the system revealing the human body image.

Practically this would make sense, as a human operator seeing a crowd of people imaged by‘millimetre’ microwaves would not be able to effectively scan the crowd for weapon shaped objects or suicide vests. Hence the use of AI.

Note that security workers, particularly those working at airports, have been drilled in various PR talking points in order to assuage public concerns on this experimental technology, including the popular corporate line that, “It’s perfectly safe – it’s on only millimeter microwaves.”

MICROWAVES

IMPORTANT POINT: This technology is funded by us, to be used on us. Funded by us, via our taxes paid out to various UK government departments and police.

The UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills oversees the UK Research Councils, one of which is the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) who, along with the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office Scientific Development Branch, funded the research into this technology as early as 2009 with research starting back in 2004 at Manchester Metropolitan University by Professor Bowring, Head of the Centre for Sensing and Imaging at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

It is designed to work out on the streets and is not (restricted) to a closed, controlled environment,” Professor Bowring [from Manchester Met University] told BBC News.

According to the UK Business Angels Association and the Mayor of London’s Office document for the Smart London Investor Showcase held in March 2016, RPS are working with “major UK police forces (including London’s Metropolitan Police), Counter Terrorism Command & the Home Office (CAST)”.
(The Smart London Showcase is part of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s, Smart London Planpublished in December 2013.)

EMF
On the RPS website MiRTLE apparently can be applied in the following scenarios: transportation, schools, private security, government, event security, and defense. Note, the order is listed as per their website.

Soft civilian targets first and military use last, with the inference that it keeps the general population ‘safe’. However, the main agencies interested in these products are not schools or transport companies, it is the military.

The Dalton Institute, based at the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University heading the research, lists “expressions of interest” from the US Department of Defence, US Army Laboratories and from the US Navy. The Dalton Institute also go on to say that because of the sensitive nature of the project they have rejected enquiries from the media apart from two articles the BBC published in 2009 and 2013.

According to the Smart London Showcase RPS are working in conjunction with another company called SeeQuestor, which amalgamates different CCTV systems to make ‘dumb’ CCTV ‘smart’ therefore enabling different systems to ‘talk’ to each other This about SeeQuestor from the Wired article from August 2015 “One Nation Under CCTV: The Future of Automated Surveillance”:

New technology could allow police and security services to quickly analyse CCTV footage to look for movement, faces and track suspects across the world. By linking ‘dumb’ CCTV cameras to a ‘smart’ online system, authorities will soon be able to find and track anyone.

Between RPS scanners on the ground and SeeQuestor operating behind CCTV cameras their combined technologies, via AI, would potentially scan crowds of people and assess threat levels, such as crowds accumulating, street footfall, the ability to pick out faces in crowds, identify people carrying weapon shaped items and thereby identify persons of interest with the capability to track them via the security camera network.

Although RPS scanners work in real time SeeQuestor is only able to look at historic past video data. However according to the UK Business Angels Association and the Mayor of London’s Officedocument for the Smart London Investor Showcase (see page 14) SeeQuestor are “a post event video analysis and management tool to help police and security professionals such as counter terrorism solve crimes and save lives by finding people in video data. And is now raising money to develop a real time product, integrating smart sensors from its partner company – Radio Physics Solutions – (the only solution worldwide) that can detect threats such as suicide vests and guns, hidden beneath clothing from a distance of 30-40 metres. For a smart, automated network capable of identifying threats and the persons carrying those threats, so they can be tracked and dealt with ahead of time.”

A fully automated really time surveillance system with AI identifying possible threat scenarios, this is the shared vision of RPS and SeeQuestor. Both RPS and SeeQuestor are funded by investors through a company called Anglo Scientific, a private equity firm, with the boards of directors of both companies comprising of Anglo Scientific employees. Anglo Scientific also own the Intellectual Property right of the millimetre microwave technology, which now through their investors, RPS are developing.  Professor Nick Bowring and the other developers at MMU holding the patent for this technology.

We, via our taxes, have invested around £1m for this surveillance system, for a private equity firm to then set up RPS and benefit from research we paid for. RPS were incorporated in 2008 byDouglas Dundonald, a director of Anglo Scientific and ex House of Lords Conservative Peer where he held a position on the council of the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee. Other RPS directors are Vito Levi D’Ancona – Chief Financial Officer director of Anglo Scientific and Ricky Posner, Non-Executive Director at Anglo Scientific.

Although, RPS are working with the Met Police and the technology is not yet used on us, the surveillance systems that are ready to be built into our society in the name of ‘smart’ cities are so very advanced. The FBI and US police are looking at a recently patented integrated license plate reader (LPR), speedometer, and facial recognition device. Such systems of course can be integrated with video footage analysis, traffic management and now the new kid on the block – millimeter microwave scanning.

Where would this ultra wideband microwave scanning stop? Will this tech be built into lampposts to scan us for concealed weapons? Maybe it could be built into the UK Automated Number Plate Recognition camera network, scanning our cars to see what the contents are? The UK Home Office and police have a track record of implementing surveillance technologies without any public or parliamentary debate. Facial recognition is used on the Police National Database of millions of custody suite images, this was quietly slipped in early 2014, with no discussion or mention in the media. After their use of the biometric facial recognition technology came to light in late 2014, the Home Office were instructed to report to parliament early 2015 on their use of facial recognition. As of May 2016 they have not submitted that report.

The article across at ArsTechnica, which detailed the combined license plate recognition, speedometer and facial recognition has the below video… the vision of the world to come.


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There seems a lack of transparency when using privacy invasive technologies en masse on us in society.  A Freedom of Information request was sent to the Metropolitan Police 17 May 2016 on their use of millimetre microwave technology which is due back 15 June 2016.

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Author and researcher Pippa King is a special contributor to 21WIRE and she is the co-editor of the public advocacy blog State of Surveillance and founder of the information portal Biometrics in Schools.

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BALTOPS 16 is a military exercise now taking place between June 3 and June 18 in the Baltic Sea region which is in close proximity to Russia. The U.S. Naval Institute (www.usni.org) released an article titled ‘Analysis: Larger NATO Baltic Sea Exercise Sends Important Message to Russia’ stated what BALTOPS 16 will consist of:

Over the next three weeks BALTOPS 16 will draw together some 6,000 personnel, 45 warships, and 60 aircraft from 17 nations, including the United States, Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, along with the littoral states of the Baltic States who are NATO members (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark) or NATO partners (Sweden and Finland)

To make matters worse, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military and intelligence organization mostly funded by the US government and the rest by the EU (technically paid for by taxpayers within the U.S. and the E.U.) is moving forward by placing missile defense systems in Romania, a reckless move that threatens Russia’s security. According to a recent CNN report “The United States launched a ground-based missile defense system earlier this month in Romania. The system is meant to defend Europe against rogue states like Iran and not intended to target Moscow’s missiles, Washington has said.” Iran is a threat to Europe? In 2014, Putin was asked about NATO’s American–made missile defense system placed in Europe to counter the Iranian threat: Here is the classic reaction from Putin:

This time, Washington’s willingness to use Romania to place its missile defense shield supposedly against Iran’s nuclear threat is not a laughing matter to the Russian government. Putin warned European countries they are now in the “crosshairs” meaning European nations will be in the middle of a possible future conflict between Russia and the US-NATO alliance. Reuters reported Putin’s reaction in a news conference that took place in Athens, Greece with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Putin said “If yesterday in those areas of Romania people simply did not know what it means to be in the cross-hairs, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security.”Putin did not leave out Poland’s participation regarding the deployment a missile defense system when he said “It will be the same case with Poland.” Polish Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz recently announced that NATO will place four battalions in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to counter the Russian threat. Poland is also recruiting 35,000 new recruits for a paramilitary force to counter any Russian incursion on its territory.

Washington’s European vassal states are on the road to social, political and economic destruction. The European Union’s (EU) sanctions on Russia is one example on how farmers, working class people and various businesses are experiencing financial difficulties and even bankruptcy due to US-NATO’s reckless policies against Russia.

Washington’s move to place a new ground-based missile defense system in Romania with Poland’s recruitment drive and the BALTOPS 16 exercise will surely raise tensions with Russia which are at an all time high since the Cold War. Russia views this move as a threat to its security with NATO’s encirclement of Russia is as reckless and as dangerous as you can get in terms of escalating the possibility of a disastrous war.

The RAND Corporation Admits NATO Cannot Defeat Russian Forces

Russia is more than prepared to fight a war against NATO which would not last more than three days at best according to the Rand Corporation, a think tank based in Santa Monica, California. The Rand corporation employed well-known players in the political arena including war criminal Henry Kissinger as an advisor and George W. Bush-era Neocons such as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (former Chairman of the board 1981-1986 and again in 1995-1996) and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who was a former intern and trustee. The RAND corporation report admitted that a NATO war against Russia would last between 36 and 60 hours although I personally think that NATO would not last more than 24 hours if an attack took place against the Russian Federation:

In a series of war games conducted between summer 2014 and spring 2015, the RAND Corporation examined the shape and probable outcome of a near-term Russian invasion of the Baltic states. The games’ findings are unambiguous: As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members. Across multiple games using a wide range of expert participants in and out of uniform playing both sides, the longest it has taken Russian forces to reach the outskirts of the Estonian and/or Latvian capitals of Tallinn and Riga, respectively, is 60 hours

If NATO were that foolish to start a war against Russia, European countries across Western Europe would be open to Russian missile strikes crippling Europe’s already fragile social and economic fabric. An attack on Russia would be the end of NATO, literally. Russia has capabilities that are far more advanced than what the U.S. and NATO forces have in their arsenal as independent geopolitical analyst and writer Pepe Escobar explains:

If push comes to nuclear shove, the S-400 and especially the S-500 anti-missile missiles would block all incoming US ICBMs, cruise missiles and stealth aircraft. Offensive drones would be blocked by drone defenses. The S-500 practically consigns to the dustbin stealth warplanes such as the F-22, F-35 and the B-2.

The bottom line is that Russia – in terms of hypersonic missile development – is about four generations ahead of the US, if we measure it by the development of the S-300, S-400 and S-500 systems. As a working hypothesis, we could describe the next system – already in the drawing boards – as the S-600. It would take the US military at least ten years to develop and roll out a new weapons system, which in military terms represents a generation. Every Pentagon planner worth his pension plan should know that

NATO is responsible for creating disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Ukraine and the former Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was the start of NATO’s belligerence in the name of “humanitarian interventions” during what was known as the Kosovo War. NATO claimed that the Albanian population in Kosovo was persecuted by Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) which was the state of the union between two republics (Serbia and Montenegro) of the former Yugoslavia which broke up in 1991. NATO sought authorization from the United Nations Security Council to proceed with military action but Russia and China opposed and threatened to veto the move. NATO went on to launch military strikes with Washington’s approval against the FRY without UN authorization and called it a“humanitarian intervention.” The FRY rightly called it an illegal war of aggression that resulted in more than 12,000 civilian deaths where the majority of victims were Albanians followed by Serbs, Roma and other ethnic groups. After the war in Yugoslavia, NATO began to see itself as a global military force and expanded beyond Europe (with Washington’s permission of course) into Central Asia, East and North Africa, the Middle East and even as far as the Indian Ocean.

The purpose for NATO is to carry out the American Empire’s dirty work which serves Washington’s strategy for dominating Eurasia. You can also call NATO “America’s Cannon Fodder in waiting” since they are at the frontline against Russia waiting to commit suicide.

Europe’s Refugee Crises and NATO’s Interventions in the Middle East and North Africa

The Pentagon utilizes NATO against its perceived enemies which have contributed to numerous geopolitical disasters including the most recent “humanitarian intervention” of Libya. The stupidity of NATO’s interventionist policies in Libya and now Syria resulted in a refugee crisis into the European Union with Libyans and Syrians leading the way. The refugee crisis is steering tensions among EU citizens who are angry at the refugees, but not at NATO“humanitarian interventions” in North Africa and the Middle East. One of the most absurd statements on the EU’s refugee crisis was by NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander General Philip Breedlove which was reported by theFinancial Times on March 1st, 2016:

Asked at a Senate hearing whether Russia was aggravating the Syrian refugee crisis in order to divide countries in the EU, he replied: “I can’t find any other reason for them [air strikes against civilians] other than to cause refugees to be on the move and make them someone else’s problem.” He added: “I use the term weaponisation of immigration”

Russia is now accused of “Weaponising” immigrants by General Breedlove is absurd. Let’s take a closer look why immigrants are coming from the Middle East and North Africa in the first place. The majority of immigrants are coming from Syria and then there is Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, Albania, Mali and Somalia which experienced some form of US-NATO led “humanitarian interventions”. Then Eritrea and Nigeria were also nations contributing refugees to the European Union. The US government is responsible for creating the refugee crisis into Europe, not Russia. Let’s not forget what General Wesley Clark admitted to in 2007 in an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Nowwhen he was told by someone in the Pentagon that “We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

The U.S. and its allies including Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf puppet states were all involved in creating the civil war in Syria in 2011 through a proxy opposition group to oust President Bashar al-Assad. The“protests” were orchestrated by a covert operation led by US-NATO-Israeli intelligence agencies to create chaos in order to fault the Syrian government through propaganda. Washington and Israel want to destabilize Syria as a Nation State and break-up Syria into several small nation-states easier for the governments of the U.S. and Israel to control. Israel’s interest in destabilizing Syria goes back decades, perhaps as far back when the State of Israel was declared a new independent state in 1948. However, in September 24, 2010 Wikileaks published an email sent to U.S. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton from Alec Ross, a Senior Advisor for Innovation to Clinton when she was Secretary of State titled ’1st known case of a successful social media campaign in Syria’, Ross wrote “When Jared and I went to Syria, it was because we knew that Syrian society was growing increasingly young (population will double in 17 years) and digital and that this was going to create disruptions in society that we could potential harness for our purposes.”It is evident that Washington had its designs on Syria before the 2011 protests occurred. Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Director and founder of Global Research published an article asking the question of who was actually behind the protests. The article titled ‘Five Years Ago: The US-NATO-Israel Sponsored Al Qaeda Insurgency in Syria. Who Was Behind The 2011 “Protest Movement”?’Stated the following facts on who was actually involved in the process:

From Day One, the Islamist “freedom fighters” were supported, trained and equipped by NATO and Turkey’s High Command. According to Israeli intelligence sources (Debka, August14, 2011):

NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons for combating the tanks and helicopters spearheading the Assad regime’s crackdown on dissent. … NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the government armored forces. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011)

This initiative, which was also supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, involved a process of organized recruitment of thousands of jihadist “freedom fighters”, reminiscent of the enlistment of Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:

Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Ibid, emphasis added) These mercenaries were subsequently integrated into US and allied sponsored terrorist organizations including Al Nusrah and ISIS. The Daraa “protest movement” on March 17-18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence

US-NATO’s “humanitarian intervention” in Libya was also part of Washington’s strategic goal. Removing President Muammar Gaddafi from power was to control Libya’s natural resources and for the Western powers to remain in the African Continent as a dominant force politically and economically. The West also wanted Africa to use its currencies instead of Gaddafi’s plan for the gold dinar. The West preferred their corporations and their special interest groups to exploit Libya’s natural resources and its gold reserves. Refugees are also coming from Kosovo (Is this where a statue of U.S. President of Bill Clinton is located?); Mali, Albania and several other countries where some sort of US-NATO involvement took place, but Washington and the main-stream media insist that Russia is to blame.

All of the countries just mentioned contributed to Europe’s refugee crisis leads us to conclude that it was the US government and its NATO patsies who intervened in one way or another that caused the crisis. Who believes General Breedlove’s nonsense? What is insane is that NATO’s interventions in the Middle East and North Africa affects Europe’s borders due to the EU’s new immigration policies which eventually puts a strain on the economy. The European taxpayers eventually end up paying for the housing, food and other benefits for the refugees.

US-NATO actions are the cause and effect due to its “humanitarian interventions.” Wars breed death and destruction. Wars also breed mass migrations of families who flee their war torn countries in search of safety and new economic opportunities to survive. NATO is truly sowing the seeds of destruction for Europe and the rest of the world. When will the European citizenry stop NATO’s irresponsible foreign interventions that are not only destroying Nation-states in various regions in the world, but their own territories as well? Maybe they should blame European politicians in Brussels that allowed this crisis to happen in the first place? Would that change anything? I doubt it; besides, NATO is just a gaggle of vassal states that are mainly controlled by American politicians, Wall Street, corporations and special interests groups located across the Atlantic Ocean.

Can NATO’s War against Russia be its Last War?

Russia will not attack NATO forces on its borders nor will they allow an attack on its territory by NATO forces even if it means launching its nuclear weapons to protect itself. An article published by Dmitry Orlov, editor and founder ofwww.cluborlov.blogspot.org with a collaboration of Russian scholars, authors and bloggers including Evgenia Gurevich, Ph.D.(http://thesaker.ru), Scientist Victor Katsap, PhD, Sr. (NuFlare Technology America, Inc), Andrei Kozhev, Serge Lubomudrov and the The Saker (A. Raevsky) titled ‘A Russian Warning’ starts with an introduction of their concerns regarding war against Russia and China by the US-NATO alliance:

We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China

The article clearly states what the consequences of such a devastating war would be:

The US leadership has done everything it could to push the situation to the brink of disaster. First, its anti-Russian policies have convinced the Russian leadership that making concessions or negotiating with the West is futile. It has become apparent that the West will always support any individual, movement or government that is anti-Russian, be it tax-cheating Russian oligarchs, convicted Ukrainian war criminals, Saudi-supported Wahhabi terrorists in Chechnya or cathedral-desecrating punks in Moscow. Now that NATO, in violation of its previous promises, has expanded right up to the Russian border, with US forces deployed in the Baltic states, within artillery range of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, the Russians have nowhere left to retreat. They will not attack; nor will they back down or surrender. The Russian leadership enjoys over 80% of popular support; the remaining 20% seems to feel that it is being too soft in opposing Western encroachment. But Russia will retaliate, and a provocation or a simple mistake could trigger a sequence of events that will end with millions of Americans dead and the US in ruins.

Unlike many Americans, who see war as an exciting, victorious foreign adventure, the Russians hate and fear war. But they are also ready for it, and they have been preparing for war for several years now. Their preparations have been most effective. Unlike the US, which squanders untold billions on dubious overpriced arms programs such as the F-35 joint task fighter, the Russians are extremely stingy with their defense rubles, getting as much as 10 times the bang for the buck compared to the bloated US defense industry. While it is true that the Russian economy has suffered from low energy prices, it is far from being in shambles, and a return to growth is expected as early as next year. Senator John McCain once called Russia “A gas station masquerading as a country.” Well, he lied. Yes, Russia is the world’s largest oil producer and second-largest oil exporter, but it is also world’s largest exporter of grain and nuclear power technology. It is as advanced and sophisticated a society as the United States. Russia’s armed forces, both conventional and nuclear, are now ready to fight, and they are more than a match for the US and NATO, especially if a war erupts anywhere near the Russian border

I agree with their assessment because the U.S. military would lose another war (they have lost several wars throughout their entire history). Not only because their war record signifies their losing streak, the U.S. does not have the strength, the advanced technology they claim they have (as in the case of the failed Air Force F-35 program which was flawed and cost more than a trillion dollars to produce), the moral authority or on the “Right Side” of history to start a war against Russia and China.

For Now, Washington (a bully in its own right) will continue to target smaller, weaker nations with their terrorists who they fund, train and manage in the Middle East and Africa. They will continue to destabilize governments through “regime change” in Latin America as they recently did in Brazil and are in the process of targeting Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia through their Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) or controlled “opposition groups” allied with Washington and Wall Street. The American Empire will continue to rape and pillage the planet’s resources; after all, the American Empire follows the typical patterns of past empires who committed similar crimes against humanity.

As for NATO forces on Russia’s borders, they would be destroyed in less than three days if they were foolish enough to follow Washington’s orders, then again Vassal states have no say in their own foreign or domestic affairs in the first place. NATO is a willing participant waiting for its annihilation as they sacrifice their lives and their nations in a war against Russia not for Europe, but for the American Empire.

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The Obama administration does not want peace in Syria. The Russians finally have to admit to themselves that the U.S. is no partner for a continuation of a cease fire, a coordinated attack against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and for peace in Syria. Indeed, as Lavrov explains, the U.S. has againasked to spare al-Qaeda from Russian air strikes even as two UN Security Council resolutions demand its eradication. Huge supply convoys (vid) from Turkey are again going to the “rebels” who will, as always, share them with al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

The current renewed Syrian Arab Army attack towards Raqqa is being obstructed not only by sandstorms but also by a timely attack of al-Qaeda, Ahrar al Sham and Turkestan Islamist Party forcesagainst government positions in the south Aleppo countryside.

More than 1,000 militants have begun an offensive against Syrian army positions southwest of Aleppo, the Russian ceasefire monitoring center in Syria said in a statement on Saturday.The center also reported civilians in Aleppo as saying armed groups partly made up of Turkish soldiers had appeared north of the city.

The exactly same scheme happened in March and April when a move towards eastern Syrian by the Syrian army had to be stopped to prevent further losses against al-Qaeda south of Aleppo. It seems obvious that these moves U.S. supported forces are planned to prevent any gains of the Syrian government in the east.

Today Lavrov again talked to Kerry:

“Lavrov expressed concern about attempts to delay the resumption of political negotiations under various pretexts,” the [Russian foreign] ministry said.

As the U.S. is unwilling to settle the Syria conflict Russia will have to retake the initiative.

Is this a trap? Does the U.S. want Russia to sink into a quagmire in Syria? That is certainly a possibility but it is hard to see how this could happen when Russia comes back with a vengeance and strikes hard and fast.

Russian airstrikes against terrorists in Syria have tripled over the last days. Additional resources have been silently dispatched:

Without stirring a buzz similar to that of their first military intervention in Syria, the Russians this week disembarked ground forces and paratroopers in the port of Tartus to support more than 3,000 Russian volunteers dispatched to the region in the past few weeks, in a bid to revive coordination with the Syrian army.

Syrian sources stated that the Russian joint command staff, which coordinated aerial support operations last fall, had returned to the Hmeimim military base in Latakia province to begin preparations for new operations.

One can only hope that the Russian leadership has learned its lesson. That it will not stop to pursue the enemy for no political gain when it is again, as it likely will soon be, on the run.

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And Who Was the Second Shooter?

In commemoration of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination on this day nearly half a century ago, WhoWhatWhy offers a real treat to students of history. In an extensive podcast, Kennedy confidante Paul Schrade, who was also shot that fateful night, talks about his relationship to RFK and reveals insights never heard before. The 91-year-old Schrade begins with a leisurely reminiscence on early labor and political days, of special interest to those with some background in those issues. Starting nine minutes in, he turns to the RFK assassination.

Paul Schrade had known Bobby Kennedy for years. They had worked in the political trenches, helped organize the farmworkers in California and developed a close bond. That night in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel, Schrade was shot in the head and Kennedy was killed. For years Schrade has maintained that Sirhan Sirhan was not the lone shooter. He has devoted himself to proving that assertion.

In this conversation with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman, Schrade, now 91, talks at great length about his relationship with Bobby and what happened that night.

RFK Assassination, Paul Schrade, Sirhan Sirhan

Criminalist and Coroner trace trajectories of bullets (upper left); Sirhan Sirhan in his jail cell, August, 1968 (lower left); Paul Schrade with Robert F. Kennedy (right). Photo credit: California State Archives and MALDEF / YouTube

He tells stories that will certainly add to the historical record of of Bobby Kennedy and his assassination. Listening to Schrade is like sitting back and settling in to look at a long and compelling audio documentary of events from 48 years ago.

After taking us through the events and the subsequent investigation, you can hear the pain and reluctance from Schrade when he talks about how Bobby might have changed the country, had he lived.

Related WhoWhatWhy stories:

Sirhan: A “Manchurian Candidate” in the RFK Assassination?

The Full Story of the Sirhan Sirhan Parole Hearing

The Tortured Logic Behind Sirhan Sirhan’s Parole Denial

Update: Sirhan Denied Parole; RFK Friend Distraught

download rss-35468_640Click HERE to Download Mp3

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Robert Kennedy (Sven Walnum Photograph Collection / JFK Library)

Full Text Transcript:

Jeff Schechtman: Welcome to radio WhoWhatWhy. I’m Jeff Schechtman.

48 years ago, on June 5, 1968, the world shifted on its axes. The assassination of Bobby Kennedy, after his victory in the California primary, changed politics forever. Unfortunately today few remember those events, what they meant and what Bobby Kennedy might have offered the country. One of those that do remember is our guest today on radio whowhatwhy, Paul Schrade. Paul is now 91 years old. His memories of the details of that night of being shot himself and of his long relationship with Bobby are crystal clear. The problem is he’s not asked enough to tell those stories. During the next 48 minutes, we hope that you’ll stay with us for this unique opportunity to go back in time, to actually go back in history, and listen to Paul Schrade telling stories and sharing with us some of the very special and personal memories. I hope that when you finish listening you’ll all feel that you understand some of the mystery surrounding Robert Kennedy’s death and how he actually might have changed America. It is my pleasure to welcome Paul Schrade to radio whowhatwhy.

Paul Schrade: Thank you, Jeff.

Jeff: It’s great to have you here. First tell us a little bit about your history with Bobby. How did you two get to know each other and a little bit about your involvement in the campaign back in ’68.

Paul: Well, I was a really great fan of the Kennedy brothers. We were supporting Adlai Stevenson ’52/ ’56 and I first met them at a Democratic convention in Chicago. We were coming out of the UAW (United Auto Workers) union reception area. And they walked up to Walter Reuther, the president of our union, and me, and Jack said, “Walter, how can I get your support for the vice presidential nomination?” Bob joined in and Walter said to him, “Young man, you’ve got to change your voting record,” very sternly. And they laughed and left. That was our first contact. And in ’60 I’d been a president of my local union United Auto Workers at North American Aviation and had gone to Detroit to be an assistant to Reuther, and Walter was supporting in ‘60 Jack Kennedy but we had an open endorsement policy. I was campaigning for Stevenson. And, at some point, it became evident that Stevenson was not going to actively campaign but was sort of waiting for the third round as a candidate and be drafted. And I felt that was not a very good idea because Lyndon Johnson was also in the race. So I went to Walter and said, ‘Look, I’m giving up on Stevenson, I don’t think he’s that interested in making a fight for it.’ Walter, the president of my union, he called Bob Kennedy and Bob said: ‘I’ll send  Paul back to California. He can work on the Stevenson delegates of  ’52/’56 and I’ll bring him over to Jack Kennedy.’ I agreed to do that and that’s why I spent a couple weeks ahead of the convention to work with Bob and was very active. We actually shifted a bunch of Stevenson people over to Jack Kennedy. So that was my first working operation. He was just a wonderful guy to work with, very friendly, delightful, very coordinated and effective in working for his brother. A number of things happened at the convention which really cemented my relationship with Bob. The Michigan delegation of the ‘60 convention was off the floor objecting, as most of the labor union leadership, objecting to the Johnson choice for vice president. I worked with Bob and with Walter Reuther, and  was able to get a very liberal statement of Johnson over the Michigan delegation which was off the floor wanting to put up “Soapy” Williams, the governor of Michigan as a candidate against Johnson. When the vice president of our union, Leonard Woodcock, read that statement, you could just feel the pressure go off. And they decided not to oppose Johnson but sort of vote no one. Anyway that was the kind of thing working with Robert Kennedy.  You can see that if you’re effective he would build – we built a relationship.

Jeff: And after the JFK assassination, talk a little bit about your interaction with the Kennedy’s after that.

Paul: Bob was really in bad shape after that. I spent some time with him in Washington at meetings and he would just sit with his hands clenched, sort of bent over in his chair, and just not talk very much. It took about a year before he actually got out of that serious gloom, that suffering over the loss of his brother. The next thing that happened was we began working with the farm workers’ union with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, back in ’65. There was a senate committee that Bob was on that was going to investigate this and Bob was not scheduled to come out.

So I made a couple of calls. Peter Edelman, who worked for Bob, actually convinced Bob to come to California. He spent two days in ’65 touring, housing, showing how…, understanding how the farm worker housing was just as bad as what he thought of Mississippi. So he really grabbed onto this, and when we had a hearing at the Delano high school, up in San Joaquin Valley farm area, the sheriff and the DA were there, the issue was ‘why are you arresting peaceful pickets?’ He said, “Well, we are being threatened by other workers and other people are coming to kill you. Get away from the picket lines” and so forth. And so Bob said “That’s kind of strange. During lunch break, why don’t you go read the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and understand the right to peaceful picketing?” That just brought down the house. Following that, there was a very brief conversation with Cesar and Dolores out front. Bob was not very talkative at some times. So they looked at each other and said a few things.

Then, we would all walk the picket line and I’ve never been on a picket line with a person holding office. Here, the US senator was walking on the farmworkers picket line of the biggest grape vineyard in California, the DiGeorgio Ranch, which was on strike. This was really a wonderful experience and he really picked up on the movement. When he was asked to do anything, he would always respond. He built this relationship to a point where in 1966 or 1968 when he started campaigning in California, he was immediately endorsed by Dolores Huerta and Chavez. That became an important part of the campaign. It was that relationship that I had with him that was carried over to the farm workers’ struggle and it was very important in the election of  ’68.

Jeff:  Talk a little bit about that night, 48 years ago.

Paul: Well, it looked pretty close because there was stand-in for Hubert Humphrey and also Gene McCarthy was on the ballot, but the contest was really between McCarthy and Kennedy. It was very tight. I was doing my job as a union rep at that point, reopening up negotiations with Douglas Aircraft along with president Reuther of my union. So we also flew up north and came back. I actually voted of course early in the morning. We went north for a meeting and came back and I was going home because I thought victory celebrations are not my thing, but word was out on the radio about 8, 9 o’clock that it didn’t look too good for Kennedy. So I decided to go down to the hotel and a friend of mine came and said “Bob heard you were here in the hotel, come on upstairs.”

So we spent the evening just waiting for the count taking phone calls. It was just a wonderful time because the spirits began lifting as it became closer and closer to his victory in California. At one point we decided to go downstairs and Bob and Fred Dutton and Frank Mankiewicz went into the bedroom and went over his notes and decided to go downstairs. On the way down, he said, “Look, I don’t have Dolores Huerta on my notes and I understand that Cesar Chavez can’t be here, would you write it down?” So I did that and ran down the stairs from the fifth floor and caught up with them in the kitchen and went to the embassy ballroom where there was over a thousand people just cheering away–a lot of young people, very mixed group of supporters. It was just a real sensational time for me because I had some problems with Reuther over my endorsement of Robert Kennedy. In fact Lyndon Johnson called Reuther at one point and asked him to get me out of the race after I’d endorsed them. That was before Reuther had made up his mind but he totally refused so it was a real moment of joy for me to be there with him and being thanked by him on the platform as the votes came in for him.

Jeff: And talk a little bit about what happened afterwards.

Paul: Bob was supposed to go off the left side of the platform but it was understood he shouldn’t go back the way he came in–sort of a strategic decision for protection. I went off the left of the platform through the waiter doors into the kitchen and pantry area and waited for him. He came out the back of the stage alone at that point which was really strange because his bodyguards weren’t with him and Ethel wasn’t with him. Ethel was pregnant at that point with Lori. Bob’s bodyguard, Bill Barry, who was his official bodyguard, Rafer Johnson and Rosie Grier were also standing in because these two big guys, they were behind him and Bob said to me, “I want you and Jess with me.” I turned around and saw Jess behind us and waved them on. And Bob then stopped and shook hands with a couple of kitchen workers who I got to know. One was Ron Juan Romero who was the last one to shake hands with Robert Kennedy. Then we moved eastward towards the Colonial Room, which was the end of the pantry area where the media was waiting for him. At that point as we turned and walked eastward, the television lights went on and blinded me. And I started shaking. I didn’t know what happened. I actually felt I was being electrocuted. Bob got shot in the head and at that point went down.

Jeff: When that happened, you were unconscious at the time, correct?

Paul: Yes, I was unconscious at the time and for some time I was in and out of consciousnesses and I was being taken care of. I didn’t know for some time that Bob had been shot and four other people had been shot. But I was being taken care of by a friend of mine from the retail clerks union, who actually saw me and thought I was dead and put one of Kennedy’s campaign hats over my face. But then he felt a heartbeat and took the hat off and put it under my head. Well at that point I knew Bob had been shot and he knew I’d been shot. This timing is pretty important because it’s important to know that I was shot first. Sirhan got off two shots, missed Robert Kennedy and I was right behind him, about 6 feet behind him at that point, missed Robert Kennedy and hit me in the top of my head and then somebody else behind Robert Kennedy shot him. At that time, Bob was heard to say, by a young student organizer for Kennedy named Lidrick…it was reported by UPA, UPI and the FBI didn’t really leave the story for some time because I thought it was a little weird that Bob would be that knowledgeable. But Lidrick said that he heard Robert Kennedy say, “Is everybody okay? Is Paul alright?”

He was aware, at that point, that was confirmed later. I found the FBI statement of Dr. Stanley Abo. Bob must’ve asked him too a few minutes later because Abo said to Bob, “I just checked on Paul. He’s breathing okay. He’s going to be all right.” And Bob closed his eyes. I started being interested in all other things he said. The only thing that I knew he said after that got reported was that when Ethel got to him a few minutes afterwards, because she was pushed down, as the bullets started flying, by Rafer, Rosie, and Bill Barry down on the floor. So when she got to him, he said to her, “Ethel, oh Ethel.” Ethel said to him, “You’re going to be okay Bobby.” And the last thing I knew he said was that as he was being lifted on a gurney, he said “No, don’t lift me, don’t lift me.” That was it. The horrible, horrible night… we never did know for some time whether he is going live through it. But within 24 hours he had died.

Jeff:  The official version of what happened that night has Sirhan Sirhan as the only shooter. At what point did you really begin to think that first of all that wasn’t the whole story, and when did you begin to be active in trying to bring to light other facts about it?

Paul: Well, I accepted everything… I really was torn apart by this. I wasn’t doing my job in the union. I was regional director in the autoworkers union for a hundred thousand workers in the state of California. It was a staff of 30 and people began saying to me, “Paul you got to settle down. You’re angry and you’re depressed.” I finally was defeated and knew I was going to be defeated for office when I was up for reelection in ’72. I just felt that I had to get out of it. And I went back to work in the factory, which was a very quiet and organized place where I could suffer through the rest of this. It was just a terrible, terrible time. Then I kept–during ’71- ’72, I was still active in the antiwar movement and it was one of three co chairing of the biggest rally in California with about 200,000 people in San Francisco.

The important point about that was that I met my wife at a party after that. Monica Weil who became my wife and that was a good decision of going back to work and being married because I have become more settled at that point because it was horrible getting over the loss of Robert Kennedy, what it did to me, but also what it did to the country, to his family and to a lot of other people who were relying on him. So it was a terrible recovery period. In ’74 Allard Lowenstein, who was the head of the Dump Johnson movement, had been a member of Congress, high on the Nixon enemies list. He came to me and Monica here in my home in L.A. and said, “You got a role to play in this. There’s some issues we think that show we don’t know everything about what happened that night.” He took me down to meet that night a couple of people. They were right here in our neighborhood, four, five blocks away. Lillian Castellano  and Floyd Nelson. And they actually began investigating the case back in ’68. Here it was ’74, ‘75 and I didn’t know anything about what they’re doing. Actually what they found was that some friends of theirs had a photograph of what they claim were two bullet holes in the doorframe in the pantry area behind us when we were walking through the pantry.

They tried to get answers from the LAPD and the DA, but they were sent off. They went public with an LA Free Press article and got some attention but not very much. They did get the attention of District Attorney, Evelle Younger, who said that after the trial of Sirhan in 1969, a little over a year after the shooting, that he was going to open up the files, there is lots of information there, we don’t want another Dallas, there’ll be full disclosure. We only found out later in ’88 when we got the files that were locked up actually, we found out that those two people who said they saw those bullet holes in the door frame, they are actually a destruct order within a few weeks of their announcing this publicly. So here again we were supposed to get full disclosure. The files are locked up and they wouldn’t answer any of our questions. That was a really hard road to go. We started that in ’74/’75 with our long stance leading the way, and some really good attorneys, at that point, who were helping us.

Jeff: And where did the investigation go from there, because it seems like there were quite a number of years where it was really dormant.

Paul:  What I was able to do was file a lawsuit as a victim against Sirhan and any others that might be involved. The judge granted us access to the files, but we only got a few photographs, they said, ‘We don’t have the files’ which is a lie. So our next move was to ask the court to set up a panel of experts and re-fired a set for handguns to see if they match the bullets that were in evidence and we were able to get that. CBS network actually came in on the lawsuit. So we had their attorneys and our attorneys working on this very diligently. I had the right to choose one of the experts. And the other parties did too. So we had seven really great experts to go over the evidence and we were astounded by what we found. They re-fired the gun and tried to match up against three bullets that the district attorney and the police department submitted to the court and to this panel.

The three bullets they sent matched each other. One was the Kennedy neck bullet, the only whole bullet extracted from the floor that were shot at Robert Kennedy. And the Weisel bullet, they were able to extract his bullet and one from Ira Goldstein, the other two other victims. Those bullets matched each other but they didn’t match the Sirhan gun. The neck bullet wouldn’t have matched the Sirhan gun anyway because it was fired by the second gunman so this is the dilemma that we faced and we tried to get them to go further with this evidence, but we were blocked by Evelle Younger, who is now the Attorney General for the state, who was this guy who was for open disclosure. Well he filed lawsuits and he filed against our having any further testing. Here we are with this expert panel of seven experts are saying that the bullets don’t match the Sirhan gun. It was a devastating thing because it actually proved there was a second gunman involved. Because of the bullet 47, if it matched the other bullets, then there was something happening. Our theory which is pretty well founded on fact is that they substituted bullets from outside the guns, a gun they took out of a storage in order to have bullets all coming from the same gun to cover up the Kennedy neck bullet, which came from the second gun. Here we were with all this information, and the DA at the time and the Attorney General were opposed to anything further and the judge closed down the case. Then there was this long period when we couldn’t get into the files. We began fighting for the files. We went to the grand jury in ’72. The grand jury wouldn’t hear us, even though we had a right to be heard on the evidence that we had. We also went to the district attorney with 5000 documents and all the evidence of the second gunman. Anyway, it wasn’t until 2008 that we’re able to get any further information going. That was the result of Brad Johnson, a senior writer, now retired from CNN. He found an audiotape in the files. It shows that the files we actually got the files in 1988. They went into the California State archives of…

A major list came out saying ‘this evidence has been destroyed or is missing’, which really again, complicated the case. Brad Johnson’s discovery that there is an audiotape in the files had a label on it saying “May be gunshots”. About 200 audiotapes, but many of them have been destroyed. There are only 200 left. But out of the 200, there’s only one that had any kind of audio evidence because the media people or anyone covering the walk to the media concert had their tape recorder shut off. And this one guy, a Polish journalist named Pruszynski hadn’t turned it off. And that was the tape that Brad Johnson found. He turned it over to a really great forensic expert, Philip Van Praag who at that point had 40 years in forensics and audiotape working for a lot of the big corporations. And he was able to find 13 shots on the tape and two double shots which meant that the gun expert and firing a gun similar to Sirhan’s could not fire it fast enough…  The two double shots show there were actually two guns firing and not only fired from Mr. Sirhan’s gun.

So here we had this new evidence and we took it to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. They joined us in asking for the reopening of the case. We began moving again to the district attorney here and also to the chief of police. They wouldn’t answer us. We gave them the full files and a book on the case written by Van Praag and his co-author [Robert Jowling?] who’s been a judge and lawyer and taught forensics in Arizona college. These two experts put all this evidence together, all the files together in a 500-page book and published hundreds just for lawyers and experts. So at this point we’re able to advance the case, but again, going to the DA, going to the chief of police, going to the US attorney, going to Holder, the Attorney General of the United States, a friend of the family with a letter from Bobby Kennedy supporting a new investigation. We never heard from him. They just closed the door on us. They wouldn’t answer. Now our understanding of that is they know what we know that there was a second gunman. That the evidence shows there was a second gunman and they’re just not ready to expose that to the public. Because they know we know! We know that there is evidence that there is a second gunman. That it is so clear and concise that any person, even a rookie police officer, would know there was a second gunman firing that night.

Jeff:  It’s easy to see why the district attorney in Los Angeles and the LAPD has resisted the reopening of this. I mean they would know there was clearly a rush to judgment on their part. They’re looking to protect their interest. Why do you think there has been such resistance with respect to the Justice Department?

Paul: First of all, we’re finally told by the US attorney it’s not a federal case. That wasn’t a position that the Attorney General Holder gave us. He just didn’t answer us but [Andre Barat?] the US attorney for our section of California, he did one good thing: he facilitated a retest of the gun by the FBI. We got Van Praag to give his scholarly paper on the evidence of the second gun. The two guns and 13 shots. That went to the FBI lab so he was cooperating that way. But the lab came back and said they couldn’t even find eight shots of Sirhan on the tape. Then we found out that the Washington Post and certain forensic societies have been really seriously critical of the FBI. A lot of falsified forensics on a lot of gunshot cases and here we are dealing with a false FBI lab and getting a report back saying they can’t even find eight shots and also saying that Van Praag cleared this with his fellow scientists. You know that that system, you have new evidence, a new discovery, you got to do peer review.

Here we have this information and they could have used it. I actually agreed to send Van Praag to the FBI lab but that was ignored. Anyway here we are, now it’s a local case. The US Attorney and the Attorney General couldn’t have done anything with it. Although they could have recommended the locals to go with us. So it’s really a state and local case and that’s where we are at the present time. Sirhan does have a case going. Two really great lawyers, William Pepper and Lori Dusek, who are operating on the basis that Sirhan was programmed and that’s been proven with a scientist from Harvard Medical School who has shown that Sirhan was easily manipulated through hypnosis and probably was programmed.

Well, I don’t go there with that. What I’m doing is going on the physical evidence and actually going after the prosecutors indicting them for falsifying evidence, for destroying evidence, and ignoring the fact that Sirhan was actually a captive after the two shots and in no way could have shot Robert Kennedy with two shots at Kennedy, one hit me, Ms. Kennedy. He was then captured and thrown up against the steam table facedown with his gun-hand being pounded on the steam table so his gun was firing away from Kennedy westward and Kennedy was eastward. That was at the point as he started firing a gun, six more shots, according to the audiotape. The second gunman, at the same time they were firing in unison six westward by Sirhan and four eastward into Robert’s head by the second gunman. So we get over that hurdle of trying to get peer review of the audiotape testing by Van Praag, where he proves 13 shots of two guns and two different guns shooting in opposite directions.

We can now prove that the fact that Sirhan fired those two shots, missed, and then, with his hand being pounded on the steam table, shot four other people with five shots. So here are two shots that he got off at me and Robert Kennedy. Five more shots wounding four people and one shot going through one of the guys’ hands. Here’s proof of seven shots being fired by Sirhan out of an eight-shot revolver with no chance to load it even if he had extra bullets in his pocket. Here we can prove that those bullets could not have gone into Robert Kennedy. He was firing in a different direction at that point. And the second gunman was firing eastward rather than westward. So here we had the physical evidence that really confirms Van Praag’s scientific evidence that he created and analyzing that audiotape. So we’re in a hell of a good position at this point to prove the second gun. Two ways. One by the firing of the gun of Sirhan, two, one missing Kennedy, two missing Kennedy, one hitting me. And the six other shots  being taken care of. There is no possible way for Sirhan to fire those four shots. First of all, he’s out of position and he’s out of bullets! And it’s that kind of physical evidence now that we have, that proves that Van Praag’s scientific stuff that they said why you don’t have to peer review, the asinine position taken by the FBI, by the DA, and by the police chief here.

Jeff: It’s important to point out that over the years Sirhan’s position has been that he remembers none of it.

Paul: I really believe him and he understands that and he said this, “If I will confess to this and I was able to remember enough, I would’ve been out of prison a long time ago.” He would’ve been up for parole in 1974 and then if he had been behaving himself  ’69 to ’74, he would have been out of jail by now. So he is in a terrible position to say that “I don’t remember” and believing it and not being able to get out of prison. If he actually is out there and said “Yes I did it. I know I was doing it. I was doing this for this reason and that,” and made a total confession, he would be out of prison by now. So his memory problem is a serious one. I think in a way that substantiates that he knows he could have confessed something earlier to clear the record. Even though that would be lying on his own terms, he would be out of prison.

Jeff: If in fact the case would be reopened, if in fact the investigation would be reopened, and there was a conclusion on the part of all of the law enforcement authorities, from the Justice Department to the LAPD and an agreement that there was a second gun, where does that leave things?

Paul: That’s where we are at this point. We know there was a second gun. They won’t investigate. They refuse to investigate and they’ve refused to investigate for nearly 50 years, 48 years. They’ll continue to do that. How we get them to come to even this, to recognize they have a responsibility to this is a very difficult thing to do, because they know what we’re saying is correct, because we’re on the record. We’ve got a book on it. We submitted files to several district attorneys, to this district attorney, Jackie Lacey. To this chief of police, Chief Beck, Charlie Beck. They know the case and they know there was a second gunman. But they are not willing to admit this and put their whole apparatus in some sort of jeopardy. I don’t know why truth jeopardizes them, it certainly jeopardizes their integrity as peace officers.

Jeff: How do you think this will play out at this point?

Paul: Well, my first step was to acknowledge what we know about Sirhan, that he didn’t do it and couldn’t have done it and that was covered up completely by the investigation. That’s why I went down to visit him because I’ve been working with his lawyers, although I don’t collaborate with them, technically, because they have a different strategy and a different case than I do. My case is that the prosecutors actually framed Sirhan and covered up the evidence that he didn’t do it and covered up the evidence of the second gunman. They accused Sirhan.[?] Well, I’m accusing them of actually not doing their job and knowing it. So we’re running on parallel courses. One reason I went down to say to Sirhan mainly, “You did not do it. Even though you believe you did it and you are convicted for doing it and don’t remember doing it. You actually did not do it and I know that. The evidence shows that clearly and it’s conclusive. I wanted him to know that somebody was working on the case. I said to him, “I forgive you for shooting me. You didn’t know who I was. I was an innocent bystander. You were there shooting at Robert Kennedy and missed.

You shot me and then you were captured. You were not able to shoot Robert Kennedy. I want to make it clear to him that there might be some hope in this, that we can get him out of prison. Knowing Robert Kennedy and knowing him well, Robert Kennedy would be appalled at what they’re doing to this guy. They’re harassing him. They’re holding these parole board hearings and going over this case. So he’s in there, he’s up on good behavior. But they refuse to recognize that there’s evidence that he didn’t do it. So that’s what made me so angry at that meeting. I know I was out of control when I was there, but this year I found out that I had victim rights to go to the parole board. That was the first time I ever knew this.

So I applied and I was instructed to say anything I wanted and take as much time as I wanted.  I would be the last one of the parole board hearing. But after listening for a couple of hours to the parole board people, going over his record, talking about, and asking where he could go if he were released. “Yes, I could go back to Jordan, I have some family there. I’m still a citizen of Jordan. Yes I could go back to Pasadena. My brothers are living in our family home and they would take care of me.” In a way, sort of tantalizing him with this. I just felt really awful for him that they were doing this all because they were not going to release him. Then, the assistant district attorney-retired, who handles the parole boards for the district attorney just went after him viciously based on really false evidence that I knew was wrong and I contended with him as he was doing this.

Fortunately, there was an AP reporter and he was watching all of this as I, who was sitting next to him. He could see how agitated I was when I had a chance to speak out. When I started talking to Sirhan, who was across the table about eight feet away from me, the chairman of the parole board said to me, “Mr. Schrade, you cannot talk to him directly.” I said, “Look, I’m here. I know my victim rights. That’s why I’m here! I want to tell him that he didn’t shoot Robert Kennedy. I was going to do that and just sent them off. But I was stopped a number of times when I have a prepared statement and I tried to read it and did it pretty well but I got through it. Towards the end of the day, they took a recess and came back and said to us, ” Well, we’ll have another hearing in five years.” You know, it’s so horrible. Sirhan, as I was talking, would nod occasionally and was listening very intently. But as he moved away from his position on the other end of the table, he was going to come fairly close to me and he was smiling for the first time and reached out his hand and I was approaching him to shake his hand, they wouldn’t allow that. They just yanked him, the guards yanked him and put him back to his cell.

Jeff: Is it your sense, Paul, that the cover-up, the refusal to reopen the investigation, is covering up on the part of the LAPD in the LA district attorney’s office, covering up previous incompetence, or is there something more behind it?

Paul: Well, there were two cases the year before. In ’67 there was this Jack Kirschke case  which every once in a while we will get a little blip on the screen on that. Back in ’74 and ’75 because Chief Davis told me that’s the Kirschke case but I didn’t pick up on that. What I found out recently the Kirschke case was a deputy district attorney of Evelle Younger, who shot his wife and her lover in their bed, and then tried to cover up with an alibi. So Evelle Younger had this case going and it went on appeal. The guy, who was convicted, wasn’t jailed and it went on appeal. So here, Evelle Younger had this sort of scandalous thing happening in his own operation.

When the appeals court came down in 1975, at the time we first got involved, they really attack Younger and his criminalist for perjurious conduct and showing a number of ways they actually tried to fix this case to make this guy look innocent. I can’t go into details regarding all the things they did in the Kirschke case but there is a parallel situation in the Robert Kennedy case, where they did exactly the same thing, got away with it by falsifying evidence and producing all sides of evidence to the jury. The California Appeals Court actually attacked the criminalist and Younger for their behavior. And that is repeated over the Robert Kennedy case. It becomes a very political thing, particularly for Evelle Younger who was running for attorney general during the Robert Kennedy Sirhan case and had this Kirschke case in his background as well. I think there was a lot of politics involved in this, mainly based upon what Evelle Younger’s ambitions were at that point and why he’s trying to cover up what he did.  He covered up the second gunman and he covered up the fact that Sirhan was a captive after two shots and was unable to shoot Robert Kennedy. And they knew that.

Jeff: Paul, when you look at our politics today, what do you think Robert Kennedy would think of where we are today?

Paul: Haha, how funny. Robert Kennedy would have an answer like that. Such a good person and he developed very rapidly, you know. He became the best political person I’d ever known and really deep into problems people were facing: poor people, people of color, of different origins and so forth. He was really a great human being. That you could see developing, right from 1956 when I first met him until ‘68. He would be appalled at what is happening now. And I think the other speculation is, if he had lived, would we be the same as we are now, with terrible politics, the Republican Party, and this horrible person, Donald Trump, running for president. Again you’re trying to predict back [on from all this] [     ???].

Jeff: Paul Schrade, I thank you so much for spending time with us.

Paul: Okay.

Jeff: I appreciate it. Thank you for being with us. And thank you for listening and joining us here in radio whowhatwhy. I hope you’ll join us next week for another radiowhowhatwhy podcast. I’m Jeff Schechtman.

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Did Clinton’s Emails Expose CIA Agents?

June 6th, 2016 by Peter Van Buren

Even as Hillary Clinton closes in on the Democratic nomination, facts continue to emerge indicating that her sloppy email practices may have endangered secrets, including the identities of covert operatives, writes Peter Van Buren.

These are facts. You can look at the source documents yourself. This is not opinion, conjecture, or rumor. Hillary Clinton transmitted the names of American intelligence officials via her unclassified email.

From a series of Clinton emails, numerous names were redacted in the State Department releases with the classification code “B3 CIA PERS/ORG,” a highly specialized classification that means the information, if released, would violate the Central Intelligence Act of 1949 by exposing the names of CIA officials.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Freedom of information Act (FOIA) requires the government to release all, or all parts of a document, that do not fall under a specific set of allowed exemptions. If information cannot be excluded, it must be released. If some part of a document can be redacted to allow the rest of the document to be released, then that is what must be done. Each redaction must be justified by citing a specific reason for exclusion.

But don’t believe me. Instead, look at page two of this State Department document which lists the exemptions.

Note specifically the different types of “(b)(3)” redactions, including “CIA PERS/ORG.” As common sense would dictate, the government will not release the names of CIA employees via the FOIA process. It would — literally — be against the law. What law? Depending on the nature of the individual’s job at CIA, National Security Act of 1947, the CIA Act of 1949, various laws that govern undercover/clandestine CIA officers and, potentially, the Espionage Act of 1917.

Yet Hillary’s emails contain at least three separate, specific instances where she mentioned in an unclassified email transmitted across the open Internet and wirelessly to her Blackberry the names of CIA personnel. Here they are. Look for the term “(b)(3) CIA PERS/ORG” Click on the links and see for yourself: CIA OneCIA TwoCIA Three

There are also numerous instances of exposure of the names and/or email addresses of NSA employees (“B3 NSA”); see page 23 inside this longer PDF document.

Why It Matters

— These redactions point directly to violations of specific laws. It is not a “mistake” or minor rule-breaking.

— These redactions strongly suggest that the Espionage Act’s standard of mishandling national defense information through “gross negligence” may have been met by Clinton.

— There is no ambiguity in this information, no possible claims to faux-retroactive classification, not knowing, information not being labeled, etc. Clinton and her staff know that one cannot mention CIA names in open communications. It is one of the most basic tenets taught and exercised inside the government. One protects one’s colleagues.

— Exposing these names can directly endanger the lives of the officials. It can endanger the lives of the foreigners they interacted with after a foreign government learns one of their citizens was talking with the CIA. It can blow covers and ruin sensitive clandestine operations. It can reveal to anyone listening in on this unclassified communication sources and methods. Here is a specific example of how Clinton likely compromised security.

— These redactions show complete contempt on Clinton’s part for the security process.

BONUS: There is clear precedent for others going to jail for exposing CIA names. Read the story of John KiriakouA Personal Aside: I just remain incredulous about these revelations seeming to mean nothing to the world. They’re treated in the media as almost gossip.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His second book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent. Next up is a novel about WWII Japan, Hooper’s War.

He writes about current events at www.wemeantwell.comand on Twitter @wemeantwell.

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The United States has asked Russia to stop conducting airstrikes against the al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.

Fear of hitting the US-backed militants fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government prompted the American officials to make the request, Lavrov said in a televised speech on Friday.

“They are telling us not to hit it (al-Nusra), because there is ‘normal’ opposition next … to it,” Lavrov said. “But that opposition must leave terrorists’ positions, we long have agreed on that.”

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia answers journalists' questions on May 25, 2016. (AFP photo)

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia answers journalists’ questions on May 25, 2016. (AFP photo)

The foreign minister noted that Russia and the US were closely discussing ways to secure a truce in Syria, adding that fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and al-Nusra should be a top priority.

Despite a US-Russia mediated “cessation of hostilities” in Syria that began on February 27, fighting has continued to rage in the conflict-ridden parts of the country, particularly around the city of Aleppo.

The Syrian government accepted the truce on condition that military efforts against Daesh and al-Nusra, as well as other UN-designated terror groups which are not included in the agreement, continue.

Russia first set a deadline for the US-backed militants to pull out from areas occupied by al-Nusra, but then agreed to give them more time to withdraw.

Since March, al-Nusra Front has recruited 3,000 new militants, including teenagers, in comparison to an average of 200 to 300 a month before, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has announced according to the AP.

Other sources say hundreds living in camps for displaced people in the northern parts near Turkey have joined the terrorist al-Qaeda branch.

Al-Nusra and other Takfiri terrorists hold most of the northwestern province of Idlib and parts of neighboring Aleppo province.

Last year the Pentagon launched a $500 million “train-and-equip” program to train and arm some 5,400 militants a year as a proxy ground force in Syria, but it yielded only a small cadre of under 200 militants before it was officially pulled.

Those forces are now allegedly being targeted by Russian airstrikes in the Arab country, which began September last year upon a request from Damascus.

Syria has been gripped by a foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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Khalid El Bakraoui, the alleged suicide bomber who blew himself up on the Brussels metro on March 22, was detained and questioned by police prior to the Paris attacks. He was released again due to lack of evidence. Police has not explained how El Bakraoui, whose phone was monitored, could stay undetected in the period between the Paris attacks and the Brussels attacks.

Khalid El Bakraoui lived in the Laaken district of the Belgian capital Brussels. On October 15, 2015, three weeks ahead of the so-called Paris attacks, police ransacked his apartment and detained him. Police arrived at the flat about 7 a.m. in the morning.

Police detained Khalid El Bakraoui for questioning. His computer allegedly contained “photos of terrorists” as well as “calls for an armed struggle against the west”. Police notes that he at this point “isn’t flagged as a radical” and is released.

Police claims that its units concerned with counter-terrorism, at this time, were to busy to allow them to investigate the matter further. Police allegedly only suspected Khalid El Bakraoui of arms trafficking.

The question how and why police would not consider a person under suspicion of arms trafficking, whose computer allegedly contained calls for armed struggle against the west as a potential terrorist has never really been answered.

Police had tapped El Bakraoui’s phone but imply that he used code during phone conversations; thus not substantiating any eventual suspicions for involvement in terrorism. El Bakraoui was allegedly released because of insufficient evidence.

His estranged wife reportedly wrote a letter to him, asking where he was and what he was doing, and why he was hiding everything from him. The couple was reportedly about to divorce. On March 22, Khalid El Bakraoui reportedly killed himself in a suicide bombing in the Brussels metro.

He reportedly rented the house at the address Rue du Fort 29, Ville de Charlern, that was used by the Paris attackers, using a false name. Police reportedly recognized his photo on the rent agreement and tried, unsuccessfully, to track him down. Police did not clarify how they could fail to pinpoint the position of the person whose telephone they were monitoring.

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During her 4 years as Secretary of State of the United States (2009-2014), Hillary Clinton controlled US foreign policy.  She had access to the most confidential information and state documents, numbering in the tens of thousands, from all of the major government departments and agencies, Intelligence, FBI, the Pentagon, Treasury and the office of the President. 

She had unfettered access to vital and secret information affecting US policy in all the key regions of the empire.

Today, Mme. Clinton’s critics have focused on the technical aspects of her violations of State Department procedures and guidelines regarding handling of official correspondences and her outright lies on the use of her own private e-mail server for official state business, including the handling of highly classified material in violation of Federal Records laws, as well as her hiding official documents from the Freedom of Information Act and concocting her own system exempt from the official oversight which all other government officials accept.

Prof. James Petras, image right.

For many analysts, therefore, the issue is procedural, moral and ethical.  Mme. Clinton had placed herself above and beyond the norms of State Department discipline.  This evidence of her arrogance, dishonesty and blatant disregard for rules should disqualify her from becoming the President of the United States.  While revelations of Clinton’s misuse of official documents, her private system of communication and correspondence and the shredding of tens of thousands of her official interchanges, including top secret documents, are important issues to investigate, these do not address the paramount political question:  On whose behalf was Secretary Clinton carrying out the business of US foreign policy, out of the review of government oversight?

The Political Meaning and Motivation of Clinton’s High Crimes Against the State

Secretary Clinton’s private, illegal handling of official US documents has aroused a major FBI investigation into the nature of her activities.  This is separate from the investigation by the Office of the Inspector General and implies national security violations.

There are several lines of inquiry against Mme. Clinton:

(1)  Did she work with, as yet unnamed, foreign governments and intelligence services to strengthen their positions and against the interest of the United States?

(2)  Did she provide information on the operations and policy positions of various key US policymakers to competitors, adversaries or allies undermining the activities of military, intelligence and State Department officials?

(3)  Did she seek to enhance her personal power within the US administration to push her aggressive policy of serial pre-emptive wars over and against veteran State Department and Pentagon officials who favored traditional diplomacy and less violent confrontation?

(4)  Did she prepare a ‘covert team’, using foreign or dual national operative, to lay the groundwork for her bid for the presidency and her ultimate goal of supreme military and political power?

Contextualizing Clinton’s Clandestine Operations

There is no doubt that Mme. Clinton exchanged minor as well as major official documents and letters via her private e-mail system.  Personal, family and even intimate communications may have been carried on the same server.  But the key issue is that a large volume of highly confidential government information flowed to Clinton via an unsecured private ‘back channel’ allowing her to conduct state business secretly with her correspondents.

Just who were Secretary Clinton’s most enduring, persistent and influential correspondents?  What types of exchanges were going on, which required avoiding normal oversight and a wanton disregard for security?

Clinton’s covert war policies, which included the violent overthrow of the elected Ukraine government, were carried out by her ‘Lieutenant’ Under-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a virulent neo-conservative holdover from the previous Bush Administration and someone committed to provoking Russia and to enhancing Israel’s power in the Middle East.  Clinton’s highly dangerous and economically destabilizing ‘brainchild’ of militarily encircling China, the so-called ‘pivot to Asia’, would have required clandestine exchanges with elements in the Pentagon – out of the State Department and possibly Executive oversight.

In other words, within the Washington political circuit, Secretary Clinton’s escalation of nuclear war policies toward Russia and China required secretive correspondences which would not necessarily abide with the policies and intelligence estimates of other US government agencies and with private business interests.

Clinton was deeply engaged in private exchanges with several unsavory overseas political regimes, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Honduras and Turkey involving covert violent and illegal activities.  She worked with the grotesquely corrupt opposition parties in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil

Clinton’s correspondence with the Honduran armed forces and brutal oligarchs led to the military coup against the elected President Zelaya, its violent aftermath and the phony election of a pliable puppet.  Given the government-death squad campaign against Honduran civil society activists, Clinton would certainly want to cover up her direct role in organizing the coup.  Likewise, Mme. Clinton would have destroyed her communications with Turkish President Erdogan’s intelligence operations in support of Islamist terrorist-mercenaries in Syria and Iraq.

Secretary Clinton’s e-mail would have shown her commitment to the Saudis when they brutally invaded Bahrain and Yemen to suppress independent civil society organizations and regional political rivals.

But it is Clinton’s long-term, large-scale commitment to Israel that goes far beyond her public speeches of loyalty and fealty to the Jewish state.  Hillary Clinton’s entire political career has been intimately dependent on Zionist money, Zionist mass media propaganda and Zionist Democratic Party operations.

In exchange for Clinton’s dependence on political support from the Zionist power configuration in the US, she would have become the major conduit of confidential information from the US to Israel and the transmission belt promoting Israel-centric policies within the US government.

The entire complex of Clinton-Israel linkages and correspondences has compromised the US intelligence services, the State Department and Pentagon.

Secretary Clinton went to extraordinary lengths to serve Israel, even undermining the interests of the United States.   It is bizarre that she would resort to such a crude measure, setting up a private e-mail server to conduct state business.  She blithely ignored official State Department policy and oversight and forwarded over 1,300 confidential documents and 22 highly sensitive top-secret documents related to the ‘Special Access Program’.  She detailed US military and intelligence documents on US strategic policies on Syria, Iraq, Palestine and other vital regimes.  The Inspector General’s report indicates that ‘she was warned’ about her practice.  It is only because of the unusual stranglehold Tel Aviv and Israel’s US Fifth Column have over the US government and judiciary that her actions have not been prosecuted as high treason.  It is the height of hypocrisy that government whistleblowers have been persecuted and jailed by the Obama Administration for raising concerns within the Inspector General system of oversight, while Secretary Clinton is on her way to the Presidency of the United States!

Conclusion

Many of Clinton’s leading critics, among them two dozen former CIA agents, have presented a myth that Hillary’s main offence is her ‘carelessness’ in handling official documents and her deliberate deceptions and lies to the government.

These critics have trivializedpersonalized and moralized what is really deliberate, highly politicized state behavior.  Mme. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not ‘careless in managing an insecure mail server’.  If Clinton was engaged in political liaison with foreign officials she deliberately used a private email server to avoid political detection by security elements within the US government.  She lied to the US government on the use and destruction of official state documents because the documents were political exchanges between a traitor and its host.

The 22 top secret reports on ‘Special Access Programs’ which Clinton handled via her private computer provided foreign governments with the names and dates of US operatives and proxies; allowed for counter-responses inflicting losses of billions of dollars in program damages and possibly lost lives.

The Inspector General Report (IGP) deals only with the surface misdeeds.  The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has gone a step further in identifying the political linkages, but faces enormous obstacles from Hillary’s domestic allies in pursuing a criminal investigation.  The FBI, whose director is a political appointee,  has suffered a series of defeats in its attempts to investigate and prosecute spying to Israel, including the AIPAC espionage case of Rosen and Weismann and in their long held opposition to the release of the notorious US-Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard.  The power of the Zionists within the government halted their investigation of a dozen Israeli spies captured in the US right after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Clinton’s choice of conducting secret private communications, despite  several years of State Department warnings to abide by their strict security regulations, is an indication of her Zionist power base, and not a mere reflection of her personal hubris or individual arrogance.

Clinton has circulated more vital top-secret documents and classified material than Jonathan Pollard.

President Obama and other top Cabinet officials share her political alliances, but they operate through ‘legitimate’ channels and without compromising personnel, missions, funding or programs.

The executive leadership now faces the problem of how to deal with a traitor, who may be the Democratic Party nominee for US President, without undermining the US quest for global power. How do the executive leadership and intelligence agencies back a foreign spy for president, who has been deeply compromised and can be blackmailed?  This may explain why the FBI, NSA, and CIA hesitate to press charges; hesitate to even seriously investigate, despite the obvious nature of her offenses.  Most of all it explains why there is no indication of the identity of Secretary Clinton’s correspondents in the various reports so far available.

            As Sherlock Holmes would say, “We are entering in deep waters, Watson”.

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Plan Condor: Justicia Argentina se Pronuncia

June 5th, 2016 by Prof Nicolas Boeglin

Henry Kissinger con Jorge Videla. Imagen extraída extraída de  artículo  sobre el Plan Cóndor

Una histórica sentencia se leyó el pasado viernes 27 de mayo en Argentina, al condenarse por vez primera en la historia a los responsables nacionales de la Operación Cóndor: la demanda fue presentada en 1999 después de varios años en los que se documentó en toda la región esta acción coordinada  a partir de 1975 por los aparatos militares de seis Estados de América Latina.

El pasado viernes 27 de mayo del 2016, la justicia de Argentina dictaminó su decisión con relación a una causa promovida por las víctimas y familiares de víctimas del denominado “Plan Cóndor“. Es la primera vez en la historia que los responsables nacionales de la “Operación Cóndor” reciben una condena en América Latina. La sentencia fue leída a partir de las 15:30, hora en Argentina y pudo seguirse la transmisión en vivo en  este enlace . Varias sedes diplomáticas de Argentina ofrecieron la transmisión en vivo desde una pantalla gigante (fue por ejemplo, el caso de la legación diplomática de Argentina en Asunción así como de  todas las embajadas de Argentina  en los demás Estados miembros del MERCOSUR).

En esta  nota  publicada pocos minutos después de leída la sentencia por el periódico Clarín, se precisan las penas dictaminadas por los tres jueces:” A continuación, el listado completo de condenados y las penas impuestas: 1-Santiago Omar Riveros: 25 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 2-Miguel Angel Furci: 25 años de prisión e inhabilitación absoluta y perpetua. 3-Reynaldo Benito Bignone: 20 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 4-Eduardo Samuel De Lío: 12 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 5-Humberto José Román Lobaiza: 18 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 6-Enrique Braulio Olea: 13 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 7-Luis Sadi Pepa: 12 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 8-Rodolfo Emilio Feroglio: 20 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 9-Carlos Caggiano Tedesco: 12 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 10-Antonio Vañek: 13 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 11-Eugenio Guañabens Perelló: 13 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 12-Felipe Jorge Alespeiti: 12 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 13-Manuel Cordero Piacentini: 25 años de prisión. 14-Néstor Horacio Falcón: 12 años de prisión e inhabilitación especial para ejercer cargos públicos por el doble de tiempo de la condena. 15-Federico Antonio Minicucci: ocho años de prisión. Juan Avelino Rodríguez y Carlos Tragant fueron absueltos“.

Uno de los acusados, Santiago Omar Riveros, cuenta con 92 años de edad. En la precitada nota de periódico Clarín, se indica que “Los jueces Adrián Federico Grünberg, Oscar Ricardo Amirante y Pablo Gustavo Laufer y el juez sustituto Ricardo Angel Basílico comenzaron en 2003 este juicio oral donde había 32 acusados, de los cuales solo 17 llegaron vivos al momento de la lectura del veredicto“.

Como bien se sabe, el “Plan Cóndor” inició con un acuerdo suscrito en 1975 entre los cuerpos de inteligencia de seis Estados (Argentina, Bolivia Brasil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay). Con la ayuda de los servicios de inteligencia de Estados Unidos, su objetivo consistió en coordinar los esfuerzos en la denominada “lucha contra la subversión” (ver nota de prensa).

La demanda ante la justicia argentina

La demanda de los familiares de las víctimas fue interpuesta inicialmente en Buenos Aires en 1999 y no fue sino en el 2013 que fueron convocadas las primeras audiencias ante jueces argentinos.

En este  documento oficial  de una reunión celebrada entre altos funcionarios de Estados Unidos y de Argentina el 10 de junio de 1976, se puede leer que para el representante de Estados Unidos, Henry Kissinger: “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you should get back quickly to normal procedures“.
La ONG argentina CELS, fundada por Emilio Mignone (1922-1998), fue la entidad que inició la recopilación de testimonios durante más de 15 años en distintos lugares, y la que presentó, con otras entidades, varias demandas ante los juzgados argentinos. Actualmente, dos son las demandas en trámite ante la justicia en su fase final: una relacionada con el “Plan Condor” y otra, denominada “Automotores Orletti” (ver detalles de cada una en las conclusiones de reciente seminario auspiciado en el 2015 en Oxford por la Open Society y la British Academy, entre otras entidades). En el caso de la primera causa, cuya sentencia fue parcialmente leída en Buenos Aires (la parte resolutiva únicamente), de las 106 víctimas, 45 son uruguayas, 22 son chilenas, 15 paraguayas, 13 bolivianas, 10 argentinas y una es de nacionalidad ecuatoriana. La Secretaría de Derechos Humanos, órgano del Estado argentino, también figura entre las entidades que apoyan las reivindicaciones de las víctimas.

La soledad de la justicia argentina en la región

Desde la perspectiva de los diversos logros obtenidos en materia de derecho internacional de los derechos humanos, esta decisión leída el pasado 27 de mayo representa un sustantivo avance en la lucha contra la impunidad por crímenes del pasado en América Latina. Una lucha en la que pareciera que la justicia argentina cuenta con herramientas legales mucho más efectivas y con jueces mucho más determinados que las de otros Estados afectados por esta misma operación regional. La resistencia de las estructuras judiciales no se limita a las de los Estados del Cono Sur: en febrero pasado tuvimos la oportunidad de analizar el caso de Timoteo Mendieta Alcalá, fusilado en 1939 en España por las fuerzas franquistas. La exhumación realizada en enero del 2016 de su cuerpo ubicado en una fosa común en España se debió a una solicitud realizada por una jueza desde… Argentina (ver nuestra breve  nota  titulada: “JusticiA con A de Ascensión: a propósito de la exhumación de una fosa española a solicitud de una jueza de Argentina“).

 

Imagen extraída de nota del CELS sobre el centro de detención clandestino El Vesubio

Se lee en el sitio del CELS que: “El Plan Cóndor fue un sistema formal de coordinación represiva entre los países del Cono Sur que funcionó desde mediados de la década del setenta hasta iniciados los años ochenta para perseguir y eliminar a militantes políticos, sociales, sindicales y estudiantiles de nacionalidad argentina, uruguaya, chilena, paraguaya, boliviana y brasileña. Su acta de fundación está fechada el 28 de noviembre de 1975 en Santiago de Chile, durante la clausura de la Primera Reunión de Inteligencia Nacional, y lleva las firmas de los representantes de Inteligencia de la Argentina (Jorge Casas, capitán de navío, SIDE), Bolivia (Carlos Mena, mayor del Ejército), Chile (Manuel Contreras Sepúlveda, jefe de la DINA), Uruguay (José Fons, coronel del Ejército) y Paraguay (Benito Guanes Serrano, coronel del Ejército)“.
Los “archivos del terror” y los documentos secretos desclasificados en Estados Unidos

Para documentar las acciones cometidas de manera coordinada por los aparatos de inteligencia, se procedió a establecer un Proyecto de Documentación del Plan Cóndor, un archivo que incluye una gran cantidad de documentos desclasificados de los servicios de inteligencia, y que fueron presentados a los jueces argentinos hace unos años. Las entidades públicas en materia de derechos humanos del Cono Sur por su parte también procedieron a organizar, a sistematizar y a poner en línea un fondo documental de archivos sobre el Plan Cóndor (ver sitio). En el 2009, la UNESCO, a solicitud de Paraguay, declaró patrimonio documental de la humanidad la gran cantidad de documentos encontrados (700.000 folios) en el cuarto de una casa en la localidad de Lambaré en Paraguay, en su mayoría relativas al Plan Cóndor, así como a la represión política en los 80 en Paraguay. Este inédito hallazgo se debió a un juez paraguayo, quién actuó a solicitud de una incansable víctima de la represión paraguaya en los años 80, Martin Almada: un educador torturado por personas con distintos acentos del Cono Sur en los años 80 y quién demostró al mundo cuán persistente se debe de ser cuando de lucha contra la impunidad se trata. El 22 de diciembre de 1992, los denominados “Archivos del Terror” vieron la luz del día: “no quiero ser desagradable” debió externar el juez ante la resistencia del oficial a cargo de mantener bajo custodia de estos documentos (ver video en Youtube de esta memorable jornada vivida en Paraguay). EL candado que mantenía clausurada la puerta debió ser destruido  con lijas y martillos, y se mantiene la interrogante sobre la identidad exacta de quién (es) poseían su llave.  En las declaraciones de Martin Almada, en este  reportaje  de ABC Color del año 2012, al celebrarse 20 años desde este importante hallazgo, se lee que: “Ya caída la dictadura, se cambia la Constitución en 1992 y surge la figura del hábeas data, que fue aprovechada por Almada para solicitar ante el juez José Agustín Fernández el allanamiento del archivo de la Policía. Mientras aún se tramitaba su pedido, el profesional fue contactado por una mujer que le aseguró que los papeles que buscaba no estaban en la capital, sino en un depósito fuera de la ciudad. “Me dio un plano y me dice esta mujer que este mismo plano ya le había dado al entonces diputado Pancho de Vargas y que no le hizo caso”, recuerda”.

En la declaratoria para la nominación por parte de la UNESCO de los “Archivos del Terror” como patrimonio documental de la humanidad (ver  texto completo ), se indica el cuido extremo con el que las entidades de la sociedad civil y las autoridades paraguayas reunieron, clasificaron y pusieron a disposición del público estos documentos: “The classification process of the Archives started in early 1993. The Supreme Court of Justice and the District Attorney’s Office of the State instructed the officers to collaborate with the professional staff specialized in documentations. These specialists were provided by two non-governmental organizations, the Center of Documentation and Studies (CDE) and the Churches Committee for Emergency Assistance (CIPAE). These two NGO’s also represented victims and victims´ families of the dictatorship. In March of 1993, the Supreme Court of Justice created the Center of Documentation and Archives for the Defense of Human Rights (CDyA), which is located in the Palace of Justice. This Center is open to public and researchers. The Center now has microfilm and a digitized system in order to protect the documents. These improvements were made possible by their own resources and with the important cooperation of national and international organizations, universities and other public and private institutions“.

Foto de la ficha encontrada en los “Archivos del Terror” de Marta Landli Gil, ciudadana argentina de 22 años quién escapó de la represión refugiándose en Paraguay, con cuatro compañeros más, en donde fueron capturados en 1977. Extraída de este  artículo  sobre Plan Cóndor. La ficha completa con mayores detalles está disponible  aquí

Sobre los documentos secretos recientemente desclasificados en Estados Unidos, se lee en este  artículo  que: “Este archivo es uno de los lugares que guarda los documentos desclasificados del Departamento de Estado de los Estados Unidos sobre las dictaduras de la región. Osorio declaró diez horas en el juicio oral por el Cóndor que se hace en Buenos Aires y que la semana próxima entra en la etapa de alegatos. El investigador presentó un Excel de 900 documentos, 40 por ciento de los cuales provienen del acervo norteamericano y otro tanto del Archivo del Terror paraguayo. De los 900, seleccionó 100 para la audiencia. Su serie no empieza en 1975 con la sabida conferencia de Inteligencia en Chile, en la que se instituyó formalmente la coordinación de las fuerzas represivas bajo el nombre de Cóndor. Empieza en 1972, algo que es su clave de lectura sobre ese proceso. Cuando los defensores vieron en la pantalla de la sala la primera pieza, uno levantó la mano alarmado y objetó lo que le parecía fuera del objeto de juicio. El presidente del Tribunal Oral Federal N° 1 Oscar Amirante lo interrumpió: “Usted tiene conocimiento de cuándo empezó el Plan Cóndor –le dijo el juez–, el tribunal todavía no”.

Se puede leer, por parte del hijo de unas de las víctimas de nacionalidad paraguaya, Federico Jorge Tatter Morínigo, que: “Como querellante en la causa y como representante de mi madre, Idalina Tatter, ya fallecida, quien puso mucho empeño en este juicio desde el inicio, estaré presente en el momento histórico en que se dé lectura a la sentencia. Esperamos que el veredicto honre este gran esfuerzo por la justicia” (ver  nota de Ultima Hora, Paraguay).

El Plan Cóndor y la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos
En varias sentencias sobre casos de desapariciones forzadas llevados a conocimiento del juez interamericano de derechos humanos, se hace mención de los efectos del Plan Cóndor.

En el caso Gelman contra Uruguay (Etapa de reparaciones, 2011) , la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos se refirió en los siguientes términos a la Operación Cóndor: “La mayoría de los gobiernos dictatoriales de la región del Cono Sur asumieron el poder o estaban en el poder durante la década de los años setenta24, lo que permitió la represión contra personas denominadas como “elementos subversivos” a nivel interestatal. El soporte ideológico de todos estos regímenes era la “doctrina de seguridad nacional”, por medio de la cual visualizaban a los movimientos de izquierda y otros grupos como “enemigos comunes” sin importar su nacionalidad. Miles de ciudadanos del Cono Sur buscaron escapar a la represión de sus países de origen refugiándose en países fronterizos. Frente a ello, las dictaduras crearon una estrategia común de “defensa”.

En este marco, tuvo lugar la llamada “Operación Cóndor”, nombre clave que se dio a la alianza que unía a las fuerzas de seguridad y servicios de inteligencia de las dictaduras del Cono Sur en su lucha y represión contra personas designadas como “elementos subversivos”. Las actividades desplegadas como parte de dicha Operación estaban básicamente coordinadas por los militares de los países involucrados. Dicha Operación sistematizó e hizo más efectiva la coordinación clandestina entre “fuerzas de seguridad y militares y servicios de inteligencia” de la región […] Para que la Operación Cóndor funcionara era necesario que el sistema de códigos y comunicaciones fuera eficaz, por lo que las listas de “subversivos buscados” eran manejadas con fluidez por los distintos Estados” (párrafo 44 de la sentencia – ver texto completo).

En otro caso dictaminado por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos contra Paraguay (caso Goiburú y otros contra Paraguay, Sentencia sobre fondo y reparaciones) se lee que:

En el caso paraguayo, el Departamento de Inteligencia Militar estuvo a cargo de la coordinación operativa de lo relativo a la Operación Cóndor, cuyo responsable era el entonces coronel Benito Guanes Serrano. Los servicios policiales de inteligencia secundaban las directivas recibidas de dicho departamento, quedando la función operativa a cargo del Jefe de Investigaciones de la Policía, Pastor Milciades Coronel. El Departamento de Investigaciones era el “centro nervioso de la inteligencia política”. La recolección de datos era realizada por funcionarios policiales infiltrados en organizaciones políticas, sociales, sindicales, centros estudiantiles y todo tipo de organismos públicos o privados. 61.10 Sobre los pasos por seguir al detener a un presunto “elemento subversivo”, el Jefe del Departamento de Investigaciones, Pastor Milciades Coronel, manifestó que había tres caminos: 1) Aplicación de la Ley, 2) Desaparición Física y 3) La Alternativa Aplicada. ” (párrafos 61.9 y 61.10 de la sentencia- ver texto completo)
Conclusión

La sentencia leída este 27 de mayo en Buenos Aires  constituye sin lugar a dudas un hito histórico para la lucha contra la impunidad en América Latina, y puede abrir un precedente para proseguir la labor en otros Estados de la región: sus aparatos judiciales no han logrado ofrecer lo que la justicia de Argentina brinda a las organizaciones de víctimas y de familiares de víctimas. Esta sentencia también permitirá reorientar algunas investigaciones sobre hechos ocurridos en los 80. Por ejemplo, hace unos pocos días, se anunció que Argentina, Brasil y Paraguay ayudarán a las autoridades de Ecuador en la investigación relacionada al accidente sufrido por el Presidente Jaime Roldós Aguilera en 1981: ello a raíz de un reciente documental que sugiere que el Plan Cóndor no es para nada ajeno a este “accidente aéreo” (ver nota de prensa).

Nicolás Boeglin

 

 

Nicolás Boeglin Profesor de Derecho Internacional Público, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)

 

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In the UK we have to hold up a mirror to ourselves and accept our own culpability in this global horror-show. Britain’s imperialist pursuit of wealth and power has never really stopped, only changed its mask to better hide its behaviour [1]. The present mask was created under the auspices of neoliberal dogma. It is producing terrible repercussions for our future generations [2].

The UK’s imperialist policy fits snuggly as a small piece within a much grander Western agenda. It has been a major contributor to extreme global inequality, brutal proxy wars and increases in poverty worldwide [3]. Societies caught up directly are now entering a process of either breaking down or rising up. This is happening in response to a neoliberal agenda being pushed by the US and the EU.

Breaking Down and Rising Up

Social unrest is no longer exclusive only to nations outside of Western Europe and the US. Serious internal problems are occurring in both regions. Whilst over 1.1 million people in the UK use food banks [4], states in the US are being compared to ‘third worlds’ [5].

Explosions of civil upheaval in Ferguson, Baltimore, New Orleans and Flint may seem like unrelated events but all are intrinsically linked to neoliberal policy [6]. A US police crack down was intended to keep protestors in check and assuage the rising public anger, but this has quickly mutated into a series of brutal murders and attacks, predominantly of people from black communities [7].

The Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton race, which looks to have finally ousted the one occasionally sensible voice in Bernie Sanders, has resulted from a paring down of public opinion by the US media. The level of debate has become so debased it has been forced to cling to simple ‘truths’ and re-spin them time and time again. ‘Trump is a loudmouth racist’ [8] has been used to drown out anything interesting he has to say if it runs at right-angles to neoliberal thinking. Despite being a product of corporatism, Trump has spent a lifetime being able to do as he pleases – a benefit of extreme wealth within the capitalist system – and this attitude has continued into the race for president. He has not had the political apprenticeship (indoctrination) of most other candidates, which coupled with his obvious forthright nature has lent him the ability to flit in and out of Overton’s window [9] like a cat burglar.

Reversely, Hillary Clinton’s gender has become a major focus point in her campaign [10], and the media who support her have used this to stifle debate about her ties with Wall Street and corporatism [11]. She expounds ‘American exceptionalism’ [13] with a view to promoting global conflict [14]. It’s almost as though she feels to be taken seriously as a female politician, she must be even more hawkish than her male counterparts [15].

The people of the US have been robbed of an election. Instead of voting for a candidate, a major part of the electorate have found themselves voting to keep out the other [16]. Barely anywhere does it show that out of the two of them, Trump is by far less eager to go to war.

Europe’s burgeoning extreme-right parties are posturing for power in Hungary, Austria and Poland [17], with the EU bolstering national policies of austerity with their own ‘recommendations’ [18] in line with neoliberal doctrine. The EU has in many ways forced member states into policies of austerity, as with the labour reforms in France [19]. Right now, the French public are in the midst of mass protests and blockades [20]. The scenes are reminiscent of the 1968 uprising [21]; the revolution that never was.

In Greece, the economic collapse has pushed an unelected body, the Troika (IMF, Eurozone & ECB), into a position that supersedes the democratically elected Syriza government [22]. Coupled with the refugee crisis, created in most part by Western interventionism in the Middle East and north Africa, the Greek people have been abandoned by the EU authorities to fend for themselves, just when European solidarity is most needed. This is no cruel accident, it is deliberate and meant to set an example to any other states thinking about using left-wing theory to escape crippling debt [23].

To believe we are ultimately more at risk of external terrorism than our own social implosion is to be blindly embedded deep within the ‘comfort’ of Western fictions.

Mainstream Media’s Indifference to War

I doubt even regular readers of news, people who like to consider themselves up to date with global matters, have any real idea of the proximity of global war [24]. This is because the majority of mainstream news reports pumped into our society is at best biased towards Western imperialism [25], and at worst quite simply lies [26]. Unfortunately for Syrians, the conflict that began in Daraa in 2011 has come to best illustrate this.

Complex media channels are at work deep within the dynamics of the Syrian conflict to a degree never witnessed before. Misinformation springs from unaccountable groups and lands, via a fourth sector network, centre stage in Western news headlines.

The groups that I am referring to are the many LNGOs (Local Non Governmental Organisation) that have emerged in order to “support the Syrian people”, each with a monopoly on the ‘truth’. Many of these groups, including NGOs from nations funding the opposition terrorists in Syria (Saudi, Qatar, US, etc), have backgrounds that have gone unchecked after an initial qualifying process:

Syrian organizations predominantly cropped up in response to the crisis and included grassroots organizations from inside the country as well as diaspora run organizations from the US, UK, Turkey and the Gulf… Less is known about Gulf supported NGOs. Gulf countries tend to fund their own national NGOs and Red Crescent organizations, which in turn fund Syrian organizations. [27]

It is only when some have been scrutinised more closely that their claims of impartiality have been blown out of the water.[28][29][30]

In an interview for The Telegraph in October, 2013, Peter Clarke, who sits on the board of the Charity Commission and a former head of anti-terrorism for the London Metropolitan Police said:

Once you get into these very difficult, dangerous areas it is hugely difficult for charities to track the final destination of their funds… It is one of these ‘fog of war’ issues where stuff can be diverted… It is perfectly feasible for charities to be established as a sort of cover. We have not seen clear evidence of that yet… You can think of a host of different ways in which people giving money with the best possible intentions could find that it has been misappropriated.[31]

The White Helmets [32], The Syria Campaign [33], Syria Solidarity UK [34] and Hand in Hand for Syria [34] are just four NGOs which hold questionable claim to their impartiality. They have polished websites which produce high quality, emotive social media memes that quickly spread over the internet. At the same time, established international non-profits like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Int, have gradually aligned their fundamental principles with Western geopolitical goals [35], [36].

To anyone paying attention, it has become glaringly obvious that the number one priority of the US-led coalition in Syria is to bring about ‘regime change’ [37]. Way down that to-do list comes ‘defeating terrorism’, which is the official reason for foreign military power being in Syria. Although it hasn’t stopped the US in Latin America [38], regime change is illegal under international law. But even if the Latin American example was followed and international law was ignored, removing Bashar al-Assad (who has recently been voted president by over 5 million Syrians out of a possible 8.3 million [39]) it would lead to a greatly worsened situation for the Syrian people. Look to recent adventurism in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as examples of military failures [40].

The most likely replacement for the Assad government would come from the present fighting opposition, made up almost entirely of sectarian factions and terrorist groups (al Nusra; al Sham; Free Syrian Army; Army of Conquest; Farouk Brigades; etc) [41]. Granted, there maybe some Syrian civilians who would embrace a non-secular, salafist government, but there are also many more, including millions of Syrian women and girls, who would not.

The West’s demonising of Bashar al-Assad is designed to fit with the spiralling war-loops of its foreign policy. Democracy does not come by way of bombs or arming terrorists to attack a sovereign government, despite the West’s  policy [42]. It comes by close diplomatic engagement and appropriate international pressure to encourage change. But mainly, it comes from the voices of the Syrian people, because only they will decide Syria’s fate.

Derailing the War Spiral

In order to change our direction away from perpetual cycles of conflict, we must understand the commitment to war some of our global public bodies and information services has. The UN has become a useless broker, usurped by the US who flaunts international law whenever it feels like it [43]. Neoliberalism actively pursues an aggressive foreign policy, and this doctrine has become prolific throughout the West. It has even bleached into many of the institutions we might consider politically neutral, like Amnesty, Avaaz [44] or Save the Children [45].

Nietzsche said, ‘Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.’ Are we yet beginning to understand that true information is far more valuable than the capture of land or the endless chase of capital? If so [46], it is in part the commencement of a mindset shift that brings with it a more mentally independent Western citizen, able to analyse information for themselves. This means engaging with news from a range of sources, but remaining highly sceptical of them before accepting (or not accepting) what they have to say.

This is particularly useful with so-called ‘liberal’ outlets like The GuardianThe Observer or The Independent. The news groups and government organisations these belong to are embedded deep within the neoliberal apparatus surrounding us, and their decisions to publish or not publish certain information will always reflect this [47].

The ability to firmly grasp hold of the instruments navigating us to war and wrench at the wheel is within us all. We need to be brave and prepared to tolerate the anger and disapproval of authorities and individuals who do not yet see through bias, lies and omissions. The information that comes into our society has for centuries been controlled and filtered by elitist systems, such as today’s media complex, academia [48] and publishing. The evolution of independent internet news outlets have been, in many ways, an organic development to circumvent these systems, although these too need to be engaged in a critical and analytical manner. Some with extreme caution!

The internet and neoliberalism have almost coincided. I wonder how much further down this path of destruction we would have been without it? Nonetheless, it is war that has the momentum right now, not peace.

Johnny Gaunt lives in Wales, UK. He is a peace activist, writer and occasional radiographer.

Notes

[1] http://www.markcurtis.info/

[2] http://intpolicydigest.org/2014/08/12/blowback-british-imperialism-in-the-middle-east/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

[4] https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/

[5] http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/six-ways-america-is-like-a-third-world-country-20140305

[6] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/25/how-flint-ferguson-and-baltimore-are-all-connected/

[7] http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/31/the-counted-police-killings-2015-young-black-men

[8] http://uk.businessinsider.com/paul-krugman-donald-trump-belligerent-loudmouth-racist-2015-7?r=US&IR=T

[9] www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/04/what-overton-window

[10] http://www.npr.org/2016/04/11/473792646/is-it-ok-to-vote-for-clinton-because-she-s-a-woman-an-8-year-old-weighs-in

[11] http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/hillarys_corporate_democrats_taking_down_bernie_sanders_20160130

[12] http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/01/5-reasons-not-to-vote-for-hillary-clinton/

[13] http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/05/26/american-exceptionalism-destructive-elitism-versus-constructive-humanity/

[14] http://www.salon.com/2016/03/20/it_is_urgent_that_shes_stopped_hillary_clintons_nightmare_neoliberalism_and_american_exceptionalism_makes_the_world_a_dangerous_place/

[15] http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/magazine/how-hillary-clinton-became-a-hawk.html?_r=0

[16] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-anti-vote-idUSKCN0XX06E

[17] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/05/22/world/europe/europe-right-wing-austria-hungary.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

[18] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/10/austerity-europe-debt-red-cross

[19] https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/05/26/pers-m26.html

[20] http://www.counterfire.org/articles/analysis/18354-france-savage-labour-law-vs-strikes-and-blockades

[21] http://www.gearoidocolmain.org/labour-protests-continue-french-workers-fight-back/

[22] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/greek-debt-crisis-the-dark-forces-of-the-eu-have-subjected-greece-to-a-coup-caroline-lucas-condemns-10385452.html

[23] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/09/the-choice-for-europe-rescue-greece-or-create-a-failed-state

[24] http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/23/a-world-war-has-begun-break-the-silence/

[25] http://muftah.org/the-real-face-of-a-western-media-bias/#.V0sGvmZftsN

[26] https://www.rt.com/op-edge/260821-propaganda-book-west-lies/

[27] http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/syria_case_study.pdf

[28] http://21stcenturywire.com/2015/09/01/white-helmets-new-breed-of-mercenaries-and-propagandists-disguised-as-humanitarians-in-syria/

[29] http://www.globalresearch.ca/fake-syria-solidarity-ngo-supports-moderate-terrorists-bans-prof-tim-anderson-from-conference/5526871

[30] https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/

[31] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10357537/Charity-cash-going-to-Syrian-terror-groups.html

[32] http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/10/09/432620/US-Russia-Syria-psyop

[33] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/tag/the-syria-campaign/

[34] http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-solidarity-uk-supporting-al-qaeda-and-denying-free-speech/5527476

[35] http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/8084

[36] http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/08/amnesty-international-war-propaganda-and-human-rights-terrorism/

[37] http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/05/27/467689/Syria-Russia-US-peace-talks-terrorists-UN-NATO

[38] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/18/venezuela-protests-us-support-regime-change-mistake

[39] http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/04/18/live-from-damascus-the-syrian-election-results/

[40] http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/west-s-return-iraq-afghanistan-and-libya-proves-warmongers-wrong-395433254

[41] http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military

[42] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-warns-that-the-west-cant-bomb-our-way-to-democracy-in-syria-a6755861.html

[43] http://www.thenation.com/article/you-must-follow-international-law-unless-youre-america/

[44] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/category/organizations/amnesty-international/

[45] https://newint.org/blog/2014/11/26/tony-blair-save-the-children/

[46] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-global-political-awakening-and-the-new-world-order/19873

[47] http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/21/red-neoliberals-how-corbyns-victory-unmasked-britains-guardian/

[48] http://www.globalresearch.ca/911-truth-and-the-failure-of-the-academic-community-to-explore-the-events-of-september-11-2001/5399487

 

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Make no mistake. A Trump presidency would be disastrous domestically and geopolitically.

A previous article said his only redeeming quality is he’s not Hillary Clinton, The Times favorite, endorsing her candidacy, ignoring her criminal record as first lady partnered with husband Bill, US senator and secretary of state.

She’s vulnerable to racketeering charges, the Clinton Foundation a covert criminal enterprise masquerading as a charitable NGO, selling influence for millions of dollars in contributions, the Clintons enriching themselves hugely while falsely claiming to do good.

The latest Times anti-Trump rant claims he “could threaten US rule of law,” citing “conservative and libertarian” sources agreeing with its point of view, ignoring fantasy US democracy, tyranny begun under Bill Clinton, hardened under Bush, institutionalized under Obama.

International law no longer matters. Constitutional law is null and void. Police state ruthlessness replaced it.

On issues relating to war and peace, corporate favoritism and cracking down hard on popular resistance, both wings of US duopoly governance march in lockstep.

America was never beautiful, its privileged few alone served, notably under Clinton, Bush and Obama, likely rising to an unprecedented level of unbridled militarism, corporate favoritism and crackdowns on remaining freedoms if Hillary becomes America’s 45th president – a terrifying possibility, The Times suppressing what’s vital to explain.

It claims Trump’s “constitutional worldview…shows contempt for the First Amendment, the separation of powers, and the rule of law,” – ignoring Obama’s war on press freedom throughout his tenure, threatening independent journalism, criminalizing whistleblowers exposing government wrongdoing more than all his predecessors combined.

The late Helen Thomas (1920 – 2013) covered five decades of presidential politics, beginning in the Kennedy years.

She publicly complained about Obama’s press controlling efforts, calling it “really shocking,” saying “(w)hat the hell do they think we are, puppets?”

Press control under Obama is worse than anything earlier, she explained. Throughout his tenure, he waged war on fundamental freedoms, exceeding the worst of George Bush.

Mass surveillance became institutionalized, rule of law principles ignored, information control elevated to a whole new level.

Trump has no political record on which to judge him, just his campaign bluster and demagoguery. Clinton’s rap sheet would automatically disqualify her in just societies.

She’d be in prison, not likely to become Democrat party nominee in July, a testimony to America’s debauched political system, honoring its worst, demeaning or punishing its best.

The Times claiming “electing Mr. Trump is a recipe for a constitutional crisis” ignores its deplorable state, tyranny heading toward becoming full-blown, rule of law governance nonexistent, endless imperial wars raging, America’s domestic and foreign gulag the world’s largest, filled with thousands of political prisoners.

Trump if elected president assures dirty business as usual. Hillary succeeding Obama risks WW III.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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French journalist Mathieu Gaulène describes the business practices of Dentsu and its competitor Hakuhodo, the biggest and the second biggest advertising companies of Japan respectively. Specifically, it examines how their close relations to the media and the nuclear industry play out in the wake of the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Focusing Dentsu, Gaulène discusses how the marketing and public relations (PR) giant has dominated major media which large advertising contracts from the nuclear industry. The article is particularly timely as Dentsu unveils its deep ties to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid and the Panama Papers. Regrettably, however, with rare exceptions, there is little media coverage of the influence of Dentsu in mainstream Japanese newspapers and magazines.

According to the author, a partial translation of the French original was made by Kazparis (username), and quickly received more than 70,000 views on Twitter. Then, Uchida Tatsuru, a specialist in French literature, and HACK & SOCIETAS published two other Japanese translations. Soon after, Tokyo Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun published long articles about Dentsu. SN

Dentsu, the fifth largest communication group in the world, holds a large share of the Japanese advertising market, which impacts media freedom in Japan. This is particularly true in relation to the nuclear power industry.

– Dentsu and information on nuclear power

– Indirect pressures on press journalists

– The 2016 comeback of nuclear advertisements and the resignations of TV journalists

The moment remains famous. On the eve of Japan’s Upper House elections, former actor Yamamoto Taro, an anti-nuclear power candidate supported by no party, campaigned on Twitter to win an upper house seat in the Diet. Censored by the media, the young candidate, famous for his verve, had mainly campaigned against nuclear power, but he also called out the big media, accusing it of being in the pay of sponsors and thus of electric companies and of systematically censoring critical information on nuclear power.

A television channel granted him an interview at the end of a program, but only after presenting a journalist to defend his profession. On screen, the young senator was given only one minute to respond. “I will take a simple example. Food can now hold up to 100 becquerels per kilogram; that means even just via eating we are irradiated. It is never said on television… ” Yamamoto had to stop. The ending jingle started, and the presenter at the studio announced, bantering, that the show was over, before launching an advertising page.

The video, which was available online for 3 years, was removed on May 16, 2016 shortly after the publication of this article.

Yamamoto Taro on NHK, 21 July 2013

Advertisements in Japan are literally everywhere: a veritable hell of posters or screens in trains and stations, giant posters on buildings, bearers of advertising placards or lorries with huge posters and loud PA systems in the streets: even advertising displays mounted atop urinals in some restaurants. In this advertising empire, the media are no exception. In the press, naturally, as in France, major companies pay for full page advertisements. But, above all in television. An entertainment show generally starts with the announcement of sponsors, and is interrupted every five minutes by numerous short advertising spots, where we often find the same sponsors. There is virtually no time for thinking, most TV channels offer programs close to the world of pachinko: garish colors, constant noise, and frat humor even of the most vulgar kind.

In this immense television arena, advertising is orchestrated by one of the global giants, Dentsu, the 5th communication group in the world and the number one ad agency. With its rival Hakuhodo, 2nd in the archipelago, the two agencies nicknamed “Denpaku,” combine advertising, public relations, media monitoring, crisis management for the largest Japanese and foreign companies, the local authorities, political parties or the government. Together they hold nearly 70% of the market. A true empire that some accuse of ruling the roost in the Japanese media.

A figure allows sizing up Dentsu’s reach: in 2015, the group secured nearly 7 billion euros in revenue, second only to the French Publicis with 9.6 billion euros during the same period. Most of its business is in TV advertisements. For example, Dentsu has created a commercial series for Softbank for almost ten years: the famous “Shirato” family characterized by a white dog as the father; an American black actor as the older brother; and Tommy Lee Jones as a housekeeper.

In July 2013, the group expanded internationally by acquiring the British Aegis for 3.7 billion euros to establish the Dentsu Aegis Network in London. This international network, consisting of ten advertising agencies in more than 140 countries, allowed the Japanese to beef up their activities, particularly in digital marketing, and to secure a position in the international market which accounts for more than half of its total global business (54.3% in 2015). Dentsu employs 47,000 people worldwide, including 7,000 in Japan.

Dentsu and information on nuclear power

Dentsu headquarters, Shiodome

Located in the business district of Shiodome, not far from Nippon TV, Fuji TV and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the Dentsu tower dominates the skyline with its imposing beauty. Designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, its gentle curves and perfect glass walls soothe the eye. Inside the building, Mr. Kannan Shusaku, communications director of the group, receives us, all smiles for a visit of the site. The ground floor is filled with contemporary art, like a white chessboard by Yoko Ono. From there, a noria of lifts takes employees towards different floors and rigorously separates departments. The group’s customers are the top 5 in each industry, and “everything is done so that employees working for competing enterprises never meet each other.” Mr. Kannan assures us. Dentsu obviously prizes transparency, but is its image that stainless?

In a book published in 2012, Honma Ryu looked into some of Dentsu’s backstage, and its tight control over the media, especially on behalf of one of its major clients: Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tepco. Honma is not alien to advertising circles; he worked for 18 years at number 2, Hakuhodo, then after one year imprisonment for fraud, he began writing, first about his prison experience, then about his years of advertising and the methods he used to coax the media. In 2012, his book Dentsu and Nuclear Coverage became a bestseller within a few months, despite almost universal media blackout.

Honma meticulously described the mechanisms by which Dentsu, the inevitable intermediary, implicitly imposes on media what can or cannot be written on nuclear power, and under what conditions. “Dentsu occupies a special position since the agency holds 80% of the market for nuclear advertising in Japan,” he reminded us during an interview in a coffee shop at Ueno Station. In 2010, in this huge advertising market, Tepco, a regional firm, indeed ranked 10th in terms of advertising expenses, next to power plant manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. That year, on the eve of the Fukushima accident, Tepco had spent more than 2 million euros on advertising. The overall advertising expenses of the 10 regional electrical power companies amounted to 7 million euros.

Honma Ryu, Dentsu and Nuclear Coverage

For decades, especially since the 1990s when public opinion began to become critical of nuclear power following several accidents, Tepco and other power companies stepped up commercials and advertorials in the press.

On television, the advertisements can be enough in themselves to overwhelm criticism. Big groups often sponsor TV programs, talk shows or series for an entire season. Sometimes, entire documentaries are produced by Denjiren, [the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC)], a key player in the nuclear lobby, to promote the industry. Any dissenting voice is unwelcome for fear of losing sponsors. After Fukushima, Yamamoto Taro paid the price; appearing regularly on TV as a tarento [talent] until then when he suddenly became persona non grata on TV and even in cinema for having expressed opposition to nuclear power. This is hardly new since the great figures of the anti-nuclear movement, best-selling authors such as Hirose Takashi or Koide Hiroaki are almost never invited to appear on TV, especially after the Fukushima accident. This “control by media” denounced by Honma Ryu obviously is not limited to the nuclear power industry. Thus, he reminds us of the case of the millions of Toyota vehicle recalls due to a defective accelerator pedal. It was necessary to wait until the Toyota CEO apologized to the U.S. Congress before that affair really appeared in the Japanese press. “No doubt the advertising agency had succeeded until then in preserving the image of its client, but when the scandal became too big and was in the public eye abroad, the media had no choice but to reveal the affair” he states. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that apart from some programs such as “Hodo Station” on TV Asahi, which provide good quality information, sometimes being critical of the government, most TV news in Japan rarely address subjects that can offend one or another group, relaying communications from the government without critically stepping back, and not introducing international news except when the subject involves Japanese citizens.

Momii Katsuto apologizing at Lower House Budget Committee session, 13 January 2016

Amid all these private media groups, only NHK escapes this advertising empire and can claim to be independent, receiving its funding directly from viewers. Alas, the situation at NHK is even more disastrous, its president Momii Katsuto having said without embarrassment on several occasions that the chain had to be the spokesman for the Abe government. In a recent statement before 200 retired NHK employees, he even seemingly acknowledged having ordered NHK journalists to confine broadcasts to reassuring communiqués from the authorities about Kyushu earthquakes and potential risks they pose to nuclear plants and instructing them not to interview independent experts.

Indirect pressures on the press

What about the press? Dentsu has long had a special relationship with the two news agencies Kyodo News and Jiji Press: the three entities formed a single information group before the war. If information in the press is more difficult to control, Dentsu not only advertises, but provides after-sales customer service — media monitoring, advice on crisis management, and indirect pressure on newspapers.

Whereas in France, the acquisition of media companies by large industrial groups is the prelude to direct pressure, in Japan pressure comes via advertising agencies that act as true ambassadors for the groups. “I know very well how this happens, as Honma Ryu amusingly relates, I did the same thing when I was at Hakuhodo. If an incident occurs in a factory or a plant and the press reports it, Dentsu directly intervenes and visits the business department of the newspaper in question.” Things are done in the “Japanese” way. “We ask them politely to try to speak less about the case, not to put the article on the front page, or to publish it in the evening paper which is less read.” Such messages are directly transmitted by the business staff of the journal to top management.

Journalists will never know, but the next day their article will be relegated to the inside pages, or sometimes simply not published, or, for example, claiming lack of space. But, suspicions are numerous, and, Honma reports, after the publication of his book, many journalists came to see him confirming cases of censorship. Advertisements of nuclear power are mainly distributed in weekly and daily newspapers. Since the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, they stopped; but for Dentsu, a profitable new business emerged: promoting agricultural products from Fukushima. Since 2011, with the participation of star singers, Fukushima Prefecture has never skimped on promoting its peaches, rice, or tomatoes, with slogans like “Fukushima Pride” or “Fukushima is well!”

 “Fukushima Pride”

All this thanks to the help of Dentsu and Dentsu Public Relations (PR). “Dentsu PR also works for the METI [Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry],” explains Ms. Fujii Kyoko, Director of communications at Dentsu PR. “We organized free tours of Tohoku for foreign journalists, such as Thai and Malaysian journalists, to show that the region is recovering from the disaster.” And to expunge the surrounding radioactivity?

Dentsu thus occupies a very special position in the promotion of nuclear power, beside Tepco but also the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), both clients of the advertising company. Under these conditions, can Dentsu not be considered to actively underwrite the “nuclear village”? To this question, Mr. Kannan Shusaku, who received us in his office at the top of the Dentsu tower, answered without beating around the bush. “We have no power to influence the media and we do not practice politics.” Yet when asked why Dentsu is a member of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), the main organization of nuclear lobbying, along with Japanese electric utility companies and EDF [Electricity of France, Électricité de France], Mr. Kannan became more circumspect. “I do not know this association… Really, are you sure?” he replied, slightly annoyed, before reaching for his smartphone. “Oh, yes, we are members. But, you know we are members of many associations. People ask us to send someone and sign, that’s all.” Apparently unconvinced by his own argument, he finally found a getaway and suddenly exclaimed: “You see, Hakuhodo is also a member!” obviously happy about not being the only one enlisted in the lobby.

The 2016 comeback of nuclear advertisements and resignations of TV journalists

For Honma Ryu, this is a sign of a resumption of promotion activities of nuclear power. “Hakuhodo has actually been a member of the JAIF for two years,” he explained, after the Fukushima accident. Obviously, having been sidelined for several decades from this gold mine of nuclear advertisements, the rival agency wants to restore its share in the promotion of nuclear power in the post-Fukushima era. These ads had, however, completely disappeared since the accident on March 11, 2011. After a final full page apology in the press and broadcast on television by Tepco, the plant operators and manufacturers had chosen to keep a low profile, not broadcasting advertisements on nuclear power for five years.

But, although plant restarts have been hindered by dozens of lawsuits, some victorious as in Takahama, and the general population has generally been reluctant to see resumption of reactors, promoting nuclear power has again become intense. After restarting one plant in 2015, 2016 is the year of a discreet comeback for nuclear advertisements. These appear in the press and on local television of the prefectures with power stations. Honma Ryu reports that since February 2016, full-page advertisements have been published inFukui Shimbun by the Kansai Electric Power Company, where the Takahama plant was closed a month after its restart due to a lawsuit filed by citizens. Tepco advertisements for restarting Kashiwazaki-Kariwa have also appeared in the Niigata Nippo and on local television in a particular context: the current governor is firmly anti-nuclear and opposes any restart, but elections will be held by the end of this year when his term ends. This resurgence of Tepco nuclear advertising, however, has raised the ire of Niigata citizens, especially refugees from Fukushima who have launched a petition to stop them.

The message of all of these advertisements is identical, revealing the hand of Dentsu behind the scenes. Electric companies promise to make every effort to ensure the safety of power plants, while photographs highlight the plight of nuclear workers who are often poor and sometimes dependent on jobs in the nuclear industry. According to Honma Ryu, these advertisements are certainly only the tip of the iceberg. They are part of a campaign to closely monitor all information published on nuclear power, as well as the quasi-guarantee that local newspapers will limit the voice of opponents.

Furutachi Ichiro on “Hodo Station”

In a report on press freedom released in April 2016, Reporters Without Borders ranked Japan 72nd, behind Hungary and Tanzania. Six years ago, it ranked 11th. Visiting Tokyo, a United Nations rapporteur alerted the country to the growing pressures on Japanese journalists who work for private media or NHK. This is because of increasing government pressure, exacerbated by the entry into force in the past year of a law on state secrets, including nuclear related matters. A law with vague outlines threatens journalists with imprisonment for disclosing “secret” information. A sign of the times is that three television journalists known for their independence announced their resignation at the beginning of the year. Among them is Furutachi Ichiro, presenter of “Hodo Station,” which, according to Honma Ryu, was targeted by Dentsu for several years because of his critical views on nuclear power and the Abe administration. No doubt Dentsu, privileged ambassador of the largest industrial groups, will continue to play its role in the great media lockdown ongoing in Japan.

Sachie Mizohata, Translation from French and Introduction

Original French article in INA Global

Japanese translation by Uchida Tatsuru (see May 15, 2016)

Mathieu Gaulène, a freelance journalist, holds a Master’s degree in Asian studies from Sciences Po, Paris. As a specialist on Japan, he has written for INA-Global, Le Monde, Politis, Slate.fr, and other publications. He has covered topics ranging from Japanese politics, popular culture, to new technologies. He is the author of the book Le nucléaire en Asie. Fukushima, et après ? (Éditions Philippe Picquier, 2016).

Sachie Mizohata is a Luxembourg-based translator. Her article related to media and nuclear power is http://apjjf.org/2011/9/39/Sachie-MIZOHATA/3648/article.html Her sites are as follows: here and here.

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French journalist Mathieu Gaulène describes the business practices of Dentsu and its competitor Hakuhodo, the biggest and the second biggest advertising companies of Japan respectively. Specifically, it examines how their close relations to the media and the nuclear industry play out in the wake of the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Focusing Dentsu, Gaulène discusses how the marketing and public relations (PR) giant has dominated major media which large advertising contracts from the nuclear industry. The article is particularly timely as Dentsu unveils its deep ties to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid and the Panama Papers. Regrettably, however, with rare exceptions, there is little media coverage of the influence of Dentsu in mainstream Japanese newspapers and magazines.

According to the author, a partial translation of the French original was made by Kazparis (username), and quickly received more than 70,000 views on Twitter. Then, Uchida Tatsuru, a specialist in French literature, and HACK & SOCIETAS published two other Japanese translations. Soon after, Tokyo Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun published long articles about Dentsu. SN

Dentsu, the fifth largest communication group in the world, holds a large share of the Japanese advertising market, which impacts media freedom in Japan. This is particularly true in relation to the nuclear power industry.

– Dentsu and information on nuclear power

– Indirect pressures on press journalists

– The 2016 comeback of nuclear advertisements and the resignations of TV journalists

The moment remains famous. On the eve of Japan’s Upper House elections, former actor Yamamoto Taro, an anti-nuclear power candidate supported by no party, campaigned on Twitter to win an upper house seat in the Diet. Censored by the media, the young candidate, famous for his verve, had mainly campaigned against nuclear power, but he also called out the big media, accusing it of being in the pay of sponsors and thus of electric companies and of systematically censoring critical information on nuclear power.

A television channel granted him an interview at the end of a program, but only after presenting a journalist to defend his profession. On screen, the young senator was given only one minute to respond. “I will take a simple example. Food can now hold up to 100 becquerels per kilogram; that means even just via eating we are irradiated. It is never said on television… ” Yamamoto had to stop. The ending jingle started, and the presenter at the studio announced, bantering, that the show was over, before launching an advertising page.

The video, which was available online for 3 years, was removed on May 16, 2016 shortly after the publication of this article.

Yamamoto Taro on NHK, 21 July 2013

Advertisements in Japan are literally everywhere: a veritable hell of posters or screens in trains and stations, giant posters on buildings, bearers of advertising placards or lorries with huge posters and loud PA systems in the streets: even advertising displays mounted atop urinals in some restaurants. In this advertising empire, the media are no exception. In the press, naturally, as in France, major companies pay for full page advertisements. But, above all in television. An entertainment show generally starts with the announcement of sponsors, and is interrupted every five minutes by numerous short advertising spots, where we often find the same sponsors. There is virtually no time for thinking, most TV channels offer programs close to the world of pachinko: garish colors, constant noise, and frat humor even of the most vulgar kind.

In this immense television arena, advertising is orchestrated by one of the global giants, Dentsu, the 5th communication group in the world and the number one ad agency. With its rival Hakuhodo, 2nd in the archipelago, the two agencies nicknamed “Denpaku,” combine advertising, public relations, media monitoring, crisis management for the largest Japanese and foreign companies, the local authorities, political parties or the government. Together they hold nearly 70% of the market. A true empire that some accuse of ruling the roost in the Japanese media.

A figure allows sizing up Dentsu’s reach: in 2015, the group secured nearly 7 billion euros in revenue, second only to the French Publicis with 9.6 billion euros during the same period. Most of its business is in TV advertisements. For example, Dentsu has created a commercial series for Softbank for almost ten years: the famous “Shirato” family characterized by a white dog as the father; an American black actor as the older brother; and Tommy Lee Jones as a housekeeper.

In July 2013, the group expanded internationally by acquiring the British Aegis for 3.7 billion euros to establish the Dentsu Aegis Network in London. This international network, consisting of ten advertising agencies in more than 140 countries, allowed the Japanese to beef up their activities, particularly in digital marketing, and to secure a position in the international market which accounts for more than half of its total global business (54.3% in 2015). Dentsu employs 47,000 people worldwide, including 7,000 in Japan.

Dentsu and information on nuclear power

Dentsu headquarters, Shiodome

Located in the business district of Shiodome, not far from Nippon TV, Fuji TV and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the Dentsu tower dominates the skyline with its imposing beauty. Designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, its gentle curves and perfect glass walls soothe the eye. Inside the building, Mr. Kannan Shusaku, communications director of the group, receives us, all smiles for a visit of the site. The ground floor is filled with contemporary art, like a white chessboard by Yoko Ono. From there, a noria of lifts takes employees towards different floors and rigorously separates departments. The group’s customers are the top 5 in each industry, and “everything is done so that employees working for competing enterprises never meet each other.” Mr. Kannan assures us. Dentsu obviously prizes transparency, but is its image that stainless?

In a book published in 2012, Honma Ryu looked into some of Dentsu’s backstage, and its tight control over the media, especially on behalf of one of its major clients: Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tepco. Honma is not alien to advertising circles; he worked for 18 years at number 2, Hakuhodo, then after one year imprisonment for fraud, he began writing, first about his prison experience, then about his years of advertising and the methods he used to coax the media. In 2012, his book Dentsu and Nuclear Coverage became a bestseller within a few months, despite almost universal media blackout.

Honma meticulously described the mechanisms by which Dentsu, the inevitable intermediary, implicitly imposes on media what can or cannot be written on nuclear power, and under what conditions. “Dentsu occupies a special position since the agency holds 80% of the market for nuclear advertising in Japan,” he reminded us during an interview in a coffee shop at Ueno Station. In 2010, in this huge advertising market, Tepco, a regional firm, indeed ranked 10th in terms of advertising expenses, next to power plant manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. That year, on the eve of the Fukushima accident, Tepco had spent more than 2 million euros on advertising. The overall advertising expenses of the 10 regional electrical power companies amounted to 7 million euros.

Honma Ryu, Dentsu and Nuclear Coverage

For decades, especially since the 1990s when public opinion began to become critical of nuclear power following several accidents, Tepco and other power companies stepped up commercials and advertorials in the press.

On television, the advertisements can be enough in themselves to overwhelm criticism. Big groups often sponsor TV programs, talk shows or series for an entire season. Sometimes, entire documentaries are produced by Denjiren, [the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC)], a key player in the nuclear lobby, to promote the industry. Any dissenting voice is unwelcome for fear of losing sponsors. After Fukushima, Yamamoto Taro paid the price; appearing regularly on TV as a tarento [talent] until then when he suddenly became persona non grata on TV and even in cinema for having expressed opposition to nuclear power. This is hardly new since the great figures of the anti-nuclear movement, best-selling authors such as Hirose Takashi or Koide Hiroaki are almost never invited to appear on TV, especially after the Fukushima accident. This “control by media” denounced by Honma Ryu obviously is not limited to the nuclear power industry. Thus, he reminds us of the case of the millions of Toyota vehicle recalls due to a defective accelerator pedal. It was necessary to wait until the Toyota CEO apologized to the U.S. Congress before that affair really appeared in the Japanese press. “No doubt the advertising agency had succeeded until then in preserving the image of its client, but when the scandal became too big and was in the public eye abroad, the media had no choice but to reveal the affair” he states. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that apart from some programs such as “Hodo Station” on TV Asahi, which provide good quality information, sometimes being critical of the government, most TV news in Japan rarely address subjects that can offend one or another group, relaying communications from the government without critically stepping back, and not introducing international news except when the subject involves Japanese citizens.

Momii Katsuto apologizing at Lower House Budget Committee session, 13 January 2016

Amid all these private media groups, only NHK escapes this advertising empire and can claim to be independent, receiving its funding directly from viewers. Alas, the situation at NHK is even more disastrous, its president Momii Katsuto having said without embarrassment on several occasions that the chain had to be the spokesman for the Abe government. In a recent statement before 200 retired NHK employees, he even seemingly acknowledged having ordered NHK journalists to confine broadcasts to reassuring communiqués from the authorities about Kyushu earthquakes and potential risks they pose to nuclear plants and instructing them not to interview independent experts.

Indirect pressures on the press

What about the press? Dentsu has long had a special relationship with the two news agencies Kyodo News and Jiji Press: the three entities formed a single information group before the war. If information in the press is more difficult to control, Dentsu not only advertises, but provides after-sales customer service — media monitoring, advice on crisis management, and indirect pressure on newspapers.

Whereas in France, the acquisition of media companies by large industrial groups is the prelude to direct pressure, in Japan pressure comes via advertising agencies that act as true ambassadors for the groups. “I know very well how this happens, as Honma Ryu amusingly relates, I did the same thing when I was at Hakuhodo. If an incident occurs in a factory or a plant and the press reports it, Dentsu directly intervenes and visits the business department of the newspaper in question.” Things are done in the “Japanese” way. “We ask them politely to try to speak less about the case, not to put the article on the front page, or to publish it in the evening paper which is less read.” Such messages are directly transmitted by the business staff of the journal to top management.

Journalists will never know, but the next day their article will be relegated to the inside pages, or sometimes simply not published, or, for example, claiming lack of space. But, suspicions are numerous, and, Honma reports, after the publication of his book, many journalists came to see him confirming cases of censorship. Advertisements of nuclear power are mainly distributed in weekly and daily newspapers. Since the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, they stopped; but for Dentsu, a profitable new business emerged: promoting agricultural products from Fukushima. Since 2011, with the participation of star singers, Fukushima Prefecture has never skimped on promoting its peaches, rice, or tomatoes, with slogans like “Fukushima Pride” or “Fukushima is well!”

 “Fukushima Pride”

All this thanks to the help of Dentsu and Dentsu Public Relations (PR). “Dentsu PR also works for the METI [Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry],” explains Ms. Fujii Kyoko, Director of communications at Dentsu PR. “We organized free tours of Tohoku for foreign journalists, such as Thai and Malaysian journalists, to show that the region is recovering from the disaster.” And to expunge the surrounding radioactivity?

Dentsu thus occupies a very special position in the promotion of nuclear power, beside Tepco but also the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), both clients of the advertising company. Under these conditions, can Dentsu not be considered to actively underwrite the “nuclear village”? To this question, Mr. Kannan Shusaku, who received us in his office at the top of the Dentsu tower, answered without beating around the bush. “We have no power to influence the media and we do not practice politics.” Yet when asked why Dentsu is a member of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), the main organization of nuclear lobbying, along with Japanese electric utility companies and EDF [Electricity of France, Électricité de France], Mr. Kannan became more circumspect. “I do not know this association… Really, are you sure?” he replied, slightly annoyed, before reaching for his smartphone. “Oh, yes, we are members. But, you know we are members of many associations. People ask us to send someone and sign, that’s all.” Apparently unconvinced by his own argument, he finally found a getaway and suddenly exclaimed: “You see, Hakuhodo is also a member!” obviously happy about not being the only one enlisted in the lobby.

The 2016 comeback of nuclear advertisements and resignations of TV journalists

For Honma Ryu, this is a sign of a resumption of promotion activities of nuclear power. “Hakuhodo has actually been a member of the JAIF for two years,” he explained, after the Fukushima accident. Obviously, having been sidelined for several decades from this gold mine of nuclear advertisements, the rival agency wants to restore its share in the promotion of nuclear power in the post-Fukushima era. These ads had, however, completely disappeared since the accident on March 11, 2011. After a final full page apology in the press and broadcast on television by Tepco, the plant operators and manufacturers had chosen to keep a low profile, not broadcasting advertisements on nuclear power for five years.

But, although plant restarts have been hindered by dozens of lawsuits, some victorious as in Takahama, and the general population has generally been reluctant to see resumption of reactors, promoting nuclear power has again become intense. After restarting one plant in 2015, 2016 is the year of a discreet comeback for nuclear advertisements. These appear in the press and on local television of the prefectures with power stations. Honma Ryu reports that since February 2016, full-page advertisements have been published inFukui Shimbun by the Kansai Electric Power Company, where the Takahama plant was closed a month after its restart due to a lawsuit filed by citizens. Tepco advertisements for restarting Kashiwazaki-Kariwa have also appeared in the Niigata Nippo and on local television in a particular context: the current governor is firmly anti-nuclear and opposes any restart, but elections will be held by the end of this year when his term ends. This resurgence of Tepco nuclear advertising, however, has raised the ire of Niigata citizens, especially refugees from Fukushima who have launched a petition to stop them.

The message of all of these advertisements is identical, revealing the hand of Dentsu behind the scenes. Electric companies promise to make every effort to ensure the safety of power plants, while photographs highlight the plight of nuclear workers who are often poor and sometimes dependent on jobs in the nuclear industry. According to Honma Ryu, these advertisements are certainly only the tip of the iceberg. They are part of a campaign to closely monitor all information published on nuclear power, as well as the quasi-guarantee that local newspapers will limit the voice of opponents.

Furutachi Ichiro on “Hodo Station”

In a report on press freedom released in April 2016, Reporters Without Borders ranked Japan 72nd, behind Hungary and Tanzania. Six years ago, it ranked 11th. Visiting Tokyo, a United Nations rapporteur alerted the country to the growing pressures on Japanese journalists who work for private media or NHK. This is because of increasing government pressure, exacerbated by the entry into force in the past year of a law on state secrets, including nuclear related matters. A law with vague outlines threatens journalists with imprisonment for disclosing “secret” information. A sign of the times is that three television journalists known for their independence announced their resignation at the beginning of the year. Among them is Furutachi Ichiro, presenter of “Hodo Station,” which, according to Honma Ryu, was targeted by Dentsu for several years because of his critical views on nuclear power and the Abe administration. No doubt Dentsu, privileged ambassador of the largest industrial groups, will continue to play its role in the great media lockdown ongoing in Japan.

Sachie Mizohata, Translation from French and Introduction

Original French article in INA Global

Japanese translation by Uchida Tatsuru (see May 15, 2016)

Mathieu Gaulène, a freelance journalist, holds a Master’s degree in Asian studies from Sciences Po, Paris. As a specialist on Japan, he has written for INA-Global, Le Monde, Politis, Slate.fr, and other publications. He has covered topics ranging from Japanese politics, popular culture, to new technologies. He is the author of the book Le nucléaire en Asie. Fukushima, et après ? (Éditions Philippe Picquier, 2016).

Sachie Mizohata is a Luxembourg-based translator. Her article related to media and nuclear power is http://apjjf.org/2011/9/39/Sachie-MIZOHATA/3648/article.html Her sites are as follows: here and here.

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With the date of the publication of Chilcot Inquiry into the illegal invasion of Iraq just weeks away (6th July) reportedly set to “savage” former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair (1) he has made a rare return to the UK and gone in to manic diversionary tactic overdrive.

It seems no radio, television news or current affairs programme is without Blair giving his opinion on the upcoming UK referendum on whether to stay in the European Union, making near libelous comments on the current courteous, dignified, non-warmongering leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn (who was implacably against Blair’s foreign interventions.) He has waded in to the economy, Africa, faith, God and of course is cheerleading for invading Syria and reinvading Iraq.

He had been Prime Minister for a mere twenty three months when he signaled his preference for bloody interventionism. Speaking at the Chicago Economic Club on 22nd April 1999, he said:

Many of our problems have been caused by two dangerous and ruthless men – Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic … Instead of enjoying its oil wealth Iraq has been reduced to poverty, with political life stultified …” The Balkans of course was already being pulverized: “On it’s fiftieth birthday, NATO must prevail” he said. Perhaps he was facing his and the US’ worst nightmare – that with the Berlin Wall gone, the Cold War ended and European and Russian citizens rejoicing, NATO no longer had a raison d’etre. Don’t “give peace a chance.

As for Iraq’s “poverty”, prior to the paralyzing US-UK driven UN embargo imposed on Hiroshima Day 1990, Iraq’s money had been poured for thirty years into infrastructure, free high quality health services, UN Award winning free education, clean water, reliable electricity, telecommunications – near all comprehensively destroyed by a thirty four nation onslaught (17th January 1991-28th February 1991.)

Iraq was then left, unable to independently import the nation’s needs, rebuild, repair. With towering inventiveness, imagination and determination the country rose from the ashes, but beneath the surface, the infrastructure was near terminal for want of imported parts. Blair ignored both impressive achievements, the embargo’s silent infanticide, genocide and ecocide and the Billion $ rip-off which was the shameful so called UN “Oil for Food” deal.

The UN Sanctions Committee was headed by Blair’s envoy Carne Ross, who subsequently formed an organization called “Independent Diplomat”, which currently states it is working with the “moderate” head chopping, organ eating, pyromaniac Syrian “opposition” to now overthrow that country’s President.

However, Blair’s Chicago speech demonstrates how long he had been determined to back the US in the illegal overthrow of the leader of a sovereign nation. His address was just eleven months after the US had passed The Iraq Liberation Act (10th May 1998) which determined it: “… should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government.” (2)

Perhaps with Chilcot’s findings looming, Blair’s duplicities might finally come home to roost, hence the frenzied diversionary tactics.

They are not going well. Michael Burleigh in an eviscerating piece in the Daily Mail headed: “Why I despise conman Blair’s grubby attempt to spin away Chilcot truths” writes: “Chilcot will be a defining moment in our recent history … It will show how the art of lying has become central to the British way of government – with ‘facts’ proving malleable and the Civil Service degraded into partisanship.”

Having dragged: “the perma-tanned multi-millionaire become pantomime villain” through the depths of media mud he concludes: “But the lessons to be learned from Iraq must include how a preachy conman debased our entire system of government.”

Also in the Mail, Quentin Letts (“Enter Saint Tony, as tanned as the top of an egg flan…and looking every one of his 63 years …”) refers to an event at which Blair was speaking and from which Letts and other journalists were barred: “ By the way, yesterday’s event was co-organised by Mr Blair’s ‘Faith Foundation’ which seeks to promote ‘stable societies’.

And if they won’t make themselves stable we’ll jolly well have to drop bombs and parachutists on them and invade them with tanks and battalions of Western troops and basically kill them. All. That’ll calm them down, just you see.

Blair was also: “ … shrivelled by scandals and pointlessness …”

However: “Mr Blair hinted that he may collaborate with Sir John Major and Gordon Brown on a joint pro-Brussels platform. There was a place for former Prime Ministers, he insisted.

Did he mean The Hague?”

Chris Nineham writing in The Guardian has reminded that: “The parody of Blair as US poodle diminishes his role in history. He chafed at Bill Clinton’s hesitancy to bomb Serbia in 1999 and secretly reassured the Bush administration that it would not be alone in the illegal pursuit of regime change in Iraq” in April 2002.

It should be an encouragement to progressives that Blair’s combination of aggression overseas, pro-market policies at home and deception in general has made him a pariah.

Nineham’s reference to the commitment to Bush re Iraq related to the memo by Colin Powell to George W. Bush briefing him ahead of Blair’s visit to Bush at his Crawford, Texas ranch, 5-7th April 2002. A paragraph confirms (3) that: “On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary. He is convinced on two points: that the threat is real; and success against Saddam will yield more regional success …”

The “threat” of course was a fantasy followed up by a pack of lies and the result has been a “regional” bloodbath.

It is set to get worse for Blair. On 6th June a drama, “Reg”, is to be shown on BBC 2, the real life story of Reg Keys and his wife Sally whose soldier son, Lance Corporal Tom Keys (20) was killed in Iraq with five colleagues.

In 2005 Reg Keys, a paramedic and paramedic trainer, ran against Tony Blair in his Sedgefield, Co Durham constituency in the general election with the aim of drawing attention to Blair’s Iraq duplicities. On election night with all the candidates gathered after the count, which of course Blair won, Keys gave a withering, blistering speech reducing the winner and his wife to standing white faced, clench lipped and frozen. As the candidates finally parted Blair refused to shake Keys’ hand. Truth clearly hurts.

Reg’s wife Sally never recovered from the loss of Tom and died in 2011, aged fifty seven. Their agony mirrors the losses of other families from a war built on untruths in the UK and unendingly, ongoing, in Iraq.

Anna Maxwell Martin who plays Sally Keys has commented: “I think this absolutely hammers home the personal nature for some people and I hope it really highlights Tony Blair to be the gruesome crook that he is.”

Actor Tim Roth plays Reg Keys and said that he hopes the drama forces Blair to apologise and: “ I’ve always felt Blair should be hauled off in handcuffs and put in Wormwood Scrubs (prison). I think he’s profited from the death of Reg’s son and the Iraq war. I have nothing but contempt for him.”

In September former MP George Galloway is to screen a documentary. It is called “The Killings of Tony Blair.”

Meanwhile The Iraq Families Action Group intend to use the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry to sue Tony Blair, his former Ministers and Generals, on behalf of the 179 British soldiers killed. They intend to seek unlimited damages.

The former leader of the Scottish National Party, MP Alex Salmond seems set to revive a group of politicians formed with a view to taking legal action against Blair back in 2004.

Salmond has said that he said he believed the: “best route would be to use the International Criminal Court because the Prosecutor is able to initiate action on his or her own behalf on presentation of a body of evidence, which Chilcot would provide.” However, he says he is open to any legal avenue which could have the desired outcome.

Meanwhile, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, interviewed on BBC’s Newsnight stated: “We went into a war that was catastrophic, that was illegal, that cost us a lot of money, that lost a lot of lives, and the consequences are still played out with migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, refugees all over the region.”

Asked if he would like to see Blair put on trial he replied: “I want to see all those that committed war crimes tried for it, and those that made the decisions that went with it.”

Yet total denial seems to have again struck the former Prime Minister so central to tragedies beyond comprehension, which have affected millions between the embargo, war and the murderous chaos of the aftermath spread far and wide.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andre Marr Show on Sunday 29th May he intimated that if the Inquiry finds he committed to the invasion before he told Parliament and the public, he might refuse to accept the verdict. He has surely not forgotten his commitment mentioned in General Colin Powell’s early 2002 communication with George Bush, quoted above?

Ironically, the Centre for Religion and Geopolitics founded by Tony Blair has just published its latest Report on extremism (no reflection of course, that it does not get much more extreme than enjoining “a Crusade” as declared by George W. Bush.)

The Centre writes: “Our data shows that over the past three months, the same countries repeatedly suffered high levels of extremism.” With no  hint of irony they include Iraq and Afghanistan in which Blair’s Britain was integral to attacking and destabilizing. Then Syria, Yemen, Pakistan in which the US and UK have meddled, murdered, damaged and disrupted.

In Libya “ISIS has continued to gain strength”, they note. The same Libya whose leader Blair kissed (a Judas kiss if ever there was one) who resultantly disarmed, was welcomed back in to the “community of nations” and was destroyed by that same “community.”

It can only be hoped that Chilcot throws the book at this despicable human being and all involved in Iraq’s tragedy. Whatever the findings it could never be sufficient.

Notes

1.  http://www.globalresearch.ca/is-the-uks-iraq-inquiry-set-to-savage-tony-blair/5527169

2.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/105th-congress/house-bill/4655

3.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3277402/Smoking-gun-emails-reveal-Blair-s-deal-blood-George-Bush-Iraq-war-forged-YEAR-invasion-started.html

 

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As the independent investigative journalist Dahr Jamail has detailed in his regular climate dispatch for Truthout, there are signs that excessive amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are wreaking havoc on the globe’s atmospheric and ocean systems.

From the Wildfires raging near Fort McMurray in Alberta, to the increasing acidification of the oceans which cover 70% of the planet, to the mass die-off of species, to rising sea levels, to record shattering heat persisting for three months straight in early 2016 coming on the heels of record high global temperatures persisting for the last sixteen years, it is clear that Earth’s ecological systems are under assault.[1][2]

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Then there is the question of peak oil and gas.

As energy writer Richard Heinberg argued in a previous installment of the Global Research News Hour, the discovery of cheap accessible oil and natural gas was akin to ‘winning the energy lottery.’ He indicated then that all aspects of life were altered as a result of incorporating this extremely potent energy source into our economic system. Agriculture, petro-chemicals, plastics synthetics, consumerism, the techno-boom and the resulting six-fold increase in the human population all resulted from the oil century.

There are credible signs that conventional oil production peaked around 2005. Unconventional supplies such as Alberta tar sands oil (bitumen) and shale oil (kerogen) have unexpectedly resulted in the current glut on the market and given the oil age a new lease on life. However, extraction methods for these substances have proven to be extremely harmful to the environment. In any case, these supplies are finite and will eventually run out.

Given the realities of peak oil and climate change, our high tech civilization would seem to be an energy castle, built on a foundation of fossil fuel sand.

Transition to a non-fossil fuel based economy, sooner or later, is inevitable. The question is how could that be achieved in time to address the hazards on the horizon? Is it feasible? How could that be pursued in a meaningful way? What political and other obstacles need to be overcome to get to a truly renewable economy?

The Global Research News Hour focuses this week on how to respond to the modern day energy dilemma with three guests. Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon institute and Gordon Laxer, founder and former director of the University of Alberta-based Parkland institute take up the bulk of the show discussing the role of trade agreements in undermining energy security, US imperialism as part of the problem, obstructionism from elites, and the compromises that will be necessary to achieve a sustainable future.

With a less optimistic take is returning guest Professor Emeritus Guy McPherson, who explains in the final segment of the program why near-term human extinction due to runaway global warming is not only likely but inevitable, why he feels the renewable economy is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” proposition, and yet continues to promote action rather than resignation as a strategy moving ahead.

Richard Heinberg is a Senior Fellow with the Post-Carbon Institute. He is a journalist, and author of thirteen books including The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (2003, New Society Publishers), Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels (2015, New Society Publishers) and his most recent Our Renewable Future: Laying the Path for One Hundred Percent Clean Energy  co-authored by David Fridley (2016, Island Press). Heinberg is considered one of the world’s leading educators on the subject of Peak Oil, the opposite side of the fossil fuel energy coin.

 Gordon Laxer is a political economist and the former head and founding director of the Parkland Institute based at the University of Alberta where he is Professor Emeritus. He is widely published in newspapers and magazines and the author of several books including Open for Business: The Roots of Foreign Ownership in Canada(1989, Oxford University Press), and his most recent After the Sands: Energy and Ecological Security for Canadians (Douglas & Mcintyre.)

Guy McPherson is a Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. He has spent years assembling and collating available peer-reviewed research on climate. He hosts the Nature Bats Last website, and is host of the Nature Bats Last radio program on the Progressive Radio Network.

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca . The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

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

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

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

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

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

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

Notes:

1) http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36133-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-concentration-has-passed-the-point-of-no-return

2) http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35796-temperatures-in-2016-are-already-near-cop21-limit

Make no mistake. Putin’s strategic intervention in Syria last September was a bold, vital step. He deserves credit and praise for taking it.

Things changed dramatically on the ground. Reinvigorated government forces retook large swaths of earlier lost territory, freeing them from the scourge of US-sponsored terrorism.

At the same time, Russia’s all-out efforts for ceasefire and conflict resolution peace talks failed. On the one hand, the alternative is endless war. On the other, the only language America understands is force.

Moscow’s genuine diplomatic efforts can’t succeed because it has no peace partner in Washington – under Obama or whoever succeeds him.

It’s time to accept reality and act boldly, assertively and unilaterally against all terrorist groups in Syria rejecting ceasefire, Moscow following through on its earlier commitment, repeated as recently as late May and early June – so far not implemented.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry and General Staff Main Operational Directorate head General Sergei Rudskoy issued similar statements in March, saying unilateral airstrikes will target ceasefire violators – at the same time accusing Washington of failing to work cooperatively to implement Security Council 2254 provisions.

They call for ceasefire and diplomatic conflict resolution. Russia genuinely pursues both objectives. America obstructs them.

Endless fighting rages. Washington wants war, not peace, regime change called political transition. Geneva I, II and III failed. Nothing suggests better prospects ahead.

Russia’s failure to follow through on its commitment gave ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) and other terrorist groups time to regroup, rearm and replenish their ranks – with help from Washington, NATO (notably Turkey), Israel, Saudi Arabia and other regional rogue states.

Russia’s repeated calls for Washington to work cooperatively against terrorism in Syria remain unanswered.

On Saturday, Sergey Lavrov again expressed concern about US delaying tactics. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said he and John Kerry continue discussing the situation on the ground without agreement, explaining:

…Lavrov has expressed concern (about US) attempts to delay resuming political talks for various artificial reasons, which was seen clearly during the UN Security Council briefing on Syria on June 3.

On June 5, Tass reported terrorist shelling of Syrian cities and towns in the last 24 hours alone killed over 270 civilians, injuring hundreds more.

The Russian Coordination Center said terrorist groups breached cessation of hostilities in the last 24 hours 10 times in Aleppo and Damascus – 626 times since ceasefire took effect at midnight last February 26.

Washington wants its terrorist foot soldiers protected, outrageously telling Russia to stop attacking Jabhat al-Nusra fighters, wanting heroic efforts by government forces obstructed and defeated.

The Obama administration continues providing terrorists with arms and other material support. Reports indicate increasing Russian airstrikes. There’s more.

According to Al Monitor, “the Russians this week disembarked ground forces and paratroopers in the port of Tartus to support more than 3,000 Russian volunteers dispatched to the region in the past few weeks, in a bid to revive coordination with the Syrian army.”

“This represents yet another additional indication that a wide-ranging operation is being prepared” – likely in Raqqa and Aleppo provinces.

According to Syrian sources, Russia’s joint command staff, handling aerial operations, returned to Khmeimim air base in likely preparation for new combat operations.

It’s time to deal with Washington and its rogue allies in the only language they understand – by resuming large-scale aerial strikes like earlier, intensifying them, regaining the offensive decisively, not letting up, smashing all terrorist elements failing to observe ceasefire.

Liberating Syria depends on it. Fiddling with Washington won’t end well.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

 

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The U.S. public loves fascists; they elect them, constantly. Donald Trump, who “says he would raise the minimum wage and stop the endless efforts at regime change,” is called a fascist by some.  But Hillary Clinton “is happy to bomb Libya or Syria or any other country,” and played a major role in mass Black incarceration. Barack Obama is the war-maker and deporter-in-chief. “All of the major party candidates fit the F word description in some way.”

“No one comes into office with any intention of undoing America’s leadership as the world’s worst jailer.”

Donald Trump is the ill spoken, boorish, graceless version of every American president in modern history. He differs from them only in his unconcealed appeals to white nationalism. But Democrats aren’t much better. They pretend to work on behalf of human, civil and economic rights but those claims are lies. They are meant to hide their partnerships with corporate America, very wealthy individuals and the worldwide imperialist project.

If Trump is a fascist then he will fit in nicely with the pantheon of horrific men we are told to respect and venerate. Barack Obama charges and convicts whistle blowers with the little used espionage act from the era of Woodrow Wilson. He claims and has exercised an invented right to kill Americans. His predecessor invaded and occupied Iraq but he continues the dirty deed there and in Afghanistan. He tries to fool the public by assassinating “al Qaeda number two,” over and over again. Al Qaeda certainly doesn’t lack for plan B staffers.

Bush the younger cut tax rates for rich people but Obama didn’t change that. Under the guise of compromising with intransigent Republicans he did the same thing. When he and the Democrats controlled Congress in 2009 and 2010 they raised the minimum wage a paltry 70 cents.

Conversely, Donald Trump says he would raise the minimum wage and says he would stop the endless efforts at regime change. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders have questioned that fundamental premise of American foreign policy. Hillary Clinton has already proven herself to be particularly blood thirsty. She is happy to bomb Libya or Syria or any other country. Her so-called expertise amounts to nothing more than an expansion of state sponsored terror committed by the United States.

It is a Democratic president who brought back a cold war against Russia and recklessly brought troops to the edge of that country’s borders.

Trump says he wouldn’t cut Social Security while Barack Obama famously declared that he and his 2012 Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, agreed on the need to cut this program that was once called the “third rail” of politics.

Every president since the 1980s has grown the horrific mass incarceration industry. Using wars on drugs as a pretext they have locked up 2 million people, half of whom are black. No one comes into office with any intention of undoing America’s leadership as the world’s worst jailer.

American history teaches black people to be, at the very least, wary of public officials who are beloved by red necks as much as Trump is. When Trump speaks of preventing Muslim immigration or deporting all of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in this country he is making inherently racist appeals.

That is why he is protested and rightly so. But the protesters have already missed the mark by giving a pass to equally questionable policy actions and statements coming from Democrats. It is a Democratic president who brought back a cold war against Russia and recklessly brought troops to the edge of that country’s borders. This scenario was unheard of during the worst days of the cold war and now risks nuclear confrontation. That is because George W. Bush unilaterally abrogated the missile defense treaty with Russia. Perhaps he can be called a fascist also.

The trade deals passed by American presidents with congressional connivance grow worse. There is no longer any pretense that their goal is to help corporations maximize profits and minimize everyone else’s rights. Not even members of Congress were allowed access to the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership legislation.

If a politician has the right establishment credentials and knows how to give prepared speeches he or she can get away with committing any outrage.

If Trump is protested, Obama ought to be as well. He is spending his last year in office on an imperialism tour. He goes to Hiroshima for photo opportunities with atomic bomb survivors while building more nuclear warheads than any other president. He tells endless lies about Russian “aggression” but he is the provocative head of state.

Trump should be disliked by Latinos and everyone else when he says that Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers. But Obama is the deporter in chief, sending a record number of Latino immigrants out of the country with dubious rationales, devastating them and their families.

Apparently all of the major party candidates fit the F word description in some way. Trump’s bombast and ignorance make him the easiest to pick out of the crowd but appearances are deceiving. It seems that if a politician has the right establishment credentials and knows how to give prepared speeches he or she can get away with committing any outrage.

In just the last 40 years American presidents or their allied partners in crime have killed people in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Congo, Somalia, Haiti, Grenada, Gaza, Kosovo, Serbia, Sudan, Syria, Libya and Yemen. What do they have to do to be called fascists? Showing bad manners seems to be the only thing that sets off expressions of outrage among Americans.

There is already fascism in the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department and Congress. The only question is who will be the next person to keep that sick machinery running.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as athttp://freedomrider.blogspot.com. 

Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at:

Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

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